Friday, May 29, 2015

Pride and Arrogance

O. T. #527  "Pride and Arrogance"
MAY 29, 2015
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18


Does pride precede a fall or destruction? Often the key verse is misquoted. Gideon is going to destroy his family's faith in God in today's lesson. He may not have fallen for 40 years, yet his worship of God did. Pride and arrogance-watch out for them. Destruction and a fall are close behind.
May I add that it hurts when you fall down due to being high and mighty because of pride, speaking from experience.

By the way, haughty means arrogance in the Hebrew language.

Gideon experienced victory over the Midianites with only 300 men, due to God's power. Then Gideon took revenge on the men of two cities because they would not give his men bread to eat while pursuing the enemy.
What happened next?
  • The Israelites wanted Gideon and his son to rule over them due to their saving Israel from the Midianites. 
  • Gideon refused the offer for himself and his son.
  • Gideon told the Israelites, "The LORD will rule over you."
For the first time the tribes began to desire a king and a central government. However Gideon refused for himself and his sons to hold such a position. Israel was a theocracy that recognized God as her sovereign. Many more years would pass before God would authorize a true king in Israel. However, the desire for centralized leadership to replace the loosely confederated tribal amphictyony had already been initiated.  (Falwell)

The Israelites credited Gideon for having delivered them rather than the Lord. He not only neglected to build an altar in tribute to God's deliverance, but he did not call the people to worship as other judges had done after their victories. Perhaps this omission accounts for Gideon's eventual fall into the sins of pride and self-worship. When the glory goes to oneself rather than to God, pride and delusion are not far behind. (D. Jeremiah)

Is God first in you life? If He is, God must affect every dimension of your life, not just what you do in church.  (Life Application Study Bible)


When Gideon began to give ear to his friends' flattery, he ran the risk of being something other than God had called him to be.

What happens?

As quickly as the snap of a finger, Gideon changed. Gideon made a request: each one give him the earrings from the plunder. (They were Ishmaelites.) Then the men threw their newly acquired gold earrings into a garment. (Keep in mind that there had been 135,000 of the Midianite army who died.)

Several commentaries say the gold was over 40 pounds.
Gideon used the gold to make an ephod (Ex. 28:29).He was a Benjamite, not a Levite. Gideon had no business making items for worship or putting them anywhere other than the tabernacle in Shiloh. This ephod became a snare for Gideon and his family-they began to worship it. Gideon the idol breaker became Gideon the idol-maker. (Ps. 106:39) (The Jeremiah Study Bible)

Israel had 40 years of peace and 70 sons, one of whom was Abimelech, a wetched king, with his many wives/concubines. The sin of idolatry seemed have the domino effect. The sin of polygamy was never God's blueprint for marriage.  If we lower our defense, we tend to go from good to bad to worse.

We need to guard ourselves against the sins and hindrances that rob us of the abundant life we have been given. (Gideon by Priscilla Shirer)

Are we always on guard against the bad slithering into our life? Are we aware of pride knocking at our door?


Always keep God first in my life.

Stay in His Word.

Trust His strength when I am weak.

Reject pride and arrogance; remain humble.

Focus on King Jesus.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


O. T. #526  "Revenge"
May 28, 2015
Judges 8
And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' neck.  Judges 8:21


Our hero Gideon is still in pursuit of the 15,000 Midianites that are left after their battle. Did this man become a man of violence and brutality?

We recognize that God gave Gideon and his 300 men army victory over the other 22,000 men of Midianites (half-brother of the Hebrews through Keturah and Abraham),Amalekites, and eastern people without raising a sword. However, Gideon knew they had to finish the job of destroying these enemies lest they become strong and oppress the Israelites again.
We left off where Gideon sent messengers to the land of Ephraim for help. The Ephraimites killed the 2 princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb, bringing their heads to Gideon.

For a little background: Ephraim was the most prominent of the 12 tribes of Israel. The tabernacle was located in their territory, and Joshua was one of the descendants. Impressed with their own importance, the men of Ephraim complained about not being included in the call to war. (D. Jeremiah)

Gideon had told the Lord that he was of the weakest clan in the tribe of Manasseh and of the least in his father's house (6:15) when the Lord commissioned him to fight in this battle.
To the Ephraimites, Gideon's diplomatic response was: in comparison to them, Gideon had accomplished nothing.  The resentment of the Ephraimites subsided then.

Do we involve others when we have a job to do for the Lord? A good leader delegates.


By that time, Gideon  and his army passed over the Jordan River, famished and fainting, yet pursuing the Midianites. He asked for help twice:
  1. When they arrived at the city of Succoth, he asked for loaves of bread for his army, but they would not give any to Gideon. Because of their food denial, Gideon threatened those people that he would return and tear their flesh with thorns and briers after capturing Zebah and Zalmunna of the Midianites. 
  2. The same thing resulted at Penuel-no food was given for his men. Falwell says that this was a typical divided attitude of the Israelites at that time. Gideon threatened to return to Penuel and break down their tower.
The officials of Succoth and Penuel refused to help him in any way because they feared the enemy. They showed neither faith nor respect for God or the man God had chosen to save them. We should help others because it is right, regardless of whether we will benefit personally. (Life Application Study Bible)

Gideon and his army continued their pursuit of the 15,000 Midianites, discomfited  (terrified) them(terrified) and captured their two kings. On the way back, Gideon met a youth and interrogated him. The youth wrote down the names of 77 princes and elders of Succoth. Gideon beat the men of Succoth as he had promised earlier. Then he tore down the tower at Penuel and killed the men.

Another thing Gideon did was tell his firstborn, Jether, to kill the two kings they captured. The youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid because he was still a youth. The kings told Gideon to kill them himself, for a man is judged by his strength. And Gideon did just that. It would have been humiliating for the kings had the boy killed them. They would rather die by the sword of an inexperienced swordsman than disgraced by a boy.

Is this the same hero we read about earlier, insecure, needing two fleece assurances from God to go after the Midianites?  Falwell describes the situation as blood revenge resting upon Gideon.
We are to leave the revenge to the Lord.


Forgive others and let God take the revenge on them for you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Impression

O. T. #525 "An Impression"
May 27, 2015
Judges 7-Part 3
And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.  Judges 7:21


I often say or think, "Not all things are as they appear." Sometimes I think I see or hear  one thing, but it was actually something else. So it was in the case of the Israelites in today's passage. Here was a small, 300 man army attacking a 135,000 man army. The difference was God was on their side. Then the impression which Israel gave to a sleepy, huge army was phenomenal. Want to see how it happens? Let's go. 

We left Gideon worshiping God after overhearing two Midianites talking one night. One man had dreamed that a loaf of barley rolled into a tent and destroyed it, and the other interpreted the dream as meaning Gideon's army would destroy them by the sword of Gideon.
With this encouragement, Gideon commanded his 300 men army to arise for the LORD was delivering the Midianites into their hands. Can you see them, jumping up, one by one, gathering their things, ready for war? Now they were raring to go, hopefully. (On the other hand, they may have been too afraid to leave with the first group of 22,000.)

What was the victory strategy as Israel faced an army of 135,000?
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
  • Gideon divided his 300 men into 3 companies, so they could surround their enemies.
  • Next, he gave each man 3 items to take to war: a trumpet (ram's horn), an empty pitcher containing lamps (torches).
  • God's battle plan was for the small Israeli army was for each man to conceal the torch within the open-topped pitchers until the last possible minute, when they would break the pitchers, wave the torches, and blow the trumpets, giving the enemy the impression that a great host was coming down upon them.
  • It was a normal custom in those days for armies to rarely fight at night (see 1 Sam. 17). Usually if they did attack at night, only a few men carried the torches to light up the battlefield. Then, only a certain number of men would carry and blow trumpets during the conflict.
  • So when the Midianites awoke that night, to the sight of 300 torches lite and hearing 300 trumpets from all directions, they assumed that thousands upon thousands were attacking them.
  • Then  the 300 cried the midnight cry, "The sword of the LORD and Gideon." 
This noisy midnight assault, with trumpets signaling the call to battle, the breaking of pitchers simulated the clash of arms, and the Midianites assumed they were outnumbered. The battle cry would strike confusion into Israel's enemies, especially since they spoke at least three different language dialects.

