Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 630 · 6 days ago

The Book of Judges #18

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Judges 12:1-15; 13:1-7

...are a little difficult for some of us, isn't it? Well, as we prepare to come to God's word, I would like to first of all pray that God would illuminate his word to US tonight. Let's pray, and now, God, we can again come to your word. And Lord, again your word is life, your word is light, even in passages like we read tonight, which are again difficult passages and don't necessarily seem to exalt your people and God. In many ways they are far from you. But Lord, yet through our reading that we are reminded and we are exhorted in our own hearts and lives that we may not fall into the same kind of things that they fell into. And Lord, we'll see tonight a judge who, throughout his life, will show himself to be a very flawed individual. But, Lord, at the same time time he points to one who was without flaw, who was a judge magnificent, who was a judge who does everything right. And Lord, even in a time when Israel would do everything that was right in their eyes, Lord, help us to do what is right in your eyes. And now we ask your blessing upon the word. Illuminate it to us. For we praying Christ's name. Amen. So we're looking at chapter twelve and then we'll be looking at the first part of chapter thirteen, and so beginning with judges, Chapter One or chapter twelve, verse one. Here is God's word. The men of Ephraim were called to arms and they crossed the ZEF on and said to Jeff Thah, why did you cross over to fight against the AMMONITES and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house, over you with fire. And Jeffa said to them I and my people had a great dispute with the ammonites and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why, then, have you come up to me this day to fight against me? Then Jeff the gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of gileads struck Ephraim because they said you are fugitives of Efrom, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manassa, and the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the EPHREMITES and when any of the fugitives of Efrem said, let me go over, the men of Gilead said to him, are you an Ephremite? When he said no, they said to him then say Shibboleth, and he said Sibilath, for he could not pronounce it right. Then they see seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordans. At that time forty two thousand of the EPHROMITES fell. Jeff the judged Israel six years. Then Jeff the, the Gileadite, died and was buried in his city in Gilead. After him,...

Ibsen of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons, and he judged Israel seven years. Then Ibsen died and was buried at Bethlehem. After him, Elon a Zebuln nite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. Then Elon a Zebul knite died and was buried at Ajalon, in the land of Zebulon. After him, Abden the son of Hilll the periadite, judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. Then Abden, the son of Hilel the periadnite, died and was buried at Pirathon, in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites, and the people of Israel again did what was evil inside of the Lord, as the Lord gave them to the hands of the Philistines for forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah and the time of Danites, whose name was Matt Manoah, and his wife was barren and she had no children, and the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, behold, you are barren and have not born children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore, be careful and drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razors shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines. Then the woman came and told her husband. A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the Angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from and he didn't tell me his name, but he said to me, behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then, drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. Thus will end the reading of God's word. Please be seated. Well, last week we looked at the majority of the Jeff the story, including his famous tragic vow, and tonight we'll be looking at the end of the Jeff the story, and then we'll be looking at three relatively, in fact, I'd say, very unknown judges, and then I will finish with an intro to the story of Samson. So we'll begin with verses one through seven, Chapter Twelve. In verse one may seem like Deja Vu all over again. We saw the same thing earlier with Ephraim uh the, only that time it was with Giddeon, you might remember, back in Chapter Eight, and just like that time. Ephraim is now upset with the judge of Israel that they didn't call them up to go to battle against the enemy, in this case Jeff, against the AMMONITES. But it seems like they're even angrier this time than they were last time with Giddey, and it said they accused him fiercely, but...

