1 Samuel 1 & 2: Is Your Soul Bitter?
Verse of the Day: (1:10) And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
1. Soul (1:1-18)
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. (1:12)
Keep praying to God even when our souls are bitter toward life as we experience life stresses, such as the desire to have children, or the loss of our health, or loved ones. Hannah was in bitterness of soul because her husband, Elkanah, had another wife, Peninnah, and they had children, while she had none. Hannah prayed and vowed to God that if God would give her a male child, she would dedicate him to God, and that no razor shall be upon his head as he would be a Nazarite fully devoted to Him. She continued praying until one day, Eli, the high priest, told her that God remembered her and heard her prayers, and she shall have a male child. Indeed, life maybe unfair and cruel, yet let us keep praying, as God remembers us, and He shall answer our prayers. (Luke 11:1-13)
2. Samuel (1:19-20)
Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. (1:20)
Indeed, God is good all the time, as He removed the bitterness of Hannah’s soul and granted her a son whom she named, Samuel, meaning, I have asked him from God. Samuel grew to be a man of God, and God used him greatly as he was the last of the mighty judges and the first of the faithful prophet who would anoint the first 2 kings of Israel, namely, kings Saul and David. God refused Israel to have their king, like the rest of the countries, because He was truly their one and only perfect King. However, due to the hardness of men, God relented, and knew that they would have to learn the painful lessons of the failure of most of their kings who would rule over them. (1 Samuel 8:1-22)
3. Salvation (2:1-36)
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. (2:1)
Hannah prayed and thanked God for her salvation and for the birth of her son, Samuel, and she looked to God, the Giver, rather than her gift, as only God shall never fail her. Subsequently, God gave her 3 more sons and 2 daughters. While she rejoiced in God, Eli grieved in God, because a man of God had prophesied to him that God shall judge and slay his 2 wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Indeed, let us only seek God, and His righteousness, and all the things that we desire shall be granted to us. (Matthew 6:33-34)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please remove the bitterness of my soul as I pray and trust in You.
Ruth 3 & 4: I Will Redeem It
Verse of the Day: (4:4) And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
1. Ruth (3:1-18)
And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. (3:9)
In order for Naomi to perpetuate the lineage of her husband, Elimelech, and also to redeem their land, she must have a kinsman to marry her daughter in law, Ruth. This was why Ruth upon Naomi’s advice went to Boaz, Naomi’s kinsman, and requested him to marry her. Boaz was delighted to marry Ruth as he knew that she was a virtuous woman. However he told Ruth that there was another kinsman who was the closest to Naomi, and he would have to find out whether he would marry her. Indeed, Ruth was an epitome of a virtuous widow who was willing to remain faithful and loyal to her mother in law. Like Ruth, let us always be faithful and loyal to our God as well as others. (Proverbs 31:10-31)
2. Redeem (4:1-12)
And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. (4:6)
The closest kinsman of Naomi refused to marry Ruth and redeemed her land because he was fearful of marring his own inheritance, and thus allowed Boaz to redeem it. Boaz willingly redeemed the land and married Ruth because he loved Ruth. As a result of the redemption, Boaz perpetuated the lineage of Elimelech to the great joy of Naomi. Indeed, Boaz was the type of Christ, because Christ willingly and lovingly left the splendour of heaven to come to this earth to die on the cross, and shed His precious blood to redeem the sins of the world, including yours and mine. Whoever therefore believes in Christ shall never perish in hell, but have everlasting life with Him in heaven. (Ephesians 1:7-12)
3. Restorer (4:13-22)
And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. (4:15)
Boaz married Ruth and they had a son named Obed who not only was a restorer of their lives to support them in their old age, but from his lineage came forth Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Saviour. Indeed, though Ruth was a Moabitess or a Gentile, as well as a widow, yet she was more precious than even if Naomi had 7 sons, because she was truly faithful and loyal to her, and above all, to the true God of Israel. (Matthew 1:1-5)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that You redeem me from my sins by Your precious blood.
