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DEBORAH AND BARAK DELIVER ISRAEL FROM THE CANAANITES

Judges 5:31 – Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.

This verse is taken from the song of Deborah which covers the whole fifth chapter. It is her song of victory after defeating the Canaanites. The enemy had created problems for the work force in Israel. The highways were deserted and travelers went by roundabout ways. Society was in turmoil without security for tomorrow. When God’s people are serving the Lord and His purpose there are “pleasantries.” But when God’s people choose to serve the gods of this world, the pleasantries cease.

At the time of this writing, our nation has forsaken the Spirit of the living God and we are hurting in many areas, just as Israel was at that time. The nations of the world that serve false gods of secular humanism have taken control. Many in the church seek after worldly ways to expand the church, but God’s Spirit is frustrating their efforts.

Deborah, a prophetess and a judge over Israel, received a word from the Lord that He was about to deliver the Canaanites into Israel’s hands. She gave that word to Barak who was told to take an army against Jabin’s army and that Israel would conquer the enemies of God. God’s Spirit is looking for those today, who will hear and obey God’s word. The world is in crisis and only the people of God can bring the deliverance that is needed. It will take those consecrated to the Lord’s will. Judges 5:2 sums up our thought in today’s devotion, “That the leaders led in Israel and the people volunteered.”

God is looking for those called to lead. He is seeking a people that will volunteer. It is time for the people of God to arise and take down the enemies of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is looking for the Deborah’s and the Barak’s of today. Read over Deborah’s song in Judges Chapter five and see if the Lord has things to say to you.

Oh Lord, my prayer is that all Your enemies will perish and that those who love You will be like the rising of the sun in its might. Father, strengthen me to be an example in my life of how to overcome the enemies of God. Cause me to be a volunteer wherever Your Holy Spirit leads me to serve in order to accomplish Your purposes in this season.

NOW THE SONS OF ISRAEL AGAIN DID EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD

Judges 3:15 – When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera.

We must always be vigilant when it comes to sin. The enemy is always waiting to lure us away from our relationship with the Lord.  Israel had known the peace of God for forty years and then they reverted to idolatry. The Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord.

The Lord will strengthen the enemy against us in order to bring us to repentance. Jesus covers this point in Matthew 18:31-35 when he tells the story of how a king dealt with an unforgiving servant who failed to forgive one that owed him a little compared to what he owed the king. The king throws him in jail until he paid his debt to the king. Jesus then says “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

In God’s great love, He will discipline His children to get their attention and draw them back to serving His kingdom of righteousness. Ehud went straight to the king of Moab. Ehud told him that he had a message from God. For the king it was a message of death as Ehud plunged a knife into Eglon’s abdominal area. We must be intentional and ruthless when dealing with the enemies of God’s people. In New Testament terms, disobedience to God’s word is an enemy. Carnality is an enemy. an unforgiving heart is an enemy to God’s purposes.

Regardless of the sin, it will separate us from God’s intended relationship with us. Ehud knew what it would take to restore the people of God and he accepted the responsibility to go after Moab and put an end to the tempter’s power. God accomplished this for us in Christ. Our deliverance has been purchased, but we must implement what Christ has done. It is our responsibility to rebuke the enemy of our souls. We are to remind him of his utter defeat by the Lord Jesus Christ. We can stop his aggression against us by using the weapons the Lord has supplied. The sword of the Spirit is our weapon. “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Today, be resolute in your determination to overcome sin and binding the enemy by putting to death the lusts of the flesh through the overcoming life of Christ that resides in you.

Father, in Jesus’ name, I put on the armor of God so I can stand against all the trickery of the enemy. Help me, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be resolute in my resistance against sin, the world and the devil. Father, I ask You to empower me to restore others to You.

GOD JUDGES HIS PEOPLE WHEN THEY FORGET HIM

Judges 3:10 – The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and He judged Israel.

The first Judge in Israel was Othniel, the younger brother of Caleb. God raised up Othniel after Israel had cried out to the Lord for deliverance from their enemies. Israel had a habit of falling into idolatry and becoming the slaves of others. Idolatry always leads to “servitude”! God had mercy on His people and sent them a deliverer. Othniel prevailed over the enemies of God’s people and the land had rest for forty years.

Whenever we find ourselves in bondage to others or things, it is important to examine our heart to see if we have made people or things a god to us. A dear sister in the Lord received deliverance from the Lord as she recognized she had made her husband a god. She depended on him for everything and found herself with a bad attitude when he did not meet her expectations. She had stopped seeking the Lord for herself and hearing the Spirit of Lord speaking to her. As she repented and released him to his rightful place as her husband and not a god, she experienced God’s rest and peace filling her soul once again.

Idolatry can take on many forms. For Israel, it came in the form of sexual sins. The nations around Israel worshipped the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25). It takes a warfare attitude to defeat the enemy and overcome the sin of idolatry. Othniel led the people of God into war against their enemies and God gave him great victory. First we must identify the “sin of idolatry.” Then we must rout it out of our lives. We do this by confessing the sin of idolatry, repenting of any idolatrous activity, renouncing it as wrong and against God. Finally, ask that the blood of Jesus cleans you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-10). Once this is done, rest will return and a renewed fellowship with the Spirit of God.

Society around the world is filled with the sin of idolatry. It is almost impossible not to be touched by it in some form or fashion. Ask the Lord to show you any idolatry in your life. With a willing heart, repent and let go of every form of idolatry the Spirit of God reveals to you.

