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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 11/19/2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Mon, 11/19/2012
Judges 2:20-3:11
LOSERS, LAYMEN AND LEADERS, Lesson 2b
Lessons From The Lives Of The Judges Of Israel
Judges 3:1-11
OTHNIEL: THE LION OF GOD
Because Israel refused to walk with the Lord like He commanded them to, He refused to drive out all their enemies in the land of Canaan. Thus, Israel was forced to live alongside the very people they had been sent to destroy.
We are told in verses 1-4 exactly why God left the people in the land. Look at His reasons.
v. 1 He left them there to prove Israel – The word “prove” means “to put to the test”. God allowed the pagans to live around His people to test Israel.
His people were tested to see how they would live when surrounded by the wicked. His people were tested to see if they would keep His commandments or not, v. 4. They failed this test!
v. 2 He left them there to teach new generations about spiritual warfare. God wanted them to learn the lessons of battle their fathers had known. God wanted them to be strong and to know how to fight the enemy when he came around. They failed this test too!
It wasn’t long until this caused some serious problems among the people of Israel. Israel proved that they could not be trusted to stand up against the enemy. They proved that they would rather join the enemy than fight them.
Let’s notice how God delivered Israel from a time of cruel bondage by raising up Othniel: The Lion Of God.
v. 5-7 ISRAEL’S COMPROMISE
These verses give us the ugly details of Israel’s first great failure. What Israel did then is what we see people doing all around us today. Notice how they compromised the Word of God and the will of God to do the things they wanted to do.
v. 5 Interaction With The Canaanites – The Bible says that the children of Israel “dwelt among” the various tribes of Canaan. The word “dwelt” has the idea “of settling down; of setting up housekeeping”.
When Israel arrived in Canaan. They were commanded to destroy these people without mercy, and not to live among them. It took a very short time for their former enemies to become their new neighbors.
Here’s the problem, Israel was to be separate from the world around them. They were unique among all the peoples of the world. They had been chosen, redeemed and set apart to serve the Lord God Almighty, and He expected them to remain separate, (Deut. 7:6-11). Because they didn’t, they opened a floodgate of sin that would end with them facing the terrible chastisement of God.
Do I need to remind you that God’s redeemed ones are to be a separate people as well,( 2 Cor. 6:17)? Need I remind you that we are a “peculiar people”, (Titus 2:14)? That does not mean we are weird, it means that we are “His special possession”. He loved us, He chose us, He send His Son to die for us; He redeemed us and bought us, (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
When we refuse to walk in His will and honor His Word in our lives, we also open the floodgates of sin that eventually overwhelm us and drown us in its turbulent currents. It is a dangerous thing for a child of God to live like the world around him!
v. 6a Intermarriage With The Canaanites – After a while, the people of Israel got so used to living among the Canaanites that they began to intermarry with them. This was expressly forbidden by the Lord. It was pure disobedience on their part.
Maybe they said, “These Canaanites are not as bad as we were told. They are actually very nice people. They’re not monsters at all. Their girls make good devoted wives. There is no reason why we can’t marry them. After all, we might just be able to change them.” Israel soon found out that it was them and not the Canaanites that changed.
As they married into the tribes around them, the Israelites began to lose their national identity. The very integrity of their families began to break down. They soon lost the very thing that made them unique.
The same danger confronts us today. When we get too close to the world around us, we will soon find ourselves entangled with them in their sins. The company you keep will determine how close you walk to the Lord, (1 Cor. 15:33). That is why God has ever commanded His people to keep their distance from the lost world around them ( Cor. 2:14).