...here with Jeff the they go right to we're gonna burn your house over you with fire, not we're going to take it to court and we're waiting for an apology, just we're going to burn your house over you with fire. Barry Webb suggests that this sentence, with the mention of home and fire, may have been especially upsetting to jeff after having just sacrificed his daughter at his home. You might remember back with Gideon that Gideon showed great negotiation skills when he was pacifying EPH him in this, in that case, when they were doing at the same time. But now we have jeff who, I told you last week was a fantastic and we looked at it, he was a great uh negotiator. He was really able to do great things with that. But now he doesn't even try, he doesn't even attempt negotiation. He simply says, listen, guys, in reality this is all your fault anyway, and you didn't come when you could have come, and my life is in danger and now you're upset with me for no good reason. And so he doesn't try to negotiate at all. He just simply addresses the fault to where it rightly belongs. And so the response is basically saying there will be blood, there is going to be a war from that point on, and so it's clear negotiations aren't going to happen now. As the course of Jeff is it a good course or is it a bad course? Is he doing the right thing or the wrong thing? Well, here again the commentators are greatly divided on that particular subject. Something that he should have tried negotiation, at least as getting did with Ephraim, and maybe he could have averted a war. And then he would have followed proverb seventeen fourteen that says the beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the coral breaks out. So maybe he should have done that. Others are of the opinion, Hey, it's time to treat the yet, to treat those Pesky Efromtes uh and kind of give them a dose of what they really deserve at this time, so that they think that Jeff is doing the right it seems. It seems like the Afromtes are a bunch of cry babies. When they could go to war, they don't, and then they say, Oh, you didn't call us and now we're mad at you because you didn't call us. So Uh. So it seems here a little different, and there is a difference between f from and Gideon and the fact that when, when Gideon, excuse me from Jeff and Gideon, when Gideon tried uh to make the negotiations with from, there was still an enemy to be conquered and so there was need of no warfare in Israel at that time. But now the enemies are conquered and they're basically at peace. So now, Jeff that can pursue a different course at this time. So in verse four, Jeff From Jeff the disregards the most uh famous blunder in history. Never start a land or in Asia,...

...and Jeff actually starts a land war in UH in Asia, and in this case it is partly apparently due to Efraim's taunting of Jeff's army now. I was thinking about this when I was a young boy, and then I thought about this and I don't even know what this means, but uh, people, is a taunt in those days. Some of you are old enough to remember this. Your mother, your mother wears combat boots. I don't know. Some of you can maybe remember that. I don't even know what that meant. I don't I'm not even sure what that was supposed to to say, but that was a taunt that people did. But here the taunt is, uh, they're saying you are fugitives of of from you Gileadites, and you are. So, basically, you're not even real efremites like you ought to be, because the territory of Gilead was there. But but you're not even a part of us, you're just fugitives. Now that's going to come back to haunt them in a moment. Here and once again in verse five, we see that war in those days is if you really wanted to win a war, the important thing was to control the water supply, and this we saw earlier, uh, in the book of judges as well, and now we're going to see it again. Gideon had commanded remember the affirmtes when they went to battle with Gideon. He commanded them to do that. But now it's being turned around and now Jeffa and the Gileadites are now using that tactic against the affirmites. And, as they said, they the affirmtes, called the Gileadites fugitives. But now we see that the affirmtes themselves become because the same word as used in the Hebrew they also become renegades or fugitives. And again the Bible teaches us you reap what you saw, and that's what they're doing. And then in verse five and six, I think many people are familiar, even if they're not really familiar with the story of judges or the book of judges, they're probably somewhat familiar with what happens here in versus five and six. And when I read this, you to forgive me here, but I am reminded of a Great World War Two movie called the great escape that some of you have probably seen. One of the stars of that movie is Steve McQueen, who plays a soldier by the name of Mac and early in the movie he is trying to tell the other prisoners that there's a practice of the German soldiers to speak English. Two people pretending to be English so they can see if they would respond in English or not. And you might know later on in the movie, you might remember, and hopefully not giving away stuff for those of you that haven't seen it, but he's accosted by a German soldier and UH, when he's leaving the German soldier, the German soldiers says good luck and Mac replies thanks, and of course that's how he is then captured. By the way, from what I understand, Steve McQueen became a believer in his their life, and so that that's a good...

