In Today's Scripture Reading:
Israel intermarries with Canaanites, worships false gods, is defeated; the Lord raises up judges to deliver Israel; Deborah and Barak
Although Joshua had executed all the Canaanite kings, the Canaanite people still occupied the promised land. They were to prove (test) Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the Commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers (Judges 3:4).
The first major step in the downfall of the Israelites was their disregard for the Commandments of the Lord. The next step was that they became friendly neighbors and dwelt among the Canaanites (3:5). The third step in their decline soon followed: They took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods (3:6). The fourth step was inevitable because the Israelites' heathen wives who worshiped idols could not teach their children to worship the One True God. Sadly, the final step: The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord . . . and served Baalim and the groves (idol worship) (3:7). The outcome was certain and tragic; sin always separates the sinner from the protective love of God and they were soon under the control of an enemy nation. After years of suffering, the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them (3:9,15).
We learn from Israel's history that, regardless of how far we have backslidden and sinned, our merciful God in heaven always hears the prayers of those who confess and turn away from their sins and commit their lives to Him. Often we are so taken up with condemning ourselves and others when we fall short of being what God's Word tells us is right that we forget that God does love us as a father pitieth his children (Psalm 103:13). So don't give up. We need to recognize that God loves to forgive even seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). But, the sad fact is that wasted years of opportunity cannot be relived.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
3:7 served Baalim and the groves =b> worshiped idols; 3:22 haft =b> handle; 3:29 lusty =b> strong fighters; 3:30 fourscore =b> 80; 4:21 nail of the tent =b> a large tent peg for holding down the tent.
By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judges 3:9-11). The Spirit of God was also upon Christ, our Deliverer (Matthew 3:16). There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26). Jesus declared: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).
Pray for The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Phillip A. Stout Staff: Mary Kay Wagner Government Official: Gov. Michael Easley (NC) Country: Latvia (3 million) eastern coast of Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe Major languages: Latvian and Russian Religious freedom 20% Protestant; 20% Roman Catholic; 15% Russian Orthodox; 1% Jewish Prayer Suggestion: Confess wrongs you have committed to the Lord and to those whom you have hurt; ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
Optional Reading: John 14
Memory Verse for the Week: II Peter 1:5