Category Archives: Israel

The Tragic Fall of Samson (Judges 16-18)

Daily reading assignment: Judges 16-18

We are left to wonder what Samson might have done had he remained fully yielded and devoted to the LORD. Dedicated to the LORD from his conception and commanded to follow the guidelines and disciplines of a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-8; Judges 13:4-5), Samson’s life was full of promise. His mother and father were keenly aware of the responsibilities they would bear to teach and train their son to serve the LORD (13:8, 13).

His deeds and defeat of the Philistines were legend in Israel, and his enemies were convinced Samson was no ordinary man. Tragically, his inclination for the lusts of the flesh left him vulnerable to the humiliating consequences of sin.

Judges 16 is a dramatic passage that finds Samson in Gaza, a walled city on the Mediterranean Sea, in the company of an unnamed harlot. Perhaps sensing the threat of danger from those who would kill him, Samson rose in the night and in a dramatic feat carried away the large gates of the city and transported them a distance of nine miles finally setting them on a hill overlooking the city of Hebron (16:1-3).

Judges 16:4-21 – Samson and Delilah

The story of Samson and Delilah has inspired poems, plays, oratorios, operas, and has been the subject of modern films for decades.

Samson, we read, “loved a woman…whose name was Delilah” (16:4). Delilah, it appears, had no love for Samson, and when she was offered eleven hundred pieces of silver to betray Samson, she plotted to learn the secret of his strength that she might betray him and be enriched (16:4-5).

Four times Delilah questioned Samson from whence came his strength, and three times he deceived her (16:6-14). When she persistently protested that Samson said he loved her, but mocked her with his lies, he finally yielded and confided to her that his strength was derived from the fact his hair had never been cut, because he was a Nazarite from his mother’s womb (16:17). Delilah believed Samson had “told her all his heart” (16:18), and sent word for the Philistines to come, and they “brought money in their hand” (16:18).

Foolish Samson, having betrayed the LORD and the symbol of his strength to a wicked woman, fell asleep and Delilah cut off “seven locks of his head” (16:19). When Delilah said, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson,” we read tragically, “he wist not that the LORD was departed from him”(16:20). How a mighty man with so much potential could fall victim to a temptress like Delilah is indeed the stuff of legends.

Bound by the Philistines who gouged out his eyes, the champion of Israel was reduced to a lowly slave pushing a mill wheel and grinding seed to flour (16:21). Time passed and Samson’s hair began to grow (16:22). Three thousand Philistine men and women gathered to celebrate their victory over Samson and to offer sacrifice to their fish god “Dagon” (16:23). In the midst of their celebration they sent for Samson that they might mock him (16:25).

Blind, bound by chains, and led by a small boy, Samson requested he be guided to the central pillars of the building (16:26). Seeking vengeance for himself and desiring to vindicate the name of God, Samson prayed: “O Lord God, remember me…and strengthen me…Let me die with the Philistines” (16:28, 30). Leaning against the pillars that supported the house and employing all his strength, suddenly the walls and roof collapsed killing the Philistines and Samson (16:30).

In spite of his failures, he had “judged Israel twenty years,” and Samson’s lifeless body was buried in his father’s tomb (16:31).

Twice we read in Judges 17-18, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 18:1). 

To illustrate the wickedness and depravity in Israel, we are introduced to an Ephraimite named Micah.  Micah was guilty of stealing eleven hundred shekels of silver from his mother who had dedicated the silver to the LORD (17:1-2) and perhaps to be used at the Tabernacle in Shiloh.

Learning his mother had uttered a curse on the thief, Micah returned the silver and excused his theft on the pretense of religion and his desire to have an idol shaped from the silver and revered in his “house of gods” (17:3-4).  After returning the silver to his mother, she foolishly rewarded him with two hundred shekels of silver, which he melted at a foundry and poured into the mold of a breastplate (ephod) like that worn by priests and an idol described as a teraphim (17:4-5).

Here we read, “There was no king in Israel (meaning there was none to uphold the law), but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (17:6).

Further increasing his wickedness, Micah employed a Levite to serve him and his idols as priest. (17:7-13).

