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Service Archives > Bible from 30,000 Feet, The > Destination: Judges 1-10

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Destination: Judges 1-10
Judges 1-10
Skip Heitzig

Judges 1 (NKJV™)
1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, "Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?"
2 And the LORD said, "Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand."
3 So Judah said to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory." And Simeon went with him.
4 Then Judah went up, and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek.
5 And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
6 Then Adoni-Bezek fled, and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
7 And Adoni-Bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me." Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
8 Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.
9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the mountains, in the South, and in the lowland.
10 Then Judah went against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron. (Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kirjath Arba.) And they killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 From there they went against the inhabitants of Debir. (The name of Debir was formerly Kirjath Sepher.)
12 Then Caleb said, "Whoever attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife."
13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife.
14 Now it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, "What do you wish?"
15 So she said to him, "Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water." And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
16 Now the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up from the City of Palms with the children of Judah into the Wilderness of Judah, which lies in the South near Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
17 And Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they attacked the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah.
18 Also Judah took Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory.
19 So the LORD was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.
20 And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said. Then he expelled from there the three sons of Anak.
21 But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
22 And the house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them.
23 So the house of Joseph sent men to spy out Bethel. (The name of the city was formerly Luz.)
24 And when the spies saw a man coming out of the city, they said to him, "Please show us the entrance to the city, and we will show you mercy."
25 So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man and all his family go.
26 And the man went to the land of the Hittites, built a city, and called its name Luz, which is its name to this day.
27 However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.
28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.
29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; so the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.
30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put under tribute.
31 Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob.
32 So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.
33 Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were put under tribute to them.
34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;
35 and the Amorites were determined to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim; yet when the strength of the house of Joseph became greater, they were put under tribute.
36 Now the boundary of the Amorites was from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upward.
Judges 2 (NKJV™)
1 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you.
2 'And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?
3 "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.'"
4 So it was, when the Angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.
5 Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the LORD.
6 And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.
7 So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.
8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old.
9 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash.
10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;
12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger.
13 They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.
15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.
16 Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so.
18 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
20 Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice,
21 "I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,
22 "so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not."
23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.
Judges 3 (NKJV™)
1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan
2 (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it),
3 namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath.
4 And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
5 Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.
7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.
8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years.
9 When the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.
10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim.
11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms.
14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.
15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh.
17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)
18 And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute.
19 But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, "I have a secret message for you, O king." He said, "Keep silence!" And all who attended him went out from him.
20 And Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." So he arose from his seat.
21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.
22 Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out.
23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 When he had gone out, Eglon's servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, "He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber."
25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.
26 But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah.
27 And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them.
28 Then he said to them, "Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand." So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over.
29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped.
30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.
31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.
Judges 4 (NKJV™)
1 When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim.
3 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he harshly oppressed the children of Israel.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, 'Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun;
7 'and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand'?"
8 And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!"
9 So she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.
12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.
13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.
15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot.
16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
17 However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.
18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear." And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket.
19 Then he said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty." So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him.
20 And he said to her, "Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there any man here?' you shall say, 'No.'"
21 Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
22 And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, I will show you the man whom you seek." And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.
23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel.
24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
Judges 5 (NKJV™)
1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:
2 "When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the LORD!
3 "Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
4 "LORD, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, The earth trembled and the heavens poured, The clouds also poured water;
5 The mountains gushed before the LORD, This Sinai, before the LORD God of Israel.
6 "In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, In the days of Jael, The highways were deserted, And the travelers walked along the byways.
7 Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; Then there was war in the gates; Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
9 My heart is with the rulers of Israel Who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the LORD!
10 "Speak, you who ride on white donkeys, Who sit in judges' attire, And who walk along the road.
11 Far from the noise of the archers, among the watering places, There they shall recount the righteous acts of the LORD, The righteous acts for His villagers in Israel; Then the people of the LORD shall go down to the gates.
12 "Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam!
13 "Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles; The LORD came down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim were those whose roots were in Amalek. After you, Benjamin, with your peoples, From Machir rulers came down, And from Zebulun those who bear the recruiter's staff.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As Issachar, so was Barak Sent into the valley under his command; Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.
16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, And why did Dan remain on ships? Asher continued at the seashore, And stayed by his inlets.
18 Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.
19 "The kings came and fought, Then the kings of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoils of silver.
20 They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon. O my soul, march on in strength!
22 Then the horses' hooves pounded, The galloping, galloping of his steeds.
23 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD, 'Curse its inhabitants bitterly, Because they did not come to the help of the LORD, To the help of the LORD against the mighty.'
24 "Most blessed among women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Blessed is she among women in tents.
25 He asked for water, she gave milk; She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.
26 She stretched her hand to the tent peg, Her right hand to the workmen's hammer; She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, She split and struck through his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; At her feet he sank, he fell; Where he sank, there he fell dead.
28 "The mother of Sisera looked through the window, And cried out through the lattice, 'Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?'
29 Her wisest ladies answered her, Yes, she answered herself,
30 'Are they not finding and dividing the spoil: To every man a girl or two; For Sisera, plunder of dyed garments, Plunder of garments embroidered and dyed, Two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?'
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." So the land had rest for forty years.
Judges 6 (NKJV™)
1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years,
2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains.
3 So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.
4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey.
5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it.
6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD because of the Midianites,
8 that the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I brought you up from Egypt and brought you 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 who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.
10 'Also I said to you, "I am the LORD your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell." But you have not obeyed My voice.'"
11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!"
13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."
14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?"
15 So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."
16 And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man."
17 Then he said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.
18 "Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You." And He said, "I will wait until you come back."
19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them.
20 The Angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so.
21 Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face."
