Category Archives: Judges

Judges 16:28 – Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God…

“Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, …””  ‭‭Judges‬ ‭16:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This was Samson’s prayer when he was humiliated by the Philistines. He had lost his eyes. He had lost his great strength. But in the depth of such helplessness, he prayed. Lo and behold, the LORD heard him. And the LORD answered his prayer! Here are 2 lessons I see amongst many in this verse:

Firstly, Jesus taught us to ask, even when it seems ridiculously “out of our mind” to do so. He told us the parable of the friend who came at midnight seeking for some food to entertain his visitor. It was simply unthinkable to make such a request. Yet, the request was granted because of the persistence of the one who asked.

The lesson for us is simply this: we may be brought to a humbled state due to our own folly and we feel “too embarrassed” to ask for God’s mercies. Yet, we ought to ask. Samson did just that and God answered his prayer.

Secondly, God’s grace is amazing & supernatural. God is not obligated to grant sinners any pardon or privilege. Unfortunately, many people only realise this when they are in circumstances similar to what Samson was experiencing. But God’s grace is amazing and supernatural. He did not need to answer Samson’s cry for help. Yet, He did.

This passage exists in the scriptures to help us appreciate the fact that God’s grace was extended to a sinner who called out for help. It was a sinner who ought to be ashamed of all the wrong he had done, all the misuse of gifts and privileges bestowed to him. And this prayer of a totally unworthy sinner was heard by a God who is gracious and merciful. And this God could extend His pardon to sinners was possible because He earned their pardon by His own Son’s  death on the cross.

 

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Jud 11:30 -…don’t make vows hastily…

“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭11:30-31‬ ‭NKJV

‬‬What was Jephthah thinking of when he made this vow? Was he expecting a lamb or goat to be coming out of his house? Why would he even think of such a vow? Obviously, he did it in haste. And very often, this happens when a man is so focused on his own accomplishment. Unfortunately, his daughter became the victim of his hasty action.

Saul similarly made a rash vow in 1 Sam 14:24…“Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” What was Saul doing at that time? He was fighting a battle. He was concerned about victory for himself. He did not care about the welfare of his troops. He was not concerned about the glory of the God. In the end, it was his son Jonathan who became the victim of his rash action.

Consider what the scriptures teach us about making vows:

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—” ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Consider what our Lord Jesus taught concerning swearing & the making of vows:

“But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:34-37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Finally, the Apostle James has this to teach us concerning swearing & making vows:

“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.” James‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jud 9:23″…A spirit of ill will…”

“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.”‭‭Judges‬ ‭9:23-24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The scripture says that “God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem”. Why did this happen? V24 tells us that it was a judgement for the “..crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal…”. Abimelech killed 70 sons of Gideon (also known as Jerubbaal) in Jud 9:5. 

We are reminded that God is aware of everything that happened. And He is in control of everything that happened and will happen. In this case, God judged Abimelech by sending a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. We see here that even the relationship between people is under the control of God! 

How is the relationship with your fellow brethren and the people around you today? It will depend on your relationship with God. Listen to the wisdom of the Proverbs in how you may have favour with both God and man…

“And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:4-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Seek God and His kingdom first and even this blessing of “having favour with both God & men” will be added unto you.

Jud 8:1-3 – …jealous of others’ success

“Now the men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?” And they reprimanded him sharply. So 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 vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:1-3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Gideon just had a resounding victory over the Midianites. As part of the “mopping up” operation, he sent messengers to Ephraim asking them to pursue the fleeing Midianites and redeem their land.The Ephraimites did so and even captured the two princes of Midian. But instead of thanking Gideon for involving them in this matter, the men of Ephraim accused Gideon of not involving them in the battle. It appeared that they wanted to be part of Gideon’s success and were unhappy that they were not “part of his plan”. They were so angry that they “reprimanded” Gideon.

How did Gideon react to this? He did not retaliate. He did not argue with them. He regarded the men of Ephraim more highly than himself. He told them that they have done far better than him. They had captured the princes of Midian. And Gideon’s achievement was pale in comparison to that. And with such a response, the anger of the men of Ephraim subsided. 

What did Gideon just do? He simply applied the Apostle Paul’s teaching from Rom 12:3 – “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” ‭‭

Gideon had every reason to believe that he did well. With just 300 men, he disbanded the armies of Midian. But he knew that this victory was a work of God. And he regarded his own achievement as nothing. And it was with such lowliness of heart that he served. And it was with such behaviour that he brought peace amongst the Israelites. Let us adopt his approach in handling conflicts that we encounter every day.

Jud 7:7 – God’s ways are just not our ways…

“Then the LORD said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand…..”” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

How many soldiers did his enemy have? Jud 7:12 says “..the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance….”. In other words, there were so many that they cannot be numbered. 

How many men did Gideon have at the beginning of Judges 7? 22,000. How many did God eventually allow him to bring for battle? 300.

What a contrast! If Gideon had a victory over his enemies with 22,000 men, he would be tempted to believe that his victory was a work of his own hand. But with only 300, it was clear that any victory would have to be a work of God. 

Sometimes, we lack, so that we can rely on God. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Cor 12:9 “…Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Let us rejoice when we feel we are lacking. That is an opportunity to seek God and see His hand work out wonders that will overwhelm us.

Jud 6:31 – ..if he is a god, let him contend for himself…

Judges 6:31 “..if he is a god, let him contend for himself…”

Gideon just destroyed the altar of Baal, an idol of the people of Israel. And the people got angry with Gideon for doing this. They were so angry that they wanted to kill him. In response to this threat, Joash the Father of Gideon said to the people “..if he (that is Baal) is a god, let him contend for himself..”. There is so much truth in this statement. Yet we still see idol worship happening so prevalently.

 The Psalmist has the following to tell us concerning idols:

“….The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭135:16-18‬ ‭NKJV‬

Is a statue the object of your worship? If so, you ought to consider the wisdom of the bible concerning them. Turn to the true God of the heavens and the earth. By His word, all things came to pass. At His command, His creation responds accordingly. By His Spirit, He moves the hearts of even kings. Everything under the sun is under His control. In Him, we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28). If He withholds His grace in sustaining you, you will no longer have life. Therefore, Be wise! Seek Him now and turn away from worshipping idols.