AM April 1st Luke 19

April 1st             Luke 19             E. The Perfect Man in Jericho & Jerusalem         Zacchaeus meets Jesus

1: And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2: And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3: And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4: And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5: And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6: And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7: And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8: And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9: And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

The ten pounds

11: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12: He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14: But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15: And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16: Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17: And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18: And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19: And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20: And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22: And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24: And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25: (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26: For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. 27: But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

The Triumphal entry

28: And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29: And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30: Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31: And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32: And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33: And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34: And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35: And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36: And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37: And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38: Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39: And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40: And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42: Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43: For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44: And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

The cleansing of the Temple

45: And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46: Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47: And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48: And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

In the previous passage we see that Christ touches the very poorest of the poor and the neediest in society. In this passage Luke tells us of Christ’s ministry among the rich. Zacchaeus was certainly wealthy because he was the chief publican and Luke says in simple tones, He was rich. But in spite of all this he had a deep longing for Christ. And nothing was going to stand in his way of seeing him even his own height deficiency. Christ knew of his longing and so invited himself to stay at his house. Zacchaeus was overjoyed. Zacchaeus stood publically to make an announcement. The first thing was that half of his wealth was to be given to the poor. The greatest expression of righteousness under the law was charity and this was a very great statement of charity. And then he promises to find out if anything has ever been taken unrighteously. And if he finds that this has happened then he will restore fourfold. In the law ill-gotten gains were restored double. But Zacchaeus restores double the Mosaic requirement. Christ responds, this day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. Christ is not saying that Zacchaeus was saved – as Christ’s are saved by grace. What he is saying is that Salvation in the sense of restoration to the God of His fathers, had come to Zacchaeus, he was after all a son of Abraham. Then Christ describes his mission with the famous words. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Zacchaeus had previously lived for himself and lived for money but now he had repented of his and returned unto Jehovah his God. He had been a son of Abraham – lost. But now he has been found. And now he will live righteously under the law.
Now the disciples had the mistaken idea that the Kingdom of God would appear immediately, so Christ tells a parable. In this parable Christ describes a nobleman who went into a far country to receive the kingdom. And in the meanwhile he left ten servants with responsibility in terms of wealth. The instructions of the nobleman were clear - Occupy till I come. However they hated him – without a cause and sent a message which encapsulates exactly how Israel felt about Jesus. We will not have this man to reign over us, however when he returned having received the kingdom he commanded that the servant give account. It seems that this money was given as a test of the servants wisdom and industry. The servant who gained nine more pounds was promoted to authority in the kingdom over ten cities. The servant who gained four more pounds was given authority over five cities. However there was one man who was lazy. Under law the Jews were and are responsible to be occupied until the return of their Messiah. Those who are lazy which Christ calls wicked will suffer the judgment of God but those who are industrious will be given great responsibility when the kingdom dawns. This is pure law. Those who do right are blessed and those who do wicked are cursed. How unlike this is with the church which is his body. They are not under the Mosaic Law and they are blessed not because of what they do but because of what Christ has done. Those that reject Christ in Israel will be destroyed Christ said, But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
As they were now approached Jerusalem, Christ knew that within a week he would be rejected crucified so he first sends two disciples to find the ass upon which he will sit to ride into Jerusalem. As Christ came riding on the donkey the whole company of disciples gathered rejoicing and praising God. Saying, blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. The religious leaders objected to their Hosannas but Christ said that if they did not speak then the stones themselves would cry out. When Christ first saw the city he wept for it and then prophesied of its destruction by Titus and of the total destruction of the Temple. And why was this going to happen? - Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Israel had seen and heard their Messiah and King and they knew not the time of his visitation. Then Christ entered the Temple and threw out those who sold and who had turned it into a filthy cattle market and a den of robbers. Robbery is theft with violence, a serious charge indeed. Christ turned the Temple back into a place of Prayer. Over the following days he taught in the temple but the religious leaders set about to murder him.

