Category Archives: Sin

One Sacrifice of Yeshua Is Sufficient, But We Must Stop Willfully Sinning

 

As we read on in Hebrews 10, it is important to remember the context clearly articulated from earlier chapters in Hebrews. There is much emphasis that Yeshua is greater than the angels and a priest greater than the Levites. He is nothing less than God himself. Chapter 8 references a “new covenant”, which specifically refers to YHWH writing his laws in our hearts. Writing his laws in our hearts does not imply changing his laws as so many take it to mean. If I write a law down, it is straight forward from context that I did not change it, or I would have said so. Chapter 9 goes on to say the old covenant is being replaced, but the specific context articulated in the chapter identifies and focuses only on Yeshua’s sacrifice for our sins replacing that of animals. It does not imply the whole of the law and the prophets being made obsolete, which Yeshua himself declared would not happen until the end of the age in Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:17-19

     17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

It is with this context in mind that we should continue into Hebrews 10.

Hebrews 10

One Sacrifice of Christ Is Sufficient

     1For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 3But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
“SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED,
BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

      6IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE.

      7“THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME
(IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME)
TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’”

8After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

      11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

      16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”
He then says,

      17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

     19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

     26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      32But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

      37FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

      38BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

39But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

I think very often people misunderstand Hebrews to be saying the whole of the Law is abolished and irrelevant, which directly contradicts what Yeshua said in Matthew 5. They then assume we should do whatever we feel like as if that is the new standard because we are forgiven of sin and the Law is written on our heart. This is a dangerous misunderstanding and false teaching. Even within this same chapter in Hebrews we can see a warning that is often overlooked by the same people.

     26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

Let us take great care in testing what is taught in churches and by man in general against what the Bible actually says. Pray and ask the LORD to help you. Test everything and hold on to what is good.

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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.

Prayer for Protection Against The Wicked

We may or may not have wicked people coming against us in the same way that David did, but we can come before the LORD and ask for his protection and deliverance from all that we face.

Psalms 140

Prayer for Protection against the Wicked.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

     1Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men

      2Who devise evil things in their hearts;
They continually stir up wars.

      3They sharpen their tongues as a serpent;
Poison of a viper is under their lips.

Selah.

      4Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men
Who have purposed to trip up my feet.

      5The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set snares for me.

Selah.

      6I said to the LORD, “You are my God;
Give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.

      7“O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.

      8“Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted.

Selah.

      9“As for the head of those who surround me,
May the mischief of their lips cover them.

      10“May burning coals fall upon them;
May they be cast into the fire,
Into deep pits from which they cannot rise.

      11“May a slanderer not be established in the earth;
May evil hunt the violent man speedily.”

      12I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted
And justice for the poor.

      13Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.

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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.

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.

Abimelech and Schecem Receive Justice

The Bible is the greatest story ever told. To those who say it is boring or not full of meaning, I say they have not fairly read through it with an open mind. It is a fascinating record of how YHWH has interacted with his people.  There are plot twists and turns that are stranger than fiction.

Judges 9 is a good example. Remembering from Judges 8 that we just wrapped up the history of Gideon, also known as Jerubbaal, now we see what happens after his death. We see plotting and scheming for power and how YHWH brings about justice on those who deserve it.

Judges 9

Abimelech’s Conspiracy

     1And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives, and spoke to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother’s father, saying, 2“Speak, now, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am your bone and your flesh.” 3And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem; and they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our relative.” 4They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him. 5Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. 6All the men of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.

      7Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. Thus he said to them, “Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8“Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ 9“But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ 10“Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’ 11“But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ 12“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’ 13“But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’ 14“Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’ 15“The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’

      16“Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have dealt with him as he deserved— 17for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian; 18but you have risen against my father’s house today and have killed his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your relative— 19if then you have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20“But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech.” 21Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer and remained there because of Abimelech his brother.

Shechem and Abimelech Fall

     22Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25The men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who might pass by them along the road; and it was told to Abimelech.

      26Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. 27They went out into the field and gathered the grapes of their vineyards and trod them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is Zebul not his lieutenant? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29“Would, therefore, that this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech.” And he said to Abimelech, “Increase your army and come out.”

      30When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech deceitfully, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are stirring up the city against you. 32“Now therefore, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33“In the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall do to them whatever you can.”

      34So Abimelech and all the people who were with him arose by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush. 36When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.” 37Gaal spoke again and said, “Behold, people are coming down from the highest part of the land, and one company comes by the way of the diviners’ oak.” 38Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your boasting now with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them!” 39So Gaal went out before the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41Then Abimelech remained at Arumah, but Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not remain in Shechem.

      42Now it came about the next day, that the people went out to the field, and it was told to Abimelech. 43So he took his people and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and saw the people coming out from the city, he arose against them and slew them. 44Then Abimelech and the company who was with him dashed forward and stood in the entrance of the city gate; the other two companies then dashed against all who were in the field and slew them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he captured the city and killed the people who were in it; then he razed the city and sowed it with salt.

