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Judges 1:1-36

 

“Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel  asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? 2 And the LORD said, Judah shall go up:  behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. 3 And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot.  So Simeon went with him. 4 And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand:  and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. 5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek:  and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. 7 And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table:  as I have done, so God hath requited me.  And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died. 8 Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. 9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley. 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir:  and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher: 12 and Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. 13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it:  and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field; and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? 15 And she said unto him, Give me a blessing:  for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.  And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs. 16 And the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people. 17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zepath, and utterly destroyed it.  And the name of the city was called Hormah. 18 Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof. 19 And the LORD was with Judah:  and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. 20 And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said:  and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak. 21  And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day. 22 And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel:  and the LORD was with them. 23 And the house of Joseph sent to descry [spy out] Bethel.  (Now the name of the city before was Luz.) 24 And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy. 25 And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family. 26 And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz:  which is the name thereof unto this day. 27 Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns:  but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. 29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. 31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: 32 but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:  for they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh,  nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:  nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them. 34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain:  for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley: 35 but the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and Shaalbim:  yet the hand of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries. 36 And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.”

 

Introduction

[Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED629]

 

“Book of Judges, Paul tells us this, and it’s so true in this Book of Judges, he says “For whatsoever things were written aforetime, where written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”  As we head into this Book of Judges we are going to find a rollercoaster ride, spiritually.  The children of Israel are up and down, and up and down, and up and down.  There is no Moses, there is no Joshua, and there is no national leader in that sense.  The children of Israel have the high priest, which is not even mentioned anywhere through the Book of Judges [I think it mentioned Phinehas once, who might have been high priest].  The children of Israel constantly go through this sequence of apostasy, then judgment, then deliverance, as we go through the Book.  There are 12 Judges mentioned, major Judges, 6 of them are pre-eminent and there are 6 servitudes attached to those 6 Judges, they will be Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson.  And each one of them are preceded by an occupation, by a foreign force or an enemy, and in each one of those places, chapter 3, verse 8, chapter 3, verse 12, chapter 4, verse 2, chapter 6, verses 1, 10, 7 and 13, and in each one of those places it says ‘The LORD delivered the children of Israel unto the Canaanites, unto the Midianite,’ whatever.  So in each of these sequences we have the nation in sin, and we have the accompanying suffering, we never separate those when there’s rebellion against the LORD, there then are difficulties.  Then we have the supplication, the children of Israel crying out to the LORD, and always after the supplication we have the salvation, he sends a judge, a deliverer, a saviour.  Now it’s not a judge, like Judge Judy or the Judges on TV, it’s not a judicial judge that the sense of court room, it is a judge in the sense of a divine person that God raises up, a human being he gives divine power, sometimes they’re raising up an army, a military activity, sometimes they’re acting alone, but God raises them up.  Sometimes it says ‘and they saved Israel,’ they’re a saviour in that sense, not in the sense of Jesus Christ, they are primarily deliverers, not civil, not a governmental authority behind them, there’s the authority of heaven behind them.  And we see the nation going through these ropes of sin and rebellion against God, and then failure and judgment coming, being overcome by their enemies.  Then the people crying out to God again, and God always being gracious, and then sending a deliverer.  Not that you and I will go through that in the same way, we’re under a better Covenant, we’re in the New Testament.  Certainly we can see national trends that way.  But there are lessons for us as we go through this.  Look, where it is an individual, whether it’s a couple, whether it is a city, whether it is a nation, that God can not bless rebellion and sin, he can’t do that.  If we as his children, under his Covenant, and it’s the Covenant of Jesus Christ, we enter into a season of sin and rebellion in our lives, God can’t bless that, the same way as parents we can’t do that with our own children at home.  So he chastens, we’re told in Hebrews the chastening of the Lord is not pleasant, but it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness, because he loves us more than we love our own children, he deals with it.  God never read Doctor Spock, and nor does he care to.  Of course Doctor Spock, over 70 years old, admitted that his writings had helped produce a generation of kids that were disobedient and distrusting and hard to manage, he said “me and my fellow child psychologists didn’t know everything we thought we knew 50 years ago, we influenced an entire generation.”  God always knows.  And he lays this out plainly for us, and really it’s relative to our generation.  Ah, Warren Wiersby in his Commentary on the Book of Judges starts out with these headlines, “Family feud leaves 69 brothers dead,” “Powerful government leader caught in love-nest,” “Gang rapes lead to victim’s death and dismemberment,” “Girls at party kidnapped and forced to marry strangers,” “Woman Judge says travelers no longer safe on nation’s highways.”  I know you think that was from the paper today, those are all headlines from the Book of Judges that he took out to put in front of us.  So, certainly much to learn here as we look into this Book.  Tonight, Lord willing, we’ll get into the first two chapters, which are the prologue, they set the stage for the Book of Judges.  Chapters 13 through 16 take us through the six major Judges and the captivities, and then chapters 17 through 21 kind of give us a epilogue with some circumstances.  So it’s the way the Book is laid out for us.  Seven times in the Book we hear “and Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.”  We hear that in chapter 2, verse 11, chapter 3, verse 7, chapter 3 verse 12, chapter 4, verse 1, and chapter 6, verse 1, chapter 10, verse 6, and chapter 13, verse 1 (that will be on the table unless you’re really fast).  That stands in great contradiction to the last statement in the Book of Judges, we have it four other times, it says “In those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did what was right in his own eyes.”  In those days, there was no king in Israel, and every man did what was right in his own eyes, seven times it says, “Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.”  So their behavior was much different in his eyes than in their own eyes.  In their own eyes every man did what was right in his own eyes, but it’s not up to man to decide what is right and what is wrong.  Listen, that’s why the culture we live in doesn’t want to hear about the God we believe in or the Book that he wrote, that’s why they don’t want creation taught in the schools, because that means accountability, that means some day you’re going to have to give an account, and you don’t want to hear anything about that.  Because every man wants to do what is right in his own eyes, and he doesn’t want to hear that the way he’s behaving may actually be evil in the sight of the Lord, and that’s the condition in the Book of Judges.  There’s no king, that shouldn’t be true for us, we have a King, Jesus is our King, and whatever the person next to you in the pew is doing, for you it shouldn’t be true, because you have the Lord, you have a King.  He’s our Lord, he’s our King, we have a King, but it says in those days there was no king in Israel, which indicates it was written after Saul’s reign began, because looking back to a time when there was no king, most scholars feel Samuel is our author here, and there was no king in Israel, and everybody did what was right in their own eyes.  Isn’t it interesting, human beings can look at a situation, they can justify it, ‘This is right,’ in the meantime God’s saying ‘They were doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD,’ over and over and over, sad.  Because as we come to the end of the Book of Joshua, we have Joshua challenging the entire nation, and finally saying “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” and then we have the nation of Israel saying “God forbid that we should go and serve other gods,” and then so quickly we see that change here as we head in to this Book of Judges.  Acts chapter 13, verse 20, you don’t have to turn there, tells us this, when Paul was preaching at Antioch, he says, “And after that, he, the Lord, gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years until Samuel the prophet.”  So Paul says from the death of Joshua unto the ministry of Samuel the Prophet was approximately 450 years, and most scholars always place this Book between 400 and 450 years of history.  So, let’s go into this, let’s begin to look into what it says, and no doubt lessons for us. 

