Israel Sins - Page 1 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Chapter 18 Israel Sins
Judges 6:1–10


1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

In this chapter we have an account of the distressed condition Israel was in due to the Midianites, Jud. 6:1-6; of a prophet being sent unto them to make them aware of their sins, Jud. 6:7-10; of an angel appearing to Gideon, with an order to him to go and save Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, Jud. 6:11-16; and of a sign given him by the angel, whereby he knew this order was from God, Jud. 6:17-24; and of the reformation from idolatry in his father's family that came from him throwing down the altar of Baal, and building one for the Lord, Jud. 6:25-32; and of the preparation he made to fight the Midianites and others, Jud. 6:33-35; but first he desired a sign from the Lord, that Israel would be saved by his hand, which was granted and repeated, Jud. 6:36-40.

1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.--KJV

1 The people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. So the LORD handed them over to Midian for seven years. 2 Midian's power was too strong for Israel. The Israelites made hiding places in the mountains, caves, and mountain strongholds {to protect themselves} from Midian.--GW
Gideon was an unlikely candidate for God’s “Hall of Fame” 1(Heb. 11:32 ). When God called him, he was hiding. When God spoke to him, he raised problems instead of trusting promises. One of his favorite words was “if” (vv. 213 , 317 , 436 ; think about how this little word comes into play in these NT verses, 5Mark 9:22–23 ). When Gideon did start to obey God, he worked at night 6(v. 27 ) because he was afraid of being discovered and he had to have repeated reassurance that the Lord was with him.
But God saw the potential in Gideon and even called him a “mighty man of valor” 7(v. 12 ). God sees the potential in you and says to you as He did to Simon, “You are . . . You shall be” 8(John 1:42 ). He knows your weaknesses and will accommodate Himself to your needs so that He might develop your faith. For a man with a worried heart, “And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die” was just what Gideon needed to hear 9(v. 23). You can enjoy God’s peace today as you fight the battle 10(Phil. 4:4–9 ).

We are told right-off-the-bat, “the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian.”—as if they did not learn anything from their former experiences, the Israelites again 11apostatized , and new sins were followed by fresh judgments. Midian had sustained a severe blow in the time of Moses (See 12Numbers 31:1-18) ; and the memory of that disaster, no doubt, inflamed their resentment against the Israelites. They were wandering herdsmen, called "children of the East," since they occupied the territory east of the Red Sea, adjoining to Moab. The destructive ravages they are said to have committed in the land of Israel, at this time, are similar to those of the Bedouin Arabs, who harass the peaceful peasant farmers. Unless some kind of settlement is made with them, they return annually at a certain season, when they carry off the grain, seize the cattle and other property; and even life itself is in jeopardy from the attacks of those prowling marauders. The vast horde of Midianites that overran Canaan was the greatest scourge which had ever afflicted the Israelites.

And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years: this was not the Midian where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, lived, which lay more southward, but that which joined to Moab, and was more eastward. This people had been destroyed by the Israelites in the times of Moses, on their way to the land of Canaan, 13(Numbers 31:1, 2 ) and for that reason they might bear them a grudge, and take the opportunity to revenge themselves on the Israelites. God permitted them to do so, due to Israel’s sins. The destruction of this people by Israel was very wide-ranging, yet some of them made their escape, and afterwards returned to their own land, and since this was about two hundred years ago, they might have revived their country by this time, and become strong and powerful.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. After the death of Deborah and Barak, during whose life they kept to the pure worship of God, and who, perhaps, lived pretty near the close of the forty years' of peace, or twenty years after their victory over Jabin; but their generation was dying. This was the time when the children of Israel fell into idolatry, for that was the reason they were involved with evil (See Judges 6:10 ), even worshipping the gods of the Amorites. This will be the pattern throughout the book of Judges; the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah's victory over Canaan, and consequently, were allowed to be attacked by the neighboring Midianites and Amalekites. God chose Gideon, a young man from an otherwise unremarkable clan from the tribe of Manasseh, to free the people of Israel and to condemn their worship of idols. The burnt child dreads the fire; yet this wicked unthinking people, that had so often smarted greatly 14(Num. 22:4) , for their idolatry, when they have a little reprieve from God’s judgments return to it again. These Israelites have a revolting rebellious heart, not kept in awe by the terror of God’s judgments, nor engaged in honour and gratitude by the great things he had done for them to keep them in His love. The 15providence of God will not change the hearts and lives of sinners.

Of Midian - For although most of the Midianites had been cut off by Moses about two hundred years ago, yet many of them no doubt fled into the neighboring countries, from where they eventually returned to their own land, and in time they might have easily grown to be a very great number; especially, when God advanced their increase, so that they might be a thorn in the side of Israel when they lapse into idolatry. LET ALL THAT SIN, EXPECT TO SUFFER: LET ALL THAT TURN TO FOOLISHNESS, EXPECT TO RETURN TO MISERY.

With the disobedient, God will show himself unyielding — “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the 16froward thou wilt shew thyself 16froward.” (Ps. 18:26); in this verse David gives a principle and a delightful promise. The principle is this: With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful. The dealings of the Lord are always just. He metes out to every man according to his willingness to serve God. God measures the area of a man’s land by the same rod with which that man measures the area of others’ land. David is sure that, since he has lived uprightly, God will be his light in his darkest hour. All who live righteously in Christ Jesus have that same promise. But, He will walk contrary to those that walk contrary to him 17(Lev. 26:21, 24).

Now let us look closely at this trouble that Israel was in: It arose from a very despicable enemy. God delivered them into the hand of Midian, not the Midian in the south where Jethro lived, but the Midian in the east that joined to Moab 18(Num. 22:4), a people that all men despised as being uncultivated and unintelligent; hence we do not read here that they had any king, lord, or general, but the force with which they destroyed Israel was an undisciplined mob; and, that made it even more dreadful; they were a people that Israel had formerly subdued, and in a manner destroyed (see 19Num. 31:7) , and yet by this time (nearly 200 years after) the poor remains of them were so multiplied, and so magnified, that they were capable of being made a very severe scourge to Israel. Thus God moved them to jealousy with those who were not a people, even a foolish nation 20(Deu. 32:21). The poorest and humblest creature will serve to chastise those that have made the great Creator their enemy. And, when those we are authorized to rule prove rebellious and disobedient to us, it concerns us to enquire whether we have not been so to our sovereign.

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