Tag Archive | battles

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges
If I were to be asked about my favorite Bible book–one of the last books I would answer is the Book of Judges. That was prior to my in-depth study of this book.

What is the Book of Judges all about anyway? It’s a book filled with stories of how God called and raised up judges for the apple of His eye–Israel. 

As I read this narration of Israel’s history in this particular book, I realized how God’s peculiar people lived a cycle of repentance-sinful-living-repentance-type of lifestyle. 

Again, I realized, we are no different from them! We have the same sinful human nature as the people of Israel and so reminders are necessary to help us maintain a consistent walk with God. 

Now, what did I learn from the book which I thought would be one of the books I like the least in the Bible?

First, idols can make anyone forget God’s word and godly moral values.  (Judges 2:11-12)

This is a cue for me personally.

Whenever I find myself prioritizing something or someone over my personal study of His Word, then I recognize it/him/her an idol.

Whenever I fail to obey God’s will because of anyone or anything, I consider it or him an idol.

Needless to say, whenever I find myself in that situation, I confess it to the LORD and find His same faithful forgiveness of my sin (1 John 1:9). Praise His name!

Second, God allows us to be enslaved by our enemies and “idols” when He sees unrepentant attitude in us. (Judges 3:12-14)

King Eglon ruled and controlled Israel for eighteen years! It’s all because God was disrespected by their worship of Baal and Ashteroth–two prominent idols of Israel in that period (Joshua 3:7).

This part of Israel’s history was not included in the canon of the Bible in vain. This is written for us to learn from the past. This is written to remind and warn us. 🙂

If we want to live a victorious life, God is calling us to love and serve Him with all our hearts and forsake idolatry. Here’s a detailed antidote to idolatry.

Third, God gives victory to those who love, trust, and obey Him. (Judges 4-5)

You might be familiar with the story of how Deborah, the only woman judge in Israel, courageously delivered her people from the hands of their enemies. She knew that Barak was supposed to lead them in fighting. Since he was hesitant to do so, Barak forfeited the honor of leading Israel’s victory. Instead, God gave victory to Israel through Deborah’s valorous leadership.

Fourth, peace is the mere fruit of obedience to God’s word. (Judges 5:31)

When Deborah led Israel, they “experienced 40 undisturbed years.”

Here’s a practical application for us: if we want a peaceful nation, we need leaders who will be brave enough to take a righteous stand in leading his people–someone who is not afraid to offend those who are disobeying God’s revealed standards of living.

Let’s pray for God to raise leaders who have such a reverence in Him that they will not be in favor of what God calls detestable.

Fifth, when God calls us to do His will, He gives  us His promise of presence and peace.

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” Judges 6:22-24 (NASB)

Sixth, it’s but natural to doubt God’s calling to serve Him but He is more than willing to prove and manifest His omnipotence. Yes, despite our fears and weaknesses! (Judges 6:37-40)

Who is our example in this passage? Yes, it’s Gideon. God encouraged Gideon to trust Him by granting his request to show signs.

Seventh, God sometimes commands us to follow a seemingly awful battle plan so He can get the glory when we obey Him. (Judges 7:7)

Do you remember how Gideon and his 300 men conquered the Midianites–their enemies? Yes, with trumpets and pitchers. Please don’t smirk. That’s how they won simply because they trusted God’s wise battle plan.

You see?

Trust God's Wisdom

Isn’t it a glorious thing to see victory led by God? We, believers, must fight our battles, not by might or swords but by faith in God’s Word!

There are many other lessons I have learned from the book of Judges but I guess the ones I wrote above are the ones time has permitted me to do so.

What are the lessons that you have been learning from your Bible meditation time? Share them with us. We will love to be blessed and challenged by what God has been teaching you as well.

It’s my prayer that God would continue to glorify His name in our lives as we live for Him, bearing His word in our hearts and mind.

How to Win Battles God’s Way

Recently, I caught myself fascinated with what Joanna finds engaging–cartoons. One Friday afternoon, my husband and I joined our daughter in watching “Barbie of Swan Lake.”

