TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Judges 3 – 4

Judges 3

Todaywe now live in a different dispensation then the period of the Mosaic Covenant. Physical Mosaic Covenant Israel was a national entity with a national religion, while other nations also had their national gods.

Jesus Christ as the God of Israel, was using Israel to demonstrate his might to all peoples, and the history of physical Mosaic Israel was recorded as object lessons for us about the spiritual battle against all sin.

The entire history of physical Mosaic Israel in their struggles over physical opposition and sin, is a prophetic allegory of and instructions about the struggle of spiritual Israel against Satan and sin.

The New Covenant person should understand that our struggle is not against flesh and blood; it against the spiritual powers in high places which manipulate and control men. We are to condemn the sin, and love the men; forgiving them but not tolerating any sin; we are to loudly and openly rebuke all sin.

Judges 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 3:2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;

God let five cities of the Philistines and many of the Canaanites and others that dwelt in the promised land remain to test and try the descendants of Israel who were born after the death of Joshua. Just as the spiritually called out are tested concerning our zeal to live by every Word of God.

3:3 Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. 3:4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Just as physical Israel fell away from any zeal for God and turned to a zeal for their own ways and the pleasures of sin; today’s spiritual Ekklesia has done the same thing.

3:5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: 3:6 And they took their [unconverted] daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their [unconverted] sons, and served their gods.

Even so, the called out of today have tried to marry the Word of God with pagan prophecies and teachings, cleaving to many false teachings and rejecting any zeal for the Word of God; some even allowing marriages with the unconverted.

3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

In Hebrew, Asherah (of which the plural is Asherim or Asheroth), refers to any idol, and especially refers to either a living tree representing vigorous life, or a tree-like pole, or column, set up as an object of worship, being symbolical of the male reproductive organ.

The word is often translated “green trees” or “grove.” God forbade all idolatry (Deut. 16: 21; cf. Num. 25: 3; Judg. 2: 11-13; 1 Sam. 7: 3-4; 1 Kgs. 11: 5; Isa. 17: 8; Micah 5: 12 ).

Groves were mainly upright poles; which were fertility symbols of pagan sun worship based on fertility. In the pagan religion of Baal [worshiped by different names in Egypt, Greece, Rome and other lands] the winged serpent Satan was worshiped as the sun god who gave light and fertility to the earth.

Baal [Satan] was worshiped by fertility rites involving eggs, rabbits, evergreen trees [today the Christmas tree supposedly representing eternal life]  and poles. Today these “groves” are common through the world as obelisks and in our churches are commonly known as crosses and steeples.

We are commanded not to gather to worship God near groves [which are steeples, idols [such as crosses, religious pictures, statues or obelisks or any kind of pagan symbol]; this forbids meeting in any place having these pagan objects and symbols.

This is utterly forbidden by the Word of God; and so is the spiritual idolizing of men and corporate churches as being in authority between men and God.

It was because of the sins of Israel in turning away from any zeal for the Word of God [especially idolatry and Sabbath pollution and marrying the unconverted; which are common sins in the Ekklesia today] that they were allowed to fall before their enemies.

Here we have mention of one of the first great and powerful Mesopotamian rulers. God used this king to correct Israel and they were laid under tribute to him for eight years.

This was Jesus Christ correcting physical Israel; how much more will he correct spiritual Israel who are supposed to have God’s Spirit and are supposed to know better than physical Israel?

3:8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim[interpreted, as “man from Cush”] king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.

When the people cried out [repented], God used the nephew of righteous Caleb to deliver them.

3:9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Othniel was a faithful man on whom God placed his Spirit; the Holy Spirit has been given to certain called out people since righteous Abel!

3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 3:11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

And as soon as this righteous leader died; Israel fell right back into her sins!  Her repentance only being a reaction to the correction, and not genuinely sincere.

This reminds me of fasting in today’s assemblies; whenever they feel troubled, desiring a relief from their trouble but are not willing to change their behavior towards a zeal to live by every Word of God they fast. Their fasting’s are all about selfishness;  me, myself and I, and what we want; and these fasting’s have nothing to do with sincere repentance and doing what God teaches us to do.

Moab, Ammon and the Amalekites are then allowed by Christ to discomfit and correct Israel.

3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 3:13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees [by Jericho].

3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

Christ then raises up Ehud who killed Eglon of Moab.

3:15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

3:16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length [about 18 inches long from the tip of the blade to the tip of the handle]; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. 3:17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man. 3:18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.

Ehud asks to tell Eglon a secret in privacy; and uses the opportunity to kill him in private.

3:19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him.

Consider the courage of Ehud who stood alone and slew the oppressor alone in his own chambers! Yet he was not alone for Jesus Christ was with him and had called upon him to do this astounding act; just as God the Father has called each of us through Jesus Christ to follow HIM, to trust in HIM and to be strong and of good courage to do whatever God commands.