PM March 31st Judges 16

March 31st         Judges 16         Samson removes the city gates

1: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. 2: And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. 3: And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

Samson and Delilah

4: And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5: And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6: And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. 7: And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 8: Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9: Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. 10: And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. 11: And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 12: Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. 13: And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. 14: And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. 15: And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. 16: And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 17: That he told her all his heart, and said unto her. There hath not come a rasor 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. 18: And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. 19: And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20: And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. 21: But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 22: Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

Samson’s greatest victory

23: Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. 24: And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. 25: And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. 26: And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. 27: Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. 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. 29: And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30: 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. 31: Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 17         C. The effect of the period of the Judges                       The idol’s of Micah

1: And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2: 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. 3: And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee. 4: Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah. 5: And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. 6: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. 7: And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

Micah’s priest

8: And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9: And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. 10: And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. 11: And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. 12: And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13: Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.

Judges 18         Micah and the tribe of Dan

1: 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. 2: And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there. 3: When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? 4: And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest. 5: And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6: And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go. 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 they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man. 8: And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye? 9: And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land. 10: When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth. 11: And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war. 12: And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim. 13: And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 14: Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15: And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. 16: And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. 17: And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. 18: And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye? 19: And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20: And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. 21: So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them. 22: And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23: And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? 24: And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? 25: And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. 26: And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house. 27: And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire. 28: And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein. 29: And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30: And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. 31: And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

In the last day of March we read of the fall of Samson at the hand of Delilah and of his final victory. Then we are informed of the final days of the Judges and of the idols of Micah and of his association with the tribe of Dan. But first we read of Samson going to Gaza and he sees a harlot and he goes in to lie with her and the men of Gaza are told that Samson was in their midst. The men of the city surround him and lie in wait at the city gates. They planned to kill him in the morning. But at midnight Samson rose and took off the doors of the gates of the city from their hinges and he removes the posts on which they hung and he carried them all to the top of a hill in Hebron. The distance from Gaza to Hebron is about 35 miles. I expect Israel rejoiced over this for years and years. Then we read of the well know incident in the life of Samson when he succumbed to the seduction of Delilah. The lords of the Philstines came to her and offered her 1,100 silver coins if she would find out the secret of his strength. So she set about asking Samson for his secret. He told her that green withies could bind him and she tried it but he broke them like a thread in the fire. Again she pleaded with him and he told her that it was new ropes that could bind him. When this was tried he broke them also easily. In all of this one could not fail to think that he was playing with fire being in the hands of a treacherous woman. The third time he said if you tie my hair to a tentpeg then l will be weak. She did his while he slept but on waking he stood up peg and all. She wept and pleaded with Samson daily until in the end he revealed that it was his long hair that was the secret of his strength. His hair was the link to his Nazarite vow. While he slept she shaved him. Then when she woke him, he shook himself, as on previous days but didn’t know that the Spirit of the Lord was not with him. The Philistines fell on him and bound him and blinded him. They took him to Gaza and bound him in brass. And they put him in the corn house grinding corn like an donkey. However Samson repented of his mistake and the lords of the Philistines made a great feast to their god Dagon (The fish god). They celebrated their victory over Samson and praised their god. Then they called for Samson to make fun of him and have sport of him. Samson came from the prison house and they tied him between the pillars of the house. There were 3,000 men on the roof and all the lords of the Philistines in the house. Samson asked the boy that led him, to let him feel the pillars, then he prayed that the Lord might once more and for the last time give him strength and he bowed with all his strength and pulled the pillars together. The house fell and Samson killed more of the Philistines on the day he died than all his life. Samson brought peace to Israel for 20 years. And so we come to the end of the period of 490 years (In the years of the Lord). Next we come to an interesting incident a man of Ephraim called Micah spoke of the 1,100 shekels of silver (probably from the previous passage concerning Delilah) He said l have the silver. His mother blessed him in the name of the LORD. Then she said take 200 shekels of silver and Micah took them and made idols of silver in his house. Micah made a private temple in his house and appointed himself as priest. We read that there was no king in Israel and every man did what ever he wished. Then Micah met a young man of the tribe of Levi and he appointed him to be priest giving him money every year, clothing and food. He wished him to be his father and priest. There was no king in Israel and the tribe of Dan had failed to enter their inheritance. The Danities descided that they would go and spy out the land of Israel so they came to Micah and his priest and saw everything he did. Then they saw the Zidonians and how they lived carefree and in peace. But there was no law there. So the men of Dan went to war, 600 of them. They called on the young man of Levi to give them his blessing. Then they stole the idols and carried them away. When they came to Laish they killed everyone and burnt the city. Then they built there a city which they called Dan. And so the men of Dan caused Israel to sin against the LORD until the time when they were all carried away in captivity.