There was an interesting portion in the story when Prince Daniel and his mother held a dance ball in Enchanted Forest, their kingdom. They invited Odette, the kindhearted beautiful lady whom Prince Daniel admires to eventually propose marriage to in the presence of many. Little did they know, Rothbart, an evil wizard turned Odette into a swan.

Rothbart and Odile (photo grabbed from fanpop.com)

In the ball, Odile, Rothbart’s daughter disguised herself to be Odette and gracefully danced ballet to a slow and soft mellow music with  Prince Daniel. She acted so stupendously that the prince did not notice her pretension. Amused, the prince made his marriage proposal to her. Surprisingly, Rothbart intervened and revealed the truth after getting what he and his daughter wanted–the marriage proposal from Prince Daniel.

The story went on and as viewers, my family and I were so carried away by the plot. We were inclined to see Odette regaining her physical appearance and power so she can get married with Prince Daniel. Thankfully, that’s what happened in the end. Odette defeated the wicked Rothbart. Eventually, she accepted Prince Daniel’s marriage proposal too!

Odette accepted Prince Daniel’s marriage proposal (grabbed from the internet)

As we saw in that fiction story, there’s this battle between the evil and the good. In most cases, viewers want the good to win and so does God. He wants righteousness through Christ to reign in Christians’ lives.

In our Christian life, we all know that there is a spiritual warfare we have to face every day. While the battle is the LORD’s, we have to inculcate in our hearts and minds that we are God’s spiritual warriors. Praise His name for He never sends us empty-handed.

As I continued reading the book of Joshua in the first half of last month, I realized some helpful tips on how to win battles God’s way.
How to Win Battles God's Way

What three simple steps can we learn from Joshua’s victory in chapter 10 when he and his men attacked and defeated five kings?

1. Remember God’s promises when facing battles.

God knew that Joshua would be afraid to face the five kings. As Joshua consistently sought His guidance and leading, God reminded him of His power and presence.

“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.'” Joshua 10:8 (NASB)

Could Joshua be comforted by God without consulting Him?

How can we be reminded of God’s promises without reading them daily?  God knows very well that we will be discouraged as we face our struggles everyday.

Here’s our first challenge from the life of Joshua: to constantly commune with God to be reminded of His timeless promptings and promises.

What’s next?

2. Be strategic.

“It was told Joshua, saying, ‘The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’ Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand.’” Joshua 10:17-19 NASB [emphasis mine]

Being strategic involves identifying our enemies and thinking of ways to combat them.  I believe that our enemies come in disguise. They can be bad habits (e.g. procrastination, love of sleep, lack of discipline and consistency in doing duties, poor time and money management, etc.), addiction, idolatry, pull of this world, negative emotions such as anger, fear, doubt, jealousy and so on. Someone even succinctly said that “Your worst enemy is yourself.”

Here’s a case study for us. Let’s say my love of sleep leads to my negligence of my Quiet Time with God. What are the strategies I can do to overcome my love of sleep? Yes! I should pray for God’s grace to abound in my weakness, make sure I hit the sack early, set my alarm clock, wake up early the next morning, go to my chosen private place where I can meditate upon God’s word and enjoy my fellowship with Him there. 🙂

Here’s the next step.

3. Be courageous enough to kill your enemies.

Let’s see what Joshua said to his army when they were face-to-face with the five kings they were supposed to kill,

When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ So they came near and put their feet on their necks. Joshua then said to them, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.’ So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening.” Joshua 10:24-26 [emphasis mine]

Killing our enemies (e.g. bad habits, idolatry, addiction, etc.) simply means surrendering them to the Lord and mortifying these fleshly habits in all possible ways. It means putting off these bad habits and replacing them with God-pleasing ones.

I know my struggles everyday and you know yours, my dear friends. I hope and pray that Joshua’s testimony became a blessing to you as it did to me. Let’s remember God’s promises, be strategic and be courageous enough to kill our enemies so we can win our battles God’s way.

Leaning on Jesus,