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 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 his brother Simeon, struck the Canaanites who were living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it (Judges 1:17). One by one, Canaanite cities fell to the Israelites ? then the Philistine cities (see 1:10-11,13,17-18). The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and who had seen all the great deeds of the LORD, which He had done 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: Another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the deeds He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the LORD's sight and served the Baals. They abandoned the LORD. . . . So the LORD became angry with Israel and said, Because this nation has violated My covenant . . . I also will no longer dispossess from before them anyone among the nations which Joshua left when he died. This was to test Israel, to see whether or not they would keep the way of the LORD (2:10-22).
The Israelites chose to do what they thought was more "humanitarian" and would create 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 see sin for what it really is and that false gods are robbing God of love and worship, and are deceiving people so that they will be eternally lost. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12,15).
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 sware . . . I said . . . I will). Jesus said to them, ?I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am? (John 8:58).
Government Officials: Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) and Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) · Country: Taiwan (22 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese · Limited religious freedom · 93% Chinese religions; 4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Lift up your prayers to God with your whole heart (Psalms 119:58,145).
Optional Reading: John 13
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:15