Friday, January 11, 2013
JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Fri, 1/11/2013
A BLESSED MORNING TO EVERYONE!
ALL THE SIGNS POINT TO DANGER, Lesson 17a
Everywhere you go in life there are warning signs. There are signs along the roadway that point to dangers that lie ahead. Only a fool ignores those signs. To do so can lead to injury or death.
There are warning signs that our bodies give us from time to time. Pain, tenderness and fatigue are all indications that there are problems in the body. To ignore those signs can lead to serious illness or death.
There are warning signs that our minds send out when there is a problem. Feelings of sadness, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of anxiety and other unwarranted feelings are sign that there may be depression. To ignore those warning signs can lead to far worse mental issues and even death.
Then, there are spiritual warning signs. There are times when we slack up in our commitment to the Lord. We don’t attend church regularly, we don’t pray and we don’t give as we should. There are times when we harbor bitterness and un-forgiveness. We hold onto hurts and have hard feelings toward others. There are times when we flirt with sin. We mess around in areas where we have no business being. When we ignore these warning signs, and there are many more we could mention, we are headed for spiritual shipwreck and spiritual death.
In our text, Samson manifests all the signs of a man who is headed for trouble in his life. Yet, he ignored every one of those signs and traveled ever farther down a road that would lead to dishonor, defeat and death. As Samson took these first steps down the road to ruin, he had no idea where his path would ultimately lead him. He had no idea how bad things would be at the end of the way. Had he heeded the signs, Samson could have avoided many of the problems he faced later in life.
I want us to notice the signs that should have stopped Samson in his tracks and sent him in a new direction. As we look at these signs, I want you to know that you can see the signs that point to danger ahead. By heeding the signs that should have served to warn Samson, we can see the signs that signal danger in our own lives. I want to point out these signs and teach on “All The Signs Point To Danger”.
The desires that gripped Samson’s heart, and that motivated his life, should have been warning flags that problems were just around the corner.
v. 1-3 He Desires A Woman – He tells his parents that he has been to Timnath. Timnath was a village that belonged to the tribe of Dan. Apparently, it was occupied by the Philistines. On his trip to Timnath, Samson “saw” a Philistine woman. She captured his eye, and he tells his parents to get her for him to be his wife.
The word “her” in verses 2 and 3 is an emphatic personal pronoun. It has the idea that his parents are to “get her and no one else but her.” His mind is made up and he will not consider marrying any other woman.
It is worth noting here that Samson’s life can be summed up in the events surrounding three women. Those women were “the woman of Timnath”,( Jud. 14:1-4); “the harlot of Gath”,( Jud. 16:1-3); and “Delilah”,( Jud. 16:4-20).
If these women had not been a part of Samson’s life, we would know nothing about him but the circumstances surrounding his birth, (Jud. 13:24-25). It is not a stretch to say that Judges chapter 14, 15, and 16 would be eliminated from the Bible if we removed all the events having to do with those three women. Those three ungodly women limited Samson’s service to the Lord, and they shortened his life.
Samson may have been strong physically, but he was weak spiritually. He had no self-control. True strength is not measured in how much you can lift. True strength is measured in how well you can control your actions, your attitudes and your appetites. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city,” (Pro. 16:32).
It would do us well to remember that our problems in the spiritual realm begin in the same place that Samson’s problems began. They begin within our own hearts as we seek to fulfill our own selfish, sinful desires. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed,” (James 1:14).
The problem of sin is an internal problem. It doesn’t begin with someone else. It doesn’t even begin with the devil. Our sin problem begins with us, and with our own twisted, depraved desires.
This should be a warning sign to us. When we begin to long for things that God forbids, it is a sign that we are headed for trouble. The desire to gratify the lusts of the flesh is a sign that we are headed for danger down the road.
v. 1-3 He Desired His Own Way – There are two statements made by Samson that stand out. These two statements give us a glimpse into his heart. He says “get her for me” and “she pleased me well”. Samson’s focus is on what he thinks, feels and wants. Notice that he went to Timnath and “saw a woman”. When he saw her, he wanted her, and nothing would prevent him from having her. Not the objections of his parents; not what anyone else thought about the issue; not what was in the best interest of the nation of Israel; and not even what God said would stop Samson from having his own way in this matter.
