A Camp of Midian 
B Lord will save 
C People numbered 
D Lord’s choice – lapping dogs [4-5]
C People numbered 
B Lord will save 
A Camp of Midian 
1. Up until now Gideon has struggled with weakness. Gideon is now made to be weak in order to highlight the Lord’s hand in salvation.
2. God is pleased to use the weak things of the world to shame the wise.
A Victory Promised 
B Victory Confirmed [10-14]
C Victory believed (Victory over Gideon’s lack of faith?) 
B Victory Accomplished [1-23]
A Victory Completed [24-25]
1. The center highlight’s Gideon’s worship. Gideon finally believes. One wonders if the real victory was God’s conquering Gideon’s lack of faith!
In Hebrews 11 the author said that he did not have time to recount the story of Gideon, who through faith conqured kingdoms...obtained promises...was made strong out of weakness, and became mighty in war.
It is amazing that such a great epitath is given to one who Scripture goes out of its way to show his lack of faith.
2. The men getting off their shift would have been walking back into their tents right as the trumpets were blown. The sleeping soldiers would have been roused to see a man standing over them holding a sword or spear. Naturally, he would have grabbed his sword and started slinging.
3. Oreb & Zeeb receive just recompense: Israel was hiding in caves; Gideon was hiding in a winepress. O dies at a cave (rock of O); Z dies by a winepress.
A Introduction: Abimelech slays 70 sons of Jerubbaal on a stone [1-6]
B Jotham’s Prophecy announced [7-22] -- bramble, fire
C Shechem sets ambush for Abimelech; told to Abimelech [23-25]
D Gaal, son of Eved moves to Shechem 
E “Who is Abimelech?” Gaal pledges fight [27-29]
F Gaal’s Plot thwarted by Zebul [30-37]
E “Who is Abimelech?” Gaal engages fight [38-40]
D Gaal, son of Eved, driven away from Schechem 
C Abimelech sets ambush for Shechem, Abimelech was told [42-45]
B Jotham’s prophecy realized [46-55] - brushwood, fire
A Conclusion: Abimelech slain with a stone [56-57]
1. God is not mentioned in this chapter. (Schwab, 121). In his absence there is complete chaos and death. The earth, you might say, becomes “formless and void.”
2. Divine retribution drives the passage:
3. Jotham goes up on Mt. Gerizim to speak to the people. Mt. Gerizim & Ebal were the famous mountains where the blessings and curses were antiphanally spoken and affirmed (Cf. Deut. 11, 27, Josh 8). Gerizim was the mountain of blessing, but here it becomes the mountain of cursing. But the curse is a blessing because removing the evil and oppression is a blessing (just as it was with the other nations to whom they were enslaved).
4. V. 23 – “God sent an evil spirit” – God is in charge of evil. Satan is commissioned by God to wreak havoc and serve God’s purpose of judgment. It is a microcosom of the whole chapter as God uses the evil of Abi & S hechem to bring about His judgments.
5. Abimelech and Baal Berith are both half-lings:
This then is a uniquely Israelite paganism (Jordan). Thus, in chapter 9, Israel is not sold into slavery to another nation. They are sold into slavery to themselves with one of their own (Abimelech) as tyrant over them.
By focusing on the idea of “Halfling” the passage indirectly calls for purity: Purity of faith (no syncretism), relationships (no intermarriage), and devotion (no whims of man should be followed, but only God’s law).
6. The passage’s middle focuses on the overthrow of Gaal.
Gaal’s name means “loathing” or “abomination.” Gaal is also “the son of Eved” (i.e. slave), which likely means he is a Canaanite (remember that the Canaanites were the slaves of Israel). So, despite the evil that Abimelech represents, God continues to accomplish His purposes. He drives out the Canaanites and rids the world of its abominations.
7. Is this story about a judge? Kinda, sorta. Abimelech is not called a judge (he rules, rather than judges), and rightfully so. He is a usurper and is more about death than salvation (an anti-judge, so to speak, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy).
The narrative is chaotic, but there is an underlying order (retribution/justice). It points to the fact that, though the Lord is not mentioned, He is still the true Judge of all (Schawb, 126) who brings down the Usurper of the crown (Satan will soon be crushed under your feet).