We must interact with the world so that we can be a light to them and give them the Gospel, ( Matt. 5;16; Acts 1:8). But, we must keep our spiritual distance. It is but a short step from walking with the world to living like the world.
v. 6b, 7b Idolatry With The Canaanites – it was a very short step from living among them, to marrying them to worshiping with them. You can imagine how they rationalized this. Perhaps they said, “Well, you marry a Canaanite girl and you just have to understand how they are. They were brought up differently than we were. You have to allow them to bring their gods. After all, it’s just part of her culture.” This sounds more like politics than religion.
So, these people, the children of Israel, who had been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and who had been delivered from Egypt by God’s mighty power, who has been the beneficiaries of God’s power and work time and again, find themselves bowing before the idol God’s of the Canaanites. Verse 7b says they “served Baalim and the groves”. This refers to the various gods and goddesses of the Canaanites.
Many of their gods were associated with fertility rituals and their worship involved disgusting sexual acts and the actual prostitution of their daughters in the groves. The groves were tall poles set up on hills. People would have intercourse between these poles in an effort to convince their gods to bless the crops and the ground with a good harvest.
What you have here is a group of people who have gone, in one generation, from worshiping God and fighting evil, to abandoning God while they sleep with the enemy! Worst of all, they took their precious sons and their precious daughters and handed them over to the very people they had been commanded to utterly destroy. Are we guilty of doing the same?
The same danger confronts wayward saints in our day! When we refuse to maintain our spiritual distance from the world around us; when we continually yoke ourselves to the people and things of the world; when we bow down at their altars, we are sacrificing a generation to the gods of this world. We are teaching our children that they are free to treat God and His Word as they please. We are telling them that it is alright to disregard God, His Word, His House, His worship and His will. We are telling that they are free to chart their own course through this world. Are we guilty of teaching our children the wrong teachings?
v. 7a Indifference With The Canaanites – Each step they took led them farther away from God. Each step they took away from Him led them down a pathway toward totally abandoning Him and His ways. Verse 7a tells us that they “forgat the Lord their God.” The word “forgat” means “to ignore, or to cease to care”. The people of Israel reached a place where they simply ignored God and ceased to care about Him or what He had to say about anything. They reached a place of total indifference toward the Lord.
That is where many in our day have come to! Most folk know the Lord is there. They know that His Word has something to say to them about their lives and how they live them. They know God as a claim on their lives, but they choose to ignore Him. He is there, but they aren’t listening. He calls, but they don’t come. They harden their hearts against God, His Word and the call of the Spirit of God. They turn a deaf ear to Him and His call on their lives. As far as they are concerned, God doesn’t matter, and He might as well not even exist! That is a dangerous place to be!
TODAY’S HYMN!
“Each Step I Take” By: Elmo Mercer (1953)
EACH STEP I TAKE MY SAVIOUR GOES BEFORE ME
AND WITH HIS LOVING HAND HE LEADS THE WAY
AND WITH EACH BREATH I WHISPER: "I ADORE THEE"
OH WHAT JOY TO WALK WITH HIM EACH DAY
CHORUS:
EACH STEP I TAKE I KNOW THAT HE WILL GUIDE ME
TO HIGHER GROUND HE EVER LEADS ME ON
UNTIL SOMEDAY THE LAST STEP WILL BE TAKEN
EACH STEP I TAKE JUST LEADS ME CLOSER HOME
AT TIME I FEEL MY FAITH BEGIN TO WAVER
WHEN UP AHEAD I SEE A CHASM WIDE
IT'S THEN I TURN AND LOOK UP TO MY SAVIOUR
I AM STRONG WHEN HE IS BY MY SIDE
(CHORUS)
I TRUST IN GOD NO MATTER COME WHAT MAY
FOR LIFE ETERNAL IS IN HIS HAND
HE HOLDS THE KEY THAT OPENS UP THE WAY
THAT WILL LEAD ME TO THE PROMISED LAND
(CHORUS)

