Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Who can stand before the Lord?

“And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us?” – 1 Samuel 6v20

God was judging the Philistines because they had the Ark. They shifted from place to place with the same horrendous results. God’s judgement was poured out on whoever had the Ark.

Finally the men of Beth-shamesh asked a question that befits further study – “Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?”

The answer of course is obvious to all – no man can stand before the holy Lord on his own. God is so holy and perfect that all must, like Isaiah, fall before His feet in awe and reverence. We have no right at all to stand before God and demand anything from Him.

Everything we have is a blessing from God. Our only hope to approach Him is because He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Captain and Pioneer of our salvation. It is only because of Christ that we are able to boldly enter into God’s throne room in prayer.

Praise the Lord that no man is able to stand before the Lord, He sent His Son to be my escort into His presence!

Tuesday, 29 November 2005


“And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband.” – 1 Samuel 4v21

When Israel faced a battle against the Philistines they thought they could use the Ark of the Covenant as something of a magic talisman in the battle. At first the Philistines were fearful, for they thought that God would fight for Israel. The battle commenced and to the shock of the Israelites they lost, Eli’s sons were killed, and the Ark was captured.

When Eli heard the news he fell over backward and died as well. Phineas’ wife was pregnant and soon had a son whom she named “Ichabod” which means “no glory.” Her reasoning was that the glory of the Lord, or God Himself, had departed Israel. She, like everyone else, had put her faith in the Ark instead of in the Lord. God was not going to forsake His people, but they were too spiritually blind to sense it.

Most of us have had “Ichabod” times in our lives. These are times when things seem so bad that we think that God has forsaken us, or at least He is not fully aware of our situation. This happens when we walk by sight instead of by faith. When we are thinking “Ichabod” it is because we have adopted a wrong focus. God has not moved, we just are not looking in the right direction. When we have those times, we must remember that God has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. In those times let’s redirect our focus and rid ourselves of the spirit of Ichabod.

Monday, 28 November 2005

It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good

“And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.” – 1 Samuel 3v18

Samuel was called upon to tell Eli the bad news that his sons were going to die and the priesthood was going to be taken from his family. The reason given back a few verses is that Eli did not restrain his sons. We could glean a lot about child rearing from that statement alone.

Yet let us look at Eli’s attitude. The bad news had come. To Eli’s credit he did not question God or His Word. He did not try to make excuses. When the word came down that God was going to act Eli knew he could do nothing about, “He is God, let Him do what seems good to him.”

Most of us could use a good dose of the attitude. We seem to want what seems good to us, not what seems good to God. We tend to judge our situation by what we like or don’t like, or by what we perceive is good.

Our God is always good and always does what is best, Indeed, He is God, let Him do what seems good to Him!

Sunday, 27 November 2005

Speak, for your servant heareth

“And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.” – 1 Samuel 3v10

Young Samuel was ready for his call from God. Through the night he kept being awakened by a voice calling his name and ran to Eli thinking it was Eli calling him. Finally, Eli said to listen, for it was God calling him.

Samuel awoke and told the Lord, “Speak for your servant heareth.” All through childhood Samuel had been trained for servant hood. He already had about ten years of service under his belt. Now it was time for his full time of service.

His few words have profound meaning. “Speak Lord,” indicates that he was silent and ready to hear God speak. How often do we fail to allow the Lord to speak by keeping our lives so busy that there is no room for Him to speak to us?

He also said, “your servant.” Being a servant is never easy because it involves sacrificing our will and desire for His will and desire for our lives. Calling ourselves servants, as Samuel did, means that we are taking our hands off of our lives.

“Your servant hears” indicates that he was ready to listen and obey. Are we willing to say without reservation, “your servant hears?”

Whenever we spend time with God we need to be willing to say, without doubt or reservation – “Speak Lord, for your servant heareth.”

Saturday, 26 November 2005

Them that honour me I will honour

“Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” – 1 Samuel 2v30

How tragic it is when God’s people put pleasing their children above pleasing God. Eli’s sin was to honour his boys more than he honoured God. As a result God took away the priestly live from Eli and passed in on to another.

By pampering and excusing his son’s Eli neglected the word of God and dishonoured Him. God will never honour those who choose to dishonour Him. When people dishonour God they bring a dishonouring on themselves.