Abimelech represents all power hungry, humanistic government. His was a centralizing of power (v.2) with intent to “lord it over.” He is in contrast to Christ, whose Father is the real king and who was given all authority to rule.
8. The whole of the passage reminds us that man’s power is void
A Midian’s oppression [6:1-10]
B Gideon’s (personal) Weakeness [6:11-18]
C Sign from Angel of the Lord [6:19-24]
D Baal Destroyed [6:25-35]
C Sign of the Fleece [6:36-40]
B Gideon’s (army's) Weakness [7:1-8]
A Midian Defeated [7:19-25]
A. Israel is enslaved [12-14]
B. Ehud the savior [15-17]
C. Idols [18-19a]
D. Roof chamber [19b-20a]
E. Slaughtering Eglon [20b-22]
D. Roof chamber [23-25]
C. Idols 
B. Ehud the savior [27-28a]
A. Israel is freed [28b-30]
· Ehud: The left handed man from Benjamin (son of my right hand). Left handed people were typically forced to be right handed. Left hand was the “unclean” hand. Ehud is definitely an oddity; a backwards man of sorts, perhaps even despised.
· Moab Ammon: the perverted offspring of Lot (sodomites?), Amelek (defeated foes)
· Eglon: The fat (girly) cow. Baal is often depicted as a calf (golden calves from Aaron & Jeraboam). He is something of a sacrifice. He is a bull that is slaughtered. Even the sword that pierces him is called a flame. Sinners will be cut down and “burned” by God’s wrath. More than that, the gods we worship are defeated and shown to be utterly (pun intended) powerless.
· The text does not present Eglon, king of Moab, as grossly fat orin any way impeded. he terms used typically denote health, strength, and attrac-tiveness and constitute a portrayal of him as a formidable, healthy, robust man.
· Is Eglon a homosexual? (Feminine noun and possibly the reason why he tells everyone to leave.)
· The idols are important. They were set at the edge of the region, as guardians, of sorts. They were to protect the people, but the idols were completely impotent; powerless to save.
· Gilgal- the place where Israel was circumcised in covenant renewal. “The idols at Gigal would have been for Ehud something attuned to seeing a Nazi flag at Arlington national Cemetery.”
· At the center of the chiasm is “God’s word.” The sword is actually a “two mouthed sword” (edge). See Provers 5:3-4, Hebrews 4:12, Rev. 1:16. Ehud brought down the king with the very word of God, reminding us that one day God will speak once and for all and his enemies will cast down. “One little word shall fell them.”
I. The impotence of idolatry:
Israel’s idolatry put them in bondage. It made them week. Eglon’s idols couldn’t protect. The Lord, on the other hand, handed them over. He is in sovereign control at all times.
II. The destruction of idolatry:
Eglon’s idols (cultic, food, sexual perversion, etc) are the causes of his downfall. Judgment comes through and upon each.
III. The foolery of idolatry:
A. God is shown to be supreme. He judges men for their worship.
B. Israel should laugh hard, but the laughing stops when we remember that they were conquered because of their sin and their sins are just as evil. They should have been slaughtered. But another was sacrificed in their place.
C. They only have rest for 80 years. They eventually turn back to their foolish ways.
 http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/pdf/jjju.pdf, p. 60.
 Schwab, Right in their own eyes.
A. Israel Enslaved by God [1-3]
B. Woman of War: Deborah [4-10]
C. Kenite 
D. Sisera & Barak [12-14]
E. The Lord routed Sisera 
D. Sisera & Barak 
C. Kenite 
B. Woman of War: Jael [18-22]
A. Israel Freed by God [23-24]
1. Jabin had already been conquered by Joshua (Jos 11.1f). His name means “intelligent one.” He is crafty and a usurper of the Lord’s territory. As Jabin’s general, Sisera is the right hand of the evil king.
2. By putting it at the center of the chiasm, the passage focuses attention on the Lord’s routing Sisera and His deliverance (not Debbie or Barak’s power).
