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Bible Pathways 03/23/2002

March 23

Read Judges 3 -- 5

In Today's Reading:

God uses an ox goad and a Gentile woman who's handy with a tent peg to bring victory to the Israelites. What a loving Father. Every time Israel prays and cries out for help, the Heavenly Father sends another deliverer. But, will Israel ever learn to stop sinning?

Verses for Today:

The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites . . . they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods (Judges 3:5-6).


Israel dwells among the Canaanites, intermarries with them, worships their false gods and did evil. Consequently, they eventually are defeated. When Israel prays, the Lord raises up Othniel to deliver them, peace for 40 years. But Israel again did evil and was defeated by Moabites. After 18 years Israel cries out to the Lord; the Lord raises up Ehud and Moab was subdued for 80 years. After him Shamgar delivers Israel from the Philistines. Israel again does evil and is defeated by Jabin, King of Canaan who harshly oppresses Israel for 20 years. Finally Deborah and Barak bring victory. Song of Deborah and Barak.

After the death of Joshua and the elders, the succeeding generations were not taught the importance of obedience to the Word of God. Obedience that would provide protection and blessings from the Lord.

The Israelites' willingness to live peacefully among the conquered Canaanites and be friends with them was the first step in both their spiritual and municipal downfall. Intermarriage with the Canaanites and worship of their false gods are mentioned in the same sentence, as if to emphasize how one sin quickly led to another. There arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. . . . They forsook the Lord God of their fathers . . . and followed other gods, of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked the Lord to anger (Judges 2:10).

The neglect of the Word of God by the Israelites was the real reason the Canaanites recovered from the devastating defeat by Joshua's army and then gained control over the Israelites causing them to serve the king of Mesopotamia . . . eight years. And when the children of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer . . . Caleb's younger brother (Othniel). . . . and the land had rest forty years. And Othniel . . . died (Judges 3:8-11).

When people fail to read all of God's Word, they will, without realizing it, compromise God's will by making associations that involve them in questionable activities that, in turn, disqualify them from spiritual usefulness. The blessings of God are still dependent upon having a desire to know the Word of God, as well as making a clean break from the world -- its activities and social life.

Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14.)

A Thought from Proverbs: Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people (14:34).

Christ Portrayed:

By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judges 3:9-11). The Spirit of God was also upon Jesus, our Deliverer. When He was baptized . . . saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him (Matthew 3:16); There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer (Romans 11:26).

Word Studies:

3:4 prove = test; 3:7 served Baalim and the groves = worshiped the idols of Baal and Asherah; 3:7 children of Israel = all the people of Israel; 3:16 gird = fasten; 3:22 haft = handle; 3:29 lusty = strong fighters; 3:30 fourscore = 80; 4:21 nail of the tent = a large tent peg for holding down the tent.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Gov. Mike Easley (NC) · Pray for your Sunday School Teacher · Country: Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (38 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom · 42% Roman Catholic; 28% Protestant; 12% magical practices, ancestor worship, and witchcraft; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Exalt the Lord, for He is holy (Psalms 99:9).

Optional Reading: John 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:15

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