Read: Judges 13-15
Marked: Judges 13:18, And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it [is] wonderful?”
The Angel of the Lord is considered to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. Manoah asks the Angel His name and the Angel replies, “It is wonderful.” This isn’t to suggest that this is His actual name, but a name expressing His character.
Before Jesus was born an angel told Mary His mother that He would be called Immanuel, literally God with us. The name Jesus means, God is salvation.
In Isaiah 9:6 a prophecy is given about a child to come who would carry the government on His shoulder. And His name would be Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of peace.
These are characteristics which define the Lord Jesus. His name truly is Wonderful.
Read: Judges 10-12
Marked: Judges 10:6, Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.
God raised up successive judges to judge Israel and turn them back to the Lord. But time and time again Israel would turn away doing evil in the sight of the Lord and God allowed their enemies to prevail.
They would learn their lesson for a while, but then turn again to following after the false religions and practices of the surrounding nations forsaking God and not serving Him.
I must learn to hold fast to God and His word Is there anyone as faithful as the Lord? Will I forsake Him and turn to other means or methods?
All I need is supplied by God according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Why would I look elsewhere? My task is simple; trust the Lord, obey His Word, and not lean on anything or anyone that the world has to offer.
God has provided all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called me by glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3). And that’s enough.
Read: Judges 8-9
Marked: Judges 8:1, Now the men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?” And they reprimanded him sharply.
Gideon had won a great victory over their enemies but the men of Ephraim complained that he hadn’t included them.
Sometimes I only have my eyes on myself. I feel left out, or rejected and cry out, “Why am I not included?”. But that’s not always the case. Didn’t the men of Ephraim benefit from what Gideon had accomplished in the Lord?
Do I discourage instead of encourage? Do I feel the need to reprimand instead of rejoicing in what has been accomplished? Hebrews 10:24 says that we are to consider one another to stir up love and good works.
Discouraging words only tear down and do not build up. and verse 25 says we are to exhort which means to strengthen and encourage one another. The world has lots of critics. What it needs more of is encouragers.
Read: Judges 6-7
Marked: Judges 6:15, So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan [is] the weakest in Manasseh, and I [am] the least in my father’s house.”
How strong am I? That is a question that concerns only me. God isn’t concerned with my strength or weakness. He’s only concerned with my faithfulness. I heard it said once, God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called.
God is the God who spoke and all creation existed. He split the sea so His people could cross. He knocked down the walls of Jericho. Opened prison doors, made the blind see and the lame to walk. And He saved a sinner like me.
He is more than able to do anything and He can turn weakness to strength, make a mess into a message, trouble to triumph, and testing into a testimony.
Read: Judges 3-5
Marked: Judges 5:2, “When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the LORD!”
There are leaders who say do as I say, but don’t do themselves. And then there are leaders who lead by example.
Our leader, Jesus, modeled exceptional leadership. People willingly offer themselves to such leadership. Their heart is with leaders who offer themselves willingly for the people (V9). What kind of a leader do I want to be? Do I want to lord it over someone or serve them?
Jesus said a true godly leader is someone who learns to be a servant (Matthew 20:26). Someone who considers others better than himself and who looks out for the interests of others and not just his own (Philippians 2:3-4).
Read: Judges 1-2
Marked: Judges 2:10, When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
I’m seeing concerns expressed from different ministries regarding the decline in the church. What is the cause?
Perhaps one cause is that we are not passing on the faith to a new generation, making disciples and teaching them to know the Lord and the work which He has done.
Another reason is not holding each other accountable to the word. The children did evil (V11) and the result was they forsook the Lord, followed other gods, and bowed down to them; and provoked the Lord (V12).
The anger of the Lord was against them. He delivered them into the hands of plunderers; and He sold them to their enemies all around. The hand of the Lord was against them (V14-15).
We would do well to see if we have listened to the Lord and turned away from obeying the commandments of the Lord (V17).
Read: Joshua 22-24
Marked: Joshua 23:15, “Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the LORD your God promised you, so the LORD will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.”
Joshua reminds the people that God has kept all His promises (V3, 5), but reminds them to be faithful and obedient (V6).
I can rejoice in the faithfulness of God and rejoice in His promises, but forget, or ignore, that as He has promised to bless me He has also warned of consequences should I stray from His path.
For example, in Romans 1:18, 24, 26. Also in 1 Corinthians 3:12-17. God’s promises are precious to me, but I must not let faith in His promises keep me from walking in righteousness for God chastens those He loves as a good father (Hebrews 12:6).
Read: Joshua 19-21
Marked: Joshua 21:43, So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.
The Lord had promised to give them all the land and now they had it and dwelt in it. The promises of God throughout Scripture are amazing. Each and every one of them will be fulfilled.
One of the greatest promises is that His children, those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, will inherit a city, a place not of the earth, but a heavenly city of God where we will dwell and live with God and Jesus for all eternity (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22; Revelation 3:12; 21:2; 21:10; 21:23-26)
Read: Joshua 16-18
Marked: Joshua 17:12, Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out [the inhabitants of] those cities, but the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.
I find that sin is determined to dwell in me. Paul said in Romans 7:8, “But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.”
The only recourse is to give no room for sin in me. Like the children of Manasseh I find that I can’t drive out some sin. Why is that? When I try in my own strength instead of in the power of God through the application of His Word and prayer I will struggle.
Paul found that evil was easy to practice. But the secret against evil is to practice doing good instead, according to the Word of the Lord (Romans 7:22).
Read: Joshua 12-15
Marked: Joshua 14:10-11, “And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I [am as] strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength [was] then, so now [is] my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.”
Caleb had been one of the twelve spies and he, along with Joshua, were the only ones who wanted to press in and take the land God had promised them. But the other ten spies spoke against them and failed to trust God.
Consequently, the nation wandered the wilderness for forty years, and while there was still much land yet to be possessed (C13:1), Caleb had been faithful, and now at age eighty-five, was still in the battle.
I can waste much time not applying the Word of God in my life and leave territory unconquered. But Caleb set his sight on accomplishing what God had set out for him and he didn’t let things get in the way. He wanted all that God had promised him.