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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 11/27/2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Tue, 11/27/2012

Judges 3:31
SHAMGAR: THE OBSCURE SAVIOR, Lesson 4b

SHAMGAR THE WARRIOR
As I said earlier, the Israelites were being oppressed by the Canaanites under King Jabin and his powerful army. Jabin has disarmed the Israelites and made them weak militarily. They were not in a position to defend themselves. This provided an opportunity for the Philistines, a warlike people who lived near the Mediterranean Sea, to take advantage of the situation. They would invade Israel and capture slaves, steal crops and destroy villages.

When the Philistines came, most of the people in Israel would flee in terror. They wanted to avoid death or capture. Shamgar, however, refuse to flee. When the Philistines came, he stood his ground and he fought. He did not have any weapons of war, but he had his oxgoad. While this was a tool, it could also be used as a weapon. It would have replaced a spear on one end. It would have served as an axe on the other end. The long pole could have been used to block blows by a sword.

Shamgar took what he had and he used it to secure victory for his people and safety for his family. Over the course of his life, he killed 600 of the Philistine raiders. Using that heavy oxgoad to kill 600 men would have been an amazing physical feat. He was a man who was in top notch physical condition, but his power wasn’t merely physical. His power was spiritual.

Shamgar was a man empowered by God for this task. There can be no doubt that the Spirit of God enabled Shamgar to stand and fight like he did.

Shamgar stood his ground and fought while others ran away because Shamgar knew that some things are worth fighting for. He was fighting for his home, his family, his freedom and his land. He was fighting for the right to worship his God. Shamgar was a physical and spiritual powerhouse. He was a fighter used in a mighty way by the Lord.
Can I just remind you that while we are to be workers, we must also be warriors! When God saved us, He enlisted us in His army and set us about the business of spiritual warfare, (Gal. 5:17). We are war today! We are at war with Satan, and he oppresses us.

We are at war with the world, like the Philistines, it would invade us and take away everything we value. We are at war, and some things are worth fighting for. Some things cry out for us to stand our ground and fight. If we do not fight and protect the things that matter the most, we will see them taken by the enemy and destroyed!
What things am I talking about?

The Home – Your marriage, your spouse and your children are worth fighting and dying for! There is no sacrifice too great, or price too high, for those whom God has given into our care. We should fight for their salvation and righteousness. We should fight to the death if necessary to protect them from the world and Satan.

The Church – The world would slip in and take away the things we value as a church. Things like the Word of God, our preaching, our worship, our doctrines and our holiness are all under attack by Satan and the world. Every day the world makes inroads in to the church and we must be willing to fight and die for the things we believe are right.

The Lost – They don’t know God and they don’t care about God, but they need someone to stand in the gap and maintain the old ways so that they might hear about Jesus. They need people praying for them. They need people who will not run from their vileness and sinfulness, but who will tell them about Jesus. They need someone who will fight for them. Someone fought for us! If you can’t think of anyone, Jesus certainly did! He went through Hell for us. The least we can do is to stand and fight for others.
Do we have any warriors here today? Do we have any saints of God who will sign up today to fight the good fight of faith for those things that are worth fighting for?

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Soldiers of Christ, Arise” By: Charles Wesley (1749)

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies,
Through His eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
And in His mighty pow'r,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might,
With all His strength endued;
And take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God,

That, having all things done,
And all your conflicts past,
Ye may o'ercome through Christ alone,
And stand complete at last.

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul,
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole.

To keep your armor bright
Attend with constant care,
Still walking in your Captain's sight
And watching unto prayer.

Pray, without ceasing pray,
Your Captain gives the word;
His summons cheerfully obey,
And call upon the Lord:

To God your every want
In instant prayer display;
Pray always; pray, and never faint;
Pray, without ceasing pray.

From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day:

Still let the Spirit cry
In all His soldiers, "Come!"
Till Christ the Lord descend from high,
And take the conquerors home.

THIS MY PRAYER!
Merciful Father, Loving God! Our souls are weary and troubled with what we see and hear going on in this world, even within our nation and neighborhoods. We see darkness closing in all around us, as we look for the light of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that is abundant and free. Help us to turn our eyes upon Jesus, to look full in His wonderful face, so the things of this earth may grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Enable us to stand and fight the good fight of faith to Your glory, praise and honor. This we pray today in His blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 11/27/2012 10:03PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. We are certainly battling the world and Satan tries to defeat us. but we have God with us and we become victors. Sharing His word with the lost is so important so they will have the same chance to accept Jesus as we did. Others stand back and watch our walk with the Lord and we need to be an example to them. God bless you Vic for sharing God's word.

