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Wherever temptation is, there is God also.... Nothing is at random, as if temptation were hurrying here and there like bullets in the air of a battlefield.
F. W. Faber.
'The conduct of the negotiations,' between the Christian and Moslem powers in Palestine, 'fell to the Templars, and between them and the Saracens there grew up some kind of acquaintance. Having their home in the East they got to know the Eastern character. It was alleged afterwards that in this way their faith became corrupted.'
The Message of the Book of Judges
The book of Judges is a book of deliverance, a deliverance from backsliding. It teaches us:
I. The danger of a faith which stands in the wisdom of man rather than in the power of God. Israel always relied too much on her leaders. The nation of Israel all along was like a nation of children they had to be kept in the right path by authority. What was then felt in Israel is a very grievous fault among ourselves. Christian people in our churches look far too much to their spiritual teachers, and far too little to God.
II. No past experience of blessing removes the liability to sin, or dispenses with the need of watchfulness against temptation. Israel had trusted God and found Him true. She had seen His power to save, and she was living in the Promised Land; yet that did not remove her liability to sin. No matter how wonderfully God deals with our souls, no matter how close the fellowship that He grants us, so long as we are in the flesh we are beset by temptation, and temptation is always dangerous because of our liability to give heed to it.
III. No position of honour or favour entitles one to sin with impunity. Israel thought that because she was the people of Jehovah He was bound to take care of her. And she had to be taught that Jehovah's favour was conditional on her obedience. She had to learn that simply because she was the people of God, her sin would be punished more severely than the sin of others. No man can sin with impunity. The clearer the knowledge, the intenser the zeal, the more awful is the fall of him who, presuming on these things, dares to tamper with sin.
IV. For recovery from backsliding, however terrible, there is provision made in the mercy of God. The book of Judges shows not only that none of the Lord's children may presume, but also that none of them might despair, it shows how God made provision to ensure their being kept faithful to Him. The Lord raised them up by judges by whom they were delivered from the hand of their enemies, and brought back to serve the Lord. For us, if we have backslidden there is the Saviour who is able to save to the uttermost because He ever liveth to make intercession for us.
G. H. C. Macgregor, Messages of the Old Testament, p. 87.
A man that is at once eminent in place and goodness, is like a stake in a hedge; pull that up, and all the rest are but loose and rotten sticks easily removed; or like the pillars of a vaulted roof which either supports or ruins the building.
'Lucretius, like Naevius a century and a half before,' says Mr. J. W. Mackail, 'might have left the proud and pathetic lines on his tomb that, after he was dead, men forgot to speak Latin in Rome.'
References. III. 15, 16. Herbert Windross, The Life Victorious, p. 83. III. 16. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i. p. 270.
I cannot but wonder at the devout reverence of this heathen prince: he sat in his chair of state; the unwieldiness of his fat body was such, that he could not rise with readiness and ease: yet no sooner doth he hear news of a message from God, but he rises up from his throne, and reverently attends the tenor thereof. Though he had no superior to control him, yet he cannot abide to be unmannerly in the business of God.
This man was an idolater, a tyrant: yet what outward respect doth he give to the true God? External ceremonies of piety, and compliments of devotion, may well be found with falsehood in religion. They are a good shadow of truth when it is; but when it is not, they are the very body of hypocrisy. He that had risen up in arms against God's people, and the true worship of God, now rises up in reverence to His name. God would have liked well to have had less of his courtesy, more of his obedience.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Judges 3". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19