It was against God’s will for an Israelite to marry a Philistine, (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3; Josh. 23:12). He only cared about what made him happy, and he lived his life to please himself.
Desires that stood in opposition to the will of God should have been a warning flag to Samson. After all, he was to live out his entire life “a Nazarite to God”,( Jud. 13:7). That is, we was to be “separated unto the Lord” for his entire lifetime. His life was not his to do with as he pleased. His life was the Lord’s to use as God alone saw fit.
There is an application to us in the verses as well. When the Lord saved us, He redeemed us “unto Himself”. He purchased us, (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are His possession, (Titus 2:14). That verses says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” The word “peculiar” does not mean weird or strange. It refers to “that which is one's own, belonging to one's possessions; a people selected by God from the other nations for his own possession.”
All this simply means that God owns us. He owns us by right of creation, and He owns us by right of redemption. As a result, we should desire His will above our own. When we don’t, it is a clear warning sign that we are headed for trouble.
There is a word in the New Testament that sums up Samson’s attitude, along with the attitudes of many in the modern church. It is the word “lasciviousness”. This word speaks of “unbridled lust; shamelessness”. It speaks of an attitude that says, “I will do as I please and I don’t care what anyone thinks about or says about it.” It is a “me first” attitude. It is a mindset that says, “All that matters to me is getting my way.” Lasciviousness in a life is a warning sign. It is a sign that danger lies ahead for the person afflicted by it.
Isaiah 65:24 (New International Version (NIV)
24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
“Lord Speak To Me” By Frances R, Havergal (1872)
Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone.
O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.
O strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the rock, and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
O give Thine own sweet rest to me,
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from Thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.
O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart overflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.
O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until Thy blessčd face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.
Loving Father, Beloved God! It is amazing to us that You love us so, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. What are we that You should exalt us and fill our lives with Your love? Thank You that You see our ways and count our steps and still offer us your love, Your mercy and Your grace. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, we praise You; we praise Your Holy name. We will bless You while we live and lift our hearts to You in Jesus’ precious name. This we pray in His blessed name. Amen!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Thu, 1/10/2013
Goooooooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!
A JUDGE IS BORN, Lesson 16c
THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SAMSON’S BIRTH
v. 24a The Realization Of His Birth – God kept His promise and the baby was born just like He said he would be. Just to remind you, but God always keeps His promises! He cannot lie, (Heb. 6:18; Num 23:19; Titus 1:2). He will stand by every promise He has ever made, (Rom. 4:21; 2 Cor. 1:20).
This happy mother named her new baby “Samson”. The name literally means “like the sun”. His name means “sunny”.
Those early days of Samson’s life must have seemed like a ray of heavenly sunshine in that home that had waited so long for the cry of an infant. Little did Manoah and his wife know that one day their little “Sunny Boy” would turn from the light he was dedicated to and walk most of his days in darkness.
This is just a reminder to parents that we can do our best and our children may still not turn out right. We cannot know the future, but we must do our best with them while they are small to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
As we will see, however, that Samson’s parents raised a spoiled brat. They gave him everything he wanted and it backed fired on them. They may have followed the letter of the Law in keeping him away from the things God said were off limits, but they failed to instill the Law of God within his heart. They failed to cultivate within Samson a love for God and for righteousness. Those two things would have changed the way Samson’s life played out.
Parents, you are doing your children no favors when you bow to their every whim. They need to know that there are boundaries in life. They need to know that there are limits in life. They need to know there are consequences in life. They need to hear the word “no” every now and then. It won’t kill them, but it might just salvage their lives!
v. 24b The Relationship Of His Birth – We are told that Samson grew and that “the Lord blessed him.” We are told that the other Judges were used by the Lord. We are told that they had the Spirit of God come upon them for special times of service, but this statement “the Lord blessed him” is not made about any of the other Judges of Israel. It indicates that God’s hand was on this young man in a special way.