AM March 31st Luke 18

March 31st         How to Inherit eternal life – enter the Messianic kingdom

18: And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19: And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20: Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21: And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22: Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23: And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24: And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25: For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26: And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27: And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28: Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29: And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30: Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Jesus will rise again

31: Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32: For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34: And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

Jesus heals a blind man

35: And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. 37: And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38: And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 39: And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 40: And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41: Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42: And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43: And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Here Luke tells us of an interesting case that presented itself to Christ. A certain ruler asked Christ, ‘What must l do to inherit eternal life?’ Christ responded in two ways. First he challenged his use of the phrase ‘good master’. This was probably because it was either a custom in those days or it was customary for this man to refer to certain people as ‘good master’. It might have been that he was saying this to flatter Christ. Christ was not having any of it. He questioned his use of the phrase altogether saying that Only God is good. Then having corrected that, Christ referred the ruler back to the Mosaic Law. He said, ‘you know the commandments – Do not commit adultery etc. The ruler replied, ‘I have done all these from my youth up’. So how did Christ respond to this? Did he say, ‘Oh no, you haven’t’? What Christ said was, ‘You lack one thing, sell everything that you have and come and be my disciple. So what has this got to do with being saved? Nothing. We are not talking about being saved. We are talking about a Jewish leader living righteously according to the Mosaic Law in such a way that he will be raised from the dead to enter the kingdom of heaven. The Jews believed that the height of law keeping was not about not sinning, but positively doing righteous deeds. And they were right. According to Jewish understanding the height of Law keeping was charity. That is giving of ones wealth to the poorest of the poor. Cornelius was commended as was Dorcas for exactly this. So what happened to this man? Christ presented to him the ultimate expression of Jewish law keeping and he found it too hard to keep - because of covetousness. Christ then went on to explain how difficult it was for those who have money to give it away and thus keep the true spirit of the law and in doing so enter the Messianic Kingdom. The disciples were very much surprised. Don’t forget that they had left their nets but the ships still belonged to them, they had not given up everything and sold them and given the money to the poor. Peter says, ‘We have given up everything’. Christ does not argue the point. But he says that those who do give up everything will receive a hundred fold back in return in the kingdom and eternal life. Under the Law there could not be a more meritorious arrangement. At this time Christ reveals the path to the cross, but they did not understand it and it was hid from them. On the steep road west to Jerusalem from Jericho the blind man Bar-timaous calls out for healing. He calls on Christ the Son of David - The title of the Messiah. Some people tried to silence him but he cried out even more. Eventually Christ called for him and when he came, Christ asked a simple question. What do you want me to do? He said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. Christ said receive your sight your faith has saved you. He believed that Christ was able to do it for him before he had done it. That’s faith.

PM March 30th Judges 14

March 30th         Judges 14         Samson’s first wife

1: And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2: And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. 3: Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 4: But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. 5: Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. 6: And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 7: And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. 8: And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. 9: And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion. 10: So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. 11: And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12: And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: 13: But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14: And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. 15: And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? 16: And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17: And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18: 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. 19: And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. 20: But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.


Judges 15

1: But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. 2: And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her. 3: And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. 4: And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. 5: And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives. 6: Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. 7: And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. 8: And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