What resulted in this? The Lord caused the Midianites to attack one another in the confusion of the night. (verse 23)

Do we see how trusting in our God can result in victory? And an easy one at that.
Yet how many times do we doubt when it appears that we are outnumbered, that we give up the fight of faith?


Wait, the story isn't over yet, so don't close your Bible.
How did it end?
  • Apparently, the Midianite army high tailed it out of Dodge, and pronto. (Well, maybe not in those words.) At least, Israel pursued after them. (verse 23)
  • Panic followed shock. Every soldier was on his own, in desperate retreat. (MacArthur)
  • Gideon sent messengers for help from the men of Ephraim to help them near the Jordan River at Bethbarah. (verse 24)
  • Keep in mind that this Israeli army consisted of men only from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh.
  • With the extra help, Israel was able to cut off the escape routes leading toward the Jordan River.
  • Also, the Isralite army captured Oreb and Zeeb and brought their heads as trophies of victory back to Gideon on the other side of Jordan. This proved that it was an actual historical event and not merely an actiological explanation, since it is recounted in Isaiah 9:4; 10:26.  (Falwell)
There we have it, folks, the recount of how Gideon's army of only 300 men defeated the 135,000 allies of the Midiantes with God's help.

Not one man had to draw a sword to defeat the enemy. Gideon's warriors simply watched as the army of Midian fell into panic, confusion, and disordered retreat. Gideon's army could never have brought about such a victory in its own strength. God wanted to demonstrate to Israel that victory depends not on strength or numbers, but on obedience and commitment to Him. (Life Application Study Bible)

Those of faith, though inadequate by human weakness, gain victory only through God's power. God gains the glory by making the outcome conspicuously His act and, thus, no sinful pride is cultivated. (MacArthur)

This was no coincidence nor a display of luck. The Midianites may not have known who God was, but they knew there was a man from the Lord named Gideon. We get the spoils of victory though Jesus won the battle for us. (Guzik)

Here was an inexperienced army man, with God's leading and power, beat the odds and won back their land. Wait a minute, it isn't over yet. This fat lady isn't singing yet. In chapter 8 we read of 15,000 Midianites still around. Gideon can't stop now. There are more enemies to defeat.

Never give up...


Trust God with the smallest details.

Trust God when the odds are against me.

Give Him the honor rightfully due.

Never give up. God will provide a way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Overheard Others

O. T. #524  "Overheard Others"
May 26, 2015
Judges 7-Part 2
And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel...   Judges 7:15


Have you ever overheard people talking? Sometimes it doesn't matter if they know you are there listening or not. They continue the conversation. Other times, it does matter and they change their topic. Aren't there times that you are encouraged and times you are discouraged or disappointed by what you hear? That happened to Gideon one night.

We left Gideon with his army whittled down to 300 men. During that night, the Lord spoke to Gideon with some instructions:
  • Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it (Midian camp) into your hands.
  • If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying.
  • Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.
  • So Gideon and Purah went down to the outposts of the camp of the Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern peoples, thick like locusts.
  • Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
  • Gideon overheard a man telling a friend his dream: A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.
  • His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands."
Phurah  means foliage, indicating that Gideon was hiding behind his armorbearer! (Falwell)

Seeing the camp of his enemy, Gideon must have been more fearful than ever. That is, until he overheard the guards talking to each other. What an encouraging word to hear, right from the enemy's mouth. What can encourage a coward more than hearing that his enemy is afraid of him?

The significance of the dream was to convince Gideon that the Midianites were more afraid of him than he was of them! Thus, God would use an encouraged coward to frighten the enemy away! (Falwell)

A cake of barley  bread might be a worthless thing, but if God were behind it, it would upset a tent!  (Meyer)

Oh, the things God uses. Do you recall when Jesus used a lad's 2 loaves of bread to help feed a multitude?

Don't overlook verse 15, where it says that Gideon worshipped and returned to the Israeli camp.

When God asks us to do hard things for Him, He guides us, keeps us, encourages us all along the way. (Guzik)

Spurgeon said, "He that has ordered this matter can order all things else."

God can give us a little bit of things to cheer us up.

Are you facing a battle with internal or external foes that have defeated you in the past or appear invincible today? God can give you the strength you need for any situation. And don't be startled by the way he helps you. Like Gideon, you must listen to God and be ready to take the first step. Only after you begin to obey God will you find the courage to move ahead.


Obey God, even when it is hard.

Look for encouragement around me.

Love others in spite of them.

Keep holding onto faith in Jesus.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lapping Like a Dog

O. T. #523 "Lapping Like a Dog"
May 25, 2015
Judges 7-Part 1
And the LORD said to Gideon, "Every one who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.  Judges 7:5b (English Standard Version)


There have been times, when we road on the back of a pick up truck down to the creek, that the family dog followed us. Being a hot summers day, of course the dog became thirsty. Have you ever watched a dog drink from a stream? I have. They lower their head and lap the water with their tongue. Duh! Sometimes the dog will even wade out into the water, too. It is not at all concerned with its surroundings, only focused on getting a drink. Who would think that something so simple as drinking water, lapping like a dog, would be a test for who is not included in an army? Read on, dear one.

Too many? In comparison to 135,000 which numbered the Middianite army, and  32,000 in the Israelite army, Israel had  too many? Yes, in God's eyes it was. Lest the people take the credit, the number in Israel's army had to be reduced.  God wanted the glory for the victory, and rightfully so, He deserved it. So how did it get reduced? Let's read how God used His process of elimination:
  • 22,000  men that were afraid and fearful were allowed to return home.
  • 10,000 remained, who were put to the drinking test.
  • 9,700 drank water by lapping it like a dog, so they were sent home. 
  • 300 men in the Israelite army remained.
The Midianites were camped across the valley to the north, some 4 miles away.
While reading commentaries, I ran across words like self-sufficiency, pride, fear, afraid, untrained, and inexperienced to describe the Israelites. Yet God had told Gideon that he would save Israel through his hand.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary states:
Those of faith, though inadequate by human weakness, gain victory, only through God's power (2Cor. 3:5; 4:7; 12:7-9). Three hundred  men win against an incredible Midianite host (Judges 7:7, 16-25). God gains the glory by making the outcome conspicuously His act and, thus, no sinful pride is cultivated.
How trustworthy is the hand of God! When He speaks, I obey. Then we see how He works things out for us, in us, and through us. It is not of our works, but His works that brings the victory of a situation. (Hey, I am talking to myself here.) He lightens the load when we turn the problem over to him. Let God take the reigns, for He reigns.


Shall we take a closer look at the process of elimination?
  • First of all, those men who were fearful and afraid were allowed to return home. (verse 3)
Anyone who has ever been in battle will honestly admit that he was afraid.  Therefore, it would not be improper to suggest that those who went home were the wisest and most honest of the entire group. (Falwell)
  • Next, God instructed Gideon to bring the 10,000 men that were left, down to the water for a test. God had a plan and Gideon followed it. Gideon was to divide the men into two groups: those who lapped the water like a dog, and those who knelt down to drink, cupping the water in their hands to take it to their mouth, which allowed them to look around for any enemy's surprise attack. (You might say that the lapping dogs went home.)
  • Finally, the latter group, which numbered 300, was chosen to be in Gideon's army.
That number left the odds 400:1, the Midianite army to the Israelite army. God wants the odds so bad that the victory would clearly be His alone. When we're big, it's hard to rely on God and give Him the credit. (Guzik)

Gideon must have been completely in shock by now, and in order to prepare him to win the battle that would follow, God brought about an unusual set of circumstances. (Falwell)

Come back tomorrow and we will discover what they were.

