Judges Chapters 1, 2, and 3

I have been looking forward to blogging about the book of Judges after Pastor JD preached on the book this summer at the church I attend in the Triangle (Summit Church). The series was called “Broken Saviors” and it was a joy to listen to and study. So of course there are some things that I would not have known while reading this book, but luckily I have my notes from the sermons and they provide great insight! I will be using a combination of my sermon notes along with my notes I have taken while reading through the book as I was reading (which is what I normally blog off of).

The book of Judges shows the history of the Israelites following the death of Joshua and the constant ups and downs of the Israelites as they went back in forth on their faith in God and they experienced their greatest times of strength but also their greatest times of weakness. The first chapter tells of God handing the Canaanites into the hands of the Israelites as God had promised. All of the tribes had united to fight the Canaanites and the other various groups of people that were within the Promised Land from God and they were successful. The Israelites however did do something that they were not suppose to do which was allow the Canaanites to still live within the territories because they were being kept as slaves – God had told them specifically to kick them out completely. This is the beginning of the Israelites not following God completely. As a result of their failure to follow God completely, the Canaanites rose up once again against the Israelites. If they had gotten rid of the Canaanites completely, this would not have happened.

God tells the people that as a result of their disobedience: “’I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you,’” Judges 2:3. A thorn in a person’s side means that it would be an annoyance or a pest that will not go away. The thorn might not be hurting or annoying you for a certain period of time but eventually it will start to again. (In the New Testament, Paul tells of a thorn in his side that God wanted him to continuously fight in order to show faith in Him.) So what do the Israelites do? They sacrificed to the LORD in verse 5 and by verse 11 and the death of Joshua happening in between, they were already worshiping Baals. The result of their unfaithfulness to God and their faithfulness to the false gods was of course for the Israelites to be plundered and torn apart by other groups within the Promised Land. While the people were being unfaithful to God, God was always in the process of raising up a savior and these saviors usually had their own brokenness or weakness to themselves (this is why the series at church was labeled “Broken Saviors”). The cycle of what happens throughout the entire book is as follows: “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them, and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel…” Judges 2:18-20.

God would then bring war to Israel as a test for the people, to see if they would turn to Him or to the false gods. God wanted them to show their faith for Him and this did not necessarily happen. Eventually God allowed the king of Mesopotamia to take over Israel and of course he rose up a savior named Othniel to save them, and as soon as he died they returned to their unrighteous ways. God then of course raised up a new savior and an unexpected, broken savior at that. He brought Ehud up as the judge to save them. Ehud was labeled as the left handed judge which at this time meant that he was disabled in some sense – like he probably couldn’t even use his right arm or hand. At the time Moab was ruling over the Israelites and their king was an extremely fat king named Eglon. Ehud was able to use his wit to kill the king by pretty much making Eglon’s officials believing he was in the bathroom when he really was being stabbed and then killed by Ehud. Eventually the Moabites went against Ehud with 10,000 men and they were all killed and defeated because God was protecting Ehud. Under Ehud, Israel “rested” for 80 years without turning away from God, but as always when Ehud the judge died, the people turned away from God once again. The next judge consisted of one verse and his name was Shamgar and he saved the people from the Philistines after they had turned away from God after Ehud’s death.

What does the judge Ehud show about God? He puts His strength in the weak and those that are willing to rely on their faith to protect them! God protects the weak always and He works through the weak to make them strong!

Ruth Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 (FINALE)

So I will be consolidating all of the book of Ruth into one post because it is only 4 chapters but at the same time it is important to look at the details so this post will be longer than normal! The three main characters to follow are Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and there is of course others mentioned but to make it less confusing I will just avoid using their names as well!

So Naomi is a woman that was married to a man and had two sons but at the time there was a famine in the land where they lived (they lived in Bethlehem). The family decided to go to Moab in hopes of finding food that they could not get within Judah. The two sons of Naomi married Moabite women. One of these women was named Ruth. Eventually Naomi’s husband and her two sons died, which meant that both Naomi and Ruth were widows. Following the death of her children and husband, Naomi decided that she wanted to return to Bethlehem for there was now food and Judah was home for her. Naomi told Ruth and the other daughter-in-law to stay but Ruth refused to leave Naomi, so Ruth went along with Naomi to Bethlehem. Ruth had the upmost loyalty to Naomi just like she did to God.

An important detail for Naomi is that she changed her name from Naomi (meaning full in Hebrew) to Mara (meaning empty in Hebrew) because she had returned without the family she had left with. I will still refer to her as Naomi, but this just shows how much anguish she was feeling over losing her family. Naomi’s husband had family still in Bethlehem so they were to watch over her and help her, and the kin she wanted to help her was Boaz. Naomi wanted Ruth to meet Boaz (she was evidently playing matchmaker) so she sent Ruth to tend to the family land that Boaz now owned. Naomi wanted Boaz to find favor within Ruth. Since Ruth was a Moabite she was looked down on by the society because she was a foreigner but Boaz did not care and still wanted to help her. Boaz tells her that she can of course work in the fields because it is God’s land after all and that Boaz respected her for leaving her friends and family in Moab in order to stay true to Naomi and as a result she has now taken refuge in Israel under the almighty God!

