Judges 8:1-3 Someone Is Upset

Judges 8:1-3 (KJV)
And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.
And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

Someone will get upset at anything.

Imagine:

  • The Midianites oppressed Israel.
  • God chose Gideon to lead a small band of 300 to defeat them.
  • The enemy was destroyed without incident and

Ephraim was upset that they weren’t invited to the fight.

I bet they wouldn’t have been upset if it had not gone so well. I think they just wished they could claim they had helped in the miracle.

The thing is, whenever we do anything for God, someone will be upset about something. It is the nature of mankind. We are:

  • Petty
  • Jealous
  • Selfish

by nature. Our first response to almost everything will be a natural one. Only the disciplined and thoughtful Christian will overcome those impulses and give a godly response up front.

Ephraim’s anger was abated after just a bit of reason. It would have been better if they had reasoned before they responded.

It would be better if we would too.

 

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Judges 8:1-3 Someone Is Upset

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Judges 7:7 A Convenient Congregation

Judges 7:7 (KJV)
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.

Many years ago now I hosted a revival meeting with what was then one of the better-known evangelists among the Independent Baptists of the southern states. One day he confided in me that there is something bad that happens in the heart of a preacher when his audience gets over four hundred in attendance. A pastor I am acquainted with recently wrote a blog questioning the value of so-called mega churches. A preacher friend of mine wrote a piece shortly thereafter questioning not just the mega churches but perhaps all of the larger churches. He wondered whether it might rather be God’s will to have a number of smaller churches scattered throughout an area rather than the larger churches people often drive great distances to attend. Seems to me like God might give us a target number of three hundred. Anything over that and we tend to accept some glory all our own.

Of course numbers can be relative. One person might get puffed up with one hundred. Another may remain humble with several hundreds. Seems to me that the issue is not numbers at all. The issue is faithfulness to God and to truth.

Perhaps the Proverbs has the answer we need.
Proverbs 30:8
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Judges 7:7 A Convenient Congregation

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1 Peter 1:3 Hope Secured

1 Peter 1:3 (KJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The hope of the Christian is lively. It is a hope that is sure and based upon certain instruments.

Our hope is not wishful. It is absolute because of two principles:

The abundant mercy of God
What mercy the Father hath bestowed upon us! He gives grace undeserved and withholds condemnation deserved. He considers us, loves us and concerns Himself with us.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
The resurrection is explained so we have no debate. His was not a spiritual resurrection or an emotional resurrection. His resurrection is not an imagination of the mind or a theoretical resurrection. His was a physical resurrection from the dead.

We have a lively hope because it is a hope based upon the love of God and death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Peter 1:3 Hope Secured

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James 5:1-6 Nothing But Judgment

James 5:1-6 (KJV)
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

I take it that the audience of this passage may be more literal than I once thought. In the past I saw this as preaching to the world in general and no one in particular. Certainly I did not expect this person to be in the congregation. I have changed my view. James tells us he is writing to the scattered Jews, whether converted or not, and living among the Gentiles. I see this as those various churches in the Gentile world composed, in those days, mostly of saved Jews and Gentiles but containing, too often, Judaizers – Jews claiming to be believers but trusting still in the traditions of their fathers and therefore completely lost.

These people caused one problem after another in the churches they attended. They were:

  • In the flesh
  • Did their work in the flesh and
  • In the flesh fought the Spirit of God in the church

These people can expect nothing but judgment in the last day.

 

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James 5:1-6 Nothing But Judgment

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James 4:11 No Need To Speak Evil

James 4:11 (KJV)
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

I have come to see the book of James as addressed to that diverse bunch of Christians who were Jewish by blood and prone to cling to the Old Testament law. These believers (though believers) tended to be critical of those who were not “blessed” with their Jewish heritage. James’ admonished them to stop being critical. They were to quit speaking evil of those who had less experience with the law than they.

We would do well to learn from this. There is no reason to speak evil of other believers. Their experience may be different than ours. It may be best that we keep some distance from them. We may have need to expose errors taught by them. But we do not need to speak evil of them.

 

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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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James 4:11 No Need To Speak Evil

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Judges 4:2 Just Ask Jael

Judges 4:2 (KJV)
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.

This comes from Robert Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary, “I beg the reader not to overlook the expression, “the Lord sold them.” Yes! every event, as well afflictive as prosperous, is of the Lord’s appointment. Painful as the Lord’s corrections sometimes are, yet, when his hand is traced in them, and the heart is enabled to say, I know, Lord, that thy judgments are right, this brings the soul up to its proper frame.“

I wonder what price God got for them? Nothing is sold for free. Jabin, Sisera and the dwellers at Hazor May have believed they got a bargain when they took possession of Israel. Not so. Just ask Jael.