Judges 18 paints a portrait of wickedness in Israel that is astounding and tragic to read.  Not only had the nation turned from the LORD and broken covenant with Him, but the people were striving for and stealing one another’s idols.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

The Conception, Birth, and Life of Samson (Judges 13-15)

Daily Reading Assignment – Judges 13-15

The story of Samson, the judge and champion of Israel (Judges 13-16), is a familiar one to the majority of Bible students. For that reason, I am focusing on the less known details of his conception and the revelation of his person to his mother and father (Judges 13).

The national cycle of sin, suffering, repentance, and restoration continues in our study of the Book of Judges. Israel had been oppressed by the Philistines, and the people had suffered the consequences of their sin and rebellion for forty years (13:1). Hearing the cries of His people, the “angel of the LORD” appeared to a barren woman who was the wife of Manoah, of the tribe of Dan.

Manoah’s wife was told she would bare a son, but not just any son. From the moment of his conception, his mother was to set herself and her son apart for the LORD (13:3-5).

She and her son were to follow Nazarite guidelines (Numbers 6:1-8) and its three prohibitions: She was not to drink wine or any strong drink (13:4, 7), nor eat anything unclean (13:4, 7), and her son’s hair was not to be cut (13:7).

Telling her husband she had been visited by “a man of God” (13:6), Manoah prayed to the LORD, “teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born” (13:8). God answered his prayer and the “angel of the LORD” appeared a second time (13:9-11). Manoah asked, “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” (13:12)

Eager to be a good host by Eastern traditions and not understanding his guest was no ordinary man (13:16), Manoah desired to prepare a meal for his visitor (13:15). The “angel of the LORD” refused his invitation, but encouraged Manoah, “offer a burnt offering” (13:16).

Still blind to the identity of his guest, Manoah asked, “What is thy name?” under the pretense that when his son was born he would honor his guest (13:17).

The “angel of the LORD” answered Manoah with a question that was in fact a revelation saying, “Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?” (13:18) The word “secret” might better be translated, “Wonderful.” In other words, too “Wonderful” to speak, one of the names of the Messiah revealed by Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9:6.

Isaiah 9:66  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

A flame suddenly came from within the rock and consumed the “kid” (young goat) Manoah offered as a meat offering. Revealing He was more than a man, “the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar” (13:20).

When Manoah realized his visitor was not a man, he said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (13:22).  Manoah’s wife, having a greater understanding of the LORD’s character than her husband, replied, “If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands” (13:23).

Manoah’s wife gave birth to Samson and we read, “the child grew, and the LORD blessed him” (13:24) setting the stage for Samson to be moved by the “Spirit of the LORD” (13:25).

Judges 14-15 are familiar chapters for most, and I encourage you to read those passages in the absence of an extended commentary.

A Closing Thought: A Model of Godly Parenting

Consider the significant responsibility of child-bearing and child-rearing that were impressed upon the hearts of Samson’s mother and father. While he was in her womb, Samson’s mother was instructed to live a sanctified life and follow the same Nazarite guidelines her son would live under (13:4, 7).

Manoah, Samson’s father, understood the significance of the prophetic announcement of his son’s conception and birth. He desired to know what he was to teach his son (13:8) and his responsibility to prepare Samson for the LORD’S calling on his life (13:12).

All parents should bear the privilege and responsibility for their child’s spiritual and physical well-being.

Set a godly example by your lifestyle and choices. Search the Scripture to know not only how you should “order the child,” but also how you should “do unto him” (13:12).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

“God Hath Chosen the Foolish Things” (Judges 10-12)

Daily reading assignment: Judges 10-12

Judges 10 – The Consequences of a Broken Covenant

A string of judges followed the death of Abimelech (9:53-56); however, there are none whose achievements are recorded (probably because there was nothing noteworthy about them).

Israel soon fell into a familiar pattern of breaking God’s covenant and forsaking His Law (10:6). Angered by the sins of the people, the LORD removed His protection, and Israel suffered decades of oppression under the Philistines (something that would continue until David became king).

Out of her sorrows, Israel repented of her sins and called upon the LORD (10:9-16) as the Ammonites gathered for war against the nation (10:17-18).