Samson kills 1000 - jawbone

9: Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10: And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us. 11: Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. 12: And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. 13: And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. 14: And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. 15: And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. 16: And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. 17: And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi. 18: And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? 19: 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. 20: And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Today we read of Samson and the beginning of his ministry. The life and exploits of Samson would have been the food of happy conversation and the joy of laughter for every Jew and especially in times of oppression. The first thing that we find is that he takes a wife of the Philistines. And then we read of his first great exploit the killing of a 1,000 men with the jaw bone of an ass. People often think that Samson’s great mistake in allowing himself to be humbled is an indication that everything that Samson did was foolish or rash. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We read yesterday that Samson was a man upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested. He probably looked ordinary in many ways and might have even been small in stature, we don’t know, but we are never told that he was particularily tall or big. His strength was not in his ordinary body but in the empowering of the Spirit of God. Samson was never the leader of an army like Gideon, It appears he always served God alone. However he is guided by the Holy Spirit and the first thing we notice is that he went down to Timnath and saw a woman who was a Philistine. And he asked his parents to arrange for him to be married to her. They complained that she was a Philstine but Samson was being led of the Spirit and he knew that this would bring him into contact with the Philistines. Samson needed to be in contact with the Philistines to deliver Israel from them. He was working alone. Scripture says he was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. He was looking for an opportunity and an issue to bring to a head. The Philistines were ruling over Israel. When he was near the vineyards of Timnath a young lion roars at him and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him and he ripped it apart like a kid of the goats. He did it with his bear hands and he told nobody about it. He visited his girl and on his way back went to look at the dead lion and a swarm of bees had made honey in the carcase. Samson ate of the honey and took some home to his parents, but he didn’t tell them where it had come from. His father arranged for a feast and 30 philistines came to the party. This was no ordinary party it was a seven day feast. The Israelites love riddles and word play. Their Biblical training gave them a love of words. Most Jews spoke many languages, as they do today. Samson posed a riddle. Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. Nobody was able to figure out this riddle of course. The riddle was not only a test but a test with reward. Anyone that could discipher this riddle would get 30 sets of clothes. The Philstines made Samsons wife find out what the riddle meant and tell them and they revealed it at the feast. Samson now knew that no Philistine was trustworthy even his wife. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him and he went to Ashkelon and killed 30 men and brought their 30 changes of clothes. Samson’s wife was given to a friend. In the time of the wheat harvest Samson came to see his wife but her father said you cannot lie with her now she has been given to another man, because l thought that you now hated her. Samson had found his opportunity. He was now going to be blameless even though he would do much damage. He caught 300 foxes and putting a fire brand between two tails he sent them into the harvest and they ran and destroyed all the wheat harvest, vineyards and olives. The Philistines retaliated but burning Samsons father-in-law. Samson went out and killed all those who had murdered his father-in-law. It was a very great slaughter. So the Philistines set themselves in battle array, but what could one man do against a 1,000? But first Samson had to contend with his own side. The men of Judah came – 3,000 of them and they insisted that they should bind him and deliver him to the Philistines. Samson agreed as long as they promised not to hurt him. When Samson was brought to the Philistines they shouted with joy but at that moment the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he broke the new ropes like breaking a blade of grass. Samson picked up the jawbone of an ass and used it as a mighty weapon. He killed 1,000 men piling them in heaps. But in the moment of triumph he thirsted and so he called on the Lord and the Lord gave him water from the jawbone to satify his thirst. What is even more remarkable is that the jawboe of an ass was forbidden to Samson as it was the carcase of a dead animal. Samson judged Israel for 20 years. This is such a remarkable story and there are so many lessons for the man of God not least the fact that everything is accomplished in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.


AM March 30th Luke 18

March 30th         Luke 18             Perseverance

1: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2: Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4: And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5: Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6: And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7: And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8: I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Two men go to pray

9: And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14: I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Jesus blesses the Children

15: And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16: But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17: Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Luke gives us the main point of the parable that he records. The parable of the unjust judge. He was an unfeeling and untouchable judge. He did not fear God or men. A poor widow pleaded with him for justice but he refused. He was only moved by her persistence in calling for his help. Is God unfeeling that he will not avenge those who cry to him every day? in fact he says yes God will avenge and speedily. Nevertheless he says of himself, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke explains the purpose of the next parable - And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. Here we have two men who come to prayer, One a Pharisee and the other a Publican. The Pharisee stood praying alone saying, God; I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. Now from a religious point of view he was a righteous man living in good conscience before God. What is wrong with that? The thing that was wrong was that his law observance had led him to arrogance and self righteousness instead of humility and self awareness of his faults. The Publican in contrast said, God be merciful to me a sinner. He went home justified in Gods sight rather than the Pharisee. Then Christ gives the principle of judgment, for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. This is the principle than god uses to judge the hearts of men. Then children were brought to Christ. The disciples at first showed them away but Christ rebuked them. And said let the children come to me don’t forbid them the kingdom of God is made up of children. The kingdom of God is made up of those who have a childlike heart.

