Saturday, December 30, 2017
Samuel judged the people for 20 years trying to show them that they needed to do things God's way.
I Samuel 7:2-4- And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
It seemed like the people were now willing to listen to Samuel. They didn't like being at war with their enemies. They wanted to change things, and so they decided to do as God said.
I Samuel 7:5-6- And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
It seems like the moment you decide to do right, the devil steps in to try to stop you!
I Samuel 7:7- And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
The Philistines had heard that the children of Israel were in place. They thought they could come and wipe them out.
I Samuel 7:8-11- And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.
When the devil comes at you, the best thing to do is pray and let God deal with it. That is what the children of Israel did! Samuel prayed and offered a sacrifice to God, and God fought the Israelites enemies!
Once the Philistines were on the run, the Israelites attacked them and won the battle.
I Samuel 7:13, 16-17- So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.
Samuel was trying to do what God had called him to do. He was judging Israel. But, even when we are trying to do what God asks it doesn't mean those around us will.
I Samuel 8:1-3- And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
Even though Samuel tried to always do right, his sons did not. They didn't have the desire to serve God like their father did. Perhaps, it was because they didn't have a love for God in their hearts like their father did.
If you don't learn to love God and serve Him for yourself, you won't do right either. Just because your parents love God, doesn't mean that you will.
And when one person does wrong, it usually encourages others to do wrong.
I Samuel 8:4-5- Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
God had provided all of Israel's needs. He was their leader. He was their guide. But, because Samuel's sons did wrong, the people decided they didn't need God to be their leader. The people wanted a king.
I Samuel 8:7, 9- And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
When God rules over you, you have a perfect, sinless Being that only wants what's best for you! But, when a person rules over you, they can make mistakes and be selfish. Samuel was going to point that out to the people.
I Samuel 8:10-11, 13-16 - And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
Samuel tried to tell the Israelites that a king would take their sons to be in his army, and he would take their daughters to work in his castle. He would take their land and their servants to feed his family. And he would take their money to pay for his desires. But, the Israelites wouldn't listen. They decided that a losing their possessions and family was a fair trade for a king.
I Samuel 8:19-22- Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
So Samuel told God what the people wanted, and God said He would show Samuel who to anoint as King. Samuel sent the people home until he was sure who the Lord wanted as King.
Friday, December 29, 2017
I Samuel 5:1-2- And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
The Philistines put the ark in the temple of their false god, Dagon. Dagon was a statue with the body of a fish and the head of a man- kind of like a merman.
The Philistines didn't realize that you can't put the Almighty God of heaven with a false god. God is a jealous God and He won't share his glory with anyone or anything.
I Samuel 5:3- And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
When the power of Almighty God came into the temple, the statue of the false god fell down. Maybe God himself reached out and knocked the statue down. But, I think that perhaps the devils that were around the statue knew that they should bow before God.
However the reason, when the Philistines came into their temple in the morning, they found their idol on the floor. They set the idol back in it's place. I wonder if this had happened before?
That night the Philistines went to bed and guess what happened again?
I Samuel 5:4- And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
When the Philistines came into their temple in the morning, it looked as if the idol had tried to run away! But, no one can run from Almighty God! The hands that the statue would use to crawl away (because he was a fish and had no legs) were cut off, and then the head was cut off.
God was trying to show the Philistines that He was the Creator of heaven and earth, and He was more powerful than any devil or image they could worship. He was proving to them that He could defeat their false gods, just like He proved to the Egyptians that He could defeat their idols!
Do you think the Philistines learned? Nope!
I Samuel 5:5-7- Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
The Philistines continued to worship their false god, even after Almighty God had defeated it. So, God sent disease into their lives.
Sometimes, when we don't listen to the miracles God sends our ways to get our attention, He has to put something terrible and personal in our path.
God was trying very hard to get the Philistines attention! But, they thought they could just send Him away.
I Samuel 5:8-9a- They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction:
God isn't really in a box that you can just seal up and send away. He is everywhere. The Philistines didn't understand this, because their false idol only stayed in their temple. They thought that Almighty God worked the same way.