...thing. But here we have a similar trick that revolves around the problem people of a certain language not being able to say a particular sound, and that's very common. I uh, you know, I wouldn't do well here all the time in Tucson because I can't roll in our like the Hispanic people can do. I just have no ability to do that. And that's very similar here to the fact that the affirmytes could not through a period of time that sound had kind of disappeared from them and they could no longer say the sh sound, but would say, as very similar what what happens to our Lord's name in Hebrew as Shua, but comes into the Greek with not the sh sound but the s sound in the middle there. And so this, this is very similar that they can't do it. And so the word is Shivalath, which means streams or floods, and this word is actually now come into the English language. This word itself is now an English word. You can find it an addiction area. It is their dictionary. Dot Com says the word means a custom, principle or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long standing one, regarded as outmoded or no longer important. And UH. And so we have this test and it seems to be a pretty effective test, because we read a forty two thousand of the Efremites who are slain, and again it shows how foolish effrom was in their complaint in verse seven, the reign of Jeff this is comparatively short compared to other judges, only six years. The last reference to him in verse seven caused him. Jeff thought the Gileadite, which seems to indicate this is how he saw himself, more than identifying as an Israelite, he identified as a Gileadite. And so again we're beginning to see the divisions in Israel through these passages that are going to erupt towards the end of the book, and we see how these things are starting. Well. We'll look at versus eight through fifteen next, and here we're told about three judges that, as I've said before, I don't think any of us would have remembered at all. I know I certainly wouldn't. And these are very similar to chapter ten, verses one through five, where we read of two other relatively unknown judges. Maybe you'll remember them from now on, Tolah and Jaire, and uh again, maybe now you will after that sermon a couple of weeks not that my sermon was great, but that we dealt with it in in that sermon, Dr McGee says of these three judges here in these verses, and I think perhaps he says it unfairly, that they are practically Zeros. So he has he has no kind words to say for them, but they do seem to rule over Israel and what was a comparative time of peace. There's no conquest spoken of during their time and and doesn't say that any of them saved Israel, simply that they judged over Israel. So if you look at the book of judges,...

...it's very interesting because you have twelve judges, six judges who are basically unknown, Shamgar, Tola, Jare, Ibsen, Ellen and Abden, and on the other side we have more famous judges. We have a neo ihad, debrah, Gideon, Jeffah and Samson. So the first judge that has mentioned here is Ibsen. And in contrast to Jeff and the chapter, who has no living children, Ibsen has thirty sons and thirty daughters and he brings in thirty daughters from the outside for his sons to marry and he ships out his thirty daughters to marry outside the family. His term is judged um lasted only seven years, which is the number of perfection, but not sure if it means anything in this case. Um and and he has listed as being from Beth Leham. You might say, Oh, I know Beth lhamp no, you don't. Uh, you don't know beslime. You know Beth Leham, but it's not this Beth Lehem. Uh, it's not one that. This is an obscure town in the territory of Zebulon Barry Webb says, only the most dedicated Bible reader would know that that this Bethlehem even existed, and I can tell you I didn't know that it existed. So it's since greatest success seems to be that he's good at arranging marriages for all of his children, and the fact that he has thirty sons and thirty daughters probably raises some questions in our mind. First would be, how do you work that out? Thirty of one and thirty of the other? How do you do that? I mean it's easier if you got two or four, six or something like that, but or, you know, if you don't count the way the Brady Bunch did it to get, you know, the three girls and the three boys, it's but but how did he how did he do that? How did he end up with exactly thirty of each? And secondly, you can say, well, how did he even have that many children? That's a lot of children. It certainly is, and we have come to the conclusion, I think, that he must have had more than one wife, unless he had a wife who had fifteen sets of quadruple it's which to me seems a little doubtful. And again we have a father of sixty coming after a judge who has no children whatsoever. The S V says of his daughters he gave in marriage outside the clan. That's the E S V being a little bit more expansive than the text, because all the Hebrew words says is outside, that they married outside, but doesn't say really outside what. We don't know exactly what they were outside. How far did he go? Outside the tribe, outside of Israel? Where did he go? Um, but if it was outside of his tribe, where we can try to put the best spin on this and say, well, maybe he was trying, by Mary intermarried like this, to get the tribes of Israel together and unifying them and all of their divisions. But that's speculation. The second judge mentioned is Elon, and here again Dr Mc Geese says about this about versus eleven...

