Jephthah

Judges 11:12-28

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14 Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15 and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.

18 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19 Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ 20 but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21 And the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22 And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23 So then the LORD, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them? 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the LORD our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? 27 I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. The LORD, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” 28 But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.

(ESV)

Jephthah

Judges 11:1-11

Jephthah Delivers Israel

11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him.

After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.” But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the Ammonites and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the LORD gives them over to me, I will be your head.” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD will be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah.

(ESV)

Saturday Study

Saturday Study

Gideon (5-30-2020)

This week’s study is on one of my favorite Old Testament characters, Gideon. Let’s dig in.

  1. Brought Low

Read Judges 6:1-6.

The Lord takes our obedience of Him and His commands seriously. He should, because He is God. When His chosen people blatantly disregard His commands and do not give Him the worship He is due, they are ripe for judgment.

The oppression for seven years at the hand of Midian is brutal on the Israelites. Can you imagine? They couldn’t just sit and do nothing, so they labor and grow the crops, raise their animals, and try to live, but just as the hard work is ended, the harvest is ready and the animals are fattened, the enemy comes and consumes it all leaving them none.

With their tails between their legs they come to God begging for mercy, so God sends a prophet. The prophet reminds them of all that God has done for them and that His command to worship Him alone and not the false gods of foreigners was clear; and yet they did not obey. We must take seriously the commands of God, because He is God. He is deserving of what He wants. He has been gracious to us and shown us great mercy. We must never forget that we were His enemy and yet He sent His son to redeem us and make us His very own. What can He give us that is greater than that? Why would we trade Him for anything else? Have you failed to really see and be thankful for all that God has done for you? Are you unsatisfied and always wanting more out of Him?

  1. When Everything Seems to Be Against You

Read Judges 6:11-16.

Gideon’s situation is terrible. He has a hard time believing the stories of his ancestors about a God who delivered them out of great struggle and slavery. His clan is the weakest among his people, and he is the least in his house. Nothing about Gideon makes sense in human thinking—to send him as the leader of the uprising that will conquer their long-time oppressor. Have you ever felt like Gideon; like everything was against you; like nothing was in view that gave you hope of getting out of your situation? What Gideon hears next are the greatest words we could ever hear: “I will be with you.” There are no greater words you and I could hear than the God of all creation saying to us, “I will be with you.” For us, who are saved in Jesus Christ, He has said this to us in His great commission.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

May our Lord’s words to us give us the same vigor and faith to trust in Him, despite what we face, like Gideon!

Read Judges 6:17-21.

Gideon shows great faith in his offering to the Lord. This was not like your and my going to the fridge and giving up our steak dinner. This kind of sacrifice cost him something significant. And the Lord saw this and was satisfied with it.

  1. The Lord is Peace

Read Judges 6:22-24.

Gideon is in awe at the fact that he saw the Lord face-to-face. “Peace be with you.” “Do not fear.” “You shall not die.” These are the very words Jesus would say to His people as He prepared to die in their place and rise to victory over death so that we would have true peace and not fear for we are victorious in Christ forever. Praise God!

In Judges 6:25-40, the Lord gives Gideon a test and he does it. Then Gideon asks the Lord for more confirmation and He does it. So, the table is set for Gideon to trust in God and do what He asks even though his leading the uprising is an unthinkable reality by human measure.

  1. God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

Read Judges 7:1-8

The only thing working for Gideon, humanly speaking, is the large number of men he is poised to take into battle against their enemy. Thirty-two thousand men is not a small number of soldiers. But God wants to be sure He will rightly receive the praise and adoration of His people. So, He only sends 300 men.

The next time someone says that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, point them to Judges, chapter seven. God’s instructing Gideon to take on over 100,000 enemy soldiers with just 300 men fits into the more-than-you-can-handle category. Imagine how Gideon and his servant, Purah, must have felt trying to come to grips with a humanly impossible assignment.

When people say, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” what they mean is that God’s redeemed will endure to the end; the hardships we face will not undo us. But what it doesn’t mean is that God only gives us things we can handle. God gives us more than we can handle all the time. Why? So we will rely on Him; so He gets the credit when we endure; so our faith is put on display.

Picture this scene with me: standing on the side of Mount Gilboa, Gideon gazes over the Plain of Jezreel, which sprawls beneath him northward toward the Hill of Moreh. Picture it: the plain is a sea of tents, teaming with more than 100,000 Midian warriors. With renewed faith, Gideon and Purah rouse their mini-army and launch a night attack. This throws the Midians into a panic and, as a result, they slaughter each other in confusion; it is a rout. Not one of Gideon’s three hundred men perishes in the battle. God gives them more than they can handle in order to force them to rely wholly on Him. To God be the glory!

When we’re confronted with an impossible situation or trial, Gideon’s three hundred men preach to us “salvation is from the Lord” (Psalm 37:39) and “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). God really intends for us to cast our all onto these massive truths and for them to give us more-than-conquerors confidence and peace (Romans 8:37) no matter what we face.

The defeat of our sin, which Jesus accomplished on the cross, dwarfs Gideon’s victory. Compared to overcoming God’s wrath against our sin, defeating 100,000 Midianites was very small. And if God “did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

God certainly does give us more than we can handle. And He does it “to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). If you’re facing an overwhelming adversary or adversity and you wonder how God could possibly deliver and work it for your good (Romans 8:28), then take heart. He is granting you the joy of experiencing the reality of Judges 7, Romans 8, and 2 Corinthians 1. We must trust in Him despite how the situation is stacked against us.

Judges 7:9-8:32 tells of the great victory and conquest of Gideon’s army against their enemies. Gideon has a huge family with many offspring and dies at a ripe old age in peace. But, how quickly Israel forgets all they have seen and runs back to their flesh.

Judges 8:33-35 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

May we not be like Israel, but instead be like Gideon—faithful and willing to put our lives on the line to trust in God and fight for His glory to be the center of our praise!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

Gideon

Judges 8:22-35

Gideon’s Ephod

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you: every one of you give me the earrings from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels1 of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels. 27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

The Death of Gideon

29 Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring,2 for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, 35 and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

Footnotes

[1] 8:26 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

[2] 8:30 Hebrew who came from his own loins

(ESV)

Gideon

Judges 8:1-21

Gideon Defeats Zebah and Zalmunna

8:1 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger1 against him subsided when he said this.

And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. So he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” And the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” So Gideon said, “Well then, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” And from there he went up to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. And he said to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East, for there had fallen 120,000 men who drew the sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of the tent dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the army, for the army felt secure. 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he threw all the army into a panic.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him. And he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 And he broke down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they. Every one of them resembled the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” 20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise and kill them!” But the young man did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a young man. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.

Footnotes

[1] 8:3 Hebrew their spirit

(ESV)