Tag Archives: enemies

Judges 15

It’s not my fault

“Blame him, not me! I had no choice. They deserved it. Paybacks are fair game. Because!”

Do these words sound familiar?

They sure do to me… I’ve said them, many times. But as I look at them now, on the other side of whatever incident or event that prompted them, they somehow feel like sand in my throat. They are all rooted in self. I didn’t get something. Something didn’t happen in the way I expected. I got angry…

Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.” – Judges 15:3

Really Samson, you cannot be blamed? Um, you abandoned your “wife” on your wedding night! And you didn’t return for weeks, perhaps months. Then you have the gall to say that you cannot be blamed because her father later gave her in marriage to a man who would actually take his wife with him – like he was supposed to do?

What a pathetic excuse for an irrational temper, prone to fits of rage, and fueled by the supernatural power of God.

“Because you did this,” Samson vowed, “I will take my revenge on you, and I won’t stop until I’m satisfied!” – Judges 15:7

Notice that it is all about him. The “I” word is rather prominent in both “outrage” verses. Now, I do know that Samson accomplished God’s work in putting some fear into the Philistines. But imagine how much more could have been done if he had also lived a holy life, a life which sought after the heart of God instead of the fleshly wants of Samson? He was designed to lead, not merely destroy.

How much more could I accomplish for God if I lived a holy life, a life which sought after the heart of God instead of the fleshly wants of Jan? How different would life be if I didn’t cast blame, or if I looked a bit harder and prayed for alternatives rather than having knee-jerk reactions? What if I didn’t payback evil with evil? What if I truly sought God for any and all actions which I was unsure about?

I suspect that there would not be quite as much sand scratching my uvula.

Father, blame me. I had a choice. They deserve your mercy and mine. Paybacks are the devil’s tool. Because your son died so that I would live life as he did, for others, not for myself. Please forgive me for failing so often. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It is my fault. That’s why Jesus came, to take it away. Jan

Judges 5

Come back and fight like a man

Until now, I’d never noticed the sequence of what occurred in the battle between the forces  of Barak and Sisera.  An interesting happened on the way to the battle, the enemy ran away! And they did it before Barak’s soldiers engaged them.

Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! Today the LORD  will give you victory over Sisera, for the LORD is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his ten thousand warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle. When Barak attacked, the LORD threw Sisera and all his charioteers and warriors into a panic. Then Sisera leaped down from his chariot and escaped on foot. Barak chased the enemy and their chariots all the way to Harosheth-haggoyim, killing all of Sisera’s warriors. Not a single one was left alive. – Judges 4:14-16

Notice that the Lord marched out ahead of Barak, and that Sisera’s forces were in a panic because of the Lord, not Barak. Why did they panic?

I found it interesting that God made sure to mention that Sisera’s focres had nine hundred iron chariots.

Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. – Judges 4:13

He actually mentioned them earlier in the chapter too, and then he also ensured that Sisera’s leap from his chariot was recorded.

An iron chariot was the equivalent of our modern day tank. Infantry is no match for one. And all of Israel had was infantry. So I ask you, why would you jump out of your battle-wagon? Why would you abandon your armor? Why leave the tank behind?

I think the following section of the song of Deborah and Barak explains it.

LORD, when You went out from Seir, when You marched from the field of Edom, the earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, even the clouds dripped water. The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD, this Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel… The stars fought from heaven, from their courses they fought against Sisera. – Judges 5:4-5, 20

Hmm, heavens dripping. Could that be rain? The earth quaked, the mountains quaked. Sounds like thunder. The stars fought from heaven. Sounds like lightning. I don’t have definitive proof, and I’ll have to wait to see it on God’s Blue-Ray screen, but I suspect that Sisera’s iron chariots become lightning-rods. God was having himself a Canaanite barbecue.

Sisera, seeing his forces being roasted as they stood in their Smokey Joe’s, jumped out of the spit as fast as he could and started running for his life – as did the rest of his troops. And Israel began the mop-up operation.

Father, thank you that if we trust you, often times you will battle for us. Of course there are times that you expect us to engage as the Israelites had to. But you certainly know how to put our opposition to flight. Thank you for allowing me the honor of being on your side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I smell rain… Jan

Job 22

Nothing to Gain

We value altruism in others when we see it, Mother Terresa, David Livingstone, Eric Liddell, and Florence Nightingale, to name a few. But rarely do we want to engage in that type of self-sacrifice ourselves. Yet even these undoubtedly good-hearted people had a motive beyond the mere desire to do good. They were motivated by a vision of the future, of entrance into heaven. I’m not saying that they thought their works would get them there, but their works were greatly influenced by their eternal destiny. So, they did in fact have something to gain.

Job’s so-called friend Eliphaz asked an interesting question.

Can a person’s actions be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect? – Job 22:2-3

No matter how good anyone behaves or thinks, it really is of no benefit to God. He does not need us in any way whatsoever.

Ponder that for a moment. God does not need you. Nothing you could ever do will change that…

The beauty is that he wants you!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. – Romans 5:8-11

If we accept the offer of life, then he calls us friends. Wow!

