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Bible Pathways 03/25/2004

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, God defeated 135,000 Midianite soldiers in battle And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon (Judges 8:28). This illustrates a twofold principle: God expects man's cooperation, but man cannot overcome his enemies 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 their true King. 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.

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

In order to gain power after Gideon's death, his cruel and crafty son Abimelech negotiated a large sum of money from the Baal temple treasury to pay men to help him murder his 70 brothers. Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself (9:5). Following the execution of his competition, all the men of Shechem . . . made Abimelech king (9:6) However, at the moment of Abimelech's proudest achievements, Jotham, the son of Gideon who had escaped execution, warned that they would soon discover that this self-made king would bring suffering and death upon them as well as himself (9:7-57).

Abimelech is an example of a person controlled by the deceptive and destructive forces of pride and ambition. He was determined to gain selfish ends regardless of whom he destroyed. He is a reminder that God says: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (destruction); but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7-8).

Word Studies:

8:1 chide = quarrel; 8:3 abated = ended, subsided; 8:27 ephod = a sacred priestly garment; went . . . a whoring = they made an idol out of the ephod and worshiped it; 8:31concubine = a servant wife; 9:14 bramble = thornbush.

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. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world (Galatians 1:3-4; II Peter 2:9; Romans 11:26).

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Sen. John Ensign (NV) · Country: St. Kitts-Nevis (42,000) in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 74% Protestant; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Prayer with an upright spirit and heart is a delight to God (Proverbs 15:8).

Optional Reading: John 16

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:17

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