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Most Holy and Loving Father, Creator and God Almighty! We live by every word that comes from Your mouth; otherwise, we put our soul at risk of being lost. When the sword-thrust of temptation from the devil threatens our soul, help us to counter every attack with Your Word in scripture. Enable us to be prepared and ready to defend ourselves and Your Life-Giving Word. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Thank You, Lord, for feeding us so abundantly and generously with Your Word and Spirit. Forgive us when we neglect the life-giving food you have provided for our souls. These things we pray in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINDYCHARLENE 11/20/2012 12:20AM

    emoticon I really enjoyed this blog. Indeed we cannot compromise our standards by embracing even one of the world's ways of doing things. Our resolve most assuredly will be tested and God does allow temptation to be all around us. I intend to pass the test.

We are so blessed that we have an open book test perse. All we have to do is open the book (scriptures) and then pray for the grace we need to follow the written word.

God bless you in your indeavours to follow Christ and His word.

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KIMPY225 11/19/2012 4:01PM

    emoticon emoticon

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PINKSPARKLE1965 11/19/2012 11:48AM

    beautiful thanks I have to get back into my readings too.. emoticon

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TONYVAND1 11/19/2012 9:17AM

  May the Word of God dwell richly within us. May we rely on the Spirits power to keep us from sin.

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ANHELIC 11/19/2012 7:29AM

    Thank you for another great lesson. Yes, we must put God first in our lives and follow His wonderful word. Without Him we will never become victors and join in the celebrations in heaven. God bless you for sharing God's word with us.

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DIANER2014 11/19/2012 6:50AM

    Amen! Thanks Vic! emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 11/19/2012 6:33AM

    HP (Higher Power) and I are headed out of town to Amish country to celebrate DH birthday! praying I have a safe trip!
linda

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HAGIN2010 11/19/2012 6:22AM

    Hi Vic. Yes may we always put the lord first in everything that we do. May we listen to and follow Gods messages for us in our lives.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 11/18/2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 11/18/2012

Judges 2:20-3:11
LOSERS, LAYMEN AND LEADERS, Lesson 2a

Lessons From The Lives Of The Judges Of Israel

The period addressed in the book of Judges is a period of time defined by lawlessness, rebellion and moral failure among the people of Israel. The whole attitude of Israel during the time of the judges can be summed up in the words of Judges 17:6; 21:25, where the Bible says, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” That’s a pretty good description of our world as well!
God had redeemed Israel from Egyptian bondage. He led them for forty years through a wilderness. He brought them safely into the land of Canaan and promised to defeat all their enemies, if only they would walk with Him in holiness.

God commanded them to enter Canaan and to conquer it, (Deut. 7:1-6). The commandments given in those verses are crystal clear. They were to:
v. 1 Possess the land
v. 2 Utterly destroy all the nations of Canaan
v. 2 Make no peace treaties with them
v. 2 Show them no mercy
v. 3 Refuse to intermarry with them
v. 5 Completely destroy every trace of their pagan religions

The reason they were commanded to do this was because Israel was to be different from all the people around them,( Deut 7:6). They, among all the people of the earth, had been chosen by God. He had saved them, blessed them and promised them victory, if they would walk with Him.

God demanded total separation among His people. He knew that if Israel allowed themselves to be entangled with the Canaanites, they would become corrupt spiritually and be drawn away from God, (Deut. 7:4). When that happened, God promised that He would visit them suddenly, in His wrath, (Deut. 7:4).

Israel had their instructions, but they failed to fully carry out the Lord’s command. The record of their failure is chronicled in Judges 1:19-34.

• Judah failed – 1:19-20
• Benjamin failed – 1:21
• Joseph failed – 1:22-26
• Manasseh failed – 1:27-28
• Ephraim failed – 1:29
• Zebulon failed – 1:30
• Asher failed – 1:31-32
• Naphtali failed – 1:33
• Dan failed – 1:34
• The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh even refused to enter Canaan, choosing to remain on the other side of Jordan.

Israel’s failure to defeat their enemies resulted in them living among their enemies. After a while, they became like their enemies, adopting the wicked ways of the various Canaanite tribes around them. Eventually, Israel began to worship the false gods of the Canaanites. When they followed this downward path, God allowed them to know His displeasure and His judgment.

When judgment came, eventually the people would realize that they were to blame. They would repent and seek the Lord. When they did, God forgave them and raised up a deliverer, called a Judge. These men and women helped Israel throw off the yoke of their oppressors. They also helped them to live for God.

Israel would follow a Judge until that Judge died, then they would revert to their wicked ways and the cycle would begin again. This continued in Israel for about 400 years, until they got their first king.

The book of Judges is profitable for us today. Because in its pages, we see that Israel faced many of the same problems that we face in our world today. They faced physical enemies; so do we. They faced problems from the world, the flesh and the devil; so do we.

I want to take the next few lessons and bring a series of messages I am entitling “Losers, Laymen and Leaders”. I want to share with you some Lessons “From The Lives Of Israel’s Judges”.

As we look at these men and women God used to deliver His people in those days, I want you to see that He is still looking for men and women He can use in our day. God is no longer looking for judges, but He is looking for leaders. He is looking for men and women He can use to stem the tide of evil that threatens to overtake the church in these dark days. He is looking for people who will rise up, taking their stand with God and the Bible. He is looking for people He can use to change the world for the glory of God.