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NADINEL 11/27/2012 8:54PM

    We absolutely are at war. Some days the battle gets intense. We must stand or we will fall. We cannot be stagnant or static. We must press on. Our testimony to others is also our ability to stand for Christ and obey His Word. People are watching our walk.
Thanks, Vic.

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HAGIN2010 11/27/2012 6:33PM

    We need to stand and fight for what is right in this world and beyond.

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SANDRA2BSKINNY 11/27/2012 4:06PM

    Keep spreading the word I love it!

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SUNSETBREEZE05 11/27/2012 10:13AM

    Amen!

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COOP9002 11/27/2012 10:03AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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SANDRALEET 11/27/2012 9:53AM

    When we love learn and teach our action fights the war Care feed and help others we fight the war Our actions and our light fights the war.

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CASTIRONLADY 11/27/2012 9:48AM

    God bless and keep you as you spread His word!

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TONYVAND1 11/27/2012 8:48AM

  Amen Vic We need to fight for our families. We need to fight for the Church and also, we need to fight for the lost. Too often we give up without a fight. How many marriages could be saved if we tried harder to save them? How many more churches would be vibrant if we spoke up against what is wrong? How many more people would be fighting with us , if we only had a passion for the lost?

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EDITOR 11/27/2012 8:40AM

    The obscure? This was fantastic! Christ was born in an obscure village Inn and drew the world to Him
Thank you, Vic, and thanks for your responses!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 11/26/2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Mon, 11/26/2012

Judges 3:31
SHAMGAR: THE OBSCURE SAVIOR, Lesson 4a

The Bible is filled with tales of obscure people who appear on the pages of the Bible, and then promptly disappear. These people step out of the shadows, are used mightily by the Lord and then they fade away , most of them never being mentioned again.
Among those that come to mind are:

Adino – 2 Sam. 23:8 – One of David’s mighty men. He killed 800 men at one time with a spear.

Eleazar – 2 Sam. 23:9-10 – Another of David’s mighty men. He stood boldly in the day of battle and fought so long, and killed so many Philistines, that his hand would not open and allow him to release his sword.

Shammah – 2 Sam. 23:11-12 – Another of David’s warriors. Shammah stood alone in a field of peas and fought the Philistines and God gave him a great victory.

The Widow of Zarephath – 1 Kings 17 – She fed the prophet Elijah and sheltered him during a famine.

The Israelite Maid who told Naaman about the Man of God – 1 Kings 5:1-4 – She told her master about the God of Israel and this led to his cleansing from leprosy and to his spiritual conversion.

The little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus – John 6:5-13 – He gave the little he possessed and God used that tiny portion of food to feed a vast multitude of people.

The woman who anointed the Lord and washed His feet with her hair – (Luke 7:36-50 ) She performed a labor of sacrificial love on the Lord Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea – John 19:38-42 – At great personal risk and cost, Joseph buried the body of Jesus.

This list could go on and on. It seems that God chooses to use those who are unknown and obscure to accomplish His work in this world. The passage before us is no exception. We are introduced to a man named Shamgar. He is an unknown man who appears on the pages of the Word of God, is used by God in a great way, and then vanished back into the shadows from which he came.

Not much is known about Shamgar. He is only mentioned twice in the Bible. He is mentioned here in Judges 3:31 and in Judges 5:6. What is said about him reveals a man of character and courage. The little information we are given reveals a man whom served God in a great way.

I want to study Shamgar today. I want to make three observations about this man. I want you to see Shamgar The Worker; Shamgar The Warrior and Shamgar The Winner. Notice these observations with me as we look at “ Shamgar: The Obscure Savior”

SHAMGAR THE WORKER
The name “Shamgar” means either “sword” or “cupbearer”. Either name would fit with the details we have concerning this man. He was like a “sword” in the hand of God, as God used him to destroy the enemies of Israel. He was like a “cupbearer” who brought the cup of God’s wrath to those God would judge.