We see this obviously when we look at the lost, but the same principle with believers. God will not honour His children who are not honouring Him. Instead He will lovingly chasten them. If we expect God to bless us in any way, we must make it our priority to honour Him instead of seeking our own honour or honouring our children above the Lord.

Friday, 25 November 2005

Samuel grew in favour with God and men

“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.” – 1 Samuel 2v26

Interspersed with all the negative comments about Eli’s sons we read about the growth and development of Samuel. Bad news mixed with good news.

Here we find a verse even more reminiscent of Luke 2v52. There were a couple of key elements that apply to us, both Samuel and Jesus grew “in favour with God and man.”

These are two key elements of growth. Social and spiritual growths are both vital aspects of life. As Christians all of our lives we should focus on growing spiritually and socially. Those of us who have been saved for a while should be able to look back and see real and visible growth in both of these areas. The Christian life is to always be one of growth, not going backward or even staying the same.

May we emulate Samuel and be always growing in favour with God and man.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

Samuel grew before the Lord

“And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.” – I Samuel 2v21

What a contrast God draws between the wicked sons of Eli and the child Samuel. After describing the sinful men God says, “But the child Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child.” While grown men lived evil, wicked lives Samuel as a child was ministering before the Lord.

Then we read, “the child grew before the Lord.” This reminds us of Jesus where it says “he grew in wisdom, and stature, and is favour with God and man.” At least twice in the word of God we see the importance placed on a child growing up.

In Samuel’s case the key element of his growth as a child seem to be service. He grew up serving God. His entire childhood was serving while the adults did wrong. Often child can set examples for adults, as Paul pointed out when he wrote, “let no man despise thy youth, but be thou and example of the believers.”

Those of us who are parents need to be sure that we provide opportunities for service to our children as they grow.

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

The result of a discontent spirit

“Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” – 1 Samuel 2v17

I think we all, at one time or another, have a problem with discontent. It is nor normally listed among the more “serious sins,” but is relegated to the “lesser sins” that we all must deal with and therefore is not often dealt with seriously.

God has a different view of discontentment. Tells us that the sons of Eli were “sons of Belial, “ wicked, evil, vile men. Instead of eating the meat they God had provided for the priests they had established a practice of going wherever they wanted and whatever meat they could pick out of a stewing pot by using a three-pronged hook was theirs. Eventually this was not enough so they decided they would just take whatever they wanted, including the fat that should have been sacrificed to God.

God shows us the depth of their sin. God said their sin was “very great” because they despised what God had provided for them. Whenever we are not content with God gives us, but instead we desire to go after “strange flesh” we join with the sons of Belial in despising God’s provision.

If we saw all our sin the same way God does we would see the loathsomeness of sins like discontent. Let us strive to see all sin the way God does, as loathsome and repulsive.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

The child served the Lord

“And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.” – 1 Samuel 2v11

There are times when we are tempted to consider work with children to be some how second rate, or not as important as working with adults. Children’s ministries can be seen as something anyone can do, not like working with adults.

Here we have Samuel in the Temple. His mom and dad have returned home. Samuel is left to live in the Temple with Eli and we read, “The child did minister unto the Lord…” The word means that he waited on and served God, even as a child.

No child is small in God’s sight. Service for our Lord should start in childhood, and their service should be seen as important. May we never take the service of children for granted.

Monday, 21 November 2005

God will keep the feet of His saints

“He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail”. – 1 Samuel 2v9

Our Christian life is often referred to as a walk. We are told several times in the New Testament about how we are supposed to walk. Many times that walk can be confusing. Sometimes it seems that we are walking in the very edge of a precipice where it seems like we might slip and fall at any minute. The way can be dark and hazardous and the way may seem like we are always on the verge of stumbling.

Here we find a great promise in the middle of Hannah’s prayer of praise. We are reminded that God will “keep the feet of His saints.” There is a lot involved in this statement. God gives us the perfect guide for our feet through His word, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, “ we are reminded in the book of Psalms. Through His word of feet a clearly kept and we need not walk in darkness fearing those things at which we might stumble.

Habakkuk gives a few wonderful words to remind us how God will keep our steps, (Habakkuk 3v19) “The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” The mountain goats Habakkuk have an innate ability to walk among the most dangerous paths without fear of stumbling. This is the kind of protection that God promises for His saints when we walk by faith in Him instead of by sight.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Comparing ourselves

“Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogance come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” – 1 Samuel 2v3

How often do we start thinking that we are really “something?” If we are not careful we can get to the point where we think that we are the “bees knees” and that God is lucky to have us on our side!

