Those Who Do What Is Right In Their Own Eyes
by George Kirkpatrick 


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The more we study God's Word, the more He gives us insight into the intricate secrets He has hidden in His Word as to how we are to live. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, reveals what the ungodly can expect:

"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;" II Peter 2:6

When God's judgment comes, all those who live ungodly can expect the same fate as those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrha. Peter also spoke of another example:

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps." I Peter 2:21

Jesus is our example, and if we are to get to where He is, then we must follow in the steps He walked before us. His steps lead us through the whole Word of God. Speaking of ancient Israel, Paul wrote:

"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Corinthians 10:11

We are the generation upon whom the ends of the world (age) have come. We must know and understand how God dealt with His ancient people when they sinned. We must also know and understand that when they followed God, He blessed them. God gave us ancient Israel as an example of God's judgments and blessings. God gave us the time of the judges as an example of how He blessed His people Israel, and also as an example of how they turned from Him to do what they thought was right in their own eyes.

As we study the book of Judges, we are given insight as to what God does not want in His church. The book of Judges reveals the many times Israel turned their backs on God, and He allowed them to be taken captive. God would raise up deliverers to free Israel from the hand of their enemies. Even though God would send Israel deliverers, these deliverers did not operate according to the dictates of God's Word.

The book of Judges spans a time period of about three hundred and ninety years, even though the period of the judges, as Paul stated, was four hundred and fifty years until Samuel, the prophet. Acts 13:20

There are twelve judges mentioned in the book of Judges, so there must have been other judges after Samson and before Samuel. We are not given this information. The book of Judges is a record of Israel's seven apostasies, the seven times they were in servitude, the seven nations to which they were sub-servient, and the seven deliverances.

The book of Judges begins after the death of Joshua. Joshua was the last of the patriarchal system of national leadership. Even though each tribe still had their patriarchal leaders, they were not mentioned in the book of Judges, nor was the priesthood order mentioned, nor was any form of worship mentioned. When Joshua died, the unity of the tribes fell apart. Each tribe became independent from the other eleven. Then jealousies arose. Each tribe desired their own separate interests and each wanted preeminence. How like the denominational church system today! Each one thinks they are the only ones acceptable in the sight of God. The denominational system needs to come to the realization that God's Kingdom is not divided.

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so is Christ." I Corinthians 12:12

It matters not what your religious affiliations are, if you are not part of God's one body, then you are not part of Christ. When God blessed Israel they stood as one body, with God as their head. But when they became individuals, they stood alone, going their own way, doing their own thing. This made them vulnerable to the enemies around them. Their presence was no longer a threat to the nations they were to destroy. If the denominational system would look to Israel as their example, and comprehend what Israel suffered because of this separation, then the power of God would return to the church. The enemies of God would not have such a heyday in making God's body look weak, divided, unorganized, and of no threat to their domination over God's creation.

Israel failed to deal with the inhabitants in their land as God had directed. Because of this disobedience to God's voice, He could no longer bless Israel, and their enemies continued to dwell in their midst. How like the denominational system today which has failed to deal with the evil in their midst! Because of this God has given them corrupt leadership. This is why greed, lust, and sin are rampant in the church system, and the power of God is no longer evident. These will stand up and quote II Chronicles 7:14, without ever looking at the words.

"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

God states, "If My people who are called by My name. . ." He is speaking of Christians.

". . . if Christians shall humble themselves and pray. . ."

This is what God demands of His people who are called by His name.

". . . and seek His face. . ."

We must have an earnest desire to know Him on a personal basis.

". . . and turn from their wicked ways. . ."

God is not speaking to the world. He knows the world will not turn from their wicked ways. He is speaking to those who are called by His name. He expects them to turn from their wicked ways. If God's people will turn from their wicked ways, then they can claim this promise that He will. . .

". . . hear from heaven and heal their land. . ."

Most believe God is speaking of turning this nation back to a God, blessed nation. Most who quote this Scripture are not truly seeking God's ways. They simply do not want to lose this way of life with its greed, lust, and extravagance.

When God spoke of healing our land, the word he used was the Hebrew word ERETS. A better translation of the word land would have been earth. If we, as God's people, turn from our wicked says, God has promised to heal our earth, or our bodies.

When Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, part of His prayer stated:

"Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

Jesus' prayer was that His Kingdom and His will be done IN earth, or in our bodies. Most who quote the Lord's Prayer quote this passage as ON earth. Before God's Kingdom can come and His will be done ON earth, it must come IN our earth, in our bodies. When the Pharisees demanded of Jesus when the Kingdom should come, He answered:

". . . The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21

The Kingdom of God is coming IN earth, and without observation. If we turn from our wicked way, God will heal our land, then we can claim the promise God gave to His ancient people:

"And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee." Exodus 15:26

It is our God who is our healer. We must also remember He is the one who keeps us from getting sick if we turn from our wicked ways. Moses proclaimed:

"And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee." Deuteronomy 7:15

If we follow God's commandments (the Word of God), not only will we be free of the diseases of the world, but God will put them upon all those who hate us. God is giving His warnings. The same was true with Israel in the time of the judges. God sent an angel to warn them:

". . . ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you." Judges 2:2-3

God had warned Israel to make no league or agreements with the inhabitants of their promised land. They were to destroy all the idol worship, and make sure all the places of idol worship were thrown down. But Israel was disobedient to God's voice, and became part of the idol worship of the heathen nations.

God informed Israel He would no longer go before them to clear their land. He determined that if Israel did not want to walk in His ways, He would allow them to dwell with the heathen nations, and would no longer drive them out. The same is true with the church system today. If they are content with sin in their midst, God will not move to drive it out. This is why God has removed the convicting message from their midst, and sinners are no longer convicted of their sin. Many modern churches teach there is no change necessary to be pleasing in God's sight.

God informed Israel these heathen nations would be thorns in their sides, and their gods would be a snare to them. When we look at the modern church, and witness the influences of false religions, it is easy to see why God warned Israel to destroy all forms of false worship. The new age, catholicism, mormonism, the jehovah witnesses, and many of the eastern religions have infiltrated the modern church. The common saying is "All religions are OK, we just need to understand them." Others will comment, "We all serve the same God." Paul informed the church at Corinth:

"As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as their be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him." I Corinthians 8:4-6

There is one true God, one Lord of all. The modern church believes Christianity is just another religion, when in reality Christianity is not a religion, it is a way of life. Christianity is the way the one true God has given us to live. He was our example of this way of life, and Israel is our example of what we can expect if we do not live God's way.

The book of Judges becomes our guide to know how God blesses His people when they follow His way, and also how He curses them when they do not. We need to open our eyes and learn from the examples God has set before us if we are to enter into our promised land, and possess God's Kingdom.

For Further Discussion

God's Endtime Generation
Israel our Example
Today's Application of II Chronicles 7:14
In Earth

Questions

1. What book in the Old Testament gives us clear insight as to what God does not want in His church?

2. Did many of the deliverers in the book of Judges operate according to the dictates of God's Word?

3. In the time of the Judges, each tribe became independent from the other eleven tribes. Why did this make them vulnerable to their enemies?

4. Why is the power of God no longer evident, and greed, lust, and sin rampant in the church system today?

5. Before God's Kingdom can come and His will be done earth, it must come our earth, our .

6. As Israel was to make no league or agreements with the inhabitants of their promised land, we too are to do what?

7. Why has God removed the convicting message from the church system today?

8. If we refuse to obey God's voice, and allow sin in our midst, then these heathen nations will become in our sides and a .

9. The modern church believes Christianity is just another religion, when in reality Christianity is not a religion, it is .

Chapter Two

Israel had failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land God had given them.

"And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you." Judges 2:1

The angel that came to Israel was a messenger from God who informed Israel, "I will never break My covenant with you." A covenant is a contract between two people or nations. In order for the covenant to come into effect, both sides are responsible to keep it. God promised Israel He would never break His covenant with Israel, but there were two sides to His covenant. If the covenant was to remain in effect, then Israel had to keep the conditions of the covenant also. The covenant they were to keep were the laws God had given to Moses. There were special clauses in Moses' law that God would remind them of:

"And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice: Why have ye done this?" Judges 2:2

Israel was to make no league (covenants, agreements) with the inhabitants of the land, and they were to destroy all signs and symbols of idol worship out of the land. God told Israel, "You have not obeyed My voice." In other words, Israel had fallen into disobedience. They had broken the covenant which God had made with them, so in essence, there was no longer a covenant in effect with God and Israel. But God's mercy toward Israel was still in effect.

"Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you." Judges 2:3

As God's Word was good before, His Word was still good when He told Israel He would no longer drive out the enemy before them. The idol worship they failed to destroy would destroy them. If the church system could only learn from the lesson God taught Israel. If we do not deal with the sin in our midst, then sin will destroy the work God has given us to do.

"And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept." Judges 2:4

Israel had a repentant heart. When God brought His warning, they lifted up their voice and wept. They recognized their sin before their God.

"And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old." Judges 2:7-8

As long as Israel had a Godly leader, they served the Lord. As the all-wise Solomon wrote:

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Proverbs 29:2

When the righteous rule the land, the people rejoice. When the wicked are in power, the people mourn. We need to ask ourselves, "In our day, are the people of the land rejoicing or mourning?" This will tell us if the righteous or the wicked are ruling the land.

As long as Joshua ruled the people, God was continually lifted up before the people. For a generation God was the center of everything Israel did, but then Joshua died:

"And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done in Israel." Judges 2:10

The generation following Joshua's death did not know the Lord. There was no one of that generation to remind them of the miracles God had performed to bring Israel out of Egypt. Our deliverance from Egypt was when the Lord Jesus died and gave us forgiveness of our sin. But how many in the modern church have never been delivered from their Egypt (the world)? They continue in their sin, and sit comfortably in their pews, and all conviction is gone from their lives.

"And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim." Judges 2:11

Where there is no Godly leadership, the people will serve the many gods of this life. Israel began to serve Baal. Baal was the chief Canaanite god. He was the god of agriculture, or the god of increase. How the church system today serves the god of increase! The prosperity message is nothing more than the serving of Baal.

The modern church with all its opulence wants to look good in the eyes of the world. They are really not interested in how they look in the eyes of God. They believe their big buildings, their fancy cars, and fine clothes will draw the world unto God, when the exact opposite is true. Their worldly appetites have drawn them away from God to serve the world.

"And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger." Judges 2:12

In Israel's downhill trek, they forsook the God of their fathers, and went after the gods of the heathen. God had warned Israel if they would not cleanse their land of the idol worship, their gods would be a snare (trap) to them. Israel is God's example to us upon whom the ends of the world are come. If we do not cleanse our land of our idols, they will become a snare in our lives. We know by God's Word that our example Israel . . .

". . . forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth." Judges 2:13

Israel not only served Baal, the god of prosperity, they also served Ashtaroth, the Canaanite female god of sex. They called her the Queen of Heaven. This is the same god the Catholics worship, only they have given her the name of Mary. [see "Queen of Heaven" by G. Kirkpatrick]

"And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Judges 2:14

Israel had lost their overcoming power. God would not fight for them, and because of this Israel was not able to stand before their enemies. How like the modern church who can only agree with their enemies and depend upon the government's permission for their existence!

The church has become stationary, with no outreach. Their enemies have surrounded them to where they have no strength (the Holy Spirit) to fight. The Lord has allowed the spoilers (robbers) to come into their midst to steal God's Word and plunder any victory they might have in God.

Today if the Holy Spirit begins to move in their midst, those who have allowed the cleansing power of God to do a work in their lives are asked to leave. This includes the pastor, deacons, and elders. There is no place left for God in their religion. The modern church has come to the same place where Israel was.

"Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed." Judges 2:15

What a picture of today's church. They wonder what has happened to the power and presence they once enjoyed. They go back Sunday after Sunday, hoping and expecting. Yet they come away dry and unfulfilled. The hand of the Lord is against them for evil and not for good, and they are distressed.

Israel had come to the place where many who call themselves Christians dwell. They wonder why they are never able to rise above their situation. They need to look at their relationship with God. When they change their attitude toward God, their situation will change.

Israel's situation existed because they failed to cleanse their land from the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Their gods were not only a snare to Israel, but these nations became a military threat. They remained a thorn in Israel's side until God removed Israel from their promised land.

"Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so." Judges 2:16-17

God gave Israel many deliverers, but Israel remained stiffnecked and hard-hearted. They would not heed the words of their judges.