How sad it is to see Samson’s failure to live up to his fullest potential in the Lord. How sad it is when we fail to do the same. Through the Holy Spirit we all have a special relationship with God. He has a special plan for each one of His children. Our duty is to be where He wants us, doing what He wants us to do for His glory. When we are, we will see Him accomplish through us those things for which He saved us. There is no higher glory in life than to be the person God saved you to be, and to be doing the things God saved you to do.
The Reward Of His Birth – We are told that God began to “move him”. That phrase means “to thrust, to impel, to push”. It conveys the idea that God, through the Holy Spirit, began to impress Samson to fulfill his destiny. He used him in those early days in a localized ministry within the borders of the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, of which Samson was a member. The point is, Samson was available to the Lord in those early days and God used him! He got off to a good start!
It has been said that “the greatest ability is availability”. If we are saved, living for Him, and we make ourselves available to the Lord, He will use us for His glory in the world. I think it would be a good thing if we fell down before the Lord and borrowed a page from Isaiah’s playbook and said, “Here am I; send me,” (Isa. 6:8).
God is still looking for some people He can “move” in these days. He is still looking for some servants who are willing and available vessels.
Conc: Many different subjects have made an appearance in this message. What are we to do with all this information? Let me offer a couple of suggestions.
Look at your relationship with the Lord. Is it all it should be? Are you completely sold out to Him? Are you as available to Him as you should be? Are you even saved?
Look at your relationship with the Holy Spirit. When He moves you, do you respond in humble, swift obedience?
Look at your relationship with your children. Are you raising them for God? Are you giving them every spiritual advantage possible?
Look at your relationship with your spouse. Is your spouse your best friend?
If the Lord has spoken to you on any level, the place to deal with Him is in this altar. If He is calling, you need to come, right now. I would remind you that obedience honors the Lord!
1 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version (NIV)
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
“No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus” By C. F. Weigle (1932)
1.I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how
He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There's no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin
And darkness from me;
O how much He cared for me.
2. All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me;
All my heart was full of misery and woe,
Jesus placed His strong arms about me
And He led me in the way I ought to go.
3. Ev'ry day He comes to me with new assurance;
More and more I understand His word of love.
But I'll never know just why He came to save me,
Till someday I see His blessed face above.
TODAY ‘S PRAYER!
Loving Father, Gracious Lord and God. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation who lives in us. Thank You the Your wisdom which gives us common sense and the ability to make wise decisions and choices. We pray and ask for Your wisdom in all things. Help us to always seek Your wisdom and not the wisdom of this world, to clearly see the difference, and rightly apply it to our lives. May we have the wisdom we need to stay in “the way of Christ Jesus”, free from the “way of evil”, to bring You the glory and honor You deserve. Reveal to us all the things we must understand about life in glory. Grant us the revelation we need when we need it. This we ask in Jesus’ omnipotent name. Amen!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Wed, 1/9/2013
Goooooooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!
A JUDGE IS BORN, Lesson 16b
THE ARRANGEMENTS OF SAMSON’S BIRTH
v. 3 It Involved A Miracle – God came to an unnamed barren woman and promised to open her womb. In that society barrenness was considered a curse. Barren women carried a shame and a stigma that we cannot begin to imagine. Barrenness was often seen as the judgment of God against a home.
In that culture, every young woman wanted the same thing. They all wanted to be a mother who would bear many sons for their husbands. And, they all wanted to be the woman through whom God would send the Messiah. To be barren crushed both those dreams.
To be barren in that culture meant that a woman was always exposed to the danger of being divorced by a husband who wanted sons. It meant that when her husband died, she would be alone and destined to a life of poverty. No man would willingly marry a woman who was known to be barren. It was a hard, harsh life.
Yet, God came to this unnamed woman and promised her that she would have a baby. He promised her that she would have a son. And, He promised her that her son would be a Judge in Israel. What a promise she received!
The fact that God would send a baby to be the leader of His people is amazing when you stop to think about it. Babies are weak. Babies are helpless. Babies are absolutely dependent upon adults for all their needs. Yet, when God has a great work to do, He often sends a baby into the world through which God will accomplish His work.