Are we following God's directions down to a T? Step by step? Doing things His way will ensure the victory for us.


Ask God for His plan of victory in a situation.

Follow His battle plan, step by step.

Let those who are afraid, leave, and don't judge them for it.

Encourage those who stay to help with the project or situation, although they may be few in number.

Lead with faith and power of the Holy Spirit.

Give God the credit and glory for the victory.

*Let's remember to pray for our military people and their families as they sacrifice in order for us to live in a free country. Also, be thankful for all those who have served previously and those who gave their life for us.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Put Out the Fleece

O. T. #522  "Put Out the Fleece"
May 21, 2015
Judges 6-Part 5
...then shall I know that thou will save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. Judges 6:36


The steps in Gideon's victory are easy to trace:
  • He had a promise to believe (6:12, 14; 7:7-9),
  • an altar to build (6:25-26),
  • a vessel to break,
  • a lamp to burn,
  • and a trumpet to blow. (Wiersbe)
Then God gave the victory.
Easy for me to say-I am not living through this. God didn't commission me to deliver a nation out of idolatry and the hands of the huge Midianite army. Yes, I can read the rest of the story. I know what happens. But how did Gideon feel and think during his wait for his 32,000 brethren to show up and form an inexperienced, untrained, unarmed army to defeat those 135,000 men, some on swift camels?

You will recall that we read earlier about Farmer Gideon having a visit from none other than our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself. They conversed. Twice we previously read where the Lord gave Gideon the assurance of victory (NIV):
  1. Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you? (verse 14),
  2. I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together. (verse 16)
Although Gideon had the promise of victory, he still asked for proof and needed assurance and courage to continue, despite a personal hesitation. The Word of God should be proof enough for us, but there are times we humans become weak in our faith. Been there!

If God says it, He will do it. We just need to follow and obey Him doing our part. Easy to say, hard to do!


In his moments of weakness, Gideon got the fleece of wool and
prayed, asking if God would save Israel by his hand as He promised:
  1. to show it by making the fleece wet from dew and the threshing floor (ground) is dry, then Gideon would know. The next morning Gideon wrung out a bowlful of water from the dew on the fleece. He got his answer.
  2. To be double sure, Gideon asked God to not be angry with him as he made one more request. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew. That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry and all the ground was covered with dew. There Gideon, your question, request, was answered.
Some say that "putting out the fleece" is a poor decision-making method. If we do this, we put limitations on God, asking Him to fit into their expectations. They go on to say that we should not do such a thing because God gives us His Word and wisdom, as well as prayer.
Pewwy! If we are unsure about a decision, God can confirm the right answer for us if He chooses. I don't see anything wrong with it, if it's not a weekly practice or a dependence upon signs instead of exercising faith in God.

The way I see it, Gideon had to know, without a doubt, no matter how many men were with him fighting, that God would give them the victory, beyond the shadow of a doubt. The matter had to be settled in Gideon's heart. Apparently it was. God had given the assurance twice.

Another way to look at this event is that Gideon felt outnumbered and beyond their abilities. He was looking at the wrong thing and not on Jesus. "A change of focus changes everything," says Priscilla Shirer.


Listen for God's instructions for doing His will.

Follow those instructions.

Be blessed for obedience.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Camels Are Coming!

O. T. #521  "The Camels Are Coming!"
May 20, 2015
Judges 6-Part 4
Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezerel.  Judges 6:33


Being a morning person, I am usually up around 5:30 starting my day. Now that it is light at my house by 6am, I mosey out to feed and water my cats. Anyway, I enjoy the peacefulness of the cool early mornings. Then I hear the rumbling of the coal train delivering coal to the power plant only a few miles away. Then I hear the sounds of the semis as they begin their route to carry their loads to the rest of the world. Then I hear cars rolling down the highway less than a mile away taking folks to work. Yep, the world is awake now. I can hear it coming alive. My serene little world is changed in just a few moments. And the rat race begins for some. So I wonder if Gideon could hear the rumbling of the marching of the Midianite army of 135,000 men, some riding on camels. Grab your cup of coffee and join me on the front porch, bring you Bible too, and we will listen for it...

In the meantime, the Midianites, who were oppressing God's people the Israelites, along with the Amalektes, and the Arabs moved an army into the area with renewed aggression and pitched their tents in the Valley of Jezereel, extending from Mount Carmel to the Jordan Valley. So?
Jump over to Judges 8:10 where we find out that they started out with 135,000 men. Isn't that enough to make your knees knock? Think I'd find a rabbit hole, fox hole, or dig one to hid in. The camels are coming!

Well, the Valley of Jezerel was an agricultural center for the area. Whoever controlled the valley's rich and fertile land controlled the people who lived in and around it. Because of the valley's vast resources, many major trade routes converged at the pass which led into it. this made it the site of many great battles. Later, Gideon's men attacked the enemy armies from the hills, and the only escape route was through the pass toward the Jordan River. (Life Application Study Bible)

Camels? Listen, I hear the camels coming.
Priscilla Shirer, in her Bible study book called Gideon says:
This battle was the first time camels were used in warfare, and this gave the Midianites a staggering advantage over the Israelites. Camels could "sprint up to forty miles per hour, maintain twenty-five miles per hour for an hour, and cover one hundred miles in a day." 

Sounds like things are going from bad to worse. Not only were the Israelites' herds and crops taken, but now they were on the brink of war.

Are we prepared for God to use us in spiritual battles against evil and/or people?


Meanwhile, we don't know how much time elapsed since Gideon and his 10 men flattened the idol of Baal. Suppose it doesn't matter or God would have told us, huh!  Read verse 34 back in chapter 6. What was Gideon doing?
  • The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he sounded the trumpet.
  • The men of Abiezer, gathered at Gideon's hometown. He became Gideon's general.
  • Gideon sent messengers throughout the lands of Manesseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali for help from his brethren.
  • While these 32,000 men were assembling to form Gideon's army, he had a personal hesitation.
I wonder how long it would take those 32,000 men to walk there.
How suddenly God can change the hearts of idolaters and persecutors. It is not too  difficult for God to change our attitudes and others' attitudes so all are submissive to Him for Kingdom work.

We are going to leave this underdog, doubting and weak in faith. How does Gideon handle his doubt?
Tomorrow we will see a man who gets the fleece out and asks God to do the laundry. Well, sort of.

Do we seek help when times of trouble come? Do we pray and then ask our friends for help and advices or vice versa? When fellow believers are in need, do we hesitate to help?


Listen to the Holy Spirit, then obey His instructions.

Help others when they call.

Trust God in the situation.

Get ready to go when God calls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In a Pickle

O. T. #520  "In a Pickle"
May 19, 2015
Judges 6-Part 3
Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son that he  may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.   Judges 6:30


Ok, an incidence happened to me once. Have you ever worked very hard on a project for weeks, so you can honor God with it, and someone gets upset at you?  Here I was. The news came to me as second hand, not straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Then I worked even harder to solve the problem so they would not be upset, only to end up with the person not even talking to me. I couldn't win for loosing. I was in a pickle. The only way out of the pickle barrel was to apologize. And so I did. In the scope of things, does it really matter who was right or wrong? After all, a right relationship is more important than things. Gideon found himself in a pickle when obeying God, too. Check it out.

After the Promised Land was distributed and everyone finally departed to each his own, Judah and Simeon tribes rushed in to finish conquering theirs right away. The other tribes did not. In fact, they partially obeyed God's command to completely annihilate their enemies occupying each tribes' land.(Deut. 7) God did not want the pagan idol worshipers being neighbors of His children, thus ending up intermarrying with them and joining in worshiping idols instead of God. This actually happened.

So that is where we are, over 250 years have passed. God is preparing the fifth judge, Gideon to deliver the Israelites from their enemies' oppression, the Midianites (7 years). This is the fifth sin cycle in which Israel is living.