Judges 11 – Jephthah: An Unlikely Hero

Judges 11 brings to mind that God uses the “foolish things of the world to confound the wise…And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen” (1 Corinthians 1:26, 28).

We read that Jephthah was “a mighty man of valour [warrior] (11:1),  a man whose lineage was less than stellar from humanity’s perspective. He was the son of an adulterous woman (11:2), and an illegitimate heir of his father in the eyes of his brethren (11:2). Rejected by his father’s children (11:3), Jephthah found refuge “in the land of Tob” (11:3) where he was joined by nefarious (wicked) men.

Though scorned by his family, when the Ammonites rose up against Gilead, Jephthah was asked to defend and lead his people against them (11:4-6). Shrewdly, he did not miss the opportunity to confront the irony of their rejection and now their invitation for him to be their leader (11:7-11).

Jephthah first petitioned for peace with the Ammonites (11:12-13). When his offer was rejected, he suggested four arguments to refute why the Ammonites’ demand for their ancestral lands was unfounded.

1) Israel had taken the land when the ancestors of the Ammonites made war against Israel (11:14-22). 2) The LORD had given Israel the land according to His promises (11:23-24). 3) Israel had occupied the land as their own for three centuries (11:26). 4) The Ammonites were not making war against Israel, but against her God (11:27-28).

When Jephthah’s offering of peace was rejected, he sought the LORD’s blessing and went to war (11:29-30), but only after foolishly promising to dedicate and sacrifice the first who greeted him after his victory over the Ammonites (11:31-33).

Victorious, Jephthah returned home and was greeted by his only child, a daughter, and the thrill of victory turned to overwhelming sorrow.  [On a personal note: Scholars argue over whether or not Jephthah intended a human sacrifice. I believe that is a foolish proposition since Jephthah had evidenced a great knowledge of Israel’s history (11:15-26) and would have known the LORD did not require, nor would accept human sacrifice]. 

Because she was a virgin and his only child (11:34, 37), Jephthah’s dedication of his daughter was a very real sacrifice for both, knowing she would never bear a child and heir (11:37-40).

Judges 12 – The Hypocrisy of the Ephraimites

You may recall the tribe of Ephraim had complained when Gideon failed to call them to battle against the Midianites (Judges 8:1).  On that occasion, Gideon pacified their complaints by demeaning his own achievements (8:2-3).

Jephthah, however, was in no mood to hear the hypocritical protests and threat of Ephraim after they had refused to go to war when he summoned them (12:1-3). When Ephraim could not share in the spoils of victory, they were ready to war against Jephthah and the Gileadites (12:4).  The civil war between Gilead and Ephraim resulted in the deaths of forty-two thousand Ephraimites (12:5-6).

I close with a word of encouragement: Jephthah, like Joseph, stands out as a most unlikely hero. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, but emerged in Egypt to be the one God chose to save his brethren. Jephthah, the son of a harlot and rejected by his brothers, was the man God prepared to deliver Israel from the Ammonites.

Lesson: I don’t know who you are or what you are; but if you are willing to humble yourself and yield to God, He will use you (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)!

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

From Hero to Disgrace and Sorrow (Judges 8-9)

Daily reading assignment: Judges 8-9

Judges 8 – What is important? Not Where You Begin, but Where You End!

Our study of Gideon’s life continues with his leading a mere three hundred men to rout an army of Midianites (7:16-25). Judges 7 closes with Gideon sending messengers to call the men of Ephraim to take up arms and pursue the Midianites across the Jordan River (7:23-25).

Remembering Gideon was of the Abiezrite family and member of the tribe of Manasseh (one of Joseph’s two sons, the other being Ephraim), the Ephraimites alleged Gideon had slighted them by not inviting them to war against the Midianites (8:1).

Charged unfairly, nevertheless, Gideon humbly appeased the anger of the Ephraimites, proposing that tribe had achieved more than he in slaying two princes of Midian (7:25; 8:2-3).

