Thursday, April 30, 2015

What Are We Refusing to Give Up?

O. T. #509  "What Are We Refusing to Give Up?"
April 30, 2015
Judges 2-Part 5
They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.  Judges 2:19


We have become a selfish and I-centered generation. We have so many modern tech things available. Young people want to always be entertained. Where is the work ethic? Why do kids not do good things without expecting being rewarded for it? What happened to love your neighbor? What happened to Israel after all they went through to get their land? What did they refuse to give up?

Previously, we discussed an overview of Israel at this time. They were in a cycle of sin. That is why God raised up 14 various judges to deliver them out of it.
What do we learn about this situation?
  • It was God who raised up the judges.
  • The Lord was with the judges.
  • He delivered Israel out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge.
  • It was their groanings because of their oppression and affliction under their enemies that God had compassion on Israel.
  • Whenever a judge died, Israel returned into their sinful ways of idolatry, even more corruptly than their fathers.
  • Because they violated their covenant with God and did not listen to Him, God no longer drove out their enemies as He did during Joshua's time.
  • God tested Israel to see whether they would keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers. (verse 22)
  • The Lord allowed those nations to remain; He did not drive them out at once. (verse 23)


Israel refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.  (verse 19)

And we say that is sad, then go on our merry way, refusing to give up our evil practices and stubborn ways. What evil practices, Lord, do we do?
Some things come to my mind:
  • not giving Him first place in our life;
  • treating Sundays as any other day when buying and selling and not making it a day of rest and worship;
  • having objects so important that I spend too much time with it, such as cleaning cars and houses spotlessly;
  • spreading gossip;
  • criticizing, grumbling, jealousy, anger, selfishness.
Ouch. What is the Lord requiring us to give up so we may follow Him with a pure heart?


Surrender to Jesus all the day long.

Give it up.

Sing praises to Him.

Be thankful always in all things.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cycle and Recycle

O. T. #508  "Cycle and Recycle"
April 29, 2015
Judges 2-Part 4
And they forsook... Judges 2:12
And they forsook... Judges 2:13


A cycle is a sequence that is repeated. I seem to get into a cycle of doing certain things over and over again, or doing things the same way, over and over again. Why can't I do it a new way? Do you ever get stuck in a cycle? Israel did. Check out what they recycled.

Oh how the Lord blessed  His children, Israel. Once they crossed the Jordan River, they had His protection and victories over the enemies of the land living in their Promised Land to be conquered. From Moses to Joshua, Aaron to Eleazer, God used men to lead these people. Now, you will recall the repetition of the rules laid down-not worshiping idols and following the ways of the pagans, nor intermarrying with them. God required that only He was to be worshiped, loved, and served. Israel was to be an example and witness to the rest of the world as to a living and loving God.

the cycle of sin began-apostasy, repentance, and deliverance.
Idolatry was a struggle for God's people. In the days of the judges, Israel was attracted to the Canaanite gods.  Baal was their storm god who controlled rain, fire, and lightning. Ashtoreth, Baal's spouse, was the goddess of love, war, and fertility. the worship of these false gods included female prostitution and child sacrifice. (David Jeremiah)

The idols represent sensual, carnal, and immoral aspects of human nature. God's nature is spiritual and moral. Adding the worship of idols to the worship of God could not be tolerated.
Have you noticed the little statues in the oriental restaurants ?
Do we pay attention to what is around us?
Are we careful in our witness of Jesus?

Let's get back to the cycle of sin.
Life Application Study Bible says throughout this period of history Israel went through cycles of:
  1. rebelling against God,
  2. being overrun by enemy nations,
  3. being delivered by a God-fearing judge,
  4. remaining loyal to God under that judge,
  5. again forgetting God when the judge died.
Don't we tend to follow the same cycle? We remain loyal to God as long as we are near those devoted to Him. When we are on our own, and the pressure to be drawn away from God increases, we drift away. Are we determined to be faithful to Him despite the difficult situations we may encounter? Stay in contact with other believers, especially in worship services.

How thankful we should be for the mercies of God as we go through the sin cycle.


Because Israel did not teach the next generation about God, they:
  • did evil in the sight of the LORD; (verse 11)
  • served Baalim; (verse 11)
  • forsook the LORD God of their fathers; (verse 12)
  • followed other gods of the people; (verse 12)
  • bowed themselves unto them; (verse 12)
  • provoked the LORD to anger; (verse 12)
  • forsook the LORD and served Baal and Ashtaroth. (verse 13)
As a result of all that, the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, delivered them into the hands of their enemies. Thus, Israel could not any longer stand before their enemies. So wherever they went, the LORD's hand was against them because of the sinful evil. Israel became greatly distressed.

Now, the Lord raised up judges to deliver them from the hands of those that spoiled them. (verse 16)
There's the mercy.
What do we need delivering from, dear ones?

                    ...of anything that I put before God.
                              ...of those attitudes and grumblings not pleasing to God.
                              ...of sin by repenting and asking for forgiveness.
                              ...and let God take control of my life.
                              ... and let God.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Judges, Who Needs Them?

O. T. #507  "Judges, Who Needs Them?"
April 28, 2015
Judges 2-Part 3
Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.  Judges 2:16


I have only been in a courtroom only a few times in my lifetime. Most of them was as  a juror or prospective juror. One thing I recall is that the judge presiding had the control over what occurred within his courtroom. He had the ultimate say, and all followed it. He had the power to do whatever was necessary in order for justice to be carried out.
Judges, who needs them?In the first few chapters of the book of Judges, the 14 judges who will soon be ruling over Israel, are not  doing so as of yet in our reading. Who is our Ultimate Judge? Read on, friend to find out.

Keep in mind that this era was before Israel had any kings to rule ever them. The Lord raised up judges to meet their needs.

The Hebrew word for judge is shopet,(pronounced with both vowels long) meaning ruler, rather than magistrate, and is the source of the noun mispat, meaning judgment or justice. The noun mispat means the judgment given by the shopet and, thus, may indicate justice, ordinance, or codified law (torah) given by God Himself, since Yahweh is the God of mispat (Gen. 18:25). God's justice was manifested in real and observable events because the real God acted with vindicating righteousness upon His people. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

The actual "Judge" in Israel was the Lord Himself, for He only is called the shopet. The individual judges were called by divine appointment and brought to prominence in the role of a deliverer through whom God administered His justice by empowerment with His Spirit (3:10). (Cundall, wrote in Tyndale Old Testament Commentary)

God alone is capable of flawlessly judging the wicked and delivering the righteous (Is. 11:4).

Are we prepared to stand before the Lord our Judge? As Christians, Jesus is going to be our defender because He has paid the price for our sins. He has met God's requirement-a blood sacrifice. We are set free from the penalty of sin here and there, now and then in eternity.


What was the purpose of the judges (14) which God raised up in Israel?
Look at our keep verse-they needed delivered out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
Spoiled means to plunder; destroyer; rob, in the Hebrew language.

Why was this necessary?
The Israelites failed God's test, being enticed into:
  1. marriages with Canaanites and
  2. worship of their gods.
Disobedience was repeated frequently through the centuries, and led God to use the Assyrians (2Kings 17) and Babylonians (2 Kings 24; 25) to expel Israel from the land gained here. (MacArthur)

God through Moses, Joshua and the Law, kept warning Israel to not worship idols, but to worship only God. Sadly, they did not heed, nor do we.

