New generation: Judges 2.10 VOTD

“That entire generation passed away; a new generation grew up that had not personally experienced the Lord’s presence or seen what he had done for Israel.”

Israel remained faithful to God until Joshua and the elders of his time passed away. Then the people began to worship idols and follow other gods.

How can each new generation in the body of Christ learn to put their faith in God and be devoted with all their heart to the Lord?

#Judges #faith #VOTD

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(#210) The Proverbs of Solomon 31:8-9-Listen to Your Mama About Words

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Step up and speak up for those who are less fortunate, specifically those who have: no voice, no parent, no justice, or no necessities of life. It is emphatic and an action of mercy to help the helpless. All leaders of government should admit that: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne” (Proverbs 20:28). God has always required this of His people: “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15); “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17); “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

The “speechless” are those who have no voice or ability to defend themselves. They are easily victimized by all who would misrepresent their case;

Those “appointed to die” are people without possessions or permanence. According to the Hebrew expression, these may be strangers just passing through or orphans who cannot support themselves. God is mindful of such and required this of Israelites (Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Solomon wisely ruled: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13). Never was this clearer than when Israelites were taken from their Promised Land because: “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger” (Ezekiel 22:29);

“Judge righteously” should be the outcry of all of God’s people. All judges and legal personnel should hear this command. Jesus has said: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24), for “in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5);

“Plead the cause of the poor and needy,” for they cannot afford their own defense. The “poor and needy” are NOT those who demand their “right” to have the same possessions as those who have worked for what they have! The essentials of food and clothing are NOT in the same category as video games, big screen TV’s, cable, Internet, cars, or brand-name clothes!

No nation or people will stand when citizens have little or no recourse for their grievances!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #government, #judge-righteously, #judges, #mercy, #poor-and-needy, #proverbs, #truth, #wisdom

Bible verse and lesson outline from Judges: quickly turned aside

judges-israelJudges 2.17 will be a major passage that I’ll work with this weekend at the northeast lectureship, as a I teach on the NT church as The Way:

But they did not obey their leaders. Instead they prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned aside from the path their ancestors had walked. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord’s commands, but they did not.

Some of the points are: Continue reading

#church-of-christ, #judges, #sermon-outline, #the-way

IMPOVERISHED

     For a period of about seven years the Israelites had to serve the Midianites (Judges 6:1-10). The reason for this servitude was the result of the evil the children of Israel engaged; actions that were contrary to the Lord’s purpose for them as a nation and as a people. The evil is not really identified, but the context includes the idea of choosing to worship another god along side of the Lord God. It seems that the Israelites failed to remember that the Lord will brook no compromise with anyone (cf. Exodus 20:1-3).

The Midianites were rather severe in the implementation of their “lordship” over Israel. So much so the children of Israel became impoverished as a result of this exactitude in service that was required.

Reflect for a moment on this impoverishment. The Scripture says there would be nothing left after Midian came in to this one particular area. You are a parent with four hungry children to feed; whatever crop you plant is not allowed to come to fruit, and if it does you have to do what you can to hide it (if you don’t you will lose it). You have hardly any earthly possessions, your clothes are ragged, the home in which you live is run down, and your family has been struck with seasonal sickness. It is enough to overwhelm a person.

The experience, the Lord said, was because of disobedience to His will and purpose for the nation’s life (Judges 6:8-10). As I sit here writing this I can’t help but to think of a wife and the children having to suffer because of the male leadership in the home not doing what was required of the Lord. When the man (husband/father) does not lead there is an impoverishment in the area where he fails. With regard to spiritual matters, the Lord will do with male exactly as He called Adam in the long ago (Genesis 3:9). RT

#impoverished, #judges, #midianites

Those Who Outlived

     The Scriptures reads, “So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:7, NKJV).

     Reflect upon this for a moment and consider a few points. First, the nation of Israel had a great leader in Joshua. He was a fortunate man who had a direct line of communication to the Lord; this was much different than that which any other had. With this fortunate avenue, however, came great responsibility. To him the Lord gave the responsibility of taking the nation into the promised land and executing the Lord’s will. To have failed the Lord would have been disastrous for him and the nation.

Second, Joshua was not a man who could carry this burden all on his own. Whatever strength of character he had, he was still just a man. He needed others to help him and on whom which he could lean. The leadership of Joshua and men who were devoted to the Lord’s way brought much success to Israel. No matter what their failing might have been in the respective lives, because they were devoted to the Lord they had success.

Third, the failings that did actually reside within the nation of Israel did eventually began to show its ugly head when Israel’s great leadership died (Judges 2:1-2).

Why did this happen? I would like to suggest the following possibilities. First, the teaching that was supposed to be done may not have been accomplished to the degree that it should have been. It is important to remember that what the children are taught stays with them the remainder of their days.

Second, it may have been that the leaders taught thoroughly and with much effort, but the children did not take the lessons learned to heart like they should have. That is always a possibility and one to not forget. Ultimately, whatever a person does, whether as a child or as an adult, it is the responsibility of the doer. I can well imagine some of the elders thinking and saying to their peers, “I am very comfortable with the next generation and the leadership they will be exerting. They have demonstrated themselves well as we have tried to lead and teach them.” This could be said with humility, but once the generation of the elders passed on, that which did not take root can (and did) manifest itself in an ugly way.

Third, the teaching may have taken root and things may have started off well enough, but something occurred that distracted the faithful from the path set for them by the Lord. The distractions could have been any number of things; it really matters not what they were. Anything that distracts actually knocks us off track. When one is knocked off track he is bound to do nothing but crash.