PM March 29th Judges 11

March 29th         Judges 11         Jephthah leads Gideon’s army

1: Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. 2: And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. 3: Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him. 4: And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5: And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6: And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. 7: And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? 8: And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 9: And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head? 10: And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words. 11: Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh. 12: And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land? 13: And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. 14: And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon: 15: And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon: 16: But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; 17: Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh. 18: Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab. 19: And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place. 20: But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21: And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22: And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan. 23: So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it? 24: Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess. 25: And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, 26: While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? 27: Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. 28: Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.

Jephthah’s vow

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. 30: And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31: Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32: So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33: 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. 34: And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35: And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. 36: And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. 37: And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. 38: And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39: And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40: That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Judges 12         Jephthah delivers Israel 6 yrs

1: And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire. 2: And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 3: And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? 4: Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites. 5: And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; 6: 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. 7: And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

Ibzan delivers Israel 7 yrs

8: And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9: And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10: Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.

Elon delivers Israel 10 yrs

11: And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. 12: And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

Abdon delivers Israel 8 yrs

13: And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14: And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years. 15: And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.

Judges 13         Samson’s birth

1: And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2: And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3: And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4: Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 6: Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: 7: 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. 8: Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 9: And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10: And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 11: And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 12: And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? 13: And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 14: She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe. 15: And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. 16: And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. 17: And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? 18: And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? 19: So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20: For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21: But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 22: And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23: But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these. 24: And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25: And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

In todays Bible reading we have a description of five more Judges of Israel, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon and Samson. Jephthah is the leader of the army of Gideon. He does not have a great start, he is the son of a prostitute and when he grew up this was a constant background to his life. When his wife bear children and grew up the sons were forbidden from having their inheritance as a result of his mother’s sin. Jephthah ran away and lived with the outcasts of Tob. However when Israel was threatened in war with Ammon they sent for Jephthah asking him to come and lead Israel. Jephthah was a great man of war, fit, strong and a wise commander this was recognised by all. Jephthah answered the elders of Gilead, why did you hate me? and cast me out of my fathers house? And why come to me now when you are in distress? They answered we want you to lead us in battle. The elders swore that they would follow him if he came. Then Jephthah sent a message to the king of Amon asking why he had come to battle. But the answer came back that the children of Israel has taken their land when they came out of Egypt. They wanted their land back. Jephthah replied that Israel did not invade the land but requested to pass through and being denied, passed around the land. Then he said we entered into the land of Moab because Moab came to war with us. The Amoities refused to listen to Jephthah. Jephthah knew that this war which was unwanted was also unavoidable. At this time the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he went forward to battle and he vowed a rash vow that if the LORD gave him victory then whoever comes out of his house first will be offered to the LORD in sacrifice. This was a foolish vow but God holds men to their vows. He would regret this bitterly later. Suffice to say that the battle was a total success and the Ammonites were subdued by Israel. However when he returned home his only daughter came out firs to meet him and she was offered as sacrifice. His dear daughter understood his vow and encouraged him to keep it but asked for two months to go on the mountains and weep for my virginity. Later she returned and offered herself to her father. It became a custom in Israel that the childen would go into the mountains four 4 days to weep for her virginity. Jephthah brought peace to Israel for 6 years. Then the men of Ephraim gathered to find fault with Jephthah saying that he ad not invited them to battle but Jephthah replied that he had asked them to help but that they did not come and that he had to engage in battle straightaway and put hs life on the line. And he said why have you come today – to pick a fight with me? Then Jephthah gathered the men of war of Gilead and fought with the Ephraimites and overcame them and chased them away as far as the fords of Jordan. Then they found a man who said that he was not a Ephraimite but they asked him to pronounce the word Shibboleth and when they found he could not they knew he was a man of Ephraim and they killed him there. 42,000 Ephraimies died in the battle. It’s sad to see the people of God go to war with their enemies but it is even more a tradgey when the people of God fight against each other.  Next we are told of the lives of three other Judges. Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He sent his 30 daughters out (Possibly to another country) and he took 30 daughters from a far for his sons. He judged Israel for 7 years. He was buried at Bethlehem. Then came Elon who judged Israel for 10 years. He was buried in Aijalon. Then we read of Abdon who had 40 sons and 30 nephews who rode on 70 ass colts. He judged Israel for 8 years. He was buried in Pirathon. Then lastly we are introduced to one of the most famous judges of Israel, Samson. Because the children of Israel forsook the LORD and did evil in his sight he delivered them to Philistine oppression for 40 years. After 40 years the LORD began to move in deliverance. A man called Manoah had a wife who was barren. (This barreness was a judgment on Israel according to the Mosaic Law) Then an angel of The Lord appeared to her to tell her that she was to bear a son but she must never drink wine or fermented alcohol or eat anything unclean because the child born of her is to be a Nazarite from birth. He was to be brought up by her as a Nazarite. He would never cut his hair and he would deliver Israel from the Philistines. She told her husband what had happened and Manoah prayed that the Lord would teach them how to bring up this child. The Lord answered his prayer and appeared to the woman when she was in the field. She ran and called her husband. When they both came back, Manoah asked him how should we order his life and bring him up? The answer was that she must not eat anything from the vine. Manoah offered to give a sacrifice to him but he replied l will not eat of any food but you may offer this kid of the goats to the Lord. By this Manoah knew he was talking to an angel and not the Lord himself. Manoah asked him what was his name but the angel asked him why do you want to know because it is secret. Then Manoah offered a burnt offering and as they looked on the angel ascended to heaven in the first of the sacrifice. They both fell on their faces and Manoah said we will die because we have seen Gods face. But she answered we will not die because if we had done wrong then the Lord would not have received our sacrifice. She bore a son and the child grew and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times. Samson was learning what it was to be empowered by the Spirit of God.


