Bible Devotions

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Strengthened for the Task

Read Judges 7:15-25

And so it was….

When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshipped God.  Remember in verse 9 God told Gideon to go against the Midians. But if you’re afraid take your servant and go to the enemy camp to listen to what they are saying to each other.

Gideon heard the enemy talking about how they would be destroyed and it was because of Gideon.  God was behind it all, just like He said He would be.   This realization strengthened Gideon for the task ahead.  He went back to the three hundred men with him.  “Arise for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.”

Gideon heard the phrase “the sword of Gideon” from the enemy’s interpretation of the dream. So he used that to his advantage when they planned their attack.  He split the three hundred men into three groups of one hundred each.  He told them to do as he does.  Blow your trumpet when you hear me blow mine, he says.  Then everyone say “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.”

The three groups placed themselves strategically around the camp of the Midians.  They blew their trumpets, broke the pitchers, held their torches and cried out “The sword of the Lord and Gideon!”

The result? The Midian army ran, cried out, and fled. Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountains of Ephraim to come against the Midians and sieze them at the watering places.  So they hunted down and captured the Midians.

Moral of the story: Nothing is impossible with God. God does what He promises.

Gideon who was a fearful man was turned into a mighty man of valor just like the Angel of the Lord said. And the children of Israel were delivered from the Midianites by God, just as He promised.

Lord you really are amazing.  Nothing is impossible for You.  Thank you for calling us to take part in the miracles you perform.  Thank you for using fearful people in your plan.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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An Extra Dose of Encouragement

Read Judges 7:9-14

Lord says “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid go with your servant to hear what they are saying then your hands will be strengthened.”

Gideon and his servant Purah go down to an outpost to listen.  So we know Gideon was afraid.  The thing they noticed was how numerous the enemy was.  But as they listened to a man tell his dream, they heard “a loaf of barley bread tumbled into camp it came to a tent and stuck it so it fell overturned and collapsed.”  The companion listening to the dream said “this is nothing else but the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel. Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp!”

When the Lord speaks what He says is done.  Have you ever needed a little extra encouragement?  Gideon did.  God being gracious supplied the evidence Gideon needed in order to carry out God’s purpose.

Lord thank you for knowing what we need before we can even ask.  Thank you for loving us so deeply.  Thank you for making us able to carry out your plan.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; & give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37

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God’s Victory

Read Judges 7:1-8

Previously enemies were coming against Gideon.  Many of the tribes had come to Gideon to help fight the enemy.  But the Lord said there are too many people with you.  Israel may claim glory for itself against Me saying “my own hand has saved me.”

So Gideon says to the troups “anyone fearful and afraid can go home now.” Twenty-two thousand people left and only ten thousand remained.  But the Lord says there are still too many.  Bring them down to the water and I will test them.  I will tell you who will go and who will not go says the Lord.

All the people went down to the water to get a drink.  Gideon watched.  The Lord says those who lap the water like a dog will go with you. Those who cup the water and drink from their hands may go home.  Strange little test, don’t you think? Only three hundred mean lapped the water like a dog.  Everyone else went home.

This is an important point to remember.  If Gideon had too much resource to fight, the people would believe they conquered the enemy by their own strength rather than rely on God.  With only 300 men, how could they say “we did this on our own”?

God gets the victory.  God does the delivering.  To make sure the people can’t claim it was their own doing, God strips them down to a few hundred. We don’t know how many people the enemy had on their side, except for the statement in verse 12 saying they were as numerous as the lucusts and their camels as the sand by the seashore in multitude. So there were too many to count.

Even with thirty thousand mean it would not have been an evenly matched battle.  But God wants them to know victory comes from Him alone.  God pares down the number to ten thousand men.  Yet that’s still too many.  Rather than let the people pick their strongest, bravest men, God tests them with an unrelated activity – how they get a drink of water.

Now, they’re down to only three hundred men against an enemy as numerous as the locusts.  In human terms, there is no way they could overcome the enemy in hand to hand combat.  But that’s not what God has planned.

What have you been trying to accomplish on your own power?  Stop, listen. God is with you.  He will provide the victory when you allow Him to do it His way.

God Almighty, your ways are higher than our ways.  You have a plan you will carry it out.  You even invite us to be part of the plan if we trust you to carry it out. Thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you for the victory.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Whatever It Takes To Believe

Read Judges 6:33-40

The enemies of the east, Midianites and Amalekites, gathered against Gideon. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew his trumpet.  Abiezrites were his ally, along with Manasseh, Asher, Zebulan and Naphtali of the tribes of Israel.

Gideon is having second thoughts and needs proof to validate God really meant what He said.  Gideon tests the Lord.  If you will save Israel by my hand, make dew on this piece of wool but leave the ground around it dry.  Then I shall know you will save Israel by my hand says Gideon.  And it was so.

