The Lord’s Weapons of Choice – 2

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Scripture Text – Judges 3

The weapons we fight with as Christian soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare, are not the weapons of the world.

The Apostle Paul wrote along those lines to the believers in Corinth (2 Corinthians 10:4), reminding them of a principle every Christian needs to take to heart: When God goes to war, He usually chooses the most unlikely soldiers, hands them the most unusual weapons, and accomplishes through them the most unpredictable results.

God is still looking for men and women who have what it takes to win: power, strategy, and courage. These three essentials for victory are illustrated in this chapter in the lives of the first three judges.

Othniel: The Power of God – Continued

Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. – Judges 3:1-3.

Please continue reading Judges 3:4-11 for the background of this section.

God’s anger toward His people (Judges 3:5-8). God had put a wall between Israel and her neighbors, not because Israel was better than any other nation, but because she was different. Instead of worshiping idols, the Israelites worshiped the one true God who made the heavens and the earth. Humans did not devise the laws and covenants of Israel; God did. Israel alone had the true sanctuary, where God dwelt in His glory; it was the true priesthood, ordained by God; and it had the true altar and sacrifices that God would respect (Romans 9:4–5). Only through Israel would all the nations of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:1–3).

When Israel obeyed the Lord, He blessed them richly, just as He had promised; and both their conduct and God’s blessing were a testimony to their unbelieving neighbors. The pagan people would say, “These Hebrews are different! The God they worship and serve is a great and true God!” And the Hebrew people would then have had opportunities to tell their neighbors how to trust Jehovah and receive His forgiveness and blessing (see Deuteronomy 4:1–13).

et bad company corrupts

Alas, instead of trusting God to change their neighbors, the gods of their neighbors changed the Israelites; and everything Moses warned them not to do, they did. God’s people broke down the wall of separation between themselves and their godless neighbors, and the results were tragic. Contrary to God’s law, Jewish men married pagan wives, and Jewish women married pagan husbands. The idolaters gradually stole the hearts of their mates from worshiping Jehovah to worshiping false gods. Even King Solomon made this same mistake. After all, when you marry outside the will of God, you have to do something to keep peace in the family! (see 1 Kings 11:1–13; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1).

Is it any wonder that God became angry? Is it any wonder that He humiliated Israel by using pagan nations to discipline His own people? Since Israel was acting like the pagans, God had to treat them like pagans! “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.” – Psalm 18:25-26 (NIV).

Jehovah is the God of all the nations and He is sovereign over all, “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.” – Psalm 22:27-28 (NIV). Proud King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way “that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” – Daniel 4:25.

Four times in the Book of Judges we’re told that God “sold” His people to the enemy (Judges 2:14; 3:8; 4:2; 10:7). The Jews acted like slaves, so God sold them like slaves. Had the Jews been faithful to the Lord, He would have sold their enemies into Israel’s hands (Deuteronomy 32:30).

The name of the King of Mesopotamia who invaded Israel means “doubly wicked Cushan,” which may have been a nickname that his enemies gave him. We aren’t told where he invaded Israel, although most probably he attacked them from the north; we are also not told how much of the land he subjugated for the eight painful years that he had control over them. Since the deliverer God raised up was from Judah, it’s possible that the invading army had penetrated that far south into Israel when the Lord decided to intervene on behalf of His suffering people. I want to make something clear here as well; God doesn’t “decide” a way forward on the “spur of the moment” either. He already knows well in advance what will take place and He has the perfect plan to teach both His children and their enemies. As stated earlier, the Lord used His children’s enemies to test them and teach them.

The late Charles Spurgeon said that God never allows His people to sin successfully. Their sin will either destroy them or it will invite the chastening hand of God. If the history of Israel teaches the contemporary church anything it’s the obvious lesson that “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” – Proverbs 14:34.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Available, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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