Now, they were really scared!
I Samuel 5:11- So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
They leaders of the Philistines came up with a plan.
I Samuel 6:1-2- And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.
They called their false prophets to ask them what they should do. The false prophets said that they should make golden gifts for Almighty God, and that they should send the ark back to the Israelites.
I Samuel 6:3, 5-8 - And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? 7 Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.
Even though it had been hundreds of years since God had punished Egypt, the natives of Canaan were still talking about it. They knew that Almighty God was powerful. And they decided they were going to send the ark of God home.
So, they took a cart and put the ark on it. Then, they put the jewelry box with the golden peace offering beside it. They hooked up 2 cows to the cart and let them go to see if Almighty God would guide it to the land of Israel.
I Samuel 6:12-14- And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh. And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.
The Israelites were so happy to see the ark that they offered a sacrifice to God right then and there!
I Samuel 6:15- And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD.
I Samuel 6:16- And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.
The Philistines leaders stood at the edge of their land and watched to see what would happen. They saw the cows go straight to the land of Israel. They saw the Israelites sacrifice and worship God. And then they left.
They never acknowledged the power of God. They never repented. And they never turned from their wicked ways. God had tried to show them, but they just wouldn't see.
How sad that some people can look right at the truth of God and decide they don't want it!
But, even more sad are the people who know the God of Truth and decide they can do their own will instead of what God says.
I Samuel 6:19-21- And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.
The Israelites who knew better thought they could open up the ark of God and God had to punish them. He had told Moses that only the Levites were allowed to touch the ark, and that they had to do it a certain way. These men should have known better!
What a waste! It seems they would never learn!
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Samuel had been given to the Lord to be used by God. This was a time when things were uncertain for the Hebrew children. They knew that God existed, but still they struggled serving Him. God was so upset with their sins that He rarely talked with them.
I Samuel 3:1- And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
God wants people to know His will. That's why He gave Moses the law to give to the children of Israel. Now, God was going to see if Samuel would be faithful.
I Samuel 3:2-4- And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
Eli was failing at his tasks. First, the lamp of God was never suppose to go out; it was always suppose to be lit. Next, Samuel didn't really know the Lord. Eli was suppose to be teaching him. When God called Samuel, Samuel thought Eli had called him.
I Samuel 3:5-8- And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
Poor Samuel had been running back and forth from his room to Eli's room. Finally, Eli realized that it was the Lord that was calling Samuel.
I Samuel 3:9-10- Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
Samuel was going to hear from the Lord God Almighty. The God that created the universe. The God that sent the flood. The God that rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrha, and plagued Egypt. This Lord was going to talk to a small boy.
I Samuel 3:11-14- And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
God told Samuel what he planned for Eli's family. He told him that Eli's sons would be killed on the same day, and that Eli would also die because he didn't stop his sons from sinning.
I Samuel 3:15-17- And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
Poor Samuel! God had told him death and destruction were coming to the man that raised him, and now the man wanted to know what God had said.
I Samuel 3:18-21- And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
God was going to prove that He spoke to Samuel. And, He was going to show that Samuel was the prophet that He had chosen. When Samuel said that something would happen, God made sure that it did. And because of this, Israel knew that God was looking out for them.
The Israelites were still at war with the Philistines. The same Philistines that Samson was fighting years earlier! And, now they were fixing to battle again.
I Samuel 4:1-3- And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.
The Israelites still didn't understand that God was everywhere. They thought if they brought the Ark of the Lord out of the Tabernacle that it would help them win the battle. They didn't pray and ask God to help them. They didn't confess their sins. They thought they could use the ark like a magic weapon to defeat their enemies.
I Samuel 4:4, 10-11- So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
God's promise had come true once again. Both of Eli's sons were killed on the same day. But, the enemy now had possession of the ark of God.
I Samuel 4:12-17- And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
A man had escaped the battle and came to Shiloh to tell the people what had happened. Eli called him over and asked him to repeat the account.
I Samuel 4:18- And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.
Eli, too, died for not teaching his children the ways of the Lord. He judged Israel for 40 years.