Why were idols so bad in God's sight?
Life Application Study Bible provides us with an excellent answer:

To worship an idol violated the first two of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-6). The Canaanites had gods for almost every season, activity, or place. To them, the Lord was just another god to add to their collection of gods. Israel, by contrast, was to worship only the Lord. They could not possibly believer that God was the one true God and at the same time bow to an idol. Idol worshipers could not see their god as their creator because they created it. These idols represent sensual, carnal, and immoral aspects of human nature. God's nature is spiritual and moral. Adding the worship of idols to the worship of God could not be tolerated.
Christians need to be careful that we do not have any idols in our life, that we do not create a god in the image we want, under our control, establishing the rules of life that we want, nor should we establish us as god of our life. Examples could be our job, career, hobby, entertainment, sports, objects of importance (house, autos, technology), sex. How do we spend our time? What has our focus or thoughts?

I am sad to admit that there have been times whenever I put my career above all, or even as important as God in my life.

Only Jehovah Lord God is the only God to be worshiped, loved, and served. Be careful when pointing out to others their gods. They may become angry when faced with the truth. It is a matter of the heart. God wants us to love Him with all our heart.


Love God above all and first of all.

Become aware of anything I may have more important than He is.

Follow God's leading, His ways, not my own ways.

Warn others that there will be a time whenever we all will appear before our ultimate Judge, Jesus.


Monday, April 27, 2015

He is Astounding!

O. T. #506  "He is Astounding!"
April 27, 2015
Judges 2-Part 2

*Thanks to everyone for your prayers. My husband made it through the ablation of the heart fine, with only 2 pathways needing fixed. It could take up to 3 months before the effects are felt. He went in the hospital on Tuesday, had the surgery on Wed., went home Thurs., but had to go to the emergency room on Friday as a result of an infection. Hopefully, you will excuse my not posting since I was exhausted. Recovery is slow and the special diet of only soft, cold or room temperature foods and cold drinks for 2 weeks. God is so good! We can't thank Him enough!


What a glorious God we serve and love!!  Sunday, our church walked from the 100 year old sanctuary to a twice the size and brand new sanctuary. It was as if we left our wilderness of unbelief and crossed over our Jordan of faith into our Promise Land. (We have been serving 17 years now, almost 18 at FBC.) We were able to build it debt free as God provided. (Only money was borrowed for the technical equipment.)

Had I died back in 2001 after surgery, I would not have been walking with them. Had my husband died two years ago or last week after his heart surgery, he would not have walked with them either.
Had we given up through all the trials, troubles, discouragements, and failures, and left the church, giving up the fight, our faith failing, we would not have walked with the church. That is why I can say, "HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!! "
I am so astounded by God's mercy and grace and strength throughout these 17 years! It has been a tearful weekend; tears of joy and amazement and thanksgiving.
Are you walking by faith or by sight, my friend? Endure, hang in there, and you too will experience my astounding God working in your life. Nothing is too difficult for Him! Then He will by your ASTOUNDING GOD.

Luke 18:31 says, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem.
We went up to our Jerusalem, Highfill, to fulfill God's purpose, not our own. What seemed failure from man's standpoint was a tremendous triumph from God's because God's purpose is never man's purpose.

Now that God has built the space for 300 people to worship the Lord Jesus, He challenges us to build the church. There are so many people lost in our community and countryside; so many who need His love and hope for life. What is God challenging you to do?

Israel served and worshiped the Lord as long as Joshua, the elders, and that generation, who had experienced so many of God's wondrous works, lived.

The first people in the land had vivid recollections of all the miracles and judgments and were devoted to faith, duty, and purity. God would be faithful until the end, but the people would forfeit blessing for trouble, due to their disobedience (verse 3). (MacArthur)

How faithful to God are we? Do we teach His Word to our children and the next generation?


Now they had died, those men of faith, obedient leaders in Israel, the chosen children of God and Israel.

The miraculous intervention of God on behalf of the people in the days of Moses and Joshua was now past history. (Falwell)

Verse 10 tells us, There arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
This new generation had forgotten the intervention of Jehovah on behalf of their forefathers and neglected the covenant mercies of God toward them. The apostasy of the new generation set the pattern for subsequent periods of apostasy, restoration, and renewed apostasy.
Webster's Dictionary defines apostasy as a renunciation of a religious faith; abandonment of a previous loyalty. (I think this is a man-made word, since concordances do not have it listed.)

They had not even brought their own children to the Lord! They had failed to teach them the Law, as God had instructed them to do in Deut. 6:1-15. How often this happens in nations, churches, and families. How easy it is for the "younger generation" to fall away from the Lord if the "older generation" is not faithful to teach them and set the best example of obedience before them. (Wiersbe)

Because children learn so much by our example, the home offers the most effective place to pass on the faith to the next generation.  (Life Application Study Bible )

David Jeremiah said, "This verse highlights the importance of solid spiritual leadership and reinforces how quickly spiritual complacency and apostasy can take over."


Turn from self-indulgence, worldly ways, pleasing the flesh.

Turn to God in surrender, His ways, and pleasing Him.

Teach the little ones about the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tears Alone Are Not Enough

O. T. #505  "Tears Alone Are Not Enough"
April 22, 2015
Judges 2-Part 1
And the angel of the LORD came down from Gilgal to Bochim, and said...   Judges 2:1


*I would like to ask for prayer for my husband, Roger, today as he has surgery again on his heart. I am writing this on Monday, so the study will continue. However, if nothing is posted the rest of the week, I hope you will understand. I'll try to keep updates posted. Thanks friends in Christ.

Has anything broken your heart lately? Have you wept bitterly, uncontrollably? Israel did. Wonder why? Continue to read dear one.

Israel accomplished so much with God's help and Joshua's leadership. However, they failed to conquer all of the land. This was due to their failing to obey the Law by making covenants with the heathen nations and joining themselves with their gods.

Israel's backsliding resulted in the Lord appearing to them in human form, called a theophany. What happened?
  • First, the Lord went from Gilgal to Bochim, which means weeping, with a message.
  • He reminded them that He had delivered them from Egypt into this land.
  • God never broke His covenant with Israel. (verse 1)
  • He told them to not make a covenant with the people of the land, but to break down their altars. Israel did not obey.
  • God tells Israel that He will not drive out their enemies, but will make them as thorns in their side and their gods would be a snare to them. The privileges of the original covenant was forfeited due to her idolatry. (Num. 33:55)
What God says He will do, He does. God keeps His promises and covenants. His Word is truth.
Isn't it good to be reminded of that?


The result of Israel's disobedience would be oppression.
Not only had Israel disobeyed God, but they rejected Him.
How did the children of Israel react to such words from the Lord?
They wept aloud, then offered sacrifices to the Lord. The place was called Bokim.

When we disobey God's commands, we can be sure that the consequences will be regrettable.

Do we still weep over our sins and the sins of our loved ones?
Do we weep for those lost?

