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Preparing the Way of the Lord

Judges 21

Judges 21

Judges 21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.

Then the people realized the magnitude of their rash oath and the deed of destroying Benjamin and cried out to God.

21:2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; 21:3 And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel? 21:4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

The people then sought for those who had not made a vow to withhold their daughters from Benjamin in marriage, that the men of Benjamin might have wives, and that Benjamin might not perish out of Israel.

21:5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.

The people repented dearly for Benjamin, but were forced to keep their vow, therefore they sought out any who had not made the vow.

21:6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. 21:7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?

They found one city that had not made the vow not to give their daughters to Benjamin.

21:8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly. 21:9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there.

Israel then destroyed the males that did not come up to fight against the wickedness of Benjamin and took their virgins for the remaining men of Benjamin.  Those who tolerate open sin among us will also be destroyed from among the people of God.

21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. 21:11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

21:12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 21:13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them. 21:14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.

Israel repented and sought more wives for the remainder of Benjamin.

21:15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? 21:17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. 21:18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.

They then decided on a stratagem that they would not give wives to Benjamin, but neither would they fight if Benjamin kidnapped wives away for themselves.

21:19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

The elders of Israel therefore told the men of Benjamin to kidnap wives of the daughter of Shiloh for themselves  when they came out to dance and rejoice at the annual Feast of God.

21:20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; 21:21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

The leaders of Israel promised to aid Benjamin by reasoning with the men of Shiloh; saying that because they did not “give” their daughters voluntarily they did not break their vow.

21:22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.

Thus was the problem of wives for Benjamin solved

21:23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them. 21:24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.

The book of Ruth comes next and is appointed to be read on the Feast of Pentecost. Ruth is in the later Judges period, setting the background for the rise of the dynasty of the house of David.

In Judges God raised up occasional Judges [strong men or rulers], it was not until David that God established a dynastic covenant to create a dynasty of kings.

Lessons from Judges 

21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

The story of the book of Judges and Israel’s continual cycle of correction and repentance is an allegory of our need to fight the spiritual good fight against all sin and that whenever we may inadvertently slip we should quickly repent and get back up with God’s help to continue our personal struggle to overcome all sin in our lives.

Today most are no different than Mosaic Israel was during the period of the Judges.

The vast majority of today’s Ekklesia have fallen away from any zeal to follow God the Father and Jesus Christ and have fallen away from any zeal to learn and gain more understanding of and to live by every Word of God.

Whatever the specific sins during the period of the Judges; the main overriding core and foundational sin was: to turn away from any zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God!

It is because they fell away from their covenant to be zealous to live by every Word of God; that they fell into all of these sins and evil situations.

The situation is exactly the same today!

It is because today’s Ekklesia has fallen away from the New Covenant of zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God on our part; and have followed our own ways, exalting ourselves and our leaders and corporate entities above any zeal for the Word of God; that we have fallen into many sins, and each one does what is right in his own eyes, instead of doing what is right in the eyes of God today!

Because we are full of zeal for our own ways and have no zeal for advancing in the knowledge of God or for keeping the Word of God; and because as we each do what is right in our own eyes instead of doing what God says is right: We have been judged and found wanting by our espoused Husband Jesus Christ, and we are in grave danger of being fully rejected by him into the correction of the furnace of affliction so that through the afflicting of the flesh the spirit might possibly be saved.

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Laodicea is spiritually lukewarm, professing godliness while keeping the commandments according to their own imaginations instead of living by every Word of God

We pay lip service to godliness without any zeal to learn and live by every Word of God.  Our zeal is for our own ways and what we think, it is for our own past false traditions and our idols of men and not for what God says. We stand on false past traditions and proudly think we know it all; refusing any spiritual growth we are stagnant or even falling backward in our spiritual condition. 

We are hot for our own traditions, and for the teachings of opur idols of men about the Word of God, and we are cold for zealously keeping the whole Word as God, as God has commanded us.  This mixture of hot for our idols of men and corporate entities, and a cold, lack of zeal to keep the Word of God makes us lukewarm and revolting to Christ. 

We are idolaters of men and the traditions of men; proud, thinking that we know it all spiritually and therefore we refuse correction from God or man; we reject the Word of God for our own ways and we reject any growth in truth and refuse to turn from error, going deeper and deeper into error and sin. 

Because we have rejected living by every Word of God for our idols of men, we will be rejected into the correction of great tribulation, in the hope that through the correction of the flesh the spirit may be saved.

Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth [we will be rejected by Christ into severe correction].

The vast majority today think they know it all, because we trust in their own ways; and we have no idea of how spiritually wretched and blind we really are.

Proud and self-willed, we think we are spiritually rich and know it all, having need of no spiritual growth, and we reject the increase in spiritual knowledge and understanding promised for the last days (Dan 12). 

We reject any part of scripture that we do not want to follow, saying it is for others; or that it is not reliable and we are so proud we have no idea how spiritually wretched, miserable and poor we really are. 

