Read Judges 6 -- 7
In Today's Reading:
Israel forsakes God; Midianites oppress Israel for seven years; Israel prays; God sends a prophet; Gideon destroys altar of Baal
Once more the Israelites were enslaved, this time by the Midianites. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand (under the control) of Midian seven years. . . . Israel was greatly impoverished . . . and the children of Israel cried to the LORD (Judges 6:1,6). The answer to their prayers began with reproof: The LORD sent a prophet . . . which said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel: I brought you up from Egypt . . . out of the hand of all that oppressed you . . . and gave you . . . (the promised) land . . . but you have not obeyed My voice (6:8-10). There was no word of comfort, only reproof. The people were left with the consciousness of their sins and with no hope of relief. They needed to recognize that their miserable suffering was the direct result of disregarding the Word of God.
Perhaps this unnamed prophet had only one convert — Gideon: And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said . . . The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor. . . . Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites (6:12,14).
Gideon was deeply conscious of his poverty and in his own inability, and confessed: Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house (6:15). We tend to think the only people God can use are those who are popular. But, often these people are too busy, want to do it their way, or would rather compromise than lose their popularity. Gideon was truly a man of inexperience and uncertainty, but he unconditionally obeyed the Lord regardless of the opposition. Gideon was ready to worship God and built an altar there to the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom (the LORD is peace) (6:24). We too must get our eyes off circumstances and fix our faith on the Word of God. Hearken (listen), my beloved brethren, Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him? (James 2:5).
As the Sword of the LORD (Judges 7:20). In the Apostle John's revelation of Jesus, out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword (Revelation 1:16). We know that the sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17) and that Jesus is the Word of God made (became) flesh (John 1:14).
Pray for: The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bible Pathway Staff by Dr. Jan Dahlin · Government Official: Rep. Don Manzullo (IL) · Country: Syria (17 million) in southwestern Asia · Major languages: Arabic and Kurdish · Limited religious freedom for Christians · 90% Muslim; 4% Eastern Orthodox; 2% Roman Catholic; .25% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national revival, for righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34).
Optional Reading: John 15
Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:17