AM March 29th Luke 17

March 29th         Luke 17             Forgiveness and Faith

1: Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2: It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3: Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4: And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 5: And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6: And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. 7: But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8: And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9: Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10: So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Jesus cleanses Ten Lepers

11: And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12: And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14: And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15: And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16: And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17: And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18: There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19: And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

The Kingdom & Second Coming

20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22: And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23: And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24: For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25: But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31: In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32: Remember Lot's wife. 33: Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34: I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35: Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36: Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37: And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Here Christ speaks about offences. That is the hurts and damages that come to us all. Christ gives the terrible picture of a man standing on the stern of a ship with a large stone used for milling bread which was common in every home and he has it around his neck and he is going to throw himself into the deepest sea. Why is he going to take his life? To prevent himself from hurting a young child who believes in Christ. Christ said be very careful what you do. And if a brother sin against you rebuke him and if he repents forgive him. He says if he sins against you seven times a day then rebuke him seven times and if he repents forgive him seven times. The disciples recognised the need for greater faith and they ask for more faith so Christ explains that it is not the size of faith that is important but the greatness of the God in whom our faith is. No servant expects to take precedent over the master nor do they expect thanks. In a Samaritan village Christ is met by ten lepers. They pleased for help from Christ so he told them to go to the priest and to offer the sacrifices required in the law for the cleansing of a leper. They obeyed and went but on their way one of them realised that he was made clean so he turned around and thanked Jesus. Who said where are the nine with you? The one who gave thanks was a Samaritan. Later the Pharisees demanded of Christ when the kingdom of God would come. Christ teaches them that the kingdom will not come by individual observation. It will come like a bolt of lightening lighting up the whole sky for all to see. Christ explains that before this coming will be the suffering of the Messiah. Christ says that it will come like the coming of the flood in the days of Noah. They carried on living their lives and were taken completely by surprise. It was the same in the days of Lot, the fire fell from heaven and they were totally unprepared. The coming of Christ will be so sudden that there will not be any time, even to get your coat. Christ describes the gathering of men for judgment he says there will be two men in a bed one will be taken in judgment and the other will be left for blessing. There will be two grinding at a flour mill and the one woman will be taken for judgment and the other left for the kingdom blessings. There will be two men in a field one will be removed in judgment and other left for the kingdom. This coming in judgment is in complete contrast to the coming of the Lord for the church which is his body. Those taken then will be taken for blessing and those left will be left for time of the wrath of God.