JUDGES 1:1-7 (NASB)
 Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”
 The LORD said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.”
 Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I, in turn, will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him.
 Judah went up, and the LORD gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they defeated ten thousand men in Bezek.
 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
 Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.
AMERICA AND ISRAEL ARE MUCH ALIKE…
They remind me of each other. Both remind me of those 70 kings in verse 7: UNCROWNED AND MADE POWERLESS, reduced to settling for scraps.
AMERICA used to sit feasting at the table of the KING of kings, but we are descending rapidly to the role of the beggar at the Beautiful Gate.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES is a book about incomplete VICTORY…
It stems from incomplete OBEDIENCE.
Another word for “incomplete obedience” would be DISOBEDIENCE.
Partial obedience in your MORALS is disobedience. [I’m not so bad compared to others! / But are you still willfully choosing to do wrong in the same areas?]. If you aren’t FULLY FAITHFUL…you’re UNFAITHFUL! If you TITHE on about half of your income, you can’t call it a TITHE. It may be 10% of THAT paycheck but if it’s only 5% overall, it’s not credited by God as partial obedience but disobedience. I’ll get some emails and comments on that thought.
When it comes to our COMMITMENT to God, let’s not do it halfway.
I especially like a verse in 1 Kings that illustrates that thought (1 Kings 18:21):
 Elijah came near to all the people and said, How long will you halt and limp between opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word. (AMP)
You, WE, are either committed or we’re are not!
And AMERICA cannot ride the fence. Either we’re a Christian nation or we are not!
Yes, we have FREEDOM of religion, but many today are trying to lift freedom FROM religion, trying to tie our hands and gag our mouths in the process.
Our FREEDOM of speech is going down the toilet.
After turning an 11-day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land…
During 40 years of meandering, ISRAEL found itself IN the promised land, but not IN possession of it. ISRAEL did things halfway.
WANTING TO BE BLESSED BUT NOT WANTING TO PAY THE PRICE.
ISRAEL was commanded by Joshua to cross the river, conquer the enemy and claim the inheritance that God had promised.
They did cross the river, conquered SOME of the enemies, and stopped well short of finishing their conquest and claiming their inheritance.
They certainly wanted the BLESSINGS of the Promised Land but didn’t want to pay the price for complete victory.
They wanted something FREE, much like most Americans today.
They demanded their rights and wanted privileges, but didn’t want to take responsibility. They were all take and no give!
So, they went back to their old ways of going in circles in the wilderness.
Their progression was: Sin…Suffering…Supplication…Salvation. They would sin and naturally suffer for it, then cry out to God and He would come to their rescue.
But God isn’t bound to always be a safety net for His people.
He has come to our nation many times, but like with Israel, His patience may soon wear thin if it hasn’t already. And He may allow us to fall in order to look up!
THE LAST WAR AMERICA WON WAS WWII.
That was back when generals fought wars to win them. Today, Congress fights wars according to polls and popular opinion and of course, politics! No wonder we often lose or end in a stalemate at best.
JUDGES is about a small group sent by God to reclaim a fallen nation, to speak as prophets of JUDGMENT and turning them away from backsliding to repentance, revival, and recovery.
INCOMPLETE OBEDIENCE AND INCOMPLETE VICTORY.
ISRAEL’S first instance of both is right here in chapter one. They begin with a VICTORY in the first 7 verses, but then FAIL to continue…they stop short…and are satisfied with partial obedience.
- ISRAEL=God’s people and could represent America, or the Church, or us as individuals.
- CANAAN=Christian victory.
- Adoni-bezek= “Lord of Lightning”= Satan. [See footnote [i] ]
Yes, I believe the king in chapter one in the text is a picture of the DEVIL himself because of a parallel passage in the NT.
LUKE 10:1 – After this, the LORD appointed seventy-two others [Some manuscripts say seventy, also in verse 17] and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go.
LUKE 10:17-20 –
 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
JESUS reminded these 70 (or “72”) followers of His that SATAN is a powerful bolt of lightning that fell from heaven, and his power is beyond our own.