Some of the people He is looking for might just be reading this message today! In that age, God used common, ordinary men and women to accomplish His purpose in Israel, and that is the kind of people He will use in this day as well.

With that introduction in mind, let’s turn our attention to Judges 3:1-11 and meet the first Judge in Israel. I want to introduce you to a man named Othniel. His name means “The Lion Of God”. He was a man who lived up to his name.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Turn My Heart” By: Lynn DeShazo (1992)

Turn my heart, O Lord
Like rivers of wa – ter
Turn my heart, O Lord
By Your – hand
Till my whole life flows
In the ri – ver of
Your spir – it
And my name brings hon – or
To the lamb

Verse:
Lord, I sur – ren – der
To Your work in me
I rest my life
Within your lov – ing hands
(Repeat Chorus 3 times)
‘Til my name brings hon – or
‘Til my name brings hon – or
To the lamb

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, the God of Life! You are the giver of victories. Let us not be intimidated by the odds against us for we have A God who is victorious and has overcome the world. Help us not to doubt Your promises and Your word. You, O God, are the Keeper of Your Word. We are winners if we are on the Lord’s side. The battle is already won and the victory is assured. Hallelujah! Thank You for making our calling and election sure in Jesus Christ our Lord. Glory is Yours forever. This we pray in His name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 11/18/2012 10:32PM

    Thanks for the lesson Vic. We are living in some very dark days; closer than ever to Jesus coming back again.

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HAGIN2010 11/18/2012 8:12PM

    Great blog Vic.

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TONYVAND1 11/18/2012 5:37PM

  I n God I trust He is my strength and salvation. We need to keep His commandments and place our trust solely on Him Thanks for sharing Vic.

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ANHELIC 11/18/2012 12:35PM

    Thank you for another awesome lesson Vic. Yes, we are living in a day like that. If we don't follow God's word, we will perish like the rest. Just as I saw on the news the battle between Palestine and Isreal going on presently. Isreal is God's chosen people and I know Isreal will come out the victors. God bless you for sharing God's wonderful word.

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WENDYSPARKS 11/18/2012 8:41AM

    emoticon

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SANDRALEET 11/18/2012 8:25AM

    When God ruled they were better put they demanded a king and nothing but trouble Power went to there head and then corruption

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LINDAMARIEZ1 11/18/2012 7:37AM

    To believe in God is to believe in me!

emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 11/17/2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sat, 11/17/2012

Judges 1:1-2; 2:1-4; 16,
V. 2:3-4 A NATION MAIMED BY GRIM CONSEQUENCES, Lesson 1c

Because of their sin, Israel faced the Lord’s judgment. Notice what happened to Israel, what may await America, if we do not repent.

2:3 They Endured A Divine Sentence – God vowed to remove His protecting hand from Israel. He would allow the Canaanites they had compromised with to be a thorn in the side of Israel. He would allow the false gods of Canaan to be a snare to them.
America can expect no better treatment. Even now, we can see that our nation is under a sentence of divine judgment.

Militarily we are weak and stretched to the limit. We are vulnerable to military attack. All the while our enemies grow stronger and bolder every day.

Economically we are in serious trouble. People are struggling as they lose their jobs to China, Mexico and Vietnam. It was said recently that China could bring America to its knees without ever firing a shot, through economic means.

Culturally, we are fighting a losing battle. The divorce rates have quadrupled in the past 30 years. Teen suicide has doubled and violent crime has risen 500%. One out of every three children is born to a single mother. In some cities the illegitimacy rates are as high as 80%!

Morally we are totally bankrupt. Our government spends nearly 200 million dollars per year teaching kids how to use condoms. They use that same money to attack abstinence based sex education. 56 million Americans are suffering from a venereal disease of one form or the other.

Spiritually we are in a deplorable condition. The Bible and prayer have been removed from our schools. The Ten Commandments continue to be attacked and relegated to the dust bin of history. Not too long ago, the Supreme Court came down against a display of the Ten Commandments in a court house. Some people fear the Ten Commandments. They say they might be dangerous to some child who might read them. I don’t know about you, but I would rather take my chances with someone who had been exposed to the bible, prayer and the Ten Commandments; than someone who had been taught that there is no such thing as right and wrong.

