Absalom

This has been reversed. Absalom can not be David’s son. The bloody warrior joined the Philistines – and hunted down Absalom ‘The Nazarite Judge’ caught him, HUNG HIM IN A TREE by his long hair, and pierced his side with a lance. To hang the body of a Jew in a tree, kept his soul from going back to God. This is why Joseph of Arimaea wanted Jesus’s body to be taken down from A MANMADE TREE. Jesus WAS A NAZARITE, and his soul went back to THE LORD-FATHER.

I have seen THE ANGEL.

John ‘Of The Rock’

The angel of the Lord had appeared to Gideon in human form, and it was only through this miraculous manifestation of divine power and the sudden disappearance of the heavenly messenger that Gideon realized with whom he had been speaking. Then he said, “Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.”—vss. 22,23

MUNICH (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-security-israel-iran/netanyahu-says-israel-could-act-against-irans-empire-idUSKCN1G20C8?il=0

When you think of Absalom what comes to mind? Many with any understanding of scripture instantly think of a traitor or a rebellious son. Not many folks name their child Absalom or Ichabod. It’s pretty bad when your name has such a bad connotation that it is no longer used. Absalom means “the father of peace,” a fitting name for a son of David. Sadly, the character of Absalom so marred the name that it is not used again in the scripture or common among men in history. So is the nature of a judge without judgment.

We just celebrated the Lord’s supper and one of the rich verses of 1 Corinthians 11:31 states “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” The scripture has much to say about judgment and justice and at length we learn that Jesus is the standard for both. By fulfilling the law, he has become the standard of righteousness and reconciliation.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18

Though Absalom’s name means “father of peace,” the last thing Absalom brought to God’s kingdom was peace. Being born from a royal heritage maternally and fraternally Absalom lived large, enjoying a sense of entitlement that was diametrically opposite of his father David, who lived as an outlaw on the run from Saul, his royal father-in-law, for many years. Like Jesus, David was overlooked, unwelcome in his own home and at length turned against by his own flesh and blood. Only God could take all those things and turn them for our good.

Of course David was just a type, not the sinless son of God. Like all of us, David fell way short of the glory of God. Not only did David commit adultery and murder in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, his negligence to judge the rape of Tamar his daughter by Amnon his son was a blot that was justifiably difficult for Absalom to overlook. I don’t know about you, but as I read the account of Amnon and Tamar one can understand why Absalom felt compelled to judge this sin and protect the honor of his sister. Nonetheless, as your momma told you, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Absalom proved at length to be no better — in fact, much worse — than his father he was so desperate to overthrow. 1 Samuel 15:4 says, “Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” Notice the vigor in which Absalom proclaims his cause. He was calling for judgment, yet at length he had none. If he would have esteemed God’s judgment ahead of his own, his passions would have been tempered and he would have seen the love of a father for his son. Instead he raged on and not only ruined any relationship he would have had with his father, but the lives of those he manipulated to gain power. At length Absalom, though born into royalty, did not behave in a matter that represented the crown.

This is the story of our self-righteousness. Our very best effort, not covered in the blood and empowered by the Spirit of God, betrays the Lord Jesus Christ. It is so easy to place ourselves in a position of judge when we feel as though God is not moving at our pace or to our liking. Unlike David, Jesus is perfect and his ways are perfect. We live in a time when the lesson of Absalom is very important. Many are not happy with the powers that be. Instead of submitting and serving as David did under Saul, or as Jesus did under Rome, our natural man desires to place ourselves in the postion to execute justice and judgment. Rest assured, the sin we see in this world today has already been judged by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, and Samson

DURING a period of 450 years after the death of Joshua there were no definite governmental arrangements in Israel. The record is that during this period everyone did what seemed good in his own sight. (Judges 21:25) For the most part the trend was toward unrighteousness and worshiping false gods. As punishment for their evil ways, God permitted the Israelites to be subjected by their enemies, the Canaanites, whom they had not completely driven out of the land as he had commanded.—Judges 2:13-15

“Nevertheless,” the record says, “the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.” (ch. 2:16) Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, was the first of these judges; and the well-known Samuel the prophet was the last.—Judges 3:9-11

Little is known of most of these judges in Israel except the simple fact, as related, that through them the Lord delivered his people from their enemies when they cried to him in their distress. One of the judges was a woman—Deborah, who through the able generalship of Barak, delivered the Israelites from bondage to Jabin, king of Canaan, whose army was commanded by Sisera. (Judges, chapters 4 and 5) Barak is named in Hebrews 11:32 as one of the Ancient Worthies. Following the great deliverance under the generalship of Barak, the Israelites had rest for forty years.—ch. 5:31

But they did not remain faithful to the Lord and he “delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.” (ch. 6:1) They were delivered from this captivity by Gideon, whom the Lord raised up as a judge and leader. Concerning Gideon we are given considerable information.

