Category Archives: Protector / Deliverer

Do Not Turn Your Back on YHWH After He Delivers You

Human nature has not changed. We can learn from the past and apply these learnings to our own life and to the path our nation follows. Judges provides an excellent, at times accelerated, demonstration of how people can be fickle with regards to YHWH. When there is a significant burden or crisis, they turn toward him. Then, over time, they become complacent… especially over a few generations. Then he allows consequences for their disobedience and rebellion, and then they want to repent to get his help.

If we put ourselves in his place, we would be frustrated and disgusted how quickly people forget that we helped and delivered them as we watch them go worship rocks and sticks. Yet we expect YHWH to just somehow smile at us as we ignore and reject him and then smile again when we come back and ask for help again and again. He is merciful and patient, but he also experiences righteous anger. Let us not take for granted that he provides, that he rescues, that he delivers us. Let us not grow complacent after he does and let us not wander away from him in good times.

Judges 10

Oppression of Philistines and Ammonites

      1Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

      3After him, Jair the Gileadite arose and judged Israel twenty-two years. 4He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair to this day. 5And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

      6Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him. 7The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the sons of Ammon. 8They afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites. 9The sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.

      10Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals.” 11The LORD said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? 12“Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. 13“Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you. 14“Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.” 15The sons of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day.” 16So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer.

      17Then the sons of Ammon were summoned and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 18The people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Us Give Thanks to YHWH With All Our Heart

Let us give thanks and sing praises to YHWH. Let us bow down before him and submit our lives to him. Reflect on his lovingkindness toward his people.

Psalms 138

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Favor.

A Psalm of David.

     1I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.

      2I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

      3On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

      4All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.

      5And they will sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.

      6For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

      7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.

      8The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Follow Through To Complete The Victory

Judges 8 is an action packed chapter. It follows the victory of Gideon that is so well known in which with trumpets, pitchers, and torches  and only 300 men (and YHWH of course) Israel routes Midian. The action does not stop, much like what we experience in life in general. There are some periods where things move quickly and can get complicated. We need to deal with them as they come and in some cases follow up later to get proper closure. We see also the importance of Gideon following through on the initial wins to complete the full victory. He does not leave loose ends that may come back to unravel the victory later. Sometimes finishing is very challenging and we are tempted to stop and call it “good enough”. We should take care to follow through to the end.

Gideon has just routed the Midianites and of course everyone cheers him, right? Nope. The men of Ephraim are angry with him. He must deal with them. No worries, right? Now they will get lots of support to finish the battle against Midian? Nope. The men of Succoth and Penuel refuse to help for fear Gideon does not complete the victory and they suffer at the hands of Midian again.

Even those who suffer at the hands of the wicked will not always rise up to help you defeat it. We must rely on YHWH rather than men. I suppose there is room for robust discussion on Gideon’s response to the people of Succoth and Penuel. Whether or not you agree with his approach, there is not rebuke in scripture for what actions he took, as there is clearly called out not very long after in verse 27. It is reasonable to conclude that if his treatment of the people was wrong here in the same chapter it might likewise be called out. This is likely a difficult chain of thought for most of us given the mindset of our vastly different culture some thousands of years later.

Gideon experiences a high point in refusing to become ruler over Israel like a king. He insists that YHWH remain ruler over them. This is awesome. Then, just as he wraps up all this difficulty and is about to enter into peace for 40 years, he stumbles. He takes gold and makes it into an ephod which then becomes a snare to Israel, Gideon, and his household. It is almost as if he let his guard down. We do not learn his motives in doing so. Perhaps he intended it for good. None the less, perhaps we need learn to be vigilant even as YHWH delivers victory that we not step into or create snares for ourselves and our families or people. Sometimes it is in the embracing of victory in which we fall into sin.

Judges 8:1-27

Zebah and Zalmunna Routed

      1Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they contended with him vigorously. 2But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3“God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

      4Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon said, “All right, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” 8He went up from there to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.”

      10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. 11Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.

      13Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14And he captured a youth from Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17He tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

      18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” 19He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels’ necks.

      22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” 24Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. 27Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

It Has To Be YHWH Who Delivered Victory

YHWH’s ways are not our ways. When we go to battle or to face a great challenge, we want every advantage we can get. There are times, however, when YHWH sends us into a difficult situation that he wants to make sure we remember it was him and not ourselves who delivered the victory. He may shift the odds so that we will have no doubt.