We are under attack in the natural realm as well. Look at the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the floods, the tornadoes, the fires and fierce storms that are afflicting every part of our country.

These are but a few of the signs that we are facing impending judgment from God. The fact is, our Protector has removed His hand of protection. But, it is not God’s fault. We have no one to blame but ourselves, (Jer. 2:19)! We are reaping the crop that we have been sowing for the last 100 years, (Gal. 6:7)! We have sown to the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind!

2:4-5 They Expressed Deep Sorrow – Their generation called on the Lord because of their sins. My Christian friends, “repentance” is the only hope this nation has! I am firmly convinced that the only thing holding this country up today is the prayers of a remnant of godly people. I challenge you to seek the face of the Lord for this nation!
2:6-15 They Evidenced Deepening Sin – The day came when Israel totally walked away from God, (2:11-15). Their compromise was transformed into wholesale sin and total disregard for the Word or will of Almighty God. For this, Israel paid a terrible price. Judgment came and they suffered the awesome wrath of a holy God.

Look around America today and you will see a nation that has forsaken God; rejected His Bible and thumbs its nose in defiance of the God Who formed her. God is given mere lip service in the public arena, while the same people who declare His Name in vain deny Him by their works and their walk. This trend is only going to get worse as the end times draw closer. Judgment is coming and America is going to pay a terrible price for her transgressions unless she repents.

Conc: I realize that this has been a hard message. I love this nation and I want to see America spared the judgment that I think has already begun. I do not want to end on a down note. I want you to look at verse 16. I like the word “Nevertheless.” In spite of their failures, God still sent them men to lead them and to speak to them. Sometimes they listened, sometimes they did not. But, it still suggests that God was patient, loving and was giving them every chance to set things right.

Today, I want to challenge you to do a few things for me as we prepare to close. First, I wonder who might feel led to come and pray for our nation, our President and for God to send a revival one more time. Who will align themselves with God and seek to confront a national disaster?

Second, there may be some people here who have never trusted Jesus as their Savior. Friend, He loves you and died for you. If you would like to be saved and He is calling you to come to Him, you can come right now.

Third, Some of God’s precious saints have been guilty of walking in compromise with the world and you need to get that matter straightened out with the Lord today.
If He is speaking to your heart today, I invite you to come to Him and get what you need.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“I Must Tell Jesus” By: E. A. Hoffman (1894)

Verse 1:
I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
in my distress He kindly will help me,
He ever loves and cares for His own.
Chorus:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Verse 2:
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles,
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
if I but ask Him, He will deliver,
make of my troubles quickly an end.
Chorus

Verse 3:
Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.
Chorus
Verse 4:
O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
over the world the victory to win.
Chorus

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Holy and Gracious Father, Loving and Wonderful God! Help us to stop “on the way” to offer an affirmation of our Christian faith, so You may bestow on us a blessing of peace and freedom in the midst of a pressing crowd. May it be a life-changing experience that takes place while everyone else is waiting for “on the way” to be over. May we trust You with our time and give attention to our part on the journey of life. Help us to remember that there is no space we are in, that God is not already occupying with His purpose and His glory. Thank You for Jesus and all the “BLESSINGS ON THE WAY”. This we pray in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 11/17/2012 7:04PM

    Wow, what an awesome lesson today. I have been praying for Canada and United States as well. Our countries are both in line for distruction. I pray they will turn things around and God will forgive us for all our faults if we pray and obey His commandments. As children we followed them and we didn't turn out bad. I pray for the young adults that don't have time to spend with their children and take them to church and read the Bible with them. Thank you for your great teaching Vic. God bless you.

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TONYVAND1 11/17/2012 8:54AM

  Praying for our countries. Repentance is needed and it begins with us leading the way. May we all turn from our sins and humble ourselves before a holy and just God.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 11/16/2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Fri, 11/16/2012

Judges 1:1-2; 2:1-4; 16,
V. 2:1-2 A NATION MARRED BY GRADUAL COMPROMISE Lesson 1b

All did not remain well in Israel. Notice Judges 2:7, 10. These verses tell us that the old generation that had seen God move in power and glory died out. A new generation came of age that forgot their heritage and denied the God that had made them what they were. Israel began a slow, steady descent down the slope of compromise.