Gideon was the fifth judge of Israel, and when first mentioned he is visited by an angel while threshing “wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.” The angel said to Gideon, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” (ch. 6:11,12) That he was addressed as a mighty man of valor might indicate that he had already been active in resisting the enemies of Israel, or the statement could be prophetic of Gideon. Gideon’s reply to the angel was not too enthusiastic, for it was difficult for him to see how, under the circumstances, it could be said that the Lord was with him, or, in fact, with any of the Israelites; so he asked the angel, “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.”—vs. 13

This reply does not necessarily indicate that Gideon doubted the assertion of the angel but perhaps was simply his way of getting further information and a firmer assurance. Gideon reasoned that if God performed miracles in the past to deliver his people, he should be able to do so again; and Gideon wanted to be assured that this would be the case. Through the angel the Lord replied to Gideon, “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” Even this assurance did not convince Gideon, for he replied, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”—vss. 14,15

Here Gideon displays the characteristic humility which has been possessed by all whom the Lord has used for outstanding service. His family was poor, and evidently circumstances were such that Gideon had been made to feel that he was of little importance in the family, hence his surprise and commendable hesitancy when the Lord indicated him to be his choice for a deliverer of his people. Again the Lord reassured this humble man, saying to him, “Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” (vs. 16) When assured by the Lord, “Surely I will be with thee,” even the humblest and the weakest of men become valiant and courageous if they have faith in him; but Gideon’s faith needed bolstering. He did not doubt the Lord, but he wanted to be sure that it was the God of Israel who was communicating with him; so he again replied, “If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me.”—vs. 17

Then Gideon asked the messenger not to depart “until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee.” The messenger promised to remain; “and Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. (vss. 18,19) Then the messenger of God said to Gideon, “Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.”—vss. 20,21

The angel of the Lord had appeared to Gideon in human form, and it was only through this miraculous manifestation of divine power and the sudden disappearance of the heavenly messenger that Gideon realized with whom he had been speaking. Then he said, “Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.”—vss. 22,23

Baal Worship Destroyed

Now that Gideon had been assured that the Lord’s blessing was with him, he was ready to proceed with the task of liberating the Israelites from the Midianites. As a necessary preparation for this, Baal worship must be destroyed in the land. This was a severe test upon Gideon, for his own father had established a “grove” for this heathen worship.

The same night that the angel of the Lord first spoke to Gideon, the Lord said to him, “Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: and build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”—vss. 25,26

Gideon carried out these instructions. He utilized the help of ten of his servants “and did as the Lord had said unto him.” He carried out the instructions at night because he feared the reaction of his father’s household and thought it would be best to have the act completed before they discovered it. Gideon did not underestimate the violent reaction of the Baal worshipers; for when the “men of the city” learned what had been done and that Gideon was responsible, they demanded that he should die.

They made this demand of Gideon’s father, Joash. But his father, although he had established the altar of Baal and the grove which his son had destroyed, was a good reasoner; and he replied to those who demanded Gideon’s life, “Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.”—vs. 31

Joash had evidently been somewhat impressed with the fact that Baal had been unable to prevent the destruction of his own altar, and wisely his sympathies were moving toward Gideon, and his confidence in the God of Israel was mounting. He named his son, Jerubbaal, “saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.”—vs. 32

An Army Assembled

An acute crisis developed. The record is that “then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.” He blew a trumpet, and the men of his father’s household were gathered to him. He also sent messengers “throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.” (vss. 33-35) Things were moving rapidly, and Gideon found himself surrounded with an army ready to follow his leadership in an attack upon Israel’s enemies. For one who had been considered least in his father’s house this must have been rather a frightening situation, and it is no wonder that he felt the need of further reassurance from the Lord.

So “Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” (vss. 36,37) The Lord was patient with Gideon and honored his request. The next morning, when he examined the fleece, it was thoroughly soaked, containing, as the record states, “a bowl full of water,” while the ground around it was dry. This should have been very convincing, but still Gideon was not fully satisfied. So, to make doubly sure, he reversed the conditions, asking the Lord on the second test to let the fleece remain dry and the dew fall on the surrounding ground.

Gideon realized that he was asking a great deal, and he said to God, “Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once.” Again the Lord honored Gideon’s request, “for it was dry upon fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.” (vss. 39,40) Gideon, it should be remembered, lived at a time in Israel’s history when the nation had drifted into idolatry and now for years had been oppressed by their enemies. He had little or nothing in the way of personal experience or observation upon which his faith in the Lord could rest. So, like Moses after his forty years in Midian, he seemed to need assurance in various ways that he had been called to deliver his people.

It was this very lack of self-assurance that enabled the Lord to use Gideon so marvelously. However, there was another lesson the Lord wanted him to learn, which was not to depend upon the strength of numbers; for God told him that the army which he had mustered was entirely too large. “The Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”—ch. 7:2

The original size of the volunteer army that placed themselves at the disposal of Gideon was thirty-two thousand. Under the Lord’s instructions he told his men that any among them who were afraid should return to their homes, “And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.” (vs. 3) Then the Lord said unto Gideon, “The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I shall say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.”—vs. 4

The test was a simple one. “Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.” (vs. 5) Only three hundred out of the ten thousand lapped the water, and these three hundred were to constitute the entire army which Gideon was to lead against the Midianites.