Naomi tells Ruth, after Ruth shares the great news of Boaz liking her, to go see Boaz and sleep next to him on the threshing floor. Ruth tells Boaz that he is a redeemer to her and he points out to her that there is of course a greater redeemer in God and that he is happy to honor Ruth for she has shown to be righteous. Naomi had also told Ruth to remain patient for Boaz would do what was right in God’s eyes and this was true!

Boaz the next day speaks to the possible redeemer (he would be the one to get Naomi and Ruth’s land along with having to marry Ruth). The redeemer was willing to give everything to Boaz because if he had to be married to a Moabite, which would happen if he redeemed the land, then he would possibly lose his own inheritance (I imagined it said he couldn’t be with a foreign woman). The town then stands witness to Boaz getting the land and Ruth from the redeemer and the whole town hoped that she would be like Rachel or Leah who were great matriarchs and gave birth to such great leaders of the Israelite community. Ruth in return gave birth to Obed, and then Obed had a child name Jess and Jesse was the father to King David! Ruth’s loyalty and honor made it so that she was part of the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew 1:5-6 is the portion of the lineage that shows Ruth as being connected to Jesus.

Just based on Ruth being connected to Jesus just shows how she is such an important connection within the Bible and how her loyalty and love for her family and others is something that she be honored and cherished.

Book of Ruth Introduction

The Book of Ruth is a story that most here growing up and it is one of the few that has a woman as the primary person and one of the very few books named after a woman. Ruth has such strength and loyalty that she has always been someone I think of when I think of a strong, faithful woman. Her book is very short but like I said about the book of Obadiah: no matter how small the book, it is still so important to read and understand just why it is in the Holy Bible. I will just give some background of what was happening during the time of Ruth and then there will only be one post to cover her 4 chapters, but nonetheless it is important!

I love using the Bible Gateway App for looking up background information on books of the Bible and the people within them. The App has various resources but I really enjoy using the encyclopedias that are provided and there is also different translations that are easy to access because sometimes no matter what version of the Bible you are reading, it can come off as confusing based on the words used. If the ESV confuses me then I move to NIV or KJV or sometimes the Message (which is probably my least favorite when studying the word).

Back to focusing on Ruth: She was alive during the time of the Judges – towards the end of the judges ruling. I haven’t blogged about the book of Judges yet but the church I attend at school, Pastor JD did a whole series called “Broken Saviors” on the book of Judges where we went through the whole book. Let me tell you, when Ruth was alive it was a very hard time to live in! These were the times after Samson and they were, for lack of a better word, morbid. The last few chapters of the book of Judges (which was when Ruth lived) are definitely not the chapters you would to a child in Sunday school or before bed. There were however faithful people still during this time and Ruth was one of these and she would be within the lineage of King David, which as one knows that she is also considered part of the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth. To leave off the best way to describe what Ruth was living in I will quote the last verse from the book of Judges:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” Judges 21:25.

I will also post a map of what Judah and Moab looked like at the time of the book of Ruth and I am very excited to post about this book! J

Obadiah Chapter 1 (FINALE)

I hope that the introduction I posted on Saturday helped in understanding where we are on the timeline of Israel and what all was going on at the time. Obadiah is considered a minor prophet but his message to the Edomites was considered important enough to be written down and kept so we should try to figure out why it is important to have a book that consists of only one chapter, like this book.

So to recap, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau and they did not help the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt and then centuries later when the Israelites were trying to flee from the Babylonians that had come to conquer them, the Edomites were setting up the Israelites and handing them over to the Babylonians. To say that they turned on their distant family is an understatement. Obadiah’s chapter is directed at Edom the entire time and it is really to prophesize how God will humble the Edomites. God tells Obadiah about Edom that:

“’Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down,’ declares the LORD.” Obadiah 1:4

Edom was at their peak and God wants them to be at their peak in order to bring them down a notch and realize what negative transgressions they have done and were currently doing at the time. Edom had yet to face such a bad experience as to have their cities pillaged even though they have done it to countless other cities. The Edomites always had their allies that would come to help them, but God will ensure that this won’t happen when their downfall comes.

If one begins to believe that they are doing fine with their life without God then that is usually when one faces a dip in their life – whether it be a death, money problems, marriage problems, etc. (at least I have noticed it in my life and other lives). This is because sometimes you have to be pushed down to realize the strength that resides in what God has given you (key word is GIVEN).

Anyway, Obadiah then goes on to explain all of the transgressions that the Edomites had done against the Israelites (fleeing Egypt and then fleeing Babylonians). The Edomites were literally handing over Israeli refugees to the Babylonians out of wickedness and lust for power and money. It was terrible. As a result of these transgressions against the Israelites God will make the Edomites extinct and all of the lands that they do possess will eventually go to some of the tribes of Israel like God had promised for His Kingdom.

That is all that is written but I think that there are definitely some key points that I have already mentioned above but they are: one should be humble before the LORD and lean on Him always for He has given a gift, and always help others that need it when possible (through charity, missions, anyway possible really). These 21 verses are important to understanding God and I hope I have shown that in this post!