When they entered the land, they had been commanded to utterly destroy the people of Canaan, (Num. 33:51-56). They are warned in those verses that if they fail to drive out the nations, they themselves will be afflicted and that God Himself will turn against them. This became a reality in Israel.

V. 1:19 The Canaanites They Feared – After some initial success,( 1:4-19a), Judah came up against some people that they feared. They did not drive these people out due to fear.

V. 1:27-30 The Canaanites They Favored – We are told here that many of the tribes did not drive out the people of the land, but merely put them to tribute. That is, they enslaved the Canaanites and forced them to work for Israel.

V. 1:32-33 The Canaanites They Frequented – It gets worse! In these verses we are told that some of the Israelites “dwelt among the Canaanites.” They became accustomed to the vile and wicked ways of the Canaanites and accepted them for who they were.

Of course, this same trend can be seen here in America! We have already taken many of the same steps down that slippery slope that Israel took all those years ago. Remember, the key verse of this book is Judges 17:6 which says, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” That means that there was no fixed standard of right and wrong. People did as they pleased. They did what they wanted to, without regard for God or what He had to say about the matter. That is where we are in this nation today!

In 1960 a poll was taken that showed that 65% of Americans believed that the Bible was the inerrant, inspired Word of God. Another poll was taken in 1992 and by then only 32% still believed the Bible was the perfect Word of God. In other words, less than one-third of Americans believe that there is a perfect standard for judging what is right and wrong. Judges 2:10 is being lived out before our eyes!

Another poll taken in 1992 asked this simple question: Do you believe that there are moral absolutes? Do you believe that there are some things that are absolutely wrong and some things that are absolutely right? 70% of those who answered that poll said that they did not believe in moral absolutes! That is scary! Our children are being taught that there are no absolutes. There are no wrong answers. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. That is frightening if you follow it to its logical end. It means that abortion, murder, drugs use, alcohol use, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, etc, is all right if you want to do it.

Well, thank God that we still have the church right? Not so fast! A recent survey found that only 57% of professing Christians believed in moral absolutes. We are in a mess in America! With no clear standard for right and wrong, the door is open for people do as they please; just as they did in the days when Israel was sliding into the chaos of compromise. Isa. 5:20 is a passage that speaks to our day very well.

Well, as they did in Israel, America is busy compromising with the Canaanites of our day. There are some that we cannot seem to overcome. They have “chariots of iron.” We cannot seem to deal with drugs, crime, abortion, immorality, sexual perversion and moral decay. When we face these Canaanites that we fear, we simply adjust to them and accept them as “being part of life.”

Then there are the Canaanites that we favor. Things like legalized gambling, lotteries and alcohol are accepted by society because they are supposed bring revenue into the hands of the community and the government. But what about their enormous cost? What about broken homes? What about shattered innocence? What about a system that preys on the poorest among us? Look at the price America is paying economically for turning away from God and walking off into compromise! Look at our world! People are playing with vices that are destroying our young! Still we tolerate these Canaanites because they are supposedly working for us!

We fear some Canaanites; we favor others; but there are some that we frequent. That is, we live around sin so much that we begin to get desensitized to it. Instead of maintaining our spiritual purity, we begin to adopt the ways of the world. We talk like them; we walk like them; we do what they do; go where they go; watch what they watch; like what they like; smoke what they smoke; drink what they drink. We have adopted the attitude that sin is not all that bad anymore. We have allowed the walls of separation that existed between the church and the world to erode to the place that it is hard to tell the difference between the two any longer. Friend, don’t be fooled, you cannot play around with sin and not get burned, (Pro. 6:27). Things have a way of getting out of hand quicker than you can imagine.

We have become a nation of compromisers. We are afraid to take a stand against sin for fear of being labeled “intolerant.” We are so politically correct that we are afraid we might offend someone with our “religion.” We are already paying a high price for our disobedience; but I am afraid that we are slated for far harsher judgment as a nation.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Be Still and Know” By: Based on Ps 46:10 and Ex 15:26

Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God.

I am the Lord that healeth thee. I am the Lord that healeth thee.
I am the Lord that healeth thee. I am the Lord that healeth thee.

In thee, O Lord I put my trust. In thee, O Lord I put my trust.
In thee, O Lord I put my trust. In thee, O Lord I put my trust.