Ruth 1 & 2: A Full Reward
Verse of the Day: (2:12) The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
1. Rest (1:1-13)
The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. (1:9)
Naomi was gracious to her two daughters in law, as she told them to return to their mothers’ homes since her two sons or their husbands had died, so that they could find new husbands and settled down and rest in the God of Israel. During those days as it is today, we can only find true rest when we let God build our families, otherwise we build in vain. Indeed, except the Lord builds our family, we shall build in vain. (Psalms 127)
2. Ruth (1:14-22)
And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. (1:14)
Unlike Orpah, Ruth refused to leave Naomi, but cleaved to her and promised her that she shall go where she would go, and shall stay where she would stay, and her God would be her God, and she shall die and bury where she would die and bury and until death do them part. This demonstrated the great faith and trust that Ruth had in the God of Naomi. Though Naomi was sad and sorrowful by the departure of her beloved husband and two precious sons, yet she was greatly comforted and encouraged by Ruth’s faithfulness and loyalty to her, and to her true and living God. In fact, Ruth’s promises had become the famous wedding vows throughout the centuries where couples commit themselves to one another. This is the prelude to Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love for the world, in particular, His church or bride, when He left heaven and came to earth to die for her. Jesus is the Husband and the church is His wife, and as He loves His wife and gave His life for her, so must the husband loves his wife and willing to give his life for her. (Ephesians 5:21-27)
3. Reward (2:1-23)
And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. (2:20)
At the end of Ruth’s life, God not only reward her trust in Him with her new husband, Boaz, who loved her, and was her kinsman redeemer, but He also blessed her with spiritual blessings in glorious heaven. Indeed, Jesus Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer as He redeems all who believe in Him from fiery hell to pearly heaven. Let us therefore keep loving and serving God amid great trials knowing that He is with us and He shall bless us with a full reward which we shall humbly place at His feet. (Revelation 22:12-13)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for Your full reward which is awaiting me as I serve You.
Judges 21: One Tribe Lacking
Verse of the Day: (21:3) And said. O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?
1. One (21:1-4)
And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; (21:2)
The tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out after Israel defeated them for siding with the wicked people of Gibeah, and they swore never to have their women married to them. However, God must have spoken to them and pricked their conscience as they worshipped Him in His sanctuary. They became guilty and repented of their sins and wept before Him. They then thought of ways as to how they could preserve the tribe of their youngest brother from extinction. Let us therefore forgive and love one another as our God is forgiving and loving so that we shall be His one big family. (Ephesians 4:1-32)
2. Oath (21:5-24)
And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death. (21:5)
God led Israel in preserving the Benjamites by destroying the people of Jabesh-gilead who earlier failed to honour their oath when they did not show up at Mizpeh for the fight against the Benjamites who had sided with the wicked men of Gibeah. Israel fought and defeated the people of Jabesh-gilead and brought their women to the Benjamites so that they could marry them, and thus preserve themselves from extinction. Beside the women of Jabesh-gilead, God through Israel also commanded the Benjamites to capture and marry the women of Shiloh, and the tribe of Benjamin was preserved. Indeed, God never failed Israel even though they failed Him many times. Till today, God still keeps His oath, as He not only preserved the Benjamites, but the entire nation of Israel. Let us therefore believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and we shall never perish in fiery hell, but shall be preserved through all eternity with Him in glorious heaven. (Deuteronomy 7:7-10)
3. Own (21:25)
In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Israel failed God time and again, because they did what was right in their own eyes, and there was no king to lead and guide them. However, they should have look to God as their King, and trusted and obeyed Him. Indeed, let us trust and obey God with our hearts, and acknowledge Him as our King, and never be wise in our own eyes. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to fully trust You, and be not wise in my own eyes.