Repentance means not only confessing sins and asking God to forgive us, but also abandoning our sinful ways. Tears alone are not enough. When we are aware that we have done wrong, we should admit plainly to God rather than try to cover it up or hope we can get away with it.  (Life Application Study Bible)


Repent, ask forgiveness, abandon my sinful ways, or the consequences will be coming.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Halfhearted or Wholehearted Obedience

O. T. #504  "Halfhearted or Wholehearted Obedience"
April 21, 2015
Judges 1-Part 3
At that time they failed ...  Judges 1:27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33


There have been times that my heart was not in it. The task was like a chore, not a privilege. It was what God wanted me to do, but while I was obeying, it was half hearted obedience. This does not please God. Only wholehearted obedience pleases Him. Dare I say that half hearted obedience is not obedience, but it is sin? Some of the tribes of Israel did the same thing. Their names are written right here in this chapter. How sad it is for them and us.

The land was totally under Israelite control in Joshua's time and in accordance with God's promise. However, this chapter ends with the sad note of incomplete settlement of the land by the various  Israelite tribes. Having received their allotments, the various tribes were unable or unwilling to bring their territory under total settlement so that the enemy could not filter back into their territory.

What began as a series of victories, led by the Lord, ended as a series of compromises. Israel rationalized their failures by making slaves out of the heathen peoples; but this only led to further trouble.  (Wiersbe)

Liberty Bible Commentary explains that the unoccupied territory mentioned were cities in verses 27-36:
  • Those cities which Manasseh did not conquer formed a line of Canaanite resistance the northern tribes (verses 27-28);
  • Ephraim did not drive them out of Gezer (verse 29);
  • Zebulun drove them out of Kitron, but not Nahalol (verse 30);
  • Asher had several cities where they did not remove the Canaanites (verses 31-32);
  • Naphtali drove out the Beth-shemesh inhabitants, but not the Beth-shemesh, which were centers of Canaanite worship (verse 33);
  • Dan was forced into the mountains by the Amorites (verses 34-36), who controlled the Fertile Crescent in the Mesopotamian Valley. The strongest man, Samson, came from the tribe of Dan, which was the weakest tribe.
What does this say to us today? God had the failures of these tribes listed in the Bible. Are our failures written down in heaven? If they are under the blood (of Jesus), forgiven, then they are cast as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more. (See Ps. 103:12)


While the Israelites were initially faithful to recapture Bethel, they spared some of the inhabitants, who established another city where they worshiped Canaanite gods. such incomplete or halfhearted obedience opens the door to failure and sin (Josh. 23:13). (D. Jeremiah)

Why did Israel not follow through and completely obey God's commands?
Life Application Study Bible gives possible answers:
  1. They had been fighting for a long time and were tired. Although the goal was in sight, they lacked the discipline and energy to reach it.
  2. They were afraid the enemy was too strong-iron chariots seemed invincible.
  3. After Joshua's death, power and authority were decentralized to the tribal leaders, and the tribes were no longer unified in purpose.
  4. Spiritual decay had infected them from within. They thought they could handle the temptation and be more prosperous by doing business with the Canaanites.
Do we often choose to tolerate sin rather than drive it from our lives?
Do we sometimes we know what to do but do not follow through?
Does this result in gradual deterioration of our relationship with God?
Victory comes from living according to His purpose, willing to fully obey God.
Things to ponder.


Ask God to show me when I am halfheartedly obedient.

Ask God to change my heart and attitudes and forgive me.

Be faithful to fully obey God wholeheartedly.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Does It Matter Where You Go?

O. T. #503  "Does It Matter Where You Go?"
April 20, 2015
Judges 1-Part 2
And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites... Judges 1:9
And Judah went... Judges 1:10,17


Does it matter where you live? We have lived all over our state and in another state, serving the Lord in his ministry. During those years we learned many life lessons. We are serving in the same church for our soon to be eighteenth year. We have traveled throughout the world on mission trips, also. It does matter where you go and live. Does God want you to take the gospel to another people in another place? Are you willing to move when He says go? Or travel and endure hardships for a short time in order that others may hear the Good News of Jesus? What a blessing it is to go. 
Judah had to go, even within their homeland, so they could conquer their cities located in their Promised Land.

We left the tribes of Judah and Simeon with cities they had captured and conquered in their area. Jerusalem was one of the more important ones. Hebron became the early Judean capital, located 20 miles south of Jerusalem in the highest mountains of Judah. You will recall that it was the burial ground of the patriarchs of Israel (Gen 23). It had been assigned earlier to Caleb (Num. 14:24) in anticipation of his subsequent conquest, which is also related in Joshua 15.  (Falwell)

Stay with me through this history stuff. It does have some interesting events.
And then there was the city of Debir, which may have been of interest to Caleb if it was in the territory that he and the other 11 spies went to years earlier. Anyway, it was so important to Caleb that he possess it that he offered his daughter in marriage to the man who conquered Debir, formerly known as Kirjath-sepher. (verse 12)

Well, Othniel did so and he was rewarded with Achsah as his wife, Caleb's daughter. Now this brave Othniel was Caleb's nephew and later became the first judge of Israel. You will recall that Ashsah requested from Caleb a field where the springs of water were. This was very important since this region was vary arid.
Discoveries in this area have revealed many water shafts, or well, that could provide adequate water for those living in the area. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Does it matter where you live? Just so you are living where God wants you to live and where He wants to use you in kingdom work. Yes it does matter.

This account first appears in Joshua 15:13-19. The author of Judges repeats it here to remind readers that God honors such courage, initiative, and determination when His people pursue what He has asked them to do. (D. Jeremiah)


Mentioned are the children of the Kenites, Moses' father in law, who joined Judah, living in Jericho, the city of palm trees. If we keep following Judah and Simeon tribes in their conquest of the land from the Canaanites, we discover that they took control of Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron cities. These cities later formed part of the Philistine pentapolis.

Gaza. Hasn't that been a place of controversy in the Middle East for years, where the Palestinians say the land belongs to them instead of Israel? Well, the Bible is clear on that matter.

Judah was not able to drive out the inhabitants of the valley because of their use of chariots of iron.
It would be many years until the Israelites acquired a knowledge of ironworking, giving the Canaanites a superior advantage in this skill which they had learned from the Hittites. (Falwell)

The Israelite foot soldiers were absolutely powerless when a speeding iron chariot bore down upon them. This is why Israel preferred to fight in the hills where chariots couldn't venture. (Life Application Study Bible)

In repeatedly failing to drive out all the Canaanites from the Promised Land, the Israelites directly disobeyed the Lord's instructions (Deut. 7), which were intended to protect His chosen people from corrupting influences. Where evil is tolerated, it will be accepted and then imitated. (The Jeremiah Study Bible)

Wait, we can't leave it there. Look at verse 20, And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.

Now we can leave it there, peace for Caleb and his family in his own city, on his mountain.

Are we Christians tolerating sin in America, allowing the queers to marry and adopt children? What will happen to our next generation if it continues? We need to take a stand against sin and things which are an abomination to God.


Stand up for God's ways and Word.

Do not tolerate sin.