He is called “the son of Anath”. “Anath” was the Canaanite goddess of war. This might be a nickname for Shamgar. It is possible that he was called “the warrior”. This name could also mean that he was from the town of “Beth-Anath”, which was located in northeast Israel on land belonging to the tribe of Naphtali. Of course, it could mean that his father’s name was Anath.

One thing we know for sure about Shamgar was that he was a farmer. He carried and fought with an “oxgoad”.

An oxgoad was not a weapon, it was an agricultural tool. It was a pole some 8 to 10 feet in length and about 2 inches in diameter. One end was tipped by a long iron point. This end was used to encourage the oxen he was driving to move. Oxen might not respond to voice commands or the pulling of the reins, but they would respond to the sharp point of the oxgoad.

The other end of this tool was shaped like a spade. It was a metal blade used to clean wet clay, roots and other impediments off plow points.

Another thing we know about Shamgar has to do with the time in which he lived. It was a very difficult time for the people of Israel. Judges chapters 4-5 talk about the times in which they lived.

The nation of Israel was being oppressed by Jabin, the King of Canaan. Jabin was a powerful enemy, who possessed 900 iron chariots,( Jud. 4:3). His army seemed totally unbeatable. As was the custom in those days, he probably would not allow the Israelites to arm themselves, (1 Sam. 13:19-23; Jud. 5:8).

It was a time when the people of Israel were filled with fear, (Jud. 5:6-7). They were afraid to travel the highways because of their oppressors. They were afraid to live in their homes because of those who invaded and attacked them.

It seems that while Israel was oppressed by Canaan, they were also under attack from the Philistines. We will talk more about them in a moment.

One of the great lessons we can take away from Shamgar is that God tends to use those who are already busy. When God called Shamgar, He called a man who was already busy. Shamgar was a man who was actively working to feed and care for his family. When the enemy came, God used Shamgar as His chosen instrument.

God does not use lazy people in any great fashion. When He looks at the church and places His hands on folk to use them, He always chooses those who are actively engaged in His work already. We need to remember that He saved us to serve Him, (Eph. 2:10; James 2:18). As we are faithful to work in the small tasks He assigns us, He will open up larger and more important avenues of service. If He cannot trust you to do the small tasks He will never use you in greater ways, (Luke 10:16).

Like preachers and teachers who talk about being in a small church, the day in which we live is a hard day for the servants of the Lord. It seems that the government and society are growing in their hatred of the Lord and His work. It seems that hearts are becoming continually harder against the message of the Gospel and the Lord’s call to salvation. It is a hard day to raise families. It is hard day to be in the ministry.

However, these are the days the Lord has chosen for us to live and work. I challenge you to do the best you can where you are. Serve the Lord in your home, in your Sunday School class, in church programs, in the youth group, in the out-reach ministry, and in any way you can find.

The Lord is watching! He takes note of your faithful service and He will bless you and use you where you are. You can be sure that He will reward you when you get home.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes” By: Elizabbeth Mills (1836)

O land of rest, for thee I sigh!
When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell in peace at home?
Refrain
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.

To Jesus Christ I fled for rest;
He bade me cease to roam,
And lean for comfort on His breast
Till He conduct me home.
Refrain

I sought at once my Savior’s side;
No more my steps shall roam.
With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide
And reach my heav’nly home.
Refrain

THIS IS MAY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Jehovah God! Help us not to neglect our walk with You. Help us not to be concerned with outward appearances, selfish pursuits, and the condition of our own house, but rather to be concerned with spiritual growth, unselfish service, and the condition of Your house. Enable us to always have our priorities in order so opur walk with You continues to grow and draw us nearer to You. Show us how to have a deeper relationship with You. This we pray in Jesus’ awesome name. Amen!

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ANHELIC 11/26/2012 11:00PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. I know God uses busy people and not lazy ones. I have always heard a statement, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. I am busy all the time and still find time to fit time in to spend in God's word. Without my spiritual life, I would be totally lost. Thank you for sharing God's word with us.

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DIANER2014 11/26/2012 1:50PM

    Great blog Vic! Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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HAGIN2010 11/26/2012 1:16PM

    Great lesson Vic. i have to work Sundays but do attend church Wednesdays and am active helping where I can for the church but also to people outside of the church as well.

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SAINTBETH 11/26/2012 10:50AM

    I always liked the widow of Zarephat.

