Read Judges 3
Othniel judges and delivers Israel; Israel’s sin; their enslavement by Moabites; Moabites defeated by Ehud; Deborah and Barak deliver Israel; death of Sisera; the song of Deborah and Barak.
And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses (Judges 3:4).
Although Joshua had executed all the Canaanite kings, the Canaanite people still occupied the promised land. The first major step in the downfall of the Israelites was their disregard for the Commandments of the Lord. The next step was that they became friendly neighbors and dwelt among the Canaanites (3:5). The third step in their decline soon followed: They took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods (3:6). The fourth step was inevitable because the Israelites’ heathen wives who worshiped idols could not teach their children to worship the One True God. Sadly, the final step: The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord . . . and served Baalim and the groves (idol worship) (3:7). The outcome was certain and tragic. Sin always separates the sinner from the protective love of God and the Israelites were soon under the control of an enemy nation. After years of suffering, the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them (3:9).
We learn from Israel’s history that, regardless of how far we have backslidden and sinned, our merciful God in heaven always hears the prayers of those who confess and turn away from their sins and commit their lives to Him. Often we are so taken up with condemning ourselves and others when we fall short of being what God’s Word tells us is right, that we forget that God loves us as a father. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him (Psalm 103:13). So don’t give up. We need to recognize that God loves to forgive. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). But the undesirable fact is, wasted years of opportunity cannot be relived. Therefore, we must strive to use our time to the glory of God. Let’s not waste years that could be used to build God’s kingdom. Jesus said: I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work (John 9:4).
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Ps. 90:12). See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time (Eph. 5:15-16; Col 4:5).
Thought for Today:
Afflictions become blessings when they cause us to turn to the Lord.
By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judges 3:9-11). The Spirit of God was also upon Christ, our Deliverer (Matthew 3:16). There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26). Jesus declared: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).
3:7 served Baalim and the groves, worshiped idols; 3:22 haft, handle; 3:29 lusty, strong fighters; 3:30 fourscore, 80; 4:21 nail of the tent, a large tent peg for holding down the tent.
Prayer Suggestion: Confess wrongs you have committed to the Lord and to those whom you have hurt; ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
Optional Reading: John 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 14:11