After the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to Gideon and commissioned him to deliver the Israelites, Gideon prepared a sacrifice and offered it upon a rock.
What was Gideon's first assignment which stirred up the whole community, causing him to be in a pickle, or more seriously, this life threatened?
  • In verse 25, the Lord, that same night, the Lord told Gideon to take two bulls of his father's herd and tear down his father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. (verse 25)
  • Also, build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the same rock he used earlier. (verse 26)
  • Using the wood of the Asher pole he cut down, Gideon was to offer a 7 year old second bull as a burnt offering.
  • Gideon took 10 men and did as the Lord instructed him, only doing it at night because  he was afraid of his family and the men of the town. (verse 27)
  • That morning, the men of the town saw Baal's altar demolished and the Asherah pole cut down and used to sacrifice a bull on a newly built altar. (verse 28)
  • Of course they wanted to know who did such a thing. Carefully investigating  the matter, Gideon's excursion was found out. (verse 29)
What a special man, to have been chosen by the Lord for such an important task.
This stirred up the whole community of Baal worshipers. Gideon's father may have been the custodian of the Baal cut-center serving the entire town, and the majority of people resorted there for worship.  (Falwell)

That would explain why the people were so upset at the matter that they wanted to kill Gideon. Some of them were Israelites, too.  Now we understand why Gideon did his tearing down at night.

In Deut. 13:6-11, God said idolaters must be stoned to death, but these Israelites wanted to stone Gideon for tearing down an idol and worshiping God! When you begin to accomplish something for God, you may be criticized by the very people who should support you.  (Life Application Study Bible) 

Are we prepared to obey God no matter the consequences? Even if family or friends give us problems? When the enemy is right in our face, do we continue to stand for God? Be prepared, friends.


So what happened to Gideon? (Obviously he wasn't killed because we know he defeated the Midianites later.)

  • The hostile crowd of towns men demanded Gideon's father, Joash, to bring his son to them for he must die for what he had done.
  • Joash defended his son for such an act of bravery by asking the townspeople if they would plead for Baal. Whoever fights for Baal shall be put to death by morning! (There must have been a heart to heart discussion between these two family members.)
  • By asking will ye save him, he was implying that Baal, if he were really a god, should be capable of saving himself.
  • If Baal could not save himself, how do they expect him to save his worshipers?
  • Joash must have been convicted by all of this happening and challenged by his son's actions.
  • Since Baal could not prevent his own destruction, Joash no longer believed that Baal was a god.
As an overview, here is an Israelite man who had compromised with Baal worship and somehow had convinced the community to follow him. Now, that same man was questioning the authenticity of such worship and was defending the action of his son. (Falwell)

To sum it up, Gideon's father must have been successful in defending his son Gideon and turned the city to support this new leader. This previously coward became a courageous leader when he obeyed God. After all, 32,000 men formed an army under his leadership.

When we are certain of God's instructions for us, and we follow them, He will protect us in the process so His will is accomplished and He gets the glory.

What a God we serve!


Serve God, no matter who gets upset.

Apologize when hurting someone's feelings, but not for doing God's work.

Forgive and love folks in spite of their ways.

Help others when they end up in a pickle, to work it out.

Let Jesus love others through me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Asking for a Sign

O. T. #519  "Asking for a Sign"
May 18, 2015
Judges 6-Part 2
Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in Your eyes, give me a sign that it is really You talking to me." Judges 6:17


There have been several times that I asked God for a sign, to confirm my understanding of what His will was in a certain decision. I am embarrassed to tell this, but one time I did not take the sign that was a "NO" and went ahead anyway, which was disobedience. Oh, what a bad experience that was. My family suffered for my wrong doing, of which I was and still am very sorry. I wasn't willing to wait for a yes sign later. So if we ask for a sign from the Lord, we had better be prepared to take a no if it is a no answer that He gives us. (Of course, the yes is often easy to do.)
Are you ready to see what happened when Gideon asked for a sign?

Seven years of bondage under the Midianites had brought Israel to its lowest level. Instead of riding on the high places (Deut. 32:13), they were hiding in the dens! The Israelites were not even allowed to harvest their grain, which explains why we find Gideon hiding in the winepress. Christ Himself visited Gideon to prepare him for his victory. (Wiersbe)

Gideon was living in a situation of serious distress. He would only produce a small amount of grain from his work, since he is doing the threshing instead of having cattle tread it. It is not on the threshing floor made of wood, but in a winepress remotely under a tree out of view. The fear of the Midianites cause this.  (MacArthur)

There is the background of Gideon's situation. Then the angel of the LORD, Christ Himself (a theophany), appeared to Gideon as He sat under an oak tree. What did He say in verse 12? The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

The word valour, in the Hebrew language, has various meanings: a force, whether of men, means, or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, strength, might, power.

Obviously, Gideon did not consider himself a man of strength that could defeat the Midianites. He was not part of the generation who experienced and saw first hand the mighty works of God-parting of the Red Sea, falling walls of Jericho, removing the enemies of Israel who occupied their Promised Land. Had he even heard of such miracles? Israel was in idolatry.

But, God continued to love and forgive His children of their sins. He has a plan of deliverance and is revealing it to the one chosen to deliver-Gideon.
Perhaps Gideon considered it all a joke or a mockery. However, God could see what Gideon would become by faith.
We can see Gideon's unbelief when he questioned God with sentences using: "If, why, where, how, if?" How could the Lord use a poor farmer to deliver the nation?

God met his unbelief with a series of promises found in verses 12 and 14:
  • The Lord is with you.
  • You shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.
  • Have I not sent you?
  • Surely I will be with you.
  • You will strike down all the Midianites together, as one man.
Do we know the promises that God gives us, as He did to those in the Bible times? God's people cried out to the Lord in their distress; He heard; He comes to prepare a deliverer to rescue His children from this devastation. Gideon heard the word of the Lord directly from His mouth.
Do we hear them? God is with us. He sends us. He is with us. He gives us victory.


I don't want to call Gideon a coward, but he sure was lacking strong faith in the faith department. (Been there myself at times.)
After hearing all those reassurances and told to G-O, go, what does he do? Gideon asks for a sign. Well. I can't say, "For Pete sake, Gideon, get up and go like the Lord told you." No, I have done the same thing, friend. I have been unsure of God's leading and instructions. I, too, have asked for a sign to confirm a direction, lacking in the faith department. Have you?

In verse 17, Gideon asks, if he found grace in His sight, for a sign, which means evidence. (Strong's Concordance)

In spite of these promises, Gideon still asked for a sign to confirm the angel's message. He was requesting a supernatural event to confirm the fact that this was no mere angelic being, but an appearance of God Himself!  (Falwell)

Other things happened:
  • Gideon asks is for the Lord to stay until he brought Him a present (a sacrificial offering).
  • The Lord agreed to wait.
  • Gideon prepared a kid and unleavened cakes, put meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, then presented it to Him under the tree.
  • Christ told Gideon to place the bread and meat on a rock and pour the broth over it. He obeyed.
  • Christ touched the tip of His staff to the meat and bread. A fire flared from the rock and consumed both the meat and bread.
  • Then He disappeared.
  • Gideon realized he had seen the Sovereign Lord face to face and lived.
  • The Lord reassured Gideon by speaking peace, telling him to not be afraid, and that he was not going to die.
  • Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace.  
We are going to leave Gideon standing in awe of God. Such an experience for him and for us to read. Let it soak in, friends. A Holy Savior came to speak to a lowly farmer, with a task of deliverance of His people. What an experience indeed!

It reminds me of what happened when God commissioned Moses to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt. Moses took his shoes off, for he was standing on holy ground before a Holy God, conversing with Him.

Wow! is all I can say, and fall to my knees in worship. Will you join me?


Come before into the presence of a Holy God, on bended knees, asking for the blood of Jesus to cover this sinner in need of a Savior.