We are willfully blind to our own condition and to the things of God that disprove our false ways;  We lack the garments of righteousness and are naked before God,  our many sins are exposed to him; beginning with the sins of pride, stubborn self-will,  self-justification and self-approval.

3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich [spiritually], and increased with goods [spiritual knowledge], and have need of nothing [no one not even Christ (the Word of God) can tell them anything]; and knowest not that thou art [spiritually] wretched, and miserable, and [spiritually] poor [knowing almost nothing of God as they ought to know it], and blind [willfully blind to their wretched spiritual state], and naked [naked of any true godly righteousness, not being zealous to keep the Word of God]:

Seek the gold of the Word of God in the fire of affliction that we may become spiritually rich. Seek the clothing of the righteousness of the Word of God, that the shame of our own ways be covered by the righteousness of the ways of God. Seek after the eye salve of the Spirit of God, through zeal for all the things of God that our spiritual blindness may be healed.

Christ counsels those with the Laodicean attitude to buy spiritual gold in the fire of tribulation; that they may become spiritually rich. 

They are bidden to sincerely repent of their prideful sins that the nakedness of their wickedness may be covered by the application of the sacrifice of Christ; so that they may receive God’s Holy Spirit and the  white raiment of the righteousness of the zealous keeping of the whole Word of God. 

They are commanded to anoint their eyes and open them to see themselves as God sees them, and to sincerely repent from their pride and false ways and to turn away from their idols of men and false traditions to follow the Spirit of God into all truth; rejecting all error and sin to embrace godly truth that they might be saved.

3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me [spiritual] gold tried in the fire [during the period of your correction in the fire of tribulation], that thou mayest be [become spiritually rich] rich; and white raiment [the righteousness of zealously keeping the whole Word of God], that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness [that our sins might be covered by the righteousness of God] do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see [open our eyes to see ourselves as God sees us, to see ourselves as we really are so that we can repent and be saved].

Jesus reminds these folks that he rebukes them only because he truly loves them and is not willing that they should perish.  They are rejected only because they first rejected Christ, refusing to live by every Word of God, refusing to follow Christ and refusing to live by every Word of God in Christ-like zeal. 

Jesus Christ tells those of the Laodicean attitude; which is the overwhelming attitude in the Ekklesia today;  to REPENT of their pride and self-righteousness. and to REPENT of trusting in their idols of men and false traditions. 

Jesus Christ tells us to turn to him; and turn to a zeal for the whole Word of God, to learn it and to keep it; to turn from our false idols and false traditions and to become zealous to remove error and embrace the truth of God! 

3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Jesus is warning and calling each one of his straying sheep; He wants them to open up to him, to reject idols and to follow him, to be zealous to remove sin and embrace God’s righteous truth, to internalize  the solid meat of the Word of God in fellowship with Christ. 

They have an open invitation from Jesus Christ who is gladly willing to accept them, if they would only open up their eyes and turn to Him! 

3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [eat; internalize the Word of God] with him, and he with me.

Only those who overcome this Laodicean attitude of pride and self-centeredness will be resurrected to spirit.  Those who sincerely repent of the sins of Laodicea will be in the resurrection to eternal life and will have a place in the eternal government of God.

3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

As the seventh and last assembly Laodicea has all of the problems of the other churches.  

That is because pride is the chief cause of most of the various problems. 

Today professing Christianity and the Brotherhood are full of pride and idolatry, rejecting any biblical thing they do not agree with, as unreliable or applying only to others. 

They think of themselves as the repository of all wisdom and truth, and refuse any zeal to keep the whole Word of God, in order to follow their corporate idols, idols of men and their own false traditions. 

Today the Organizations call the Sabbath and High Days, Holy; and then walk all over them, while claiming that the commandments not to cook or buy food on Sabbath somehow apply to others and not to themselves.  They insist on following the apostate Rabbinic Calendar and refuse to keep the Biblical Calendar of God; even though the proofs are now overwhelming. 

They have almost no understanding of the Festivals, rejecting the true meanings of the Festivals; even claiming that the seven day Feast of Tabernacles somehow represents only one thousand years.  They reject any zeal for living by every Word of God, and insist on a zeal for the corporate idols, idols of men and past false traditions, insisting that people should obey them, above the Word of God. 

Jesus Christ loves his people, therefore he will correct us, that through afflicting the flesh the spirit may be saved. If we continue to each group exalt its own ways above any zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God: We SHALL be chastised in the furnace of affliction. We have the promise of Jesus Christ that he will do that for us, to save us from ourselves!

I will not lie to you brethren. Only a few scattered here and there are truly pillars standing on the solid foundation of the whole Word of God.

The vast majority of the people are enthusiastically following their own ways and lacking in any zeal to grow in understanding, or in any zeal to keep the whole Word of God with enthusiastic joy. 

 

The book of Ruth follows Judges and is an introduction to Samuel.  I post on Ruth at Pentecost and so will not post it immediately after Judges in order to avoid duplication.   Please access Ruth by clicking this link

 

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