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Bible Pathways 03/24/2003

March 24

Read Judges 6 -- 7

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. The sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. . . . Israel became poverty stricken so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD (Judges 6:1,6). The answer to their prayers began with reproof: The LORD sent a prophet. . . He said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel: I Myself brought you up from Egypt. . . . and from the hand of all who oppressed you. . . . I gave you their land. . . . But you did not obey Me (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: Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said . . . The LORD is with you, O mighty warrior. . . . Go in this strength of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian (6:12,14).

Gideon was deeply conscious of his poverty and inability, and confessed: But, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Indeed, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest 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 to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace (6:24). We too must get our eyes off of circumstances and fix our faith on the word of God. Listen, my dear brothers: Didn't God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5).

Christ Portrayed:

As the sword of the LORD (Judges 7:20). In the apostle John's revelation of Jesus, from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16). We know that the Sword is God's word (Ephesians 6:17) and that Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh (John 1:14).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Don Manzullo (IL)· Country: Tanzania (31 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: Swahili and English · Churches are expected to help implement Marxist policy · 33% Muslim; 19% Roman Catholic; 19% animist; 15% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Rise early in the morning to lift up your prayers to God and hope in His Word (Psalms 119:147).

Optional Reading: John 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16

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