Listen to what He has for me to do today.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just a Farmer and Children of Farmers

O. T. #518  "Just a Farmer and Children of Farmers"
May 16, 2015
Judges 6
So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.  Judges 6:6


Are you curious about the title of today's post? Read on to find out more.

After Deborah and Barak, and Jael rescued Israel from the oppression of the Canaanites, they enjoyed 40 years of rest. Then the fourth sin cycle began with Israel going into idolatry and servitude to the Midianites for 7 years.

What do we learn about this situation?
  • The Israelites hid in mountains and caves from their enemies. (verse 3)
  • It was now more than a century since Joshua had conquered the land, and the Midianite oppression was almost the conquest in reverse!  (Falwell)
  • The Midianites were desert nomads who domesticated camels and used them for long-distance raids into more settled areas. [Camels could travel 3-4 days with a heavy load on their backs, covering about 300 miles without food and water.)
  • Israel lost their sheep, oxen, donkeys, cattle, and tents to the Midianites, who devoured them like grasshoppers did the land. (verses 4, 5) 
  • Israel was greatly impoverished. (Raids were probably made during the agricultural harvest.) (verse 6)
  • The children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites. (verse 7)
Up to this time, all the Israelites did was cry out for relief. God wanted something more than a cry; He wanted a confession (Hosea 5:15). The Israelites' problem was not their enemies but their disobedient hearts. Repentance precedes deliverance (Joel 2:12-17).  (The Jeremiah Study Bible)

Shhhh! I hear the camels coming!

Continue to cry out to God, quietly.


Where was the Lord doing during this time? Didn't He hear Israel's cries? Didn't He care? Seven years! Where was His compassionate heart? (Do we think that sometimes in our life when He seems silent to our prayers?)
He who knows all things knew His children were in need. Also, He could see into their hearts and our hearts and knows the right time to answer. It may not be our timing, but His timing is the best. Trust Him.

How did the Lord help Israel this time?
  • The LORD sent a prophet unto Israel, reminding Israel of their sin and disobedience toward God when turning to idol worship.  (verse 10) Hope is coming on the scene.
  • Meanwhile, the angel of the LORD, Christ Himself, a second theophany, appears sitting under an oak tree while Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress.
  • Gideon was beating out the grain inside a winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites, fearing they would steal it if he were caught! (Falwell)

The grain meant food for Gideon's family during this oppression. Seven years!
The Lord knew where to find His next judge and deliverer of Israel.
And He knows just where to find us when He wants to use us in kingdom work. We may be doing a mundane task, but friend, we need to be faithful in doing it to our best ability with excellency, and for His glory. Stay faithful to God.

Gideon was found working. Perhaps he was an unlikely deliverer. However, he was a man of faith, although his faith wavered at times. He was a farmer, not a trained warrior, but an obedient farmer (after he was convinced of victory ahead).

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament traces Gideon's career as:
  1. The Coward (6:1-24)
  2. The Challenger (6:25-32)
  3. The Conqueror (6:33-8:3)
  4. The Compromiser (8:4-35).
How would someone outline our life? Our work for the Lord? Would we be known as a coward and compromiser or a challenger and conqueror?
Is our heart willing to drop it all and follow Jesus on a new path of ministry, walking by faith? (It may only be next door.) Don't miss out on the blessings that obedience brings, dear ones.

Looking back, so many times we almost left our church before the new sanctuary was completed. The trials, problems, temptations, and discouragements were so heavy. Had we given up and left,  what a blessed day we would have missed out on when we crossed over from the old building to the new one! Oh, the grace and mercy and strength the Lord gives to sustain us while doing His work! I tear up to think what could have been, but was not. How great is our God! Thank You Lord!

Hang in there friends. Keep your focus on the Lord and His purposes. It will be worth it after all!!!!
Hey, if God can use a farmer (Gideon) and the son and daughter of farmers (both our dads were chicken farmers) for His will to be done, then He can use you, too!


Take courage.

Take the challenge.

Conquer with Christ.

Let go of what holds me back.

Cry out to God in His silence.

Stop and Smell the Roses

May 15, 2015
So sick-sorry for no post today. I woke up with a sore throat, fever, and ear ache. Then I slept all afternoon. Dr. appt. on Friday.
Praying for all to have a fantastic Friday!
One good thing happened today-my son showed me the red rose that belonged to my mother. It was full of blooms, which I had already seen, but to my astonishment, it had climbed way high above my head into the tree beside it. I had never seen such a sight before-red roses in an elm tree. It is surprising what you can see when you lift up your head towards heaven. Stop and smell the roses, ya'll.
God is good, all the time!
Lord, thank you for eyes to see the beauty in Your world.

In His Love,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Song of Praise

O. T. #517  "A Song of Praise"
May 13, 2015
Judges 5
Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.  Judges 5:1-2


Praise God and glory to His name! I thank my God for the blessings that He has showered upon our church! Not only were we able to build a new sanctuary and four classrooms debt free, but a new office for our pastor and music director. (Technology and sound systems not included) In addition to that, God blessed us with gifts of chairs for the sanctuary and beautiful furniture for the pastor's new office.
So the last three weeks I have been cleaning and moving furniture into other rooms which became vacant. The church office and children's church rooms were changed to better locations, a Wednesday night girls room was prepared for class, and decorations for VBS were moved into its own room. The clean curtains were hung. Now all that is left to do is paint the office and hang pictures. It is exciting to have these changes and improvements-these blessings of the Lord. I find myself singing praises to our gracious, gift-giving God with a grateful and rejoicing heart. Israel had a reason to sing, also. Do you recall what occurred in chapter 4? What happened after 20 years of oppression? 

This song was a tribute to God for victory told about in the previous chapter. Other songs are found in Scriptures written as a praise to God for His help-Moses' (Ex. 15), David's (2Sam. 23), and the Lamb's (Rev. 15). This poem/song was sung by Judge Deborah and Barak on that day.

What day? The day the heavens opened up and poured down rain, flooding the Kishon River. (verse 20) The stars fought against Sisera.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains: 
This was a poetic way to say that God used these heavenly bodies to help Israel. They are bodies representing and synonymous with the heavens, the sky from which He sent a powerful storm and flood of the Kishon River that swept Syrians from their chariots. God also hid the stars by clouds, decreasing Syrian effectiveness due to darkness.
Isn't it something the things God used to protect His children? Since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, can't He do the same for us His children today?
Are we trusting God?


Although the death of Sisera, the military leader of the Canaanites was due to an act of murder by Jael, God used it as a great blessing flowing upon Israel. She is honored in verses 24-27. Her act of bravery is recorded in God's Word. She is blessed above women (verse 24). (Probably she was used to driving the pegs of the tent into the ground whenever her husband moved.)
Forty years of rest came because 10,000 men and two women were willing to be used by God.
Do we offer to God  our possessions and our abilities for Kingdom work?

Verse 31 ends the song with an intercessory prayer committed to God's will, with the aspects of:
  • blessing God; (verse 2)
  • praise; (verse 3)
  • affirming God's work in tribute; (verses 4 and 20)
  • voicing God's curse. (verse 23)   (MacArthur)
What keeps us from blessing and praising God? Do we share in testimony to His great workings in our life?


Thank God for His blessings!

Praise God for He is gracious and merciful!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Rug, a Bottle of Milk, and a Peg

O. T. #516  "A Rug, a Bottle of Milk, and a Peg"
May 12, 2015
Judges 4-Part 3
And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink: for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.  Judges 4:19


After 20 years of oppression by Jabin and his military leader Sisera, Israel is finally delivered. Judge Deborah told Barak of God's instructions of using 10,000 Israelites to war with these Canaanites. God would give the victory, but a woman would be honored for her role. The Israelite troops went up Mt. Tabor and a Heber the Kenite told Sisera. Then Sisera took his army and 900 iron chariots into battle. But God brought a flashflood and bogged down those chariots in the what was a dry riverbed. So the drivers fled on foot, and were destroyed by the Israelites. Their leader, Sisera, was included in the group who fled on foot.