23 Then the LORD said to him, "Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die."
24 So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, "Take your father's young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it;
26 "and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down."
27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.
28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of Baal, torn down; and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built.
29 So they said to one another, "Who has done this thing?" And when they had inquired and asked, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing."
30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it."
31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, "Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!"
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, "Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar."
33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
36 So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said--
37 "look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said."
38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew."
40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
Judges 7 (NKJV™)
1 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
2 And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'
3 "Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.'" And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go."
5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink."
6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water.
7 Then the LORD said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place."
8 So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
9 It happened on the same night that the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand.
10 "But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant,
11 "and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp.
12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.
13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, "I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed."
14 Then his companion answered and 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."
15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand."
16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers.
17 And he said to them, "Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do:
18 "When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, 'The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!'"
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers--they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing--and they cried, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"
21 And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled.
22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.
23 And the men of Israel gathered together from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.
24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites, and seize from them the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan." Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and seized the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan.
25 And they captured two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued Midian and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan.
Judges 8 (NKJV™)
1 Now the men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?" And they reprimanded him sharply.
2 So he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
3 "God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.
4 When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit.
5 Then he said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian."
6 And the leaders of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?"
7 So Gideon said, "For this cause, when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers!"
8 Then he went up from there to Penuel and spoke to them in the same way. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered.
9 So he also spoke to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I come back in peace, I will tear down this tower!"
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East; for one hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword had fallen.
11 Then Gideon went up by the road of those who dwell in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah; and he attacked the army while the camp felt secure.
12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle, from the Ascent of Heres.
14 And he caught a young man of the men of Succoth and interrogated him; and he wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men.
15 Then he came to the men of Succoth and said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you ridiculed me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your weary men?'"
16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.
17 Then he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?" So they answered, "As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king."
19 Then he said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you."
20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, "Rise, kill them!" But the youth would not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth.
21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength." So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian."
23 But Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you."
24 Then Gideon said to them, "I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder." For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.
25 So they answered, "We will gladly give them." And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder.
26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels' necks.
27 Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.
28 Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
30 Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives.
31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.
32 Now Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god.
34 Thus the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;
35 nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.
Judges 9 (NKJV™)
1 Then Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,
2 "Please speak in the hearing of all the men of Shechem: 'Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?' Remember that I am your own flesh and bone."
3 And his mother's brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the men of Shechem; and their heart was inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."
4 So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him.
5 Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself.
6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.
7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you!
8 "The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!'
9 But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?'
10 "Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us!'
11 But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?'
12 "Then the trees said to the vine, 'You come and reign over us!'
13 But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?'
14 "Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us!'
15 And the bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!'
16 "Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves--
17 "for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian;
18 "but you have risen up against my father's house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother--
19 "if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you.
20 "But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!"
21 And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years,
23 God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,
24 that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.
25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told Abimelech.
26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
27 So they went out into the fields, and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod them, and made merry. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech.
28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him?
29 "If only this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech." So he said to Abimelech, "Increase your army and come out!"
30 When Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was aroused.
31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, "Take note! Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and here they are, fortifying the city against you.
32 "Now therefore, get up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field.
33 "And it shall be, as soon as the sun is up in the morning, that you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may then do to them as you find opportunity."
34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose by night, and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies.
35 When Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate, Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from lying in wait.
36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!" But Zebul said to him, "You see the shadows of the mountains as if they were men."
37 So Gaal spoke again and said, "See, people are coming down from the center of the land, and another company is coming from the Diviners' Terebinth Tree."
38 Then Zebul said to him, "Where indeed is your mouth now, with which you said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out, if you will, and fight with them now."
39 So Gaal went out, leading the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled from him; and many fell wounded, to the very entrance of the gate.
41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so that they would not dwell in Shechem.
42 And it came about on the next day that the people went out into the field, and they told Abimelech.
43 So he took his people, divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field. And he looked, and there were the people, coming out of the city; and he rose against them and attacked them.
44 Then Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city; and the other two companies rushed upon all who were in the fields and killed them.
45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city and killed the people who were in it; and he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.
46 Now when all the men of the tower of Shechem had heard that, they entered the stronghold of the temple of the god Berith.
47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
48 Then Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Abimelech took an ax in his hand and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it and laid it on his shoulder; then he said to the people who were with him, "What you have seen me do, make haste and do as I have done."
49 So each of the people likewise cut down his own bough and followed Abimelech, put them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire above them, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he encamped against Thebez and took it.
51 But there was a strong tower in the city, and all the men and women--all the people of the city--fled there and shut themselves in; then they went up to the top of the tower.
52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull.
54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armorbearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" So his young man thrust him through, and he died.
55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to his place.
56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers.
57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Judges 10 (NKJV™)
1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in the mountains of Ephraim.
2 He judged Israel twenty-three years; and he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years.
4 Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called "Havoth Jair" to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
5 And Jair died and was buried in Camon.
6 Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.
7 So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon.
8 From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years--all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead.
9 Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
10 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, "We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!"
11 So the LORD said to the children of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines?
12 "Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand.
13 "Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.
14 "Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress."
15 And the children of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray."
16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
17 Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and encamped in Mizpah.
18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Bible from 30,000 Feet, The