Even so, our purchases always come at a price. It may seem sometimes that God has given us a thing, even though we know we shouldn’t have it, because He didn’t keep it from us. He didn’t stop us from buying it. He gave us the proceeds necessary for the purchase. That doesn’t mean it was:

  • A wise purchase
  • A good deal or
  • The will of God

Jabin may have purchased Israel from God but he soon regretted the deal.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Judges 4:2 Just Ask Jael

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Judges 3:1-2 Even Our Enemies Can Be a Blessing

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

Clarke,
“This was another reason why the Canaanites were left in the land, that the Israelites might not forget military discipline, but habituate themselves to the use of arms, that they might always be able to defend themselves against their foes.”

Gill,
“…the following nations were left in the land, that the young generations of Israel might by their wars and conflicts with them learn the art of war, and be inured to martial discipline; which, if none had been left to engage with, they had been ignorant of…”

In a world gone amuck in sin, the skills necessary to defend oneself are necessary. A threat that keeps before our eyes the ever present need of those necessary skills may be seen as a blessing from God.

 

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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Judges 3:1-2 Even Our Enemies Can Be a Blessing

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James 1:1 The Twelve Scattered Tribes

James 1:1 (KJV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

We are taught, when studying the Word of God, to consider first of all who is the writer and to whom he is writing. This is clearly given to us as:

James, the writer
This is not the Apostle as he had been executed early in Christian history. It’s the pastor of the church in Jerusalem that wrote this letter.

The twelve scattered tribes, the reader
This is a bit tougher to discern. On first glance this looks to be strictly the dispersion, those Jews scattered both east and west due to world crises in the history of Israel. This doesn’t compute well because the New Testament is a Christian book. On the other hand it does answer why this letter seems so bent toward works.

Barnes says, “Many have supposed that James here addressed them as Jews, and that the epistle was sent to them as such. But this opinion has no probability; because:
(1) If this had been the case, he would not have been likely to begin his Epistle by saying that he was “a servant of Jesus Christ,” a name so odious to the Jews.
(2) And, if he had spoken of himself as a Christian, and had addressed his countrymen as himself a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, though regarding them as Jews, it is incredible that he did not make a more distinct reference to the principles of the Christian religion; that he used no arguments to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah; that he did not attempt to convert them to the   faith.
It should be added, that at first most converts were made from those who had been trained in the Jewish faith, and it is not improbable that one in Jerusalem, addressing those who were Christians out of Palestine, would naturally think of them as of Jewish origin…”

I prefer Clarkes’ thoughts on this subject, “To the Jews, whether converted to Christianity or not, who lived out of Judea, and sojourned among the Gentiles for the purpose of trade or commerce. At this time there were Jews partly traveling, partly sojourning, and partly resident in most parts of the civilized world; particularly in Asia, Greece, Egypt, and Italy. I see no reason for restricting it to Jewish believers only; it was sent to all whom it might concern, but particularly to those who had received the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

 

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For this and more than 4100 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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James 1:1 The Twelve Scattered Tribes

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Judges 2:2 When Our Kids Ask “Why?”

Judges 2:2 (KJV)
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?

God can do things we should not.

When I was in Bible College I learned that it is not wise to ask our children why they did something they shouldn’t have. Most of the time they do not know why. As a parent we do. We know it is because of the sin nature. It would be better to teach our children that truth than to frustrate them and us by insisting they try to give an excuse.

This passage in no way negates that teaching. That God:

  • Asks questions of us we should not ask
  • Makes demands of us we should not demand of others or
  • Expresses emotions we should not express
  • Neither gives us permission to do those things nor impugns the righteousness of God

He is God.

What I see as a takeaway in the passage is that God did not wait for an answer. He administered discipline.

When our children do wrong we shouldn’t ask them why they did it. We should

  • Teach them right,
  • Explain the sin nature and
  • Provide discipline to correct their path

That will help them in their future.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Judges 2:2 When Our Kids Ask “Why?”

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Hebrews 13:3 Those In Bonds

Hebrews 13:3 (KJV)
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

It was a difficult time in which the Apostle penned these words. Christians were likely to be in prison or worse for their faith in Christ. Many of the early saints were in the bondage of slavery. Paul said those that were not in bonds should remember those in bondage as being with them. Gill says that’s because they, as Christians, were liable of the same convictions.

Other believers were suffering affliction of one sort or another. There would have been those physical afflictions that were common to the day and a further sort of affliction that was due to the hardships of persecution. Paul urged those not so afflicted to remember them as in the same body.

Our times have been much less challenging for Christians. That seems to be changing quickly. The sentiment of the ungodly has taken root so deeply that to believe in Judeo/Christian values, especially to hold a fundamental view of the Bible, is attacked on very many fronts. To personally know Christians in bondage to the legal system or suffering financially due to their Christian business practices will likely become more common.

Paul urges us not to:

  • Judge them 
  • Condemn them or 
  • Shun them 

but to:

  • Remember them
  • Help them when we can and 
  • Pray for them 

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 4000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Hebrews 13:3 Those In Bonds

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