Go where God tells me to go.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Inseparable Friends

O. T. #502 "Inseparable Friends"
April 17, 2015
Judges 1-Part 1
And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites: and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
Judges 1:3


Growing up, did you have a friend with whom you were inseparable? I did. She and were bgf most of our elementary and junior high days. We played together, rode bikes together, ran around together, and shared our secrets. Then we gradually grew apart. Nothing happened in particular, it just happened. Our teen years just resulted in our going different paths. I wanted to serve the Lord and focused on learning His Word. I wonder what has happened to my dear friend. I haven't spoken to her since high school, 43 years. I should try to find her and renew our friendship. Do you have a similar situation?
The tribe of Judah had brethren with whom they were inseparable. Read on to find out who it was and what they did together.

The 12 tribes of the children of Israel got their land allotment and went home to possess it. There is a potential of defeat if each tribe does not totally drive out their enemies from their land.
So the children of Israel asked the Lord, Who will be the first to up and fight for us against the Canaanites? (verse 1)
Who did the Lord say, but Judah. God had given the land into their hands.
What happens next?
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
  • The tribe of Judah went to their tribal blood brothers of Simeon. Simeon's tribe wasn't assigned a specific territory of its own, but was allowed to settle within the portion assigned to Judah. These two tribes became virtually inseparable.
  • They allied themselves to go to war against the Canaanites and the Perizzites of whom they slew 10,000 men in Bezek. 
  • They fought Adoni-bezek, previously the king of Jerusalem, now leading the southern confederation of Canaanite cities against the Gibeonites. He was defeated at Bezek and brought to Jerusalem afterwards, where he died. This had been the king who conquered 70 kings and brought them under his submission by cutting off their thumbs and big toes.
  • Physical mutilation disqualified a person from religious or political office (Lev. 21:16-24). Without thumbs, a man could not handle a weapon effectively. Those 70 lived and became servants  of this ruthless Adoni-bezek. He admitted that God paid him back for what he did to the 70.
How brave and obedient the men of Judah and Simeon were. God gave them victory over their enemies so they could possess their Promised Land and worship God there.

Are we obedient to what God tells us to do? Are we faithful in spite of the hardships? Do we rely upon God to help us overcome?


The city of Jerusalem was captured by the sword and set on fire by the men of Judah.
What is the importance of this?
Jerusalem is:
  • one of the oldest cities in the world. Its original occupation was on the Hill of Ophel, south of the area where the Temple would later stand.
  • In Genesis 14:18, it is referred to as the city of Salem.
  • It was one of the most important Canaanite city-states.
  • Egyptian texts mention it as early as 1900 B.C.
  • The Jebusites controlled the city, which was not permanently conquered and settled by the Israelites until the time of David (1Chr. 11:4-9). Some suggest that the tribe of Judah conquered the city itself, but not the stronghold of the Jebusite tower.
  • Jesus loved Jerusalem. He taught in the Temple there and spent much time there. In Revelation, Jesus spoke of the New Jerusalem (ch. 3) and John saw the holy city in a vision (ch. 21)
You go guys. God is with you. Take what is assigned to you. Be victorious. Honor the Lord.

Scripture goes on to list other cities that Judah and Simeon tribes conquered: Hebron, Debir, Zephath, Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron (verses 10-18). However, verse 19 tells us Judah was unable to drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron.

Are we ready for the new heaven and new earth, a new Jerusalem? Are we proclaiming it to the world?


                                ... of the old ways and take on the new ways of Jesus.
                                ... of self and surrender to the Savior.
                                ... of the old world and look to the new heaven and earth where Jesus is Lord.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

O. T. #501  "Pulling up the Weeds"
April 16, 2015
Introduction to Judges
Now after the death of Joshua...   Judges 1:1a

Introduction to Judges:

The title of this book refers to unique leaders God gave to His people for preservation against their enemies (2:16-19). The Hebrew title means deliverers or saviors, as well as judges. Twelve such judges arose before Samuel; then Eli and Samuel increased the count to fourteen. God Himself is the higher Judge (11:27). (The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

The books of  Judges and Ruth originally formed one document in the Hebrew Bible. They deal with events following Joshua's death (1380 B.C.). While the author is not indicated by the text, Jewish tradition has always ascribed it to Samuel the prophet, and rightly so, since he was the major spiritual figure of the time of the judges. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Falwell says the total number of years mentioned in Judges is four hundred ten.
MacArthur says Judges spans about 350 years from Joshua's successful conquest until Eli and Samuel judged prior to the establishment of the monarch.
Paul estimated about 450 years of the judges until Samuel, according to Acts 13:20.


Welcome Friends as we start another study on the book of Judges. I am so grateful for so many who are faithfully following along.
Last week, my granddaughter and I planted some flower seeds in my flower bed, sunflowers being our favorite. Now that it has rained several times, I noticed something green popping up in that place. Experience taught me that it is not our flowers, though. It is green weeds. Being too early for the seeds to have germinated and plants popping their heads above the ground,  I am sure of it. Short green weeds surround the place we dug up. So I pulled them up and discarded the weeds. Left untreated, the weeds could crowd out the small plants of  our flowers. So it is with sin-left untreated, sin grows and soon poisons the whole body and/or families or churches. This is what happened to Israel. Although their sins were identified by the judges, they did not get rid of it. Perhaps there are some lessons for our life as we study about Israel's mistakes.

After settling in Canaan, the Israelites lost their spiritual commitment and motivation. Moses and Joshua, time and time again, warned Israel of this.

Judges is a book about 12 men and women who helped rescue Israel from its oppressors. Although they were not perfect, they were submissive to God and He used them. It is also a book about sin and its consequences.

Wiersbe notes that the summary of the entire book in 2:10-19 is blessing, disobedience, chastening, repentance, deliverance. He describes it as a book of failure on the part of God's people to trust His Word and claim His power. The book of defeat and disgrace, as we see in the key verse (17:6): Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Israel entered their Promised Land, conquered and divided it among its 12 tribes. However, she failed to possess it totally. Israel tolerated their enemy, then collected taxes from them, mixed with them and eventually surrendered to them. It was only through God's deliverers, judges, that the Israelites found victory.

Isn't it too easy for Christians to settle down in sin and miss the blessings of total surrender and complete victory?

Although these judges were ordinary men, the Spirit of God came upon them for a particular work. but, since they were ordinary men, some of the judges followed their own sinful impulses (Gideon, Eli, Jephthah, Samson).

Whether it is called 7 periods or cycles of the judges, they were used by God to give Israel the opportunity to repent of their sins, idolatry. God gives us opportunities to repent, also.

Will you and I take this opportunity today?


Ask God to reveal my sins to me so I can repent and stay in fellowship with Him.

Learn from the mistakes of others and my own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Servant

O. T. #500  "A Servant"
April 15, 2015
Summary of Joshua
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Joshua 1:8-9


It's hard to believe that writing about the first six books of the Old Testament has taken me 500 posts. Thank you for walking along with me. We still have a lot more to cover.
Isn't it sad to let Joshua go? He has been such a great leader and spiritual example, a servant of God. But his purpose was achieved and his work on earth was done. He accomplished all that God had for him to do. Before we move on to another book, shall we review?

God called Joshua a minister, serving in the house of God and servant of the Lord. (1:1 and 24:29)
Servant means a bondman.