 

You Reap What You Sow

 

It says “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?” (verse 1) and of course the Book of Joshua begins by saying “Now after the death of Moses,” so it begins in a very similar way.  “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel” notice this “asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?” (verse 1)  So the children of Israel are aware that there still is a warfare that they’re to be involved in.  The children of Israel are still aware, though Joshua is dead, there still is a battle to be joined relative to the Canaanites and the idolators that are in the land, they’ve broken the back of the military power of the Canaanite nations, but there still are individual cities that are walled that have the Canaanites in control of them.  So it is interesting that the children of Israel go and ask of the LORD.  Now we’re not told how.  Josephus tells us that they went and enquired of Phinehas, who was high priest then, and Phinehas spoke through the Urim and the Thummim, God led that way.  OK, if you’re a visitor tonight and somebody drug you here, you’re thinking ‘I knew it, what is the Urim and the Thummim?’ well let me tell you, I don’t know.  Scholars argue about it, they feel it might have been a white and a black stone, God used it to guide them just in the sense of a “yes” and a “no.”  And if that’s true, they would have said “Do you want Benjamin to go first?” and it would say “no,”  “Do you want this tribe to go first?” until they come to Judah, and then it would have said “Yes,” Judah is to go up first.  Wonderfully, they did go ask of the LORD, which is what they should have done.  How much easier is it for you and I to go boldly to the throne of grace, without the Urim and the Thummim, without Phinehas, without having to travel to Shiloh, the Tabernacle and so forth [I don’t know, much of the time I don’t get answers, even “yes” and “no” answers, wish I could “fleece flip” and have an Urim and Thummim to get a solid answer from the Lord at times.  Even Jeremiah wasn’t always sure an answer was from the LORD in his prayer-life, it’s just the fickle way God deals with us in his realm, I suppose, of building faith, it’s frustrating as hell.  I’ll be glad in the Kingdom when I can get solid verbal communication with the Lord.  I’m just being honest].  So easy for you and I in any struggle to go on any day to go directly to him and say “Lord, what is it you want me to do here?”  “What should I deal with first Lord, I have these things going on?”  [I don’t agree with you here, Pastor Joe, not totally, I very seldom get answers to those questions]  It’s a good thing that they go and they ask, ‘Who should go up for us?’ there’s no leader, they’re a little at a bit of a loss here, ‘Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?’  “And the LORD said, Judah shall go up:  behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.” (verse 2) Consider this, ‘I have delivered, it’s already done, the land into his hand.’  So Judah says to Simeon, his brother [tribe] “And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot.  So Simeon went with him.” (verse 3) ‘the LORD’s already delivered it, but I need your help too.’  Now we don’t know if this is wrong, Simeon’s territory is contained within the territory of Judah, but the LORD just said through the Urim and Thummim Judah should go up first, and the LORD said, “behold,” consider this, I’ve already given it into your hand.”  But Judah, just to make sure it seems, asks Simeon if Simeon will go in, “Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot.  So Simeon went with him.” (verse 3)  Notice verse 4, “And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand:  and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.”  What an interesting picture of the human and the divine here, together, the elements mixed.  Judah went up, and the LORD delivered.  If Judah hadn’t gone up, the LORD would not have delivered.  The instruction, the obedience that God asks for, Judah went up, they said ‘Who should go up first,’ Judah went up, the LORD said Judah should go, “and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand:  and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.  And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek:  and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and Perizzites.” (verses 4-5)  well of course, where would you expect to find Adoni-bezek but in Bezek.  “Adoni” is “lord,” so it’s “lord of Bezek.”  Questions about the exact meaning of “bezek,” it seems to have the idea of “flashing,” some Hebrew scholars say “lightning scattering,” well lightning tends to scatter people, but he’s “the lord of scattering, lord of lightning” I don’t know.  Adoni-bezek, he’s a mean scoundrel, we’re going to find that out.  “and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.  But Adoni-bezek” now this is not Adoni-zedec, you’re not confused with that, are you?  Remember back in the Book of Joshua they defeated Adoni-zedec, this may be a relative, but I don’t want you to go to bed confused about all of this.  “But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.” (verses 5-6)  It’s Biblical, your great toe is your big toe in the Bible.  They cut off his thumbs, I don’t know why that’s not your great finger, they cut off his thumbs and his great toes, and you kind of think ‘What’s this really getting into here? Joshua’s dead, they’re already getting weird, dismembering here.’  “And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table:  as I have done, so God hath requited me.  And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.” (verse 7)  that’s 70 kings having their thumbs and their great toes cut off.  Very interesting, Adoni-bezek said ‘I’ve done this to seventy other kings, I’ve cut off their thumbs, and I’ve cut off their great toes,’ without a thumb you can’t hold a sword, swing a sword, you’re a goner in a battle, and without your big toe you move kind of slow, you’re not going to do a lot of running, your main tendon, the main way you push off there is with your great toe, excuse me, you’re believers, you have great toes.  And it cripples and it disarms, and the children of Israel somehow knowing he had done this, he had 70 kings eating under his table like dogs, that he had cut off their thumbs and their great toes, they do that to him, and Adoni-bezek says ‘this is divine justice.’  He doesn’t say Jehovah, he says “Elohim, God,” that’s his understanding of the God of the Jews [God of the Israelites at this point in time, the Jews are only one tribe out of the whole 12-tribed nation of Israel].  ‘As I have done, so God has paid me back,’ “And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.”  He has this great sense of the fact that you reap what you sow.  And the Bible certainly puts that principle forward, and it isn’t just in the Old Testament, Galatians tells us ‘As a man sows so shall he reap,’ and that’s a New Testament quote.  Look, I read years ago, a great little book on sowing and reaping that really helps putting it in perspective that we need to keep as Christians.  There are three major principles involved in sowing and reaping.  One is, you always reap the same thing that you sow.  You don’t sow apple seeds and get grapes, it ain’t ever gonna happen.  Nature tells us, in the Book of Genesis when God’s creating, each one is after their own kind.  You don’t sow apple seeds and get grapes.  You reap the same kind that you sow.  Second principle, you always reap later than you sow.  We’re in a world of instant cameras, instant breakfast, instant-on television, we think everything works like that, but not in God’s timetable.  There is a season for sowing, and there is a season for reaping [and there is a season inbetween for growing, for grain and vegetables, it’s Spring-sowing, Summer-growing, Fall-reaping usually].  Now please, that also applies to the positive things in our lives, childraising, in our marriages, sometimes it’s tough.  If you’re sowing the right thing now in your marriage, and sowing the right thing in your homes now, there is also a season [for growth of the fruit], we wish it would come tomorrow, it doesn’t.  ‘I said thanks to my wife today, she hasn’t changed yet.’  Give it some time, it’s gonna happen.  The second principle is, it always happens after you sow.  And the third principle is, it always happens in greater measure, you sow to the wind, you reap the whirlwind.  You put in one grain in the ground you get a whole shock of grain, it always comes back in greater measure than you sowed.  So, here this guy seems to have a sense of that, ‘This is what I’ve sown, and this is what I’m reaping,’ he has a sense of justice.  And I think people have an innate sense of that.  You know, even in murder, you know lawyers who try in murder cases, even when they lose, and the person who did the murder get’s off and they think they’re guilty, the saying is ‘No one gets away with the Big One,’ because lawyers have noticed that that person either gets in a car wreck, they get sick and end up in the hospital, they end up in jail for something else.  They actually have a saying in murder cases, if they know the guy’s guilty and he gets off, they look at each other and they say “No one gets away with the Big One.”  There’s just this unavoidable sequence that’s even recognizable to the unbeliever.  So Adoni-bezek here says ‘As I’ve done, so they’ve done to me,’ “And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.”  “Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.” (verse 8)  We’re dropping back to Joshua here at this verse, there’s no real past tense in the Hebrew the way there is in the Greek, but it should be translated, it seems to give us that here, “The children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem,” ah, that was in the past, because if you look over in verse 21, “the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem” so when Joshua’s taking the land, the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire, and it seems that they destroyed the upper city and not the lower city.  Because if we go back to Joshua chapter 15, it says they couldn’t drive all of the Jebusites out there.  “And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.” in the mountains and the plains, “And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron:  (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.” (verses 9-10)  Now this is something that’s already happened, we read about this in Joshua chapter 10.  These were the three sons of Anak, they were giants we’re told back in Joshua.  “And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir:  and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher:  and Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.” (verses 11-12)  Kirjath-sepher, which means a walled up city named Sepher.  We’re dropping again back to something that we had read in Joshua, these first two chapters (of Judges) are a prologue, and they weave us into the content of the Book of Judges.  The reason we’re going to go back and visit Caleb, his daughter and his son-in-law Othniel is because when we get to chapter 3 of Judges, Othniel is the first major Judge that we encounter.  So quickly he’s bringing us up to speed here again.  Verse 12, “And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.”  Now Achsah means “to adorn,” and we’re assuming that Achsah was attractive, because he’s saying ‘Whoever goes up, jeopardizes their life to take this city, I’ll give them Achsah my daughter to be their wife.’  If Achsah was unattractive, no contest.  I mean, the warriors would have been saying ‘Ya, you go, no, I don’t know if we can do this, do we want to do this?’  “And Othniel” it seems to mean “the lion of God,” “And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it:  and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.” (verse 13) and we don’t know if it’s by the same parents.  “And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field; and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?” (verse 14) now we have a brand new marriage, Achsah is coming to Othniel and prodding him, moving him to ask her father for a field, she’s not content with Kirjath-sepher and the things that are taken, so new marriage, young Othniel, probably not used to being married, Achsah’s probably saying ‘Ask my dad for this, ask my dad for a field, ask my dad…’ you know, she’s trying to move him, here it says she’s moving him.  “and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?” ‘What is it you want?’  He might have looked over and saw her going ‘Go and ask him! go and ask him!’ he’s going ‘I’m not going to ask him,’ you know.  And she said to him, ‘Give me the blessing,’ so she moved her husband, but spoke up before he got a chance to move 😊.  “And she said unto him, Give me a blessing:  for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.  And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.” (verse 15)  And of course, the beautiful type here, Othniel is the Lion of God, he defeats an enemy to take a bride, whose name means “adorned,” and that’s what we are through the righteousness of Christ.  So there’s a beautiful picture contained in all of this, and then the father giving the Living Water to the Bride. 