It is crucial that we, as parents and leaders in the congregation, instill within others the Lord’s way by the life we live and by the words we use to communicate. We must do this. Then, when they move up and take our place they will be in better position to move the Lord’s way forward and in accordance with His revealed will.

In Judges 2:7-10, we read of a very sad occasion resting with a the following generation; let that not happen with us. RT

#children, #judges, #leadership, #responibility

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Psalm 82

Vs. 1 gives the order of Judges and God is over all;

Vs. 2-5 list abuses of Judges who have left God;

Vs. 6-7 appeal for human Judges to change;

Vs. 8 reminds all of the Supreme Judge.

Asaph was “the seer” (prophet), and with David’s words (2 Chronicles 29:30), wrote 12 Psalms (50, 73-83). When Israel was restored to their land, they were reminded of these Psalms (Nehemiah 12:46).

Verse1: Defines the order of Judges: God amidst the “gods” (or those designated to “judge” among men, but should be guided by God’s Will). This follows other references to this under Moses’ Law. “”You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:28). King Jehoshaphat “set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, ‘Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment’” (2 Chronicles 19:5-6). “If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them” (Ecclesiastes 5:8). Calling “judges” “gods” simply meant they were ordained to pass judgments on citizen behavior based upon God’s Holy Bible. Would that Judges today followed God’s Law, rather than man’s rules.

Verses 2-5: Lists direct violations of God’s Law these Judges had made in their judgments: (verse 2) “unjustly,” “show partiality to the wicked”(Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; Proverbs 18:5); (verse 3) uneven judgments involving “poor and needy,” or “afflicted and needy” (Exodus 22:21-22; 23:6); (verse 4) “poor and needy” delivered from the “hands of the wicked” (Psalm 37:14); (verse 5) Judges lacked knowledge of God’s Law, lacked judgment standards, and were reckless as if in the dark, which shakes the very foundation of a just society! This pathetic description of minds making decisions without God’s Word is used by Paul to show how pathetic people are in the world who refuse to follow the Bible (Ephesians 4:17-32) in obeying Jesus Christ. Every civil Judge today, regardless of rank or court, should be humbled and tremble before God with the seriousness of God’s expectations, and His final disposition of their opinions!

Verses 6-7: They are reminded in verse 6 that, though they represented God’s judgments, they were still but “children of the Most High,” therefore subject to Him. Their elevated position would not keep them from dying “like men,” probably as despised dictators (verse 7).

Jesus Christ quoted Psalm 82:6 to show that the term “gods” (Hebrew, Elohim) simply referred to “Judges,” and they were “children of the Most High.” If therefore, God called them “gods” how could anyone question Jesus referring to Himself as “The Son of God?” “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36)

Verse 8: The appeal is for the Highest Judge of all to exercise His righteous, just, and holy judgment upon all, including the unjust Judges. This is the promise of the New Testament (Acts 17:30-31).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #injustice, #judges, #judgments, #sin

Reconciliation with Benjamin (JUDGES 21)

The final chapter of Judges is about reconciliation with Benjamin and about solving a problem that had been created by an oath Israel had made previously. “Now the men of Israel had sworn an oath at Mizpah, saying, ‘None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.’ Then the people came to the house of God, and remained there before God till evening. They lifted up their voices and wept bitterly, and said, ‘O LORD God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel that today there should be one tribe missing in Israel?'” (21:1-3). Although they defeated Benjamin, no one is happy. These are fellow Israelites they had slain in this civil war, and they grieved over the loss (and rightfully so; cf. Ezek. 33:11). Since they had pledged not to give any wives to Benjamin, the 600 men who remained would have no way to perpetuate their tribe (without sinning by marrying foreigners). What could be done? Israel had punished Benjamin but did not want the tribe to become extinct.

A solution is arrived at, and it is connected to another oath they had made at Mizpah. If any city in Israel was not represented in their meeting against Benjamin, that city would be destroyed. The nation had expected complete support from all the tribes against the terrible deed that had been done at Gibeah. Being lethargic or not wanting to get involved was deemed unacceptable and punishable! They learn that no one from Jabesh Gilead had supported the cause. “So the congregation sent out there twelve thousand of their most valiant men, and commanded them, saying, ‘Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, including the women and children. And this is the thing that you shall do: You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has known a man intimately.’ So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man intimately; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan” (21:10-12).

Although they could have completely destroyed all inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead, they spare the virgins in order to give them to the Benjamites. Israel announces peace with Benjamin and the 600 men return to their territory. They receive the 400 virgins as wives, but there remained 200 men of Benjamin who did not have a wife.

“Then the elders of the congregation said, ‘What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?’ And they said, ‘There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be destroyed from Israel. However, we cannot give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.’ Then they said, ‘In fact, there is a yearly feast of the LORD in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.’ Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, ‘Go, lie in wait in vineyards, and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin. Then it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we will say to them, ‘Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did not take a wife for any of them in the war; for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourselves guilty of your oath'” (21:16-22).

Although this solution may strike a chord of humor with us, it worked for them and the 200 men of Benjamin followed instructions and caught wives for themselves (i.e., they stole by consent)! The men of Benjamin then returned home and rebuilt their cities. The name of Benjamin was not extinguished in Israel! When reflecting upon Judges 19-21, it is incredible to contemplate that the immoral behavior of a small group of men led ultimately to a civil war where over 65,000 perished! Friends, our actions have consequences. Even behavior that we may deem to be small or insignificant in the scheme of things may have a dramatic impact in ways we cannot calculate. May we always seek to do what is right by God’s standard and trust Him to take care of us! Right always triumphs in the end!

The book closes with a sentiment we have seen previously – “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25). If only God had truly been their king! That is what He desired; and His leadership is exactly what the nation needed!

#judges