That is God’s way, (1 Cor. 1:26-28). When God chose to commence His wonderful plan of salvation, he sent Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, (Gen. 21:3). When He would deliver Israel from Egypt, He sent Moses to Amram and Jochebed, (Ex. 6:20). When God would revive a spiritually dead Israel, He sent Samuel to Hannah and Elkanah, (1 Sam. 1). When the time came to save the world from sin, God sent Jesus to Mary and Joseph, (Luke 2:7).
One more thought before we move along. This passage reminds us that God cares about people the world sees as nobodies. Manoah and his wife were just two unknown people living out their lives in Israel. God knew who they were and He knew what they needed and what they wanted.
He knows about you too! You may think no one cares about you and about what you face in life. That may be true from a human perspective, but there is a God in Heaven Who has His eye on your life. He is intimately aware of your circumstances and He cares about you. In His time, He will reveal His plans for you and your life. ( Matt. 10:29-31; Matt. 6:25-22; Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:7).
v. 4-5, 14 It Involved A Mandate – The woman is commanded to abstain from wine, strong drink and from anything unclean. She is then told that her son is to “be a Nazarite unto God from the womb”. This command is repeated to Manoah in verse 14.
The Nazarite vow can be found in Num. 6:1-8. This vow was a voluntary vow that could be made by a man or a woman. While this vow was in effect, they were wholly dedicated to the Lord. This vow was usually taken for a short period of time, typically 30 days, while they performed some sort of special service for the Lord. The Apostle Paul took part in the Nazarite vow on at least two occasions, (Acts 18:18; 21:23-24).
Some people were bound by the Nazarite vow for their whole lives. Among those were Samuel, (1 Sam. 1:11), and John the Baptist, (Luke 1:13-15; Matt. 3:1-4; 11:18).
Samson was to be a Nazarite from his mother’s womb. That is, his entire life was to be consecrated to the Lord. He was never to eat the fruit of the vine, drink wine or strong drink. He was never to touch a dead body. He was never to cut his hair or shave his beard.
As we will see, Samson violated nearly every part of his oath! Samson knew the code, but he never got the concept. Samson never got the idea that the Nazarite vow was not merely from some things, but it was “unto” the Lord. He was to separate himself from those forbidden things and “unto God” alone.
Let’s not be too hard on Samson. A lot of believers never get it either. We know the code, but we fail to grasp the concept.
When the Lord saved us, He purchased us unto Himself, (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are His property. Essentially, we are His slaves to do with as He sees fit. We have no rights. We have no freedom. We have are to have no will but His will. We are to be separated “unto” the Lord.
Like Samson, we have trouble living that kind of life. Like Samson, we continually defile ourselves with the forbidden things of the world. And, like it was with Samson, there will be a price to pay for our wickedness!
v. 5 It Involved A Ministry – The baby that was coming into the family of Manoah and his wife would be the next Judge of Israel. We would have never thought about sending a baby to deliver a nation. We would have selected a full grown man, a military man, trained to fight and hardened by battle. That’s not what God did. He chose to send a baby to be a Judge.
By the way parents, that’s why raising your children is so important. You never know who God sent into your home! Give those children every spiritual advantage so they become the men and women God sent them here to be. Raise them for the glory of God! It’s the least you can do for them. It’s the least you can do for the Lord!
John 4:23 (New International Version (NIV)
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
“O Worship The King” By Robert Grant(1833)
1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God's power and God's love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
2. O tell of God's might, O sing of God's grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is God's path on the wings of the storm.
3. The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy power hath founded of old;
hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
and round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
4. Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
5. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
Most High Father, Most Holy God. Help us to forgive our earthly fathers for anything they did or did not do that was wrong. Show us if there is anything we have not forgiven that we are not seeing. As Your child, we long to make You proud. Help us to always do what is pleasing in your sight. We want to be separated from all that would keep us from You. Thank You that we have been predestined to be adopted as Your children because it gives You pleasure and it is Your will. We praise and honor You as our Father God. We thank You always for all things, but especially four Your great love, for Jesus, for the Holy Spirit, and for Your Word which is Truth. These thing we pray in the glorious name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Tue, 1/8/2013
Goooooooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!