But, that wasn't the end of God's judgement. His daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, died also. She died when she had her baby early. She name him Ichabod, which means "The glory is departed from Israel", because the ark of the covenant of God was in the enemies possession.
You can't put God in a box. And you can't pull Him out whenever you want to use Him, and ignore Him the rest of the time. People think if they own a Bible that they have the power the God. But, that's like thinking God is in a box called a Bible.
To really have the power of God, you must read the Bible and live what is in it. God's Words are only powerful for you if they are in your heart and mind.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
I Samuel 1:1-2- Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
At this time, Eli was the judge of Israel. Eli was also the High Priest of the Tabernacle. But, his sons who were suppose to take up the priesthood after him were very wicked. So, God was going to raise up another priest.
I Samuel 1:3-6- And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
This man, Elkanah, had 2 wives. The first had children, but the second didn't. She knew the Lord and loved him. She wanted children very badly. Her husband's other wife would make fun of her for not being able to have children.
I Samuel 1:9-11- So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Hannah went to the temple to pray to the Lord and ask Him for a son. She promised the Lord that the child would be a Nazarite, like Samson, and she would give the child to God to be His prophet.
I Samuel 1:12-17- And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
The High Priest and Judge, Eli, saw Hannah pray. He told her that the Lord would give her the request that she was praying for.
I Samuel 18b-20- So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.
God gave Hannah her little boy! She named him Samuel. She kept Samuel home with her until he was old enough to eat table food, and then she took him to the Tabernacle and kept her promise to God.
I Samuel 1:24-28- And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
Do you know what happens when we keep our promises to the Lord? He blesses us!
I Samuel 2:11, 18-21, 26- And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest. But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD. And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
God blessed Hannah with 5 more children! And God was going to use Samuel in a mighty way! But, Eli's sons were going to face the consequences of their sins.
I Samuel 2:12, 17, 22a, 23-25- Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.
Eli's sons would take advantage of people. They would threaten and hurt people. They made it so that people didn't want to come to the Tabernacle and speak with God. Eli warned them that God would punish them for this, but they wouldn't listen to him.
I Samuel 2:27-29, 34-35- And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
God told Eli that He would kill both of his sons on the same day as punishment for their wickedness. He also told him that He would raise up a faithful Priest who would live forever and do His will.
Do you know who that would be? Jesus Christ!
Hebrews 2:9 17b- But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Christ was the only high priest who could offer a sacrifice for sins that would forgive every sin forever! God told that Christ would come way back in the time of the judges. And God always keeps His promises.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Ruth 1:1-2- Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
One family decided that it would be wise to leave the Promised Land and go to the land of the Moabites during the famine. But, they didn't have a happy ending.
Ruth 1:3-5- And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
The wife, Naomi, stayed in Moab for 10 years. She watched her husband die, then both of her sons die. She decided it was time for her to return home.
Ruth 1:6-9- Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
Naomi told her daughters-in-law to go back to their father's house. She knew they could find other men to marry and have a family. One went back, but the other one wanted to stay with Naomi.
Ruth 1:14, 16-18- And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
Ruth saw that Naomi and her family were different from how she was raised. She knew that she wanted to be with Naomi, because she wanted what the Lord could give.
Ruth 1:22- So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Naomi and Ruth went back to Naomi's home town of Bethlehem.
Ruth 2:1-3- And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
Ruth and Naomi had to work to live. Ruth went into the local farm and gathered up whatever she could find lying on the ground- this was called gleaning.
The law that Moses had given said that if anyone was a widow, like Naomi and Ruth, they were allowed to go into another person's field and pick up anything that the farmers had missed. The Law said that the farmers had to let them have it.
Ruth 2:4-9- And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
The owner of the field came out and saw Ruth gleaning. He asked his farmers about her, and then he went to talk to her. He told her that she could come to his field whenever she wanted, and if she stayed only in his field he would protect her. He would even allow her to drink from the farmers water.
Ruth didn't understand this. Her country wasn't like this. She had never had a stranger be kind to her like this man was!