We may see other believers and compare ourselves with them. Being harshly critical of things they say or do. We may condemn them for not acting just like us. We may label them just because they differ with us on some minor point of doctrine.

The reason behind this is pure and simple - it is pride. Hannah’s pray addresses this; “Don’t talk so proudly, don’t be so arrogant in your speech: God knows everything and by Him actions are weighed.

Picture an old-fashioned balance scale. On one side of the scale we have our actions, on the other side of the scale we have God. Is there any ever any way that we can balance the scale? Of course not! We are weighed by God’s standard of perfection, not by any other man. What a humbling truth. We must never be guilty of comparing ourselves to others, for God is our standard. The more we know Him the more we see the exceeding holiness of God and the exceeding wickedness of our sin.

That is certainly enough to keep our mouths shut!

Saturday, 19 November 2005

My mouth has smiled over my enemies

“And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation”. - 1 Samuel 2v1

Hannah’s prayer after she sent Samuel to the temple is much different than her prayer of anguish and desperation at the beginning of the story. Hannah’s song of praise is a beautiful picture of how we should worship and honour the Lord.

With a heart full of joy she proclaimed, among other things, “I have smiled over my enemies” (NKJV). The literal rendering is “my mouth is enlarged” which can picture several things. It may picture a wide mouth speaking to the enemies. It may mean picture a wide-open mouth pouring our praise. I prefer the NKJV rendering which is also accurate “I will smile wide at my enemies.”

What a joy to realise that we can smile in the face of opposition. Our enemies have no power over us because. No matter what happens we can rejoice in God’s salvation.

Today we may face many enemies and great opposition. These enemies have no power over us. We can smile in the face of our enemies. We can open our mouths wide and pour forth praise to our God because of our salvation.

There is no room for us ever to be “down in the mouth” as believers. No matter what we face we may always rejoice in God’s precious salvation!

Friday, 18 November 2005

The birth of Samuel

“Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.” 1 Samuel – 1v20

Hannah was desperate for a son. Her husband’s other wife taunted her because of her childlessness. She did the only thing she could do; she took her dilemma to the Lord in prayer.

Neither her husband nor the priest understood her at first. Undaunted she kept praying. Finally Eli, the priest, told her that God would answer her prayer. The Bible says that when that happened she arose and went off, and her face was no longer sad. The next morning she and her husband went off to worship the Lord. Eli’s words were enough for her; she acted in faith that her prayer was already answered.

When the child was born, she named him Samuel. His name meant “heard of the Lord.” Hannah gave God full acknowledgement for answering her prayer and never wanted to forgive.

How often do we take answered prayer for granted? Do we remember the various “samuels” in our lives? God hears and answers are prayer. It is important that we remember those times and give Him all the glory.

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Boaz and Ruth

“And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” - Ruth 4v17

Boaz and Ruth are a wonderful blessed couple. They have so many character traits that are good and honourable. They both had a focus on the Lord and a compassion for others. They both had wonderful testimonies before the community. They both went “above and beyond the call of duty” in their dealings.

God blessed them and gave them a family after they were married. Their first-born son was called Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse, and Jesse had a son named David. David was referred to by God as a “man after mine own heart.”

It appears that after Boaz and Ruth had a family God was still important to them. They passed on their godly heritage to their family to the point where God decided to use the family of their grandson to produce the king of Israel.

Boaz and Ruth had things right. God honoured them and generations later David was born. This was the line that God would use to give Jesus Christ, the great Messiah. Praise God for the example of Boaz and Ruth.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Virtuous Ruth

“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” - Ruth 2v11

What a wonderful testimony Ruth had! When she came to Boaz to propose marriage to him she did so in a totally appropriate manner according to the custom of her time. Boaz accepted her proposal and said “All the people of my city know that you are a virtuous woman.”

Ruth was a stranger in the land. In the short time she had been there she had become known to the entire city as a virtuous woman. He public testimony was important and superlative.

How important is our testimony to us? How are we known to the people of our city? Are we known as virtuous men and women? Let us live our lives in such a way that we are always known as virtuous people. May the Lord use that testimony to draw other to Him.

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

The kindness of Boaz

“And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” - Ruth 2v20

Kindness is a wonderful godly trait. It is not one that we consider often as being godly, but the word of God is replete with references to kindness. Boaz was indeed a man of God, he manifests that in many ways. He told his reapers to leave extra grain in the fields where Ruth was gleaning.