As we begin to understand why Israel was in the place they were, we need to look ahead in the Scriptures:

"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6

Since there was no king in Israel, this meant there was no authority to anoint the judges into their respective positions. The priesthood was not functioning as God had ordained, so there was no one the judges were submitted to, and they simply did what they thought was right in their own eyes.

Today much of the church does not study God's Word to discover how God wants the church to operate. They simply operate the way their headquarters tell them to operate, or they do what they think is right in their own eyes. Then they wonder why God does not bless what they are doing. They generally measure God's blessing by their growth pattern.

But God gave us Israel as our example. When all the people did what was right in their own eyes, they became happy and content until God's judgment came. The same is true in the organized religious system. When the people are informed God does not demand change, and the people are permitted to do what is right in their own eyes, the church will certainly grow numerically, but God's blessing will not be upon it.

The prophet Isaiah informs us:

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

God's ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts. When a nation's leadership and its people do what they think is right in their own eyes, then they have forsaken God's ways. When that nation's leadership and its people are not submitted to the headship of Christ, the only thing they can produce is chaos and confusion.

Today the religious system operates exactly like the children of Israel in the days of the judges. They have their headquarters with man as their head. The headquarters tells them what they can and cannot teach. They often send the messages to be taught from the headquarters with no concern for the needs of the people. When there is no Holy Spirit anointing in their teachings, all these messages can do is tickle the ears. The people are given assurance they are OK as long as they attend their religious order. The message of true repentance and the need for a continual changed life has been drowned out. The voices of true repentance cannot be heard above the TV shouts of sports fans, and the noise of the busy workplace. The people listen to those who claim to be God's spokesmen with their profit motive message of simple salvation. As the Psalmist declared:

"And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Psalm 106:15

This not only describes what Israel went through. It becomes very plain this is where God's people are today. Their busy lives and their earthly wealth and accomplishments have not fulfilled their lust for living. Instead, it has sent leanness into their souls.

When God is omitted in our daily activities, then our accomplishments can only satisfy the flesh. We need to heed the words of Jesus who stated, " . . . without Me, ye can do nothing," John 15:5. Israel, as many in the church system today, failed to learn this lesson. So all their accomplishments were in the flesh, and because of this they did not last.

"And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel and He said, Because that this people hath transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto My voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died." Judges 2:20-21

Joshua died before Israel had cleared their land of its inhabitants. When they entered the land, God sent hornets before them, and Israel was victorious. Then they became complacent because they had enough land to dwell in to meet their needs. So they became content and allowed their enemies to occupy the land with them.

How like those who call themselves by God's name today! All they desire is the forgiveness of their sin. They do not desire to overcome their sin nature. Until they overcome the sin nature in their lives, they will remain content to dwell with the enemies in their land.

As we study our example Israel, we can understand why they were overcome. Israel had forsaken their God, and He would no longer fight for them. He would no longer deliver them from the enemy in their midst. The nations Israel did not overthrow would bring their eventual downfall and removal from their promised land.

"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." Judges 3:7

Israel forgot God, and served the god of plenty. They set up their idols in their groves. Today those who call themselves by God's name have set up their idols in their hearts. They serve their idols and have forsaken the living God. Because of this, God's judgment is about to fall.

When Israel forsook their God, He allowed them to be taken into captivity. The first captor was Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia. Israel was about to learn the consequences of forsaking the living God. They would again be taken and held captive as they were in Egypt.

For Further Discussion

The Prosperity Message
Judges Doing What Was Right In Their Own Eyes
Does God Demand Change?
Tickling the Ears
An Idol Heart

Questions

1. A covenant is a between two people or peoples. In order for the covenant to come into effect both sides are to keep it. If a covenant is to remain in effect with God, that people must keep the of the covenant also.

2. Many today in the have never been delivered from their , continuing in their , sitting comfortably in their , and all gone in their lives.

3. What is the name of the god of agriculture and increase?

4. God warned Israel if they would not cleanse their land of the idol worship, these gods would become a and a to them.

5. Today if the Holy Spirit begins to move in the midst of a people, those who have allowed the cleansing power of God to do a work in their lives are asked to do what?

6. Does God demand change?

7. When the Holy Spirit anointing is not on a teaching, all these messages can do is what?

8. We need to heed the words of Jesus when He stated, "Without Me, ye can do .

9. Many today only desire the of their sin. They do not desire to their sin nature.

10. Why is God's judgment about to fall?

Chapter Three

At the time of Joshua's death, Israel had inhabited their promised land. Less than thirty years later, with no ordained leadership, Israel very quickly turned from God.

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

When God's ordained (anointed) leadership ceases to function, it is not long before the people forget their God, and again cater to their beast nature. The apostle James informs us:

"For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." James 1:23-24

The children of Israel had heard from their prophets the mighty exploits God had performed concerning Israel in Egypt and in the wilderness. They also knew God had ordered Israel to cleanse their land of its inhabitants. Although Israel heard God's Word, they failed to heed God's Word and act upon it. Today many are hearing the message of God's judgment upon a sin-ridden people, nation, and world, yet they refuse to act. They are hearers only, and not doers of God's Word. They fail to recognize what manner of people they have become. They fail to heed the warnings of their example Israel.

Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years." Judges 3:8

After only one generation, Israel turned away from God, married the wives of the heathens, and served their gods. Because of this, God sold them into the hands of Chushan-rishathaim. Israel had to serve the king of Mesopotamia eight years. The name Chushan-rishathaim means "blackness of double wickedness". When we forsake God this is what we serve as well. Because the light of life had forsaken Israel, they were in darkness and the wicked had rule. As stated before:

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Proverbs 29:2

The people of Israel truly mourned and repented. Israel still had a repentant heart.

"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. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died." Judges 3:9-11

It was God who raised up Othniel to deliver Israel. God not only chose Him, the Spirit of the Lord also came upon Him and God delivered Chushan-rishathaim into the hands of Othniel. God heard Israel's repentant heart, sent His Spirit, and wrought deliverance.

This was Israel's first test to see if they would serve the Lord their God. God gave Israel rest for forty years, but during those forty years God's anointed leadership died, and Israel again turned from God.

"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. And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years." Judges 3:12-14

Israel found itself in the same condition as they were before. Only this time their captors were more oppressive then the king of Mesopotamia. This time their captivity was eighteen years instead of eight.

"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." Judges 3:15

The children of Israel repented again. This time God gave them Ehud, a Benjamite. The name Benjamin means "son of my right hand". God had raised up Ehud to be Israel's deliverer, but God noted he was left-handed. Ehud would accomplish what God had given him to do, but he would not accomplish it in God's way. How many of God's called and chosen leaders are guilty of this same thing. They set out to do God's will in a left-handed manner.

God had given them a job to do, but they set out to accomplish this job using the arm of the flesh. They operated and depended on their worldly knowledge and teaching of God's Word. Instead of being the right hand of God, they caused confusion and misunderstanding, violating the principles God had given them to live by. As Paul informed the Hebrews:

"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." Hebrews 4:3

All the works God has given us to do were finished from the foundation of the world. When we become the sons of His right hand and enter into His place of rest, then God can accomplish his work through us without the arm of the flesh and our earthly knowledge.

God gave us Ehud as our example. God raised up a deliverer in Israel, but he did not operate as a son at the right hand of God. He depended upon deception and his own cunning abilities. It is recorded the children of Israel sent a present to Eglan, King of Moab. What was this present?

"But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man." Judges 3:16-17

The present Ehud had for Eglon was an eighteen inch long dagger. Ehud would deliver Israel from the oppression of King Eglon. This was the job God had given Ehud, but he set out to accomplish this job in a left-handed manner. Ehud and all Israel no longer trusted God, and because of this they relied on their own strength.

"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. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 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." Judges 3:20-22

As we study this part of Scripture, it states Ehud made a dagger. This dagger was made for a purpose, and that was to kill Eglon, King of Moab. Then Ehud went to Eglon under the false pretense of taking him a so-called present. Then Ehud lied when he told Eglon he had a message from God. He then committed premeditated murder.

We need to ask ourselves, "Is this the way God intends for us to operate?" Did God write this for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come?

This brings up a question that runs throughout the book of Judges, "Does God use deceit, lying, and premeditated murder to accomplish His purpose and goals?" The obvious answer is, NO! This is why God recorded twice in the book of Judges:

"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6 & Judges 21:25

Israel had no king. When they wanted a king, God spoke to Samuel to relate to all Israel. . .

". . . ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands." I Samuel 10:19

The truth of the fact is that Israel had rejected God as their King many years before God raised up Samuel to be Israel's last judge. Samuel anointed the first two kings over Israel --- Saul and David.

Ehud did what was right in his own eyes. He had committed premeditated murder. Ehud had forgotten God's Word which states:

"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." Genesis 9:6

God never condones murder. He created man in His image, and there is only one who holds the keys to death and hell, Revelation 1:18, and that is Christ Jesus our Lord. Peter also admonishes:

"But let none of you suffer as a murderer . . ." I Peter 4:15

Many believe, because it happened in the Old Testament, it was before the period of grace. Then we must completely ignore the Scriptures which state:

"For I am the Lord, I change not . . ." Malachi 3:6

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

God does not make allowances in His Word for the taking of any man's life. Those who have armed themselves to protect their earthly life and possessions in this last day are out of the will of God. They fail to heed the words of Jesus when Peter cut off the man's ear:

"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matthew 26:52

Those who take up the sword will perish by the same means. If God made special allowances in His Word, then any action could be justified as a special act of God. God is bound by His Word. If He does not keep it, then how can He expect us to keep it? Also if His Word is not true, then God is a liar. By the Spirit, Titus wrote:

"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2

If there is one Scripture in God's Word that is not true, then our hope of eternal life is made void, as well as every other promise God has made to His people from the beginning be made void.

Now, how does the murder of Eglon relate to the modern church system? Murder has become commonplace in our society. The church system would defend themselves, saying, "We certainly do not condone murder!" Yet, many denominations have made their stand public on abortion, agreeing if the mother's life is in danger, then abortion is permissible. In making this stand, these denominations have approved the murdering of unborn children. We need to know and understand that life is given to the child by God at its inception. These so-called Christians have completely ignored God's Word, to do what they think is right in their own eyes.

Every mother who has ever given birth is in a life threatening situation. So to say if the mother's life is threatened, then abortion is acceptable, is to give license to abort any child. This travesty of justice was approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, whose total job is to make sure the Constitution of this nation is upheld. There is not one word in the Constitution about abortion or murder. The Constitution does not condone murder in any form or fashion. The Constitution guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all --- the born and unborn. Yet the Supreme Court has given license to kill, and many denominations have also given their consent to this premeditated murder. This is because their is no King in their denominations, and they do what is right in their own eyes. These have rejected the King of glory. As Paul related:

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Romans 10:3

In committing this abominable murder, Ehud and all Israel had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. After Ehud had subdued the Moabites, Israel had rest for eighty years. But the underlying problem of iniquity was still present. In those eighty years, Israel again committed more abominations . . .

"And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead." Judges 4:1

Even though God showed His faithfulness to Israel many times, Israel's heart had not changed. They wanted to be like the heathen nations around them. This, too, has not changed in the modern church. God spoke through the pen of Paul when he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians:

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." II Corinthians 6:17

Paul directed the church to be separate, yet the modern church desires everything the world has. The world serves Baal, the god of plenty, and the church system is no different. They look, act, and desire the same things as the world. In desiring these things, they certainly have touched the unclean things. Then they wonder why there is no power in their lives, and no steadfastness in their walk. Israel suffered the consequences of the choices they made in their lives.

Today the church system, too, is suffering for its action or inaction concerning the work God has given it to do. Instead of being the right hand of God, they have stretched forth the arm of flesh, and their people mourn. Their attendance has fallen, and many denominations have a hard time maintaining their lust for big buildings and fancy furnishings. They have come to depend on the same advertising means the world uses. They have failed to heed the judgments God brought upon Israel because of their disobedience.

Israel failed to learn from their past, and again God sold them into slavery. This time it would be the Canaanites who took them into bondage.

"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." Judges 4:2

Further Discussion

The Blackness of Double Wickedness
Left-handedness
Abortion, Travesty of Justice
Be Ye Separate

Questions

1. Today many are hearing the message of God's judgment upon a sin-ridden people, nation, and world, yet they refuse to do what?

2. What does the name Chushan-rishathamim mean?

3. The of the Lord came upon to deliver Israel from Chushan-rishathaim.

4. What is the significance of Ehud, the Benjamite, being left-handed?

5. What three things did Ehud do when, by the arm of the flesh, he went to Eglon, King of Moab?

6. In viewing the last question, is this the way God intends for His people to operate? Does God use deceit, lying, and premeditated murder to accomplish His purposes and goals?