Further Strengthened

A tremendous army of Israel’s enemies had camped in the valley of Jezreel, and no doubt Gideon needed some direct assurance from the Lord that such an array of armed strength could be routed by a mere three hundred men. So “the same night” the Lord instructed Gideon to take with him Phurah, his servant, down into the camp of the Midianites “and thou shalt hear what they say.” The Lord told him that what he heard would give him courage for the attack which was to be made later.—vss. 9-11

This visit to the ranks of the enemy was made by night, and unobserved by the enemy’s watchmen. “And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.” (vss. 13,14) Hearing the account of this dream and its interpretation gave Gideon the assurance he needed that the little band of three hundred whom the Lord selected to be his army could actually rout the Midianites. Returning to his soldiers, he said, “Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.”—vs. 15

Gideon’s three hundred soldiers had been given no arms, but now he gave each one a trumpet, a lamp, or torch, and an earthen pitcher. It is doubtful that any other army in the history of mankind has been thus equipped. Although the record does not say so, it is likely that Gideon’s method of fighting and plan of attack were directed by the Lord. Furnishing them with their weapons, Gideon separated his troops into three groups, deploying them on the sides of the hills surrounding the host of Midian encamped in the valley below. Gideon took his place with one of the little companies.

He instructed all to do as he did. When he blew his trumpet, they were to blow theirs. Simultaneously they were to break the pitchers, which were being used to conceal their torches. Then they were to shout, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” The Midianite who interpreted the dream of his fellow had said, “This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon.” (ch. 7:14) Probably many of the Midianites had heard about this dream and its interpretation; so when they heard the shout of the three hundred, they would surely think the dream was coming true.

Apparently there was more involved in Gideon’s strategy than appears on the surface. Small though his army was, he had them deployed in such a manner as to virtually surround the camp of the Midianites. Ordinarily only the captains of an army would be sounding trumpets and carrying torches, and for the Midianites to hear three hundred trumpets sounding and see three hundred flickering torches surrounding them on all sides would certainly give the impression that they were being attacked by a tremendous army.

Fear and panic spread through the ranks of the enemy. Thus the “Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host.” (vs. 22) As the Midianites attacked each other they fled, and Gideon’s victory was complete. Having accomplished the task of routing the main army of the Midianites, Gideon then “sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan.” (vs. 24) The men of Ephraim responded to this call, and joined thus in the fruits of victory. But these men complained to Gideon because he had not asked them for help from the beginning. His reply was, “Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?” (ch. 8:2) This satisfied the Ephraimites.

Gideon is one of the humblest and at the same time ablest statesmen of the Bible. When the angel of the Lord first spoke to him, he explained that he was the least of his father’s house, and he maintained this spirit of humility. He heard the Midianites use the expression, “The sword of Gideon,” but when he instructed his little army to use this as a battle cry, he added the Lord’s name, and put it first—“The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”

Gideon continued his campaign against the enemies of Israel until they were completely routed out of the land, although after the initial attack he used greater numbers of men. When his victories were complete, the “men of Israel said unto [him], Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.”—ch. 8:22

But here again Gideon’s humility and proper perspective are manifested; for he replied to this request, saying, “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you.” (vs. 23) Thus again did this faithful judge in Israel keep the Lord before his people, emphasizing that only by obedience to him could they expect to remain free and prosperous.

In defeating the enemies of Israel, there was a great slaughter of men, and from the corpses the Israelites had collected earrings of gold. While Gideon refused to be king, he requested these earrings, and his men gave them to him. Verse 26 reads, “The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.”

With this gold “Gideon made an ephod … and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.” (vs. 27) Perhaps Gideon had good intentions in making this golden ephod, not realizing the temptation it would present to the Israelites to worship it instead of God; but it was a mistake by which this great man of God was snared.

The results of Gideon’s example and faithful judgeship lasted only as long as he lived. “It came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal [a name given to Gideon by his father when he destroyed the altars of Baal. It means, ‘Let Baal plead’] … according to all the goodness which he had showed unto Israel.”—vss. 33-35

Gideon was the father of seventy sons, “of his body begotten: for he had many wives.” (vs. 30) A concubine who lived in Shechem bore him another son, who was named Abimelech. Departing from his father’s example, Abimelech aspired to be a king, and had himself accepted as such for a time, having first mercilessly slain his brothers.

He intended to kill them all, but Jotham, the youngest son, hid himself and thus escaped. Later, because of the desire of the people that Abimelech should be their king, Jotham related one of the very interesting and pointed parables of the Old Testament. (ch. 9, vss. 7-21) In this parable Jotham describes the trees endeavoring to persuade one of their number to rule over the others. The olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine all refused, giving good reasons. Then all the trees invited the bramble to rule over them, and the bramble accepted. In its acceptance speech the bramble said, “If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”—vs. 15

Jotham then explained to those who had made Abimelech king that if they had acted sincerely and if they had dealt properly with his father’s house, then they could expect Abimelech’s rulership to be a blessing to them. If not, much trouble was ahead for them; for they would find that as with the bramble, a fire would go out from their king and destroy many and that finally the king himself would be destroyed, bringing to an end the unhappy experiment. The latter proved true—“upon them came the curse of Jotham, the son of Jerubbaal.”—vs. 57

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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