In our twelfth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip Heitzig will once again be our tour guide as we take our first look at the book of Judges. We'll see on this tour how the nation of Israel is caught in the cycle of sin and how each cycle results in ever worsening conditions for them. We'll meet some of the characters that God divinely appointed to the office of Judge. The key chapters to review for this flight are Judges 1–3 and 6–8.

Have you ever wanted to learn how The Bible fits together? The Bible from 30,000 Feet is an overview study through the entire Bible, hitting the highlights of its people, places, events and themes in about a year. This series will give you a coherent understanding of the holy word of God.



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Detailed Notes

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Interactive Travel Guide

The name of the book comes from the leading characters that were of the divinely appointed office of Judge. These people were raised up from time to time to provide leadership during times of emergency between Joshua and the kingdom under Saul. The Judges had two functions: (1) To be a military leader and to deliver their people from oppression and (2) To be a civil leader, to settle disputes and maintain justice.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

c. 1405-1400 B.C.
The land of Canaan is conquered

c. 1400-1050 B.C.
Israel ruled by judges and not kings

c. 1398 B.C.
Canaan is divided amongst the tribes

c. 1380 B.C.
The death of Joshua

c. 1370 B.C.
Othniel becomes Judge over Israel

c. 1310 B.C.
Ehud is Judge over Israel

c. 1230 B.C.
Deborah's great victory over Sisera

c. 1190 B.C.
Gideon leads Israel

c. 1100 B.C.
Samson fights the Philistines

c. 1050 B.C.
Saul is anointed king of Israel


TRIP PLANNER

The book of Judges can be divided into two sections describing seven cycles of deliverance. Whereas Joshua is the story of conquest, Judges describes the process of deterioration from conquest to compromise. The nation of Israel is caught in the cycle of sin and each cycle results in ever worsening conditions.

1. Deterioration - Judges 1-3

2. Deliverance in 7 Cycles (Five are mentioned in this first section)

a. Deborah - Judges 4-5
b. Gideon - Judges 6-8
c. Abimelech - Judges 9
d. Tola - Judges 10
e. Jair - Judges 10


PLACES OF INTEREST

Ashdod - Sat about mid way between Gaza and Joppa about 3 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. It was the chief seat of the god Dagon. Ashdod was a part of Judah but never actually came under its control. It sat on the main highway between Egypt and Palestine and was heavily fortified. One of five major cities of the Philistines Kingdom.

Ashkelon - First mentioned in Joshua 13:3, this city was 12 miles north of Gaza on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Ashkelon fell back into Philistine hands by the time of Samuel. It was not fully defeated until the time of Alexander the Great. One of five major cities of the Philistine Kingdom.

City of Palms - Another name for Jericho.

Ekron - About 11 miles north of Gath, this town also was assigned to the tribe of Judah and later was assigned to Dan. However, by the time of Samuel, the town was in full possession by the Philistines. When the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant, Ekron was the last city they had possession before it was returned to Israel. One of five major cities of the Philistine Kingdom.

Gath - Gath was the birthplace of Goliath. David fled from Saul to the king of Gath and later conquered the city. The Ark of the Covenant brought calamity to this city also. One of five major cities of the Philistine Kingdom.

Gaza - It is one of the oldest cities in the world first mentioned in Genesis 10. The earliest citizens of this area were called Avims and they were conquered and replaced in the area by the Caphtorims who were a Philistine tribe. Gaza was the southernmost of five major cities of the Philistine Kingdom.

Midian - Located in the Arabian Peninsula, southeast of Israel and east of the Sinai Peninsula. The Midianties were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah. Midianties were considered enemies of Israel.

Mount Zalmon - The location of this mount is uncertain. Some scholars identify it with Mount Ebal, northwest of Schechem. Others identify it with Mount Gerizim. The snow covered Mount Zalmon mentioned in Psalms appears to be a different place.

PEOPLE OF INTEREST

Abimelech - From the tribe of Manessah, he was the son of Gideon by a concubine and was a wicked Judge of the land. He murdered all of his brothers in an attempt to rule Israel. He actually ruled only the city of Shecham. He was killed by a woman who crushed his skull with a millstone. This ended a time of turmoil within the nation of Israel.

Amorites - Canaanite people living in the central hill country of Canaan. They blocked the entry of Dan into the region.

Barak - From the tribe of Naphtali. He is listed in the Hebrews as one of the "Heros of the Faith." He served under Deborah as a military leader and was urged by Deborah to raise an army and defeat Sisera. This ended 20 years of oppression and started a 40-year period of peace.

