Indecisive Israel #9

Thursday, September 14, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

In Judges chapter 10, Israel begs JEHOVAH God for deliverance from her enemies. Yet, unlike previous times, He refuses. She has worshipped more and more idols. He thus replies: “…and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (verses 12-14). Notice the contrasting of “I” and “them.” Did Israel’s idols rescue her from her enemies? No! The LORD God did. Her silly idols were useless in her time of need! The nation Israel recognizes those deities cannot help her even now.

“[15] And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. [16] And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” Verse 17 says the children of Ammon are advancing to fight against Israel. Will God send a deliverer?

JEHOVAH God raises Jephthah, rescuing Israel from the children of Ammon, Jephthah reigning six years (11:1–12:7). Ibzon judges Israel seven years (12:8-10). Elon judges Israel 10 years (12:11,12). Abdon judges Israel eight years (12:13-15). Once Abdon dies, the sixth and final cycle commences. Israel, while apostatizing and reforming over the centuries up to this point in Judges, is declining overall. Having disregarded Joshua’s parting instructions to her, she is very far from today’s Scripture….

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Indecisive Israel #8

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Gideon the Judge dies, leaving an idol for Israel to worship. His son Abimelech usurps leadership, and reigns three years (Judges 9:1-57). With Abimelech’s death, Tola judges Israel 23 years (10:1,2). Jair judges Israel 22 years (10:3-5). With Jair’s demise, Israel apostatizes even more! The fifth cycle begins.

Chapter 10, verse 6, says: “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.” Friends, there is unparalleled idolatry in Israel now. She has multiplied idols beyond belief!

God brings in the Philistines and the children of Ammon to oppress Israel 18 years (verses 7-9). We keep reading: “[10] And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. [11] And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? [12] The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. [13] Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. [14] Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

Let us see what Israel will do now….

 

Indecisive Israel #7

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

The fourth cycle starts after Deborah’s demise. Israel does evil in the sight of the LORD again, so He causes the Midianites to dominate her seven years. Israel cries for help, and JEHOVAH God sends a prophet to them: “[8] Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; [9] And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; [10] And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice(Judges chapter 6).

God pities Israel. Raising up a prophet and judge, Gideon, He gives them an amazing military victory over the Midianites. Israel’s land rests 40 years. (Judges 6:1–8:32) Nevertheless….

Chapter 8 reports: “[27] And Gideon made an ephod [image/idol] thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house…. [33] And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. [34] And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:….”

Surprisingly, dear friends, Israel will grow even worse….

Will Ye Plead for Baal?

Friday, September 30, 2016

And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar (Judges 6:31 KJV).

If Baal is the one true God, then he can defend himself!

The LORD had instructed Gideon: “Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down” (verses 25,26). Verse 27 continues: “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.”

Early the next morning, the men of the city wake to find Baal’s altar thrown down, the nearby grove (shrine of images) cut down, and the second bullock that was offered on the altar (verse 28). Upon learning Gideon is responsible, they demand Joash bring out his son so they can put him to death (verses 29,30). Joash responded in today’s Scripture: “Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.” Realizing his pagan god could not punish his son, Joash was evidently converted. He accentuated his new faith in JEHOVAH, and the silliness of Baal worship, by asking, “Is ‘almighty’ Baal actually powerless? Does he need you to defend his demolished place of worship?” (This is somewhat comical!)

Verse 32 concludes: “Therefore on that day he [Joash] called him [Gideon] Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.”

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Can God Really Use Me? (Yes!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture affirms that God will oftentimes use for His purposes those people we would never expect Him to utilize.

The LORD appears to Moses and informs him that He will use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses replies, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

Centuries later, the Midianites are persecuting Israel, so God informs Gideon that He will use him to deliver Israel. Gideon argues, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15).

Centuries later, the Philistine giant Goliath is taunting Israel, but her armies are no match for him. Little David, a lowly shepherd boy, nevertheless has faith that the LORD will give him the strength to slay Goliath, which he does using one rock and a sling (1 Samuel 17:50).

Centuries later, God sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn apostate Israel, but Jeremiah refutes, “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (1:6).

When the Lord Jesus Christ needed apostles to convert Israel, He chose four fisherman, brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and brothers James and John (Mark 1:16-20). Peter and John are later referred to as “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13).

The Apostle Paul carried out his ministry with infirmities/sicknesses/weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Galatians 4:13).

If you, dear Christian, doubt that the Lord can use you because of your disabilities, social status, weaknesses, age, or education, just remember Moses’ speech impediment, Gideon’s poverty, David and Jeremiah’s juvenility, Peter and John’s ignorance, and Paul’s infirmities. God used them—people who did not seem like much—for His glory. What made the difference was not their strengths, but the Almighty God who worked in and through them. “That no flesh should glory in [God’s] presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29). 🙂