That wasn’t enough. Gideon wanted to be extra sure, so he tests the Lord a second time.  He says, don’t be angry but let me test once more.  This time may the piece of wool by dry and the ground be wet with dew.  And God did so that night.

I love how God is so willing to set Gideon’s mind at ease.  This test was so precise and accurate and such as small thing, but God was willing to play along for Gideon’s sake.

When the Lord speaks He wants you to know it is Him.  He is willing to do what you need in order to believe Him.  He knows what it will take for your full trust in Him.  This gives me confidence.  How about you?

Lord thank you for knowing our weakness and being willing to set us at ease.  Thank you for helping us to trust in you.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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We thank HIM for the joy we have in HIS presence because of YOU! 1 Thes 3:9

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Unfounded Fear

Read Judges 6:25-32

Earlier in the day Gideon had an encounter with the Angel of the Lord.  Gideon had built an alter and called it “The Lord is Peace” because the Lord said “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”

I wonder if the Angel was referring to the Old Testament reference about “if you saw God, you would die” or whether he was speaking about what was to come.  Maybe he was addressing both situations because Gideon did not die from either encounter.

Later the same night the Lord told Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal and the wooden image beside it.  He also told him to build an alter to the Lord your God on top of this rock in proper arrangement.  Gideon gathered 10 servants and did as the Lord said.  Gideon feared his father’s household and the men of the city so he did it at night time rather that by day, but the point is he did it.

Gideon hears from the Lord and obeys, but he is fearful.  Isn’t that much like us?  We hear the Lord’s instructions but are fearful to act, just like Gideon.

The next day, the men of the city saw their alter of Baal torn down and the new alter to God in its place.  They asked who did this.  Someone said Gideon, son of Joash did this.  They called Joash to bring out your son that he may die.

Can you imagine what was going through Gideon’s mind at that point? He’s already afraid of his father’s household and now the people want to kill him! Gideon’s dad has the sense to tell them to get lost.  He says if Baal’s really a god let him deal with it.  Gideon’s dad, Joash, is a model of God the Father.  Joash stands up for Gideon.  He tells the men of the city “if Baal is a god, let him plead for himself because his alter was torn down.”  So Gideon is spared.

In the end Gideon’s fear was pointless.  This should be a lesson for us.  Fear is a tool of our enemy used to derail God’s purpose in and through us.  We may be fearful at times, but as long as we obey God’s instructions despite the fear, we shall be victorious.

Dear Lord, thank you for being real and rewarding those who seek you.  Thank you that you do not measure our faithfulness by the absence of fear.  Though we may fear, we still desire to obey.  Thank you for the courage to step out in faith, fear or no fear.  May we rise to your calling and obey every word from you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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God is Faithful

Read Judges 6:1-10

God is faithful. He chose the children of Israel to be His people, whether or not they followed Him.  Here again, we see the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.

God told them previously what would happen when they choose their way instead of His.  Now the children of Israel were held captive at the hand of Midians.  After seven years of impoverishment the children of Israel finally cried out to the Lord.

Guess what? God heard and sent a prophet to speak for Him. The prophet spoke to children of Israel reminding them of their past, God’s deliverance and how the children of Israel have not obeyed God’s voice.

Have you found yourself in bondage again?  It happens slowly that we might not notice it.  Little by little we slip further from the Lord.  Maybe we stop praying or spend less time reading God’s Word.  Maybe our schedules have become so full there’s no time for God.

Just like the children of Israel we do evil in the sight of the Lord.  He sees our choices. He knows our motives. Our busyness is not an excuse.  He is to be first in our life.  When other stuff crowds Him out, we do evil.

But all is not lost.  We have a great God.  When we cry out to Him, He hears.

Lord thank you for your faithfulness. Turn us away from evil and turn us back to you.  Thank you for forgiving us and renewing a right relationship with us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Full Strength

Read Judges 5:31

Thus let all Your enemies perish O’Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.

Yes, we’d like the Lord’s enemies to perish.  Imagine what that would be like.  No more tempter. No more father of lies. No more self-pleasing ways. No more greed, hate or evil scheming.  Sure we would like the outside evil forces to be destroyed.

However, I’m not so sure I’d want all the Lord’s enemies banished just yet. Some of those enemies might be friends or family who haven’t chosen Christ yet.  That’s not the only reason.  When we choose our way instead of His, we are His enemy.  We put self above Him.  That’s what being an enemy is, caring more about yourself than God or others.

Deal with the enemy within so you might sing as Deborah did, “But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” Come to Christ, kneel before Him. Recognize your sinfulness and accept His righteousness by faith.  Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus Christ is Lord and you will be saved.

Lord, may all the believers be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.  Let your righteousness shine forth.  Thank you for purifying us from all unrighteousness.  In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

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©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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