Father, I recognize that the sin of idolatry has always plagued Your people, please show to me any form of this sin in my life. I ask You for the overcoming victory of Jesus to reign in my life. 

THE GIFT OF FAITH CAN BE YOURS

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another is given faith by the same Spirit.

Let us remember that through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). We call this “saving faith.” The first work of the Spirit in our life is to lead us to faith in Christ. Faith that believes the Word of God which declares what the Lord has done for us through His death on the cross. This is faith that began to work in us before salvation actually takes place. Paul calls it “The faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

Faith is named in the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22. This kind of faith can only be developed by the Spirit as we learn to walk in the Spirit. Fruit can only be grown, not made. This fruit of faith speaks of God creating us to be a faithful people. We begin in faith that saves us. Then we learn to walk in faith, learning to trust the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. At times, we may experience the gift of faith which the Holy Spirit gives at His will for special times of need.

The gift of faith is distinct from saving faith and the fruit of faith.  The gift of faith is in the family of the power gifts. When one operates in this gift, they believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own. He miraculously brings to pass those things spoken in faith.  It is a supernatural endowment by the Spirit whereby what is uttered or desired by a person shall eventually come to pass. This faith utterance covers blessing, cursing, destruction, and is different from the gift of the working of miracles and the gifts of healing in that often its operation is not immediately or even generally observed.

The operation of Miracles is more of an act, as when the Red Sea was rolled back by Moses, while the operation of the gift of faith is more of a process. The Gift of Faith begins with a sudden surge or boost of faith given by the Holy Spirit, when needed, as seen in Joshua 10:12-13, Acts 9:40, and Acts 13:11. Peter is a great example of this operation of faith. He entreated the Lord to bid him to come as the Lord was walking on the water and approaching the disciples. The other disciples in the boat thought Peter had lost it for sure, but when he came back in the boat with Jesus, Peter was their hero of “faith.” You just have to know, each one of them wished they had done what Peter did!

Holy Spirit, there are times when only the “gift of faith” can bring us through to Your intended purpose. Make me a willing vessel to allow You to give me that gift to help me do Your will when my natural ability fails me.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1 Corinthians 12:8 – To another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.

The word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation given to believers by the Holy Spirit of certain facts in the Mind of God. God keeps ever before Him in the storehouse of His Mind all the facts of heaven and earth. He knows every person, place, and thing in existence. He has them ever before Him. That is a real knowledge base! The word of knowledge is a revelation to an individual by the Holy Spirit of some detail that would help them to know what to do or say. It is supernatural “knowledge” such as the existence, condition, or whereabouts of some person or object. It might be the place, location or occasion of some event. It is a gift of revelation, revealed to one’s spirit and mind. It is usually not vocal, but given as a thought, a picture, or some other type of impression.

The word of knowledge is not natural knowledge, but supernatural information. A few examples of the use of this gift in Scripture will help to make this clearer to us. In today’s lesson, we will consider a few Old Testament examples. In tomorrow’s lesson, we will look at a few from the New Testament.

In I Samuel 3:10-21, a word of knowledge was given to the child Samuel, who was to become the Prophet of Israel. God spoke to the child and said, “Behold, I am about to do a new thing in Israel” (1 Samuel 3:11). Even a child can hear the word of knowledge the Lord wants to give. In II Kings 6:8-12, the word of knowledge is used to warn a king of the enemy’s plan. A man of God sent a word to the king warning him where his enemy was about to attack. In 1 Kings 19:14-18, the word of knowledge was given to enlighten and encourage Elijah, a discouraged servant of the Lord. In II Kings 5:20-27 a word of knowledge was given to expose a hypocrite.

As one can see, the word of knowledge is not new to the New Testament. God has been giving this supernatural grace throughout His dealings with His people. The word of knowledge has been made available to any of God’s servants through the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have not already done so, begin to ask the Father, in Jesus’ name for the “word of knowledge” to be activated in your life. Yield your mind to the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to be free to give you words that only He has to give. Lord, please help me to speak for You, as Your servants did throughout the Old and New Testaments.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S WISDOM

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Today, I want us to look further into this subject of wisdom. Throughout the Scriptures, wisdom is highlighted as a gift given by God. In Matthew 2:13, we read of a word of wisdom given to Joseph through a dream which instructed Joseph to take Mary and the babe to Egypt. Compare this with Matthew 2:20 when the angel instructed Joseph to return to Israel. In Acts 13:2, the command by the Spirit to separate Barnabas and Saul was a word of wisdom as to the timing of God’s will to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This word of wisdom had a bearing upon their walk and experience. In Acts 15:5-27, a word of wisdom is given through James as to what commands should be placed on the converted Gentiles. In Acts 26, Paul is defending himself before King Agrippa and Festus. Festus thought Paul to be insane.  Paul testifies of the wisdom from the Lord given to him at his conversion which directed his life in the message he carried as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

The above Scriptures are but a few examples of this wonderful gift the Spirit of God has made available to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:31, Paul warns us not to boast in ourselves, but in the Lord. In wisdom, he is quoting from the prophet Jeremiah. “Thus says the Lord, Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I believe Jeremiah gives to us the sum total of the subject of wisdom. Paul establishes the need for us to pursue wisdom in our personal and corporate life. Today, receive God’s wonderful grace of wisdom. If you can identify times this grace has been released in your life, rejoice and thank the Lord continuously. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to give you this gift as needed. Open up yourself to receive a deposit of supernatural wisdom from God by asking for the gift of wisdom, especially when you are at the end of your own sufficiency. If you are anything like me, that would be quite often.