Judges 19 & 20: I Will Deliver
Verse of the Day: (20:28) And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
1. Divide (19:1-30)
And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. (19:29)
Israel rebelled against God, that even a Levite had a concubine who left him for other men, and then returned to her own home. He went after her and persuaded her to return to him, and she finally agreed. They were on their way home passing by Gibeah when they stayed at an old man’s house for the night. Then there came a group of wicked men who demanded the old man to turn his male guest to them so that they would commit immorality with him. He refused, but instead offered his daughter and the Levite’s concubine to them. They took the concubine and abused her and eventually she died. The Levites was devastated with her death, that he divided her into 12 pieces and sent them with messages to all Israel, telling them that the people of Gibeah had violated and killed his concubine. Indeed, our hearts are desperately wicked without God. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
2. Death (20:1-25)
Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel: (20:13)
Israel prayed to God, and He answered them, and commanded them to fight against the wicked people of Gibeah who were actually with the tribe of Benjamin. However the Benjamites refused to hand them over to Israel, and hence the civil war began. Israel lost to the mighty Benjamites, and they prayed to God, and He commanded them to fight again. Finally, God gave them victory over the Benjamites. Indeed, the wages of sins is death, but God’s gift is eternal life with Him when we trust and obey Him. (Romans 6:23)
3. Deliver (20:26-48)
And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword. (20:35)
Though Israel kept sinning against God, yet when they called upon Him, He delivered them. Indeed, our God shall always deliver us when we call upon Him. (Psalms 50:15)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for delivering me as I call upon You in the day of trouble.
Judges 17 & 18: No Magistrate In The Land
Verse of the Day: (18:7) Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and there were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
1. Mother (17:1-13)
And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. (17:2)
Be careful of our hearts and tongues, as out of them, we bless and curse God and man. Micah’s mother cursed the one who had stolen her money, then blessed her son as she realised that he stole it. Micah and her mother lived in Israel during the time when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Instead of worshipping the true God, they worshipped idols, and Micah even consecrated one of his sons to be the priest, when they were not even from the tribe of Levi. They had indeed forsaken God and His holy commandments which He had given them through His servant, Moses. (James 3:1-12)
2. Magistrate (18:1-29)
In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. (18:1)
Not only Micah forsook God, even the tribe of Dan forsook God when they stole the idols from Micah’s house to worship them, while they were on the way searching the land to possess their inheritance. This is the pride and depravity of man that we will rather worship idols that we make than the true God who creates us. The Danites then chose to possess the land where there was no king or magistrate so that they could do what they pleased including shameful and evil deeds. This was the state of affairs and it must have grieved God very much. Let us therefore repent of our sins, and worship God who is our King and Magistrate, and do what is pleasing and good before Him. (Titus 3:1)
3. Micah (18:30-31)
And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh. (18:31)
Not only Micah and the tribe of Dan, but the whole of Israel worshipped idols for a long time until their captivity. Indeed, man is full of himself, and this is why he makes idols to worship his own inventions, and refuse to acknowledge God who creates him. Let us flee from idolatry, and worship only the true God and our Saviour. (1 Corinthians 10:12-14)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that You are my King and Magistrate whom I worship.
Judges 15 & 16: Remember Me
Verse of the Day: (16:28) And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.
1. Revive (15:1-20)
But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. (15:19)
Though God chose Samson to be His judge of Israel yet he sinned against Him time and again because he walked in the lust of his flesh and eyes. Though Samson failed to acknowledge God who gave him great victory over the 1,000 Philistines, Israel’s enemy, when He helped him to destroy them with just a jawbone, yet God refreshed and revived him with water from the hollow place of the jawbone when he called upon Him out of great thirst. Indeed, great is God’s faithfulness to His people! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
2. Razor (16:1-20)
That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. (16:17)
Though God gave Samson strength that no man ever had, yet he failed God many times as he fell into the sins of immorality which eventually destroyed him. After several requests, Samson gave in to Delilah, a woman whom he loved yet she betrayed him to the Philistines for money, and told her the secret was in his hair that once they were shaven he would lose his strength. Let us obey God, and flee from immorality. (Proverbs 6:20-35)
3. Remember (16:21-31)
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. (16:30)
Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines who then blinded him and threw him in the prison, and subsequently made him a sport. While he was before the Philistines, he called upon God, and God remembered him, and strengthened him, and restored his strength back after his hairs grew while was in prison. He then pulled down the house where the Philistines were watching him, and destroyed all of them including himself. In his death, he destroyed more Philistines than when he was alive. Indeed, God truly remembers Samson as his name is even penned in the book of Hebrews of the Bible. (Hebrews 11:32)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please remember me as I fully trust and obey You and flee from sins.