Judges 7

Gideon’s 300 Chosen Men

      1Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

      2The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ 3“Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

      4Then the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” 6Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. 7The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.” 8So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

      9Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands. 10“But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp. 12Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” 14His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”

      15When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands.” 16He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. 17He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18“When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”

Confusion of the Enemy

      19So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. 22When they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23The men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.

      24Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian and take the waters before them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were summoned and they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25They captured the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Fleece of Gideon and The Patience of YHWH

It seems YHWH knew that was really stretching Gideon in this assignment. He was very patient to show him signs multiple times. I think that this partly was due to YHWH understanding that Gideon was not used to this kind of direction from and relationship with the LORD. Clearly, if Gideon was afraid of the men of his father’s household when he took down the altar to Baal and the Ashera pole, YHWH knew he would benefit from the signs with the fleece to set him up for success going against the Midianites.

I think we can also conclude that as YHWH’s relationship communicating with someone matures, so do his expectations for obedience without signs and wonders. I think Moses is a good example of this idea. He started with many signs and wonders and much reassurance from YHWH. Later, YHWH was displeased when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it in the wilderness to bring forth water.

We can ask for signs, but we do want to develop our relationship with the LORD so that we need not have signs every time he gives us direction, even if it is challenging.

Judges 6:33-40

    33Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

      36Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

I am very grateful our Father is patient and kind and understanding of his children’s doubts and fears. When we are new to accepting his specific instruction or when he asks us for something that seems really challenging, he knows it is hard for us.  I also understand that he wants us to mature over time in our relationship with him so we overcome those doubts and trust him, even without signs like the fleece.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Whom Does YHWH Choose?

The story of Gideon is remarkable, but sometimes we can focus on the broad picture of what is recorded about Gideon and miss some of the details. For example, let us not miss how dramatic it must have been for Gideon to come face to face with an angel of the LORD who delivered him a message from YHWH. We see also that Gideon went quickly to prepare a offering, without being asked.

Another key message I want to highlight today is that we should be very careful when we have a tendency to make assumptions about whom YHWH would choose to deliver a message or to give a spiritual gift (perhaps like prophecy). YHWH often chooses those whom people would not choose. King David (smallest and youngest of his brothers) is one example… and Moses (a murderer who had run away from justice) is another. We see in Judges 6 that Gideon is yet another that man would not pick.

Judges 6:11-24

Gideon Is Visited

      11Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” 13Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” 17So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. 18“Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

      19Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them. 20The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. 22When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 24Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Let us be very slow in judging what type of person or what background they should have in order for YHWH to use them. Often he chooses those that man would not to better demonstrate his glory. Of course we should still test everyone and what they say or teach against scripture.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

When YHWH Delivers Victory, Praise Him!

When YHWH delivers victory, take time to give him the glory with thanks and praise. Don’t let a simple thank you suffice, when he is worthy of praise as well. Take time to reflect on who he is and what he has done, on what he continues to do. Take time to enjoy the peace that follows trials once he delivers you.

We see a good example of this recorded in Judges 5, and we should apply this to our lives often.

Judges 5

The Song of Deborah and Barak

      1Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,

      2“That the leaders led in Israel,
That the people volunteered,
Bless the LORD!

      3“Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers!
I—to the LORD, I will sing,
I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel.

      4“LORD, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
Even the clouds dripped water.

      5“The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD,
This Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.

      6“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted,
And travelers went by roundabout ways.

      7“The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.

      8“New gods were chosen;
Then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or a spear was seen
Among forty thousand in Israel.

      9“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the LORD!

      10“You who ride on white donkeys,
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who travel on the road—sing!

      11“At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places,
There they shall recount the righteous deeds of the LORD,
The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel.
Then the people of the LORD went down to the gates.

      12“Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and take away your captives, O son of Abinoam.

      13“Then survivors came down to the nobles;
The people of the LORD came down to me as warriors.

      14“From Ephraim those whose root is in Amalek came down,
Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples;
From Machir commanders came down,
And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of office.

      15“And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As was Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed at his heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great resolves of heart.

      16“Why did you sit among the sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.

      17“Gilead remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay in ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And remained by its landings.

      18“Zebulun was a people who despised their lives even to death,
And Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.