 

Gideon requested food for his men while in pursuit of the Midianites; however, both Succoth and Penuel denied him aid and suggested Gideon would fail to dispose of the Midianites and their kings (8:6-10). Incensed, Gideon warned he would return after the battle and the men of Succoth and Penuel would pay for their rejection (a threat Gideon fulfilled – 8:11-21).

With the battle over, the men of Israel proposed to make Gideon their king (8:22). Gideon wisely refused and encouraged the nation, “The LORD shall rule over you” (8:23).

Judges 8:24-35 – No Fool Like an Old Fool

The battle being ended and his status as a victor secured, Gideon took a path that ultimately led him and the nation far from the LORD.

Requesting earrings of gold taken from the Ishmaelites (of whom the Midianites were descended), Gideon foolishly venerated his victory with a commemorative ephod that became an idol to Gideon and his household (8:27).

An old adage comes to mind when I read the concluding verses of Judges 8: “The best of men are men at best.” Gideon, known as Jerubbaal (“Baal fighter”), embraced his hero status and took “many wives” of whom were born seventy sons (8:30).

Gideon lived to be an old man; however, his sin so compromised his life and testimony that when he was dead, “the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim” (8:33).  The tragedy is heightened by the observation that the people not only forgot the LORD, but they did not honor the memory of Gideon or his household (8:34-35).

Judges 9 – The Tragic Culmination of Gideon’s Sins

Abimelech, one of the seventy sons of Gideon, was born to a Canaanite woman, a concubine in Shechem (8:31; 9:1). Abimelech hated his brothers and set in motion a plan to annihilate his father’s household.  Hiring wicked men to assist him, Abimelech ordered the murder of Gideon’s sons (9:1-5).

Only Jotham, Gideon’s youngest son, was spared death because he hid himself (9:5). When Jotham heard Abimelech had gathered men to crown him king (9:6), he stood eight hundred feet above the plain and shouted from mount Gerizim a parable about trees that proved to be a prophetic curse against Abimelech (9:7-15).

Judges 9:8-13 – A Parable of Trees

For the sake of interpretation, the olive tree, fig tree, and even the grape vine represent noble men (9:8-13). The bramble, a worthless vine of briars and thorns, was meant to represent Abimelech as a worthless man whom noble men had foolishly appointed to rule over them (9:14-15). Portraying the bramble as a worthless vine devoured by fire (9:19-20), Jotham prophesied Abimelech would die an ignoble death.

Abimelech reigned for three years (9:22) when there arose a rebellion. Attempting to put down the rebellion, Abimelech was mortally wounded by a woman who “cast a piece of a millstone” and fractured his skull (9:53). Rather than leave the account he was slain by a woman, Abimelech demanded his armorbearer thrust him through with his sword and kill him (9:54-57).

An Ignoble End

The tragic end of Gideon’s legacy is a lesson for all believers. When he was young and insecure, he was conscious how much he needed the LORD (6:12, 15-16). When he became famous and prosperous, he forgot the LORD and led his family down a path of sin and self-destruction.

What path are you taking, and where are you leading others?

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Where is the Gideon of Our Day? (Judges 6-7)

Daily reading assignment: Judges 6-7

Judges 6 – Gideon: An Unlikely Champion

Judges 6 opens with Israel in a distressed state. Having turned from the LORD, they have suffered seven years of oppression under the Midianites and Amalekites (6:1-2).  Abandoning their homes and towns, the children of Israel retreated to caves and dens in the mountains.

Seven years Israel had sown their crops, only to have their enemies gather and pillage the land at the time of harvest (6:3-6).  Impoverished and distressed, Israel cried out to the LORD, and He sent a prophet to remind the people that He had delivered the nation out of Israel and given them the land, but they had broken covenant and failed to obey His law and commandments (6:7-10).

Having heard the cry of His people, the LORD dispatched “the angel of the LORD” (in my opinion, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ – 6:11) to raise up a savior, deliverer, and judge over Israel, a man named Gideon (6:11). The angel found Gideon hiding in a winepress threshing wheat (6:11).

The angel greeted Gideon as a “mighty man of valour” (6:12); however, the salutation itself seemed to ridicule the man’s present state. Notice it was the angel’s observation concerning Gideon that set him apart from the rest of Israel: “The Lord is with thee” (6:12).