 

After The Time Of Joshua We Start To See A Lack Of Faith In The LORD

 

“And the children of the Kenites, Moses’ father in law,” Jethro you remember, “went up out of the city of palm trees” out of Jericho “with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.” (verse 16)  So it tells us there were members (of Jethro’s family) that had joined Judah, Moses’ father-in-law and their families, and they took the southland where it was desert, much like Midian where they had come from.  “And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it.  And the name of the city was called Hormah.  Also Judah took Gaza” which we hear so much about in the news today, “with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof [cf. Zephaniah 2:7].  And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” (verses 17-19) now it says here, because “they had chariots of iron,” the reason Judah couldn’t drive out the inhabitants of the valley was because he was afraid of the chariots of iron.  Earlier it says “And they went out,” Joshua chapter 11, “and all their hosts with them, as much people even as the sand which is upon the seashore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.  And when all these kings were met together, they came and they pitched together at the waters of Meron to fight against Israel.  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver them up all slain before Israel, thou shalt hue their horses and burn their chariots with fire.  So Joshua came and all the people of war with him against them by the waters of Meron [in modern time, Lake Hulah, which the Israelis filled in] suddenly, and they fell upon them, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them and chased them unto great Zidon and unto Misroth-maim and unto the valley of Mizpah eastward, and they smote them and left none of them remaining, and Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him, and he hued their horses and he burned their chariots.”  Now we have in the next generation, a younger generation, and it says here ‘Judah yielded to the LORD, they drave out the inhabitants of the mountain, but could not’ speaking of Judah ‘could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron,’ it’s because they had a lack of faith.  Israel had a much greater victory over chariots in this before.  “And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said:  and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.” (verse 20) that we read about over in verse 10. 

 

The Tribes Of Israel All Fail To Drive The Canaanites Out Of Their Land--Which Will Lead To Deadly Compromise

 

“And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.” (verse 21)  Now that’s before David, because you know Joab there, Joab’s tunnel, the Spring of Gihon, we went up, and David and his men took the city of Jebus.  So this is before David, that’s why again one of the indications that Samuel was the writer of the Book of Judges.  The writer says the Jebusites dwell in Jerusalem “unto this day,” they would be expelled under the reign of David.  “And the house of Joseph, [the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh] they also went up against Bethel:  and the LORD was with them.  And the house of Joseph sent to descry” or to spy out “Bethel.  (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)” that was the Canaanite name.  “And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.” (verses 22-24)  and many of the times, the entrance, and those of you who were just on the trip to Israel, is also attached to a source of water.  Many times there’s a secret entrance, it’s outside or near the edge of the walls of the city where there’s a spring, because you can lock the gates in the city, if you don’t have water you’re drying up in four days and you’re going to lose anyhow.  So they saw this man, they asked him to show them where there was a hidden entrance into the city, verse 25, “And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.”  Isn’t it interesting, I don’t know why it tells us this, “And the man went into the land of the Hittites,” [that would have been north of Israel, as the real center of the Hittite empire was up near and in Turkey, as modern archeology has discovered] “and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz:  which is the name thereof unto this day.”  He’s determined to live in a city called Luz, no matter what happens here, they destroyed the city so he went and built another Luz, “which is the name thereof unto this day.”  Verse 27, becoming sadder, we start to get to these “neither’s” “Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns:  but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.”  Those of you were there in Bethshean and saw the large Roman excavations, the ancient city, the Tel that’s there has not been fully excavated, that’s this city right here, Bethshean, where Saul’s body would be hung on the walls.  So the Canaanites are dwelling amongst the children of Manasseh.  “And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.” (verse 28)  What it tells us, Israel became stronger, when they could have driven them out, we know they could have driven them out, because they taxed them, they put them to tribute, if they had enough military power to put them to tribute, they also had enough power to destroy them, but they didn’t listen to the LORD.  You know, you’re in battle for so long, been in the wars of Canaan for over seven years [that’s how long the Revolutionary War lasted, from 1776 to 1783].  They’re dividing up the land, you’re probably a couple years after Joshua, and you’ve been at war for 10 years or 11 years or 12 years, or 15 years, you lose the heart sometimes as it continues, you lose the drive.  But you know what, it tells us, you and I in the Book of Ecclesiastes, it says ‘There is no discharge in that war.’  We will experience a warfare until the Lord comes, you and I.  It’s spiritual, it’s unlike this in most ways, but like this in some ways, there are some similarities.  And they didn’t drive them out, and when they became strong they left them there.  You and I do that sometimes, we have a pet sin, we have something we play with, we put it to tribute, but we don’t extinguish it, and that’s what we see here.  “Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.” (verse 29)  ‘But the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer, notice, among them.’  And you know, sad, because by the time we get to the Book of Hosea, Hosea says in chapter 4, “Ephraim hath given herself to idols” the whole part of the country.  [Comment:  and Ephraim was the tribe where the capitol city, Samaria, resided for the whole northern 10-tribed Kingdom of Israel after the division in Rehoboam’s time.  Hosea prophecied in the 8th century BC, and lived long enough to see the northern kingdom collapse and fall to the Assyrians, defeated, captured and deported, never to return to the Promise Land, lost historically, all ten tribes.  We only have a hint as to where one of the northern tribes went, the tribe of Dan, the Danes and the Irish, where the founding tribe of Ireland is in Gaelic Tuatha de Daanan, which translates to Tribe of Dan in Gaelic.  The descendants of the southern Kingdom of Judah are the only tribe we can be sure of who and where they are, the Jews, and since 1948 the Israelis.]  Here it says “Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.” (verse 30)  Now when we get to Asher there’s a change, this is spiraling downward, “Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:  but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:  for they did not drive them out.” (verses 31-32) but notice this, that the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites.  Up until this point, in every failure, it says ‘and the Canaanites dwelt among them,’ when we come to Asher, they did so little, it says that Asher dwelt among the Canaanites, no longer the Canaanites dwelling among the children of Israel, but now it’s the children of Israel dwelling amongst the Canaanites.  We’re going to see that several times here.  [Comment:  and notice one key city here which will become the biggest idolatrous thorn in Israel’s side, the city of Zidon.  A Zidonion princess, who also happened to be the head Priestess of Baal married an Israelite king, her name was Jezebel and his name was king Ahab.]  Listen, Joshua, at the end of the Book said “As for me and my house,” ‘if you want to serve other gods, you do that, but as for me and my house, we’re going to serve the LORD.’  It is in all finality an individual decision, for all of us.  Because if we let things into our lives that shouldn’t be there, you know, the Lord has given us an inheritance, he’s given much to us, in this life, of character, of the power of the Holy Spirit, of fellowship, of the Scripture, we have so many blessings.  If we let in our lives compromise dwell to some small degree, among those blessings, that compromise is never static, and it’s never satisfied with a little bit.  There is an enemy on the other end of that.  And in you and I, there is a fallen nature that can’t be negotiated with.  It’s worse than a terrorist, you can’t negotiate with it, it’s never satisfied, if you give it an inch it wants a mile, it’s never satisfied, it’s the carnal nature.  So what happens to you and to me, if we let something in our life, initially it’s dwelling among the Christian things in our life, but it grows, and we weaken, and ultimately we end up dwelling among its reign and its power in our lives.  We end up it’s inhabitant instead of it being our inhabitant.  And it’s always the process.  You know, for the Christian there’s no neutral or static position, we’re like Salmon swimming upstream to our origin, as soon as you stop swimming you’re going back down with the current again.  The Lord has called us, but we’re fighting the good fight, we’re not fighting to save the Spotted Owl or the Rain Forest or the blue whales, we’re fighting the good fight, this is the good fight.  You know, we have the great final outcome, and we have the last chapter, and we know who wins, and we know who loses, and we know why Satan hates the Book of Revelation.  We know the final outcome.  There’s a certainty to it.  We hear so much today about investing and investments, there is no better investment anyone in this room can make than to give ourselves fully to the things of God, to do our best, to do our best.  It says here “but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:  for they did not drive them out.  Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:  nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.” (verses 32-33)  Again, sooner or later they become strong enough to make them pay.  “And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain:  for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:” isn’t it interesting and sad, and here’s the saddest thing of all in some ways, “but the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim:  yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.” (verses 34-35)  look, the sun and the moon had stood still in the valley of Aijalon, they had had a miraculous victory in the Book of Joshua, chapter 10, the sun and the moon standing still, hail coming from the sky destroying the enemy, a miraculous, miraculous, miraculous long day, and the same God was there who wanted to work among them.  He’s the same, he doesn’t change, the LORD says ‘I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed,’ and in Hebrews 13:8 it says that ‘Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.’  Here, so sadly, it says “the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim:  yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.” (verse 35) not the hand of the LORD, the hand of Joseph made them pay taxes, but didn’t destroy them.  “And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.” (verse 36) 