3. Women play a primary role in this passage. Debbie is a prophetess and judge. Jael is the battle winner. This must be read in light of Gen 2-3 and Isaiah 3:12. The people are “doing what is right in their own eyes.” Men have abdicated their roles as leaders. Women are ruling. Barak is a limp man who must be coaxed into following the Lord (Deborah at least is honorable to call him to fulfill his office). In the end the battle belongs to a woman (v. 9).
This is not God’s plan for leadership. God calls men to stand up for righteousness and take their roles as leaders seriously. He who abdicates is in rebellion against God.
4. The men in the passage are girly. Not just Barak who is in a real sense Deborah’s “help mate,” but also Sisera. There is a bit of humor when in verse 20 he says, “If anyone asks, ‘Is there any man here?’ Say, ‘No.’” It should not be missed that both men are told what to do and where to go.
5. Barak – “lightening bolt.” The Canaanite god Baal was the god of rain; he carried a lightening bolt in his hand.
6. Heber the Kenite separated from Israel and made an alliance with Jabin. He is an apostate. But his wife is faithful to Israel and Israel’s God. She broke the alliance and put herself at risk. But she rather serve the Lord than obey the commandments of men. (You could say that she wore the pants in that family).
7. Dale Ralph Davis points out that Heber moved to just the right place at just the right time. This was God’s providence over the events of history to bring about his larger purposes.
8. Schwab makes the case that Jael’s capture of Sisera involved sex and an “unmanning” of Sisera.
9. The enemy’s head is crushed. The wiles of the evil one come to an end.
The Lord’s grace amidst the bounty of sin
I. Repeated idolatry
II. Leadership & manliness
III. Heber’s apostasy
IV. [Perhaps Jael’s sexual exploit]
 Schwab, Right in their own eyes.
Structure of Judges 5
A Introduction 
B Mother of Israel, nobility, despairing hopes Lord’s Praise [2-11a]
C Woman is focal point, repetition of armies marching down [11b-15a]
D Shame of non participants [15b-18]
E. Battle commences: kings (ones who ride horses) 
F. Miraculous rain [20-21]
E. Battle described: horses (trampling kings?) 
D Shame of non participants 
C Woman is focal point, repetition of Sisera “falling down” [24-27]
B Mother of Sisera, nobility, despairing hopes, Lord’s Praise [28-31a]
A Conclusion [31b]
1. It is funny that in B the leaders of Israel in Israel are compared to a bunch of wishful thinking princesses in B’. Is there a connection?
2. I wonder if there is some sarcasm in Deborah’s claim that “the leaders took the lead” and that her heart went out to them (when someone has acted stupidly we sometimes say, “Bless their heart”). They hardly took the lead, but had to be coaxed into it.
3. The whole of the song has a bent towards the feminine, Deborah, Jael, Sisera’s mother & princess posse, and clans/towns who did not come out to fight like a man. There is joy in God’s victory, but it is a bitter victory. She still awaits the true man, Jesus Christ to lead them.
4. The song reminds us that the mother of Israel, as strong as she is, cannot bring about the new birth that Israel needs.
5. James Jordan points out that this song might be sung yearly at a particular feast (kind of like our Christmas carols). Imagine the shame felt by those clans/places (in D) as they continually recite the folly of their non participation! Those who fail to fight for the Lord must battle enduring shame (a picture of hell).
6. The Canaanite kings and horses galloping are put in juxtaposition in E. Were the horses trampling the kings down in the mud? If so, then there is great meaning: The high were brought low. Those who oppressed the Israelites were themselves pressed down. The heads of the kings were trampled underfoot; crushed like Sisera’s (v. 26; harkens to the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent - Genesis 3:16)
7. The rain shows how the victory of chapter 4 came about. The battle was the Lord’s and came by His miraculous intervention. But notice that the battle became something of a cleansing. It was a baptism where “new life” came into existence.
8. Dale Ralph Davis calls v28-31a “vindictive gloating.” The audience laughs at the scene, the way the Lord laughs at his enemies.
 Note the chiastic arrangement of these verses:
a) leaders/nobility - Lord’s praise
b) despairing hopes
c) Mother, [2-11a]
b) despairing hopes
a) leaders/ nobility - Lord’s praise
 Note the chiastic arrangement of these verses:
a) Army marching down
b) Woman: Deborah [11b-15a]
a) Army marching down
In the last couple of weeks the book of Hebrews has gotten real. With the verdict that came down from the supreme court, we recognize that the call to persevere in faith has been ratcheted up to another level.