Promised the LORD’S presence, Gideon protested, “If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles?” (6:13).

When the angel exhorted he had been chosen to “save Israel from the hand of the Midianites,” Gideon objected saying, “My family is poor…and I am the least in my father’s house” (6:15). The LORD encouraged Gideon saying, “Surely I will be with thee” (6:16).

Judges 6:17-40 is a rich passage of events too lengthy for this brief devotional commentary. Study the verses and notice how the LORD transformed Gideon from a timid farmer to Jerubbaal, “the Baal fighter” and a man bold in his faith (6:27-32).

When the Midianites and Amalekites gathered their armies to raid Israel, the LORD moved Gideon to blow a trumpet and gather men to go to war (6:33-35). When doubt took hold on his heart (6:36), Gideon requested the LORD assure him with signs to which God patiently complied (6:36-40).

Judges 7 – Fear and Fervency

Gideon sent out a call for men of Israel to gather and 32,000 men responded to his appeal (Judges 7:1).   Looking across the plain, Israel’s army could see in the day the hordes of Midian gathering and at night a multitude of campfires burning on Mount Moreh (three miles to the north).

Incredibly, though facing a great enemy, the LORD came to Gideon and said, “The people that are with thee are too many” (7:2).  Why?  Fear and restlessness were gripping the hearts of Gideon’s soldiers, but now the LORD says, “Gideon, you have too many!”

God gave Gideon two tests for reducing his troops (7:3-7).

1) Test of Fear: God commanded Gideon to send home any who were afraid (7:3). The number of soldiers was reduced by 22,000 men, leaving 10,000 in the camp.

2) Test of Fervency: His army reduced by more than two-thirds, the LORD again said to Gideon, “The people are yet too many” (7:4).  Commanding he reduce his army to those who drank water at a stream, bringing water up to their mouth by cupping their hands while allowing their eyes to be vigilant for the ambush of an enemy (7:5-7), Gideon was left with only 300 men to face an army so vast it was described as a “multitude…without number” (7:12). Three hundred men would face an army of skilled, veteran warriors!

The odds were impossible that Gideon and Israel would be successful, and that is exactly where God wanted His people!  God fortified Gideon’s spirit with the dream and interpretation of his enemies (7:9-15). God was going to give Israel the victory; however, He was not going to share His glory with anyone!

Israel’s triumph was so astonishing that the people knew God alone had given them the victory! (7:18-25)

Where is the Gideon of this generation? (I invite you to click on that question and enjoy this recording by my dear friends in ministry, Matt Herbster and his twin brothers, Mike and Mark Herbster).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

The Tragedy of Disobedience – (Judges 3-5)

Scripture Reading – Judges 3-5

Israel’s failure to drive the heathen nations out of the land soon brought home a sorrow and heartache to many in Israel. We read,

Judges 3:6-76  And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 7  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

Unspeakable wickedness is reflected in those two verses. Having failed to drive out the heathen and separate themselves from them and their idols, Hebrew families suffered the loss of their sons and daughters who intermarried with the wicked and followed in their ways (3:6). Their children not only turned from the LORD, but they began committing all manner of whoredom in the groves (3:7).

A history of Israel under the Judges is recorded beginning with Judges 3:7 and continuing to Judges 16:31.

From liberty to servitude, Israel provoked the LORD’S anger and He delivered them “into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia” whom the people served for eight years (3:8).

Evidencing His grace, when Israel cried to the LORD He sent Othniel, Caleb’s younger brother, to judge and call the nation to turn to the LORD (3:9-10). The LORD delivered His people and gave the nation rest for forty years as long as Othniel was judge in the land. (3:11).

After Othniel’s death, Israel followed a pattern of rebellion that invited God’s judgment and each time the LORD raised up a judge to call the nation to repent (3:12-31).

An intriguing story unfolds of a brave Benjaminite named Elud who stealthily made his way into the palace where he slew Eglon, the Moabite king with a dagger (3:15-26). Ehud’s courageous example and his faith in the LORD, not only delivered Israel from servitude, but also gave the people rest for eighty years (3:27-30).