 

Judges 2:1-23

 

“And an [Hebrew “The”] angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars:  but ye have not obeyed my voice:  why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim:  and they sacrificed there unto the LORD. 6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers:  and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of the spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them:  and they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them:  they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge:  for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. 20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; 21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: 22 that through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. 23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.”

 

“Now, chapter 2.  It seems we have the second assembly in the Book, they’re gathered together there, and we have a very remarkable picture brought in front of us.  Look, King James says “And an angel of the LORD” the Hebrew is clearly “And the Angel of the LORDthere’s a definite article there, back in Exodus 23:20 we hear about “the Angel of the LORD,” I’ll turn there very quickly, the LORD speaking to Moses says “Behold, I send an angel before thee to keep thee in the way, to bring thee into the place that I have prepared, obey his voice, provoke him not” and so forth.  So here you have “And the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim,” now that basically is their history in the land, we’re going to see, that’s where they’re at Bochim at this particular day, Gilgal is when they entered, and look what he says, “and said,” now here’s the angel of the LORD, he says “I made you to go up out of Egypt,” so it becomes very clear, we’re looking at the LORD here that appeared to Moses in the bush, “I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.  And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars:” we’re going to see Gideon do this, “but ye have not obeyed my voice:  why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.  And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.  And they called the name of that place Bochim:  and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” (verses 1-5)  “Bochim” which means the place of weeping.  This is a very strange sequence, and we’re not given much detail.  The nation is convened after the failures we read about in the first chapter, and it says The angel of the LORD shows up.  Does he show up physically?  It would seem.  Can they see him?  What does he look like?  He speaks out loud to them, he says ‘I’m the one who brought you out of Egypt, I’m the one who brought you into this land, I’m the one who made that promise to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,’ he says ‘I’m the one that said I will never brake my covenant with you, I’m the one who led you, who brought you, and I’m also the one that said if you don’t listen, you don’t obey, these people are going to be trouble, they’re going to be snares, they’re going to be thorns in your eyes, there’s going to be trouble.’  And it says “And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.”  This is just incredible, did Jesus Christ [the God of the Old Testament] manifest himself, is there a theophany here, did he manifest himself, did he appear?  It would seem that there’s some manifestation.  It would seem his voice is heard here, we’re just not given a lot of detail.  So much so that the nation begins to weep out loud, to repent, and then it says they begin to sacrifice there in that place unto the LORD.  But it doesn’t, look, it’s emotion, but repentance is not real here.  Because we’re going to see them go on to do the same things.  And what it’s telling us in the beginning in this prologue of the Book of Judges, is that God reached out in remarkable ways, he was willing to fight for them if they would go up to battle, he was willing to fulfill all of his promises.  He had made the promises to Abraham, he had brought them out of Egypt, he had brought them into Canaan, he was the Captain of the LORD’s host no doubt that stood there with Joshua in chapter 5, verse 13 that was willing to grant complete victory, and the failure then was on the part of the people, it’s never on the part of the LORD.