Deborah - From the tribe of Ephriam, she became the 4th Judge. She was both a prophetess and a Judge and the wife of Lapidoth. Deborah along with Barak defeated Sisera's forces at the battle of Mt. Tabor. She also predicted Sisera's death at the hands of a woman. The Song of Deborah tells the story.

Eglon - The very fat Moabite king who was fatally stabbed by Ehud the Judge.

Ehud - From the tribe of Benjamin. The 2nd Judge who was left handed. He killed Eglon, the fat Moabite king. Under his jurisdiction Israel had peace for 80 years. Afterwards they were in servitude for 18 years.

Gideon - From the tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joash, he became the 5th Judge. The Angel of the Lord found him in a wine press threshing wheat. He led an army of 300 men chosen by God to defeat a massive Midianite army. Tactics used were: torch showing, pitcher breaking, trumpet blowing and a loud battle cry. Also listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews.

Jair - The 7th Judge of Israel and the third minor judge. He judged Israel for 22 years and lived in Gilead.

Joash - Gideon's father. He gave wise answers to a mob of angry idol worshippers and saved his son's life.

Otheniel - From the tribe of Judah. He was the nephew of Caleb and later became his son-in-law. He was the first Judge after he liberated Israel from the reign of the King of Mesopotamia. Under his jurisdiction Israel had peace for 40 years.

Shagmar - He killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad and delivered Israel. He is the 3rd Judge of Israel and the 1st minor judge. His name is not Hebrew, but his father had a Hebrew name. It is possible that he was a foreigner that God used to deliver Israel.

Sisera - While Jabin was king of the Canaanites, Sisera was the commander in chief of the army. His 900 chariots were used to keep the Israelites oppressed for 20 years. He was later defeated in battle by Deborah and Barak. Eventually, he was killed in his sleep by a woman named Jael.

Tola - The 6th Judge of Israel and the second of the minor judges. He arose to save Israel after the reign of Abimelech.


FUN FACTS

Angel of the LORD - During the accounts of the Book of Judges, the Angel of the Lord appears at least 4 times. Many think that this is a bodily appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ashtoreth - a female fertility goddess of love and war. This false god was closely associated with Baal. Also referred to as Ishtar in Mesopotamia. The Canaanites built shrines to Ashtoreth.

Baal - The Canaanite storm-god. He was the most powerful deity in Canaanite cosmology. A storm represented power, but also life giving rain. Baal-Berith means Baal of the Covenant in contrast to the covenant God of Israel.

House of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh who split the inheritance of Joseph their father. Each received equal portions of land to the other tribes of Israel. Combined, their portions of land would make Joseph's allotment the largest of all the tribes of Israel, thus fulfilling God's promise to bless Joseph above His brothers.

Tent Pegs - Tent pegs were used to fasten a tent to the ground. Because of the hard rocky soil in Palestine, they had to be sharp. The tents had leather cords fastened to the side walls that were pulled out to give more room on the inside. These leather straps were also held in the ground with a tent peg.

Threshing out the Wheat - The process of separating the grain from the wheat. This is also called "beating out the wheat." This was done by trampling on it or by pounding it with a heavy club. Usually animals were used to trample the wheat. After the grain was separated from the stalks, it was strained through a sieve to remove the dirt and then thrown up into the wind where the lighter unusable chaff was blown away and the heavier grain fell to the ground. The grain was ground into flour and used to bake bread.

Watchtowers - Towers that were used as fortification for a city and to watch for the approaching enemy. Some of these towers could hold hundreds of people. Many vineyards would build watchtowers of mud and stone to watch for thieves who would try to steal their crop.

Winepress - A winepress was usually built on the edge of a vineyard. The grapes were picked by women. They would carry the grapes in large baskets to the winepress which looked like a large tub made of stone. Emptied into the tub, the grapes were stomped on by men with their bare feet. The men would keep their balance by hanging onto ropes that were tied to a crossbeam above the tub. The juice was then stored in wineskins and clay jars.


