March 24, 2006

Read Judges 6

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 (sinned) 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 unto the LORD (Judges 6:1,6). The answer to their prayers began with reproof: The LORD sent a prophet . . . which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt . . . out of the hand of all that oppressed you . . . and gave you their land . . . but ye 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 their disregarding the Word of God.

It would appear that this unnamed prophet may have had only one convert — Gideon: And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said . . . The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. . . . Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites (6:12,14).

Gideon was deeply conscious of his poverty and in his own limited ability, 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 that the only people God can use are those who have influence in their communities. 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 without fear of the opposition. Gideon was ready to worship the God of Israel and built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah (Yahweh)-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, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? (James 2:5).

Word Studies:

6:36 by my hand = through me; 7:4 try = test; 7:22 host = a army.

Christ Revealed:

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).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. John Warmerdam · Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Government Officials: Gov. Christine Gregoire (WA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (IL) · Country: Namibia (2 million) in southwest Africa · Major languages: Afrikaans and German · Religious freedom · 68% Protestant; 16% Roman Catholic; 5% African traditional religions · Prayer Suggestion: Commit your fears to the Lord; He will give you peace and strength (Daniel 10:19).

Optional Reading: John 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Joshua 22:5