Ruth 2:10-13- Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
The man, Boaz, told Ruth that he heard how she had left her family and her country to come with Naomi, even when she didn't have to. He told her that he hoped the Lord would bless her for her decision.
She was so grateful to this stranger! He even let her thresh out and grind what she had gathered, and eat with the farmers before heading home.
Ruth 2:14-18- And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
Boaz not only provided Ruth with a place to work and protection, but he went above that and told his farmers to drop a little extra for her. When she had finished working, she brought all that she had gleaned home to Naomi.
Ruth was going to take care of Naomi. She made sure that there was enough food for Naomi.
Naomi wanted to make sure that Ruth was rewarded for her faithfulness. When Naomi heard that Boaz had been kind to Ruth, she advised Ruth to stay only in Boaz' fields. Naomi had a plan!
Ruth 2:23- So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
Ruth 3:1-5- Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: [but] make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
Ruth was a young lady. Everyone in town knew the story of how her husband had died, but she had come with her mother-in-law and was taking care of her. Months had passed and the people of Bethlehem town were learning that Ruth was a wonderful person.
Ruth didn't know much about the customs of Israel because she was a Moabite. She was going to have to trust Naomi to tell her what to do. And she was going to have to obey no matter how strange it sounded.
Naomi told Ruth to get a bath and then go down to the threshing floor where Boaz would be. Naomi told Ruth to wait until he laid down to sleep and then to uncover his feet and lay down by them. Does this sound strange to you? I bet it sounded strange to Ruth, too! But, she obeyed.
Ruth 3:6-11- And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
Boaz wasn't a young man. He had spent his life taking care of his farm and his workers. I believe that Boaz was waiting for God to show him who to marry.
Ruth was obeying her mother-in-law. Boaz took note of this. He knew that God was leading, and he knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman who would be a wonderful wife! So, he told her he would take care of what needed to be taken care of.
Ruth 3:14-18- And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Boaz had some business to do. In Israel when a person dies, their family can take over their possessions. Boaz knew that to marry Ruth, he had to make sure that the other person who could claim Naomi's possessions was okay with it.
Ruth 4:1-4a, 6 - Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
Boaz got the elders of the city and the man who could buy Naomi's possessions together. He asked them man if he wanted it, and then he told the elders that would be willing to marry Ruth. This was what had to happen for Boaz and Ruth to get together.
Boaz was willing to do all the tedious legal work to be able to marry Ruth, because he believed this was the woman that God wanted him to be with. And God worked it all out!
Boaz remained faithful to work his field until God showed him the woman to marry. Ruth stayed faithful to work hard and take care of her mother-in-law instead of running around looking for another husband. And because of their faithfulness, God worked everything out for both of their good.
Ruth 4:13- So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
Not only did God bring Boaz and Ruth together, but he gave them a son. Naomi was blessed with a grandchild after all the sadness in her life.
Ruth 4:16-17- And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Monday, December 25, 2017
The Hebrew children still hadn't learned their lesson about idols.
Judges 17:1-5- And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee. Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.
This is just one family in Israel. This man and his mother used their money to not only make an idol, but also to make a house to store their false gods in.
Israel decided they could serve both God and idols.
Judges 17:7-13- And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
This period of time was filled with not only wars against Israel's enemies, but also wars amongst the different tribes of Israel.
Judges 18:1- In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
These men from the tribe of Dan were trying to claim their inheritance.
Judges 18:2-6- And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there. When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest. And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.
The Danites stopped by Micah's house to stay the night, and when they found out that he had a priest, they asked him to pray to God for them. He said that God would help them to gain their inheritance.
So, they went and found that the people they were goingto fight against weren't in any big cities, and they didn't have any powerful friends.
So, they went back to the rest of the told them what they had discovered.
Judges 18:11-21- And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war. And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim. And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye? And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.
These Danites gathered all their people and went to take their land. On the way, they stopped at Micah's house and stole his priest and all his false gods!
How can a god protect you if it can be stolen? It can't! But, the Hebrew people weren't thinking about that.
Judges 18:30-31- And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.
