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

This entry is part 40 of 45 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 45 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 45 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 45 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 45 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 45 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 45 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 33

This entry is part 33 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 33: We left off last week speaking of Samson’s story. “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. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith” (Judges 15:14-15). With God at his side Samson accomplished great accomplishments.

Part 34 After fighting the Philistines, with the help of the Lord, Samson now faced a new challenge, “he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah” (Judges 16:4). The Philistines instructed her to entice Samson and find his weaknesses. She obeyed and inquired of him. His response was: “If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man” (v. 7). She received these green withs and tied him with them and the Philistines ran upon him. He easily freed himself from this and Delilah felt mocked because of it.

She again inquired of him the same information and this time his response was: “If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man” (v. 11). Again, she tied him up, the Philistines entered to capture him, and he freed himself as if he tore off a thread. She again inquired and he said: “If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web” (v.13). She changed her game this time by waiting till he slept, tied him with his locks, and yelled “the Philistines are upon you”. He awoke from sleep and again freed himself.

Worse yet, Delilah again pressures him, and he fails. “And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. 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 her all his heart, and said unto her, 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 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. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. 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” (vs. 15-21).

I can not understand this story. My mind can not wrap around the fact that Samson knew the effects of sharing with Delilah. He saw the Philistines come in to capture him on multiple occasions, yet he still, in the end, gives her the truth about his weakness. Samson was captured, tortured, and was without God because he chose to confide in this woman; who constantly failed him as a spouse. Ask yourselves: Have I sinned? And repeated that same sin multiple times? Has the devil tempted me in many ways? Have I fallen for the same tricks he plays? Did I let God down? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 7:7-10). Amen. What did Samson know?

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 32

This entry is part 32 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 31: Deborah a prophetess of the Lord called Barak and instructed him to take 10,000 men and fight against the army of Jabin.“…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” (vs. 14-16).

Part 32

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. 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. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not 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 13:2-5).

The women went home to tell her husband of the good tidings. He next prayed and asked that the Lord instruct them in the way in which the child should be raised. The angel came back as requested and told the man the same things he instructed his wife. After, Manoah offered the Lord burnt offering and the angel left with the consuming fire that accepted their offering. Later, a boy was born to them and his mother named him Samson.

The boy became a man and soon found himself a woman he was interested in. He asked his parents to get her for him, but she was of the Philistines. The Lord had planned this, but Samson’s parents were not aware. Samson went to see this woman, and, on the way there a great lion attacked him, but the spirit of the Lord was upon Samson and he was able to kill the lion with ease. He told no one of this incident. Later, on his return he found a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. He began to eat and brought some home to share with his parents.

He puts forth a riddle to those of the land declaring: “if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle” (Judges 14:12-14).

Before the 7th day, men from the city came to Samson’s wife and instructed her to entice Samson, so that they could have the answer to his riddle. She went along with this scheme and Samson revealed his riddle to her. Later, before the sun set on the 7th day, these men told Samson the answer to the riddle. “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” (v.19). What can we learn from this story so far? I suppose if you are wise you might ask yourself, where do my spouses allegiance lie? With me, Samson? With the Philistines? And another question might be, why did God choose to allow Samson to marry a Philistine woman to begin with?

WHAT DID THEY KNOW? January 27, 2019 Part 32 recap: “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 13:7). And thus, Samson came to the Philistines and Israel.

Part 33 The Philistines treated Samson poorly and gave his wife to one of Samson’s companions and would not let him be her husband any longer. Samson was not thrilled with this; as you could imagine. He decided to capture 300 foxes, set their tails on fire and send them into the Philistine’s fields. This of course burned all their crops and destroyed their food. “And the Philistines came up, and burnt her (Samson’s wife) and her father with fire. And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease” (Judges 15:6-7).

After these things 3,000 men of the tribe of Judah came to Etam to where Samson stayed and urged him to come with them so he could be brought to the Philistines. Judah went to do this because they were afraid of the Philistines and they ruled over Israel. They made an agreement that they would not harm him, but he needed to go with them bound with a cord. Samson was agreeable to these arrangements. However, when he came to the Philistines and they saw he was bound, they ran upon 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. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith” (v. 14-15).

After this great battle Samson was so thirsty, he could die. “But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived…” (v. 19). The end of this chapter states that Samson was a Judge in Israel for 20 years after the above events.

We should stop and think about these actions. A single man, with God backing him, took on 1,000 men with the jaw of an ass. And Samson prevailed! Do we as Christians know this power? Can we wrap our mind around the power of Christ in our lives? I think people often have no comprehension of the power of God. Have you ever been in a crowd as large as 1,000 men? How many do you think you would conquer in a battle? If all were advancing on you at the same time, how do you think you would do? I would be surprised if you made it past 20 men. The men that came after Samson were warriors trained to fight; not simple civilians. God is able.

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 31

This entry is part 31 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 30: Gideon’s faith led him to fight the Midianites. “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). The great city, surrounded by wall, now stood without and the Midianites fell by the hand of 300 men and God.

Part 31

Again, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and because of their actions “the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor” (Judges 4:2). They were persecuted for 20 years under Jabin’s hand. Then the children of Israel cried to the Lord for help and were heard. Deborah a prophetess of the Lord called Barak and instructed him to take 10,000 men and fight against the army of Jabin. Sisera was the captain of Jabin’s army and the one Barak would face in battle.

Both sides gathered their armies and prepared for war. Deborah told Barak that this day the Lord would grant them salvation from their enemies. “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” (vs. 14-16).

After these events, another unbelievable event occurs. If you think about it though, only God could accomplish such things. “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. 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. 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. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. 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” (vs. 17-21).

Barak’s faith had to have been great. He was a warrior, but the odds were against the children of Israel. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) God could overcome any army. “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” (Judges 4:13). For emphasis, “all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left” (vs. 16).

If you were a part of Barak’s army how would you have felt when seeing nine hundred chariots of iron coming at you. Remember there were only 10,000 men standing with you. Is God able? What did Barak know?