Too many men equate kindness with weakness and are afraid to be known as kind men. Ephesians 4v32 say clearly and simply, “Be kind one to another.” May we treasure the title of kindness. May we join with Naomi and say blessed are those who are kind.

How kind are we to others? Do people think of kindness when they think of us?

Monday, 14 November 2005

Under whose wings thou art come to trust

“The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” - Ruth 2v12

Ruth was amazed when Boas ordered his workers to leave extra grain in the field for her to glean. Boaz, who was much older than Ruth initially saw her as a daughter like figure and took pity her on her. Ruth’s spirit and her compassion for Naomi was well know for even Boaz knew about it. He wanted to reward her for what she had done in leaving her homeland to care for her mother in law. God was truly sovereign in this entire matter and He was in control.

Boaz was a man of God. He could have taken all the credit for what he had done for Ruth. Instead he passed the credit on to God. He did not say, “I will reward you for what you have done, but “The Lord will repay you for what you have done and HE will reward you fully.” Earlier in chapter one Ruth had put herself under God’s protection, and here Boaz refers to her faith as putting herself under God’s wings.

This is a wonderful picture of God’s protection. As a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings to shelter us from the storm, God gathers His children under His wings. Ruth found refuge there and God used Boaz to help provide that protection, Boaz saw himself the way we all should, merely as God’s tools for His work.

Sunday, 13 November 2005

Ruth happened to come into Boaz’ field

And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” - Ruth 2v3

Nothing ever just “happens” with God. As Ruth went out into the field we read that she happened to come into Boaz’ field. It just so “happens” that Boaz was a man of godly devotion who greeted his workers with, “The Lord be with you,” and whose workers replied, “The Lord bless you.”

It just so happened that Boaz was a generous man who instructed his men to leave extra in the fields for Ruth and Naomi, the leave them handfuls in purpose. It just so happened that Boaz qualified as a near kinsman who could redeem Ruth and marry her.

God was in absolute control the whole time. He knew exactly what He was doing. Things don’t just happen when God is in control. It was not just a coincidence that Ruth went to this field. It was all part of God’s plan.

There are no coincidences with God.

Let me go glean in the field

Saturday, 12th November, 2005

"And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.” - Ruth 2v2

Ruth is an amazing person. The first character trait noted about Ruth is here loyalty and devotion to family. There was no way she was going to allow Naomi to go back home alone.

Another character trait seen in Ruth is that of a hard worker. Rather than cry and bemoan their state, Ruth asked Naomi to let her go out and glean in the fields to get food for them to eat. Gleaning as hard, arduous work that required working all day just to gather enough food for the day.

Too often we find ourselves in a difficult situation and waste out time complaining instead of doing something about it. Let us be inspired to act on Ruth’s example. When things seem tough, depend on God, but get to work doing what we can do!


Friday, 11 November 2005

Wherever you go I will go

“And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”

- Ruth 1v16-17

This beautiful saying by Ruth is often used in wedding ceremonies. Although it may not fit perfectly in context, it does exhibit a wonderful heart of loyalty and devotion from one person to another.

Ruth was totally devoted to her mother-in-law. In spite of her problems and her feelings that God had let her down by allowing sons to die she must have had some kind of testimony of faith in Jehovah, for Ruth said “Your God will be my God.” Then she made it clear what she was talking about when she actually used the name of Jehovah in her conversation.

Naomi was such a testimony of what her God was like that she attracted her daughter-in-law to faith in Him. Being a witness to family members can be tough because they see us at all times, the good and the bad.

Both characters are to be admired here; Naomi for her acknowledgement of Jehovah that attracted Ruth to Him, and Ruth for her wonderful human devotion. This is a wonderful model of how human relations should be when we are both following the Lord.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

The result of doing right in our own eyes

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” - Judges 21v25

Chapter 17-21 of Judges begins and ends with the same word, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” In between we see the terrible consequences of that fact.

Look at the litany of almost unimaginable sins- 1) A priest who prostitutes himself to a pagan worshipper, 2) Expecting God’s blessings based on external religiosity 3) A priest being bought out my a group of people, 4) A daughter and a concubine being offered to a group of perverts who wanted the men, 5) The murder and consequent butchering of the concubine and her body parts dispatched all over Israel, and 6) a civil war.