The temple of the Lord was in Shiloh. But, the tribe of Dan worshipped this false god the entire time the rest of the tribes of Israel were in the Promised Land. Dan was still considered a tribe of the nation of Israel, but God didn't look at that tribe the same. In fact, when God lists the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation, He doesn't say Dan. This act of idolatry got the tribe of Dan wiped out of God's list.
There were other tribes that had gotten so wicked that war broke out. The tribe of Benjamin had become such an evil tribe that once when a man stayed the night there, the men of the city murdered his girlfriend.
This started a war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes. When the war ended only 600 men had survived of the tribe of Benjamin.
Judges 21:25- In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Judges 15:1-2- But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.
Samson thought that he could bring a present and everything would be okay. But, it wasn't. His fiance's father tried to let him marry his other daughter, but Samson's anger got the best of him again.
Judges 15:3-5- And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.
Somehow, Samson was able to catch 300 foxes! Then he ties their tails together and put a hot coal between them. Boy, he was a mean person when he was angry! He then let the foxes go into the Philistines corn fields. The corn caught on fire, and the fire also got the grape vineyards and the olive trees. Samson had done a lot of damage.
Judges 15:6- Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.
The Philistines killed his fiance and her father because of his actions. Do you think Samson learned anything? Nope. He just got madder!
Judges 15:7-8- And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.
Samson killed a whole bunch of them. He was starting a war!
Judges 15:9-10- Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.
The Philistines got all their army together and went to fight with the Israelites. The Israelites didn't want war! So they asked how to avoid an all out battle.
Judges 15:11-13- Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.
The men of Judah went to Samson and said that they didn't want a war. Samson didn't want them to have to die, so he said that he would allow them to tie him up and give him to the Philistines, so long as they promised they wouldn't kill him themselves.
So, they tied him up and led him away.
Judges 15:14-17- And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
Samson was filled with God's strength and he picked up a bone and killed a thousand Philistines. But, Samson didn't give God the glory.
He gave himself the glory- I have slain a thousand men.
God was going to have to try get Samson's attention again. He let Samson get really thirsty.
Judges 15:18- And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
After he was quite thirsty, he gave God the glory and asked for a drink a water. All God wants is for us to acknowledge him!
Judges 15:19-20- But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
This revival changes something in Samson. He willingly gave God the glory, and he started trying to do things God's way for a while. He judged Israel for 20 years!
But, the devil never gives up. He always knows what will stop us from doing God's will. And he knew that Samson could be sidelined by a pretty face.
Judges 16:1-3- Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
Once Samson allowed himself to sin, the devil knew that he could take Samson down for good. All he needed was the right tool.
Judges 16:4- And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
Delilah. Samson would be deceived by a pretty face once more. Only this one was very tricky! She would pretend to be what Samson wanted just long enough to find out how to destroy him.
Many times, Christian boys and girls allow themselves to "fall in love" with someone who pretends to be good. They don't ask God what He wants. And, if God tells them that He doesn't want them with this person, they follow Samson's example and ignore Him.
Samson started out by going to her city. He started to feel comfortable in her house. And then, he made the mistake of trusting her.
Christians shouldn't go to the world's churches. They shouldn't feel comfortable compromising God's Word with changed versions to get along with the world. They shouldn't be comfortable listening to the rock and roll music of the compromising churches. And they should never make the mistake of trusting the world instead of obeying God.
Samson was going to find out just how bad a decision turning his back on God and taking what he wanted would be. He was going to find too late how much disobeying God and compromising with the enemy would cost!
Judges 16:5- And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
Samson may have loved Delilah, but she didn't love Samson.
Judges 16:6- And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
She was going to wear Samson down. Each time Samson answered her he got a little closer to revealing his secret.
Judges 16:7-14- And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.
Each time he would tell her something she would try it. And then she would wake him up to the threat of the Philistines capturing him. You think that he would have figured out if he told her the truth she would do it! But, Samson was now blinded by his desires, and they would lead him to the paths of destruction!
Judges 16:15-17- And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
More Christians have fallen to the snares of an ungodly person than any other. Samson had just told a woman he loved about his strength, but this woman didn't love him back! She wasn't going to keep his secret. In fact, she would be the first person to attack him once she had what she wanted.
