Archive for the ‘Judges’ Category

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. 

Are you guilty of one or both of these terrible sins – burning lips that say negative things about others or a wicked heart that thinks such things? If you are guilty of both, you are like a broken piece of pottery covered with the scum from silver refining. What an ugly and worthless person! If you cannot say kind things about others, then say nothing at all.

Here is a simple simile – a stated comparison, by the word “like,” of a man to a clay vessel. An evil man, with a malicious heart and cruel speech, is like a broken fragment of pottery painted over with scum. A good man, with a noble heart and kind words, is like a beautiful work of pottery covered with fine silver, a delightful and valuable object.

What are burning lips? This man has a fire in his mouth, and he regularly burns others with critical and hateful speech. He cannot stay silent for long – he must say something derogatory about others. His lips are set on fire of hell (Pr 4:24; 10:18; 16:27; Jas 3:5-9).

What is a wicked heart? This phrase describes the person whose heart is filled with arrogant contempt and malicious hatred of others, as the context shows (Pr 26:18-28). He does not know God, and he has no affection for others, except to use them for his own selfish ends. He is a murderer at heart, though he may not have committed the crime yet.

Do you have either burning lips or a wicked heart, or do you have both? It is easy to find out. How easily do you argue, backbite, flatter, lie, slander, tattle, or whisper? If you sin in these ways easily, you surely have burning lips. And if you do not grieve after such sins of your lips, then you also have a wicked heart. Reader, examine yourself and repent.

While your lips and heart are not perfectly connected, they are very closely connected. A man may sin once in a while with his lips and have a pure heart, but he will be grieved for it. If a man sins often by attacking others with his words, he shows a violent and wicked heart. Jesus taught that the mouth clearly reveals the heart (Matt 12:34-37).

Many beautiful works of art and household vessels were once made from pottery. A well-formed clay object covered with fine silver could be exquisite in appearance and use. But a potsherd is a broken piece of pottery, and silver dross is the refuse scum from refining.

Wise men examine their hearts and guard their lips – they fear a critical heart and cruel lips that harm others (Pr 6:12-15; 17:20). They will instead choose a pure heart and gracious lips that can win even a king for a friend (Pr 22:11). Reader, examine yourself!

Under Gods Command

Last Chapter and Verse of Judges

Read Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no King; everyone did as he saw fit.

During the time of the judges, the people of Israel experienced trouble because everyone became his own authority and acted on his own opinions of right and wrong.  This produced unspeakable results.  Our world is similar.  Individuals, groups, and societies have made themselves the finial authorities without reference to God.  When people selfishly satisfy their personal desires at all cost, everyone pays the price.

It is the ultimate heroic act to submit all our plans, desires, and motives to God.  Men like Gideon, Jephthah, and Sampson are known for their heroism in battle.  But their personal lives were far from heroic.

Lets Bring it Home:  To be truly heroic, we must go into battle each day in our home, job, church, and society to make God’s Kingdom a reality.  Our weapons are the standards, morals, truth, and convictions we receive from God’s Word.  We will lose the battle if we gather the spoils of earthly treasures rather than seeking the treasures of heaven.

Under Gods Command

Judges 18:30-31 – There the Danites set up for themselves the idols, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priest for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.  They continued to use the idols Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.    

The tribe of Dan had stolen Micah’s idols, and now they set them up in Laish.  Although the Danites were actually denying God by worshipping these images (Exodus 20:1-5), they probably assumed they were worshiping God through them.  Worshiping images of God is not worshiping God, even if it resembles true worship in some ways. 

Lets Bring it Home: People repeat the same mistake today when they claim to be Christians without really believing in God’s power or changing their conduct to conform to his expectations.  Godliness cannot be merely a claim.  It must be a reality in our motives and in our actions.

Under Gods Command

Judges 18:25-27 – The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us or some hot-tempered men will attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.”  So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.  Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people.  They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 

Did the tribe of Dan have the right to kill the citizens of Laish?  No, God had commanded Israel to clean out and destroy certain cities because of their idolatry and wickedness, but Laish did not fall under that judgment.  It was not within the assigned boundaries of Dan,, and its people were peaceful in contrast to the warlike Canaanites.  But the tribe of Dan had no regard for God’s law.  God’s law said to destroy a city for idolatry.  The Danites themselves were guilty of this sin.  This story shows how far some of the tribes had wandered away from God.  Just because the Danites successfully defeated Laish doesn’t mean their actions were right.  Their idolatry show that God was not guiding them.

Lets Bring it Home: Today many justify their wrong actions by outward signs of success.  They think that wealth, popularity, or lack of suffering is an indication of God’s blessing.  But many stories in the Bible indicate that evil and earthly success can go hand in hand (See, for example, 2 Kings 14:23-29).  Success doesn’t indicate God’s approval.  Don’t allow personal success to become a measuring rod of whether or not you are pleasing God.

Under Gods Command

Judges 17:5-6 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some idols and installed one of his sons as his priest.  In those days Israel had no king, everyone did as he saw fit. 

Today, as in Micah’s day, everyone seems to put his or her own interests first.  Time has not changed human nature.  Most people still reject God’s right way of living.  The people in Micah’s time replaced the true worship of God with a homemade version of worship.  As a result, justice was soon replaced by revenge and disorder.  Ignoring God’s direction led to confusion and destruction.  Anyone who has not submitted to God will end up doing whatever seems right at the time.

Lets Bring it Home: This tendency is present in all of us.  To know what is really right and to have the strength to do it, we need to draw closer to God and his Word.

Under Gods Command
Idolatry in the tribe of Dan

Judges 17:1-3 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse-I have that silver with me; I took it.” Then his mother said, “The LORD bless you, my son!” When he returned the elven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said,  “I will give it back to you.”  When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol.  I will give it back to you.” 

Micah and his mother seemed to be good and moral and may have sincerely desired to worship God, but they disobeyed God by following their own desires instead of doing what God wanted.  The attitude that prevailed in Micah’s day was this: “Every one did as he saw fit” (17:6).  Everyone should already know that making carved images and idols are against Gods Commands.

Lets Bring it Home: This is remarkably similar to today’s prevailing attitudes.  But God has given us standards.  He has not left our conduct up to us and our opinions.  We can avoid conforming to society’s low standards by taking God’s commands seriously and applying them to life.  Independence and self-reliance’s are positive traits, but only within the framework of God’s standards.


Under Gods Command

The Death of Samson

Judges 16:27-30 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.  Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me.  O God, please strengthen me just one more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”  Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood.  Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,  Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it.  Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 

In spite of Samson’s past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers.  God still loved him.  He was willing to hear Samson’s prayer of confession and repentance and use him this final time.

Lets Bring it Home: One of the effects of sin in our lives is to keep us from feeling like praying.  But perfect moral behavior is not a condition for prayer.  Don’t let guilt feelings over sin keep you from your only means of restoration.  No matter how long you have been away from God, he is ready to hear from you and restore you to a right relationship.  Every situation can be salvaged if you are willing to turn again to him.  If God could still work in Samson’s situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours.