Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 43

This entry is part 43 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Part 42 Recap: David Sees a beautiful woman bathing from his rooftop and desires her. He calls her to him and sleeps with her. She later becomes pregnant by him. Uriah the woman’s husband comes home from war and will not go home to lay with her, so David sends him into the hottest battle where he is killed. After the woman finishes mourning her loss, David takes her as his wife.

Part 43

God sent Nathan to David and instructed him to share a story about a rich man and a poor man. “…There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him” (2 Samuel 12:1-4).

Had you been in David’s shoes and heard such a story what might your reaction have been? A rich man that takes from the poor. He takes not only from someone in need, but, takes what is most cherished by the poor man. David listens to the prophet of the Lord and is upset by this. “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity” (vs. 5-6). This might be the anger that any one of us might have for such a wicked man. This is a very sad tale. Nathan next reveals the person who committed the wickedness. “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun” (vs. 7-12).

Taking a look in the mirror at times can be hard. We fail to hit the mark continually and our weaknesses are exposed. At times it is quite frustrating to see how often we can fail and make the same mistakes. God sees these mistakes and knows our hearts. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13). Our hearts, however, must turn toward him. We can not be frustrated with our own pride thinking we can handle all situations ourselves. He did die for that purpose, to unite us all in one. Repentance is aligning oneself with God and turning to him no matter how difficult, it is our duty as Christians. Always remember Hebrews 4:14-16: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 42

This entry is part 42 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 41: King David desires a house for the Lord, but is commanded: “I will set up thy seed
after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an
house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he
shall be my son” (2 Samuel 7:12-14).

Part 42

A story of conspiracy comes next. David returns to his home after battle and he walks upon
his rooftop. From that vantage point he sees a woman bathing. David calls and inquires about the
woman and is told: “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” (2
Samuel 11:3) He lays with her and at a latter date finds out she is pregnant by him.
David responds by trying to have Uriah go home from battle and lay with his own wife. But,
Uriah never goes home. When confronted about the matter, he responds: “The ark, and Israel, and
Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields;
shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy
soul liveth, I will not do this thing” (v. 11). David tries to solve his problem by getting this man drunk,
but again Uriah “slept at the door of the king’s house” (v. 9). Finally, David responds by sending him
into battle. “And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the
hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle,
and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die” (vs. 14-15).
The result is exactly what David had schemed. He saw a woman, took her, impregnated her,
and had her husband killed to hide his sin. “And when (her) mourning was past, David sent and
fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had
done displeased the Lord” (v. 27).
Some may find David’s sin to be ok, while others may think it extremely vile. David acted
selfishly. Did he act for Bathsheba’s benefit? Did he act for Uriah’s? Did he consider how Israel
would feel about the matter? Or most importantly, did he wonder how God would consider it? He as
king could take whatever he desired, and it was his right. No man could stop him from having exactly
what he desired. However, what is acceptable and what is righteous are two very different things.
Proverbs 14:12 tells us: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the
ways of death”.
Today in denominationalism, men will say that a sinner can pray to Jesus and be acceptable.
They say that prayer in your heart is equal to faith. What they fail to tell you is that this is not God’s
way. They did not die for your sins, they did not build the Church, and they are not the foundation
Christ had in mind. God’s way is Christ. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Do we believe his own words? Or should we
leave it to men to decide? What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 41

This entry is part 41 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 40: “And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of
instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and
on cymbals” (2 Samuel 6:5). “And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was
girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with
shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). David was never a part of the
kingdom. We should not follow David’s example of worship because Christ has called us to a higher
ground.

Part 41

King David speaks to Nathan, a prophet of the Lord, and says: “See now, I dwell in an house
of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains” (2 Samuel 7:2). He returns later with the Lord’s
reply: “Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt
in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but
have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle… I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep,
to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut
off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, … I will appoint a place for
my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more;
neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime… when thy days be
fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out
of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish
the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (vs. 3-14).
David’s heart desires the right things for God. He wants to raise God to be his priority in life.
Do we as Christians do the same? Or do we find other things to place before God in our own list of
desires? Is God’s will most important? Or is it our own will?
How do we demonstrate that we truly love God and want to put His teachings first? The apostle
John provides the answer: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His
commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The evidence that we love God is our striving to
keep His commandments. “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a
liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him”
(1 John 2:4-5). We have to be honest with ourselves. Are we putting our personal relationship with
God first, or are we allowing other aspects of our lives to come before the worship of the true God?
Frequently it is difficult to choose between the affairs of this world and Christ’s teachings.
Christ stated: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children,
brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear
his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Christ did not mean we should
stop caring for each member of our family. He was simply teaching that we are to put Him first in our
lives. Leaving God out of our planning is unwise (James 4:13-16). “No one can serve two masters, for
either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first
commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 40

This entry is part 40 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 39: We left off with Nabal, David’s servant, not giving David the respect he deserved and almost paying the ultimate price for it. “And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall” (1 Samuel 25:32-34).

Part 40 After a few hiccups, David was anointed king of Judah. He did not rule over all of Israel for several years and until he accomplished many tasks. But, eventually he was made king over all of Israel. “in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah” (2 Samuel 5:2-5).

“And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims” (2 Samuel 6:2). “And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals” (v. 5). “And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet” (vs. 14-15).

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death” (vs. 20-23).

Many people in denominationalism see that king David had instrumental music and justify their own actions based on these scriptures. Is this ok? Can we bend the word of the Lord to seek our own will? Or do we read it as is and accept God’s will? King David did have instrumental music during his day and worshiped God in a manner that proved his loyalty to God. David said to Michal, “I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight”. He understood that his own actions were vile. His actions were to lower himself or to be humble before the Lord. And he raised up the Lord, making him head of all. Can we say the same for denominationalism? More importantly, a better question to consider, what does David have to do with today’s Church? They, denominationalism, use these verses to justify their rock star musicals in their buildings and the proverbial “fog machines”. But, what does this have to do with worship in God’s Church? Christ said: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11). Doesn’t this mean John is above David? Also, the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. David was never a part of the kingdom. We should not follow David’s example of worship because Christ has called us to a higher ground. What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 39

This entry is part 39 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 38: David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled” (1 Samuel 17:50-51).

Part 39 After Goliath, David faced many adversities. However, one thing was clear in his mind, whom he served. David was an example of what a Christian ought to be. On numerous occasions he faced life and death. Think on these quotes and what they have in common: “David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah” (1 Samuel 23:2). “Then David enquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand” (v. 4). “Then said David, O Lord God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will come down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up” (Vs. 10-12).

If you thought that these verses were examples of prayer, you are correct. David turned to God with all of his difficult decisions. We can see David’s heart in this way. He had successes and failures, but he often turned to Christ with his need. We also see examples of Christ rewarding David because of his continued loyalty to him. An example is when we read about Abigail and Nabal. “The man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb” (1 Samuel 25:3). David sent a message to this shearer of sheep but when Nabal heard this message he responded poorly. “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? (vs. 10-11) David of course was quite furious with this response and grabbed his sword and instructed his men to do the same, with the intention of killing Nabal.

One of the servants of Nabal told all that had happened to Abigail. “Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses” (v. 18).“And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid. And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall” (vs. 23-34). What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 38

This entry is part 38 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 37: “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). Samuel gives Israel their requested king; Saul. Saul fails God and Israel and God instructs Samuel to anoint a new king from the children of Jesse. Jesse’s eighth child presented to Samuel, the keeper of sheep, is selected asking of Israel.

Part 38

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). David, a young man, now walks with the anointing of God. How do you think that felt? How would you feel, within your own skin, if you were anointed king over God’s people Israel? His upbringing included being a servant and suffering adversity in his home as a child. We see how his father Jesse brought forth seven of his children to Samuel in preference, rather than presenting his son David. Did Jesse even consider him his own?

David was called by Saul to play music before him; with his harp. When David came to the land were Saul resided, he noted the Philistines mocking Israel. Their champion, Goliath, being approximately nine feet tall, called out: “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10). However, “all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid” (v. 24). David, on the other hand, shows forth his character or his heart when he replies: “…what shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26)

“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine…Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled (vs. 40, 45-46, and 49-51).

We as Christians suffer adversity. We face giants on a daily basis. Those giants being physical and spiritual challenges set before us. We face ourselves also. When you wake up each day and see that person in the mirror in front of you, are you proud of who you see? Is that a worldly pride? Do you have success in the Lord? Are you proud of your spiritual life in Christ? Is it an example of what a true Christian is? Is that who you portray to the world? Christ has taught us: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16). What did David know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 37

This entry is part 37 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 36: The Lord allowed Jephthah success. He defeated Ammon. “And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel” (Judges 11:33). When Jephthah returned to his house, he was greeted by his daughter. “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” (v. 35). Upon her return 2 months later, he obeyed his vow and made a burnt offering unto the Lord.

Part 37 Many years after the death of Jephthah, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and requested their own king. All the other lands had kings to rule over them and they wanted to be like the people of different lands. They spoke to Samuel and requested a king. At that time they knew Samuel was a man of God and was heard of God. Samuel was upset about this request, but nevertheless he brought their request to the Lord. “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee” (1 Samuel 8:7-8).

Samuel anoints Saul king over Israel. For a short period of time, God allows Israel to prosper against their enemies and to overcome adversity. However, Israel, in true form, rejects God again and are not obedient to their end of the deal. The children of Israel turn to their own evil ways and begin to act as the people of other lands and accept all their ways; rather than Gods. Even their new leader Saul fails and does evil rather than to trust in God who blessed him first. In response, Samuel is distressed because of Israel’s evil and turns away from Saul and Israel.

“And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1). “Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he” (v. 10-12).

The struggle between the flesh and the spirit is a never-ending battle. In each generation from the beginning of the world until today, February 24, 2019, we struggle, and they did as well. One thing, however, has made the difference between those that are Christs and those who were not. That thing is obedience. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Christ said while here on earth: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “… for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4). “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:23-24). What did they know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 36

This entry is part 36 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Part 35 recap: Samson’s faith defeated the Philistines and aligned himself with God. He had ups and downs throughout his life, but in the end, he knew that God was most important to him. God also had a plan for Samson, he knew he would have a heart toward a Philistine woman, and he allowed that for the benefit of Israel. Although we have no idea what God will do with our lives, he does have a purpose to fulfill and his will, will be accomplished.