Judges 16:18-20- And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
That may just be the saddest verse in the whole Bible- he didn't even know that the Lord had left. Here he was surrounded by enemies and he was completely alone.
Judges 16:21- But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
They blinded Samson, put him into a prison house, and forced him into slave labor.
I think this story would've ended differently if Samson had only asked God to show him the person that he should've married. Instead, Samson decided to find that person on his own and it led to his demise.
Judges 16:22-25- Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.
The Philistines had a great party. They gathered together and ate and drank and worshipped their false god because they thought that it had delivered Samson. Did the false god defeat Samson?
No. Samson defeated himself when he trusted someone other than God.
During this party, the Philistines had Samson brought in and they all made fun of him. Then, they made him stand there as they partied.
But, God wasn't finished with Samson. Samson still had a job to do.
Judges 16:26-30- And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
Samson prayed that God would give him strength one last time. And he used that strength to destroy the temple to the false god and everyone inside of it.
What a sad end for Samson! He judged Israel for 20 years. Who knows how long he could have judged Israel for if he had only stayed faithful to God! Perhaps, he could have even destroyed the Philistine nation so that Israel would have never had to worry about them again.
But, Samson wanted his way, and it cost him his life.
Judges 16:31- Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
After Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judged Israel. Together, they judged Israel for 25 years. But, that's all they could stay faithful for.
Judges 13:1- And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
Here we go again! Israel starts doing wrong and the Lord sends the Philistines to punish them. For 40 years, they live under the rule of the Philistines.
Judges 13:2-5- And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
God was going to raise up a child to judge Israel, instead of call a grown man. God delights in bringing a blessing to someone who has waited. This family had no children. Like Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, this woman was barren. But, God was going to change that. And, He was going to make this child very special.
Judges 13:6- Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
Of course, the woman had to tell her husband! This was exciting news! But, Manoah wanted to hear the news from the angel for himself.
Judges 13:8-12- Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
The angel told Manoah the same thing that he had told his wife. The child was to eat a very specific diet, and follow a specific code for a Nazarite.
Judges 13:17-18- And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
Did you know that there are a lot of angels that the Lord made? Did you know that the Bible only tells you the names of two of them? Michael and Gabriel are the only two angels whose name are specified in the Bible.
We don't know why angel's names aren't told to use, but this angel said that his name was a secret.
Judges 13:19-21- So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
How do you think you'd feel if you met an angel? Do you think you would recognize one? Manoah didn't realize that he was talking to an angel until it disappeared! Then, he was frightened.
Judges 13:22-25- And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these. And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
So, Manoah and his wife called their little boy Samson. They were very careful to raise him exactly how the angel had told them to. And as he grew, the Lord would show him certain things to do at certain times.
You would think that someone who was created by God and called by God would do what God expected of him. II Timothy 1:9 says "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
God called us for a specific purpose, just like He called Samson! But, Samson didn't always do what God wanted him to do.
Judges 14:1-3- And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
Samson had things that he wanted. He didn't need them. God didn't want him to have them. But, he decided that he was going to have what he wanted no matter the cost.
Do you think that meant that God couldn't use him? Nope! God was going to use this circumstance in Samson's life to not only defeat some of Israel's enemies, but also get a hold of Samson's heart.
Judges 14:4-6- But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
Samson went down to see this woman that he wanted to marry. She was a Philistine, and God had said that the Israelites weren't to marry the enemies of the Lord.
Samson was ignoring God's will so God sent a lion. God didn't want the lion to kill Samson, just to get his attention. God gave Samson the strength to kill the lion! But, Samson didn't learn the lesson.
Judges 14:7-9- And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
The way the Nazarite life worked was that they weren't allowed to eat anything from grapes or any type of alcohol or vinegar, they weren't suppose to touch dead bodies, they weren't suppose to cut their hair, and they were suppose to perform certain acts if they messed up.
Samson touched the dead lion. He was suppose to shave his head and offer a sacrifice of two birds- one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering. But, Samson knew that if he shaved his head he would lose his strength; so he chose to ignore God again.