MAPS

Limits of Israelite Settlement and The Land Yet To Be Conquered

Transcript

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Turn in your Bibles to the book of Judges, which is the seventh book in the Bible. Thank you for coming to the Bible from 30,000 feet. We know that you have many choices when you fly but I just think it's neat that you made a commitment to come on Wednesday nights for a year and to go through the entire Bible with us as a church. Let's have a word of prayer together.
Father, we have worshiped You from the beginning of this evening and our focus has been on You, being reminiscent of Your promises, and reading of the Scripture. Now Father to this Bible study we pray that our focus will be upon learning what the story is but then learning what Your story is for our lives and what Your principles are and what they have to do with our living now on this earth before You and before people. I pray that this would be an appointment with eternity as You by Your Holy Spirit desire to speak to us, Your people. We're open; speak that we might hear and that we might obey. We ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Let me ask you if you've had this experience. Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and you're talking about something and then suddenly you forget what it was you were talking about? You just sort of have to get your bearings? I find myself doing that more and more. Everybody does it. When you get older they call them senior moments. It's as if the entire group of the Children of Israel have one of those moments, because back in the last chapter of the book of Joshua, their leader, Joshua, stands up and makes a very bold claim, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." He challenged the people and they all said, "Yeah, right on! Amen! Us too!" It's as if in the middle of that commitment conversation, they forgot about it because as soon as the book of Judges opens and they no sooner are on the road and no sooner does Joshua die when there is a rapid decline in the nation of Israel. Verse 1 says: "Now after the death of Joshua." It is an important introductory verse. This marks the end of a strong central spiritual leadership. Remember that Moses was the one that God raised up as a deliverer and he took them out of Egypt and through the desert. He died at the brink of the Promise Land and then Joshua is raised up and brings them into the Promise Land. Then Joshua dies and there's no central strong spiritual leader and what happens is a fragmentation. There are 12 tribes and there is no strong central leadership anymore and they will fragment into different tribal governments for a long period of time. There are 350 years between the government and prowess of Joshua and the first King, King Saul of Israel. This book of Judges falls into that period of 350 years. They are called Judges but it's sort of a misleading title. Don't think of a guy in a robe with a gavel at a bench adjudicating criminal cases. These are leaders and in some cases military leaders of different sections of the land. Again, it's very fragmented, but they're a stopgap between Joshua and the first King, the monarchy through King Saul. These 13 judges, 12 are men and one of them is a woman, Deborah (who we will meet in this study), provided leadership and deliverance during a period called the sin cycle. This is how it works. There are four phases to this cyclic cycle-like behavior; they repeat the same mistake over and over and that's why it's called the sin cycle. The first stage is rebellion; people get tired of God; He's too narrow; He's too straight; there are a lot of options; let's be open-minded; and they follow other gods and goddesses. The second stage is retribution; God allows them to go that way and He doesn’t stop them. In fact, God will deliver them into the hands of their enemies and they'll be oppressed. While they are oppressed by their enemies, they go through a third stage, repentance; "God we're sorry, we didn't mean it, please forgive us!" Then God will listen to their prayer and take them to the fourth stage; restoration; He'll bring them back, strengthen them, establish them, forgive them and love on them. You'd think that they learned their lesson, right? They do it again and again. We'll see seven cycles of this in the second or main section of the book. The theme of the book of Judges is from conquest to compromise; conquest from under Joshua where they took the land and distributed it and then to compromise. I'd even add a third: from conquest to compromise to conquered by their enemies.
We begin in the initial successes of Judges chapter 1, verse 1: "Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, 'Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?' And the Lord said, 'Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand.'" The word Canaanites is a general term for a lot of different nations. There are not only Canaanites but Hittites and Hevites, and Girgashites and termites and all sorts of "ites" that are there. All of these national tribal groups west of the Jordan River in ancient Israel are under the broad term and the title Canaanites. "So Judah said to Simeon his brother, 'Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory.' And Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up, and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they killed ten thousand men at Bezek." So far, so great because initially they ask God and communicate with Him. "Okay, God, we're here, Joshua isn't, but we trust You so who should go first?" "Judah should go first." At first they ask counsel of God but that won't last long. You'll notice a series of changes. What you are going to notice that is vastly different from the conquest under Joshua is that they are going to make less and less progress. They are going to have victory, but it's a partial or a temporary victory and more and more they'll be conquered by the nations around them. Notice this in verse 19: "So the Lord was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers." Verse 22: "And the house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them." We have two verses where they go and the Lord is with them. We'll be reading later in the book of 2 Samuel chapter 15 about a King of Judah named King Asa who was a very good king. He loved the Lord, brought in spiritual reform, and said great, wonderful things as a leader. One day a prophet named Amaziah will step into the court of King Asa and say, "The Lord is with you as long as you are with Him." Think about that statement and then think about this. The Lord is with Judah and with Simeon but soon they're going to turn away from the Lord and He won't be with them in the sense of the One who gives them the victory any longer. They make several mistakes and notice how it all starts. There are several reasons they fall behind: though there are fleshly, material natural reasons there are also supernatural or spiritual reasons in this series of defeats. For instance, Verse 19 talks about chariots of iron that their enemies have. We know that the Children of Israel are outgunned and outnumbered. They don't have the weapons or the amount of troops that the enemies around them have. Yet the main problem isn't that they don't have the right artillery or iron chariots, the real problem is that they leave the strength of God because even though the enemy had chariots and armaments, God promised to give them the land. "As long as you walk in it and trust me, it doesn't matter what they are like, I'll give it to you." In fact, in the book of Judges, Deborah, this strong female leader, will defeat the enemy as a judge; and she'll defeat 900 enemy chariots because she trusts God. We'll read about a guy named Gideon who had only 300 men and went up against 135,000 Midianites and though outgunned and outnumbered, the Lord was with him. The real problem was that the Lord was with them and then they start losing ground because they turn away from the God that they once loved and served and had said to Joshua, "We'll follow the Lord and we'll serve the Lord." They made that commitment, had that senior moment, and forgot all about that commitment.