      46When all the leaders of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith. 47It was told Abimelech that all the leaders of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and lifted it and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do likewise.” 49All the people also cut down each one his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on the inner chamber and set the inner chamber on fire over those inside, so that all the men of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

      50Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he camped against Thebez and captured it. 51But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower. 52So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. 54Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.’” So the young man pierced him through, and he died. 55When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed to his home. 56Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57Also God returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came upon them.

We can certainly wonder sometimes why it seems evil people have success in their endeavors at the expense of “good” or “innocent” people. We can even ask YHWH, but we must trust in him no matter how strange or “unfair” the events appear to us. Judges 9 shows an example of justice delivered after a time.  There are times when we may not ever see the justice delivered to the wicked. However, we will all stand before YHWH one day and be judged and be held accountable for whether or not we accepted Yeshua as our savior and how we lived our lives.

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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.

Don’t Drift From YHWH When He Brings You Peace

We tend to be very aware of the hazards we face when at war or in conflict. It tends to actually draw us nearer to the LORD as we know we need him. We must also take great care that when he brings peace into our lives we do not drift away from him. Often it is when things are going well that we get complacent or feel self sufficient. We can become distant from YHWH.

 

Judges 8:28-35

Forty Years of Peace

     28So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon.

      29Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

      33Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. 34Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.

As a group or culture, people tend to have short memories for what YHWH has done for them. They just start to get lost in every day life and drift away from him. Let us be intentional and remain focused to continue walking with him, praying, worshipping, studying, and obeying. Let us remember to anchor ourselves in the singular truth that there is one God and it is YHWH. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit are one with YHWH. Let us teach our children to follow him and remember and celebrate what he has done for us in the past.

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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.

Let Us Repent and Turn Back To YHWH

As we read Psalm 137, we should remember that the Israelites were turned over to the Babylonians because they disobeyed YHWH. They did not live according to his ways. They mixed and mingled his ways with the ways of other false gods and rationalized that this was right and acceptable. The result was captivity. There nation was overthrown. We should humbly consider that the LORD may treat our nation similarly as we go about our daily lives. Our nation has turned from YHWH. Evil is called good, and good is called evil. Even the Christians do not stand firm, but wander with cultural norms.

Let us be encouraged as a people not to wait for our nation to be overthrown to call out to YHWH to redeem us. Let us turn from our wicked ways and pray for forgiveness for our land and people.

Psalm 137

An Experience of the Captivity.

    1By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.

      2Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.

      3For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

      4How can we sing the LORD’S song
In a foreign land?

      5If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget her skill.

      6May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

      7Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, “Raze it, raze it
To its very foundation.”

      8O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
How blessed will be the one who repays you
With the recompense with which you have repaid us.

      9How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
Against the rock.

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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.

Pray with me for people who allow themselves to be blinded by false religion

So many across the world allow themselves to be blinded by false religion or a belief that God does not exist. They reject God entirely or accept Him as one of several gods… which really means they reject Him. People cling to false teachings and rationalize with amazing strength the distorted world view they are suffering inside. Please pray that God would set free people across the globe from the false teachings of many religions and even the false teaching within those who claim to be Christian, but preach the gospel of the world instead of God’s word.

For more Biblical examples of prayer, and for personal prayer requests, please visit our Prayer Requests page.

Praise the LORD’s Wonderful Works

Praise the LORD indeed! His works are wonderful and he is like none other. All other gods are simply idols. There is only one God.

Psalm 135

Praise the LORD’S Wonderful Works. Vanity of Idols.

1Praise the LORD!
Praise the name of the LORD;
Praise Him, O servants of the LORD,

      2You who stand in the house of the LORD,
In the courts of the house of our God!

      3Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.

      4For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself,
Israel for His own possession.

      5For I know that the LORD is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.

      6Whatever the LORD pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.

      7He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
Who makes lightnings for the rain,
Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.

      8He smote the firstborn of Egypt,
Both of man and beast.

      9He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt,
Upon Pharaoh and all his servants.

      10He smote many nations
And slew mighty kings,

      11Sihon, king of the Amorites,
And Og, king of Bashan,
And all the kingdoms of Canaan;

      12And He gave their land as a heritage,
A heritage to Israel His people.

      13Your name, O LORD, is everlasting,
Your remembrance, O LORD, throughout all generations.

      14For the LORD will judge His people
And will have compassion on His servants.

      15The idols of the nations are but silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.

      16They have mouths, but they do not speak;
They have eyes, but they do not see;

      17They have ears, but they do not hear,
Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths.

      18Those who make them will be like them,
Yes, everyone who trusts in them.

      19O house of Israel, bless the LORD;
O house of Aaron, bless the LORD;

      20O house of Levi, bless the LORD;
You who revere the LORD, bless the LORD.

      21Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
Who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!

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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.