As one pastor put it, the SCOTUS is never on the vanguard. It is always catching up. It is always behind the culture. We know that our culture has been following the gay agenda for quite a while and the supreme court is just now jumping on board with it.
So, there is a sense in which this decision tells us nothing new. But we can still say that things are different now. When something like this is codified—when leaders act to make it legal, it changes things.
We recognize that America is different now. The state religion has been further solidified. Secularism has gained another significant victory and further ensconced itself as the religion of the United States.
All that is to simply say that the book of Hebrews has gotten even more real. History shows us that all nations have state religions, and dissenters are not typically tolerated. So the call to persevere is all that much more important. Everything we’ve studied for the last nine months has become extremely important. And all that has transpired has made this passage all that much more relevant too.
The ending of epistles sometimes feel a little scatter brained. A lot of Bibles will have as a heading something like “Final remarks” because they find no better way to organize the items that are listed. I would agree that there are a diversity of things laid out here. But I would contend that they are still connected to the overall theme of the book of Hebrews. Even these final remarks are linked to the idea of our perseverance.
I would suggest that what we find here are not just random bits that need to be thrown in at the end of the letter or simple formalities of greeting. Rather I believe that what is said here presents us with some vital keys to our faith’s endurance. What is said here outlines for us God’s divinely instituted system for preserving persecuted faith.
You see, God does not simply tell us to swim and then throw us in the deep end to make us start treading water. He doesn’t tell us that we need to persevere without providing the necessary accoutrements to accomplish it.
No. Our Lord has been gracious to provide us with everything we need in order to make our faith a lasting faith. And he spells it all out right here in this passage.
We might organize our thoughts today around this question: What has God done to fortify our faith? What has God done to ensure that our faith will not fail?
God has given us, first, godly leaders.
I. Godly leaders
Godly leaders are so important to our faith’s welfare. That’s why he says in verse 17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them.” If they weren’t important to our continued faithfulness, this would not have been included, would it? But our leaders are important.
Why are they important? It’s because, as it says, they are here to “keep watch over your souls.” You might catch that this is imagery of a shepherd. The shepherd keeps watch over the flock, making sure they are safe, well fed, and in a position where they can thrive.
And that is the job of the elders of this church. God places them over us to ensure that our souls thrive. It’s the job of a Christian leader to support and strengthen your faith. That’s why it says we need to submit to them.
Both the words obey and submit in the original language have the idea of appeasing. The word obey can actually be translated “tranquilize.” The idea is that you shouldn’t make the leader’s work difficult. You shouldn’t buck their authority by refusing their guidance, admonition, or rebukes. Rather your obedience should be so thorough that you almost lull them to sleep.
The word for leader offers some food for thought too. The KJV translates this, “Obey those who have rule over you.” That helps you to see the kind of leadership that’s being talked about here. The word leader has to do with one who has command. It’s even a word that has military connotations to it. A leader in the military is one who gives commands to those under him.
That’s kind of a different view of church leaders. Our view of a church leader is someone who is a “spiritual advisor.” He’s typically not seen as one how has any real authority. The best he can give is “pious advice” that you can accept or reject.
But what we read here gives you a radically different view. A church leader is one who has command over you. His counsel is authoritative and listening to him is of the utmost importance.
When you pull all this together you are supposed to recognize that the church is not a democracy. We shouldn’t view the Christian life from an egalitarian standpoint. God has invested certain men with authority and He has placed them in these positions for your personal and spiritual care. In other words, your thriving in the faith is very much dependent upon their oversight.
And of course in verse 18 and 19 he commands us to pray for our leaders. You know, it is a lot easier to submit to someone who you are praying for. But more than that, the praying is a form of submission and helps to ensure that your leaders are godly people. It helps to ensure that they are people to whom you should submit.
And I want to encourage you to be praying for us. We need you prayers. I will readily confess my weakness, and I’m sure Jim and Mark would say the same. If you pray for anything, pray that we would be endowed with the wisdom we need to watch over the flock. Pray that we would execute the duties of our office with the care and thoroughness that is required.
