Highlights In Today's Reading:
This is the beginning of the Lord using other nations to test Israel's loyalty (3:1,4). Notice the sequence. First servitude — Mesopotamia — 1st Judge Othniel. Second servitude — Moab — 2nd Judge Ehud. Third servitude — Philistia — 3rd Judge Shamgar (3:8-31). Fourth servitude — Canaan — 4th Judge Deborah (Barak). Climax = song of praise.
Although Joshua had executed all the Canaanite kings, the Canaanite people still occupied the promised land. They were to prove (test) Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the Commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers (3:4).
The first major mistake in the downfall of the Israelites was their disregard for the Commandments of the Lord. They then decided to become friendly neighbors and dwelt among the Canaanites (3:5). They took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons (3:6).
Next, they served their (the Canaanites') gods (3:6). This was inevitable. The Israelites' heathen wives who worshiped idols did not teach their children to worship the One True God.
Sadly, the final step was that the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served (worshiped) Baalim and the groves (idols) (3:7). The outcome was certain. Sin separated the sinners from the protective love of God, and they were soon under the control of an enemy nation: The anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of the Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years (3:8). When the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them (3:9,15).
Israel's history confirms that, regardless of how far we have backslidden and sinned, our merciful God always hears the prayers of those who confess their sins and commit their lives to Him. Often we are so taken up with condemning ourselves and others when we fall short of being what our heart tells us is right, that we forget that God does love us as a Father pitieth his children (Ps. 103:13). So don't give up. We need to recognize that God loves to forgive even seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22). But, wasted years of opportunity can never be relived.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34).
Thought for Today:
It may be easier to compromise with the world, but such actions only serve to withhold the blessings of God in our lives and bring about our eventual destruction.
By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judg. 3:9-11). The Spirit of God was also upon Christ, our Deliverer (Matt. 3:16). There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:26). Jesus declared: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).
3:1 prove =test; known =experienced; 3:2 know =understand; 3:7 groves =for idolatry; 3:13 gathered =recruited; 3:16 gird =fasten; raiment =cloak; 3:18 made an end to offer the present =finished giving the tribute; bare =married; 3:19 by =at; Keep silence =leave us alone; 3:22 dirt =excrement; 3:24 covereth his feet =is relieving himself; 3:27 before =led; 3:29 lusty =robust; 3:30 subdued =defeated; 4:7 draw unto =lure; 4:11 severed =separated; 4:13 Gentiles =nations; 4:15 discomfited =stark terror; 4:16 host =army; fell upon the edge of the sword =were killed; 4:21 nail =leg; smote =drove; 5:2 the avenging of =bringing victory to; 5:10 ride on white asses =hold public office; 5:11 go down to the gates =defend themselves; 5:14 root =new; 5:15 princes =rulers; 5:18 jeoparded =risked; 5:30 sped =wound; divers =various.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Official: Gov. Michael Easley (NC) • Country: Equatorial Guinea (466,000) in western Africa • Major language: Spanish • Freedom for churches at this time • 71% Roman Catholic; 19% ancestral spirit worship and medicine men; 6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: When discouraged over material or financial loss, praise the Lord for preparing and providing an eternal home (John 14:1-3).
Optional Reading: John 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:44