As Ehud and Joshua were men of COURAGE to destroy sin and to do the will of God; let each of us have the courage to take a stand and keep the Word of God with our all our hearts and minds, by the strength of our Deliverer!

3:20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.

3:21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 3:22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.

3:23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. 3:24When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet [relieves himself] in his summer chamber. 3:25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth.

3:26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.

Ehud then sounded the alarm and call to war; proclaiming that Eglon was dead and that they should rise up and fight to throw off the yoke of bondage.

Even so, today’s spiritually called out are to sincerely repent of their idolatry and sin; and rise up and fight valiantly to throw off the yoke of sin; overcoming sin by the Mighty One of Jacob!

3:27 And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them.

3:28 And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over.

3:29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty [strong courageous young men], and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. 3:30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

The next judge was Shamgar the son of Anath

3:31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

 

Judges 4

After Ehud and Shamgar, the people again fell into sin and Jesus afflicted them for their backsliding and covenant breaking by the Canaanite Sisera, until they cried out to God.

Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

Israel was then oppressed twenty years under the very heavy yoke of Jabin and Sisera.

4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

Now Deborah a woman was very zealous for the whole Word of God and became known throughout the nation as a person filled with the wisdom of God and the people looked to her for God had called her to be a prophetess.

Deborah as a woman, could not be a priest or officiate over sacrifices or over formal commanded assemblies; she could take a Nazarite vow to dedicate herself to serve God; and God could call her as one of his prophets, to declare unto the nation the Word of God, and she could teach and judge the people.

God calls his prophets from the lowly [and calls women as prophetesses] to communicate with the leaders of the brethren; and very often calls them to humble the priests and Levites, the elders and leaders; to correct them because they are not doing their jobs in teaching a zeal for the Word of God.

The Word of God teaches that a woman may not officiate in solemn assemblies; that does not mean that women cannot be called to the office of prophetesses to communicate the Word of God to the elders and brethren.

They simply cannot usurp the functions of the priesthood in offering sacrifices, officiating over commanded assemblies and formal services. Nevertheless a woman is always under the authority of her husband as long as he lives. We can therefore say that the husband of Deborah, Lapidoth, was probably also a godly person.

4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Jesus Christ sends a message through Deborah to Barak. Notice that Deborah is the messenger; it is Barak who must lead the people and do the job.

4:6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

Jesus Christ promises that he will draw Sisera out to battle and will go before Barak to destroy Sisera and his army.

4:7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

Timid and fearful Barak then demanded that she go with him; thereby losing any personal acclaim that he might have been given.

4:8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 4:9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet [this phrase means under his authority]: and Deborah went up with him.

Now God uses Heber to bring out the army of Sisera to battle. 

4:11 Now Heber the Kenite [was used by God to bring Sisera out to battle], which was of the children of Hobab [Jethro] the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 4:12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.

Sisera gathered his whole army to battle

4:13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.

Deborah delivered Christ’s message to Barak to fight

4:14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

Just as the Eternal went before his people in physical battles; If we put our trust in him and follow him; the battle to overcome sin: Is the Lord’s!

Be not fearful or hesitant to keep the whole Word of God and to follow our Mighty One to overcome sin by HIS might!

4:15 And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.

Sisera fled and hid while Barak continued to pursue the army and destroy it utterly; figurative of our utterly destroying all sin from ourselves by God’s strength.

4:16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

Now Sisera while fleeing happens to come by the tent of the very Heber who had warned him that Barak had marshaled an army against him! God had said that he would bring out the army of Sisera and God did so by the word of Heber! And now Sisera was delivered to the tent of Heber, and thinking himself among friends and safe he goes in.

4:17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

Jael offers Sisera rest with kind words of peace and encouragement.

4:18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 4:19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

Sisera requests that Jael stand guard over his safety.

4:20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

When Sisera was asleep Jael went quietly to him and killed him; for she knew that victorious Barak would surely destroy her and her family for their association with Jabin and Sisera, which doubtless had brought them much gain over the years as collaborators.

4:21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 4:22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

Just as Deborah had prophesied, Sisera was killed by the hand of a woman; And by Jael’s repudiation of Sisera at the end, she also saved her own family alive.

Spiritually, this speaks of the fact that it is never too late to repent and turn to zeal for our Deliverer and his Word! It is now time to sincerely repent and turn to zealously learn and live by every Word of God

4:23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

After the defeat of Sisera, Barak continued the fight until king Jabin is totally destroyed.

4:24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan

Brethren, We must call out to our Great God to deliver us; and we must rise up to battle against the sin that besets us!  We must fight the good fight to keep the whole Word of God and internalize the very nature of God, through the power of our Mighty One!

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