There's a great verse in Psalm 20 and I think about it here. It says, "Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God." I think that is a good verse for us. We can say, "Some trust in tanks, great airplanes and smart bombs, but we will trust in the Lord our God." At one time our nation was firmly fixed upon the God we believe brought us into this real estate, but very similar to the book of Judges, we have left that. The diminished power is a result of diminished faith in this case. Notice several things as we read down. Verse 21: "But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day." Verse 27: "However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land." There are some enemies that don't go away easily. They want to be entrenched; even personal enemies; even habits and things that we have sown over a long period of time. Verse 28: "And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out. Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; so the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.
Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put under tribute. Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out. Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath."
I'd like you to remember something: all of what they are experiencing now was preceded by a time of blessing and prosperity. They were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God delivered them through the hand of Moses and brought them through the desert for 40 years and that was a trial. Eventually, through Joshua, they come to the Promise Land; the land flowing with milk and honey. The Children of Israel settle down, they prosper, they're blessed, they love it, and they become a little too complacent. With each successive generation they start forgetting all the things that God had done and they basically took God's blessing for granted. There is a verse of Scripture that shows us this principle. In the little book of Amos, chapter 6, verse 1 it says: "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion." They are there and they are blessed and they started taking it for granted, forgetting their history, settling down and getting used to the fat and the prosperity. They lost it.
I grew up in a middle class American home. There was always a roof over my head, food on the table, the bills were paid, we had electricity and clothes in the closet. Then I got out on my own. I had very few cloths and often weren't washed. I had to provide for my own food and it wasn't easy. I didn't know how to cook. I made hamburger helper and being so lame, I would make it on a Monday, and I would only eat a little bit and keep it on the stove with tin foil wrapped around it. I didn't think to refrigerate it; why get it cold and have to reheat it again? I just sort of kept it lukewarm and then on Tuesday night I'd have another slice of it and it would last me from Monday to Friday or Saturday. I took for granted all of those years when I had somebody who knew better. The Children of Israel had taken so much for granted and had become so complacent. Times of prosperity are more dangerous than times of adversity. When you are going through a time of adversity, a trial, or a testing, those are the times when you are quick to trust God. You call on His name and your prayer life is so good and fervent. Then things get good and you settle down and it's easy to forget about the origin of that blessing and you forget the very God who has blessed you. This is the very thing that God warned the Children of Israel about in Deuteronomy chapter 8. He said, "When you get into the land and you eat the fruit of the land and you are full and you bless the Lord your God, beware lest you forget the Lord your God and you fail to keep all of His commandments." It's during that time of your prosperity that you should be aware.
I think again about our own country. We were oppressed by the crown of England even when we were the colonies and we rebelled against England and wanted our freedom. The birthing of this nation was hard during those first several years, and it took lots of sacrifice, war, and hard work. Then we became a very prosperous nation; once a nation under God, now we've become a nation that wants to push God out. Eugene Peterson, who wrote a translation called The Message, wrote a book called, Run with the Horses. This is how he sees America: "The puzzle is why so many people live so badly; not so wickedly but so inanely; not so cruelly but so stupidly; there's so little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities, not saints; we have famous entertainers who amuse a nation of bored insomniacs; infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists; petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People aimless and bored amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets any headlines." Boy, did he have us pegged as a nation. This is the downfall of Israel; after the death of Joshua they very rapidly go downhill.
Chapter 2, verses 7 and 8: "So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old." Well it's about time! He's 110 years old and it's time for him to go; he's dead and buried; but, again this is the end of a strong, central spiritual leadership. Remember all the way back from Genesis that God raised up Abraham for the family and then Isaac and Jacob. Then they went down to Egypt and Joseph was the prime minister. He was well known and he was an established leader. Then the Bible says, "There arose a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph." The Children of Israel were oppressed so God raised up a national leader once again for them - Moses. Then Moses died and God raised up another national leader - Joshua. Now all of those strong men of God are gone. When Joshua died and when that generation who saw all of the wonders of the past died, the next generation quickly turned. Chapter 2, verse 10: "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel." So you can call this the second-third generation syndrome; they become lukewarm and complacent. Why? This is crucial because I talk to parents all the time who say, "How do I get my kids to listen to me?" We often worry about how we transfer the spiritual truths that we know and the great things that we have seen unto the next generation. You see, that second generation has heard all of our stories. "Oh you should have been there, when I saw this.....that was so great!" The key is when the second generation becomes its own first generation. That is that they just don't hear it from us but they experience God's work first hand in their