Posts Tagged ‘middle-east’


Under Gods Command

Romans:  16:25-27 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him-to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ Amen.

As Jerusalem was the center of Jewish life, Rome was the world’s political, religious, social, and economic center.  There the major governmental decisions were made, and from there the gospel spread to the ends of the earth.  The church in Rome was a cosmopolitan mixture of Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free people, men, women, Roman citizens, and world travelers; therefore, it had potential for both great influence and great conflict.  .

Lets Bring it home: Paul had not yet been to Rome to meet all the Christians there, and of course, he has not yet met us.  We too live in a cosmopolitan setting with the entire world open to us.  We also have the potential for both widespread influence and wrenching conflict.  We should listen carefully to and apply Paul’s teaching about unity, service, and love.


Under Gods Command
Samson

Judges 15:1-3 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife.  He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room. “But her father would not let him go in.  “I was so sure you thoroughly hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your friend.  Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.

Judges 15:8-11: He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them.  Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.  The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi.  The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” “We have come to take Samson prisoner, “they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”  Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rook of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us?  What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”

Samson’s reply in 15:11 tells the story of this chapter;  “I merely did to them what they did to me.” Revenge is an uncontrollable monster.

Lets bring it Home:  Each act of retaliation brings another.  It is a boomerang that cannot be thrown without cost to the thrower.  The revenge cycle can be halted only by forgiveness.


Under Gods Command
Tola and Puah

Judges 10:1-5 After the time of Abimelech and man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel.  He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim.  He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died and was buried in Shamir. 
     He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years.  He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys.  They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havoth Jair.  When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon. 

In five verses we read about two men who judged Israel for a total of 45 years, yet all we know about them besides the length of their rules is that one had 30 sons who rode around on 30 donkeys.

Lets Bring it Home: What are we doing for God that is worth nothing?  When your life is over, will people remember more than just what was in your bank account or the number of years you lived.


Under Gods Command
Gideon

Judges 6:01-05 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.  Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.  Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.  They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.  They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locust.  It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.

The Midianites were desert people descended from Abraham’s second wife, Keturah (Genesis 25:1,2).  From this relationship came a nation that was always in conflict with Israel.  Years earlier the Israelite’s, while still wandering in the desert, battled the Midianites and almost totally destroyed them (Numbers 31:1-20).  Because of their failure to completely destroy them, however, the tribe repopulated.  Here they were once again oppressing Israel.


Under Gods Command
Deborah and Barak

Judges 4:6-23

Judges 4:6-8 She (Deborah) sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you; Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.” Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

Judges 4:9-10 “Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, Where he summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.

Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenites had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

Judges 4:12-23 When they told Sisera that Arak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, Sisera gathered together his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, form Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River. Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men. At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left. Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin King of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him. “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him drink, and covered him up. “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her, “If someone comes by and asks you, is anyone here? Say No.” 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.
Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple-dead. On that day God subdued Jabin, the Canaanite King, before the Israelites. And the hand of the Israelites grew stronger and stronger against Jabin, the Canaanite King, until they destroyed him.

Sisera couldn’t have been more pleased when Jael offered him her tent as a hiding place. First, because Jael was the wife of Heber, a man friendly to Sisera’s forces, he thought she could be trusted. Second, because men were never allowed to enter a woman’s tent, no one would think to look for Sisera there. Even though her husband, Heber, apparently sided with Sisera’s forces, Jael certainly did not. Because women of that day were in charge of pithing the tents, Jael had no problem driving the tent peg into Sisera’s head while he slept. Deborah’s prediction was thus fulfilled; the honor of conquering Sisera went to a brave and resourceful woman.

Very Important piece here: Heber was Jael’s husband (4:17). He was from the Kenite tribe, descendants of Moses father-in-law, and longtime allies of Israel. But for some reason, Heber decided to remain neutral in this war, maybe because Jabin’s army appeared to have the military advantage. It was probably Heber who told Sisera that the Israelites were camped near Mount Tabor. Although Heber threw in his lot with Jabin and his forces, his wife, Jael, did not.


Under Gods Command
Deborah and Barak

Judges 4:6-8 She (Deborah) sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you; Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.” Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

Judges 4:9-10 “Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, Where he summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.

Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenites had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

Very Important piece here: Heber was Jael’s husband (4:17). He was from the Kenite tribe, descendants of Moses father-in-law, and longtime allies of Israel. But for some reason, Heber decided to remain neutral in this war, maybe because Jabin’s army appeared to have the military advantage. It was probably Heber who told Sisera that the Israelites were camped near Mount Tabor. Although Heber threw in his lot with Jabin and his forces, his wife, Jael, did not.

Don’t forget that Sisera was the commander of Jabin Army, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.


Under Gods Command
Disobedience and defeat

Judges 3:12, 15-21, 30
12Once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon King of Moab power over Israel.

15-21: Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them deliverer-Ehud, a left handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites went him with tribute to Eglon King of Moab. Now Ehud had made a double-edge sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon King of Moab, who was a very fat man. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way the men who had carried it. At the idols near Gilgal he himself turned back and said, “I have a secret message for you, O King.” The king said, “Quiet!” And all his attendants left him. Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the King rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the Kings belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.

30: That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

Ehud is called a deliverer. In the broadest sense, all the judges can be looked upon as foreshadowing the perfect Deliverer, Jesus Christ While Ehud delivered Israel from its enemies, Jesus delivers us from sin, our greatest enemy.

This unusual story demonstrates how God can use us just the way he made us. Being left-handed in Ehud’s day was considered an exceptional ability. Many Benjaminites were left-handed (see 20:16), making them highly specialized troops, able to use a sling or bow with tactics designed to repel right-handed warriors. Eglon’s bodyguard never checked Israel’s messengers for left-handed weapons. But God used Ehud’s overlooked ability to give Israel victory.

Lets bring it home: Let God use you the way you are to accomplish his work. The enemies we face are as real as Ehud’s, but they are most often within ourselves. The battles we fight are not against other people but against the power of sin. We need God’s help in doing battle against sin. We also need to remember that he has already won the war. He has defeated sin at the cross of his Son, Jesus. His help is the cause of each success, and his forgiveness is sufficient for each failure.