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Bible Pathways 03/22/05

March 22

Read Judges 1 - 2

In Today's Reading:

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

The Israelites were chosen by the One True God to reveal Him to the heathen 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 fell to the Israelites - then the Philistine cities (see 1:10-13,17-18). 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, still 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 emerged 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 (Gentiles, pagans) 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" or which created peaceful coexistence with the enemies of God. Perhaps they argued: "How could a God of love destroy 'innocent' people? This, of course, is human reasoning. The concept of innocence disappears when we recognize the horrifying results of believing in a false god. It robs Jesus of His rightful love and worship. But, the greatest sin is deceiving people to believe they will go to heaven when, in fact, Jesus said: I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6). Consequently, they will be cast into hell. 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 who is understood to be the Lord Jesus Himself preincarnate, for He speaks as God Himself (I made you . . . I swore . . . I said . . . I will) (Judges 2:1,4). 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 sponsored by Jack & Barbara Michael · BPM Staff: Bernice Rathbone · Government Officials: Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) and Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) · Country: Russia (150 million) northeastern Europe and northern Asia · Major language: Russian · Religious freedom · 55% Russian/Armenian/Georgian/Old Believers Orthodox; 9% Muslim; .8% Shamanist/animist; .7% Protestant; .6% Buddhist; .5% Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Amidst uncertainty, seek the guidance of God (Isaiah 42:16).

Optional Reading: John 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:10

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