Or, if you’d like to make it more personal, pray that we’d serve you the way we should.
What’s the point of all this? What is the point of praying and appeasing leaders? Why does God point out that leaders have governance in the church?
It’s simply to remind us that no one is allowed to be a renegade Christian. God has instituted a hierarchy within the church (just like he has a hierarchy within the home), and these leader who are over us are there for our spiritual welfare. If you resist them, then you are resisting God Himself. And if you buck this authority or fail to place yourself under authority, then you are missing a vital lifeline.
Godly leaders are a vital ingredient for the preservation of our faith. And along with these godly leaders is their godly counsel.
II. Godly counsel
Look at verse 22. It says, “I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.”
You might say that the author is stressing again the importance of submission here. He’s a leader over them and he’s written this letter. In this letter he has given them godly counsel and exhorted them to faith. Now he wants them to submit to it.
But there is an important nuance that we should take note of here; something that goes beyond mere submission. It is the idea of “bearing the word of exhortation.” He’s commanding them to have a thoughtful, receptive attitude towards the things he has said.
Again, the KJV is helpful here. It uses the word “suffer.” “Suffer the word of exhortation.” He’s getting at the fact that what has been said is not necessarily agreeable to you. Here is something you don’t necessarily want to hear, but you have to hear it. More than that, you need to meditate on it and accept it.
The imagery of bearing is useful. You have to bear up a heavy backpack or load that has been placed upon you, and it is not an easy thing to do, is it? As a matter of fact, it can be downright painful. But it is something you have to do. You have to suffer or endure it.
All in all, this is stressing the gravity of a leader’s counsel. If something is said from this pulpit or if a leader in the church comes to you and says, “This is what you need to do,” then these words should have a great deal of weight. And you shouldn’t just flippantly pass it off.
You can put this in context of the rest of Scripture too. In Proverbs 11 it says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
So this is important to remember. If we are going to persevere, we need godly counsel. We need men who will tell us what we don’t want to hear. And when they speak it, we need to accept it.
But we need more than godly leaders and godly counsel. We also need godly examples.
III. Godly examples
We find one such example in verse 23. Verse 23 talks about Timothy and it tells us that he has just been released. The assumption is that Timothy had been in prison. Thankfully, though, he had been released. Thankfully, he was able to go free.
But the fact still remains that Timothy had faced some adversity. And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t detained simply for a parking ticket. Most likely, he had been imprisoned for his faith.
Now some might think that this is just a polite thing that the author includes. It is never a good thing to show up at someone’s house and say, “Hey we are here for dinner. I hope you don’t mind I brought a couple of my friends along.” Some might see this as the author’s way of just letting his readers know that they need to have some extra pillows ready.
But I think there’s more to it than that. I think that the author is pointing out that there are others all around who are facing the same kinds of adversities that these Hebrew Christians are facing.
And for that reason Timothy is an example to the Hebrews (and to us). Timothy should be something of a source of encouragement to us. Timothy is one who is persevering. He’s someone who was courageous. He was faithful, and because of that he’s something of a hero. He’s someone we can follow.
One of the worst things that can happen to us is we think that we are alone or imagine that we are the only ones who have ever been tried or tested. There is comfort in knowing that others have suffered for the sake of the gospel. When we know that others have faced the same kinds of adversities, we can take courage to persevere ourselves.
Right now we are reading John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in our Sunday night fellowship group. One of the marvels is that this classic was written while Bunyan was in prison. He was in jail for 12 years for preaching the gospel.
Over a decade of his life was taken away. Can you imagine being away from your children for 12 years, and missing seeing them grow up?
But Bunyan’s faith is an example to us. If they want to put us in prison, we don’t have to shrink back. We can remember guys like him who have gone before us. And we can gain strength to persevere from their testimonies.
But God not only supplies godly examples, he also provides the support of godly friends.
IV. Godly friends
Look at verse 24. Almost all the epistles in the NT end with some sort of greeting. This one is no different. It says that that we are to greet our local church friends (the leaders and saints). And it goes on to say that our far away friends (those in Italy) send their greetings to us.