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TONYVAND1 11/26/2012 10:24AM

  Lord I pray that you use me as we'll like you used Shamgar

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KIMPY225 11/26/2012 9:20AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EDITOR 11/26/2012 7:26AM

    Better to be obscure in man's eyes, rather than God's. Great lesson and I am beholden to you for all you do, Vic.

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AZMOMXTWO 11/26/2012 7:02AM

  amen

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 11/25/2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 11/25/2012

Judges 3:12-30
HOW LEFTY KILLED HEFTY, Lesson 3c

v. 27-30 ISRAEL’S DELIVERANCE

v. 27-28a It Involved Following – When Ehud returned from killing Eglon, He sounded a ram’s horn. Trumpets were sounded for several reasons in Israel.

They were blown to announce a feat.
They were blown to signal a change of location.
They were blown to demonstrate joy and to praise the Lord.
They were blown to call the people to war. That is the purpose here.

God had heard Israel’s prayers and had raised up a deliverer. Ehud had taken the first step toward giving them victory over their enemies. He had severed the head of the serpent; now they needed to destroy the body. The test now was to see whether they would follow God’s man or not. They did and they achieved a great victory.

v. 28b-29a It Involved Fighting – Israel cut off the avenues of escape and the means whereby reinforcements could get in. Then, they killed about 10,000 men. The men they killed were “lusty”. That means they were “robust men”. They were “men of valor”. This means that they were men of great physical “strength”. Regardless of their power and military ability, they were defeated by Israel because God gave them the victory!

v. 29b It Involved Finishing – “There escaped not a man”. Israel did not back off until every last one of the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Amalekites in their country had been put to the sword. It was a total victory over the enemy.
Israel’s victory has a lesson or two to teach us about our own battles with sin and the flesh.

God has given us everything we need to enable us to walk in spiritual victory. He has given us His Word, His Spirit, prayer and His presence in our lives. If we fail to yield to Him and walk in His will, we can never have victory. But, if we will follow Him, humbly and faithfully, He can and will keep us from the bondage of the flesh!

We need not fear the size or the power of our enemies. We are to fight them with everything God has given us. We are to cut off every avenue of escape and every place where the enemy might send reinforcements. We are to fight until every last ounce of the enemy’s strength is gone. We are to fight until the day He calls us home to glory!
We are not to tolerate even the tiniest bit of the flesh life within us. Every vestige of the flesh must be put to death. We are to live every day, “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh,”( Jude 1:23).

Conc: We all have problems with the flesh. It is overindulged, self-assured, and out of control. This message is a call for us to take the battle to the flesh. The flesh does not have to carry the day. It does not have to win the victory over us. It does not have to claim the victory in our lives. You can be free!

We are lot like Ehud. We are all unlikely conquerors. We are all crippled in one way or another. We are all weak. We are all prone to spiritual failure. But, like Ehud, we can walk in victory. We need to take the Word of God, our dagger, hide it away in our hearts, (Psa. 119:11), and assassinate the flesh in a sneak attack.

You don’t have to be a victim. You can be a victor! You can be a victor over the flesh! If the Lord has touch an area in your life that needs work, this is the place to bring that need!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“I Bring My Sins To Thee” By: Frances R. Havergal (1870)

I bring my sins to Thee,
The sins I cannot count,
That all may cleansèd be
In Thy once opened Fount;
I bring them, Savior, all to Thee;
The burden is too great for me,
The burden is too great for me.

I bring my grief to Thee,
The grief I cannot tell;
No words shall needed be,
Thou knowest all so well;
I bring the sorrow laid on me,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee.

My joys to Thee I bring,
The joys Thy love has given,
That each may be a wing
To lift me nearer Heaven;
I bring them, Savior, all to Thee,
Who hast procured them all for me,
Who hast procured them all for me.

My life I bring to Thee,
I would not be my own;
O Savior, let me be
Thine ever, Thine alone;
My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Thee, my Savior and my King,
To Thee, my Savior and my King.