How does this happen? The heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked, no man can know it. No measure of evil is beyond man’s capacity. This is the result when man turns from God and follows his own dictates.

What are we asking for when we reject God’s way for our own? There is a way that seems right to man, but then end of it is the way of death.

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

Content with false gods

“And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.” - Judges 18v30-31

Micah’s personal priest became well know. He had forsaken the worship of God and was totally dedicated to the false gods. The Danites came and offered him a better deal and convinced him that it was better to serve a whole tribe than one man. He had lost all of his scruples and sold out to the Danites. As a result the Danites set of Micah;s graven image while the true house of God was in Shiloh. The continued their false worship until the captivity.

The Danites were too lazy to worship the true God. Expediency was more important than devotion.

How often do God’s people do what is expedient instead of what is right? How often do we take the easy way out instead of truly following Him whatever the sacrifice? It would have been hard to travel to Shiloh, but it was the right thing to do. Doing it is not always the easy thing for us either.

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Now surely God will bless me!

“Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.” - Judges 17v13

Micah was a Jew living in Samaria. One day a Levite showed up at his door looking for a place to stay. Micah and the priest came up with a “great” plan. Micah would hire the Levite as his own personal priest and the priest would live there with him. Micah thought, “Now God will bless me since I have a priest living with me!”

What a mess! Micah thought he could force God to bless him because he had his own personal priest and the priest prostituted his ministry for money! How carnal God’s people had become, they thought they could put God in a box and force Him to bless them by their own standards.

How sad it is when we think we can make God bless us! Sometimes we fall into a trap thinking that if we do all the right things God MUST bless us, according to our definition of blessing.

We never know what God is doing in our lives. He always knows what is best – He acts and blesses according to what He knows is best for us. We can never “make” Him bless us by what we do.

Monday, 7 November 2005

Every man did that which was right in his own eyes

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 17v6

The last few chapters of Judges are a litany of the terrible sins that befell Israel during this time. The actions are shameful and awful even in the light of the wickedness of the modern world. When we look at these events and look at all that is going on around us today we ask ourselves, “How can man be so wicked?” We see horrible crimes being committed. We see terrible abuse of children and shocking crimes that can hardly be imagined even in a horror film, but they are real life events.

What happens? How do we get to this point? How is human life so cheapened that it can be taken so violently and without regard to the consequences?

Judges 17v6 gives the simple answer; “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” When God’s standards are broken down there is no more right and wrong. With no right and wrong there is no limit to man’s potential for violence. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and man’s own eyes are self-serving and self gratifying.

There must be an absolute standard – without that man is left to his own devices. God has given us a perfect standard, His perfect word. It tells us what is right and wrong. When we, even as Christians, reject God’s word in every situation we in essence are no better than those who do what is right in their own eyes.

There can be no standard for us outside of the Bible. May that ALWAYS be our guide, and may we NEVER act according to our own whims and our idea of what is right.

Sunday, 6 November 2005

O Lord God remember me

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” - Judges 16v28

Samson is something of an enigma. It seems that he was quite a playboy. He lusted after power, excitement, food, and women. Time after time he showed the frailties of the flesh, yet God still saw fit to use him.

Samson is an enigma to me. He never seems to really care about God or doing the right thing. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh always seems to be his focus. However, when I think about it, it becomes obvious why God used him and what lessons we can learn from his life.

Firstly, he was allowed to suffer the consequences of his sin. Eventually his fleshly choices caught up with him. He fell pray to the Philistines, was blinded and became their slave. Sin by God’s people does have consequences. God did not punish him for his sin; his punishment was the natural result of his foolish choices.

Secondly, the story is a picture of the grace of God. At the end of his life he repented and called out to God for help. He called out, “Lord, this one time remember me and strengthen me to defeat the Philistines!” God had a plan; Samson was a part of that plan. God is omniscient and He knew that Samson had a role to play in the plan. Remember that God is in control. We never know who God is going to use or how He is going to use them. He is a God of mercy; He can use anyone who will turn to Him. That being the case, I am sure He can use me.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

I saw a woman

“And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.” - Judges 14v2

Minoah and his wife were desperate for a child. The Angel of the Lord appeared and promised them that they would have a child who would grow up to be a deliverer for Israel. Their son, who would be called Samson, would be a Nazarite with vows and external obligations to keep. Apparently he did everything right on the outside, but that was not nearly enough.