Moses changed Hoshea (meaning Salvation) to Joshua, whose name in the Greek language is Jesus, meaning Yahweh Saves. Not only did Joshua come to know the power of Yahweh, the promise-keeping God of his fathers, but he had learned that the children of Israel could not save themselves; only God Himself could save them. Joshua was a "type" of Jesus.

The Jeremiah Study Bible explains:
The themes of this book all point to one underlying message: Yahweh is a promise-keeping God. More precisely, the Book of Joshua provides an official account of how God fulfilled His promise to Abraham (Gen. 15:7-21) and Moses (Deut. 34:1-4) to give His people a land.

  • Courage in the Lord: Exhortations to live courageously and act without fear occur a dozen times in this book-11 times in the first 11 chapters alone-when Israel is taking the land. God promised He would be with Joshua and Israel the entire way.
  • Renewal: Calling Israel to remain committed to the Lord was characteristic of Joshua. Faith requires constant reminders and renewals to remain strong.
  • Warfare: Both Joshua and Jesus were called to announce and establish the kingdom of God through warfare-Joshua fought physically the  battles for geographical kingdom of Israel, and Jesus fought spiritual battles for the spiritual kingdom. Both depended on God for strategy, wisdom, and power. War must be waged, but in God's way.
  • Faithfulness: God promised Joshua success in establishing Israel in the land of Canaan-but only if he remained faithful to the covenant (1:8). What God commands will be successful if His people remain dependent on Him and loyal to His Word. Likewise, Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).
We, like Joshua, fight a spiritual battle daily in this life. Some days are easier than others; some battles are with self (pride, capabilities, money), family differences, church brethren, and those in the world (at jobs, community). Are we showing the faithfulness of God?

I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage...  Joshua 1:6


David Jeremiah gives us heaven's path to success, which God gave Joshua:
  • Stay the course and keep walking in the way to be right.
  • Keep heart and mind with the words of the Lord.
  • Immerse in the assurances of God.
  • Live in day-to-day obedience.
  • Trust and obey God.
  • Live out the principles of God's Word , aided by the Holy Spirit.
  • Be bold in our faith.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Just as a review of this book, let's recall:
  • God used Joshua to be Moses' successor as far back as the battle with Amalek. (Ex. 17:8-16)
  • God spoke to Joshua (1:1).
  • Joshua sent spies into Jericho, and Rahab keeps them safe. (ch. 2)
  • Israel crosses the Jordan River. (ch. 3)
  • Joshua renews circumcision and Passover at Gilgal. (ch. 5)
  • Conquest of the land of Canaan. (ch. 5-12)
  •  Appointment and dividing of the Promised Land among the 12 tribes of Israel, cities of refuge, Levitical cities, Joshua and Caleb's land. (Ch. 13-22)
  • Joshua's blessings on Israel and farewell address. (C. 23-24)
  • Review of Israel's history, covenant of the heart and stone. (Ch. 24)
  • Joshua and Eleazar's death and burial. (Ch. 24)


Meditate on God's Word.

Obey God's Word.

Be strong and courageous.

Be a servant of the Lord Jesus.

Live with God being with me wherever I go, walking and talking with Him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

After It Is All Said and Done

O. T. #499  "After It Is All Said and Done"
April 14, 2015
Joshua 14-Part 4
And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.  Joshua 24:29


When the last amen is said and the dirt is covering my casket, everyone drives to their home, after it is all said and done, will my faith in Jesus live on? Will others love God with all their heart, serve Him with their life, and give testimony of the great things He did in my life, after it is all said and done? That is my purpose.
Thousands of years later, we still talk about the greatness and faithfulness of Joshua and what God accomplished through his life. Yet he died.

What a great leader, Joshua. What a great God, Jehovah. What a great nation, Israel. It began way back there with Abraham. God led him to a land that his descendants would one day occupy and serve God in it. (Israel still lives in a small portion today.) Abraham followed God by faith.

In verse 28, the people departed to their own inheritance, land, each tribe went home. As all good things must come to an end, Joshua's life ended after he lived 110 years-after he had led the nation of Israel across the Jordan River; after he led them through one victory after another; he had led Israel in spiritual matters, following after the instructions God had given to Moses. Yes, it was God who made Joshua a great leader, and he made no bones about it, giving all the glory to God for his achievements.

It is right for God's people to remember godly leaders and to imitate their faith (Heb. 13:7-8). (Wiersbe)

The Lord has us some great spiritual leaders and Bible teachers down through the years-Jerry Falwell, Adrian Rogers, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll, Beth Moore, Lysa TerKeurst, and  Billy Graham. It would be good for us to imitate their faith.

What will people say about us after we are dead and gone? Will our influence of faith continue?


Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testaments says:
Three burials are recorded in theses verses, those of Joshua, Joseph, and Eleazar, the high priest.Joseph's brothers had promised to bury his remains in Canaan (Gen. 50:25, so the Jews had carried his coffin out of Egypt (Ex. 13:19). This is a picture of our future resurrection, for just as Joseph's body was redeemed from Egypt, so our bodies will be one day not only at rest in their rightful home, but also transformed to be like the body of Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20-21). It is easy to believe that Joseph's grave would also be a reminder to the people of the faithfulness of God. Joseph had been used to keep the nation alive in famine, and he had been faithful to the Lord even in the heathen land of Egypt. Christ is our Joshua (Savior) and He fights our battles for us and helps us claim the inheritance.

Joshua and Eleazar taught Israel to fear, have faith in, and serve the Lord God alone. (verse 14) We make our choice to follow after God or follow after other gods.

Israel's faithfulness to God extended only to one generation (Judges 2:6-13).  (MacArthur)

After God gave Israel judges to bring them back to Him, they would not turn from their idolatry. Finally, 800 years later, He sent them as captives into Babylon. Sounds like God was patient, to me.

Do others learn of God's faithfulness through our life?
After it's all said and done, and everyone walks away from the graveyard, leaving me buried there, will my faith live on?


Give my testimony of God's faithfulness to others.

Teach my grandchildren and other children about God and His Word and His ways.

Share God's grace and mercy.

Love people to Jesus.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Written in Stone

O. T. #498  "Written in Stone"
April 13, 2015
Joshua 24-Part 3
And the people said unto Joshua, the LORD our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.
Joshua 24:24


Have you heard the expression "it is written in stone?" That means it will not be changed. It will remain that way forever, always. What things are written in stone? I have seen the name of housing additions, cities, states, monumental and historical sites names written on a nicely cut stone. The site of the Battle at Gettysburg, during the Civil War, and Lexington, the place where the first shot was fire during the Revolutionary War have huge stone monuments marking their special place. Washington D.C. has many stone monuments to remind us our forefathers and those who gave their lives in several wars in which our nation participated. Even the statue of Liberty has a purpose to remind us of our national freedom. Also, headstones at the graveyards are usually cut from granite with words, names, and dates written on it, which remind us of people.
Joshua cut a special stone to remind Israel of something. Continue to find out what it was.

Israel would serve some sort of god-either the gods of the heathen or the true God, Jehovah. Joshua challenged them to continue to serve his God and their God. Three times the people assured him that they would serve the Lord (verses 16, 21, 24). Joshua warned that discipline, chastening, and loss of land awaited them if they turn to idolatry.