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father of Love and Comfort, God of this universe! Teach us how to respond to those in trouble and in need. Let laugh with those in gladness and weep with those in sadness. Let our joy be earnest and our weeping sincere. Help us when we are scared and hurting; when we suffer physically and emotionally. Teach us to follow Jesus’ example, for Jesus wept and it’s ok for us to weep also. Thank You for Jesus and His example. Thank you for giving us tears and the ability to express our emotions and compassion. May we share our compassion with others so they may feel Your Comfort and Love. This we pray in the blessed name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 11/25/2012 9:55PM

    Thank you Vic for another awesome lesson, hymn and prayer. As long as we walk in the way with God, He will carry us to victory. We must not follow our flesh as will definitely be defeated. Thank you for sharing God's word with us.

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HAGIN2010 11/25/2012 6:43PM

    Thanks for a wonderful blog Vic.

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TONYVAND1 11/25/2012 3:14PM

  Praise God , He gives us the victory! Hide His Word in your hearts and you will gain the upper hand over the evil one.

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LOOKINGUP2012 11/25/2012 1:16PM

    Amen!

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LINDAMARIEZ1 11/25/2012 10:31AM

    Teach me to help others in the best possible way! Please guide me! Thank Vic for all his teachings!
amen

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EDITOR 11/25/2012 6:18AM

    Cutting off the avenues of letting sin in should be priority, rather than whatever we choose to "believe" is pleasing to God. We are enabled, through Christ, follow in His footsteps. Thank you for the goodies and notes and presentations, Vic.

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JSTETSER 11/25/2012 6:14AM

    Do you write these each day? That is impressive!


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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 11/24/2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sat, 11/24/2012

Judges 3:12-30
HOW LEFTY KILLED HEFTY, Lesson 3b

v. 15-26 ISRAEL’S DELIVERER
That is where Israel found herself. When she finally got tired of the servitude, Israel called on the Lord and He began the process of bringing her back to Himself. The first step is restoration is repentance! Let’s learn more about Ehud, Israel’s deliverer.

v. 15a His Problem – Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin’s allotment of land included the area around Jericho. Thus, they would have suffered the most under Eglon’s reign. Ehud, and the men of Benjamin, had plenty of reasons for wanting Eglon and his armies gone.

We are also told that Eglon was “a man lefthanded”. There seems to have been a great number of men from the tribe of Benjamin who were left handed, (Judges 20:16). There were also many in Benjamin who were ambidextrous, (1 Chron. 12:2). When the Bible says that he was “a man lefthanded”, it does not simply mean that he used his left hand. It literally means that he was “bound in the right hand.” In other words, Ehud was crippled on his right side. He was forced to use his left hand because his right hand did not function.

This would seem like a handicap for a “would be” deliverer. If the people had been voting for a deliverer, Ehud probably would not have made the first ballot. As we will see, Ehud took what many would see as a liability and turned it into an asset.

Let me say right here what everyone already knows. We all have our problems! Moses was tongued tied. David was young. Paul was hated by the early church. We all have some issue or another that we think hinders us from being all the Lord would have us to be. Well, I have one question for you: Did God not know about your issues when He saved you? Of course He did, but He saved you anyway. He did not save you so you could fret over what you couldn’t do; He saved you so He could enable you to do what only He can do.

We need to stop making excuses about why we can’t do this or that and get busy doing something for Him! None of them change the fact that when He saved us, He placed His Spirit within us, (1 Cor. 12:13), and He gifted us to serve Him, (1 Cor. 12:7). Throw out your excuses and do something for Jesus!

v. 15b-19 His Plan – Every so often, the people of Israel were required to pay tribute to Eglon. So, they sent their gift to Eglon with a delegation led by Ehud. Ehud took the liberty of making himself a double-edged dagger some 14 inches long. He strapped this dagger to his right thigh, under his cloak, and went to take the tribute money to the king. His plan is to get Eglon alone, and when he does, he is going to assassinate the king. It was a daring plan!

If Ehud had been caught with that dagger, he would have been killed on the spot. But, he was a cripple! What’s he going to do? The guards would have expected to see a sword strapped to his left side, not hidden on his right thigh under his garments. They probably didn’t even search him, thing they had nothing to fear from a crippled man.

By the way, the flesh knows you are crippled. The flesh knows you lack the power to overcome it on your own. The flesh thinks you are weak. The flesh thinks it can control you and rule your life. The flesh is right! But, the flesh forgets one important truth. The flesh forgets about the Spirit of God Who lives inside the believer. The flesh forgets that we have this promise from our Lord, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness,”( 2 Cor. 12:9). The flesh forgets that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,”( Phil. 4:13). The flesh forgets that, “...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4). The flesh forgets that you have been saved and you do not have to sin. The flesh forgets that you have been delivered from its power and you can walk in victory for the glory of God!