Judges 11 & 12: The Spirit Of The LORD
Verse of the Day: (11:29) Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
1. Son (11:1-28)
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. (11:1)
Everyone including Christians has strength and weaknesses and we will only be perfect when we get to heaven. Though Jephthah was a mighty man of valour, yet he was the son of an harlot and was rejected by his people. However the day came when the Ammonites declared war against them that the elders of Israel pleaded with Jephthah to be their captain. Jephthah agreed to their request provided that they made him the head of Israel if he would succeed in overcoming the Ammonites. Subsequently he led Israel to victory and became the judge of Israel. Indeed, though we are sinners rejected by God, but once we believe in and receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we become His sons. (John 1:12)
2. Spirit (11:29-40)
And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. (11:33)
The Spirit of God was with Jephthah, and he led Israel to completely subdue the Ammonites. However, Jephthah was too rash in making his vow to God as he offered to Him the first individual who would meet him at the door of his house if he would win the war. He never thought that the first person to meet him was his only child instead of his servants. As a result of his vow, his only daughter was offered to God, and she remained single for the rest of her life. Indeed, though we are God’s children, and His Spirit is in us, yet let us be careful of what we vow to Him, otherwise we live to regret. (John 14:15-17)
3. Shibboleth (12:1-15)
Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. (12:6)
Pride is the main cause of divorce, church splits and the fall of organisations. There was civil war in Israel as the Ephraimites fought against Israel because they were angry that they were not called to fight against the Ammonites. However, the real reason was their pride. Subsequently, Israel defeated the Ephraimites, only when they would pronounce Shibboleth as Sibboleth, and this was how Israel distinguished them. Indeed, let us humble ourselves before God knowing that without Him, we are nothing. (James 4:1-10)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that Your Holy Spirt dwells in me now and forever.
Judges 13 & 14: Seeing It is Secret
Verse of the Day: (13:18) And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
1. Secret (13:1-23)
But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink: neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. (13:7)
Certain things happened to us will always remain a secret to us, until the day we meet God. Though we know all things work together for good to them who love God, yet sometimes we find it hard to accept the loss of our loved ones, just like I lost my younger son through sudden death. God’s angel told Manoah that his name was a secret after he had prophesied that his wife shall have a son who shall be a Nazarite for life, and he shall be the judge of Israel. The Nazarites were never to take strong drink, or eat or touch any unclean thing because their lives were solely dedicated to God. Indeed, let us solely dedicate our lives to God as He is our Saviour, Lord and everything. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
2. Samson (13:24-25)
And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. (13:24)
Manoah’s son was none other than Samson, the strongest man in all ages, who was also mentioned in the hall of faith in the Book of Hebrews of the Bible for his faith in God, though he actually failed God many times. Indeed, only by God’s grace are we saved through our faith, and not of ourselves, lest we should boast of it. (Hebrews 11:32-34)
3. Sweet (14:1-20)
And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. (14:18)
Samson gave the Philistines a riddle when he was about to marry one of their women. He knew from birth that the Philistines were his enemies and this was the great opportunity to mock them with a riddle that they could never solve. However, they went to his fiancé, and threatened to burn her and her father’s house if she refused to tell them the answer. She then wept and pleaded with Samson, and after 7 days, which was the deadline for the riddle, he told her. When they told Samson the answer, he knew that it must be his wife who snitched on him, because he had only told her that the answer that the strong was the lion, and the sweetness was the honey, because he had killed a lion, and subsequently the bees came and produced honey in the carcass of the lion. Instead of Samson mocking them, they mocked him. Indeed, let us trust God as only He never fails us. (Psalms 118:8)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to accept by faith the secret things of my life from You.
Judges 9 & 10: God Reigns!
Verse of the Day: (9:2) Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.