Father, thank you for life and friendship that will never end. Thank you for making a way for me to come to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I gain everything! Jan

2 Samuel 18

The Trees Joined In

In the Lord of the Rings movie Trilogy there is scene at the end of the Battle at Helms Deep where the trees of the forest join in the battle and destroy the fleeing Orc army.

Similarly, Absalom’s forces faced off against David’s in a great forest. Something quite unusual happened during the ensuing battle.

Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. The people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. – 2 Samuel 18:6-8

The forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured?

Sounds like something supernatural happened there that day. Perhaps is looked like the scene from The Lord of the Rings. Whatever it was, God saw to it that his will was acomplished and his man was restored to the throne.

Father, thank you for using whatever means is necessary to grant us victory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be nice to the trees… Jan

 

2 Samuel 16

Who am I…?

King David, on the run from his son Absalom, encounters a relative of the late King Saul named Shimei. This guy starts hurling insults and curses against David and his people.

As David and his party passed Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, a member of Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded them. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The LORD is paying you back for murdering Saul and his family. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, you murderer!” – 2 Samuel 16:5-8

However, David does something very unusual in response. He keeps his men from harming Shimei and then says the following.

“No!” the king said. “What am I going to do with you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who am I to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and the other officers, My own son is trying to kill me. Shouldn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it. And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses.” – 2 Samuel 16:10-12

Perhaps this is where Solomon first heard the following words of wisdom that he wrote down.

Do not rejoice when your enemies fall into trouble. Don’t be happy when they stumble.  For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them. – Proverbs 24:17-18

Paul further expounded on that concept and raised the bar even further.

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else. – 1 Thesalonians 5:15

However, Jesus probably put it best.

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48

Eventually Shimei did pay for his crimes. But it was he himself that brought that calamity on his head. David did not do it. God judged him.

Father, please help me to remember that you are the judge. I need to leave things in your hands more often than not. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m not God. Jan

2 Samuel 15

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Ahithophel was the royal adviser. Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend. – 1 Chronicles 27:33

A few days ago I wrote a possible scenario regarding how Bathsheba came to live in Jerusalem. In that posting I wrote about her family lineage. In a list of King David’s “Thirty Mighty Men” Ahithophel, David’s royal adviser is mentioned.

Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah; Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh… – 2 Samuel 23:34

Ahithophel’s son, Eliam, one of the Mighty Men is Bathsheba’s father.

…She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam… – 2 Samuel 11:3

That means that King David’s trusted royal adviser was the grandfather of Bathsheba. Ahithophel was the king’s adviser, a member of the royal court, during the David’s episode in sin with Bathsheba. He knew what had happened.

The fact that Ahithophel had no qualms about supporting a coup against King David is proof that he had an axe to grind.

While he (Absalom) was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum. – 2 Samuel 15:12

As further proof of his motive, look at his advice to David’s son Absalom upon reaching Jerusalem.

Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to keep the house. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted him beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will give you their support.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went into the tent to sleep with his father’s concubines. – 2 Samuel 16:21-22

Ahithophel had Absalom commit a crime against David that was nearly identical to the one David committed against his own son-in-law Uriah.

Ahithophel bided his time. He waited until the matter that had happened between David, Bathsheba, and Uriah was cold for several years. Then when he felt the time was right, when the object of his hate did not expect it, he exacted his revenge.

But there is more. A chapter later Ahithophel has more advice for Absalom.

Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up to him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only this man’s life that you seek. Then all the people will remain unharmed and peaceful.” – 2 Samuel 17:1-3

What I found particularly interesting was that Ahitophel wanted to be the one to do it. The “I” portions jump off the page. The proverbial “smoking gun” is the statement about, “as a bride returns to her husband”. This is a clear allusion to Bathsheba having been taken from Uriah. Ahitophel had been plotting this revenge against David for quite some time.

However, God is the judge. Not man.

I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’ – Deuteronomy 32:35

The Apostle Paul put it as follows.

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19

Ahitophel’s revenge was fulfilled, but it cost him his position and his life in very short order.

Heavenly Father, may I leave room for your justice and mercy. If you forgive, may I not place myself above you and hold onto an offense. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Don’t serve leftovers. Jan

2 Samuel 5

The Enemy of My Enemy…

There is a very old expression that states, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It is attributed to the Arabians, the Chinese, and several other ancient people groups. It is even found in the bible. 

I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. – Exodus 23:22b 

I see this principle being put into reality between King David and King Hiram. 

Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with carpenters and stonemasons to build him a palace. Hiram also sent many cedar logs for lumber. – 2 Samuel 5:11 

It was quickly evident to King Hiram that King David had a well trained and large active fighting force. From Judah alone he was able to muster a force of nearly 400,000. Once combined with the forces of the rest of the nation he had about 1.3 million fighting men. 

Since they shared a common border, and since both King Hiram and King David both had a common enemy – the Phillistines – Hiram wisely formed an alliance. 

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

It is good to have friends. 

Father, please help me to be a good friend to those who count themselves as my friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Got any common enemies? Jan