 

And The Picture Is, How Do We Communicate To The Next Generation?

 

“And when Joshua had let the people go,” we’re dropping back again to Joshua letting the people go from his final challenge, before his death, “And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.  And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” (verses 6-7) please notice, as long as those eyewitnesses were there, as long as Joshua was alive, they had sense of leadership, and they held him in great esteem, and then the elders that were there that had seen the miracles of the Jordan River parting and so forth, coming into the land, as long as they were alive, the people of Israel served, as long as those who had seen were alive.  And you know, the picture is, how do we communicate to the next generation?  Jesus, of course, would say to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.’  Verse 8, “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.  And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.  And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers:” notice, this is our prologue, “and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:” (verses 8-11)  We’re one generation into this, right in the end of Joshua, it says the people answered ‘God forbid that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods.’  They had been challenged to raise up their children, to teach them the right things, and here we are a generation away from this, and think how things have changed.  Look, when I was a kid, I started elementary school in 1955, if you can believe that, most of you weren’t born then, and I remember going to elementary school, and every day the entire school was gathered into the auditorium, they read the Scripture, they read a Psalm every day, and then they prayed publicly, and then the whole school put their hand over their heart and said the Pledge of Allegiance, and it was “one nation under God.”  There was no question, this is 1955, all the elementary school, up to 1960, every day, school begins with a prayer, with reopening the Bible and reading the Psalms, and then the Pledge of Allegiance, one nation under God.  Think where we’ve come.  Think what’s happened in one generation.  This is the first generation in the United States of America, listen please, in the history of our nation, this is the first generation that’s been raised without prayer in school, without Bible reading in school, this is the first generation that’s raised that’s being taught evolution [and I would add, blind evolution, not theistic evolution] exclusively, and screaming about Creation.  Which means this is the first generation of monkeys that have had to tell their kids ‘When they blame it on us, don’t believe it, we didn’t make this mess.’  This is the first generation where abortion is legalized, you think of what’s happened in our land, in a generation [the generation of the 1960s], in a generation [now I’ve got grandkids, like Pastor Joe, and that is the second generation removed from the things of God].  What do we do?  You know, look, even in the New Testament, as soon as the apostles die off, you know Jude has to write ‘I was going to write to you about our common faith, but I had to write that you would contend for that faith that was once delivered unto the saints,’ they were already changing.  Book of Revelation, the apostle John is on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus [in his first letter to the seven churches, which represent the seven eras of the Church, from the beginning to the end times] challenges the Church at Ephesus, ‘You’ve left your first love,’ we’re already here, and in a generation how quickly, and the history of the Church [the greater Body of Christ] has been so much of “a generation that experiences revival, and sees, and experiences incredible things, and that generation in time cooling, and not adequately passing to the next generation the fire and the passion and the truth of the things that happened in their lives.”  And ultimately God being faithful, and bringing another move of the Spirit, bringing another move.  And look, in your own home, you know, if you’re saying ‘As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord,’ I believe there’s enough going on then to infect the next generation.  If your testimony, the way you live, is consistent with your profession, one thing about young people [this would be my grandkids, so grandparents, you can have this influence on them if they’re parents aren’t] is they appreciate what’s true and they hate what’s phony.  And it isn’t the real Church and the real Holy Spirit and the real move of God that turns them off, it’s the phoniness in all of that, that would ever make them look elsewhere.  So it says here that another generation, which is the next generation grew up, they had not seen, that didn’t know, that didn’t appreciate the things that God had done in the generation before that.  And it says “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim” which would be Baal.  Look, here’s the process, verse 12, “And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods,” because if you forsake God you’re going to worship something, human beings are worshippers, if you don’t worship the true God you’re gonna worship a Ferrari, not most of us, you’re going to worship money, you’re gonna worship drugs, you’re gonna worship sex, you’re gonna worship pornography, we are worshippers, and again, all of those cruel masters.  They forsook the True God, that leaves an empty space to attach to something else, “and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them,” and look, the LORD has feelings, “and provoked the LORD to anger.  And they forsook the LORD, and they served Baal and Ashtaroth.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them:   and they were greatly distressed.” (verses 12-15) look, all the LORD has to do is pull back his hand and we are in an evil situation.  All he has to do is pull back and not go forward with them.  You know, if Judah goes forward into battle and they do it in obedience to the LORD, it says then the LORD destroys their enemies.  If they go to do anything without the LORD and he’s not there, they’re already in a heap of trouble.

