Judges 1-3

Some sad days ahead for Israel. After Joshua  and all of his generation died, “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work He had done for Israel.”(2:10)

It’s hard to believe that a group of people could encounter the Lord in such a great way and yet not pass on their beliefs to their offspring. But we see that over and over – in scripture and in our own generation.

In my own lifetime I have seen such changes in perceptions of people. Of course, the changes in race relations have been good, but the changes in morality have been horrible. Now sexual immorality is accepted as the norm by many levels of our society. Such a shame. So many precious babies are affected.

Getting back to Judges, we see in the first three chapters that the Jews would turn away from God and lose their protection. So they would serve another king for a number of years, for they could “no longer stand against their enemies.” (2:14)

Again and again God would raise up judges who would help them be delivered from their enemies, but “when the judge died, they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers….they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways.” (2:19)

God’s people had to serve the king of Mesopotamia for 8 years, until Othniel helped deliver them. They had rest for 40 years, and then Othniel died. Then back to the evil. They then served the king of Moab for 18 years, until Ehud was raised up to deliver them, giving the Jews 80 years of peace.

Without strong leadership the Israelites seemed unable – or unwilling – to follow God. They preferred the gods of the nations around them, particularly Baal, the god of prosperity.

Does that sound familiar today? We don’t call him Baal, but prosperity is worshipped by many in our society.

I pray that through God’s help we will keep our hearts pure from the worship of money. I also pray that our nation and our world will learn from the Jewish experience and turn back to the one true God.

Luke 4:1-30

When Jesus entered the wilderness for His 40 day fast, He was full of the Holy Spirit. He demonstrated to us that the warfare against the devil should be done through the spoken Word of God, which is our “sword of the Spirit.”(Ephesians 6:17). After the fast and temptations, Jesus returned to Galilee in the “power” of the Spirit.(Luke 4:14).

He was ready to begin his ministry in its fullness, with God’s supernatural gifts flowing.

Isn’t it noteworthy that as long as Jesus was the young local guy who often read the scriptures in the synagogue, He was admired and appreciated? Yet after he received the Holy Spirit baptism and was ready for His ministry, he was hated.

He announces Himself as the One mentioned in Isaiah, and true rage follows. These people who have known Him all of his life, cast Him out of the city and try to throw Him down a cliff. But he “passes through their midst.” (4:30)

How does that happen? A mob has Him in their hands, and He just “passes through their midst?” Sounds like an angelic visitation to me.

Not only was Jesus walking in supernatural power, He had supernatural protection and provision.

Jesus had no fear because He knew that God’s protection was with Him all the time. Eventually he would “lay down His life,” but not yet. Until that time, angels would keep Him from any harm.

Today God wants us to have faith for that type of protection. His angels surround us as we perform His purpose. Let’s count on that protection and be willing to trust Him at all times.

Remember the slogan, “What would Jesus do?” Well, that’s what Jesus would do. It’s one thing, at least. He would trust God for divine protection at all times.

Lord, increase our faith!