Judges 14:10-13- So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
So, Samson started his wedding feast. For a week, they would all get together and have a type of party. They brought 30 Philistines men to the party to hang out with Samson. Samson thought that he could get something from these Philistines, so he asked them if they wanted to have a wager over a riddle, and they agreed.
Judges 14:14- And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
They couldn't figure out the riddle! So, they did something sneaky! They went to the girl that Samson wanted to marry and threatened her if she didn't tell them the answer.
Judges 14:15-17- And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
The girl went to Samson and stuck out her bottom lip, and pouted and cried until Samson told her the answer to his riddle. Then she went and told it to the 30 men who had threatened her.
Judges 14:18- And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
The answer was about honey and a lion. You see, Samson was being convicted about ignoring God. During this wedding feast, he had the lion and the honey in the back of his mind.
Samson knew that they had gotten the answer from his fiance. Now, he had to get them 30 changes of clothes.
Judges 14:19-20- And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.
Samson went out and killed 30 enemies of Israel and paid the men. But, he was so angry that he left the wedding party and went home.
His fiance was given to one of the men that he used as his friend.
It never pays to ignore God's law! Samson was going to see just how much he could lose by disobeying God.
Friday, December 22, 2017
After Abimelech died, there were 2 judges who judged Israel. Under their leadership, Israel stayed faithful to God for 45 years! But, sadly, after they were gone, Israel went back to worshiping idols and false gods.
Judges 10:7-8- And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
God, again, had to punish His people. This time, it was the Philistines that He used to do so.
Judges 10:9-10- Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed. And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
After 18 years and the threat of war, Israel finally repented, again, of their sin. But, God was still upset.
Judges 10:11-14- And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
God told them that He had delivered them from all these different enemies, and yet they still went back to worshiping idols. Now, God wanted them to go plead with their idols to save them.
God was trying to teach them that the things they were worshiping couldn't help them. If they would only learn that every time their help came from God, maybe they wouldn't sin with idols anymore!
Judges 10:15-16- And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
It seemed like the Hebrew children learned. They put away their idols and only served God. This got God's attention! When we want something from God, we need to first put the things down that are taking our attention away from Him.
Judges 11:1-3- Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.
The next person that God uses to help Israel was going to be someone that the Hebrew children didn't want. His name was Jephthah. You see, Jephthah was not born to a godly family. He was kind of a mistake!
God always has something for us to learn! Just because our past has a lot of mistakes in it doesn't mean that God can't use us if we are willing. But, the children of Israel didn't think God could use mistakes. They made Jephthah leave.
Judges 11:4-6- And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.
The Ammonites were starting a war, and the Israelites were desperate to find someone to lead the battle. They knew Jephthah was a mighty man and that he could lead them, so they asked him to come back.
Judges 11:7-11- And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words. Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.
Jephthah wanted their assurance that he would be able to stay if they won. The elders gave him their promise that he could, and he came back to lead the army.
First, he was going to try to get the Amorites to leave peacefully.
Judges 11:12- And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?
Jephthah asked the Amorites why they were doing this. They said it was because Israel stole their land when they came out of Egypt. They were lying.
Do you remember when Moses asked 2 different kings if he could pass through their land? Moses told those 2 kings that they would pay for any food or water that they used, but those 2 kings told them "no". God said to go around the one because He didn't want Israel fighting with them. That was the Moabites.
The second was the Amorites ruled by Sihon, king of Bashan. God allowed Israel to fight them and defeat them. They then inherited that land. Now, the Amorites wanted to lie and take away Israel's land. I guess they were hoping that Israel didn't know their history.
Judges 11:23-27- So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it? Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess. And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
Jephthah pointed out that it was the Lord who had given them that land. The Amorites would go to war and take other people's land without giving it back. They would say that their false god gave them that land and it was their's to keep.
jephthah reminded them that Israel had been living there for 300 years now! And, it was their land to keep because God had given it to them. But, they didn't like that answer.