The first words we hear from Samson are; “I saw a woman of the Philistines…get her for my wife…because she pleases me.” Samson had everything right on the outside, but on the inside his priorities were all messed up. Though the Philistines were not on the list of those forbidden in marriage she was not a Jew. Why did he like her? She was pleasing to his eyes; he liked the way she looked. This would be a life-long problem for him. Women were going to cause him difficulty after difficulty and would one day bring about his downfall.

Somewhere along the way Samson’s parents had messed up. Perhaps it was because he was a special child, but he hard learned to demand things from them. In this case, God was going to use the whole situation for his glory, but that does not excuse Samson’s attitude or spirit.

It is vital that we not only have an outward conformity in our lives, but we must make sure our hearts are right as well.

Friday, 4 November 2005

Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen

“Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress. And the children of Israel said unto Jehovah, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; only deliver us, we pray thee, this day.” - Judges 10v14-15

Israel had once again turned from God. For eighteen years they had been under the oppression of the Philistines. After all that time they finally called out to God for help. God’s response had to be a surprise to them –“You have forgotten me, go and ask the gods you have chosen for help. It appears that God wanted to make them aware of how far they had gone.

They finally proved that they were genuine, not only did they admit their sin, the Bible says they “put away the false gods and served Him. ” God’s response? He was grieved for their misery. What a precious response from a God Who had been rejected by them.

They key here is that these people finally showed true repentance by putting away the false gods and serving Him. They understood what true confessing of sin was. When we truly confess it is evidenced by action. We put away whatever is turning our attention from Him and serving Him. There is no excuse for sin in our lives – He gives us all the power we need to forsake them and serve Him. At salvation we received full deliverance from the penalty and the power of sin. Lets’ be sure that when we confess our sin we do so my forsaking the “god” that motivates that sin and serve the Lord.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech

“Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.”

- Judges 9v56-57

Abimelech was a very wicked man. The son of Gideon he killed seventy brothers to insure that he would rule next. He was manipulative and scheming when it came to his rule. He expected complete submission to his power. Israel did not need an outside oppressor for their own ruler oppressed them.

Things got desperate for Israel. Civil war breaks out and Gaal lead the Shechemites into battle against Abimelech. They were suffering the consequences of their forgetting God and His servant Gideon in the previous chapter.

Finally Abimelech thought he had the Gaal and the Shechamites cornered. They retreated to a massive tower and all Abimilech had to do was to wait them out. Just as he was about to set fire to the tower and woman on the tower dropped a millstone breaking his skull. Rather than be killed by a woman he had his own armour-bearer kill him.

God always deals with sin. Albimilech forgot all about God. He forgot the principle of “your sin will find you out,” and “whatsoever an man soweth that shall he also reap.” All around us people are going on like Abimilech, ignored God and the consequences of the action. We can take comfort from the fact that Jesus has already taken the penalty for our sin.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

The children of Israel turned again…

“And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: Neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had showed unto Israel.” - Judges 8v33-35

We would think that after such a marvellous victory that Israel would have been grateful for God’s working and stayed faithful to Him. Yet, they were people with short memories and perhaps they were more focused on the man and not on the Lord. As soon as Gideon died they forgot all they hade seen, began worshipping Baal, forgot about God, and did not show kindness to Gideon’s family.

A key part part of their apostasy was a lack of kindness. Kindness is not one of the Christian character traits we talk about much, yet it is listed in the fruit of the spirit. Those who are not kind are clearly not filled with the Spirit and don’t show His fruit. After all that Gideon had done for the land, they forgot all about him after he died.

Lord, help me to remember all that you have done. Help me as well to show kindness to others daily,

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon

“When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.” - Judges 7v18

Gideon was ready for this incredible battle. Three hundred men lined up for battle against several thousand. Their weapons were a bit unusual. In one hand each man had a trumpet, in the other they had a lamp inside a gourd. At Gideon’s command they were to break the gourds exposing the lamps, blow the trumpets, and shout “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

The result was immediate; with God’s help the Midianite soldiers awoke and in their confusion they began to kill each other instead of the enemy. Gideon and his men had a great victory over the massive Midianite army.

It is interesting to note the phrase – “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” God directed and controlled the situation and Gideon obeyed. How wonderful to be permitted to act in obedience to God. How wonderful of Him to allow us to be used in accomplishing His purposes!