After delivering the money to Eglon, the delegation departed. After they had gone a short distance, Ehud came back and told Eglon that he had a secret message for him. The king, supposing that he was about to hear some great secret, tells Ehud to keep silent until they are alone. Eglon dismisses all of his servants.

v. 20-26 His Performance – When Ehud gets Eglon alone, Ehud tells the king that he has a message for the king from God. Eglon stands up to hear this message, for even a king must honor a word from God! Ehud reaches under his cloak, draws the dagger and thrusts it through Eglon’s body. The blade sinks so deep into the king’s body that the fat closes around the handle and Ehud cannot retrieve the dagger. Not that it matters, because Eglon is dead.

Ehud locks the doors to the rooftop room where they are and he makes his escape. Eglon’s servants find the doors locked and think the king is in the restroom, which is what the phrase “covereth his feet” in v. 24 means. This is gross, but the phrase “the dirt came out” in v. 22, means that Eglon’s bowels emptied themselves when he died. The locked door and the odor from the chamber convince the servants that the king is on the throne, so to speak.

They wait until they are literally embarrassed, v. 25. Then they retrieve a key and enter the chamber and find the king dead upon the floor. By this time, Ehud is long gone.
I realize that some of that was probably more information than you wanted to hear in a sermon, but those details, while they are disgusting, plainly illustrate the nature of the fight we find ourselves in every day. If we are going to enjoy victory over this flesh, we are going to have to go to battle with it. We are going to have to get close to it and deal it a death blow. It is going to be gritty, dirt work. It isn’t for the squeamish, but it is the only way to enjoy victory.

Jesus described it this way,( Mark 9:43-48), “ If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.”

No step is too great. No price it too high. We must take whatever steps are necessary to see the flesh defeated. If we don’t we will remain its servant as long as we live!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Just A Closer Walk With Thee” By: American Folk Song

1.I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Refrain:
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

2.Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Refrain
3.When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.
Refrain

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, God of Hope and Holiness! Though we may fall into darkness, we will rise up out of that darkness because of the power of Jesus and His light. Help us to walk in His light so that His light can be reflected to others in darkness. We know that when we walk with Jesus, He will always be there to lift us up and put us on the right path again. What a blessing this is for us. Thank You for being our light, the light of our life, and the keeper of the flame that burns in our hearts for all eternity. This we pray today, in Jesus’ glorious name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 11/24/2012 11:23PM

    Thank you Vic for an awesome lesson, one of my favorite hymns and prayer. I know my flesh is weak and when I succumbe to it, is when I call on Jesus and repent and ask for His wonderful help. I try to overcome problems on my own, but I do fail and realize I can do all things through Christ Jesus. Often I need to step back and see what is happening whether it's of God or flesh. Thank you for this reminder. God bless you for teaching us God's word.

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BABY_GIRL69 11/24/2012 3:54PM

    God bless you Brother Vic! This was a wonderful read & lesson.

Dee

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DGFOWLER 11/24/2012 12:24PM

    Vic this is one of my favorite hymns, thank you for today's blessing. Donna

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LOOKINGUP2012 11/24/2012 11:36AM

    Another wonderful song! May God preserve our folk heritage. emoticon

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TONYVAND1 11/24/2012 10:36AM

  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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CAVEPRINCESS65 11/24/2012 10:17AM

    Amen & thank you Vic!
"He equipped us with what we need to face any challenges in our lives" Thus, we should not have any excuses that we cannot do anything when we should

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 11/23/2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Fri, 11/23/2012

Judges 3:12-30
HOW LEFTY KILLED HEFTY, Lesson 3a

All during the 400 years covered in the book of Judges, the nation of Israel followed a predictable pattern. They would serve God faithfully while they followed the strong leadership of their judges. When a judge died, they had no leader, and they would desert God, and began to live in disobedience to His Law, giving themselves to the worship of the pagan gods of the Canaanites. When they rebelled against the Lord, He would sent His judgment upon them by allowing Israel to be oppressed by their enemies. After a time, Israel would repent of their sins and God would raise up a deliverer. God would use this person to defeat Israel’s enemies and set them free.