Let's pick up the story there:
  • This great army leader ran away from the Israeli army seeking refuge, and ended up at the tent of Heber the informer. (Can't you picture a chubby general in all his garb trying to run for his life?) 
  • His wife, named Jael, invited Sisera into their tent. This soaking wet leader  was much obliged and went inside.
  • Being soaked to the bone, Jael covered Sisera with a mantle, a rug.
  • He asked for a drink of water and Jael gave this army officer a bottle of milk. Falwell describes this milk as liquid yogurt or the term for curd-butter. Whatever it was, a bottle of milk, it hit the spot and Sisera, probably exhausted from running, lay down to sleep and Jael covered him with the rug.
  • Sisera instructed Jael to not tell anyone who inquired about the presence of one inside her tent. Little did Sisera know that he asked the wrong person to stand guard over him.
Are we hospitable we someone comes to our door? Are we discerning toward ways to meet another's need? Do we recognize the enemy?


Whoever says the Bible is boring reading hasn't read this story, account that actually happened.
Look at verse 21, NIV: But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted.  She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

She nailed him, didn't she? Nailed him to the floor, she did. Guess Sisera never knew what hit him.
Anyway, Barak, who was in pursuit of Sisera, was met by Jael, offered to show him the man Barak was looking for. This heroine delivered Israel from their enemy. God subdued Jabin and the children of Israel prospered and had peace for the next 40 years. (The next chapter is a poem/victory song about this event.)

Sisera just thought he was in a safe place (Jael's tent became his place of death).
God can use even a woman to accomplish His will and purpose.

Are we willing to be used by God?
As Jael had to bow down to accomplish her feat. So must we bow down to King Jesus to accomplish His will.
Do we offer all that we have for God's use and glory? Who knows, it may only take a blanket (rug), a drink of water or milk, or a nail offered in the name of Jesus that shows another His love.
What do you have that God wants to use for Kingdom work?
Will we offer Jesus our all to be used and shared to meet another's needs? (Sometimes it only requires our time, a few minutes of listening.)


Give everything I have for Jesus' use and glory.

Look around to see the needs of others and help them.

Honor the Lord with it all.

Always be aware of who and what is going on around me.


Monday, May 11, 2015

A Wonderful Woman Leader

O. T. #515  "A Wonderful Woman Leader"
May 11, 2015
Judges 4-Part 2
And she dwelt under the palm tree of...   Judges 4:5


Everyone came to her for advice. She had wisdom for every situation. She was a humble leader, a judge of a great nation. She sought the Lord for the right answer to each problem. Who was this unusual, wonderful woman in this Old Testament time? What well respected woman did God choose to use to help deliver Israel? Read on to find the answer.

For twenty years Israel was under the oppression of Jabin and his military leader Sisera. Then God chose to use two women for their deliverance-Debra and Jael. Shall we take a closer look at the details? (Having some background always gives me a better understanding of the situation.)

What do we know about this woman?
  • She was a prophetess in Israel. The word prophetess in the Hebrew language is nbiy'ah (pronounced neb-ee-yaw'), is the feminine form of nabiy'. It means a prophetess or inspired woman; a poetess; by association a prophet's wife. (Strong's Concordance)
  • She was the wife of Lapidoth. (verse 4)
  • Deborah judged Israel at that time as a non-military leader, according to Falwell.
  • She judged the children of Israel under a palm tree of Deborah, as the people came up to her for judgment. (verse 5)
  • Her place of residence was between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim, putting her about 50 miles south of the battle scene. (verse 5)
  • She rallied the tribes together and assists Barak in leading them to victory. (Wiersbe)
Liberty Bible Commentary adds more to help us understand this situation:
 The fact that she (Deborah) was a woman has caused questions as to why she occupied the position of a judge. Women played the predominant roles in this entire incident, and their significance is a reflection on the weakness of male leadership in Israel at that time. The book of Judges exposes the spiritual decline and weakness in Israel at this time. Nothing in the Mosaic law directly prohibited women from taking a place of responsibility that was normally the place of men; and the principle seems clear that when a man was not on the scene to deliver the people, God chose to use a woman.
Falwell goes on to say, "this incident cannot be taken as a justification for contradiction the pastoral qualifications listed in the New Testament Epistles. That pastors of churches should be men, not women, is made clear by such passages as I Timothy 3 and I Corinthians 14; and there are no records of women pastors in the New Testament. However, there are extensive references to the important place and activity of women in the New Testament congregations."

She was an unusual woman of wisdom and influence who did the tasks of a judge, except for military leadership. God can use women mightily for civil, religious, or other tasks. Deborah's rise to such a role (prophetess) is the exception in the book because of Barak's failure to show the courage to lead courageously (verses 8 and 14). God rebuked his cowardice by the pledge that a woman would kill Sisera (verse 9).  (MacArthur)

Are you and I women surrendered to God for His use and purpose, in Kingdom work?
Are we known as women of faith?
Are we submissive to our husbands and the church as far as the roles and lives we lead?
Are we teaching other women and children the Word of God?


Deborah, the Jewish prophetess, is the only judge of Israel that the text says people came to her for judgment. Despite his name, Barak (meaning Lightning) was reluctant. Deborah was confident in God's word, God's will, God's work, and God's way.  (David Jeremiah)

Deborah got a battle plan from the Lord God of Israel and she passed it onto Barak:
  • Go, take 10,000 men of Naphtali and Zebulun tribes and lead the way to Mount Tabor. (verse 6)
  • God would lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots (900 iron) and his troops to the Kishon River. (verse 7)
  • God said He would give Sisera into Barak's hands. (verse 7)
How did Barak answer Deborah?
In verse 8, he said, If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go.

She agreed to go, but under what condition?
The honor (of the victory) would not be Barak's but the Lord would hand Sisera over to a woman.

So Deborah and Barak summoned the two tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. The military men of 10,000 followed Deborah with Barak to war. Let it begin.
  • A man named Heber, a Kenite who left his family, and pitched his tent under the tree at Kedesh, informed Sisera where Barak and his army were.
  • Deborah told Barak, Go! This is the day the LORD has given sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?
  • Then Barak and his men advanced down Mount Tabor.
  • The Lord discomfitted Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword. Discomfitted means to put into commotion; to disturb; drive; destroy; crush; routed.
  • While the battle went on, the chariots of Sisera wee caught in a sudden downpour, flooding the swollen river in such a degree that the chariots became bogged down in the mud, and the drivers were forced to flee for their life on foot. (And some say the Bible is  boring to read!)
  • This normally dry riverbed filled with water by God's design, at the right place and at the right time. (A similar thing happened to the Egyptians as they followed after the Hebrews, drowning them.)
  • The Israelites were able to pursue the fleeing army and annihilate the entire force.
  • What a battle plan the Lord carried out. Although, the details as to how He would accomplish the victory for Israel is not mentioned previously. Perhaps God did not tell them the details, but expected Israel to go, walking by faith.
  • In the meantime, Sisera, the military leader of the Canaanites, fled on foot.
We are going to leave the story there and continue it tomorrow. So stay tuned for tomorrow's exciting and unusual outcome of Sisera. Here's a hint: It involves the other woman, Jael.

Are we going when God tells us to go?
When God speaks, do we obey?
Are we walking by faith, following the Lord Jesus?
Are we expecting victory given by Him?

May I add that I believe a woman will be a great leader only if she seeks the Lord's wisdom and will in situations. Otherwise, her leadership will not be successful when she relies upon herself for making decisions.


Walk by faith, not by sight.

When God speaks, I obey.

Watch God work and give the glory to Him.

Trust God's Word, will, work, and way.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Where Were You Twenty Years Ago?