...and twelve. These two verses tell us all we need to know about Ellen. He did nothing. He didn't even have a large family. All he did was twiddle his thumbs. I don't know how he knows that, but but that's what he said. But I think that's a little unfair. Again, we're at least totally comes from the tribe of Zebulon. Zebulon didn't start well in the book of judges. You might remember that they didn't drive out the inhabitants. They were supposed to have kittron or the inhabitants of Nalo. So the Canaanites lived among them and they actually became subject to forced labor. But later in chapter five of judges, when we read of the battle with Debra and Barrick, we find out that Zebulon receives high praise in the song of Zeb the song of Deborah, when she says that they risked their lives to death. So they come out better in the later chapters than they're doing the earliest one. And then in verses thirteen through fifteen we have the third judge and he is named Abdum now here. I do kind of like what Dr McGee says. He says Abden did nothing but out Jayr Jayer, if you remember Jay or, he had the sons that wrote on the donkeys, if you remember that, Um and so he out Jayres, Jayres, because because he has seventy that right on donkeys, he said to be the son of Hill l the Pirathonite, which were told in Verse Fifteen, was in the territory of I fram. So it seems as if he might have been an eframite actually, which is a turnaround from what we had earlier in this chapter, where the framites were slain. And why, it says, in the hill country of the AMALEKITES is a mystery to most reading, because we don't know why the amalekites would be mentioned. They're basically always the enemy of Israel. But again, Jare had thirty sons, but Abden had forty sons and thirty grandsons, and they all rode donkeys. Now, after I preached on Jaire, elder has sent me a postcard with four donkeys on it. Well, you're going to have to op the anti now, okay. And the fact that they rode donkeys, as I mentioned before when I talked about the donkeys, probably indicates royalty because the donkey was the regal animal at that time. It wasn't the war animal. If you're going to war, you didn't ride a donkey. If you're going to war, you rode a horse. But what's the deal here? Is Abden trying to start a family dynasty with all his little kings, of all of his children. Perhaps, uh, but again there's so much that isn't told to us and we have to just leave a lot to speculation. But here comes a judge. I think you know, a judge I'm sure you've heard about throughout your life. In Verse One of Chapter Thirteen we have a phrase, first of all, that we're very used to hearing by now. And the children of Israel did evil again in the side of the Lord. Now, if you were going to make a guess how many times that phrase of years in the book of judges,...

...just thought of just guessing. What was your guess? Seven? Very good, excellent, yes, seven times. And this is the seventh and last time that we're going to read this phrase in the book of judges. There will be a similar phrase that appears later in the last part of judges. It appears twice. It says in those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. And there's kind of a hint of that in the Sampson's story because when Samson takes a woman to wife, it says he does it because she was right in his eyes. So we can see that it is already, beginning during the time of Samson. But this is even sadder than what we've read up to this point. This this reference that they did evil again, because in the other references we've usually read afterwards that Israel cried out to the Lord, but this time we find no crying out to the Lord by Israel. They don't ask God for help. In fact, Barry Webb and his commentary entitles the chapter on this first one, on Samson, the savior no one asked for. Later in Chapter Fifteen, in fact, the Israelites will even try to bind Samson and deliver them to the Philistines, their own deliverer, their own hero. They want to bind and send to the two Philistines and give it to them so so the Philistines will stop bothering them. And it's almost comical when you when you read that what they're trying to do. And Israel is going to have their longest oppression in the book of judges. It's going to be for forty years and, as I told you on sermon on Luke, forty is a number of testing in the Bible or trials, and we see that a lot. And so in first two we learn about Sampson's family. We're going to see. He is only judge who comes from the tribe of Dan. His father has a name very similar to a more famous man we find in the book of Genesis by the name of Noah. This name is Minoah, but it means basically identically the same thing. The word of rest is what it means. And we learned that Minoah's wife is sterile and has no children. Now here's an interesting thing, at least I find kind of interesting. Maybe you won't, but if you read chapter thirteen and the nine verses of Chapter Fourteen, the beginning of it, there is one clear star of the story, one one person who is obviously the center of everything. Who is that, you asked? That Sampson's mother. Well, why don't you identify her by name? Because the Bible doesn't. Here we have a woman who's mentioned over and over again, but we have no idea what her name is. And so, uh, we learned that she is barren and and uh...