Obadiah (An Introduction)

The new book that I will be studying and blogging about is the book of Obadiah! This book is really only one chapter so do not be surprised about the lack of posts! As I always say, there is still a lot to learn from everything written in the Bible – even if it is only one chapter! I wanted to give a small introduction to this chapter because historical context is always important (don’t forget that I am a history major).

There is dispute over when Obadiah was around but we will go with what my Dad’s study Bible said and that is that this book was written following the downfall of Jerusalem to the Babylon. The map I am going to post shows the return of exiles from Babylon but it is not relevant for the chapter/book! The geography of the region will of course be the same however! I hope you all enjoy this one chapter and what is to come to the Edomites, which are the priority of Obadiah’s book! Remember the Edomites are the descendants of Esau and did not help the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt so they are always at odds with the Israelites and they actually helped the Babylonians capture the Israelites that tried to flee.

Deuteronomy Chapters 32, 33, and 34 (FINALE)

This is the last post about the book of Deuteronomy and I hope that all have learned a lot from Moses and the Israelites and how there are already foreshadowing of Jesus in what he can do (seeing God face to face) while Moses was not able to do so. Moses was a great leader to his people and only touches upon the greatness of Jesus!

Chapter 32 revolves around the song that God told Moses to write in the previous chapters before he dies. This song is a message to the Israelites explaining the love for God and all that God would do for them! In the song Moses explains how God helped Jacob in the desert just like He had helped them during the 40 years in the wilderness, and God will continue on protecting them! Moses refers to an idealized Israel, as Jeshurun but that Jeshurun will eventually turn away from God and God will in return turn away from them. They will make God jealous with their fake gods so in return God will make His people jealous by supporting and giving power to other false nations. The positive note in the song is that God has mercy and will end up in compassion. When Moses finishes the song he sends good wishes to the people and pleas for them to listen to the song for their life truly depends on it! At the end of the chapter God leads Moses up to view Canaan from atop Mount Nebo, for Moses wont be entering the land of Canaan! Moses will then die on top of Mount Nebo after being able to see the Promised Land.

Before Moses dies he sends up one last blessing to the people of Israel and more specifically he gives blessings to every single one of the 12 tribes. All of the blessings come down to one principle that is vital as a believer. We are honored and blessed to have God for He saves us and loves us unlike anything we can ever imagine! He is all wise, all love, and all powerful and He chose to love us when we are full of sin and problems – we will never fathom the love He has for us but we can try! What a BLESSING!

The last chapter revolves around Moses’ death and he died on top of Mount Nebo at the age of 120 years and his people laid him to rest. It is clarified that Moses was able to see the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because God fulfills all promises like He did later on when He sent His only Son to save us and wash us free of sin in order to make a new covenant which is made in Christ’s blood. Since Moses had laid his hands on Joshua and he had been ordained, after Moses death Joshua became the new leader of the Israelites while going into the land of Canaan and the people welcomed them as their new leader. For Moses is a prophet unlike any other until Christ Jesus and that is the last sentence of the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy Chapter 31

Why is this post only one chapter? To put it briefly before I write more in this post, it is because it is setting up the Israelites for a new era. Throughout all of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and almost all of Deuteronomy it has been the Israelites with Moses but now Moses is passing the torch to a new leader of the Israelites for Moses will not cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan.

Moses was speaking to all of Israel about how he was 120 years old (woah!) and that he will not be entering Canaan and Joshua has been chosen by God to be the new leader to the Israelites going into the land of Canaan. Joshua was an impressive warrior with great skills to fight off the people in the land of Canaan, and of course he would have God’s support for God said that the Canaanites and other inhabitants would be handed to the Israelites like what had happened in Sihon and Og. One of my favorite verses I say to myself in hard times and I just need reassurance and it comes from this chapter of Deuteronomy; it is:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

God will always be with you, even if you feel like you are in the darkness alone, God will deliver. The end of this verse reminds me of when Jesus is on the cross and he cried out in pain “God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus died for our sins and that meant he was alone to face the darkness of sin and evil, which means that God would not be with him during crucifixion. Just a thought – the Old Testament can bring up a lot of things from the New Testament if you read carefully and this is one of those times for me!

Moses wrote down the law that God had given him and then handed it to the priests and the elders and told them that it is to be read at the Feast of Booths after the people have entered the land of Canaan. Every one in Israel must know and hear these laws and Moses wants it assured. Joshua was then commissioned to lead Israel by a cloud coming in front of the tent (sanctuary) and we all know from past experiences of Moses with God that God likes to come in a cloud formation for it gives off a hazy sense for no one can look at Him.

God tells Moses straight up that the people will turn and whore around with other gods and not worship as they have been told orhonor God at all, so God wanted Moses to write a song for the Israelites to learn, and this song will hopefully serve as a reminder to the people that they should not forget or break the laws and that hopefully this song will make them less tempted to do so. Moses will write a song that is in the next chapter but first Moses has the Levite priests witness him putting the laws in the Arc of the Covenant for now they can be held responsible for also teaching the Israelites the laws since Moses will die soon and he wont be there to do it.

The song will be in the next post along with the end of Deuteronomy!