April 29, 2019
WHAT WAS THE CURSE OF JOTHAM? Jotham was the only surviving son of the 70 sons of Gideon. Their half-brother, Abimelech, was born to a concubine of Gideon, who was from the city of Shechem. After Gideon’s death, Abimelech conspired with the inhabitants of Shechem to overthrow Gideon’s sons, and so he murdered all of
April 28, 2019
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SHECHEM’S SIN Jotham was the only surviving son of Gideon. All of his brothers had been murdered by their half-brother, Abimelech and Jotham had barely escaped with his life. Abimelech had conspired with his mother’s family who lived in the town of Shechem. Afterwards, the citizens of Shechem made him their king.
April 27, 2019
GIDEON’S 300 AND THAT OF LEONIDAS Centuries before the celebrated Spartan 300 fought the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC, Gideon’s 300 won a victory over the Midianites in 1210 BC. Gideon and his 300 men were chosen by God to defeat the marauding Midianites and bring peace to Israel for the next 40 years.
April 26, 2019
WHOM GOD SENDS, GOD STRENGTHENS The Lord told Gideon to go with the strength he had to rescue Israel from the marauding Midianites. But Gideon replied that he was far from being strong, he was the least in his family and from the weakest tribe in Manasseh. Yet God sent him. God often chooses
May 4, 2017
One of the most tragic stories in the book of Judges is about the rape and murder of a woman by the men of Gibeah and how their tribe, the tribe of Benjamin, chose to defend them, rather than turn them over for justice. The tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out by the other Israelite tribes as a result, but not before Benjamin killed 40,000 of them in defense.
The sin of a few “perverted men” in Gibeah ended up costing all of Israel, and especially the tribe of Benjamin. Why? Because Benjamin put their tribal identity above their national identity, and more than that, above their spiritual identity under God. Identity politics causes division and war. Unity under God brings peace.
What is needed? We must put God first in our priorities and loyalties. Tribal identity must take a back seat to our identity in Christ.
May 3, 2017
This verse contains the theme of the book of Judges. In this book we see illustrated, in vivid and violent detail, the ugly chaos of a rudderless and relativistic culture. Western culture is already on its way to such an end, as it has increasingly embraced the same mantra. Without a mutually agreed upon and absolute moral standard of right and wrong, human society slides further and further down the slippery slope of sin.
The stories in the book of Judges, and the news reports in our world today, make us long for a true king. It makes us long for a king like Jesus.
April 30, 2017
The Lord strengthened Jephthah, the Gileadite, to defeat the people of Ammon who made war against Israel. Jephthah, the son of a harlot, rejected by his brethren, and leader of a worthless band of raiders, seemed an unlikely choice for a judge, yet the Lord empowered him to overcome Israel’s enemies.
Such men are not the focus of Scripture, but the Lord God is. For He works with sinful man to accomplish His purposes. O what joy, that the Lord would bend down to take note of us, and not only that, but that He would give us His Spirit!
April 29, 2017
When the Israelites finally “put away” their idolatry, so that their deeds matched their words of repentance, God was moved to answer their cry. The description of the Lord’s response to Israel’s true repentance is revealing. For it described Him as being “no longer” able to “endure” their “misery.” Literally, God was grieved about Israel’s misery.
What does this mean? Does the Lord feel the suffering that our own sin inflicts on us? Does it pain Him to see our misery? Is there a limit to His patience? Does God grieve? Certainly, we must be careful not to ascribe human weakness to the omnipotent, unchanging God. Yet, there is something paradoxical of His character revealed here. God’s joy is unconquerable and His will enduring. yet God no longer wanted to endure the misery of Israel.
The clearest picture that we can get of God and the fullest revelation of His character are found in Christ. In Christ, God’s holiness and mercy were revealed in the cross. He sent Jesus to die in our place, because in His love, He could no longer endure our misery.
April 28, 2017
Gideon, the hesitant judge, would not be coaxed into being king. He recognized that it was the Lord, and not the people, who had called him to be a judge and lead Israel against the Midianites. Therefore, he did not recognize the people’s authority to name him king and rightly refused. He overcame the temptation to accept power that did not belong to him.
However, in this moment of victory over the Midianites and victory over temptation to power, he made the mistake of allowing the spoils of victory to become a snare to him. For the golden earrings that he requested from each of his warrior’s share of the spoils became like the golden calf to him and all of Israel. Gideon stepped over one snare only to become entangled in another.
And so we pray as the Lord Jesus taught us, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” For even in our best moments we are still vulnerable to sin. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
April 26, 2017
Gideon’s fleece test –– Was it narrative or normative? I believe it must be considered narrative, a true story described, yet not prescribed. It is not to be taken as normative, meaning that it does not teach a norm, or a timeless method, on how to discover God’s will. “Put out your fleece” is not the best advice to be taken from this Scripture for those seeking God’s will.
Perhaps a better timeless principle to see is God’s patience with us and His willingness to reveal His will to us. He met Gideon where he was, based on his level of spiritual maturity. Gideon had some faith, but still needed more encouragement. He had already taken action to obey God’s call, yet along the way he needed reassurance that he was in fact called of God. He didn’t doubt God. He doubted himself. And God answered his “fleece test” to help him overcome his self-doubt.
Jesus warned that, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign” (Matt. 16:4). So, we must be careful in how we apply Gideon’s story. It is better to believe God’s word and obey it without question. But it is good to know that God is patient with us when we struggle with self-doubt along the way.