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, God of the Universe! We know that life is not easy, but that it can be rewarding with your blessings, and we can keep perfect peace when our minds are steadfast because we trust in YOU. Reassure us O Lord during difficult seasons, with Your broad shoulders and supportive embrace. Enable us to gratefully accept Your gift of peace. Calm our storms of life that we might know and appreciate your peace and comfort. Shelter us in Your loving arms, and help us to remember all the promises we receive in Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes! Help us to be still and know! In His Mighty name we pray. Amen!

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CAVEPRINCESS65 11/17/2012 11:04AM

    Just stopping back to say "Be still and Know" helped me get through a very rough day yesterday! I read this lesson early in the morning and started my day! Oh what a great reminder that is when challenges came my way yesterday! emoticon Vic!

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HAGIN2010 11/16/2012 11:38AM

    I spent most of my life "living among the Cannintes" Vic May i never forget the turmoil and sorrow for doing so. I have found a much better life living in Christ our Lord.

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TONYVAND1 11/16/2012 10:29AM

  Oh that my people would humble themselves repent and pray. We do need to be still and know that God is God of the entire universe. Pray that our nations will repent and turn back to God.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 11/16/2012 7:19AM

    God speaks to us if only we will listen!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 11/15/2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, THU, 11/15/2012

Judges 1:1-2; 2:1-4; 16,
CONFRONTING A NATIONAL DISASTER, Lesson 1a

It does not take very long to discover that the book of Judges is not a very pleasant book. In fact, it one of the darkest books in the Bible. It describes a period in Israel’s history when they were without a strong, godly leader. Perhaps the times and the book are best summed up by Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” When man is left to himself, it will not be long before he finds himself in deep trouble. This was the case in Israel as well.

God had birthed them in the furnace of grace and had delivered them from the horrible of slavery in Egypt. He had led them through the wilderness giving them blessing on top of blessing. They were a favored people. They were the chosen ones of the Lord God Almighty. He led them; He fed them and He protected them. Eventually, He led them into the land of Canaan. This was their Promised Land. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, and it was given to them by the sovereign will of God. All they had to do was enter the land, destroy the people who were living there and take up residence.

God had given Israel Himself; He gave them a Lord. God led Israel into Canaan; He gave them a land. He also handed to them His commandments; He gave them a Law. But, Israel denied the Lord, defiled the land and defied the Law. As a result, God was forced to judge this people He loved so very much.

But, Israel’s saga is not limited to their experience. Looking back through the corridor of time, one can see nation after nation that had a great beginning, achieving tremendous success only to suffer a horrible fall and a tragic end.

Today, we stand on the eve of our nation as a free, sovereign country. There is no doubt that America had an amazing beginning. Our great nation was forged on the anvil of truth with the hammer of the Word of God by men who held tightly to their convictions and who were held in the strong grip of their faith in Almighty God. There is no disputing the fact that America was founded, not as a religious nation, but as a Christian nation! There is no question but that God Himself had His hand in the formation of this country.

Yet, like Israel of old, America has denied the Lord Who formed us. We have defiled the land He gave us. We have defied the Law He established us upon. As a result, America is no more a Christian nation. We are no longer “one nation under God.” We, like Israel, have turned away from the God Who made us great and we have gone after gods of our own design. We are a nation that has experienced the great and manifold blessings of God in the past; we are a nation that will face God’s hand of judgment in the future!

Today, I want to look back into the ancient past. I want to watch Israel as they move away from the Lord and what happened to them because of their sin. I want to observe God as He confronts a national disaster in Israel. Some may wonder what this passage has to do with us.

My friend, in these verses we can see a portrait of our nation as it is today and we can get a glimpse of what lies in store for America, if she does not return to God.
Whether you know it or not, we are facing a real crisis in our nation. We have religion, but there is no fear of God. We have civilization and culture, but they are built on the shifting sands of human philosophy and wisdom and not the firm foundation of the Word of God. I would like for us to look around today, even as we look back. I would like to take these verses and teach for a few minutes on the subject “Confronting A National Disaster”.

V. 1:1-2 A NATION MARKED BY GLORIOUS CONQUEST

When Israel entered Canaan, the sky was the limit! God had promised them the land and all they had to do was claim it by faith. Notice what they enjoyed during those early, heady days of victory.

