you heard me say before, “I love the book of Judges”. I have always thought
they should make this into a movie. Who wouldn’t want to see the left handed
Ehud taking care of the Eglon who was taking care of business on the “throne”,
or Samson killing 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey or tying 300
pairs of foxes together, lighting them on fire and setting them loose in the
fields? And you can’t forget Gideon and the testing of God and the defeat of
the Midionites with just 300 men. Or what about Samson…I think this would be a
good task for Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame or maybe even George
Lucas, but I digress...... On to the study.....
The Old Testament
hope you are enjoying the book of Judges as much as I am. Some people get
depressed when they read the book because it looks as if the people just don’t
get it. They always seem to do evil in the eyes of the Lord and they get handed
over to some group and they suffer. But I don’t think that is the point. The
point of the book is that God takes care of his people. He loves them so much
and he will do anything to save them. We still don’t get the point today. Thank
God for sending Jesus to save us.
want to spend some time talking about Gideon and Samson today. First of all the
book of Judges spends more time on these two guys then the others. An angel who
seeks him out chooses Gideon. A bit of knowledge would help here. Gideon is
hiding. How do I know that? He is in the bottom of a winepress (think big
barrel) threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites. The angel comes to him
and calls him a “Mighty Hero”. Of course Gideon tries to talk his way out of it
(sounds like Moses). Gideon asks for a sign and he hurries home to get an
offering. The angel then burns up the offering and Gideon believes that it was
an angel from the Lord. End of story right....not so fast. Gideon seems to be
convinced but he tests his appointment two more times with God. Again the point
here is not to show how untrusting Gideon was, but to show how patient God is,
he patient with us in all things. The rest of the story continues on this
theme. God delivers the people with only 300 men so the people would not brag
that they did it all themselves. One of the other problems the people get into
is that they want an earthly king. They ask Gideon to be their ruler and they
have problems. After Gideon died, one of his sons, Abimelech tried to be the
king. This only leads to problems because God is the only king the people need.
The people lose sight of this and the cycle continues. Eventually God will
allow a king but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
is another judge that makes for good Sunday school stories. His great strength
makes him a good hero. But as you read the story you find out that Samson has
some personality issues. He has problems with women and his temper (good movie
material). Eventually he is humbled and matures and God uses him to exact some
judgment on the Philistines. At the center, these stories are about the mercy
of God. He continued to show the people mercy when they did not deserve it. He
shows it to us today as well.
The New Testament
finished up the Gospel of Luke with the familiar story of the passion. The one
thing that jumped out at me was in chapter 24. Jesus was walking on the road to
Emmaus with some of the disciples and Jesus takes them to task about believing
that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus seems a bit impatient but in verse 27 it
says, “The Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the
prophets explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
What a great teacher. He knew that they still did not get it but he proceeded
to teach them. His patience is amazing. In our readings for May 3rd,
Nicodemus comes (at night because he didn’t want others to know he was there)
to meet with Jesus. During their discussion Jesus mentions a story from the Old
Testament. We read this story back in March. The people did not do what God
said and he sent snakes into the camp. Moses made a bronze snake and put it on
a pole and the people were saved. Jesus takes this story and gives some new
meaning to it. “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake in the wilderness,
so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will
have eternal life.” And right after this is the famous John 3:16. You can’t
tell me that the Bible is not one story!!
will finish the book of Judges this week and read whole the book of Ruth. Here
are the vital stats for the book of Ruth:
Purpose: To show that
the Lord demonstrates His faithfulness by providing for Ruth’s family a
redeemer, who secures the heritage among God’s people.
Some think it was Samuel, but internal evidence suggest that it was written
after Samuel’s death.
Sometime after the period of the Judges (1375-1050 B.C.)
Setting: A dark time
in Israel’s history when people lived to please themselves, not God.
Law Themes: The frailty
of life; God allows suffering; selfish disregard for family.
Gospel Themes: The Lord’s
kindness; God welcomes the nations by grace; redemption; inheritance; the
genealogy of Jesus, THE Redeemer.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my
people and your God my God.’” (Ruth 1:16)
Ruth, Naomi, Boaz
will also start the book of 1 Samuel. Here are the vital stats for this book:
Purpose: To reveal
the Lord’s faithfulness toward Israel in establishing His rule through Samuel,
Saul, and David, despite the peoples unfaithfulness.
Author Most likely
Setting: The book
begins in the days of the judges and describes Israel’s transition from a
theocracy (let by God) to a monarchy (led by a king)
Law Themes: Barrenness;
covetousness; neglect of fatherly duties; unfaithfulness; rejection of God’s
rule; failure to keep God’s Word; rash vows; jealousy; divination.
Gospel Themes: The Lord
provides leaders; the Lord promises an everlasting kingdom and priesthood;
victory in the Lord’s name; godly friendship; blessings through the tabernacle;
Verses: “And the LORD told him, ‘Listen to all that the people are
saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as
their king....Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what
the king who will reign over them will do’” (8:7,9)
People: Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, David