 

“Nevertheless,” Here’s What The Book Of Judges Is All About

 

“Nevertheless” important word, you can underline that in your Bible, because it means grace, God is angry, they’re worshipping other gods, they’ve quickly turned away, “Nevertheless.”  Now God’s not surprised by this, he talked about it in Deuteronomy 31, he had told them that the generations coming would turn away and worship other gods, he’s not taken by surprise, “Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.” (verse 16) “judges” his grace, that’s our Book, that’s where we’re at.  “And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them:  they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.” (verse 17)  Look, human nature, Paul says in Galatians chapter 1, verse 6, ‘I’m amazed that you so soon have turned away from the gospel of grace, which he said is not another gospel, it is a twisted or perverted gospel, you’ve turned away from the gospel of grace unto another gospel.’  He says ‘Let me tell you something, though me or an angel from heaven comes with any other gospel, let him be anathema, let him be eternally cursed.’  Paul said to the Galatians ‘I can’t believe it, you so quickly turned away from the grace of God, his goodness, his love, the blood of Christ, the mercy, the tenderness of God to some other gospel, which he says is a perverted gospel.’  Human nature, it says they turned quickly out of the way, verse 18, “And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge:  for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.  And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” (verses 18-19)  We’re being introduced to the Book of Judges, “And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:  that through them I may prove Israel,” God is going to use their enemies, “whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.  Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.” (verses 20-23)  So we have this introduction to the Book of Judges.  The question is, ‘do we live in a similar day?  And what can you do about it, when you’re an individual?’  You know, I would expect you as it were in a sense, to be a judge in your home and in your family, take a stand for righteousness.  I would expect you to do that in a home fellowship or some ministry group you’re involved in in the church, not to let people you love compromise.  But you don’t want to be a Pharisee, you’re not out looking to be a judge all the time, we know that Jesus said ‘judge not lest ye be judged,’ but we can be fruit-inspectors, that’s for sure.  And it says, if you see a brother overtaken in a fault, you that are mature, in a spirit of meekness, not a Pharisee, but in a spirit of meekness, you should seek to see that one put right again, to restore again, to restore a broken bone, it takes weeks sometimes, sometimes longer.  Isaiah, in his day, he says “Yeah, truth faileth, he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey,” anybody who says there’s right and wrong, they get picked on, “and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment, no justice, and he saw” the LORD “that there was no man, and he wondered that there was no intercessor, therefore his arm brought salvation.”  The LORD looked around in the days of Isaiah and he was amazed [and Isaiah was a prophet during the reigns of Hezekiah, a righteous king, and Hezekiah’s evil son, king Manasseh, who ended up killing Isaiah], the people who were doing what was right were being persecuted for doing what was right [and this was probably written by Isaiah during the reign of evil king Manasseh].  But it says the LORD wondered.  Now you really gotta do something to make the LORD wonder, don’t you.  The LORD wondered that there was no intercessor, he looked around, he said ‘Why isn’t there at least one person on their knees somewhere, broken and weeping, crying out for this people?’  We can do that for our children, we can do that for our families, we can do that for our church, we can do it for our city, for our nation.  You can have an effect.  Because I don’t believe things are put in the Scripture just to frustrate us.  Ezekiel in his day, chapter 22 says this, here’s the LORD speaking, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me, for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.”  Listen to this, this isn’t just laid out in front of us, to tease us.  ‘I sought for a man/woman, I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me,’ not for a movement, again, not for a drama group or a Rock group, for a man, an individual, “I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, that should stand in the gap before me for the land,” someone that would stand up for the Lord and say ‘Lord, please be merciful, please Lord, don’t bring judgment, please Lord, extend your grace,’ “I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge,” the place where the wall’s broken down, “and stand in the gap before me, for the land, that I should not destroy it.”  God said ‘I didn’t want to destroy it, I looked and looked and looked, I couldn’t find one person genuinely pleading, everybody was busy about their own business, I looked for a man among them that should make up the hedge, stand in the gap before me, for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none, I found none.’  The eyes of the LORD, they go to and fro throughout the whole land, looking for those whose hearts are perfect for him that he might show himself strong on their behalf.  He will find those, in Othniel, in Ehud, in Gideon, we’re going to meet some individuals, Deborah, you don’t want to mess with her.  There will come a time when his eyes are going to and fro throughout the earth, and he’s going to find a man in Gilead named Elijah, whose praying ‘LORD, the land is filled with idolatrous worship, you said you would stop up the heavens, that the rain wouldn’t come, LORD you’re not doing anything, LORD this is your land, it’s your people.’  God said ‘Alright, go on up there and talk to Ahab and give him the weather report then, tell him there’s not going to be rain, it changed an entire generation.’  So, read ahead, if the Lord tarries, next Wednesday we will begin as it were, properly, the sequence in the Book of Judges, we’ll start to come into the lives of some of these individuals and see how God uses them, and changed the times that they were relative to.  Let’s stand, let’s pray, we’ll lift our hearts in song…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges 1:1-36 and Judges 2:1-23, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:   

To read the history of Elijah and that drought that came upon the northern Kingdom of Israel under Baal worshipping Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel, a Zidonion princess and head priestess of Baal back in Zidon where she came from, see https://unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED629             

 


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