God had made a covenant with Israel at Sinai (Ex.20). This covenant had been renewed by the new generation under Moses in Deuteronomy. However, each generation needs to reaffirm its faithfulness to God, so Joshua renews the covenant with the people.

What did Joshua do next?
  • Joshua wrote the words in the Book of the Law. 
  • He took the great stone and wrote the covenant on it.
  • The he set it under the oak tree by the sanctuary as a reminder of the vows.
  • Then Joshua said, "Lest ye deny your God."
This time it was in stone that Joshua made a covenant (Hebrew berit,means cut a covenant, a common Hebrew, Greek, and Latin expression for the formation of a covenant which was accompanied by a sacrifice cut into pieces and offered to the deity.) The practice of chiseling a covenant in stone (like the tablets of the Mosaic law), was common in the ancient Near East.
Liberty Bible Commentary

Are you ready to serve the Lord and obey His voice?


Of anything that I put before God, let it go.

Of any thoughts that are not pleasing to God, let it go.

Of any words that are not honoring to God, let it go.

Surrender to God my body, soul, and mind for His purpose and use.

Let it be written in stone that the Lord is my God and Him alone I love and serve.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Who Will You Serve Today?

O. T. #497  "Who Will You Serve Today?"
April 10, 2015
Joshua 24-Part 2
...choose you this day whom ye will serve...   Joshua 24:15


*I am sorry for not writing yesterday, but I suddenly had to go mop at the new church building before the carpet was laid.

Yes, words are easy, commitments are made over and over again to serve the Lord. Living it is the hard part.However, it does start in the heart and overflows into our life. Who will we serve today?

We left Joshua challenging the Israelites to choose whom they would serve-the gods of their fathers or the Amorites, or the LORD. Joshua made the commitment that he and his house would serve the LORD God.

Webster's Dictionary defines a god as the supreme  or ultimate reality; a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.

*Did you notice the letter g was not a capital? In the commentaries I have, it is not a lower case g, but a capital G in all the references.

Henry and Richard Blackaby say in their devotional, Experiencing God Day-By-Day:
Serving God was not Joshua's only option. He could have adopted the religious beliefs and practices of his family heritage in the pagan land of Egypt. He could have accepted the idolatrous religion of  his neighbors in the region where he now lived. These options probably looked like easier choices than worshiping God. But Joshua had witnessed God's faithfulness (Joshua 24:14). He decided to serve God alone. He was determined to teach his entire household to honor his Lord as well.  
Take a look at verse 19 and find the two attributes of God which Joshua gives-holy and jealous.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance explains:
holy means sacred  (ceremonially or morally); God (by eminence); 
jealous refers to intolerant rivalry or unfaithfulness.

God alone is worthy of our worship and service since He is the one and only True God, Jehovah, Adoniah, Elohim.

Have you the slightest reliance on anything other than God? Are you relying on yourself? (Chambers)


How did the people answer Joshua, the leaders of Israel? Verse 16 tells us-God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods...

Three times the people assure Joshua that they will serve God (verses 16, 21, 24) They acknowledge that God:
  • brought them out of the land of Egypt and slavery;
  • performed great signs before their eyes;
  • protected them on their journey and among all the nations through which they traveled;
  • drove out all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land.
How does Joshua answer them? You cannot serve the LORD.
Is that a strange thing to say, especially after the Israelites made a heartfelt, wholehearted commitment to God?
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
Because Yahweh (Jehovah) is a jealous God who will not share the adoration with others that is due Him alone. Saint Augustine sees in Joshua's statement an early understanding of the Pauline doctrine that self-righteousness does not win justification (Rom. 3:20). Perhaps so, but Israel deepens her determination to make a heart covenant to serve God repeating, but we will serve the LORD.

And serve God, they did. For it was 800 years later when they forsook God, who caused Babylon to take them into exile.

Life Application Study Bible says:
Israel did not keep their promise. Very soon God would charge them with breaking their covenant with Him (Judges 2:2-3). Talk is cheap. It is easy to say we will follow God, but it is much more important to live like it. Yet the nation followed God through Joshua's lifetime, a great tribute to Joshua's faith in God and powerful leadership.  To follow God requires destroying whatever gets in the way of worshiping Him. We have our own form of idols-greed, wrong priorities, jealousies, prejudices-that get in the way of worshiping God. God is not satisfied if we merely hide these idols. We must completely remove them from our lives.

It was not an impulse, but a deliberate commitment. (Chambers)
Least you think God would never call you to such, be encouraged that He can and prefers to use the weaker and feebler for His vessels of honor. Do we dare let God...?

I am reminded of Peter, who denied the Lord three times before His crucifixion, then was used to preach at Pentecost.
God called Abraham, not because of his goodness, but because of God's grace and love. (Wiersbe)
That is encouraging to me. I fail God so much.

If you set your mind wholeheartedly on serving God, your example will bring tremendous blessing to your family. Choose, as Joshua did, to serve God unashamedly with all your heart, and then watch to see how God blesses your family.  (Blackaby)


               Let go of any idols, attitudes, self-centeredness, which take God's place on the throne of my heart.
               Thank God for life and breath today.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Choose You This Day

O. T. #496  "Choose You This Day"
April 8, 2015
Joshua 24
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 24:15


Life is full of choices. We make hundreds daily. However, there is one choice that is the most important one we will make on a daily basis. I'll explain.
I have a plaque hanging on my wall over the kitchen entryway which reads: Home- As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. We made that decision whenever we got married-we would serve the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior. It is not just words hanging on the wall, but a daily decision. A surrender of our hearts to do His will, His way. It can be a difficult one since our old flesh, called self, wants to be on the throne of our heart.
Who will you choose to serve? Self or Savior? Joshua challenged the leaders of Israel before he died.

This is the second speech of Joshua's farewell address to the leaders of Israel. Where did it take place? The Septuagint and Arabic versions read Shiloh (place of the tabernacle) instead of Shechem (place where God's first covenant with Abraham was made). Wherever it took place, the focus is on the history of Israel that Joshua recorded in Exodus 12 to Joshua 22, and recounted :
  • Terah was Abraham's father and an idolater. (verse 2)
  • God lead Abraham from the other side of the flood throughout all the land of Canaan. (verse 3) He had to remove Abraham from such an environment.
  • That is where Abraham's sons, Isaac, Jacob, and Esau, were born.
  • Jacob and his family ended up in Egypt. (verse 4)
  • God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt through plagues. (verse 5)
  • As Israel left, the crossed the Red Sea, but the Egyptians followed after them and drown in the sea. (verse 7)
  • Israel lived in the desert a long time (40 years). (verse 7)
  • God led them Israel to the land of the Amorites and He gave them victory in the battle. (verse 8)
  • Then Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel, but God would not allow it and used a talking donkey for His purposes. (verse 10) 
  • Israel crossed over Jordan. God gave Israel victory over those at Jericho and many other people listed in verse 11.
  • God sent the hornet before Israel and drove out two Amorite kings. (verse 12) Some say the hornet was in reference to the Egyptian army who defeated the people of Canaan shortly before the conquest, but there is no evidence of such. (Deut. 7:20)
  • He gave the children of Israel land they did not toil, cities they did not build, as well as vineyards and olive groves they did not plant. (verse 13)
God knew all the hardships and battles that Israel faced and went through. When they remained faithful to God, He took care and provided for His children.
Are we faithful to God? He is faithful to us.