A JUDGE IS BORN, Lesson 16a
Today we begin a study of the last major judge mentioned in the book of Judges. His name is Samson and he is a walking contradiction.
Samson was a man destined for greatness. As we will see in this message, before he was born Samson was chosen for a great mission by God. His life is marked by great victories and by even greater failures. He was a man used by the Holy Spirit, but utterly ruled by the flesh. Samson was the strongest man who ever lived, yet he was also the weakest. Samson was dedicated to God before his birth, but dedicated to himself until the day of his death. In the end, his weaknesses overcame all the strengths in his life.
Samson’s life is a sad tale of the consequences of demanding your own way. Samson had a weakness for ungodly women. He pursued that weakness with reckless abandon, until God abandoned him to the way he chose to live his life. Though the Lord worked in his life, Samson was determined to pursue his sin and he reaped the consequences of the decisions he made in life.
We can learn much from this puzzling man. In Heb. 11:32 Samson is mentioned as a man of faith. Yet his life clearly displays his unfaithfulness. Samson was undisciplined, undependable, and unpredictable. He is a good illustration of James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Samson is a good example of what a believer should not be. Yet, I fear that he represents many of us in our own walk with the Lord.
As we follow the life of Samson through all the victories and failures that marked it, let the Lord speak to your heart. It may just be that you will see some weakness that dominates your life. It may be that you will see yourself reflected in the mirror of Samson’s life.
Let’s begin by noticing the details surrounding the birth of Samson. I want to teach from this chapter on the subject “A Judge Is Born”.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF SAMSON’S BIRTH
v. 2-5 It Came As A Heavenly Announcement – A barren woman, the wife of a man named Manoah, was visited by the Angel of the Lord. She was told that she would give birth to a son. This promise was later confirmed to her husband, (vv. 8-14). Samson’s mother is told that he will be used of the Lord to deliver Israel from their enemies, (v. 5).
Who is this “Angel of the Lord”? We have every reason to believe that this is a pre-Bethlehem, pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 18, Manoah asks the Angel about His name. the Angel replies that His name is “secret”. This is the same word that is translated “wonderful” in Isa. 9:6! So, this is a “Christophany”. Jesus Christ steps out of eternity and into time to bring good news to a hopeless couple.
This is not the only time Jesus showed up in the Old Testament. A few more of His “Christophanies” are:
He appeared to Hagar, (Gen. 16:7-14, Gen. 21:16-20).
He appeared to Abraham, (Gen.18:10; Gen.18:17, Gen. 22:11).
He appeared to Jacob, (Gen. 28:12-15, Gen. 32:24-30).
He appeared to Moses, (Exod. 3:4-5, Exod. 23:20, Exod. 33:22).
He appeared to Joshua,(Josh. 5:13-15).
He appeared to Gideon, (Judg. 6:11-24).
He appeared to Samson's parents, (Judg. 13).
He appeared to Isaiah, (Isa. 6:1-13).
He appeared to the three Hebrews, (Dan. 3:24-25).
He appeared to Daniel, (Dan. 6:21-22, Dan. 7:13-14, Dan. 10:5-6).
He appeared to Zechariah, (Zech. 1:8-13; 2:8-11; 3:10; 6:12-15).
Samson’s birth notice was not the only one to come directly from Heaven. Abraham learned about Isaac through such an announcement, (Gen. 17:19). So did Zacharias, when the angel came and told him about the impending birth of John the Baptist, (Luke 1:13). Mary and Joseph learned that Jesus Christ was coming through a similar method, (Luke 1:31; Matt. 1:20-21). As Warren Weirsbe said, “When God wants to do something really great in His world, He doesn’t send an army but an angel.” I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that our God knows exactly what we need, and He knows just when to send it.