Part 36

This week we speak of Jephthah the outcast. Jephthah was a mighty warrior but was an outcast because his mother was a prostitute. He came from the land of Gilead which also was the name of his father. He and his wife had sons who grew up and disowned him. They did not want him to inherit because of his birth from this prostitute. “Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman” (Judges 11:2). However, when the children of Israel were in a bind and needed a warrior, it was convenient for them to call upon Jephthah who had moved to the land of Tob.

“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? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words” (vs. 7-10).

Next, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, in agreement for his success over the children of Ammon: “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” (v. 31). The Lord allowed Jephthah success. He defeated Ammon. “And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel” (v. 33).

When Jephthah returned to his house, he was greeted by his daughter. “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” (v. 35). His daughter learned of his vow and asked his permission to go to the mountain for a time to bewail her virginity. This meant she would express great regret, disappointment, or bitterness over her virginity. Upon her return 2 months later, he obeyed his vow and made a burnt offering unto the Lord. What do we learn from this man and his example? Can we take our vows lightly? Can we allow a slip of the tongue? “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:33-37). Jephthah kept his vow, would you have?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 34

This entry is part 35 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 34: Delilah has Samson captured and the Philistines put out his eyes because he trusted her. He messed up by giving his weakness to her. She worked her charm and over time succeeded in his deceit. She deceived her husband for money. “And when Delilah saw that he had told her all 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 unto her, and brought money in their hand.”

Part 35 After Samson’s great deceit, by Delilah, his hair begins to grow back. The Philistines are thrilled that they have captured him and have a great feast in celebration. They decide to make a sacrifice to their god Dagon. Samson had destroyed the Philistines on so many occasions and now they celebrated his demise. They called for Samson to be brought in to the party to make fun of him. They set him between two pillars. He asked the lad who led him to allow him to lean upon the pillars because he could not see.

“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. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 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. 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 16:27-31).

What can we learn from this character? How does Samson’s story teach us about faith? I am sure he took for granted his gifts from God. He had amazing strength and overcame the Philistines on multiple occasions with ease. His parents taught him the rule of the Nazarite and he kept it for the majority of his life. A Nazarite had to abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins; refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head; avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such.

He failed when he told Delilah about cutting his hair. He lost his strength when his hair was removed. However, even when all was against him, he turned to the Lord for help. Does God help in the time of need? Do we turn to him with our daily drama? Or do we think we can handle things ourselves, and prefer it that way? Is this something we do? When we fail, do we turn to God?

“Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). Is this an example of a verse that only applies to the old testament Jew? Or should we apply this to our lives? For the Christian, those of the new testament, he says something very similar: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

How do we walk in the light? How do we involve God in our lives? How do we protect ourselves from the faults Samson had in his life? We cannot turn to the right or left when it comes to God’s command. We fail daily, but repentance must also come when we realize our error. How often do you pray? How often do you study the bible? How much time is spent in your bible vs. your cell phone? We should gauge our relationship with Christ based on how much time we set aside for him. What did Samson know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 35

This entry is part 34 of 43 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 34: Delilah has Samson captured and the Philistines put out his eyes because he trusted her. He messed up by giving his weakness to her. She worked her charm and over time succeeded in his deceit. She deceived her husband for money. “And when Delilah saw that he had told her all 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 unto her, and brought money in their hand.”

Part 35 After Samson’s great deceit, by Delilah, his hair begins to grow back. The Philistines are thrilled that they have captured him and have a great feast in celebration. They decide to make a sacrifice to their god Dagon. Samson had destroyed the Philistines on so many occasions and now they celebrated his demise. They called for Samson to be brought in to the party to make fun of him. They set him between two pillars. He asked the lad who led him to allow him to lean upon the pillars because he could not see.

“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. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 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. 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 16:27-31).

What can we learn from this character? How does Samson’s story teach us about faith? I am sure he took for granted his gifts from God. He had amazing strength and overcame the Philistines on multiple occasions with ease. His parents taught him the rule of the Nazarite and he kept it for the majority of his life. A Nazarite had to abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins; refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head; avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such.

He failed when he told Delilah about cutting his hair. He lost his strength when his hair was removed. However, even when all was against him, he turned to the Lord for help. Does God help in the time of need? Do we turn to him with our daily drama? Or do we think we can handle things ourselves, and prefer it that way? Is this something we do? When we fail, do we turn to God?

“Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). Is this an example of a verse that only applies to the old testament Jew? Or should we apply this to our lives? For the Christian, those of the new testament, he says something very similar: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

How do we walk in the light? How do we involve God in our lives? How do we protect ourselves from the faults Samson had in his life? We cannot turn to the right or left when it comes to God’s command. We fail daily, but repentance must also come when we realize our error. How often do you pray? How often do you study the bible? How much time is spent in your bible vs. your cell phone? We should gauge our relationship with Christ based on how much time we set aside for him. What did Samson know?