That is exactly the pattern we see at work in the verses before us today. Israel sinned against God and the Lord caused Eglon, the king of Moab, to become strong. Eglon invaded Israel, with the help of the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and together they oppressed Israel for 18 years. When they repented, God raised up a man named Ehud to be their deliverer. Ehud assassinated Eglon and led Israel to victory and freedom.
This story has much to teach us, if we will allow it to. Like Israel, we often follow the same pattern of disobedience, chastisement and restoration. Our problem is not the Moabites, the Ammonites or the Amalekites. Our problem is the flesh.

As this text unfolds, we will see that Israel’s enemies are a clear type of our own enemy. Eglon is the perfect picture of the flesh. He is out of control. He is self-indulgent. He is fat, lazy and evil. He is full of pride.

In Israel’s defeat of Eglon, I see a picture of the battle we are supposed to be fighting every day. Every one of us has problems with our flesh. Sometimes we win our battles with the flesh; sometimes we lose our battles with the flesh; sometimes we don’t fight against the desires of the flesh at all. We are literally in a fight for our very spiritual lives every day. It is a fight we must win, every time we enter the arena. This passage gives us the help we need to fight and win the battle with the flesh.

I want to teach about Ehud and Israel and their battle with Eglon. I want you to see that they won their battle with those who oppressed them and you can too. You do not have to be a slave to your fleshly passions. You can be free from the grip of sin. You can walk in victory if you will fight the battle and fight it God’s way.

I want to teach on How Lefty Killed Hefty. As we consider the truths revealed in this passage, we will be given the tools we need to fight and win the daily battle we face with the flesh. I want to point out Israel’s Dilemma; Israel’s Deliverer; and Israel’s Deliverance. Let’s notice these truths as we look at “How Lefty Killed Hefty”.

v. 12-14 ISRAEL’S DILEMMA
These verses describe the horrible oppression Israel suffered because of her rebellion against the Lord. Their problems stand as a warning to all those who would walk away from the God Who redeemed them. Let’s look at these verses and learn from them.
v. 12-13a Their Foes – Israel faced three nations because of their rebellion against God. They faced the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Amalekites. All three of these nations were continual problems for Israel, and all three were connected to Israel by blood.
The Amalekites were descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. The Moabites and the Ammonite were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. After Lot and his daughters were delivered from Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s daughter got him drunk, had sexual intercourse with their father and conceived Moab and Ammon, from whom descended these two nations.

All three of these nations worshipped false gods. The Moabites served a god called Chemosh. The Ammonites worshiped a god called Moloch. Both of these gods were worshipped through vile, sexual practices as well as child sacrifice. The Amalekites were a nomadic, warlike people that worshipped a variety of pagan gods.

All three of these nations were a continual thorn in the side of Israel. They were constantly attacking, hindering and seeking to enslave the people of Israel.
These three nations are a picture of our old, fleshly natures. Moab represents the power of the flesh. Ammon represents the passion of the flesh. Amalek represents the persistence of the flesh.

Just like Israel was repeatedly attacked by these nations, the believer is continually attacked by the flesh. Our flesh has its own desires. It does not like the way of holiness and the way of righteousness. The flesh likes the way of evil and the way of Satan, (Eph. 2:1-3; John 8:44).

The flesh that you and I carry around will do everything in its power to enslave us and prevent us from reaching our fullest potential in Jesus Christ. Don’t be deceived, your flesh hates God and everything God stands for. Your flesh will never submit to the Word of God. It must be forced into submission by a strong show of force. Here is how Paul described the enemy – (Rom. 7:14-25).

v. 13b Their Fights – These three nations joined forces and came against Israel. We are told that they “smote Israel”. The word “smote” means “to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, and kill”. These pagan armies did not come by for a friendly picnic; they came to destroy Israel. Israel was in a fight for its very existence.

The battle we wake up to every day is just as serious! We are in a fight for our very spiritual lives every day we live. Paul describes this battle for us in (Gal. 5:16-18).
We all have different areas in which we fight, but if you are saved, you are involved in warfare every day you live. Sometimes you win the battles; sometimes you lose the battles, which is determined by who we yield to as we fight, (Rom. 6:16). If we yield to God, we are slaves to righteousness. If we yield to sin, we are slaves to sin.