Now again, we could breeze over this and write it off as formalities. But I don’t think we should do that. I think we need to listen to what is being said here. I think the author wants us to remember that we are not alone. We have friends and partners in Christ, both near to us and far away.
In other words, God has given us a world wide web of support. We have the people sitting right next to us and a vast number of people with whom we do not have direct contact; people that may even be on complete the other side of the planet.
I think that this is a reminder of how important the broader church is. We are not isolated. We are not an independent church in the true sense of it. We are connected to the rest of the body of Christ. And we should find some consolation in that.
When Elizabeth and I first came back to Ashland we were setting out to plant a church. And we were amazed that we had so many godly people praying for us. We had people in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and a multitude of other states. And there were times when the Lord used that to lift our spirits.
Let’s not forget that God has created a world wide support system for us. Being in union with Christ means we are united to a whole kingdom of godly people.
And I might just add that the local expression of this should not be overlooked. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this or not, but we are commanded to greet one another.
Again, I think we typically skip over this or pawn it off as formalities of a letter. But it is not. Part of our Christian duty to one another is to greet one another. We are required to shake that hand or give a quick hug as we say hello.
We need that network of support. We need those constant reminders of each other’s love. They help to remind us that we can depend on one another.
More than that, as we build those relational ties, we help to build each other’s faith. We strengthen it for and during those difficult times we might be facing.
But above all, more than godly leaders, godly counsel, godly examples, and godly friends-- we have godly power from which we can draw.
V. Godly power
That’s what we find in verses 20-22. This is the blessing we have heard repeated a number of times at the end of our services. Here is the great benediction that we have often used. And what is this benediction? It’s a reminder that our faith is fueled by God.
It has a lot of components to the sentence. So it is a little complex in that regard but the main nut of it is “May the God of peace… equip you to do his will.” That’s the nut and kernel of this benediction. And it is a testimony that all our service is through the power of God alone. He is the one who equips us and enables us to serve him.
I will say that this is in the middle of everything we’ve looked at so far. And I think that is a way of saying that god’s power comes through these different channels. Everything we’ve mentioned is an avenue through which God empowers us. God equips us with strength through our leaders, through His word, through His people. All of these are the instruments God uses to impart his power.
But what is said here reminds us that God is the one who is behind it all. We do not persevere by our own strength. Our ability to stand up to those who would revile us is not our own. It is solely due to the grace of God.
And everything else that is said in these verses are here to remind us of how powerful God’s power in us is. When you look at what is said here you understand that the power God works in us is the same power he uses to raise the dead and to move history.
It says, “May the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus.” That’s talking about resurrection power. The resurrection of Christ was perhaps the most miraculous thing that ever happened in all of history besides creation itself. To bring life out of none life is absolutely impossible. It defies all logic and every law of physics.
But that is exactly what God did. And that is exactly the kind of power God imbues you with through your leaders and friends in this church!
But it is not just resurrection power, it is the power of God’s decree.
What’s the next thing it says? It says, “by the blood of the eternal covenant.”
That word eternal reminds us that God’s covenant wasn’t something that happened at the spur of the moment. He wasn’t making things up as he went along. He had planned all this out in eternity past. Before the world came into being. Before the universe’s clock started ticking God made a decision to create the world and save mankind. He formulated this covenant with us and made a pact with the Son, the second person of the Trinity, to redeem us through the shedding of his blood.
And of course, this implies that he worked out that plan in time. So when it talks about this “eternal covenant” it is reminding us that all through history God was working to effect His plan. The nations were moved, events were orchesetrated.
And all the powers that the Lord used to bring these things about are the same powers He uses to support you and your faith.
So really, you should never think, “How ever could I stand for God in this situation?” Knowing that this kind of power supports you, the thing you should say is, “How ever could I not stand for him in any given situation.”
All this should remind us that our salvation is, from first to last, solely the work of God.
And at the end of the day, that is what allows us to persevere. If it were due to our strength or ability, we’d be able to boast in our achievements. But at the end of the day—or, perhaps it would be better to say, at the end of our lives, the only words that should resound are those we read at the end of 21: “to [Him] be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Surprise surprise, another chiasm...