7. How does the murder of Eglon relate to the modern church system?

8. Paul directed the church to be separate, yet the modern church desires everything the has.

Chapter Four

Since Israel had no king and the priesthood was not functioning, Israel looked totally to those who were in authority at the time. It made no difference who it was. They became as sheep, following whoever was in power. They looked to government instead of God. The religious system is no different today then when Jesus walked the earth.

Pilate declared to the Jews,

"Behold your King!" John 19:14

"But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15

"We have no king but Caesar!" Today the church system fears the government more than they fear God. They have their religious headquarters, and whoever they send to be pastor is accepted with open arms; male or female. Israel, in the time of the judges, was no different. 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. And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, judged Israel at that time, Judges 4:2 & 4.

The name Deborah means "she speaks." It is recorded Deborah was a prophetess, she was the wife of Lapidoth, and she judged Israel. As stated before:

"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6

Since there was no king in Israel, then there was no one to anoint the judges into their position. Israel chose their leaders much the same way many churches today choose their leadership. They often pick out the most charismatic, the best looking, or the richest candidate. Samuel made this same mistake when he went to anoint one of the sons of Jesse, king over Israel:

"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." I Samuel 16:6 & 7

Israel looked on the outward appearance. Today, the church system not only looks on the outward appearance, they choose their leadership much the same way we choose governmental officials --- by election. The church system resembles a democracy more than they do a theocracy. They vote on their pastors, elders, deacons, boards, committees, etc. This is not the way God intended His church to operate.

"And she (Deborah) 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." Judges 4:5

Deborah's seat of judgment was a palm tree which she called by her own name. As we begin to look closely at Deborah, we discover she was high and lifted up in her own eyes. The apostle James informs us:

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up." James 4:10

If we do not humble ourselves, then God cannot and will not lift us up.

"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? Judges 4:6

Deborah called Barak and asked him if God had commanded him to draw toward mount Tabor with ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and Zebulun. When Deborah asked Barak if God had spoken to him, she was putting words in his mouth and ideas in his heart. Barak never confirmed that God had spoken to him. He simply stated to Deborah . . .

". . . If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go." Judges 4:8

Barak said, "If you will go, I will go." There was no indication of conviction either way. Barak was willing to follow Deborah, even though God evidently had not spoken this task to him. Then Deborah told Barak . . .

". . . 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." Judges 4:9

Deborah was not willing to share her glory with Barak, even though it was up to Barak to do battle with the Canaanites. Deborah declared the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. Deborah further elevated her position and her self image when she declared to Barak:

"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." Judges 4:7

Deborah declared: "I will draw," and "I will deliver." There was no mention of God setting this battle in array. It was all what Deborah was going to do. It was what Deborah desired in her own eyes.

We see further proof Deborah was high and lifted up in her own eyes:

"The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:7

We know by the words of Jesus:

"And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Matthew 23:12

If we exalt ourselves, then we will be abased. We do not know the end of Deborah, but we know when we want the glory due to God, we will be abased. Our God inspired Isaiah to write for all to know:

"I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8

Deborah wanted all the glory, but as Isaiah revealed, God is not going to share His glory with any of His creation. If we desire the glory due Him, we will be abased.

We need never forget pr I de and s I n have the same central point, and that is I . When I is lifted up, then we can expect to be humbled. This is true in our day, and it was true in Deborah's day.

We also need to ask, "Where was Lapidoth, Deborah's husband in all this?" Did not God command from the beginning . . .

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24

One flesh means they are to be inseparable. Maybe the modern church system thinks this is an outdated idea. Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 and took it one step further:

"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:6

Has God changed His mind about this in our day? We need to further ask, did God change His mind in the time of Deborah, or was she simply doing what was right in her own eyes? We must note Lapidoth was never mentioned again. He had no part of anything Deborah did.

Paul also gave direction to the wives in the church at Ephesus and Colosse:

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Ephesians 5:22

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." Colossians 3:18

We need to ask, "Did the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to write this?" If the Holy Spirit inspired this, then it is God's direction to all women for all time. We know this to be true because Paul informed Timothy:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" II Timothy 3:16

The word all is the Greek word PAS and means "all, nothing to be left out, nothing to be added." All Scripture means both the Old and New Testaments. All of God's Word is given to us for doctrine. We must get what we believe from the Word of God, not from what man teaches. The Word is what we are to live our life by. It is given for reproof (what we can prove by the Word) and for correction. If we are to be corrected, let God's Word be the basis for our correction. God's Word is also to be our instruction in righteousness. The beloved John informed us:

"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." I John 2:27

We will abide (live) in God as we are taught by the Holy Spirit through His Word.

From the beginning, wives were to submit themselves to their own husbands. God spoke to Eve,

". . . thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Genesis 3:16

We, then, need to ask the question, "Does the wife submitting herself to her husband apply to Deborah?" If it does, then Deborah acted outside the Word of God to accomplish His purpose.

Deborah was called a prophetess. There are five prophetess mentioned in the Old Testament. The Strong's Concordance lists these:

1. Miriam ancient type endowed with a gift of song
2. Deborah wife of Lapidoth
3. Huldah later type consulted for a word
4. Noadiah a false prophetess
5. The wife of Isaiah the prophet

God recognized Lapidoth as Deborah's husband, yet his name only appears once in the Bible. God never violates the order found in His Word.

We know by God's Word the children of Israel came up to her for judgment, Judges 4:5. This would indicate Deborah was more of a political leader, then a spiritual leader.

We need to remember the insight Paul gave us as to the office of a prophet:

"Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" Ephesians 4:8,11

God gave these gifts to men not women. Again, if we believe all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, then we must also believe God inspired Paul to write these words. We must also believe God inspired Paul to write. . .

"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." I Timothy 2:12

The word usurp means "to exercise authority over." The five gifts God gave to men are positions of responsibility and authority. By the Holy Spirit, Paul proclaimed women were not to teach or be in authority over men. In the modern church system this admonition has been, for the most part, ignored. Those who put forth this precept use the Scriptures:

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:27-28

Paul was certainly not eliminating the genetic difference of God's creation. If we believe that, we would also have to believe there is no difference between Jew or Greek, or bond or free. As we go on, we read. . .

"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29

What Paul was inspired to write was that if we are Jew, Greek, male, female, bond, or free we are Christ's, and become Abraham's seed. It was not that God changed His creative order for men and women. If He did that, He would need to rewrite the whole Bible beginning in Genesis.

As we return to the book of Judges, and our study of Deborah and Barak, we discover . . .

". . . Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him." Judges 4:10

Again, we need to ask, "Where was Lapidoth, Deborah's husband?"

"And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 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. 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. 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. 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." Judges 4:12-16

Israel gained total victory over the Canaanites. It was God who had given them the victory. God's purpose was accomplished to prove Himself again to the people of Israel. But was His purpose accomplished in His way? If we are to be pleasing in God's sight, we need to not only accomplish His purpose, we need to accomplish His purpose in His way. The only way He has is what is given us in His Word.

For a time God will allow us to operate in His permissive will. This is so we will learn to come into His perfect will. Israel never learned this lesson. They continued to do what was right in their own eyes. This is where the religious system is today. They ignore the Word of God, and follow the precepts and doctrines of their religious orders.

Just as God's judgment was poured out time and again upon Israel, God is about to pour out His judgment on those who violate His Word. Deborah is a perfect example of what we witness in the church system today. Women have been allowed to usurp the authority over men because the men do not recognize their rightful place in God's sight. And they have backed down from their God-given place because they do not want to deal with the wrath of the women. So God's church has lost God's order, and it operates by man's order, which is disorder in the sight of God.

Further Discussion

In The Hands of a Woman
God's Gifts to Men
God's Permissive Will
God's Perfect Will

Questions

1. What does the name Deborah mean?

2. "The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that Deborah arose, that arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:7

3. Had God changed His mind in the time of Deborah, or was she simply doing what was right in her own eyes?

4. In what ways did Deborah do what was right in her own eyes?

5. We will only abide (live) in God as we are taught by through His .

6. What does the word usurp mean?

7. God's purpose was accomplished through Deborah, but was God's purpose accomplished in His way?

Chapter Five

Again, God had shown His faithfulness to His people Israel. As we consider Israel's first four judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, and Deborah, we discover something interesting. God's Word declares the Spirit of the Lord only came upon Othniel. There was no Spiritual anointing upon Ehud, Shamgar, or Deborah. As we search deeper for the understanding of the time frame in the history of Israel as revealed in the book of Judges, we need to begin by looking at Heber the Kenite.

"Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab 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." Judges 4:11

The Kenites were nomadic, metal workers, but Heber had departed from the Kenites and their way of life. He settled in a place called Zaanaim. We need to note here, that Heber was not of the children of Israel.

God had given Israel total victory over the Canaanites. Every Canaanite had been put to the sword, and not a man remained.

"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." Judges 4:17

Sisera was totally defeated. His army was dead, and his position as captain had been eliminated because he had no army to lead, so he fled to what he thought was a friend. Jabin, the king over the Canaanites, was friends with the house of Heber the Kenite. Jael was the wife of Heber.

"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." Judges 4:18

Jael told Sisera to come into her tent. He had nothing to fear. She covered him with a mantle (a rug or blanket) in the pretense of hiding him.

"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." Judges 4:19

Sisera wanted water to drink to refresh himself, instead Jael gave him warm milk to put him to sleep.

"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." Judges 4:21

Jael had lied to Sisera when she told him to fear not, that he would be safe in her tent. The warm milk was a deception. Then, as planned from the beginning, she took a tent peg and a hammer, and drove the tent peg through his head. Again, we witness pre-meditated murder. Jael did what she thought was right in her own eyes.

As God's Word states, Jael was the wife of Heber. Again, we need to ask, "Where was Jael's husband in all this?" Was this Heber's idea, or had Jael acted on her own? God's Word declared:

". . . there was peace between Jabin, king of Hazor and the house of Heber. . ." Judges 4:17

Had Jael violated the sacred trust her husband had placed in her? Since Heber is not mentioned as being part of this pre-meditated murder, it should be plain that Jael acted on her own initiative, doing what was right in her own eyes. It becomes very clear that Jael was not submitted to her husband.

Instead of looking upon Jael as committing a terrible crime, Deborah made up a song to praise her act of murder:

"Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead." Judges 5:24-27

Deborah declared,"Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber be." The only other woman in the Bible who was blessed among women was Mary, the mother of Jesus, Luke 1:28-42. Mary gave life to the world, but Jael brought death by the murder of her husband's friend. Mary was obedient to the voice of God. In contrast, Jael did what she thought right in her own eyes.

"So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 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." Judges 4:23-24

Yes, Israel obtained the victory over the Canaanites, and the land of Israel had rest for forty years. God gave Israel the victory, but they obtained it in a left-handed manner. As stated before, there are two ways to be in God's will. We can be in His permissive will, or we can be in His perfect will. God will allow us to operate in His permissive will until we know His perfect will. If we do not come into His perfect will, then judgment will certainly come. Israel had come to the place of God's impending judgment. They had no king. They had rejected God as their King, and had put their trust and allegiance in man-made government, and had made government leaders their god. How like the church and the world system today! They have forsaken God, and made government their god.

When God delivered Israel from the Canaanites, women were in the forefront. This is so prevalent in this nation and around the world today. When God created woman, He said . . .

". . . It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him." Genesis 2:18

The woman was created to be a help mate to man. There is no place in God's Word where God changed His mind about His creation. Yet, there is a well known ministry who promotes the idea that men should be help mates to the women. How far have we gone away from the dictates of God's Word?

After man sinned, God pronounced judgment upon all His creation:

"Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Genesis 3:16

As long as women have pain in child birth, it must be assumed God has not changed His mind concerning the women's place. The husband is to have rule (dominion) over his wife. Since 1979 when the International Year of the Woman was proclaimed, women have openly desired to take the place God has given to men. Women want to be truck drivers, executives of large corporations, hold public office, and become judges and lawyers, etc. They also desire to be in the military, not as nurses, secretaries, and other non-combative positions, but desiring to fight along side of men in the trenches. Today it is taught in our schools, Girls Rule! When Jeremiah prophesied about Babylon (the United States), he wrote:

"The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken." Jeremiah 51:30

When Jeremiah prophesied, "They became as women," he was stating the mighty men have changed places with women, allowing the women to rule over them. They have forborn to fight. Many are asking, "Where are the men of God?" This is especially true in the church. Men of God keep silent when women take their positions because they do not want to face the wrath of standing up for what God's Word says is right.