1. Reign (9:1-55)
And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. (9:5)
Only God reigns, and no one else! God is indeed the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Gideon knew that only God deserved to reign, and therefore he refused to rule Israel when the people asked him to rule over them. However, Gideon’s son, Abimelech, from his concubine who was in Shechem, eyed the throne of Israel, and with the help of the people of Shechem he killed his 70 step-brothers, except Jotham, the youngest brother, who hid himself. Abimelech then became the judge of Israel for 3 years. However, God spoke to Jotham that Abimelech’s rule shall not be for long, just like the bramble that shall catch fire and be destroyed, he shall be judged and punished. (Revelation 19:11-21)
2. Render (9:56-57)
Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: (9:56)
God is not mocked as we shall reap what we sow. If we sow our belief and trust in God, we shall reap His blessings, however if we sow unbelief and wickedness, we shall reap His judgment. Let us commit everything to God, especially the wicked, because He shall eventually judge them. God judged Abimelech as the people of Shechem who once helped him now fought against him. During the battle, a woman from a tower threw a millstone upon his head, and injured him. Instead of seeking for help, he ordered his armour bearer to kill him as he refused to die in the woman’s hand. (Galatians 6:7-10)
3. Ride (10:1-18)
And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. (10:4)
God desires leaders to lead their people so that they have a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, yet many times they fail to trust and obey God, and therefore the people experience chaos and conflict because of unbelief and dishonesty. Unlike Jerubbaal, who strayed from God, the next judge, Jair, who had 30 sons riding 30 ass colts, walked with God and judged Israel for 22 years. Let us therefore pray for our leaders that they be godly so that we shall lead a quiet and peaceful life. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for being the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Judges 7 & 8: Faint Yet Pursuing
Verse of the Day: (8:4) And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.
1. Pitcher (7:1-25)
And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. (7:16)
God’s greatest desire is for man who is made in His image to worship Him and acknowledge Him, that without Him, man is nothing. This was why God chose Gideon, an unknown man, to lead Israel against their enemies. God commanded Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 to 300 men, and to use pitchers, lamps and trumpets, instead of shields, swords and spears, to fight against the Midianites. God wanted them to know that it was never about them or their instruments, but Him who shall defeat their enemies. Gideon chose 300 men who were not just courageous, but vigilant, as they drank water by putting their hands to their mouths looking around for their enemies, instead of the rest who bowed down to drink. Indeed, we must be courageous and vigilant, as we wrestle not just against our flesh and enemies, but against the dark forces of the devil. (1 Peter 5:8-11)
2. Pursuing (8:1-21)
And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. (8:5)
Let us not only start well in our Christian race, be it a sprint (some like my beloved son only lived for 16 years) or a marathon, but persevere and finish well, even when there are many challenges along the track. Though Gideon and the 300 men were fainting, yet they kept pursing after the two kings of Midian to eliminate them, otherwise there shall be no peace in Israel. Finally, God gave them the victory as they managed to destroy them. Let us therefore not only start well, but finish well our race with patience and perseverance, and always looking to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
3. Prey (8:22-35)
And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) (8:24)
Though Gideon was a man of God yet in his last days he led Israel to sin against God when he made an ephod of gold from all the spoils of their enemies. Israel began worshipping the golden ephod which they could see with their eyes, instead of by faith worshipping the invisible and true God who loved and delivered them from their enemies. Indeed, let us worship the true God, who is a Spirit, in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to start and finish well my Christian race with You.
Judges 5 & 6: I Will Be With Thee
Verse of the Day: (6:16) And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
1. God (5:1-31)
Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. (5:3)
God has blessed His people made in His image to praise Him, and this is why many, if not all the people, love to sing, and especially, Christians, who are thankful to Him for saving our souls as we believe in Him. Every time when God delivered Israel from their enemies, they sang praises to Him for His deliverance. Deborah and Barak sang the song of praise to God for His deliverance of Israel from the Canaanites. Not only God delivered Israel from their enemies, but He also taught them that He could use the women to be the help meet of men to accomplish His work. Indeed, not only God used Deborah, He also used another woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, to destroy Sisera, the captain of the army of Canaan. Thus Israel overcame the Canaanites. (Colossians 3:15-17)
2. Gideon (6:1-32)
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. (6:13)
Many times, if not all the time, God uses the most unlikely people for His will and work to prove to man that it is not man, but God, who enables and empowers man to achieve and accomplish His work. God chose and called Gideon, the most unlikely man, as he was the youngest of a poor family of the tribe of Manasseh. However, God encouraged Gideon that He shall be with him to lead Israel to overcome their enemies, the Midianites. Indeed with God we can do everything but without Him we can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)
3. Ground (6:33-40)
And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. (6:40)
There is nothing that our God cannot do, as He is the Creator and Saviour of the entire world and universe. Though God had called Gideon, yet he doubted Him and tested Him by requesting Him that the dew be on the fleece of wool only, and all the ground be dry, and God answered his request the next day. However, Gideon was not fully convinced, and this time he asked God to have the dew on all the ground only, and the fleece be dry, and again God answered his request the next day. By now, Gideon was fully convinced that God was with him to help him lead Israel to overcome the Midianites. (Luke 1:37)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that You are my Saviour who is with me now and forever.
