Judges 4:1-5:31; John 4:43-5:15; Psalm 57:1-6
“God sends His love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3).
When we’re reading a book like Judges, we must remember the faithful love of God. When we remember God’s faithful love, we will look beyond the events recorded in Judges. We will catch a glimpse of God’s presence and purpose. Whatever may be happening in our lives, let’s remember this: God is there, and He is fulfilling His purpose of “love and faithfulness.” In Jesus Christ, the love and faithfulness of God are seen more clearly than anywhere else. In His healing, we see Him declaring the “love and faithfulness” of God. Rejoicing in God’s faithful love, let us say, from our hearts, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).
Judges 6:1-7:8a; John 5:16-30; Psalm 57:7-11
The source of Gideon’s spiritual strength lay in the Lord – “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). The source of Jesus’ strength lay in God the Father – “the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). When we realize the source of our spiritual strength, we are able to say, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast” (Psalm 57:7).
Judges 7:8b-8:35; John 5:31-47; Proverbs 11:19-28
“No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals” (Judges 8:33). “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light” (John 5:35) – “For a time”, but note their response to Jesus -”I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not accept Me” (John 5:43). “The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but He delights in those whose ways are blameless” (Proverbs 11:20). How important it is not to settle for a superficial religion, which can be easily overthrown when Satan comes in with an unbelieving alternative which does not honour the Lord Jesus Christ. True faith honours Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Judges 9:1-57; John 6:1-24; Psalm 58:1-11
“Surely there is a God who judges the earth” (Psalm 58:11). “God repaid the wickedness … ” (Judges 9:54).
The Holy God speaks to us of His judgment upon sinners. He speaks to us His Word of warning, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). In love, He is calling us to return to Him. He pleads with us, “See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks” (Hebrews 12:25). God’s Word of warning comes to us as part of His call to receive His gift of salvation through faith in Christ – “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Two ways are set before us – the way of “those who shrink back and are destroyed” and the way of “those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). What does it mean to have faith in Christ and be saved by Him? To gain a clearer understanding of what faith in Christ as Saviour is, it may be helpful to note what it is not.
In John 6:14-15, we see two inadequate responses to Jesus Christ – “After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.”
* First, He’s described as “the Prophet.” A prophet is someone who brings a message from God. The prophets preach God’s Word. Is Jesus just the greatest of the prophets? – No! He’s much more than that. He doesn’t only preach God’s Word. He is God’s Word. He doesn’t only pass on God’s message to us. He is God’s Message. If Jesus was no more than the greatest prophet, He would still be leaving salvation in our own hands – “Here’s the way you should live. Do your best to follow my teaching.” That’s not Good News for sinners who need to receive forgiveness. That just reminds us of our failure to live up to the message that is preached to us. Thank God – Jesus is more than the greatest preacher who ever lived. He is God’s only Son. He’s our perfect Saviour.
* Second, He’s described as a “king.” Throughout history, there have been many kings. Some of them have been great kings. There have also been some terrible kings. Is Jesus just one of the kings – even the best king there’s ever been? If that’s all that He is, we’re again left with a problem. A king is someone we should look up to – some deserve more respect than others. We need more than someone to look up to. We need Someone who has come down to our level. An old hymn asks the question, “Who came down to earth from heaven?” It gives the Gospel answer – “Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
There have been many prophets. There have been many kings. There’s only one Saviour – “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). There is only one Man concerning whom God’s Word says, ‘Believe in Him and you will be saved” – it’s the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). If we want to be saved, we don’t go to the “prophets” and “kings” and say, “What can you do for me?” They can do nothing for us. Like us, they must look away from themselves to Jesus. Like us, they must pray, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Like us, they must come in faith to Jesus and receive salvation as God’s “free gift” (Romans 3:23-24; 6:23).