Deborah and Jael portray a picture of how man has digressed in our day. The men have become as women, and the women have risen up in great authority. Many use Deborah as an example of God using women in leadership. They will state what she did was for God. Anything we do for God, or through God, must be done in God's way, and His order.

Many would agree that Deborah and Jael accomplished God's purpose. This may be a valid argument, but can their actions be justified by the Word of God. Many would state, "the end justifies the means." This may be true in the world's eyes. It certainly is not true in the eyes of God. Anytime we operate in any other way than the way God has laid out in His Word, then we are disobedient to God's will. Paul addressed the Ephesians:

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" Ephesians 2:2

There is a spirit working in the children of disobedience. It is the spirit of the prince and power of the air. This spirit has risen up in God's people as a religious spirit. This religious spirit gives constant assurance that what you are doing is for God. So with the best intentions, man proceeds, thinking he or she is in the will of God. Yet they cannot prove what they are doing by God's Word. This is the same place Israel dwelt, and this is the place the religious system is today. Like children, they try to justify what they are doing, because everyone else is doing the same. There is no justification outside the Word of God. We can only defend our actions, we cannot justify them.

It takes a change of man's heart to go against the popular belief and seek God totally on His own. God's Word declares that after the Canaanites were defeated, Israel had peace for forty years, but their hearts had not changed. As the all-wise Solomon wrote:

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes:" Proverbs 12:15a

Israel continued to do what was right in their own eyes.

Further Discussion

Pre-meditated Murder
God's Permissive Will
God's Helpmates
"Girl's Rule"
Reversed Roles

Questions

1. List Israel's first four judges:

2. Of these four the Spirit of the Lord only came upon one. What was his name?

3. Jeremiah prophesied that the mighty men of Babylon have foreborn to fight. They have become as . Today God's might men have changed places with , allowing the to rule over them.

4. Many would agree that Deborah and Jael accomplished God's purpose, but can their actions be justified by God's Word?

5. What spirit gives constant assurance that what a person is doing is for God?

Chapter Six

". . . the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years." Judges 6:1

Israel had not learned their lesson, and this time God delivered them into the hand of the Midianites for seven years. This time Israel's bondage was not as long, but it was more severe. As we read the book of Judges, we say, "My! My! Will Israel ever learn?" We could say the same thing of the church system today.

God has raised up mighty men to begin great works. These great works last about one or two generations, then the people begin to turn back to the ways of the world. During the time Othniel judged the land, Israel had rest for forty years, which is the time span of one generation. When Ehud judged Israel, it had rest eighty years, a time span of two generations. When Deborah ruled Israel, it had peace for forty years, a time span of one generation. So after one generation. . .

". . . the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strongholds." Judges 6:1 & 2

What a change had taken place in Israel's life in just a few short generations. When Israel submitted to God, and His ways were feared by the inhabitants of the land, Israel became victorious over the giants in the land, and overcame kings with superior armies. But then, because they did evil in God's sight, they digressed to the place where they were living as the beasts of the earth in dens and caves. As Peter proclaimed to God's Kingdom people as a warning:

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." II Peter 2:20

Israel was in slavery when they were in Egypt, but they had their own land, homes, and families. Now they lived in terror, fearing for their very lives, hiding like criminals. Israel proved the words of Peter to be true. When we reject God, our end is worse then our beginning.

When we lose faith, and turn our backs on God, then we have Israel as an example of what we can expect. Our end will truly be worse than our beginning, when we did not know or recognize God.

"And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;" Judges 6:3

When Israel had sown, then their enemies came up against them. Paul informed the churches in Galatia:

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8

Israel had sown, now they were about to reap what they had sown. They had sown to the flesh, and they were about to reap corruption (destruction). God not only raised up Midian, He raised up the Amalekites and the children of the East. Israel was to suffer total destruction of all their sustenance:

"And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass." Judges 6:4

Israel's enemies destroyed not only their crops and their livestock, but most of all the Midianites destroyed their means of making a living, and their way of life. The Israelites were shepherds, living in the open fields. Now they were living in fear, hiding in dens and caves. The blessing of God were gone because they had forsaken their God, causing God to forsake them.

"And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;. . .". Judges 6:6-8

Israel was no different then the modern church today. As long as everything is going well, they forget who they were before God came into their lives. When they forget God, He has a sure way of reminding them. He simply removes His hand of blessing. His blessing is no longer on their finances, and they suffer want. His hand is no longer on their health, and they suffer sickness. His hand is no longer on their children, and they suffer disgrace. When God's blessings are removed, it generally increases our prayer life one hundred percent.

Israel was no different. When God's judgment fell, they cried out to God, and God sent a prophet to remind the people who they were, and where they were before His deliverance.

". . . I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that  oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice." Judges 6:9-10

" . . . but ye have not obeyed My voice. . .". What a powerful message for the church system today.

This was not the answer Israel was looking for, but when God shows us the error of our ways, we need to repent. Repentance comes hard when we desire the things of the world more than the things of God. Israel still had a repentant heart, and God would send them another deliverer. We need to ask ourselves:

"Do we have a repentant heart, or has our heart been hardened to where we can longer hear God's voice?"

God's hand was still on Israel, and He would deliver them one more time.

"And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites." Judges 6:11

God had His eye upon a man by the name of Gideon. We need to take special notice of the way the angel addressed Gideon:

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." Judges 6:12

The angel addressed Gideon as a mighty man of valour. Gideon was a man with no apparent leadership ability, hiding himself and his wheat from the Midianites. When the angel appeared unto Gideon, he certainly did not feel like a mighty man of valour. God sees us, not as we see ourselves, He sees us as He made us to be.

"And Gideon said unto him, O my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Judges 6:13

Because of Israel's situation, Gideon thought God had forsaken them. In spite of all Gideon's objections, God assured him He would be with him, and that Gideon would smite the Midianites as one man, Judges 6:16.

What was the first thing Gideon did?

"Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." Judges 6:24

Gideon called his altar, Jehovahshalom, "the God of peace." Gideon was faced with an impossible situation. He was to face the oppressors of Israel with no training in warfare, no men, and no hope. His only hope was that he heard the voice of God. Before Gideon could deliver Israel, God gave Gideon a job to do:

"And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:" Judges 6:25

Gideon was to throw down his father's altar of Baal, and cut down the grove where the altar sat. This was where the men of the city came to worship Baal. Before God can use us, we must eliminate all the idols we have set up in our minds. If Gideon had failed to throw down his father's idols, God could not have used him.

Gideon accomplished the job he was given to do. When the men of the city realized their place of worship was destroyed, they wanted to know who did this. They were told it was Gideon. The people wanted to kill Gideon, but Joash, Gideon's father, stood up to defend him.

"And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? Will ye save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar." Judges 31:31-32

The name Jerubbaal means "Baal will be contended with." If we are to go on in to the things of God, then Baal (the god of plenty) must be contended with in our lives.

"Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him." Judges 33:33 & 34

What was Gideon's reward for being faithful in dealing with Baal? The Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Gideon was Israel's second judge on which the Spirit of God came. Gideon began to send messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali to gather an army to contend with the Midianites.

"And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said." Judges 6:36-37

This has become known as fleecing God.

"And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water." Judges 6:38

The fleece Gideon put out was not just damp. He was able to wring out a whole bowl full of water.

"And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground." Judges 6:39-40

Many have taught Gideon did this because he lacked faith, but God had given Gideon the heart of a true leader. Gideon knew he would have the lives of many men in his hands. It was his absolute desire to be totally in the will of God. If the leadership in God's church could only catch the glimpse of the awesome responsibility God has placed in their hands!

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul declared to the people:

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17

Those whom God has set to be leaders over His people are to watch for their souls. The leaders will be responsible to give account for the people. What will be the leaders' excuses who only look on their calling as a job, not an awesome responsibility before God?

Gideon had assembled his army of thirty-two thousand men:

"Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me." Judges 7:1-2

God was in the midst of this battle. God informed Gideon He had too many people for Him to deliver the Midianites into his hand. This was going to be God's battle, and He alone would get the glory. Gideon informed all who were fearful and afraid to go home. Twenty-two thousand men went home. This left only ten thousand to overthrow the multitude.

"And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee: and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water." Judges 7:4-6

Gideon's army had been cut from thirty-two thousand men to three hundred. The final test for Gideon's army was that all those who lapped water as a dog would be chosen. This is because they had proven they were watchman. They had their eyes on the enemy's camp. Those who had their faces in the water, were only interested in being refreshed. Those whom God chooses will be watchman. They do not concern themselves with this life. They are only interested in what God is doing. Paul informed Timothy:

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." II Timothy 2:4

Those who are part of God's Spirit-filled army do not, should not, and cannot be entangled with the affairs of this life. With Gideon, the wheat harvest had to wait. God had a job for him to do.

"And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place." Judges 7:7

What a difference we see between Gideon and Deborah. With Deborah it was, "I will deliver." With Gideon, the Spirit anointed young man, it was God who would deliver the enemy into his hand. The battle was set in array:

"And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers." Judges 7:12 & 16

What a way God had chosen for Gideon to fight the multitude: with trumpets, empty pitchers, and lamps. Did not the Holy Spirit speak through the pen of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians?

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;" II Corinthians 10:4

The weapons God has given us are Spiritual, just as He gave Gideon. Gideon's army was not equipped with any weapon to destroy life. Gideon's army was a Spiritual army.

Just as we are soldiers in God's army, our fighting is to be done in our prayer closet. This is our battle ground.

We need to always remember God's revelation to Isaiah:

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

God's ways and thoughts are always higher than man's ways and thoughts. Heaven is the Spiritual realm and earth is the flesh realm. God's ways and thoughts are always in the Spiritual realm, while man deals in the flesh realm.

Gideon divided his army into three companies:

"And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpet, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." Judges 7:17-18

The men were to blow their trumpets and shout, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon." This battle was of the Lord, and His chosen vessel Gideon. God's army is made up of His chosen vessels. The Spirit spoke through Jesus:

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." John 15:16

We were chosen for the task ahead of us by the Father before He ever laid the foundation of the earth. He not only chose us, He ordained us. Gideon also was chosen and ordained by God.

"And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." Judges 7:20

What a picture of God's true church in the earth today. The trumpet is the prophetic voice. The pitchers were clay pitchers. The vessels we must break are our earthen vessels in order for the light of God to shine forth. In the beginning God commanded:

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." Genesis 1:3-4

From the beginning, God created His light and divided it from darkness. We know by His Word that light and darkness cannot dwell together. The apostle Paul revealed:

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." II Corinthians 4:6-7

We have the knowledge of the glory of God in our earthen vessels. The power of God (the Holy Spirit) is of God, and not of us. In order for the power of God to shine forth in our lives, our earthen vessels must be broken. Jesus spoke to His disciples:

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." Matthew 5:14

The city set on a hill is the New Jerusalem, the Mount Zion of God. God's holy city will be made up of His chosen ones who are the light of the world. But that light cannot shine forth until our earthen vessels are broken. When Gideon's army blew their trumpets, broke their earthen vessels, and raised the light of God . . .

". . . they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled." Judges 7:21

By being obedient to God's voice, Gideon had the total victory. It was not necessary for Gideon's army to shed one drop of blood. When the Midianites fled, they began to kill one another. The victory was truly God's, and Gideon knew this.

"Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you." Judges 8:22-23

As the organized church today, Israel still wanted a charismatic leader. Gideon told all Israel, "I will not rule over you, nor will my sons rule over you, but it is the Lord who will rule over you." If the church system could only learn the lesson that Christ is to be the head of the church, not man.

Gideon only made one request of the people:

"And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites." Judges 8:24

Gideon requested the golden earrings of the enemy. The enemy had golden earrings because they were Ishmaelites. The Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham through Hagar. Ishmael was Abraham's son by the flesh. Isaac was the son of promise. Paul gives us insight as to what the Ishmaelites can expect.

"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." Galatians 4:28-30

The Ishmaelites will not be heir with the children of promise. We must cast out the bondwoman and her son. How did Israel recognize the Ishmaelites? It was because they wore golden earrings. Today we can still recognize the Ishmaelites the same way. Today everywhere we look we see men with golden earrings. Yes, they are even in the church. The evidence of the Ishmaelite even stands in the pulpits and in the leadership of many churches. The golden earring is just an outward sign of the spiritual darkness of the heart.

Gideon used the gold earrings of the Ishmaelites to make an ephod. The children of Israel gave them willingly.