generation; in their way; in their culture; and with their expressions of music, etc. When they experience God for themselves then you don't have to worry about how the next generation is going to get what my generation has because they are going to have their own first hand, first generation experiences with God. So when the second generation becomes its own first generation, then it gets passed on. Look at verse 11. Here is that first stage of that sin cycle: rebellion. "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths." You're going to read a lot about these two deities throughout the Old Testament. These are the two main deities; the big wigs in the Canaanite pantheon of gods and goddesses. Baal was the storm God. It was said that Baal, the chief of the gods, rode upon the clouds and he was the one responsible for controlling rainfall. Ashtoreth was the female counterpart to Baal and she was the goddess of fertility, love and war - an interesting mix. According to the myth and the legend that came from the Canaanites and Babylonians, the sexual union of these two deities in heaven is what brought the abundance of rainfall and crops upon the land. The worship of these two deities was very attractive and very sensual. They involved prostitution; there were male and female priests and priestesses prostitutes who would entice people to come under a grove or under a green tree or by some little statue out in the forest or woods and to have sexual relationships. That was part of the worship and the idea was that even as fertility was hopefully taking place right now at that moment that their crops would be fertile and their cattle abundant, etc. "May Baal and Ashtoreth bless what I have." That was the worship system in Canaan and it was an enticement to the Children of Israel for years. So that's the first step, rebellion.
Verse 14 is the second one: retribution. "And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies." This sums up the 350 years of the book of Judges. "Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed." So, rebellion, retribution and here is the third, repentance, and then the fourth, restoration. Verse 16: "Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so. And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way." Now, I'm sure that in that day you could hear one generation say, "These kids today! Boy, you know when I was a young kid growing up there in Tel Aviv, we never had these problems. When we were living up there in that area we never had kids that did that." In all of what was taking place, they saw generations right before their eyes being dismantled morally and spiritually and saw this with every successive generation. Yet, here's what's more remarkable: the pursuing, incessant, vigilant love of God. They blow it; they cry out; God brings them back. They shine God on; they rebel against Him; they become even more wicked; they get into trouble; they cry out; and God brings them back. They do it again and get even worse and cry out and you'd think God would say, "You know, I'm done now. I don't want to do this job anymore." But He was always pursuing them with His covenant love throughout the Bible. If you ever think, "The Old Testament is a book of God's wrath and the New Testament is a book of God's love, maybe you ought to read both of them, because here is God's covenant, unrelenting, chasing and pursuing love. He is ready to forgive and ready to restore. I don't know a lot of hymns, but one of my favorites is "The Love of God." It was written back in 1917 by Frederick Lehman: "The love of God is greater far than ink or pen can ever tell; it stretches to the furthest star and reaches to the lowest hell. Could we with ink the oceans fill and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God would drain the oceans dry; nor could that scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky." The love of God: how rich, how pure, and how measureless and this is a beautiful hymn about this very experience - God chasing them and loving them.
Chapters 3 through 16 are the seven cycles of deliverance. The sin cycle was spelled out in chapter 2 and we have examples of this. Seven times they fall away; seven times they serve these other nations and seven times the Lord delivers them. The book of Judges is laid out geographically. There are three different campaigns: a southern campaign where there are judges in the south that fight off the enemies there; there's a northern campaign; and there's a central campaign. First is the southern campaign in chapter 3 and it's in the south in the area of Judah. There are three judges mentioned: Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar and those are the three judges in the southern campaign.
In chapters 4 and 5 we have the northern campaign: Deborah and Barak against the Canaanite troops up there. Then we have the central campaign with a guy named, Gideon. In chapters 6 through 10, Gideon and his sons, Abimelech, Tola and Jair are highlighted.
We'll go to the second judge in chapter 3, verse 14: "So the Children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years. But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab." The national average of left handed people in our nation and generally around the world is 20 percent. In researching, I found that the greatest percentage of left handed people are in Southeast Asia and in Eastern Europe. We don't know why but they are there. Nonetheless, in ancient times it was thought that if you were left handed and thus restricted in your right hand you weren't as smart and you were much weaker. Of course we know that's not true. The point I want to make is that it says he was left handed so in other words, he took what most people considered a disadvantage, a deficit, or a defect and it became a tool for God. What most people considered as marginal or not as strong, God used for good. A left handed Benjamite was good because of the way he would draw his sword and thus be unsuspected by the enemy. More than your ability, the Lord loves your availability. "Lord, here I am and I feel weak, useless, meek, and poor." God would say, "You know what, because you know that about yourself, I'd like to use you powerfully." Somebody asked the great missionary Hudson Taylor why God chose him. He said, "Because I was weak enough." The Bible says, "God has chosen the foolish things of this world, and the weak things of this world and the despised things of this world." Verse 16: "Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)" We've noted before that the Bible is very honest with age, appearance and with size. "And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, 'I have a secret message for you, O king.' He said, 'Keep silence!' And all who attended him went out from him. So Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, 'I have a message from God for you.' So he arose from his seat. Then Ehud reached with his left hand," normally you would have the dagger on one side and reach with the right hand, "took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly." This guy was trying to get a point across and he did - I guess it was his gut instinct! Verse 22 is the best part. "Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade," it's amazing what you'll find in the Bible, "for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out." Thank you for sharing that - too much information. Verse 31: "After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel." I don't know that he did it all in one-fell swoop. It could be that if you do a whole count of all of the enemies, he killed 600 over his whole lifetime. An ox goad was a long stick with a point at the end and it was used for getting oxen and animals motivated to go. All you had to do is poke them and they'd go. Sometimes they had a very sharp edge of metal on the tip. Carrying around an ox goad was inconspicuous and nobody would think that you're a soldier because you're just a shepherd carrying an ox goad. It would get him into certain places and then he could use that ox goad as a weapon because he was a skillful marksman and able to destroy his enemy - God used him.