We are in a war! The Christian life is not a playground, it is a battle-ground! We need to suit up for war every day by putting on the whole armor of God, (Eph. 6:10-18); by praying and reading the Word, and by taking a stand that refuses to yield to sin in any form! It isn’t easy, but it is His command for us!

v. 13c Their Failures – Eglon established his headquarters in “the city of palm trees”. This is another name for the city of Jericho, (Deut. 34:3). Jericho was the first city conquered by Israel when they entered the Promised Land, (Josh. 6). Jericho represented all the victories that God would give them in the future. To see their oppressors set up their headquarters in the very place where they once had enjoyed great military and spiritual victory must have been hard for Israel to swallow.

Such is the power of the flesh! Just when you think you have achieved victory in an area of your life, and just when you think that problem with that sin is settled forever, here comes the flesh. It will do everything in its power to undermine your victories and take back any ground you have won.

The flesh is relentless. Unfortunately the spiritual desire within us in not. We let our guard down, and when we do, we lose the battle. We fail to pray. We fail to read the Word. We fail to avoid exposure to the things that tempt us. We fail to take a stand against the flesh. We fail to do what Paul said he did, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” (1 Cor. 9:27). The phrase “keep under” means “to beat black and blue”. When the flesh rises up, we must put it back in its place. Beat it, punch it, assault it, deny it, and make it toe-the-line for the glory of God! It isn’t easy, but if we fail to do it, we will lose the battle every time! This is why we need Jesus living in us.

v. 14 Their Foolishness – Because Israel failed to honor the will of God in their walk day by day, they became the servants of Eglon. The word “served” means “to work; to labor; to become a slave to”. Israel had been redeemed to be the servants of Jehovah God. Now, because of their sins, they have become the servants of pagan kings. This condition lasted for 18 years!

Again, this shows the power of the flesh. It has the power to enslave us and lead us away from the Lord. It has the power to enslave us and to cause us to work for the world and the devil. It has the power to make us labor for self every day, while we ignore the will of God for our lives. It is not what God saved us for. He did not save us so that we might remain the slaves of sin. He saved us to be free. He saved to serve Him and Him alone!

But, if you allow the flesh to have its way in your life, you will become its slave. It will draw you into its trap and hold you there, squeezing the very spiritual life right out of you. I have no doubt that I am speaking to some people right now who are a mere spiritual shell of what you used to be: Your prayer life, your devotional life, your church life, your life of service and devotion to God have all fallen into a state of disrepair. You have seen the places where you used to enjoy victory become the habitation of the flesh. You see yourself living a life you never imagined when the Lord saved your soul. Well, I want you to know that you do not have to stay in that condition. The Lord can and will set you free.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“I Shall Not Be Moved” By: Edward H. Boatner (1993)

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

In my Christ abiding, I shall not be moved;
In His love I'm hiding, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus

If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus

On His word I'm feeding, I shall not be moved;
He's the One that's leading, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, God who is Holy, righteous and just! We know that we have broken your laws and our sins have separated us from you. We are truly sorry, and now we want to turn away from our past sinful life toward you. Please forgive us, and help us avoid sinning again. We believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears our prayer. We invite Jesus to become the Lord of our life, to rule and reign in our heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help us obey Him, and to do Your will for the rest of our life. In Jesus' glorious name we pray. Amen!”

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 11/23/2012 10:48PM

    Thank you Vic for another great lesson, hymn and prayer. I love this hymn. It says it all for us. We do fight our flesh each day and only to succeed when we wait for God's still small voice to guide us. We have accepted Jesus into our heart and lives and He will help us to be victors. God bless you for sharing God's word.

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LOOKINGUP2012 11/23/2012 6:55PM

    emoticon Vic. I hadn't heard that song in a long time. God is able and willing!

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HAGIN2010 11/23/2012 1:43PM

    Thanks Vic May we all continue to have victory over the flesh with gods help and grace.

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CAVEPRINCESS65 11/23/2012 10:52AM

    Amen and Thank you Vic!
May we all never forget that we need to call upon him daily and we shall be at a place of peace!

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TONYVAND1 11/23/2012 8:50AM

  Amen Vic: Fighting the old nature is a daily battle but the victory can be ours because of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit We need to call upon Him every day.

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DIANER2014 11/23/2012 8:25AM

    That's one of my favorite hymns! Thanks Vic! emoticon

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