O. T. #514  "Where Were You Twenty Years Ago?"
May 8, 2015
Judges 4
And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron: and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  Judges 4:3


Where were you 20 years ago and what was happening in your life?
Twenty years is a long time, yet it passes quickly, looking back. Where was I 20 years ago? Let's see, the year would have been 1995. Ah, I recall, I was a little parsonage in a little community in eastern Arkansas. Our son was in his senior year, and life was about to change drastically. He would move to my hometown and get a job at a giant retailer. We would move to another state. Our daughter had two more years of college and then get married. My mother had only 2 years to live, and my mother in law had 2 1/2 years. Those were the highlights of that time.

We have been at our current church 18 years come July 5. Time does pass quickly. This month we will see one of the girls in our church graduate junior college and get married. She was only 3 when we came here. Wow! Time passes quickly. I wonder if time passed that fast back in chapter 4 for the Israelites.

Here we are again, Israel is in the cycle of sin. This is the third time, counting. After the death of Judge Ehud and their 80 years of rest, it came to an end. Israel sinned against God again. So what does He do in verse 2? He sold His children into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan, whose headquarters was located at Hazor.

According to Falwell, Jabin was probably a dynastic title, rather than a personal name. Other such name-titles include Abimelech of the Philistines, Pharaoh of Egypt, and Caesar of the Roman Empire. Most assume that Hazor was rebuilt after the destruction by Joshua and again occupied a place of prominence at this time. Another scholar suggests that the city was destroyed by Joshua using fire and Jabin was merely from that area, without emphasizing Hazor itself.

Do we find ourself in a sin cycle, too? Like Israel, sometimes God uses others to bring us to our knees of repentance. What has happened to you?


Jabin's main source of strength came from his general Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. The oppression of Israel by Jabin and Sisera lasted 20 years due to the superior military strength of the Canaanites. We read in verse 3 that Sisera had 900 iron chariots. This gave Sisera, the military leader of the combined armies, a source of complete dominance until a situation arose in which chariots could not be used.  (Falwell)

There we have it, 20 years. Monday, we will discuss the next judge who has a battle plan from the Lord. She is remembered for her leadership, as well as the woman who had a peg.

Are you or someone you love in oppression? Jesus can deliver you.


                     ...of the past and live in the present, looking for the future.
                                ...of those things too important in my life.
                                ...and let God...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Got My Goad

O. T. # 513  "Got My Goad"
May 7, 2015
Judges 3-Part 4
And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad and he also delivered Israel.  Judges 3:31


There are times when the cattle are in the coral for their vaccinations or whatever that we have to use an instrument to prod them along into the shut. They don't want to move. Sometimes it is a hand slapping the hip, a stick whacking the rear, or a shocker to the behind. Whatever is used, it usually gets that stubborn cow to move in the right direction. Aren't we like that? Did you know that God used a goad by a farmer to accomplish His will?
Are you curious now? Read on...

One little verse tells it all, summarizes the life of one man-Shamgar. That is why there are so many opinions about him. So many questions are unanswered about him. This ordinary man did an extraordinary feat in his life, accomplished more than what most in his day did not.
Who was this Shamgar?
  • He lived during Judge Ehud's day.
  • He probably was not a judge himself.
  • He possibly was not an Israelite but a Hittite, from his name's origin.
  • He may have lived during a time of Israel's sin and stray from God, which led to judgment.
  • During this time, there is no reference to the Philistines oppression on Israel, in his lifetime.
  • Perhaps he was a farmer and a warrior.
  • Debra's song concerning the victory over the Philistines mentions Shamgar in 5:6.
  • He is described as a non-Israelite deliverer. (Falwell)
  • An unlikely deliverer described Shamgar.
  • In his time the highways were unoccupied and travelers walked through byways. These were major trade routes occupied by the Philistines and Canaanites. It was unsafe for anyone to travel on these highways.
That is not much of a background on a person mentioned in the Bible, but that is all God had to say about him and for us to know.
How much is being said about you? Do people talk about your faith, your witness for the Lord? Or is it a totally different opinion of you out there in the world?

The Philistines were descendants of Ham. They occupied the Coastal Plain on the southwest border of Canaan. The word "Palastine" is derived from them. (Halley's Bible Handbook)


What was it that this Shamgar accomplished in his life? What is he remembered for having done?
Look at verse 31 for the answer. He slew 600 Philistine men using an ox goad and delivered Israel.
Isn't that enough for us to know?

God is able to use even the most foolish weapons, even an ox goad. (Wiersbe)

What's an ox goad? It is a stout stick about 8-10 feet long and 6 inches around, with a sharp metal tip to prod or turn oxen. The other end was a flat, curved blade for cleaning a plow.  (MacArthur)

An oxgoad was a long stick with a small flat piece of iron on one side and a sharp point on the other. The sharp side was used to drive the oxen during the times of plowing, and the flat end was used to clean the mud off the plow. Eight-foot-long ancient oxgoads have been found. In times of crisis they could easily have been used as spears, as in Shamgar's case. Oxgoads are still used in the Middle East to drive oxen.(Life Application Study Bible)

As I understand it, a goad was attached as part of the plow device, behind the oxen. A stubborn ox, which did not want to go the direction that its master wanted, would  kicked against the goad. The hoof would hurt whenever it encountered the sharp point on the goad.  The result was  the ox obeying its master. It would go the direction and the way which its master wanted it to go.
How much are we like that ox, friends? We rebel, get stubborn, disobey God's directions for us, wanting to go our own way. Guilty! There have been times God let me go my own way, only for me to very much regret it later. Aren't there times He uses an unusual goad in our life? We certainly remember those times of our rebellion, too, and what God used to bring us back to surrender to Him.

Well, back to the story. Shamgar killed how many Philistine men with an ox goad? 600
We aren't told if this was done at one time, or over his lifetime. Guess it doesn't matter or we would have been told.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible says:
It is probable that he was himself following the plough, when the Philistines made an inroad upon the country to ravage it, and God put it into his heart to oppose them: the impulse being sudden and strong, and having neither sword or spear to do execution with, he took the instrument that was next at hand, some of the tools of his plough, and with that killed as many hundred men, and came off unhurt.
What can we learn from this?
God can make those eminently serviceable to His glory and His church's good, whose extraction, education, and employment, are very mean and obscure. It is no matter how weak the weapon is, if God directs and strengthens the arm. and sometimes He chooses to work by such unlikely means, that the excellency of the power may appear to be of God. (Henry)

When Saul encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road, Jesus told him in Acts 9:6, is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

We know what a great man of faith Saul who became Paul was for Jesus, as He lived and wrote so much of the New Testament.

Are we kicking against the pricks, the goad, being stubborn and not obeying what God wants us to do? Does God have to get our goad to make us move in His direction? His mercy is waiting, dear ones. When God speaks, I obey. That has been the theme of our revival services.


Stop kicking, just surrender to Jesus.

Remember my sore feet of rebellion and don't repeat it.

Just do it.

Life joyfully for Jesus. (His ways are best anyway.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


O. T. #512  "Heroes"
May 5, 2015
Judges 3-Part 3
And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. (referring to the king of their enemy)  Judges 3:21


How many books and stories have we read, even movies have we seen where the hero kills the villain, the bad guy, and rescues a damsel or people in distress? Today's reading is a perfect example of such a plot. (The only difference is it actually happened in Israel.)

After 8 years of oppression, God used Judge Othniel to teach Israel about His ways. The Lord delivered them and gave 40 years of rest from their enemies. Then they did it again-backsliding a idolatry.
What happened?
According to Liberty Bible Commentary:
  • For 18 years, mind you, Israel sinned and strayed away from God.  So God raised up another enemy nation as a way of judgment on His people.
  • Eglon, the king of Moab, brought on the oppression. It was because Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.
  • Eglon gathered a confederacy of men of Moab, Ammon, and Amalek so they could defeat Israel. These tribes had harassed Israel generations earlier in the wilderness.
  • This confederacy followed the same route that Israel had taken earlier and captured the city of palm tree, Jericho. Archaeologists have concluded that Jericho was actually built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times, due to the various levels of rubble.