Another reason we know this angel was the Lord Himself is because He received the worship of Manoah and his wife, and He accepted the sacrifice they offered to God, (vv. 19-21). Manoah’s declaration in verse 22 is also revealing. That fact is the Lord Himself came and made the announcement of the impending birth of the next Judge of Israel!
By the way, I love the reaction of Manoah and his wife. When she hears what the angel has to say, the first thing she does is run to tell her husband, (v. 6-7). When he hears her story, he does not say, “Woman, you’ve lost your mind!” The first thing he does is call on the Lord and he asks the Lord to send the angel again, (v. 8).
This indicates to me that Manoah and his wife have a good, strong marriage. It is sad when couples allow heartache and bitterness to steal their love one for another. Your best friend in the world, outside God Almighty, should be your spouse!
It Came As A Hopeful Announcement – According to verse 1, Israel had once again turned their backs on the Lord. Because of their sins, God allowed them to be oppressed by their enemies. This sad situation has been going on for 40 years. The announcement of the birth of a deliverer, (v. 5), was a welcomed word for the nation of Israel. They were reminded that God had not forgotten His people. They were reminded that God had a plan to revive them and to restore them to His favor.
By the way, God always has a plan! It may look to us like the world is spinning out of control. But, that is just how things look. God has a plan and He is always busy accomplishing that plan for His glory. You can trust Him to what’s right and to do what’s best, (Rom. 8:28).
Romans 8:26 (New International Version (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
“Listen To Our Hearts” By Jeff Moore & Steven C, Chapman (1992)
Verse 1: How do you explain, How do you describe, A love that goes from east to west, And runs and deep as it is wide?
You know all our hopes Lord, you know all our fears And words cannot express the love we feel But we long for You to hear
So listen to our hearts (oh, Lord, please listen)Hear our spirits sing (and hear us sing)A song of praise that flows (a simple song of praise)From those You have redeemed (from those You have redeemed)We will use the words we know To tell You what an awesome God You are But words are not enough To tell You of our love So listen to our hearts
Verse 2: If words could fall like rain From these lips of mine And if I had a thousand years I would still run out of time
So if You listen to my heart Every beat would say, "Thank You for the Life, thank You for the Truth, thank You for the Way."
Most Wonderful and Loving Father, thank You that You have given us the mind of Christ, and because of that, we can learn and know the things we need to understand Your Word and the Way of life. Thank You Jesus for the way, the truth and the life. Thank You Holy Spirit of truth, that You fill us with The God’s truth and grant us understanding. Without You we would not be able to see the truth. Keep us deceived and enable us to hear Your voice above all others so we can always distinguish truth from lies. Guide us with Your counsel and unto Your glory. Give us what we need in order to make right decisions and right choices. Lead us always in the way of truth. This we pray and ask in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Monday, January 07, 2013
JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Mon, 1/7/1213
A BLESSED MONDAY MORNING TO EVERYONE!
BE CAREFUL LITTLE MOUTH WHAT YOU SAY, Lesson 15d
v. 34-40 JEPHTHAH’S VIGILANCE
The battle is over and the victory is secured. Jephthah returns home as a conquering hero. I am sure the vow he made to the Lord was fresh in his mind. He fully intended to carry out his vow. Among other things, Jephthah was a man of his word and he would not fail to do all that he promised to the Lord. Let’s watch this man as he fulfills his promises to God.
v. 34-35a Jephthah’s Pain – When he arrives home, the first person who comes out to meet him is his daughter. She is his only child. She comes out to greet her father with songs of celebration because of the victory the Lord had given to His people. She is excited that her father has returned home safe, and that he is a hero. How appropriate that this young lady should be filled with pride and come out to greet her father.
When Jephthah sees her, his heart is broken. He has promised to give up “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors” of his house “to meet” him when he returned home, (v. 31).
He sees his only child coming to meet him, his precious daughter, and it breaks his heart because he knows what he has to do to her, and he fully intends to do it.