Judges 4 – Deborah: A Prophetess in the Land

Israel once again turned from the LORD and the nation fell victim to a powerful king, “Jabin king of Canaan” (4:2-3).  This time the LORD called upon a woman named Deborah, identified as a “prophetess” (4:4-5), to judge the nation.

Deborah summoned a man named “Barak” (4:6) of the tribe of Naphtali, to lead the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun against Jabin (4:6-7). When Barak insisted he would only go if Deborah accompanied him, she warned it would be said that “the LORD shall sell Sisera [the Canaanite general] into the hand of a woman” (4:8).

When the Canaanite general Sisera realized he was defeated (4:9-16), he fled the battle on foot, and sought to hide in the tent of a woman named Jael (4:17-19). When he fell asleep, Jael rose up and drove a tent peg through Sisera’s temple (4:20-22).

Judges 5 – A Song of Victory

The prophetess Deborah breaks into song (5:3-11) and leads the people to recall their glorious history (5:3-5), and their decline as a wayward, suffering people (5:6-8).

Deborah’s song turns to rejoicing in the victory the LORD had given his people (5:9-23), and the courage of Jael, the woman who slew Sisera, by driving a peg through his temples (5:24-27).

Faith was and still is the victory!

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

A Crisis: Third Generation Leaders Often Lack the Fortitude of Unshakable Convictions (Judges 1-2)

Daily reading assignment: Judges 1-2

Dear Heart of a Shepherd Followers,

It is a joy to begin the eighth book in our chronological study of the Word of God this year. We completed the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament that are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  We have read the ancient Book of Job and just finished our study of the Book of Joshua.

Israel’s passage from Egypt, her forty years in the wilderness, and that nation’s settlement of the Promised Land has been our focus. With the land divided among the tribes, the book of Judges begins with a matter of fact statement that marks the end of an era: “after the death of Joshua” (Judges 1:1).

Judges 1 – A Third Generation Leadership Crisis

With Joshua and Eleazar the high priest dead, the children of Israel asked the LORD, “Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?” (Judges 1:1)

Though Israel possessed the land, they still encountered the presence of enemies in the midst.  Receiving the LORD’s command to go to war, the tribes of Judah and Simeon fought against the Canaanites and the Perizzites, and God blessed them with victories over their enemies (Judges 1:2-20).  With Joshua dead, we find Caleb named in the midst, the last of his generation to come out of Egypt (1:14-20).

Sadly, the faith, fortitude, and obedience witnessed in Judah was absent among the other tribes who failed to drive the heathen out of the land (1:21-36). The tribe of Benjamin (1:21), the tribe of Manasseh (1:27-28), and the tribes of Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali (1:29-36) all failed.

Judges 2 – The Rebuke of an Angel and Tragedy in the New Land

God sent an angel to rebuke the disobedient tribes in Judges 2, warning them their treaties with the heathen would eventually become “as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you” (Judges 2:2-3).

Every generation has its spiritual destiny, and the achievement of one generation does not guarantee the next will follow.  The second-generation Joshua led into the Promised Land had this testimony: “[They] served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua” (2:7). The same would not be said of the third generation out of Egypt who rose up and “knew not the LORD” (Judges 2:10).

We read of the third generation, they “did evil…served Baalim…forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth” (Judges 2:11-13). 

Israel having broken His covenant, God set His face against them, delivered them to their enemies, “and they were greatly distressed”  (Judges 2:14-15).

Although the people had forsaken the LORD, He did not forsake them and graciously sent judges to remind the people of His Laws and Covenant. Faithful judges called the people to repent, and for a season the nation would heed the warnings, only to turn back to their sinful ways when a judge died (Judges 2:16-19).

“Familiarity breeds contempt” is an adage that is all too true of God’s people. In one generation, Israel had turned from the LORD and lost His blessing and protection.

I fear the same is true of Bible preaching churches and Christian institutions in our day. Like Israel, there are many pulpits in America occupied by third generation leaders who impart spiritual apathy, dead orthodoxy, and a rejection of the convictions of previous generations.

I am afraid many have forgotten that, though times have changed, the admonitions of God’s Word have not!

1 John 2:15-16 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith