May 6 – (Judg. 1-3) Many cities were put under tribute and not completely driven out, which God commanded them to do (1:1-2:6).  What was the result?  Do we do that today?  We try to change behaviors that we think need changed (we put them under tribute). Strongholds in our lives need to be completely driven out not put under our “control”.  They will come back and overpower us.  Selah

                We also see a leader emerging (Jdg. 3:7-11; Jos. 15:15-17). He was from the tribe of Judah (something to remember). Who became the first judge (remember who was given Caleb’s daughter as a reward of conquering Debir)? Already Israel has broken covenant with God and worshiped other gods.  Because of this they came under the ruler of Mesopotamia for eight years.  Then Israel cried out to God and He sent this man to deliver them and then judge them.  How long did the land have rest? What happens when he dies?

                *2:5 - Bochim=Weeping 

May 7 – (Judg. 4-6) After Ehud died, Israel went back to their old ways again and God sold them into hand of Jabin king of Canaan (chapter 4).  Who was the prophetess who spoke with the commander of the Israelite army to subdue this people? How long did the land rest after this? Lesson: when God tells YOU to do something, don’t try to pass it off to others. 

                Do you see the pattern here?  “The children did evil in the sight of the Lord” so the Lord delivered them into the hand of….one of the nations that God had destroyed but the Israelites chose not to dispossess (Deut. 31:3). They were in bondage for many years until “they cried out to the Lord because of … one of many nations (Canaanites, Philistines, Sidonians, Hivites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites and the Jebusites). Remember these were the Jebusites that pretended to come from afar and because Joshua didn’t seek the Lord, he made a treaty with them, and they were not destroyed. God would raise up a judge or prophetess to lead the Israelites to subdue that specific nation for many years until they forgot about God’s help and the cycle would start all over.  Do you see that cycle in your life?  I do.  Lord show us the “nations” we need to dispossess once and for all, so we don’t keep going around this same mountain!

                So far, they were sold into the hands of their enemies all around (Judg. 2:14-15):

 -The king of Mesopotamia for 8 years, then Otheniel led the Israelites to subdue them with 40 yrs. peace (Judg. 3)

- Moabites for 18 years, then Ehud led the Israelites to subdue them with rest for 80 years (Judg. 3:12-30).

-600 Philistines were killed by Shamgar and he also delivered Israel (Judg. 3:31)

-Canaanites for 20 yrs., then Deborah (prophetess and judge) led Barak and the Israelites to subdue them with 40 yrs. rest (Judg. 4-5)

-The Midianites for 7 yrs., then Gideon (with an angel of the Lord) led the Israelites to subdue them with another 40 yrs. rest. 

May 8 – (Judg. 7-9) It seems that Midianites were Ishmaelites.  How did they know they were Ishmaelites (8:24)?  You remember where Ishmael came from right?  Very interesting.  What did Gideon do with the gold and purple robes?  Why do we rely on God to deliver us but when whatever needs conquered is subdued, we take our eyes off God and worship or rely on the past victory and not the God who made it happen!  Selah

                How many sons did Jerubbaal (Gideon) have (8:30)?  It seems one son (Abimelech) from Shechem incited the people of that city to choose himself to reign over them rather than 70 sons.  Only one other son survived and foretold what would happen to them.

                There was also a king in Abraham and Isaac’s time that had the name of Abimelech (Gen. 20:1-18; 26:1-33).  What did Abraham and Isaac do to this king? Isn’t it interesting that both father and son did the same thing to the same king? 

May 9 – (Judg. 10-12) After Abimelech there arose Tola (a man of Issachar) to save Israel.  He judged Israel for 23 yrs. Next was Jair (a Gileadite), who judged Israel for 22 yrs.  He had some interesting sons (10:3-4). Now Israel did evil in God’s sight AGAIN.  They were sold into the hand of the Philistines and Ammonites for 18 yrs., and then Jephthah came on the scene as a very different leader. He judged Israel for 6 years.  Jephthah was an underdog from what they considered the wrong side of the tracks with a scrappy mentality and manner.  Yet God used him to rescue the Israelites once again.  It gives us hope that we don’t have to be “special” from the worlds’ standards, to be used of God for His glory!

Ibzan (of Bethlehem) judged Israel for 7 years, Elon (the Zebulunite) judged Israel for 10 yrs., Abdon (the Pirathonite) judged Israel for 8 yrs.  

May 10 – (Judg. 13-15) The story of Samson is so very intriguing. It’s interesting that Samson’s first wife tried to get Samson to divulge secrets and when he finally did, she went right to her Philistine family and told them. This weakness or disobedience in marrying a foreigner will be repeated again to his final demise.  Joshua warned him (and Israel) not to take on foreign wives (Josh. 23:6-13). Disobedience to God’s commands is deadly. Yet God did not forsake Samson and even granted his last desire.  There is always hope!

                God made water come out of a hollow (?) so that Samson could quench his thirst.  This sounds a lot like the Israelites in the desert wanderings doesn’t it?  

May 11 – (Judg. 16-18) We have a story about Micah…. Not Micah the prophet!  It begins with Micah stealing money from his mother and really goes downhill from there.  In the end he used money to create his own false religion.  False religion seeks peace but will not find it.  A true relationship with God requires whole hearted obedience to Him alone and that is where we find true peace. 

May 12 – (Judg. 19-21) Doesn’t this sound a little like Sodom and Gomorrah? Sometimes it’s hard to read the ways of the people in those days.  But God’s judgments never change.  His mercies endured to all generations! “God, have mercy on us!”

                When the Benjamites were all but destroyed (25,100 out of 26,700) because of their sin, what two things did the other tribes do so that they would not lose one of their original 12 tribes?  All this was really hard for me to understand until I got to 21:25, and then it made more sense.  When our eyes are not fully on God and His commands, we will make our own judgments.  Those judgments or choices will have consequences later.  Even with that, we can lean on God’s grace to walk us through!