March 22

Read Judges 1 -- 2

In Today's Reading:

Judah chosen to lead wars; Israel fails to drive Canaanites out; Angel of the Lord's rebuke; Joshua's death

The Israelites were chosen to reveal the One True God to the idol-worshiping nations and to glorify Him by being obedient to His Word. The first few verses of Judges give us a sense of high hope for the total conquest of the land as begun by Joshua: Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it (Judges 1:17). One by one, Canaanite cities were defeated by the Israelites (1:10-11,13,17-18). And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that He did for Israel (2:7).

The Israelites who were living at the time of Joshua's death recognized that God was their Captain and King and that He had given them victory over the Canaanites. But a new era in the history of the 12 tribes began soon after the death of Joshua.

The Lord's command to complete the conquest of Canaan was not fulfilled because of the people's compromise with the pagan inhabitants of the land. It is disappointing to read: There arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim. And they forsook the LORD. . . . And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, Because . . . this people has transgressed My Covenant . . . I also will not hereafter drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove (test) Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD (2:10-22).

The Israelites chose to do what they thought was more "humanitarian" and created peaceful coexistence with the enemies of God. Perhaps they argued: "How could a God of love destroy 'innocent' people? But, the concept of innocence disappears when we see sin for what it really is and see that false gods are robbing God of love and worship and are deceiving people so that they will be eternally lost. Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

Word Studies:

1:15 nether = lower; 1:23 descry = spy out, keep a watch; 2:5 Bochim = Weepers.

Christ Revealed:

By the Angel of the LORD (Judges 2:1,4). The Angel of the LORD is understood to be the Lord Jesus Himself preincarnate, for He speaks as God Himself (I made you . . . I swore . . . I said . . . I will). Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for: The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Government Officials: Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) and Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) · Country: Sweden (9 million) in northern Europe · Major language: Swedish · Religious freedom · 66% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to help you teach His Word to your children; it will give guidance and instruction as they go through life (Proverbs 6:20-23).

Optional Reading: John 13

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:17