A Israel embraced other gods [11-13]
B The anger of the Lord burned [14-15]
C Judges raised up but they didn’t listen to them [16-17]
C’ Judges died off and they went back to sinful ways 
B’ The anger of the Lord burned 
A God gave them other gods to worship [21-22]
“They did evil in the sight of the Lord”
· The Bible does not allow us to gloss over our sins or “pretty them up” as we so often do. Sin is called evil to pinpoint how heinous it really is. They are not “shortcomings” or foibles, or faux pas. They are detestably wicked things; in a word, they are evil!
· Fertility god- this god will give you fertility, wealth, happiness, joy. But you must stimulate him to action by first copulating, cutting, sacrificing your child. You “arouse” your god to serve you as opposed to submitting to the God who promises to sustain you. Paganism’s gods must be coerced rather than trusted.
· Jordan expresses that Baalism is complimentary to secular humanism and evolution. Both are theologies of nature. Baalism seeks to control nature, as does secular humanism. Both say that nature is self existent and bring life through developmental processes (enhanced by our “help”).
Jordan also explains that we must understand worship: in the ancient world gods were worshiped (prostration, sacrifice, sacrament); today they are studied (lecture, study, meditation).
· Baalism and YHWHism might not have been seen as mutually exclusive. People might see the Lord working out his purpose through Baal & Ashtoreth. He might very well have been one god among many, or even the overarching god.
14-15 The Lord’s reaction
· The anger of the Lord burned: Jealous anger, one that will not tolerate being shared.
· The people were “sold” to their plunderers: the idea is a hearkening back to Egypt. They became slaves. They were oppressed because of their faithlessness.
· God gives us over to our sins. They worshiped the baals, so they became subject to the baalist leaders and expereinced how horrible Baal’s mastry is.
· They were helpless (marching out and harmed): God promised that one would chase a thousand and there enemies would scatter before them, but curse was inability to be successful. We miss the blessing because we love our sin!
16: Saved them
· The Lord raised up judges and was “with” the judge – Imanuel principle,
· The word is yasha [Joshua]
· The salvation was not fully a heart deliverance though. They were quick to whore after other gods (necessity of the new covenant and the promise of a new heart)
18: God’s pity
· It is amazing that God continues to react with pity, even despite their faithlessness (and lack of true repentance). God is that gracious!
A These are the Nations left
B To test them, for the purpose of knowing war
A These are the nations left
B. To test them, for determining obedience to God’s commands
A These are the nations left
Theme: God calls us to war, to war that we may obey. Intermarriage, which is mixing with the culture and foreign gods, is the failure to obey and loss of the war.
A The test offered (for war) [1-2]
B Nations listed 
C for obedience 
B’ Nations listed 
A’ Test failed (intermarriage) 
3:7-11 Othniel: “the hour of God” or “the lion of God.”
A the people sinned [7-8]
C. The Lord raised up a deliverer, Spirit of the Lord upon him 
A’ the people were saved 
· Cushan rish—“double wicked one” Mockery? Maybe, but definitely shows the power of God (his hand prevailed over Cushan).
· God is in complete control of every aspect of this over his people, over their enemies.
· The overall feel of Othniel narrative is that he is successful. There is triumph and nothing can really be said against Othniel.
This points to the greater Lion who comes at the appointed hour of God who will destroy the Wicked One who tyrannizes God's people.
A Gideon deals with arrogant men (Ephraim) [1-3]
B Succoth & Peniel Refuse help [4-9]
C Z’s Captured [10-12]
B Succoth & Peniel Punished [13-17]
A Gideon deals with arrogant men (Zeb & Zal) [18-21]
The chiastic structure reinforces the promise of God: He will deliver his people from his oppressors.
But the structure also says a great deal more. The majority of the passage is about Israel and its sins. First, we see how Succoth & Peniel are faithless. They did not join in the battle and realize that the victory was the Lord’s. They waiver because they do not believe the promise.
Secondly, Ephraim is in parallel with the two evil kings, Zeb & Zal. What a rebuke! Ephraim’s pride is so abhorrent that they are equated with God’s enemies.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.