He tears his clothes in a sign of mourning and cries “Alas! My daughter…” the word “alas” is an expression of pain. It is the same as crying “Oh!” in the midst of a tragedy. Then he tells her that she has “brought” him “very low”. This phrase means “to bring one to his knees.” The thought of what he must do to his own daughter fills Jephthah with grief. The life is forced out of him. The thrill of his victory vanishes completely away and he is left with the searing pain of loss, and the overwhelming agony of loss. Imagine what you would feel like if it were you and your only child!
v. 35b Jephthah’s Problem – When Jephthah sees his daughter, he tells her that he has made a vow concerning her. Jephthah knows that vow made to the Lord must be fulfilled. Apparently, Jephthah is a man of his word.
Jephthah’s actions should speak to us today. We should also be a people of our word. When we tell someone we will do something, we should do it. When we tell someone we will be somewhere at a given time, we should be there. We should always do what we say we are going to do regardless of the personal cost or inconvenience.
There was a time in our nation when a person’s word was their bond. Business deals were made, livestock was traded, and crops were sold all on a good word and a handshake. There was a time when people said what they meant, meant what they said and did what they promised. Those days are passed!
No, you have to have a contract signed by both parties. That contract has to be notarized and filed with the courts. A person’s word is no longer taken at face value and people cover themselves so that they can sue when someone reneges on a deal.
That should never be true of a child of God! When we give our word, we ought to be a people of our word. We ought to say what we mean, mean what we say and stand by our promises. This is especially true when the Person to Whom we have made our vow is the Lord.
We are to be a people marked by truth! Eph 4:25 says, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” Col 3:9 says, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”
v. 36-40 Jephthah’s Performance – Jephthah’s daughter encourages her father to do all that he has promised the Lord he would do. She only asks for some time to mourn her virginity. This girl was willing to make a huge sacrifice to help her father honor his vow to the Lord. She willingly gave up the joy of becoming a wife and mother. She sacrificed the dream of every Israelite girl that was the dream of giving birth to the Messiah. She sacrificed her dreams to help her father fulfill his vow to God.
She goes away with her friends for two months and they “bewailed her virginity”. That is, they mourned with her that she would never be a wife or a mother. When she returned home, her father fulfilled his vow to the Lord and did with her the thing he promised to do. After that, v. 39 tells us that “she knew no man”. And her friends came every year for “four days” to “lament the daughter of Jephthah”, (v. 40).
Now, here is the question: did Jephthah really offer his daughter up as a burnt offering to the Lord? Or, is there some other explanation for these events? This has been a hotly debated issue among theologians for thousands of years. Many good men believe that Jephthah offered his daughter up as a burnt offering to the Lord. Of course, other equally great men teach that he fulfilled his vow by dedicating his daughter to serve in the Tabernacle for the rest of her life.
Personally, I do not believe that Jephthah offered his daughter as a burnt offering. I lean toward the second interpretation. I believe that he dedicated her to serve the Lord at the Tabernacle. I believe that she remained there all her days. I believe that she remained a virgin all her life and gave herself to the will of the Lord.
Here are the reasons why I believe this is the correct interpretation.
The language Jephthah uses in verse 31 is ambiguous. He says “Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” The word “whatsoever” suggests that he did not know who or what he would see first. So, it was a rash vow.
Then, when he says, “…shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” The word “and” can also be translated as “or”. This means that if it is a person he meets, he will dedicate that person to the Lord. If it is an animal that he sees first, he will offer that animal as a burnt offering.
God would never have approved of, or accepted, a burnt offering. Jephthah would have known about Abraham and Isaac,( Gen. 22), and how the Lord intervened and prevented Abraham from actually offering up Isaac as a burnt offering. He would have known the various teachings in the Law that prevented human sacrifice,( Lev. 18:21; Lev. 20:1-5; Deut. 12:30-31; Deut. 18:9-12). God would not have honored a human sacrifice, and it would be doubtful that a man guilty of such a despicable crime would be listed among the “Heroes of the Faith” in Heb. 11:32.
While the days of the judges were a lawless time, I cannot conceive of how the men of Israel would allow Jephthah sacrifice his own daughter. When Saul made a rash vow and threatened to kill Jonathon his son, his own soldiers intervened and stopped him from killing Jonathan, (1 Sam. 14:24-46).