What did Joshua call Israel to do? He called them to fear (give reverence to) and serve the LORD in sincerity and in truth, in addition to putting away the gods of those around them.

Verse 15 is a well known verse: Choose (to try) you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Who did Joshua say He and his house would serve? THE LORD
This call is for a commitment of the people to God, as well as it was made by others down through time.

Elijah exhorted the Israelites on Mount Carmel, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow Him... (1 Kings 18:21).

Paul exhorted If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above...(Col. 3:1).

Hosea prophesied that, speaking of God, Ephraim would one day say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard Him, and observe Him.(Hosea 14:8).

Will you choose to serve the Lord today? It is a daily choice, you know. Is your house serving Him or material, world things instead?


Let go of anything that is more valuable, more important, or more time consuming than God.

Daily choose to love and serve the Lord God.

Talk with Jesus throughout the day, seeking His will for me to do.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Failed or Faithful

O. T. #495  "Failed or Faithful"
April 7, 2015
Joshua 23-Part 2
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.  Joshua 23:14 b and c NIV


Yes, the Lord God has been so good to us. He brought me through surgery and recovery. I am taking medicine to break up the kidney stones and waiting for them to go away. Even as my husband faces a serious surgery a second time, ablation on the heart to make it beat correctly, we are trusting in our faithful God. He has not failed us in one thing, like Israel. God is always faithful and extravagantly good! Yet, how many times have I failed Him! He still forgives.

We have been reading about Joshua's farewell address to the leaders of Israel, his people and family. In the rest of the chapter, verses 11-16, he is calling the people to separation from the heathen nations who surround Israel.
Looking at verse 14, Joshua knows his day of departure is at hand. He says, ...and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; and not the one hath failed thereof.

Isn't the Lord so good to us with grace and mercy every morning? He does not fail us. We may question His ways, but He is sovereign and keeps His Word. 1 Kings 8:56 NIV tells us, Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses.
Are we trusting Him in our situation today?


Also, Joshua warns the elders that if they transgress the covenant of the Lord your God that the Sovereign will withhold the good promised Israel and bring upon them all evil things to destroy them; yet not utterly (Rom. 11).  (Falwell) (verse 15)

How is Joshua is challenging and calling Israel to separate themselves from the idolatrous nations around them?
  • Love the Lord your God. (verse 11) Separation from evil arises out of love for the Lord God.
  • Do not cleave unto the remnant of these nations.
  • Do not intermarry with the Canaanites, lest God would stop fighting for His people. Here he is talking about believers not marrying unbelievers in Jesus Christ.
  • They were previously warned to not having alliances with pagan nations and warned against disobeying the Lord's Word.
  • If they disobey, God will not drive out their enemies; snares, traps, scourges in their sides, and thorns in their eyes will come. Scourges means to pierce, flog, a goad.
What a graphic description of the danger of intermarriage with the heathen. Do we warn others today?
The Christian who marries an unbeliever marries the spouse's belief system, values, lifestyle, and family foundation. And usually, the unbeliever will influence the believer downward, when the Christian life is supposed to be one of growth (Ex. 23:33; Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:3,16) (The Jeremiah Study Bible)

Jesus told His disciples what would happen to Him when they went to Jerusalem-be mocked, scourged, spit upon, and killed, yet, the third day He shall rise again. (Mark 10:34; Luke 18:33) This happened, as recorded in Mark 15:15 and Matthew 27:26, when Pilate released Barabbas to appease the crowd, and scourged Jesus, then crucified Him. Such love for us!!

In John 19:1, we read of Pilate taking Jesus and scourging Him, then the soldiers platted a crown of thorns on His head, and a purple robe upon Him in mockery of Jesus being the King of the Jews. They also smote Him.

Jesus went through all of that because He loves us. He wanted to be our blood sacrifice for our sins, so we do not have to pay for them ourselves. Such love!!!

Friend, have you repented of your sins and trusted Jesus as your Savior? If not yet, you can today. He is only a prayer away. Romans 10:13 says, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Perhaps you are already saved, but have loved ones who are not. That is a good chapter to read to them.

Join me as I stand in awe of Jesus, the Savior of the world!!


Continue to trust the God who does not fail.

Surrender to His will and ways.

Give Him glory!!!

Ask God to help me not fail Him, but to be faithful.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Time to Buckle Down

O. T. #494  "Time to Buckle Down"
April 6, 2015
Joshua 23-Part 1
Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside, therefrom to the right hand or to the left. Joshua 22:6


Time to buckle down and be very courageous and take the remaining territory. That is how Liberty Bible Commentary puts it. Batten down the hatches, for the storm is coming.  We would do well to take that advice from Joshua. It is time for Christians to rise up in our nation and take it back for the glory of God. We cannot allow heathens to run it any longer, making laws contrary to God's laws and instructions. Will we courageously take a stand for Jesus? Or will we allow them to run our country into the ground with sin? Will we pray for our leaders who are willing to take the heat? Sounds like Joshua's charge to his nation before he departed.

What is happening in this chapter? Joshua called a final meeting with Israel. It was his farewell address, so to speak. There were two speeches give by him, found in chapters 23 and 24. A long time had passed since Joshua the conquest, more than 25 years had gone by since they crossed over the Jordan River to conquer their Promised Land, the inheritance given by their God. This great warrior and leader of the nation of Israel was 110 years old when he died (24:29), which time was quickly approaching for Joshua.
All of Israel was represented as their elders, heads, judges, and officers, who represented the people before God, appeared at Shechem or Shiloh to hear Joshua. (verse 2)

What is included in Joshua's speech?
  1. A review of the past, remembering all that God had done for Israel. He had fought for them, (verse 3) driving out the enemies of Canaan. From the east to the west, their inheritance of the Promised Land was obtained and divided among the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. (verse 4)
  2. A promise for the future with along with a call of courage was given. (verse 6) Although some of the land was secured, the inhabitants were not all removed, in addition to not all of the territory was conquered yet. It was time to "buckle down" and be very courageous, as Falwell puts it. By remaining faithful to God and worshiping Him only, God would drive out the other nations from their land.
Remembering all that God had done for Israel in the past would give them courage for the future. We would be well to do the same. God is faithful in keeping His promises. Are we faithful to obey His Word?


Israel is instructed in verses 7-8 NIV:
  • Do not associate with the nations remaining among them.
  • Do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. (Not make mention)
  • Do not serve them.
  • Do not bow down to them.
  • Hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.
The word nations is used 7 times in this chapter and means a foreign nation, hence a Gentile.
These were the enemies of Israel, the ones still living around them, and among their cities, not driven out. These were idol worshipers, who could tempt the Israelites away from worshiping God.

Remember, God promises victory if they will stay faithful to Him. Verse 10 says, One man of you shall chase a thousand...

In other words, Israel was to associate with their brethren of believers, only mention Jehovah God and not the names of false gods, serve God alone, and only bow down to Him, not idols, as well as hold fast to God.