      19“The kings came and fought;
Then fought the kings of Canaan
At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
They took no plunder in silver.

      20“The stars fought from heaven,
From their courses they fought against Sisera.

      21“The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength.

      22“Then the horses’ hoofs beat
From the dashing, the dashing of his valiant steeds.

      23‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the LORD,
‘Utterly curse its inhabitants;
Because they did not come to the help of the LORD,
To the help of the LORD against the warriors.’

      24“Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.

      25“He asked for water and she gave him milk;
In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.

      26“She reached out her hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.

      27“Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay;
Between her feet he bowed, he fell;
Where he bowed, there he fell dead.

      28“Out of the window she looked and lamented,
The mother of Sisera through the lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?’

      29“Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,

      30‘Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil?
A maiden, two maidens for every warrior;
To Sisera a spoil of dyed work,
A spoil of dyed work embroidered,
Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?’

      31“Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD;
But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”
And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Obedience Leads to a Blessing; Disobedience to a Curse

The pattern in Judges is very plain to see. The Israelites turned from the LORD and did evil and he turned them over to the hand of others to rule over them as judgment. Through a period of pain being ruled by cruel neighbors who knew not the LORD, the people of YHWH repented and cried out for help. The suffering brought them back to YHWH. Once the repented and cried out for help, the LORD raised up leaders within Israel and led them to victory. Then the cycle repeats.

Try not to fall into this cycle personally, but rather continue to seek the LORD and submit even when things are good. However, if you do find yourself suffering and feeling distant from the LORD, take it as an invitation to return to him and repent from your own ways or the ways of culture around you. His is a forgiving Father, full of grace and mercy.

Judges 4

Deborah and Barak Deliver from Canaanites

      1Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died. 2And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3The sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

      4Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. 7‘I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’” 8Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.

      11Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

      12Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15The LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.

      17Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20He said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” 21But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

      23So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24The hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.

Let us not miss the opportunity to pray for and influence our nation to turn back to the LORD either, for this pattern certainly applies to nations and groups of people who claim to serve him, or used to claim to serve him. This applies to the USA. We were founded a Christian nation on Christian principles and beliefs. Now the people turn away from him and his ways and he will turn us over to the depravity of our own minds.

Romans 1:18-32

     18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

      24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

      28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

However, if we would humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, he may heal our land.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

YHWH Alone Is Our Refuge And Our Salvation

We all face times where we feel like things are not going well, where we feel like others are against us. David certainly had times where he experienced many enemies plotting against him. Even if all others had abandoned him, he knew he could find refuge in his heavenly Father. Let us not try to find security and refuge in ourselves or in other people or money or power. Let us seek only YHWH as our refuge, no matter what we face.

Psalm 62

God Alone a Refuge from Treachery and Oppression.

For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

      1My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.

      2He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

      3How long will you assail a man,
That you may murder him, all of you,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?

      4They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position;
They delight in falsehood;
They bless with their mouth,
But inwardly they curse.

Selah.

      5My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.

      6He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

      7On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

      8Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Selah.

      9Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are together lighter than breath.

      10Do not trust in oppression
And do not vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

      11Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;

      12And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.

I would encourage each of us as well, no matter how dire our situation may seem, even if we feel completely alone… trust in YHWH. Pour out your heart before Him. Trust in Him and Him alone as our salvation and refuge.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Find Peace and Victory By Turning Back to the Father

We begin to see a pattern develop in Judges, one to which we should pay attention. The people turn from YHWH and mix and mingle their practices with those of the pagans. Then YHWH removes his hand of blessing and even raises up enemies against them to discipline them. The people suffer and ultimately cry out to YHWH and he raises up a leader to set them free and lead them to repent. It is only then that the people experience peace.

There is no reason to believe this pattern does not still apply in our relationship with YHWH and for our nations today. We need to humble ourselves and pray that he would have mercy on us and raise up righteous leaders and that his people would turn from sin and return to him and his ways.

Judges 3:9-30

The First Judge Delivers Israel

      9When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

      12Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 13And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

Ehud Delivers from Moab

      15But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. 20Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. 22The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. 23Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

      24When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “He is only relieving himself in the cool room.” 25They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead.

      26Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. 28He said to them, “Pursue them, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. 29They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. 30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.

Shamgar Delivers from Philistines

      31After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.