So Israel cried to the Lord again, and He raised up a deliverer, another judge, the Judge Ehud. After 18 years of Eglon ruling them, Israel was delivered by a Benjamite, a man lefthanded. Evidently, this tribe was known for being lefthanded (20:l16) , and even ambidextrous (1 Chron.12:2).
The plot thickens:
  • Ehud was selected to take Israel's tribute money, maybe in the form of produce, to Jericho.
  • He secretly armed himself with a dagger (12-14 inches long) under his clothing.
  • Ehud took this present to the king of Moab.
  • Now King Eglon was a fat man, a very fat man, the Scripture describes.
  • Ehud requested a private meeting after giving the tribute to the king, so the entourage was dismissed.
  • When alone, Ehud told the king that he had a message from God-Ehud used his left hand to grab his dagger from his right thigh and as he ran, Ehud  thrust it into the king's belly.
  • The blow to the abdomen was so quick and powerful that the blade went in entirely, with the fat closing up around it. It went plum through, folks. It was sufficient to kill King Eglon immediately, without a call of help to his servants. 
  • Ehud left through the parlor doors after locking the entrance doors so no one could enter and find out what had just occurred.
  • Ehud wasted no time rallying the people of Israel to attack the confused Moabites who were now without a leader. He blew the trumpet and they came running to Ehud's aid.
  • There were 10,000 Moabites killed when trapped on the west bank of Jordan.
  • Thus ended the 8 year oppression and began the longest period of peace during the turmoil of the era of the judges-80 years.
Wow! What a story! A real-life story, which actually happened, written in not just a book, but the Word of God, the Truth.

Do we see what God can do with one person who obeys Him? He can use them to deliver people out of their sin and give them peace. Oh, by the way, there is one person who did that-Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to use us to bring others to Him, Jesus can deliver them from their sins and give them peace in their hearts.
When God speaks-I obey.


Be a hero in someone's life-bring them to Jesus for salvation.

When God speaks, I obey.

*Thank ya'll for your prayers for my husband. He is recovering fine. Come Saturday, he gets to eat normal food, requesting fried chicken and the trimmin's. He sees the doctor on Tuesday. Praise be to the Lord for all he does!


O. T. #511  "Peace"
May 5, 2015
Judges 3-Part 2
Then the land was peaceful 40 years, and Othniel son of Kenaz died.  Judges 3:11


Isn't it nice when there is peace in our family, peace with our friends, a peaceful atmosphere at work? It seems like there is always a conflict around. Someone gets their feelings hurt, feathers ruffled. Who couldn't use some peace in your world?

Israel was oppressed for 8 years by Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia. Cush was the father of Nimrod, who established the Babylonian civilization, which was later overrun by the Kassites. This land is modern Iraq. The modern designation of the term Mesopotamia for the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (ancient Babylon) was not commonly used until the fourth century B.C. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
There's our  history lesson for the day.

You will recall that Israel disobeyed God and did not destroy the pagans living around and in their Promised Land. Thus, they intermarried and added their idol worship into their lives. This angered the Lord. Moses and Joshua warned Israel of such practices.
Repentance of the Israelites brought an end to this 8 year oppression when the Lord raised up a deliverer-Othniel.

How gracious and patient is the Lord toward us sinners! He continues to love us when we go astray.


Othniel? You recall him, don't you? Caleb offered his daughter in marriage to the man who conquered the city of Debir. Who did so? Othniel, which was also Caleb's younger brother's son. (Judges 1)

Now that we got that cleared up, let's look at what Othniel was doing here, in verse 10:
  • He was Israel's first judge. (verse 9)
  • The source of his power is indicated-the spirit of the LORD came upon him. (verse 10)
  • He judged Israel and led them back to God.
  • He went out to war.
  • The invading king was delivered into Othniel's hand.
  • The land rested 40 years under Judge Othniel, indicating it was free from foreign interference during the rest of Othniel's generation. 
Othniel had a rich spiritual heritage-his uncle was Caleb, a man with unwavering faith in God (Numbers 13:30; 14:24). The Holy Spirit is available to all believers today, but He will come upon believers in an extraordinary way for special tasks. We should ask the Holy Spirit's help as we face our daily problems as well as life's major challenges. (Life Application Study Bible)

Are we seeking His help and filling? Do we spread peace around us?


Help others find the peace of God through Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 4, 2015


O. T. # 510  "Friendships"
May 4, 2015
Judges 3-Part 1
And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD,, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.  Judges 3:6-7


Don't we tell our children that it matters who their friends are? That the crowd they run with can influence their judgments and actions, as well as their attitudes? But what about us adults? Doesn't the same advice apply to us? If I am around a person that has a critical spirit, griping and complaining, it tends to rub off on me. I have to be careful that friendship with unbelievers does not lead me to compromise my beliefs.  Israel had the same problem, although they did not heed the advice.

Here is a new generation of Israelites. Their forefathers had experienced slavery in Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, 40 years in the wilderness, crossing the Jordan River, and conquering the Promised Land. Sadly, this generation had not been taught about their national history and about their God.
Now that the 12 tribes of Israel had gone to their inheritance, they did not rid the land and cities of the pagans who worshiped idols and false gods. They intermarried with such ones, unfortunately. Israel began a cycle of sin, with God sending them judges to teach His ways and bring them to repentance.
Isn't God wonder to show us mercy in bringing us back when we wander away from Him and His ways and His Word!

The God tested Israel to refine them and prepare the generation for war. Their sinful ways cost the Israelites their distinctive character and testimony, and they failed to be the holy people God created them to be (Deut. 7:1-6).   (David Jeremiah)

At first, Israel only added the idols to the worship of God (which was forbidden in the first 2 commandments). Before long they found themselves absorbed in pagan worship. A similar danger faces us. We want to befriend those who don't know God, but through those friendships we can become entangled in unhealthy practices. Friendships with unbelievers are important, but we must accept people without compromising or adopting their patterns of behavior.  (Life Application Study Bible)

Are their any friends we should distant ourselves from in order to not compromise our beliefs and behavior? The Lord has the answer for us.


The third chapter provides a list of people whom the generation of judges were unable to dislodge from the land. The five lords of the Philistines refers to the leaders of the five-city pentapolis.
These were the tribes of the:
  1. Philistines were descendants of the Greek and Aegean "Sea Peoples" who migrated into Israel as early as the time of Abraham (Gen. 20), but didn't move into this area until about 1200 B.C.;
  2. Canaanites, strong in the valley of Esdraelon, who still hold the Jebusite fortress at Jerusalem until the time of David;
  3. Sidonians, who inhabited the Phoenician city-state of Sidon, to the north on the Mediterranean coast;
  4. Hivites, that dwelt in Mount Lebanon, refers to the Horites or Hurrians, who established the kingdom of Mitanni in upper Mesopotamia in about 1500 B.C. They spread southward into Canaan during the 14th and 15th centuries B.C. At this time they occupied 4 cities northwest of Jerusalem, forming the Gibeonite confederacy. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
The Amorites (mountain dwellers), Perizzites, and Jebusites (aboriginal groups of Canaanites) are mentioned in verse 5. All that was said to show that the heathens were everywhere in the Israeli land.

What happened?
  • The servitude to Mesopotamia lasted 8 years. (verses 1-8)
  • Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and forgot Him. (verse 7)
  • They served Baalim. (verse 7)

But there is hope around the corner, so stay tuned.


Learn from history and do not follow the sin cycle of the Israelites.

Repent and follow Jesus.

Give Him my heart, affections, and time while living in this world.

*I didn't post Friday since I have been getting rooms ready for Sunday's dedication. Please pray for our revival services this week, Sun.-Mon.