Today’s readings are Judges 8-9
Around this time in the Bible study each year, I usually read a lot of comments from folks who are struggling with these foundational texts but powering through because they know the Father gave them to us for a reason. YES! Be encouraged and remain faithful! If you’ve not yet discovered that reason, I want to encourage you to keep reading.
It may not seem like it just yet, but these stories and lessons we are reading are a direct reflection of our own actions: historical, present day, and future, but sometimes it takes a bit longer for our focus to reveal that it is actually our own reflection we are staring at. The Father is at work through His word and through you. Just keep reading.
We open in Judges 8:1-3 with some of the warriors of Ephraim outraged that Gideon did not let them join him in his victorious battle. He placates them and they simmer down a bit.
Gideon and his men are refused hospitality on the way to win yet another battle and he promises to return for vengeance, which proves true. Notice here that his forces still number 300 (Judges 8:4) and they are going into a battle, which they win, against 15,000 (Judges 8:10). All this while his men were tired and hungry.
When the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob goes before you, odds, skill, and strength on the part of your adversary are of no consequence.
Judges 8:21 We see that Gideon removed crescent ornaments from the necks of the camels and in 8:24 we see that these people were Ishmaelites. This immediately brought to mind the nation of Islam and the muslim religion but islam was not founded until 6th century AD and these events are taking place well over 1000 years before that. Most likely these are cultural symbols of the moon god or some other such. While it would be easy to say these were the earliest muslims, and it may even suit a narrative we’d like to see better, we must be careful not to read our desires into the Bible. If we learn and practice that now, it will save us a lot of required self correction later.
We have to learn to let YHWH have the first and final word.
Judges 8:23 is a pivotal statement made by Gideon when asked to be the ruler of the people.
23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; YHWH will rule over you.”
It takes a great man to turn down the offering of such power.
This Ephod that Gideon made was originally to commemorate the victory the Father had given them. It was not meant as a snare. How, then, did it become one? The people began to treat it as an idol. Ways of doing this are to pray to it, worship at it, speak to it, and hold it up similar to how some people do a lucky token or such (which is also against the Father’s wisdom). Religious objects can easily become idols and so we must be very careful with them. No doubt, this story (and others like that) are meant to teach those who have ears to hear. Judges 8:24-27
Jotham’s parable: Three trees were asked to be king but each of them bore fruit that was good and would not abandon that task. The olive tree, the fig tree, and the grape vine (ok so it’s not a tree). Each of them has a YHWH ordained task and they continued in that rather than seek acclaim as king. The bramble bush, though, a bush full of stickers and uselessness, jumped at the opportunity and the men accepted this folly.
Judges 9:23 The Father allowed a spirit of bitterness to rise up between Abimelech and his previous co-conspirators.
Judges 9:55-57 ends with the Father reminding us that He sees all, knows all, and vengeance is in His hands.
I’m LOVING this book and even more good stuff is coming!
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Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!