When everyone around us is doing right in his or her own eyes, how do Christians stay faithful and do what God says it right?
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” NASB
The people in the days of the Judges lived with a social ideology much like ours today. It was a dark period in the lives of the Israelites. One of the main themes you read in Judges is “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” As you look into the chapters, you find that it parallels today’s world in a lot of ways. The people were much like you and me. In the book, Heart of Iron Feet of Clay, the author, Gary Inrig, has a modern day commentary comparing the attitudes and actions of people today with the attitudes and actions of the people in the days of the Judges. In the preface of the book he writes, “The book of Judges is filled with people very much like us– people with God-given potential for greatness and unfailing capacity for catastrophe. When they dared to trust God and depend upon Him, they became people with hearts of iron, who made positive, godly impacts on their times. But when even the greatest heroes depended upon the flesh, they were revealed as people with feet of clay, who not only experienced personal failure but who also caused spiritual catastrophe.” We are living in a time very much like that today.
Our journey for the next few weeks will take a look into stories from one of the least read and studied book in the Old Testament.
In chapter one we see that Moses has died and Joshua is now the new leader. The promise land lies before them. God has promised this land to them. They have been prevented from entering because of their unbelief. Forty years they wandered in the wilderness because they were frightened of the “giants in the land”. They forgot that the God of the universe, who created everything in the world, created those giants too. They also forgot that the God who brought them out of Egypt, provided food and water, protected them, guided them, went before them to prepare the way was more of a giant than the “giants” in the land.
- God is ALWAYS bigger than our enemy.
One of the last things we see Joshua do before his death, is to give each tribe their inheritance in the promised land. This is the land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, and the land which has enemies to conquer.
“Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying,“Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The LORD said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.”(Judges 1:1 NASB)
- God wants Judah to lead the way! (Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah.) God sent Jesus to fight for us and lead us through to the promised land.
Judah partners with Simeon to conquer their allotted territories. Judah was the largest tribe while Simeon was the smallest.
3.You fight with me and I will fight with you and God will give us the victory. God has given us each other to help in the fight to conquer our enemies. There should be no lone rangers in God’s kingdom. The enemy separates in order to “steal, kill and destroy”. We need our brothers and sisters to come join us as we battle the enemy.
Judah and Simeon go throughout the land conquering. They defeated men in Bezek. They found the king, Adoni-bezek, after he fled, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. Then brought him to Jerusalem where he died. Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” For a warrior king, this was devastating and humiliating. It completely rendered him useless in war. Without thumbs he could not use his weapons. He could not aim or draw his bow. Without toes he was useless as a foot soldier. What he had done to others now was his fate.
- We should be careful and watch what we do to others. What goes around comes around. (not found in scripture) Jesus told us this way, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”( Luke 6:31 New Living Translation.)
Judah and Simeon fought against Jerusalem and captured it and set the city on fire. From there they conquered the Negev and the lowland. Next they went to Hebron conquering as they went. Each city in their path was defeated as the Lord had said. When they were faithful to do what God said, they had amazing victories. When their feet were like clay, they were defeated.
In verses 9-20, we find an interesting story that hides just a few verses in the middle of all the fighting and conquests. It is story of Caleb, who is from the tribe of Judah. You recall Caleb is one of the twelve that came back and was ready to go in the promised land the first time to fight those giants even though they appeared as “grasshoppers” in their sights. Now they have come to the city of Hebron (formerly Kiriath-arba). In the city are the Anakim, the giant clan that they were so worried about. In Joshua 15:12-16, we find Caleb is given this territory. He drives out three groups of Anakites. Caleb believed God would give them the land of giants. Here he takes challenges the men of Israel.
- Many times we find that God gives us the faith to believe great things and then He gives up opportunities to use that faith to defeat the giants in the land. If we find God has given us faith to believe, we can be assured He will give us opportunity to succeed in the battle.
Today we saw five principles to use in our lives.
My prayer is we begin to come together as the body of Christ. There is a war to be fought. There is a promised land. There is victory in Christ who is the lion of the tribe of Judah and has gone before us to give victory of the enemies of our lives.
God is bigger than our enemy
Jesus has already won the victory over Satan.
As fellow believers,we should encourage and stand together against our enemy
Our words and actions follow us and come back to haunt us. Therefore, whatever you do in word or in fed, do all to the glory of God.”
Finally when God gives you faith to belief, know you will most likely be given opportunity to do more than you think you can.
Praying we will move forward,