"And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house." Judges 8:27

An ephod is a priestly garment. Gideon made this garment as a symbol of God's victory over the Midianites, but Israel's heart had not changed. All Israel went a whoring after this man-made ephod. It is even stated it became a snare (trap) to Gideon and his house. God had given the victory, yet Israel made a god out of the spoil.

"Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon." Judges 8:28

When the Godly rule, the people rejoice, Proverbs 29:2. Again, Israel was at peace for a generation. One would think Israel would surely have learned its lessons well, but . . .

"And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel." Judges 8:33-35

Israel not only turned away from the Lord to serve their gods of plenty, they turned against all they thought represented righteousness. Israel had not dealt with the iniquity in their hearts, and their wickedness became more prevalent. After Gideon's death Abimelech arose. He killed all the sons of Gideon and became Israel's judge. His rule was one of violence and destruction. Then arose Tola, who judged Israel twenty-three years, Judges 10:1-2. After Tola, Jair judged Israel twenty-two years.

"And Jair died, and was buried in Camon." Judges 10:5

Israel again was about to feel the wrath of God. God's judgments are not always quick, but they are sure.

For Further Discussion

The Midianites and the Amalekites
Gideon, Mighty Man of Valour
Eliminating All The Idols of Baal
Our Prayer Closet Battle Ground
Breaking Our Earthen Vessels
The Ishmaelite's Golden Earrings

Questions

1. If after we have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is . I Peter 2:20

2. He that soweth to the shall of the flesh reap ; but he that to the shall of the Spirit reap . Galatians 6:8

3. If we forget God, He has a sure way of reminding us. He simply removes what?

4. Gideon built an altar and called it which means . Judges 6:24

5. Gideon was to throw down his father's altar of , and cut down the where the altar sat. We, too, must eliminate all the we have set up in our minds.

6. What was Gideon's reward for being faithful in dealing with Baal?

7. How many of Gideon's army were finally chosen, and why?

8. When we are soldiers in God's army, our fighting is to be done where?

9. In order for the light of God to shine forth in our lives, we must break what?

10. What became a snare unto Gideon and to his house? Judges 8:27

Chapter Seven

The longer God delays His judgment, the more vile and corrupt the people become. As Paul wrote to Timothy:

". . . evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." II Timothy 3:13

Israel had forsaken God, and because of this God allowed them to go their own way for many years. But there is always a day of reckoning, and Israel had come to this day.

"And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him." Judges 10:6

When Israel entered into their promised land, God sent the angel to warn them to destroy all the gods of the heathen nations. If they did not, these gods would be a snare (trap) unto them, Judges 2:3. God never gives a warning He does not fulfill. If the people do not heed the warning, then they will suffer judgment for their disobedience.

The United States began as a Christian nation ordained by God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the earth. Now, this once Christian nation is filled with every false religion on the face of the earth. This nation has failed to learn from their example Israel, and because of this God's judgment is about to fall on this nation and all its false religions, because they have failed to serve the living God.

Israel was about to feel the wrath of God:

"And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead." Judges 10:7-8

Israel's captors had become more violent in their actions toward Israel. The Philistines and Ammonites vexed and oppressed the Israelites. The word vexed means "to shatter or break as a glass." The word oppressed means "to crush as an olive." The Israelites had come to the bottom rung on the ladder. The liberty they had in God had all been crushed and shattered, they were in total bondage.

How like the United States of America! The nation who was promised liberty for all, have enslaved its people. They can no longer do anything without government approval and involvement. God has allowed this enslavement because this nation has forsaken Him.

"And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against Thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim." Judges 10:10

Israel knew they had but one place to turn. This was back to the God who had been faithful to always forgive their sin and restore them to their proper place in Him. But Israel was about to have a rude awakening. Israel was going to witness God's judgment in a new way. The people of the United States and the church system are about to witness this same judgment.

"And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to Me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken Me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more." Judges 10:11-13

"I will deliver you no more."

These words must have resounded through the hearts of the Israelites like a cannon shot. God reminded them of all the times they had turned their backs on Him, and served other gods. Because of this, He simply said, "That is enough! Go your own way and do your own thing."

Israel had made their choice. They had forsaken God to serve the gods of the world. Israel was no different then the church system today. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed to Babylon (the United States) the same judgment God pronounced on Israel:

"Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth: if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee." Isaiah 47:12-13

This nation has failed to heed God's Word. The time has come when God has informed this nation to depend upon their enchantments, their sorceries (witchcraft), their counsels (think tanks), their astrologers (astrology charts), the stargazers, and monthly prognosticators to deliver them. How could Israel and this nation have forsaken God so completely? Every time the Supreme Court and Congress meet, they legislate against God and His Word.

"And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day." Judges 10:15

Israel knew they had sinned, and they were willing to receive the consequence of their actions. But their hearts cry was for God to deliver them one more time.

"And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." Judges 10:16

Israel truly found out God's mercy endureth forever. God was grieved when He looked upon Israel's misery. Perhaps this is what will happen to the church system and this nation, but they will have to suffer misery (God's wrath) before they will cry out to God to be delivered. Tribulation is the only thing that will save the body of Christ.

The enemy was gathered against Israel to further oppress them. The people wondered who God would use to become the head over them this time.

"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah." Judges 11:1

Jephthah was the son of Gilead, but his mother was an harlot. What a picture of the mighty men of valor who have been birthed by the harlot church system.

"And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman." Judges 11:2

The church system has produced other sons, but they want nothing to do with the mighty men of valor God is raising up to bring deliverance to His people. When God's mighty men of valour do not fit the pattern of the church system, those in the church system can only proclaim, "Thou art the son of a strange woman."

"Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him." Judges 11:3

Jephthah dwelt in the land of Tob. The word Tob means "good". Jephthah dwelt in the good land, away from his harlot birth place. He gathered unto him vain men. The word vain means "empty." Those who have been emptied of all their old church creeds and doctrines are ready to be filled with the true Word of God.

Ammon made war against Israel:

"And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon." Judges 11:5-6

The Ammonites were descendants of Benammi, the incestuous son of Lot. The Ammonites had been an adversary of Israel from the beginning, now they had become their oppressors. So Israel came to Jephthah to be their deliverer.

"And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? And why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?" Judges 11:7

How Israel represents the church system of our day! When their religious system fails, and they will fail, God's judgment will be poured out upon their idol worship. They will seek out the mighty men of valor who have escaped their organized religious harlot church system, who dwell in the good land of the Spirit. They will turn to those who know by the Spirit, the way of the truth.

Many times we have witnessed those who have separated us from their midst return for help in their time of distress. They do not know where to turn because they have rejected the only one who could give them direction, Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh." Judges 11:11

The only place Israel had to turn was to a man who had retained his relationship with God. It was said of Jephthah that he uttered all his words before the Lord. Before Jephthah went any further in his decisions, he took his decision before his God. After praying, Jephthah sent messengers to the king over the Ammonites.

". . . What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land? And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably." Judges 11:12 & 13

The Ammonites came against Israel to take back the land God had given to Israel. Israel had inhabited this land for three hundred years. Now the Ammonites wanted it back. This is the same situation we witness in Israel today. The land God gave Israel in the 1967 war, the Palestinians now want back. The all-wise Solomon wrote:

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

History does not change, only the participants change. Jephthah sent messengers to explain to the Ammonites, and told them:

"So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?" Judges 11:23

It was God who dispossessed them, and they did not intend to give it back. This would lead to war.

"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon." Judges 11:29

Jephthah was Israel's eighth judge. Of these eight judges, God's Word records the Spirit of the Lord only came upon three of them: Othniel, Gideon, and now Jephthah. All the other judges did what they though was right in their own eyes. We witness Jephthah as a prayed up, Spirit-filled, anointed man of God. But then Jephthah made an unwise decision.

"And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 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." Judges 11:30-31

God never required this vow of Jephthah. Like Jephthah, many today make vows to the Lord, trying to persuade the Lord to make a success out of what they are doing. Solomon informed us:

"Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?" Ecclesiastes 5:5-6

When we vow a vow unto the Lord, we must keep it. If we do not, then we have sinned with our mouth. Solomon warns us if we make a vow, and do not keep it, God will be angry and destroy the works of our hands. Jephthah made a foolish vow that if God delivered the Ammonites into his hand, then whatever came out of the door of his house first to meet him, he would offer as a sacrifice unto the Lord.

"So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands." Judges 11:32

God gave Jephthah his victory, and Jephthah returned home.

"And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter." Judges 11:34

Because of Jephthah's foolish vow, his only child, a beautiful daughter, whom he loved dearly would have to be sacrificed.

"And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! Thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back." Judges 11:35

There is no way to know what Jephthah expected to come out of his house. We only know God did not require this vow of him. Jephthah explained what he had vowed concerning his daughter, and she knew he had to keep what he had vowed to God. She only required two weeks to bewail her virginity. This must have taken a heavy toll on Jephthah.

"And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead." Judges 12:7

Solomon informed us in the Proverbs:

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21

Jephthah was a mighty man of valor, but his tongue spoke death. God did not require this sacrifice of Jephthah. This was Jephthah's own idea, and it cost him his daughter's life. We need to note Jephthah was walking in the Spirit of the Lord when he made this vow. But Jephthah was still making some of his own decisions, instead of waiting upon the Spirit for direction. We need to learn the voice of the Spirit. If not, we will mistakingly do what we think is right in our own eyes, thinking we are in the will of God.

The following judges judged Israel after Jephthah.

". . .Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.

Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.

And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.

And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites." Judges 12:8, 10-13, & 15

Not much is recorded of these three judges or of their activities as deliverers of Israel. But in the very next verse we are informed:

"And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years." Judges 13:1

Again Israel had not learned its lesson, and God allowed the Philistines to take and hold them captive for forty years. We may think,

"Will Israel ever learn?"

Yet, what do we witness in the church system today? The great moves of God in this century have all lasted less than one generation, then God would have to institute another move of the Spirit.

Israel was given us as an example. We only need to ask ourselves,

"What have we learned from our example?"

For Further Discussion

"I Will Deliver You No More"
God's Judgment
Jephthah
The Organized Religious Harlot Church System
A Vow Unto the Lord
Doing What Is Right In Our Own Eyes
Will Israel Ever Learn

Questions

1. If Israel refused to destroy all the gods of the heathen nations, these gods would be a unto them.

2. God said, "I will deliver you no more." Why did He say these words to Israel?

3. Why did God say to a nation such as the United States of America, "Let now your astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators stand up and save thee. . ."?

4. is the only thing that will save the body of Christ.

5. What will happen to someone who makes a vow to God and does not keep it?

6. Who made a foolish vow, what was it, and what was the consequence of this foolish vow?

7. and are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

8. If we do not learn to hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, we will mistakingly do what we think is , thinking we are in the of God.

9. When religious systems fail, and they will fail, God's judgment will be poured out upon their ____________________.

Chapter Eight

As we continue, we come to Samson, the last judge mentioned in the book of Judges, although Samuel was the last judge in the Old Testament. The Israelites were first ruled by the patriarchs, then the judges, and finally Israel demanded a king. Samuel the last judge anointed the first two kings: Saul and David.

After the death of Jephthah, Israel again turned from God to serve the idols of the heathens. This time God delivered them into the hands of the Philistines. This time their slavery would be forty years. This time God would raise them up a deliverer from birth, with special instructions to his parents on how he was to be raised.

"And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not." Judges 13:2

Manoah was of the tribe of Dan, and lived in Zorah, and his wife was barren.

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son." Judges 13:3

The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah's wife to declare she would have a son. Special instructions were given her as to what she should and should not do during her pregnancy.

"Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:" Judges 13:4

The angel told the wife of Manoah not to drink any alcoholic beverage. The Bible is such a practical book. It has taken the medical profession over three thousand years to warn expectant mothers not to drink alcohol or use drugs because they could mark the child. Although this was not the only reason the angel warned the woman not to drink alcohol or touch any unclean thing.

"For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." Judges 13:5

The son who would be born to Manoah and his wife would be a Nazarite from his mother's womb. The Nazarite vow was for men and women. The word Nazarite means "separation or crown upon the head." Those who took the Nazarite vow were to be holy unto the Lord and a crown of glory to their God. We are admonished in God's Word:

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," II Corinthians 6:17

This is the same admonition the angel gave to the wife of Manoah. If the Lord is to receive us, then we, too, must become Nazarites. God instructed Israel concerning the Nazarite vow:

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head." Numbers 6:2-7

Nazarites were to separate themselves from all fruit of the vine, both fermented and unfermented. Also they were not to cut their hair during the time of their separation. They were not to touch or come near any dead body, not even it one of their close relatives died. It becomes plain, the Nazarites were to be totally separated from death unto the life of God.