Judges 11:28-33- Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon. And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
The Amorites wanted a battle, so Jephthah gathered his army to fight. God helped Jephthah to win!
But, Jephthah made a vow, a promise to God, that if God would let him win this battle he would sacrifice whatever came out his house to the Lord as an offering when he got home.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. You're better off not promising God anything than you are making a promise to God that you won't keep!
Maybe Jephthah didn't really think about this promise. Perhaps, he hoped that the dog would greet him first when he got home! He could have worded it that whatever animal greeted him first would be sacrificed. But, he didn't.
Judges 11:34-35- And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
Poor Jephthah never knew it would be his one and only daughter that was first to greet him when he came back from battle. He had made a promise to God, and he was a man of his word.
Not only was he a man of his word, but he raised a daughter that was willing to do right no matter the cost.
Judges 11:36-40- And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.
Jephthah gave his daughter 2 months to prepare to die, and then he kept his promise to God. But, his troubles weren't over.
Judges 12:1-4a- And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire. And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim:
There was one tribe in Israel that got mad that they weren't invited to the battle! They started a war with Jephthah's army because of it.
Judges 12:6b-7- and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
That tribe lost 42,000 men because of their arrogance!
Poor Jephthah! He only lived for 6 years after that.
Be careful what you promise God. You will be required to pay it!
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Judges 8:30-32- And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon had 70 children while he was judging Israel. He also had another child named Abimelech, that wasn't accepted by his other siblings.
But, after Gideon died, Israel went back to worshiping their idols.
Judges 8:33-35- And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.
Not only did the Israelites forget God, but they forgot how Gideon had helped to save them from the Midianites and the Amalekites.
Judges 8:1-6- And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother. And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.
Abimelech was such a wicked person that he killed 69 of his brothers and set himself up as king.
Judges 9:7- And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.
Jotham, the only brother who escaped being killed by Abimelech, told them a tale of trees.
Judges 9:8-21- The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;) If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Jotham told them that they hadn't chosen someone noble to rule over them. He said that they had chosen someone based on his relationship to them (he came from their city). Jotham prophesied that the men of the city would eventually destroy Abimelech, and Abimelech would destroy the men of the city because they weren't doing right.
Judges 9:22-25- When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren. And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
God let Abimelech have his reign for 3 years. But, like all things that are against God, it was time for the consequences of his actions. The same people who set him up as king, now, wanted to dethrone him!
They put people in hiding to rob all those who came through that way. They were hoping that Abimelech would come through and they could kill him!
Judges 9:26-29- And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
The men of Shechem now wanted to make Gaal king. These fickle people would find anyone of ill repute to put in a position of authority because they thought they could control him.
This new man, Gaal, threatened to go to war with Abimelech.
Judges 8:30-34- And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee. Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the field: And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
War was coming. Each person wanted to solidify their place as king. The only way would be for the other person to die.
Abimelech was coming for Gaal.
Judges 9:35-40- And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait. And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men. And Gaal spake again and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim. Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them. And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.
Gaal was being led to battle without even realizing it. Abimelech's men were almost in the city before he got his men mobilized.
The battle didn't go well. Abimelech's army almost got into the city.
Judges 9:41-49- And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them. And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them. And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith. And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done. And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
The men of Shechem were such a wicked bunch that they had set up a tower to worship their false god in. And when Abimelech came to fight with them, they hid inside this tower. That wasn't very smart! Now all Abimelech had to do was set the tower on fire, and they all died.
Judges 9:50-52- Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
Abimelech then went to Thebez and thought that he could do the same there. He fought to the tower and was going to set it on fire.Judges 9:53-55- And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.
Just when Abimelech thought he was going to win this battle, also, a woman threw a very large stone out of a window in the tower. It fell down and hit Abimelech on his head and hurt him badly.
He didn't want it said that a woman had killed him, so he asked a man beside him to finish him off.
Judges 9:56-57- Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Whenever we think we can get away with sin, God always finds a way to make us pay for it, whether we sin all by ourselves, or wheter we sin with others. Neither Abimelech, nor the wicked men of Shechem got away with sinning against God!