Sounds like words of wisdom for us to heed.

(We will discuss the third instruction given by Joshua in our next post.)


Let go of the world's gods and substitutes for my God, as well as their ways of life.

Love, worship, and serve only God.

Associate with believers in Jesus as Savior.

Study God's Word so I can apply it to my life, not turning away from it.

Stand up for Jesus.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Hope of Easter

The Hope of Easter 
April 3, 2015

Billy Graham, in his daily devotional, Wisdom For Each Day, enlightens us on this subject:
The cross was the only way to resolve the problem of sin. Sin must be punished. If God were simply to forgive our sins without judging them, then there would be no justice, no accountability for wrongdoing. God would not be truly holy and just.
          But if God were simply to judge us fro our sins as we deserve, there would be no hope of 
          salvation for any of us. His love would have failed to provide what we need. 
At the cross God's love and justice came together. Jesus took the punishment we deserved, and now we are clothed in His perfect righteousness. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane...and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Matthew 26:36-37
          On that first Easter morning, something happened that had never happened before in the history
          of the human race-and would never happen again: someone came back from the dead, never
          to die again...
          Jesus' resurrection also tells us that there is life beyond the grave. This world is not all there is;
          when we die, we continue to live-either in the place of utter darkness the Bible calls Hell or in
          the place of endless joy the Bible calls Heaven. And now Jesus has opened the way to Heaven
          for us, by His death and resurrection. Because Jesus rose from the dead, death has been
          defeated and Heaven awaits us.

          I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies;  
          and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. John 11:25-26

          Did you know that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you and me
          today? The moment we receive Jesus as Savior, the Holy spirit comes into our hearts. He give
          us supernatural power to overcome temptations, to smile through tears, to experience joy
          despite life's burdens and trials. The Holy Spirit will raise you from the mundane, the
          monotonous, the hopeless; He will raise you out of your spiritual lifelessness and transform

          [May you know] His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the
          working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raise Him from the
          dead.  Ephesians 1:19-20

Praying for all to have a wonderful weekend as we celebrate the
resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My hope is placed in Jesus for all eternity. May we share the hope that is within us with those who do not understand nor have it.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Outsider

O. T. #493  "An Outsider"
April 2, 2015
Joshua 22-Part 3
The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, He knoweth, and Israel He shall know: if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day.)  Joshua 22:22


I don't want to be an outsider. I like being included as a part of groups, families, a church, and especially God's family of believers. Sometimes I dress differently, look differently, or even have a different opinion, but I still enjoy being a part of them. I'm probably not alone. The eastern Israelites felt the same way. (God sees and knows what is in our heart.)

Previously we discussed the assumption of the tribes east of the Jordan River, when they saw the special altar built by the 2 1/2 tribes east of the river. Here are some comments I found concerning this:

The repetition of the phrase the LORD God of gods, employs three names of God together, El, Elohim, and Jehovah (or Yahweh), each repeated twice, expresses the great horror with which the 2 1/2 tribes learned of the assumptions made by their brethren. If their intent was to rebel against Israel, they should not be saved from God's wrath. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

They feared rebellion against the Shiloh altar that served all the tribes in unity with motives to not follow the true God. (The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

The rest of Israel feared these tribes were starting their own religion and rebellion against God. (Life Application Study Bible)

What do we do when we feel like an outsider? Do we change so we are like everyone else, while compromising our beliefs? Or do we continue to remain the same, when serving God and His Word, without compromising?


The group of investigators, Phinehas the priest, princes, and head of Israel, went to the eastern tribes. Why not leave them alone?
They were following the previous instructions found in Deuteronomy 14:12-18, if a city was accused of idol worship. They were to kill the guilty, burn the city, and destroy everything. This would turn God's fierce anger away and He'd show mercy, have compassion, and multiply them.

The explanation for the altar was a  monument built east of the Jordan River by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and 12 tribe of Manasseh:
It was not for burnt offering nor sacrifice, but a witness between the two groups and their generations to come, that they only worship and serve God. It was not for pagan sacrifice.

The investigators were well pleased with the explanation. (verse 30) They recognized the purity of heart and returned home thanking God there would be no bloody conflict.

How do we react before we hear the whole story? Do we investigate before we assume the worst?


Investigate when there is a conflict.

Be an outsider when it pleases God in serving Him.

Keep on being faithful to Jesus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Assuming the Worst

O. T. #492  "Assuming the Worst"
April 1, 2015
Joshua 22-Part 2
And the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to war against them. Joshua 22:11 NIV


Assuming something is done for a certain reason can get us into trouble. I am quick to jump to conclusions, which is not a good thing. Neither was it for Israel.
(Hey, don't be fooled today, April 1 is called April Fool's Day. Be on guard.)

It was time to go home. That's what Joshua told the easterners, those tribes whose Promised Land was located east of the Jordan River-Reuben, Gad, and 11/2 tribe of Manasseh. He gave them instructions: Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren. What spoils was Joshua speaking of? Those listed in verse 8: cattle, silver, gold, brass, and iron. These things would prove to be useful as they built their homes and communities. Such blessings.
Yet, they must have used some to build a monument, an altar. Hmmm. What kind is it? Looks like...


No sooner had the 2 1/2 tribes arrived at the banks of the Jordan (east) than they erected a great altar to see, large and visible in all directions. When this came to the attention of the other tribes, they all met at Shiloh to go to war with their brethren.
According to Liberty Bible Commentary, they assumed:
  • The erection of the great altar was for an evil intent;
  • it was established as a center of worship to rival Shiloh;
  • the easterners were separating themselves totally and finally from their brethren.
So the Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar the high priest, to the eastern brethren in order to inquire of this matter. He was the ideal person to head up the mission for he represented the high priest and had been zealous in purifying the nation Israel when she fell prey to sin with Baal-peor (Num. 25).

How often do we assume the worse when we do not know all the details of a situation? Sometimes you  and I , get in trouble for assuming, don't we?
I wonder if the Jews who crucified Jesus assumed He was just a man, a teacher, instead of the son of God, their Messiah?


John J. Davis summarized the charges against the eastern tribes into three categories or three kinds of sin:
  1. Trespass, in verse 16, is the same one used in 7:1 in connection with the sin of Achan.
  2. The iniquity of Peor, as in verse 17, had as an essential element idolatry and open disobedience to God's will with regard to worship (Num. 25).
  3. Their sin is described as an act of rebellion, in verses 18-19.
This explains a little clearer why Israel assumed the altar to be for the worship of a false god instead of their God. They did not want to provoke God's wrath against Israel.

If the eastern tribes did intend to rebel against Israel and have defiled their inheritance by their intention, they must repent and forsake their inheritance for the good of all Israel. Achan was an example of the sin of one affecting all. Israel could not chance that again.  (Falwell)

Matthew Henry called the aggravation of the crime charged upon their brethren somewhat

We need to always watch out that things we do or say, do not appear evil or sinful.  Others are watching us, so watch out!

1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to, Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Was the assumption true or false? The answer is found in the next post.


Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus.

Don't assume the worst; allow the benefit of the doubt.

Ask if I wonder about something, instead of assuming.