...we uh I should say this if you're paying attention, if you've been reading your Bible and you know what happens up to this point, and you read in your Bible that a certain woman was barren. Do you have a kind of an idea what might be coming next? Pretty much follows all the time. If you've been paying attention, you know that God is going to then give her a child. The reversal happens in verse three. But the angel of the Lord appears to her, mentions that she's barren, which she probably knew before that, and but then says that she's going to produce a son. Warren Weirsby says when God wants to do something really great in the world, he doesn't send an army, he sends an angel. And it appears from things that will look at later in the text that this angel is not just any angel, but it's actually a pre incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, and there's evidence to that that we'll look at Lord Willing in the later message. And so in verses four and five we have another very unusual thing. Now there is such a thing in the Bible called a NASA right vowel and it is given to us in numbers chapter six, and it is a vow that is taken by by different people. But the interesting thing was the NASA right vowel in numbers chapter six was generally given for a set period of time. Might be a year or two years, whatever set period of time. It wasn't the last forever. It was just a set period of time and it would be taken, uh, sometime in a person's adult life. Generally. That's that's what would take place. And here the vow is to continue until Sampson's death. But even more amazing, the vowe begins at his conception. That's where the vowel begins. And even right away we're gonna be told that Sampson's mother, who we don't know her name again, is not to be drinking herself any one line or strong drink right from conception. It's almost as if God considers it a child once it's conceived. But nonetheless God, God, says you're not to do that. Now, God didn't know everything that medical science God knew. They didn't know. God knew about all the things medical science would discover at that time are in our time, and those things, about the dangerous things that can happen uh that when Mother's Um partake of certain things during childbearing. And we have that. But here God does know, and of course here he says that the mother shouldn't even do it from conception. That's a strict vowe is going on right here. It's a very unusual one. And she's also told that she should never cut his hair, just part of the Nazareight vowel. So here we have a Nazareight vowel that begins at the moment of conception and last until death. I'm...

...not saying Sampson kept it all that time, but I'm saying that that was what the vow was supposed to be. So it was a very special one. And then the last part of verse five also contains an unusual phrase. It doesn't say Samson Saves Israel from the Philistines, it says he will begin to save Israel from the Philistines. He's not going to be able to totally do that. Dr Mgees says Sampson was a beginner, uh, not a finisher, and it will be later under Samuel and David that the Philistines will be conquered and taken care of. But we'll leave the story there. I'M NOT gonna go further tonight and just leave it right there. But let me make some applications, and I mentioned this in the message but I just want to mention it again, and it goes back to something I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Again, and I'm kind of repeating myself, but I want to say that the sad things that are happening here are going to lead Israel to a great civil war and that's a very sad thing. It's a very sad thing when the country has a civil war and and and it's not it's not good. And it's not just Israel killing their enemies, but we even see it here in our text. We saw it. It's Israel killing each other, and I I would say that it's usually not true that church members physically kill each other, thank the Lord, but sadly divisions do occur in the church and I talked about that, like I said a couple of weeks ago. But what I want to emphasize tonight is many times divisions, as in this text, arise from simple misunderstandings. Such was the case at Corinth, where the Apostle Paul writes, because of their divisions, where people were gathering themselves around various leaders. The I am of Paul, I am of Cephas, I am of a Polisy, and then the very spiritual ones of course said, well, we're of Christ and these misunderstandings of what the point was of having leaders and who they were and how they were to be treated allowed petty jealousy is to divide them. That Paul would speak against. But this happens often in the church and the Church I was at before I came here there were divisions. That happened. A story was circulating about someone wasn't even part of our church but was in our overseeing session, and it wasn't even true. And the story was it wasn't even about me. UH, normally would be about me, but it wasn't about me this time and it was about someone else and it wasn't a true story at all. And people just left the church anyway. Didn't didn't matter. And we had three families, and this is a small church, where three families leave the church, and not only that, they didn't just leave, they left and said, you know, we don't want to be a part of this church because of things we've heard the kind of church. And then they said and don't ever contact us, our family again. I'll tell you this. If you ever get a message like that, you can tell for sure who's in the...

