About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 (ch. 3:1 6)


We learn a few things in the first 6 verses of chapter three.  First of all, the generation of Israelis that Yahweh is speaking to were not alive, or, were too young, when Joshua led Israel in many battles of victory when first entering Canaan.  That being said, after Joshua died, Israel did not obey God and continued to battle their enemies.  Therefore their enemies remained their neighbours and God used their enemies to "test" Israel.  


This test was specifically to "test Israelis in battle".  Israel was expected to fight their way to success; get rid of the enemies of their souls.  The same applies to Christians today.  When we give our lives to Jesus, we suddenly enter a conflict between flesh and Spirit.  The Lord expects us to enter the battle as Christians.  It's just part of the Christian experience.  It seems to me that many Christians do not have such battles in their lives which tells me that they have given into their sinful flesh, or, sinful nature.  When we don't destroy these sins, they were eventually do us in.   


The idea that God uses the enemies of the people of God to test them is an important Biblical principle.  He did this with Israel of old, and I'm convinced He does the same with Christians today.  God does test our faith and He often uses the enemies of God to do this.  


When we are tested with trials, we should therefore consider the source.  The test may come from the Lord, or, it might be a result of our own  bad choices or stupidity.  And, if you believe the test comes from the devil, you must also believe that the test from the devil was allowed by God, and was actually a tool of the Lord.  In reality, trials for God's people come from two sources, us and the Lord. 


Othniel (ch. 3:7 - 11)


In this section we see Israel not serving the Lord, but serving Baal and Ashera instead.  Because of this the "Lord anger burned", something many modern day people don't think God is capable of.  He allowed Israel's enemies to capture Israel.  Israelis became servants to their enemies until a man named Othniel was raised up to be a judge, a savior, so to speak, for Israel.  Under his leadership Israel lived in peace and safety for 40 years until he died. 


There are a few things to learn here.  One is that even when God's people forsake their God, He will raise up someone to bring them back, if that's what they wanted to do.  In these days the judge, more of a savior type person, not a legal judge as we may think, was that man.  God always has a remnant of people that are his, even if the remnant is small. 


I see a parallel here in Judges with the age in which we live.  The church is not really all that much different than Israel of old.  The church over the centuries as drifted away from their Lord.  There have been judges, so to speak, to call the church back to the Lord, and many do respond, because God will always have a remnant of people who are truly His. Many judges, many men and women of God have been anointed to call the church back to where she should be, even to this very day. I see the revivals that took place in Israel similar to the revivals that have taken place here and there throughout church history.   


Note in verse 8 that God "sold" Israel into the hands of her enemies. This is one very important Biblical principle for both the individual and the nation.  If we continue to disobey the Lord, at some point, He will sell us into the hands of our enemies.  It's the principle that the apostle Paul sets forth in Romans 1.  God will step back from us as He hands us over to our sins.  At that point, we become subject to our enemies. 


Note in verse 9 that repentance precedes revival.  Over the years I've often heard people pray for revival, but they fail to realize that before revival comes, people must repent.  We need to pray for a spirit of repentance.  Also, before one can repent, he needs to be aware of his sin.  He needs to know what to repent of.  In these days when preachers want people to leave their gathering feeling good, the topic repenting and the pointing out sin is often laid aside.      


Note also in verse 10 that one of the jobs of the judge was to lead the people into battle.  Again, Christians today need to know they are in a battle, both individually and corporately.  Christian leaders, like these judges, should lead people, should help people, in battle.  As I said in the last paragraph, many preachers who want their people to feel good, don't teach that there is a battle to be fought.  This results in no battle.  We simply concede to our enemies.   


Ehud (ch. 3:12 - 30)                   


The cycle of sin and then a measure of repentance continues in verses 12 to the end of this section. Israel went back into their sin and God "gave" an enemy of Israel control over Israel.  The word "gave" is important. The principle that Paul records in the first two chapters of Romans is clearly seen here.  If we continue to sin, God "gives" us over to our sin and we become slaves to our sin.  Simply put, our enemy takes us over.  This is what happened to Israel, over and over again, and this is what the book of Judges is really all about.


In verse 15 Israel repents and a judge name Ehud takes leadership.


From verses 15 to 23 we see an "R" rated description of how Israel freed herself from the domination of Moab.  Ehud and others took a tribute to the king of Moab and presented it to them.  After this, Ehud told the king that he had a secret from God.  Everyone left the room.  Ehud bent over to whisper the secret, pulled out his sword and stabbed the king in the is very fat belly.  The sword penetrated the king so far that it came out of his back and the handle of the sword was pushed into the king's belly that was subsequently covered over with the fat from his belly. 


This might be hard for many to swallow.  Did God authorize this murder?  I believe He did.  We know that from the very beginning God told Israel to kill off all of their enemies, which when they left their God, they didn't do.  They only killed their enemies when they repented and obeyed their God. 


On a personal level, not a national level, as we see here, Jesus introduced the idea of loving your enemy.  As individuals, we are not to do anything close to what Ehud did here.  I believe that behind the nations of the world as seen in the Old Testament are demons.  When we read the Old Testament we see Israel fighting national enemies.  When Jesus came to earth, He introduced us to the spiritual world behind the natural world.  Thus our weapons are now spiritual, as the apostle Paul taught in Ephesians 6.  They are no longer physical.  That being said, when it comes to national Israel , at the end of this age, there will be one last physical battle that will re-establish Israel in her land once and for all.       


Verses 24 and 25 are a slight bit humorous in my thinking.  The kings servants waited and waited outside for the king to let them in, but he didn't.  They thought  that the king must be going to the bathroom.  "They waited to the point of embarrassment".  They finally went in and found their king dead.  The Bible doesn't hide many facts, no matter how embarrassing they might be.


Some people suggest that Ehud lied to the king when he told the king he had a secret from God for him. They say that Ehud didn't tell any secret.  He just killed the king.  These scholars may have a point, but on the other hand, the secret might well have been the kings death.  We don't know the whole story.  Maybe Ehud actually told the king the secret was his unexpected death.  After telling the secret, Ehud killed the king.  I would not be a big deal about Ehud possibly not telling the truth in support of the Kingdom of God . 


In verse 30 we see that Israel killed 10,000 Moabites and they made the rest their subjects. When Israel is following and obeying her God, her enemies will be delivered into her hands and she will rule them. Israel seldom obeys her God, so they seldom win victories of war 


In 1948 a big step towards the restoration of Israel took place when Israel became a nation once again.  Since then Israel have won some pretty decisive battles, the most spectacular being the six day war in 1967.  I'm convinced these victories are a product of God's intervention, even though Israel is still not in compliance to God's will.


This chapter ends in verse 31 with the mention of Shamgar, another judge. He was the son of Anath.  Both Shamgar and Anath are not Jewish type of names.  As a matter of fact, many think that the name Anath is actually the god of sex and war in those times.  If this is so, then it tells you how far Israelis fell from their God.  They were naming people after pagan gods.  



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