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Bible Pathways 03/25/2003

March 25

Read Judges 8 -- 9

In Today 's Reading:

Gideon makes an ephod; his death; Gideon's son Abimelech murders 70 of his brothers; Abimelech's accident and death

Gideon was called of God to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites. Thirty-two thousand men responded to Gideon's call to war; but God chose to use just 300 men to defeat the Midianites. The other Israelites were sent home; and, with only 300 men, 135,000 Midianite soldiers were defeated in battle. The land enjoyed peace for 40 years during the days of Gideon (Judges 8:28). This illustrates a wonderful principle. God would not act without man's cooperation, and man could not overcome without the wisdom and power of God.

The Israelites urged Gideon to be their king. It was an appeal to his pride. But Gideon knew that it was not he who had saved his people, but God who was the true King. So Gideon said to them: I . . . will not rule over you . . . the LORD shall rule over you (8:23). Gideon knew that, as a judge of Israel, he would need God to guide him.

The Israelites soon forgot that God was the One who had miraculously delivered them from the Midianites.

After Gideon's death, with an appetite for power, his cruel and crafty son Abimelech negotiated a large sum of money from the Baal temple treasury to pay men to murder his 70 brothers. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal survived, because he hid himself (9:5). Following the execution of his competition, all the lords of Shechem . . . made Abimelech king (9:6). However, at the moment of Abimelech's proudest achievements, Jotham, the son of Gideon who escaped execution, warned that they would soon discover that this self-made king would bring suffering and death upon them as well as himself (9:7-21). As Jotham had foretold, they soon brought about their own destruction (9:22-57).

Abimelech is an example of a person controlled by the deceptive and destructive forces of pride and ambition, one who is determined to gain selfish ends regardless of whom he hurts. He is a reminder of what Jesus said to the church of Ephesus and the church of Smyrna: Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. . . . Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:5,11).

Christ Portrayed:

By Gideon, who delivered the Israelites from Midian (Judges 8:22-23). The Lord Jesus has delivered us out of the hands of our spiritual enemies, and it is fitting that He should rule over us. Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4; see also II Peter 2:9; Romans 11:26).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. John Ensign (NV) · Country: Thailand (60 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Thai and English · Limited freedom of Christian ministry; Buddhism is the state religion · 92% Buddhist; 4% Muslim; 2% Chinese folk-religionist; 1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Praise God for His mercy (Psalms 136:2).

Optional Reading: John 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16

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