They Enjoyed God’s Providence – Verse 2, “I have delivered…” God was going before them, preparing the way for certain victory. There was no way they could lose as long as God was behind them, ahead of them, above them and all around them, (Rom. 8:31).

They Enjoyed God’s Protection – Verse 19, “And the LORD was with Judah and drove out…” This shows us that God was actively involved in helping Israel conquer the land of Canaan. He not only prepared the way; He also protected them in the way
.
They Enjoyed God’s Power– Verse 4, which says “and the LORD delivered…”, tells us Who the real power on the battlefield was. He is the God of all power, (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 3:20)!

They Enjoyed God’s Promises – For hundreds of years, beginning with Abraham, (Gen. 12:1), God had been promising to give the nation of Israel a homeland. He is in the process of fulfilling that promise in these verses.

I know that America is not Israel. Some would like to tell us that the promises given to the ancient Israelites have been transferred to us. That is just not true. I don’t want to spiritualize these verses, but I do want to use them as an illustration of what the Lord did for America.

You see, just as surely as Israel was a nation formed by God and formed around God; I think the same can be said about the United States of America. I don’t have time to share all the evidence that is available to support that statement, but just let me briefly share a quote or two.

On March 23, 1775 in the Virginia assembly, that golden tongued orator, Patrick Henry lit the flames of the American Revolution when he said, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased with the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” But that is not all that Patrick Henry said. He also made this statement, “It cannot be emphasized too much or repeated too strongly that America was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not upon religions, but upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Many would like us to forget that, but it is still part of our nation’s history!

Another great American named George Washington, the first president of our country, the father of America read from the Bible when he was inaugurated. He took his oath of office with his hand upon the Bible and then he leaned down and kissed the pages of God’s Word. His first official act as President was to take the entire Senate and the House of Representatives to church. They stayed there for a two-hour worship service.

Then George Washington said this, “It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplication to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the counsels of nations and whose providential aids can supply every human defect that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.” And then George Washington said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

America is not an accident! She is the product of the sovereign, providential will of Almighty God. She was founded on His Word and down through the years, God has blessed America! This nation has enjoyed God’s protection, His power, His promises and His provision. Many would love to rip these facts from the fabric our nation’s history; but they are true. America was a nation marked by glorious conquest!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“I’ll Live For Him” By: Ralph E. Hudson (1882)

My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God Who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God!
Refrain
I’ll live for Him Who died for me,
How happy then my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him Who died for me,
My Savior and my God!

I now believe Thou dost receive,
For Thou hast died that I might live;
And now henceforth I trust in Thee,
My Savior and my God!
Refrain

O Thou Who died on Calvary,
To save my soul and make me free,
I’ll consecrate my life to Thee,
My Savior and my God!
Refrain

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Most Holy Father, Awesome and Almighty God. Making decisions based on what we think other people will think won’t really make us happy. True happiness comes from who we really are and not from what we have. Only what You think about us determines our identity and our happiness. You desire that we share all that we have with others. Today we will make decisions based on Your Great Love, Grace and Mercy. Help us not to worry about what others think. Enable us to focus our desires on pleasing the God we love. This we pray in the Holy name of Jesus, our Savior. Amen!

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CAVEPRINCESS65 11/17/2012 11:01AM

    emoticon lesson as always! emoticon

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ANHELIC 11/15/2012 11:41PM

    Thank you Vic for another awesome lesson, hymn and prayer. We do have to repent and return to live as God would have us. This is one of the reasons why people are turning from God as they want things their way and won't wait on God in His timing. God bless you for sharing God's word.

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FEMISLIM 11/15/2012 5:53PM

    You are blessed for the words you shared!

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HAGIN2010 11/15/2012 2:14PM

    Great lesson Vic

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TONYVAND1 11/15/2012 10:19AM

  Vic

Thank you for being bold enough to say it as it is. We are facing a national crisis. Both in your country and mine (Canada) We have turned away from God and His degrees and we are doing what seems right in our own eyes. We need to repent and turn back to Him or we too will be dispersed as Israel was. Stand Firm.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 11/15/2012 7:09AM

    A very great lesson! thank you!

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CHUM48 11/15/2012 6:51AM

    Thank you fr sharing your thoughts!

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AZMOMXTWO 11/15/2012 6:49AM

  thank you for sharing

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