Judges 3 & 4: Deborah, A Prophetess
Verse of the Day: (4:4) And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
1. Deliverer (3:1-11)
And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. (3:9)
God sends crises and challenges to prove and test our faith and trust in Him. Time and again, Israel sinned against God, such as committing immorality, corruption and marrying the unbelievers and worshipping their false gods and idols, and thus straying from Him. However, when Israel repented their sins, immorality and corruption and called upon God, He would send deliverers and judges to deliver them out of their sins and enemies. Othniel was the first deliverer of Israel that God sent to lead them to overcome their enemy, Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia. As a result, Israel and the land had rest for 40 years. Indeed, let us repent of our sins and call upon God, and He shall deliver us, and grant us rest for our souls now and forever. (Matthew 11:28-30)
2. Dagger (3:12-31)
But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. (3:16)
Though men may think we are great and talented, yet without God who is our Creator and Saviour, we are nothing. Indeed, God’s deliverers were ordinary people, and even their instruments were ordinary ones, such as daggers and goads, and it was God who was behind all their victories and successes over their enemies. Ehud, the next deliverer, used a dagger to destroy Eglon, the king of Moab, and delivered them out of the Moabites. Let us put on God’s armour of His salvation, righteousness, truth, peace, faith and Word, and above all, prayers, to defeat the Devil and all his evil temptations. (Ephesians 6:10-19)
3. Deborah (4:1-24)
And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. (4:9)
Though the husband is the head of his wife, and man is the leader of the home, yet God, our Creator, treats both men and women with love and grace. In the beginning, God took one of the ribs of the first man, Adam, and not his skull or toe bone, to make the first woman, so that she was equal with him, and a help meet for him, and not his master or his slave. Indeed, God used a woman deliverer, Deborah, a prophetess, to mobilise Barak, the general of the army of Israel to overcome Sisera, the captain of army of Canaan. God then honoured Deborah for her role in taking down Israel’s enemies. (Genesis 2:20-25)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that You save and sanctify us regardless of our sex or race.
Judges 1 & 2: Who Shall Deliver You?
Verse of the Day: (1:2) And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
1. Deliver (1:1-18)
Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? (1:1)
God always deliver us as we trust and obey Him and call upon Him. Though Joshua led Israel to victory over their enemies and possessed the Promised Land, yet he failed to have a leader to succeed him. After his death, Israel cried to God as to which leader or tribe would lead them into battle against their enemies, and He commanded them that the tribe of Judah shall lead them. Though they had victory over the Canaanites, yet they did not completely destroyed them because of unbelief. Indeed, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the tribe of Judah, and He shall lead the world in overcoming Satan, our greatest enemy. In the beginning, Satan deceived Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit and thus sinned against God. However, God’s redemption plan is to send Jesus to die for the sins of the whole world that whoever repents his sins and believes in Him shall never perish in hell but have everlasting life with Him in heaven. (Matthew 1:1-3)
2. Drive (1:19-36)
And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. (1:28)
Be careful of the little foxes or sins that will slowly but surely ruin our lives. Though time and again God delivered Israel from their enemies as they called upon Him yet they did not completely destroy their enemies, but allowed a remnant to remain which subsequently grew in numbers and became thorns in their lands even to this day. Let us therefore confess and repent our sins, even the so-called little sins, though they may seem insignificant, but slowly and surely they will destroy our lives. (Song of Solomon 2:15)
3. Distress (2:1-23)
Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. (2:15)
If God is for us, who can be against us? However, if God is against us, we are in trouble! Israel was in distress as God was against them because they disobeyed and rebelled against Him. Time and again God delivered them as they called upon Him, yet Israel was unthankful and ungrateful to Him. Let us hence be thankful and grateful to God each time as we call upon Him, and He delivers us from all our challenges and crises. (Romans 8:31)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for always delivering me as I trust and obey You.