Where would he have offered the sacrifice? God only accepted sacrifices offered at the Tabernacle, (Lev. 17:1-9). God only accepted sacrifices offered up by Levitical priests, (Deut. 16:2, 6, 11, 16). No priest would have participated in such a wicked sacrifice. Even if he had taken his daughter to Shiloh to sacrifice her, any priest there would have told him that he could spare his daughter by redeeming her for a sum of money, (Lev. 27:1-8).
I think it stands to reason that Jephthah gave his daughter to the Lord to serve in the Tabernacle with the other women who served there, (Ex. 38:8; 1 Sam. 2:22). She remained a virgin for the rest of her life, (v. 39). Every year, her friends came and spent four days with her helping her mourn for her unmarried, childless condition, (v. 40). The word “lament” has the idea of “recounting, of telling again; of celebrating”. It is doubtful that they would gather to celebrate a sinful act, which it would have been had she been offered as a burnt offering by Jephthah. If she was going to die, why would she spend two months prolonging that the agony of knowing that her death was coming?
Jephthah’s daughter joins Isaac as a picture of the submissive, obedient child. She sacrificed family and motherhood to honor her father. By the way, Jephthah’s daughter proves that it is harder to live for the Lord than to die for Him,( Rom. 12:1).
Jephthah sacrificed too. Jephthah saw his line come to an end. There would be no grandchildren because he gave his daughter to serve the Lord all her days.
Of course, there is the possibility that I could be wrong. He might have offered his daughter as a burnt offering! Here is Martin Luther’s blunt statement, “One would like to think that he did not sacrifice her, but the text clearly says that he did.”
Conc: The fact is, we will never settle the issue of what actually happened to Jephthah’s daughter until we arrive home in glory. So then, what can we take away from this passage? There are a few lessons here that we need to take to heart today.
We must be a people characterized by the truth. Let it never be said that any child of God every failed to keep his or her word.
Vows made to God are sacred. They must be kept. Be careful what you promise God. He will expect you to fulfill every promise to the letter, (Deut. 23:21-23; Num. 30:2; Psalm 34:13; Eccl. 5:4-6). Be aware that you will pay every vow you make to God! Be very careful not to make rash promises to God. You will be called on to fulfill those vows.
It is always evil to fulfill an evil vow. While God expects us to do what we say, He does not expect us to violate His Law in the process. It is a sinful thing to make a vow that involves evil, and it would be even more evil to actually carry it out. If Jephthah had promised to sacrifice his daughter, God would not have accepted that vow, and he would have never expected him to fulfill it.
Never try to strike a bargain with God. Your plan will not change His plan. Regardless of what you offer Him it will not change His mind about what He plans to do. Our God is sovereign and He will not be coerced into anything that is not part of His perfect plan! We are to walk by faith and trust the Lord to do with us as He pleases. Don’t bargain, simply obey!
If the Lord has spoken to you about your honesty and about the vows you have made to Him, you ought to come before Him and deal with that today. Remember that vow to love Him, serve Him and obey Him forever? How’s that going for you? Remember that vow to honor Him with your life and income? How’s that coming along? Listen to Him and do what He is telling you to do today.
Hebrews 10:23-24 (New International Version (NIV)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
“In His Presence” By Dick and Melodie Tunney (1988)
In His presence there is comfort,
In His presence there is peace.
When we seek the Father's heart
We will find such blessed assurance,
In the presence of the Lord.
Cover me, Lord, with Your presence.
Heavenly Father, Beloved God! We worship You each day with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength. You are closer to us than our earthly fathers. Thank You for caring so much for us, for what happens to us. You provide for us, You teach us, You plan for us our future, You supply all our needs and You love us in spite of our failures. You never let us get away with disobedience and chastise us. Thank You for giving us the inheritance for loving You and following Jesus. You alone, O God, are our inheritance and our cup of blessings. We love You because You are our God and we give You all praise, glory and honor. It is Jesus’ blessed name the we pray. Amen!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
Get An Email Alert Each Time MJRVIC2000 Posts