The length of the Nazarite vow was generally thirty days, the double vow was for sixty days, and the triple vow was for one hundred days. In Jesus' parable of the sower, He spoke about the Word of God falling on good ground and producing fruit.

"And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth , some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred." Mark 4:8

This also is a picture of where we are to progress with God. When we look at the tabernacle in the wilderness, the thirty fold realm is the Outer Court, the sixty fold realm is the Holy Place, and the hundred fold realm is the Holy of Holies. [see "Beyond the Feast of Tabernacles" by G. Kirkpatrick]. The Nazarite vow was to bring one into the presence of God. The length of the Nazarite vow indicated how desperate they were to come into the presence of God.

There were only three men in the Bible who were to be Nazarites from their mother's womb and remain Nazarites all their lives: Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. These men were totally separated unto the Lord before their birth.

"And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol." Judges 13:24-25

From the time of Samson's birth, the Spirit of God was to crown his life. Many today, like Samson, have a great calling in their lives, but they can not control their passions which eventually lead to their downfall.

Samson was of the tribe of Dan. Before we continue we need to understand the tribe of Dan. To do this we must look at the prophecy Jacob gave concerning Dan just before his death.

"Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." Genesis 49:16-17

Jacob, who's name was changed to Israel, became the father of the children of Israel. Jacob proclaimed Dan would judge his people as one of the tribes. Samson fulfilled this prophesy because he became a judge as one of the tribes of Israel. Jacob also prophesied that Dan would be a serpent by the way. He would bite the horse's heels so his rider would fall backwards. Anytime someone falls backwards, they are falling away from God in rebellion. When God sealed the twelve tribes in the seventh chapter of Revelation, the tribe of Dan was not sealed because they allowed one of the golden calves of Jeroboam to be set up in their tribe. The other calf was set up in Ephraim, thus Ephraim, too, does not appear in the tribes sealed in the seventh chapter of Revelation.

When Samson was full grown. . .

". . . Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines." Judges 14:1

Anytime in the Bible when it states, "They went down," it means they were going away from God.

Although there was nothing written, the Nazarite was to abstain from women. The Nazarite vow was a priestly vow. The priests were admonished to marry a virgin, and one of their own tribe. There was no indication this woman was a virgin, and she was not an Israelite.

What a picture of the young men and women raised in the church today. The idea of a woman or man being a virgin when they marry is thought of as being old fashioned. The modern term used is, "Our youth are sexually active." The Bible refers to sexually active girls as whores, and sexually active boys as whore mongers. Perhaps if the church system would use Bible terms, the youth would think twice before becoming sexually active. The terms whore and whore monger are not used because the church is afraid if the young are not allowed to do what they want to, they will leave. So the church has allowed worldly music, worldly ideas, and worldly standards in the church. Even the idea of young men and women marrying a Christian wife is no longer a standard in looking for a mate.

"And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife." Judges 14:2

From the beginning, we witness Samson acting like a spoiled, only child, anointed by God, but possessing no temperance (self-control), giving in constantly to the desires of the flesh.

Today many proclaim to have the Spirit of God, but yet there is no evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They believe, because they manifest one or two of the gifts of the Spirit, they are very Spiritual. Without fruit, though, there is no evidence of God working in their lives.

"Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well." Judges 14:3

Samson, like many today, only pick a wife by the lust of the eyes. Manoah and his wife wanted Samson to choose a wife from one of his own kind. Samson, like so many young men today, wanted a heathen wife, only seeking sexual pleasure, instead of the blessing of God upon his marriage. It has been said, "God can use any situation." And God would use this unholy marriage also.

". . . his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." Judges 14:4

God would use this marriage to stir up a conflict between Israel and the Philistines. It should become clear, we cannot use this to justify a Christian and heathen marriage. Today many believe they can change their ungodly husband or wife after they are married. More likely then not, it is the Christian who will eventually change.

"Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done." Judges 14:5-6

Again, Samson went down to Timnath. There he met a young lion. Again, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he killed the lion with his bare hands. After Samson killed the lion, he continued on and talked with the young woman.

"And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion." Judges 14:8-9

The Nazarite vow upon Sampson was to be a crown upon his head, and he was not to touch nor come near anything dead. Knowing this, Samson still partook of the honey in the carcase of the lion. This would be the first time Samson violated his Nazarite vow. Now there was no longer a separation between the living and the dead. In touching the unclean thing, Samson simply did what he thought was right in his own eyes..

Samson continued his downward trek. Again, Samson went down to make a wedding feast for his new bride.

"And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him." Judges 14:11

When Samson saw the thirty companions of his new bride, he put forth a riddle. If the thirty could not answer the riddle in the seven days of the feast, they must give Samson what he asked of them.

The bet was that if they could solve the riddle, Samson would give them thirty sheets and thirty changes of garments. The sheets were rectangular pieces of fine linen wore on the outside as a piece of decorative cloth. If they could not solve the riddle, they were to give Samson the same. The riddle was about Samson eating honey out of the dead carcase of the lion.

"And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? Is it not so?" Judges 14:15

Samson's wife's companions accused her of bringing them so she could take what they had. They threatened to burn her father's house if she did not entice Samson to reveal the answer to the riddle.

"And Samson's wife went before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people." Judges 14:16-17

The old saying goes, "Birds of a feather, flock together." We cannot expect the world to act any different than the way they act. We should not be disappointed when the worldly people sin because they are alive unto sin and dead to God. Samson's wife had no faith in God or her husband. The threat of bodily harm was all that was needed to cause Samson's wife to give the answer to the riddle to her companions. She told them the riddle, and Samson had to pay off the wager.

"And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house." Judges 14:19

Again, we witness murder to accomplish what seemed to be right in Samson's eyes. Many times we believe because a person is anointed by the Holy Spirit, they always do what is right, and what they say is right. But if what they or say does not line up with the Word of God, then they are simply doing what they think is right in their own eyes.

This is the second time Samson violated his Nazarite vow. When he committed murder to get their clothes, he again came near dead bodies.

After Samson had dealt with his anger, he went back to see his wife, but her father prevented him because he had given his wife to one of her companions. Again Samson's anger rose up.

"And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives." Judges 15:4-5

Samson destroyed the crops of the Philistines. This angered the tribe of Judah.

"Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them As they did unto me, so have I done unto them." Judges 15:11

Judah sent three thousand men to talk to Samson. They pled their cause, and Samson could only say, "As they did to me, I did to them." The most basic attribute of the flesh is to get even. The Spirit was upon Samson, but like many today who claim to be filled with the Spirit, their "get even attitude" really shows where they are in God.

Judah wanted to deliver Samson into the hands of the Philistines. So they bound him with two new ropes.

"And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands." Judges 15:14

This is the third time the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson. The new ropes were no match for the Spirit of the Lord. God was not through with Samson or the Philistines.

"And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men." Judges 15:15-16

Samson found a jawbone of an ass, and slew one thousand of the Philistines, proclaiming, "I have slain a thousand men." Here again we see the big I. Samson gave no credit to the Holy Spirit anointing.

Today, in what is called the Spirit-filled church, we witness those who use the jawbone of an ass to slay those with whom they disagree. They believe their doctrines and way of thinking are all God honors. The prophet Isaiah wrote of these who think they are "holier than thou."

"Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." Isaiah 65:5

Those who are still slaying people with the jawbone of an ass are a smoke in the nostrils of God.

Samson continued to do what was right in his own eyes, even though the Spirit of God was upon him.

". . . then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her." Judges 16:1

Again, Samson was a man who had not learned to control his passion. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to have control of his life, he was yielding to all the desires of the flesh. Samson displayed none of the fruit of the Spirit. As Paul admonished the church at Corinth:

"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What, Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh." I Corinthians 6:15-16

When Samson became one flesh with the harlot, he made the Holy Spirit one with the harlot. As stated before, God is not mocked. What we sow, we shall also reap. The Gazites were going to kill Samson when he left the city.

"And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron." Judges 16:3

It would appear nothing could stop Samson, but his weakness for women would be his downfall.

"And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah." Judges 16:4

Today we witness many men who claim to be Spirit-filled falling prey to their desire for fortune and sex. These, too, could not control their passions. These things have been the downfall of so many of God's called. Paul informed the Hebrews:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame." Hebrews 6:4-6

Because of their lust for fame and fortune, these well-known men have crucified the Son of God to themselves, and brought shame upon His name. Because of this, they can never be renewed to repentance.

Samson continued in his lust of the flesh, which would eventually cost him his strength (anointing), his vision, and his life.

"And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver." Judges 16:5

Again, Samson would be betrayed by his uncontrolled lust.

"And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee." Judges 16:6

Samson told her if he was bound with seven green withs (bowstrings) never dried, he would lose his strength. This Delilah did.

"Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known." Judges 16:9

Again Delilah tried to find out the secret of Samson's strength. He told her if he was bound with new ropes that had never been used, he would be weak as other men.

"Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread." Judges 16:12

One would think Samson would have been suspicious, but when our eyes are filled with lust, greed, and the desires of the flesh, reason and common sense go out the window. Paul admonished the church at Ephesus:

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30

Samson truly grieved the Holy Spirit anointing. When we grieve the Holy Spirit, we are bound to be overcome by the enemy. Delilah would try again to tempt Samson to reveal the secret of his strength. This time Samson told her if seven locks of his hair were woven into a web he would lose his strength. Delilah did this.

" And she fastened it with the pin (tent peg), and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam and with the web." Judges 16:14

Again Samson's temptress tried to get him to reveal the secret of his strength.

"And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told here all his heart, " Judges 16:16 & 17a

Solomon gave us wisdom concerning the place where Samson was dwelling with Delilah.

"For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life." Proverbs 6:26

"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." Proverbs 27:15

Samson's eyes were blinded by the lust of the flesh. He was being sold out by a whorish, contentious woman. His eyes were blind because they were turned away from God to the temporary joys of this life. Then Samson revealed the secret of his strength, saying . . .

 ". . . There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought money in their hand." Judges 16:17b & 18

Delilah's whorish heart was only interested in the money. She had no fear of God. She only did what was right in her own heart, and what pleased the flesh. When Samson was asleep, she shaved his head, and his strength was gone.

This would be the third time Samson violated his Nazarite vow. He was not to have a razor come upon his head. We need to learn the lesson God is trying to teach us through the Spirit in this passage. It was not Samson's hair that gave him strength, it was his obedience to his Nazarite vow. When he violated his vow, then his strength was gone. When Samson proved to God these many times his calling meant nothing to him, God removed his strength, his calling, and his protection. Because of Samson's disobedience, the Philistines took him.

This is so true in the modern church system. Those who have been called, chosen, and elect believe they can desire the things of this life and sin as often as they will. Then if they turn back to God, they believe His forgiveness is automatic. What they fail to realize is there comes a time when they prove to God they desire the things of this life more than their calling in God, and God will let them have the true desires of their hearts.

"But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house." Judges 16:21

When the Philistines took Samson, they immediately put out his eyes. Samson not only lost his physical sight, he also lost his Spiritual vision. He would no longer have a vision of God's plan for his life.

Solomon informs us:

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18

Samson could not have been very happy chained like an animal to a grinding mill in the prison house. Today God's people are trapped in their denominational orders. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

"But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore." Isaiah 42:22

The message of restoration is no longer mentioned in the church system. Only the salvation message is heard. The message of overcoming is totally foreign in the modern church. [see "God's Overcoming Sons" by G. Kirkpatrick]

Samson's hair began to grow again, and his confidence in God was restored. The Philistines planned a great day to come together to offer sacrifice to their false god, Dagon, whom they gave credit for the capture of Samson. They wanted to mock and make sport of Samson, so they called him from prison, and chained him between the two main pillars which supported their temple.

"And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." Judges 16:26-28

This is the first time it is recorded that Samson called upon the Lord. The Word did not state the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson as before, but God gave Samson back his strength.

"And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." Judges 16:30

From birth, God had raised up Samson to be a deliverer in Israel. But as recorded, Samson died in the midst of his enemies because he could not separate himself from the world unto his God.

As the all-wise Solomon informed us,

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

The apostle Paul related to the church at Rome, "The wages of sin is death," Romans 6:23. Samson fulfilled both of these Scriptures.

"Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years." Judges 16:31

Samson judged Israel twenty years. Those twenty years were filled with sexual exploits, using the strength God had given him to satisfy his own lust and pleasure. This is still true today. As we view the world and the religious system, it becomes hard to tell them apart. They do what is right in their own eyes because they have no vision. This is especially true in the mega church today. We have witnessed many, many failed ministries because those who were the heads of these works could not control their lust, greed, and sexual desires.

Our example, Israel, proves over and over God will not be mocked. What we sow, we surely will reap. If we sow corruption, we will reap death. We not only reap what we sow, we reap the full harvest of our sin. The prophet Hosea informs us:

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind . . ." Hosea 8:7

God's judgment hand is ready to fall upon all unrighteousness. God warned Israel, and He gives us the same warning today.

"If I whet my glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me." Deuteronomy 32:41

Those who, through their actions, prove they truly hate God and His ways will feel the full wrath of his glittering sword. Let us pray we are not like Samson who cried out to God, only to die among his enemies.

For Further Discussion

Samson
The Nazarite Vow
Thirty, Sixty, and An Hundredfold
God's Called, Chosen, and Elect
Where There Is No Vision
Reaping The Whirlwind
Forsaking the Calling Of God

Questions

1. When we look at the tabernacle in the wilderness, the thirty fold realm is the , the sixty fold realm is the , and the hundred fold realm is the .

2. There were only three men in the Bible who were to be Nazarites from their mother's womb and remain Nazarites all their lives. Who were these three men?

3. Anytime someone falls backwards, they are falling away from God in .

4. When the Bible states, "They went down" this means they were doing what?

5. How did Samson first violate his Nazarite vow?

6. It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto . Why is this?

7. Many of God's called, chosen, and elect believe they can desire the things of this and as often as they will. Then they believe if they turn back to God, His forgiveness is . But there comes a time when they prove to God they desire the things of this life more than , and God will let them have the of their hearts.

8. This is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, . Isaiah 42:22

9. How many years did Samson judge Israel. What were these years filled with?

10. What we sow, we surely will reap. If we sow corruption, we will reap .

Chapter Nine

When Samson died, the Philistines still held Israel captive. God's words were still echoing in the heart of Israel:

". . . ye have forsaken Me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more." Judges 10:13

When Israel forsook God, they became even more degenerate, until their was no pretense of righteousness in their midst. As Paul revealed to Timothy, when man forsakes God, he becomes more and more evil, and because he is deceived, he deceives others, II Timothy 3:13.

This is especially true of the seminaries of the organized church system which teach their own precepts and doctrines of God's Word. Then these misconceptions of God's intended purposes are passed on to their unsuspecting congregations. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this travesty of God's Word:

"For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

The broken cisterns of the organized church system hold no water, no Spirit anointed Word. They can only teach what their headquarters send them. It has become the hireling system. God reveals this in the book of Judges:

"And there was a man of Mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son." Judges 17:1-2

When Micah's mother missed the money, she cursed and spoke threatenings in Micah's ears. Micah went to his mother and told her he had stolen the eleven hundred shekels she was missing. Micah admitted he was a thief, and his mother's only remark was, "Blessed be thou of the Lord." How far had Israel slipped in righteousness? The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter? Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" Isaiah 5:20-23

Evil in the Lord's eyes is being disobedience to His Word. Isaiah announced woe upon all those who call evil good, and good evil, light for darkness, and darkness for light, etc. Today anyone who stands up for the righteousness of God or His Word are called moral freaks, and out-moded in their thinking. Isaiah declared those who call good, evil, and evil, good are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight.

Isaiah continued, "These justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous." Today in the modern church the message of righteousness and repentance is all but forgotten. Fornicators, adulterers, and sodomites sit in their midst with no conviction of their wrong. They also enslave their people to a godless government. As God spoke to Israel, "Ye have forsaken Me, and I will deliver you no more." This is the message to the government and to the organized church.

Isaiah warned those who call good evil and evil good.

"Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 5:24

This godless nation and the modern church, who have forsaken God and His righteousness, can only expect judgment. God's judgment hand has already taken hold of His glittering sword, and He will not turn back.

"And when he (Micah) had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee. Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah." Judges 17:3-4

Micah gave the money back to his mother, and she told him she had dedicated the silver to the Lord to make idols for her son. In today's thinking, any religion is alright as long as you worship some god. How deceived the people have become!

"And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest." Judges 17:5

Micah had a whole house full of gods. He even made an ephod and teraphim (household gods). He also made one of his sons a priest.

When Micah gave the silver back to his mother, she went to the founder and gave him two hundred sheckles to make her son another idol. How like the worldly people today! They would rather see their children go into witchcraft, drugs, and become sexually active (fornication), then to have them have anything to do with the living God. Parents go merrily on their way, while the rock and roll music perverts the minds of their children. There are no restraints on what they do, listen, and watch. Their only remorse comes when the children get into trouble, wind up in the hospital from an overdose, or have to pay for the abortion of their unwanted grandchild. How the day we live in mirrors the time of the judges!

"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6

Today, man has not changed. When they forsake God, they do whatever they think is right in their own eyes. They, as Micah's mother, believe they are doing God's will, even though they are serving their house of idols. We can make an idol out of anything, and we can make whoever we desire to be our priest - - - the one we listen to, who will justify our actions. We know Micah's son was not going to tell his father he was doing wrong, for he had learned his morals from his father.

" And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to Mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed." Judges 17:7-8

This young Levite priest left Bethlehemjudah to find a place to live and get a job. How like the young men coming out of the seminaries today! They have to travel to this church and that church to try out for a job. This process goes on until they please a church enough to get hired. Jesus calls these men hirelings. This young Levite priest came to the house of Micah.

"And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in." Judges 17:9-10

Micah hired the young Levite to be a father and a priest. The deal was made, he was given a salary, a priestly uniform, a place to live, and his food. The young priest went in to be the priest over Micah's house of gods.

Today, before a preacher will take a job, they must inspect the parsonage, check their vacation schedule, stock options, their retirement program, car allowance, and all the other amenities before they will even consider taking the job when it is offered.

"And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest." Judges 17:11-13

The young Levite priest's whole life and livelihood was dependent upon Micah. As priest all he had to do was to continue to assure Micah he was OK in the sight of God. Micah thought God would truly bless him because he had a Levite priest over his house. Micah knew there was no need to change his way of life because he certainly must be right in God's sight. Today, the church is hoodwinked into thinking they can trust and depend on their hireling because he was trained in their denominational seminaries. The only job the hireling has is to maintain numbers, and do his assigned duties. He has a job as long as he does not make waves.

"In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel." Judges 18:1

As stated before, it was prophesied of Dan:

"Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." Genesis 49:17

Dan was the serpent by the wayside who bit the horse's heels so the rider would fall backwards. Dan represents the religious spirit in the church system today. This spirit is looking for an inheritance to inhabit. Satan knows he has no inheritance in the true church (Spiritual Israel). He recognizes his only inheritance are those who trust in their religious orders.

"And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to Mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there." Judges 18:2

The Danites sent out five of their men of valor, those who had been successful in their persuasive ways, and they came out to spy out the land.

When the sons of God appeared before the Lord in the book of Job, satan appeared with them.

"And the Lord said unto satan, Whence comest thou? Then satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Job 1:7

Satan is still walking up and down in the earth looking for those whom he can inhabit with his spirit of religion. Peter, who was given the keys of the Kingdom, tried to warn God's end time people:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" I Peter 5:8

As you notice, Peter did not call satan (the devil) our enemy. He called him our adversary. An adversary is an opponent. We can overcome our opponent by the Spirit of God and the word of our testimony.

When the Danites went by the house of Micah. . .

". . . they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? And what makest thou in this place? And what hast thou here?" Judges 18:3

The Danites went to Micah's house because he had a religious spirit. Micah was a very religious man, but he was not a godly man. Many who serve their house of idols become very religious in everything they do, but they are not serving the living God.

When the Danites heard the voice of the young Levite priest, they wanted to know who assigned him to this place, and how much he was being paid, and what kind of deal he had to be Micah's priest.

"And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest." Judges 18:4

How like the church system today! Those who are hired to perform their religious services are always looking out the window, desiring a beater deal, a bigger church, more money, and more benefits. There is no loyalty to the flock. Jesus knew this would happen when He spoke of the hireling system.

"But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." John 10:12-13

To the hireling, pastoring is only a job. He cares nothing for the flock. When any trouble comes his way, he very quickly looks for greener pastures. Micah was about to learn his hireling had no loyalty.

"And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go." Judges 18:5-6

The Danites told the priest to ask God if their way would be prosperous. The beloved John spoke of the prosperity we are to be looking for:

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." III John 1:2

God's prosperity has to do with our Spiritual well-being, not our lusting after the things of this life. Micah's priest told the Danites, "Go in peace. The way you are going is God's way." The religious spirit always assures its victims that what they are doing is right in the sight of God. The religious spirit does not demand change. Only the Spirit of the living God (the Holy Spirit) demands change.

The Danites left the house of Micah . . .

"Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man." Judges 18:7

The Danites found a people in Laish who lived like the Zidonians. They were quiet and secure, with no leadership over the people, and they had no business with any man. This was a people who had no desire for fellowship with anyone except those of Laish. How this sounds like the denominational system today! They can have no fellowship with any other denomination because of their precepts and doctrines of men.

The Danites went back to Zorah to assemble an army:

"And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? Be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land. When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth." Judges 18:9-10

This is what satan is looking for --- a people who are secure in their religious worship. It is a large land. In other words, it is a large denomination. It has no want of anything in the earth. The Lord was describing the Laodiceans, those upon whom the end of the age has come. Jesus told us what this church would be like:

"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; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" Revelation 3:14-17

Those at Laish were about to be overthrown. Today, there are many Laodicean churches all over the earth, but especially in the United States. Jesus told them because they had everything, and had need of nothing, they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

Jesus stated the Laodicean churches have become wretched. The word wretched means "to be full of trouble and afflicted." He also stated they were miserable. The word miserable means "to be pitied." It is hard, in our carnal thinking, to pity someone who has need of nothing. We need to see these big mega churches as God sees them. They are to be pitied because they have no need of God. Even though they have need of nothing, Jesus revealed they are poor. The word poor means "powerless." These are destitute of power (the Holy Spirit). They are also destitute of the knowledge and understanding of God's Word.

Jesus revealed they were blind. They have no vision. They can only see today, not afar off. They know not what their future holds, because they do not know God's Word.

Jesus said these are naked. These are naked, even though they are clothed in the most expensive clothing, because they stand naked before the Lord. He knows their hearts, and their sins are revealed. These have listened to the lies of their religious spirit, and they have been taken captive, just as Laish would be taken captive by the Danites. After the Danites assembled an army, they returned to the house of Micah.

"Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? Now therefore consider what ye have to do." Judges 18:14

This time the five men, who had come before, had six hundred men of war with them.

"And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war." Judges 18:15-17

These gods of Micah were no gods. They could not protect themselves, nor could they protect Micah. How like the false gods in the hearts of those who call themselves by the name of Christ today! They spend all their time and money on these false gods, and when God's judgment comes, they will find they are worthless in the Day of Judgment. The religious systems the people depended on, and have supported with their time and money, will be of no help either.

The young Levite priest asked the Danites,

"What do ye? And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?" Judges 18:19

The hireling had witnessed the coming of the enemy, and he was about to flee the flock. The Danites told the priest, "Lay hold on your mouth." It was a way of saying, "Be quiet, and do as you are told." Many pastors are told the same thing by their overseeing boards or their pastoral committees, "As long as you do as you are told, you will have a job."

Many churches vote their pastors in, and if they do not please the congregation, they vote him out. This is certainly not God's way. If the man was chosen of God to pastor a congregation, he would not be voted in. If God sent him there, what right do the people have to vote him out. And if God did not send him there, what is he doing there in the first place?

The Danites asked this young hireling priest if he wanted to be a priest to one man, or to a whole family and tribe of Israel.

"And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people." Judges 18:20

The hireling priest got what he wanted. It did not bother him that he had stolen the ephod (religious uniform), the teraphim (household gods), and the idols he had served before. He took all these abominations with him. A new job did not change his heart or his thinking. When Micah discovered all his gods and his priest missing, he overtook the Danites:

"And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? And he said, ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? And what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household." Judges 18:23-25

Today many denominations have the heart of the Danites. If you disagree with them, they want to destroy you; perhaps not by taking your life, but by destroying the ministry God has given, by tarnishing your good name.

When Micah knew the Danites were too strong for him and his men, he returned to his house.

"And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire." Judges 18:27

The prophet Zephaniah prophesied about a people who have become quiet and secure in their attitude towards God.