JESUS teaches them that although He has given a position of POWER they should glory in the position but not in the POWER as if it were their own.
Another powerful teaching in vv. 6-7 of Judges is RETRIBUTION.
Adoni-bezek was punished for his crimes in the exact same way as he punished these 70 kings.
RETRIBUTION is an aspect of God’s character we seldom think about. We like to focus on His LOVE and REWARDS in heaven, but we often fail to consider His holiness; His perfect nature demanding justice and a payment for all imperfection.
SATAN’S DAY IS COMING! He may think he’s getting away with things now on earth but it’s payday someday.
God may not pay weekly, monthly, or annually, but when He pays he pays in full!
We too should take the warning…
- Numbers 32:23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
- Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
- 1 Timothy 5:24 “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.”
UNCROWNED means to be knocked out of your seat–dethroned from your position of POWER.
Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
It’s like a major demotion…that hurts!
Proverbs 25:26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.
What a letdown!
POWERLESS means unable to accomplish work for God–DISABLED!
Some try but find themselves to be ineffective while some have been disabled to the point that they have quit trying.
WITH NO THUMBS they couldn’t hold a sword, no threat…WITH NO BIG TOES, they became unstable, couldn’t stand to fight.
Under his table = OPPRESSION.
They lived off the scraps they could gather under his table and that’s difficult with NO THUMBS!!
Satan DISABLES in many ways but seems to have the most success by using the following ‘BIG SINS’ against us:
Many Christians Are Defeated Today–
SOME HAVE BEEN OVERCOME–[Ambushed] – 1 Peter 5:8 – “…for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”
SOME HAVE BEEN OUTMANNED – We try to go the battle alone and are no match for Satan– Ephesians 6:10 – Be strong in the Lord; draw your strength from Him.
SOME HAVE BEEN OUTGUNNED – Ephesians 6:13 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…; 1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks be to God, Who gives us victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remembering THREE THINGS About Satan:
#1. He is not a mythological character: Not just a force or influence, but a real person. He has life, intelligence, a will, and feelings.
#2. Satan is a destructive force: He’s out to defeat you!
- In Christianity
- Christian America
#3. Satan is a defeated foe.
HOW DO WE THEN GAIN VICTORY?
The only true victory is COMPLETE VICTORY.
America today fights to a stalemate or a draw.
Let’s not make the same mistake in our personal lives.
1 John 5:4 –
Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?
In the above verse, the Apostle John is giving his readers a testimony that in Christ there is VICTORY!
- VICTORY doesn’t come by regretting.
- VICTORY doesn’t come by resolving.
- VICTORY doesn’t come by renouncing.
- VICTORY doesn’t come by rededication.
VICTORY COMES BY RECEIVING THE VICTORY ALREADY MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH JESUS.
Outside of Christ, there is no victory.
In John 16:33 we read, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”
This KING is just like the devil and he wants to oppress you and rob you of the benefits of your SALVATION.
Many of God’s people live a beggar’s lifestyle while they’re the rightful heirs of the kingdom of God.
Satan is holding many of God’s people in BONDAGE to GUILT and SHAME, (slavery) while living like beggars because they don’t know what God’s COVENANT says.
The Syrophenician Woman said, just let me have the crumbs that fall from the children’s table, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs (She didn’t know or have a part in the Covenant). [Matthew 15:21-28]
But the sad part is that when we are COVENANT sons and daughters and because of ignorance, Satan oppresses us and brings us into BONDAGE, and has us living like beggars.
LAZARUS was a son of Abraham (Yet he was living like a beggar).
HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:
You are NOT a beggar and Satan has no AUTHORITY over you if you are truly SAVED!
He has no authority to hold you in a BONDAGE of GUILT or SHAME over your past.
You are a Covenant Son or Daughter of God!
The King is calling you to the banqueting table, and at His table, no one sees what you were, only what you are! A CHILD OF THE KING!
When you take your rightful place at the table, you RULE AND REIGN as kings!!
FOOTNOTES AND CREDITS –
Footnote [i] : Bible Study Tools, Dictionaries – Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary: Adoni-bezek
Photos: Google Image Search – Advance search setting.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP).