Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Judges - "Designer Religion"|
Chapter: Jud 3
Passage: Jud 3:7-11
A. Find Out
1. How did Israel behave? v.7
2. How did God respond? v.8
3. How did Israel eventually react? v.9a
4. So what did God do? v.9b
5. How did the Lord enable him? v.10
6. What was the result? v.11
1. How did Israel sin?
2. How was God's grace revealed?
3. What was the cycle observed?
We find here a cycle that will become very familiar in this book. Israel reject the Lord, the Lord allows them to be oppressed, Israel eventually cry out to the Lord, the Lord raises up a deliverer in the form of a Spirit-empowered judge, and peace reigns. Let's observe those here.
What terrible words, “ Israel forgot the Lord!” So easy to read and so easy to do in the midst of a busy and hectic life in the twenty first century! Because they forgot the Lord they ended up worshipping the gods of the people around them. Again so easy to do! Do we worship the gods of materialism, ambition, prestige, prosperity and status?
The consequence? God's anger came against them in a very specific way. God doesn't just feel angry, He does something about it. When God is angry with His people it is because of their stupidity which has led them into sin, and so He brings a form of discipline that will eventually drive them back into His arms, into the blessing of life and blessing again. In this case it is a king from the northwest and it takes eight years of this for them to come to their senses and cry out to God. God's answer is to send His Spirit upon Othniel, a descendant of Caleb, who rises up and delivers Israel so they have peace throughout the following forty years of his life. The Spirit presumably stirred Othniel to reject the present circumstances and fight. Hullo?
1. God's discipline is always to bring us back to Him. Do it quickly.
2. Note that when God delivers it is often by the power of His Spirit.
Chapter: Jud 3
Passage: Jud 3:12-31
A. Find Out:
1. Who now came against Israel , and why? v.12-14
2. What did Israel then do and how did God respond? v.15
3. What was Ehud sent to do and how did he prepare? v.15b-18
4. What did he do? v.19-22
5. How did he manage to escape? v.23-26
6. So what did he go on to do? v.27-30
7. Who followed Ehud and what did he do? v.31
1. How is the cycle seen again?
2. What was Ehud's first step in delivering Israel ?
3. What was his second step?
After Othniel dies, Israel again fall away from the Lord and so again the Lord lifts away his hand of protection and Moab , from the east of the Jordan , come and oppress them. Eventually they cry out to the Lord and so the Lord sends them another deliverer. This time we aren't told how the Lord prompted him, but somehow Ehud finds himself in the forefront of the affairs of Israel . He is sent to pay tribute to Eglon, the king of Moab and cutting a long story short, he kills Eglon. The king was the all-important figurehead of Moab and so once he has been killed Moab are vulnerable.
Thus having dealt with the king, Ehud goes on to deal with the people. Arriving back in Ephraim's territory, calls the people to follow him and oppose the Moabites who are in their land. This they do and the land has peace from the enemy for eighty years. After Ehud, comes another judge, Shamgar who continues to deal with the enemy, in the south east this time. Peace continues.
In Ehud we see a leader exercising leadership. He goes into a situation where he is subservient, but prepared to put the enemy leader to death. Having done that he is in a position to call the people to follow him to continue the work through. Lead, then you can call followers.
1. Deal with the head of the problem first.
Chapter: Jud 4
Passage: Jud 4:1-24
A. Find Out:
1. How did the cycle start again? v.1-3
2. Who was Deborah and what did she do? v.4-7
3. How did Barak not fully rise to this? v.8-10
4. What subsequently happened? v.12-18
5. Why did Sisera go to Jael? v.11,17
6. What happened? v.18-24
1. What was Deborah's role? How well did she fulfil it?
2. What was Barak's role? How well did he fulfil it?
3. What was Jael's role? How well did she fulfil it?
The cycle has started again. A judge dies, Israel fall away, enemy oppression occurs, Israel cry out to the Lord, the Lord provides a solution. This time however the judge is a woman, but she is also a prophetess. She hears from the Lord and calls Barak to lead the people against Sisera, a Canaanite commander who had been oppressing Israel for twenty years! Time moves slowly!
Barak is rather unsure of this. He wants Deborah to go with him to battle but she indicates that this is not the right way in God's kingdom – the man should take the lead in battle. Nevertheless she agrees to go. The outcome is victory over the enemy. Yet, Sisera manages to escape.