...wrong, because that isn't the way we handle divisions. People Disobey Paul's Instructions in Philippians two three. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. That's a powerful verse and a very difficult verse to live out, but that's what Paul tells us to do. And then, of course you'll give us the example of Lord Jesus. And so God knows our inclinations, as I mentioned. So in Christ praise for the church and John Seventeen he praised Lord that they may be one, even as we are one and we pray for God's unity in his body. Now the last thing I want to mention to you tonight is concerning Sampson. There's much that I could point out about Sampson that makes him unique among your judges. Sampson, like most Old Testament characters, is a type of Christ. And you might say, well, wait a minute, there's a lot of bad stuff in Samson. There is, but I could say maybe I can't say every Bible character, but most Bible characters in the Old Testament are in some ways types of Christ, and he's not a perfect type. No Old Testament character ever was, no human could ever be. But in some ways, in his supernatural birth, the way God gave birth to a barren woman, in the angelic announcement of his birth, in his separation onto God. But one thing I just want to note tonight in closing is he was a mighty deliverer of all Bible characters. Truly, Samson is the mightiest of characters. The spirit of God would come upon him as it came upon our Lord, but the spirit of God would come upon Samson and he would do acts that were amazing. And of course you know how he ends his life. And truly I would say to you we serve a mighty savior. When he was announced in Isaiah nine, six says, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given doesn't sound like anything too strong. We don't think of a child as being that mighty. But he says the government will be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called wonderful counselor mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace, because he is God and he is a mighty savior. So jeremiahs isn't Jeremiah Seventeen. Oh Lord God, You have made the heavens and the Earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm. Nothing. Nothing, it's too hard for you. So when we come to God with our needs, we have to know that God is able to meet those needs, that he is well able to do,...

...in fact more than that, if Hesi in three, twenty. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us. I could give you many scriptures, but I'm not going to. But you know many of them. But I want you to understand whatever your need is tonight, our God is well up to the task. Our God can do it. He is mighty. And one last thing that I want to say about Samson, type of Christ. What Samson did was he destroyed more enemies in his death than his life. And that's exactly what our Lord Jesus did. He destroyed more enemies in his death than he did in his life. Colossians two fifty says he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by troumphing over them in him. And so tonight we celebrate the triumph of the Cross in celebrating the Lord's table, and remember that he has slain our enemies by his death and that he will reign until he has put all enemies under his feet and he will even destroy the last and greatest enemy, that of death, and he show rain forever endeavor. Can We pray, Lord, God, we thank you again for your word. And Lord, again there's there's passages that are, I would say, more difficult to preach out of. But, Lord, yet you can use it to speak to your people, and I pray that you have, and they pray above all else we will see Christ and see him in this mighty deliver you sent to Israel, who was just a type of the true mighty deliverer that would come forth the mighty God and triumph. And Lord, we serve a mighty God in serving you, and we know that there is nothing, nothing that is too difficult for you, and so we come to you praising you for your great power. And now, Lord, as we prepare to celebrate, as we remember the cross of Christ where he disarmed all our enemies, we ask you, God, to bless our time of remembrance and you being here with us, ministering to us, through your sacrament. We ask Your blessing upon it in Christ's name. Amen.

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