"And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil." Zephaniah 1:12

Today God is searching Jerusalem (His people) with the light of His Word, ready to punish those who are settled back on their lees (quiet and secure), who have come to believe God will do nothing, either good or evil. In their hearts, they believe God has nothing to do with anything on earth. Those who have come to this way of thinking can only expect God's punishment.

"And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein." Judges 18:28

Israel had come to the place where they depended totally upon the arm of the flesh. There was no deliverer for them. As God had stated, they had forsaken Him, and He would no longer deliver them. They would have to fend for themselves, so they built a city, and called it Dan.

"And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land." Judges 18:30

The Danites and all Israel would forget the words God had given Moses to give to the children of Israel if they turned to idols.

"And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste." Leviticus 26:30-33

The Danites worshiped their idols until the day of the captivity of the Lord. God would fulfill His Word to Moses in 721 B. C. when He allowed the Assyrians to over throw the ten northern tribes of Israel. He scattered these tribes all over the earth.

God gave us the book of Judges to know what to expect if we do as Israel did. Out of the twelve judges, the Spirit of the Lord only came upon four of them to accomplish God's work. The first was Othniel, who delivered Israel from the King of Mespotamia. The next judge the Spirit came upon was Gideon, who delivered Israel from the Midianites. The third judge the Spirit came upon was Jephthah. This time it was the Ammonites who opposed Israel. Samson was the last judge in the book of Judges. Even though the Spirit was upon Samson, he died in the midst of the enemy.

The other eight judges: Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Lola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon operated by fleshly motives. Even though they accomplished God's purpose, they did it without the Spirit of God being upon them. What a picture of the modern church!

There was no king in Israel in those days. There is no king (Christ Jesus) in the modern church system of today. The church system, as Israel, operates more as a governmental entity, then as a theocracy with God being their king. Instead, they simply do what is right in their own eyes. Then they pray to God for Him to bless what they do. Will they ever look to Israel as their example?

Truly we are the people upon whom the end of the age has come. We need to look up --- for our redemption truly is drawing nigh.

Further Discussion

Broken Cisterns of the Organized Church System
The Hireling System
God's Glittering Sword of Judgment
Household Gods
Dan, The Serpent
The Spirit of Religion
The Laodicean Churches
The Zidonians at Ease
Those Settled On Their Lees

Questions

1. The broken cisterns of the organized church system hold no , no .

2. Today in the modern church, the message of and is all but forgotten.

3. Why would God declare, "I will deliver you no more?"

4. Describe the hireling in today's organized church system:

5. The always assures its victims that they are doing what is right in the sight of God.

6. If a man is chosen of God to pastor a congregation, do the people have the right vote him out? Explain your answer.

7. Those who are quiet, secure, at ease, and settled on their lees are like what ungodly nation in the time of Israel?

8. Name the four judges in the book of Judges upon whom the Spirit of the Lord came?

9. What do Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Lola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon have in common as judges in Israel?

10. The unrighteous theme that runs through the book of Judges states, ". . . they did what was ."

Answer Key

Chapter One

1. What book in the Old Testament gives us clear insight as to what God does not want in His church?

The book of Judges

2. Did many of the deliverers in the book of Judges operate according to the dictates of God's Word?

No. Many did not. Only those anointed with the Holy Spirit. The others did what they thought was right in their own eyes, and operated by the arm of the flesh.

3. In the time of the Judges, each tribe became independent from the other eleven tribes. Why did this make them vulnerable to their enemies?

When they became independent, jealousies arose, and each tribe desired their own separate interests and each wanted preeminence.

4. Why is the power of God no longer evident, and greed, lust, and sin rampant in the church system today?

As Israel, they have failed to deal with the evil in their midst as God directed which is disobedience to God's voice.

5. Before God's Kingdom can come and His will be done earth, it must come our earth, our .

On, In, Bodies

6. As Israel was to make no league or agreements with the inhabitants of their promised land, we too are to do what?

Destroy all the idol worship, and make sure all the places of idol worship are thrown down.

7. Why has God removed the convicting message from the church system today?

Today many in the church system have allowed sin to sit in their midst.

8. If we refuse to obey God's voice, and allow sin in our midst, then these heathen nations will become in our sides and a .

Thorns and snare

9. The modern church believes Christianity is just another religion, when in reality Christianity is not a religion, it is .

Christianity is not a religion, it is a way of life

Chapter Two

1. A covenant is a between two people or nations. In order for the covenant to come into effect both sides are to keep it. If a covenant is to remain in effect with God, that people must keep the of the covenant also.

Contract, responsible, conditions

2. Many today in the have never been delivered from their , continuing in their , sitting comfortably in their , and all gone in their lives.

Modern church, Egypt (the world), sin, pews, conviction

3. What is the name of the god of agriculture and increase?

Baal

4. God warned Israel if they would not cleanse their land of the idol worship, these gods would become a and a to them.

Snare and a trap

5. Today if the Holy Spirit begins to move in the midst of a people, those who have allowed the cleansing power of God to do a work in their lives are asked to do what?

Leave

6. Does God demand change?

Yes! God demands a continual changed life and true repentance.

7. When the Holy Spirit anointing is not on a teaching, all these messages can do is what?

Tickle the ears

8. We need to heed the words of Jesus when He stated, "Without Me, ye can do .

Without Me, ye can do nothing

9. Many today only desire the of their sin. They do not desire to their sin nature.

Forgiveness, overcome

10. Why is God's judgment about to fall?

Because those who call themselves by God's name have set up idols in their hearts, and serve their idols, forsaking the living God.

Chapter Three

1. Today many are hearing the message of God's judgment upon a sin-ridden people, nation, and world, yet they refuse to do what?

They refuse to act upon it

2. What does the name Chushan-rishathamim mean?

Blackness of double wickedness

3. The of the Lord came upon to deliver Israel from Chushan-rishathaim.

Spirit, Othniel

4. What is the significance of Ehud, the Benjamite, being left handed?

Ehud would accomplish what God had given him to do, but he would do it in a left-handed manner, using the arm of the flesh.

5. What three things did Ehud do when, by the arm of the flesh, he went to Eglon, King of Moab?

1 - Eglon went under false pretenses
2 - Eglon lied
3 - Eglon committed premeditated murder

6. In viewing the last question, is this the way God intends for His people to operate? Does God use deceit, lying, and premeditated murder to accomplish His purposes and goals?

No!

7. How does the murder of Eglon relate to the modern church system?

Many denominations have made their stand public on abortion.

8. Paul directed the church to be separate, yet the modern church desires everything the has.

World

Chapter Four

1. What does the name Deborah mean?

"She speaks"

2. "The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that Deborah arose, that arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:7

I - - - I

3. Had God changed His mind in the time of Deborah, or was she simply doing what was right in her own eyes?

Deborah did what was right in her own eyes

4. In what ways did Deborah do what was right in her own eyes?

Deborah was not submitted to her husband.
Deborah usurped authority over the man

5. We will only abide (live) in God as we are taught by through His .

The Holy Spirit and His Word

6. What does the word usurp mean?

"To exercise authority over"

7. God's purpose was accomplished through Deborah, but was God's purpose accomplished in His way? Explain your answer.

No! If we are to be pleasing in God's sight, we need to not only accomplish His purpose, we need to accomplish his purpose in His way. The only way He has shown us is what is given us in His Word.

Chapter Five

1. List Israel's first four judges:

Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, and Deborah

2. Of these four judges, the Spirit of the Lord only came upon one. What was his name?

Othniel

3. Jeremiah prophesied that the mighty men of Babylon have foreborn to fight. They have become as . Today God's mighty men have changed places with , allowing the to rule over them.

Women, women, women

4. Many would agree that Deborah and Jael accomplished God's purpose, but can their actions be justified by God's Word?

No!

5. What spirit gives constant assurance that what a person is doing is for God?

The religious spirit

Chapter Six

1. If after we have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is . I Peter 2:20

It is worse with them than the beginning

2. He that soweth to the shall of the flesh reap ; but he that to the shall of the Spirit reap . Galatians 6:8

flesh, corruption, soweth, Spirit, life everlasting

3. If we forget God, He has a sure way of reminding us. He simply removes what?

He simply removes His hand of blessing on our finances, our health, and our children.

4. Gideon built an altar and called it which means . Judges 6:24

Jehovahshalom, the God of peace

5. Gideon was to throw down his father's altar of , and cut down the where the altar sat. We, too, must eliminate all the we have set up in our minds.

Baal, grove, idols

6. What was Gideon's reward for being faithful in dealing with Baal?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

7. How many of Gideon's army were finally chosen, and why?

Only the 300 who lapped water as a dog were chosen because they had proven they were watchmen.

8. When we are soldiers in God's army, our fighting is to be done where?

In our prayer closet

9. In order for the light of God to shine forth in our lives, we must break what?

Our earthen vessels

10. What became a snare unto Gideon and to his house? Judges 8:27

Gideon made a man-made priestly ephod, and put it in his city, and all Israel went a whoring after it.

Chapter Seven

1. If Israel refused to destroy all the gods of the heathen nations, these gods would be a unto them.

Snare and a trap

2. God said, "I will deliver you no more." Why did He say these words to Israel?

Because they forsook Him and served other gods

3. Why did God say to a nation such as the United States of America, "Let now your astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators stand up and save thee. . ."?

Because this nation fails to heed God's Word, forsaking Him to serve other gods

4. is the only thing that will save the body of Christ.

Tribulation

5. What will happen to someone who makes a vow to God and does not keep it?

God will be angry and destroy the works of that person's hands

6. Who made a foolish vow, what was it, and what was the consequence of this foolish vow?

Jephthah made a foolish vow that if God delivered the Ammonites into his hand, then whatever came out of the door of his house first to meet him, he would offer as a sacrifice . Because Jephthah vowed to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house to meet him upon his return, his only daughter had to be sacrificed.

7. and are in the power of the tongue: Proverbs 18:21

Death and life

8. If we do not learn to hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, we will mistakingly do what we think is , thinking we are in the of God.

Right in our own eyes, the will of God

9. When religious systems fail, and they will fail, God's judgment will be poured out upon their

Idol worship

Chapter Eight

1. When we look at the tabernacle in the wilderness, the thirty fold realm is the , the sixty fold realm is the , and the hundred fold realm is the .

Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies

2. There were only three men in the Bible who were to be Nazarites from their mother's womb and remain Nazarites all their lives. Who were these three men?

Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist

3. Anytime someone falls backwards, they are falling away from God in .

Rebellion

4. When the Bible states, "They went down", this means they were doing what?

They were going away from God

5. How did Samson first violate his Nazarite vow?

He ate of the honey in the carcase of the lion, which meant he was no longer making a separation between the living and the dead, and touching that which was unclean.

6. It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto . Why is this?

Repentance. Because they have crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.

7. Many of God's called, chosen, and elect believe they can desire the things of this and as often as they will. Then they believe if they turn back to God, His forgiveness is . But there comes a time when they prove to God they desire the things of this life more than , and God will let them have the of their hearts.

Life, sin, automatic, their calling in God, true desires

8. "This is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, ." Isaiah 42:22

Restore

9. How many years did Samson judge Israel. What were these years filled with?

Twenty years. They were filled with his sexual exploits, and using the strength God had given him to satisfy his own lust and pleasure.

10. What we sow, we surely will reap. If we sow corruption, we will reap .

Death

Chapter Nine

1. The broken cisterns of the organized church system hold no , no .

Water, Spirit anointed Word

2. Today in the modern church, the message of and is all but forgotten.

Righteousness and repentance

3. Why would God declare, "I will deliver you no more?"

Because God's people have forsaken Him as their God

4. Describe the hireling in today's organized church system:

An hireling travels from this church to that church to try out for a job. This process goes on until they please a church enough to get hired.

5. The always assures its victims that they are doing what is right in the sight of God.

Religious spirit

6. If a man is chosen of God to pastor a congregation, do the people have the right vote him out? Explain your answer.

No! If God sent him there, he is called of God to be there, and if God did not send him there, what is he doing there in the first place?

7. Those who are quiet, secure, at ease, and settled on their lees are like what ungodly nation in the time of Israel?

The Zidonians

8. Name the four judges in the book of Judges upon whom the Spirit of the Lord came?

Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson

9. What do Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Lola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon have in common as judges in Israel?

Instead of operating by the Spirit of the Lord, they operated by fleshly motives, doing what they thought was right in their own eyes.

10. The unrighteous theme that runs through the book of Judges states, ". . . they did what was ."

They did what was right in their own eyes.


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