Now we come to an interesting if not gruesome episode. Sisera goes to Jael, who is an Israelite who, although being under the oppression of king Jabin, the Canaanite, had with her husband, managed to diplomatically remain on good terms with the king. Thus Sisera goes to her for rest. This she grants him, but kills him in his sleep.
There is a lesson here. We can be on good terms with our non-Christian neighbours and be caring and friendly but we know that if God's salvation is to come, they have to die to their old selves. As friendly as we may be, we know that death is essential. Ponder this for it is a vital truth. (Rom 1:16 / Jn 12:24,25 / Rom 6:3-7)
1. Are we open and caring to all, without reservation?
2. Yet are we aware there can be no new life without death to the old?
Chapter: Jud 5
Passage: Jud 5:1-31
A. Find Out:
1. Who sang this song? v.1
2. How did they portray the Lord? v.4,5
3. What had been Israel 's state? v.6-8
4. Then who do they remember? v.9-15a,18
5. Yet who did NOT come? v.15b-17
6. What is then portrayed? v.19-22
7. Whose actions are then recounted? v.24-27
8. And who is considered in portraying the result? v.28-31
Simply read this song out loud to catch the wonder of it.
This is a song, a poem sung in victory. Let it touch you heart, because that is what songs are supposed to do. Catch the exuberance in the opening verses, the sense of triumph and excitement in their words, as they then go on to portray the power of the Lord as He comes forth to deliver His people.
Then comes the life of the subservient people, people avoiding the roads lest they encounter the enemy, hiding away from enemy eyes, powerless. Then came a ‘gathering of the clans' as Deborah called Barak and Barak called the people. They came from Ephraim, Benjamin, Zebulun, Issachar and Naphtali. They came from the north and from the centre of the country but, to their shame, the other tribes did not send warriors. Then comes the battle and the enemy bodies were swept away by the river. Israel triumphs! Yet Meroz, probably a town in the centre, most affected by the enemy, did nothing and was cursed.
Then comes the story of Jael killing Sisera so that he will not come back and rebuild his army. The song poignantly portrays Sisera's mother waiting fruitlessly for him to return – but he won't the enemy has been completely destroyed, the Lord has triumphed and so the land is able to have peace. Read and reread this song to catch the sense behind the words, the power of triumph.
1. Victory over our enemy is worth singing about. Do you?
2. Songs lift the heart. Do they for you?
RECAP - "The First Four Judges" - Judges 3-5
In this second group of 4 studies we have seen :
- Israel turning from the Lord (3:7)
- The Lord giving Israel over to the enemy (3:8)
- Israel crying to the Lord and Him raising up Othniel (3:9)
- God's Spirit coming on him to overcome the enemy (3:10)
- Peace for 40 years while Othniel lived (3:11)
- Israel turn from God into subjection again (3:12-14)
- Israel cry to the Lord & He provides Ehud (3:15)
- Ehud kills Eglon the Moabite king (3:16-26)
- Ehud calls Israel to rise up (3:27-29)
- peace for 80 years (3:30)
- Shamgar follows Ehud & peace continues (3:31)
Deborah & Barak 4:1-5:31
- Israel turn from God (4:1)
- God gives them into the hand of Jabin & Sisera (4:2)
- Israel cry to the Lord (4:3)
- Deborah, the prophetess, ruling (4:4,5)
- Deborah calls Barak to go and receive victory (4:6,7)
The cycle is clearly observable: falling away, subjection, crying to God and then deliverance by God's man. The recorder seems to comment as much on a judge as they stood out by their deeds. Othniel, the first judge was Spirit-empowered. Ehud was an assassin whose act gave Israel the courage to rise up. Shamgar was a warrior judge who killed six hundred Philistines. Deborah was a prophetess-judge who brought God's call to Barak to lead Israel into battle and to victory. Barak can only do it with her help and it's left to another woman to finally wipe out the enemy commander!
1. God's discipline is to drive us back into His arms.
2. When we cry in repentance, He sends His Holy Spirit afresh.
3. The Lord's wisdom shows how to overcome the enemy each time.
4. Courage is needed to rise up against the enemy.
5. Faith is needed to respond to God's call.
Acknowledge your failings and return to the Lord. Receive the power of His Holy Spirit and do His will. Ask for wisdom to overcome the enemy's activities in your life.
PART 3 : "Gideon"
In the next three chapters we will follow in some detail the activities of Gideon as shown to us as the next of God's deliverers for His people.