Chapter 4, verse 1: "When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time." I mentioned that there are thirteen of these leaders, these judges; twelve are men and this one, Deborah, is a woman. There is somebody that I think about in modern times when I read about Deborah - the fourth prime minister of the nation of Israel, Golda Meir who was called the iron lady of Israeli politics. That was way before there was a Margaret Thatcher who earned that name as well. Deborah was a tough gal and I believe that God used her at a very crucial time. So Deborah was raised up and notice the description: she's a prophetess. The Bible not only has prophets but prophetesses. Miriam, the sister of Moses in Exodus 15 was called a prophetess. A lady named Huldah in the days of King Josiah, was a prophetess; Philip in the New Testament had four virgin daughters who prophesized. Here is one of them who was unique and certainly used by God. It says that she was the wife of Lapidoth. It doesn’t say that Lapidoth was the husband of Deborah but that she was his wife; even though, clearly, she was the most prominent one in the marriage and she was the famous one and everybody knew about her. She had her own palm tree named after her and her own little resort area. She was sitting on top of the hill and she was commanding the armies of Israel but she also knew her role within the family. She was Mrs. Lapidoth. I think there is a key there that no matter who you are or how popular you may be, male or female, it's important to know the relationships that God has given you and to balance them carefully. One person said, "Marriage is like a long trip in a tiny rowboat; if one passenger starts to rock the boat, the other has to steady it or both will go to the bottom together." You know, Lapidoth could have said, "You know, sweetheart, I know you say you're my wife but everybody knows you more than me so I think I'd like to be the general of this army." But he wasn't the one that God called; God called her. Or she could have said, "You, know, honey, I don't want to be called your wife, I'd like you to be called my husband. I'd like it to be Mrs. and Mr. Deborah. But again, she was a prophetess used by God but also the wife of Lapidoth and she was judging Israel.
Chapter 5 is the song of Deborah. Deborah and Barak were not only generals in the army but they were songwriters and they wrote a beautiful song. We're not going to look at all of it but verse 7 says: " Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel." In other words, "Everybody was scared of the enemies and they wouldn't go out and have normal village activities and family life ceased until God raised up a deliverer and it was I, Deborah." There's an old hymn called "Faith of our Fathers." We could have one called faith of our mothers because besides men, there have been so many prominent women that God has used even in the pages of Scripture. I love that she's called a mother in Israel. "I'm just a mom; I'm a normal person and God used me." There's an old Scottish proverb that says, "An ounce of mother, is worth a pound of clergy." How many mothers has God used to turn children around or to pray for them; or grandmothers praying for grandchildren? And God has answered those prayers.
Chapters 6 through 9 are a great story about Gideon and the Midianites. If you've ever gone to Sunday school, you know this story. Where did the Midianites come from? They have an interesting background. Remember Abraham and Sarah? When Sarah died, he remarried a woman named Keturah. Abraham and Keturah had six more kids and one of them was named Midian so he becomes the half brother of Isaac and becomes a real problem later on. Chapter 6, verse 1: "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years." The chapter goes on to say that they were scared and they hid in caves and in dens. Verse 5: "For they," the enemy, "would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it." You might ask, "Why are there camels mentioned? Who cares about camels?" Well, camels can carry 400 pounds of cargo plus a rider. You could load them down with 400 pounds of stuff and then sit on them and ride them and they can go without food and water for days. So that was one of their secrets, this traveling companion, the camels that took them from place to place. Verse 6: "So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord." Now we meet our hero in verse 11: "Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, 'The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!'" This was sort of a joke and here's why. People never threshed their wheat in a winepress; that's what you crushed grapes in. Winepresses are at the bottom of all the hills. Wheat is always threshed on top of the hill where it's windy and breezy in the afternoon so when you throw it up in the air, the wind catches the chaff and blows it away and the wheat falls to the ground. But not this guy, because he's so scared he's doing it in a winepress at the bottom of the hill with a stone wall enclosure. So when an angel comes and says, "Hey, mighty man of valor," he probably was wondering who the angel was talking too because he knew it couldn't have been him. "Gideon said to Him, 'O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.'" Do you think he was a man of faith at this point? Not at all. He, like so many of us whined saying, "Well, if He's a God of love, how come He didn't do anything? Everybody talks about how good God is, but I don't think He's good." Now you can understand the humor about being a man of valor. "Then the Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?'" Here's a picture of the next hero: not on top of the hill but down at the bottom of the hill threshing wheat. You know what? Fear will always take you down like it took him down; but God calls him a man of valor and here's what I think. Not only was this maybe a joke but I think that it was really intended to make a statement. God sees what you and I don't see. God sees maybe not what you are today as much as what He can make you tomorrow. He knows that you are weak and says, "Hey you, know what, you are a mighty man of valor." "What? You've got the wrong guy!" "No! Go in this might of yours because you're the next deliverer." "Me? I'm like mister weak and I don't even trust God's miracles anymore." "Well, that's what you are now but you are going to become a mighty man of valor." God sees what He can do with you. So none of this whining saying, "I'm not worthy." Get over it! Nobody is! He makes you worthy. "I'm no good; I'm not talented." Oh, be quiet and get busy and watch what God can do! That's God's track record and He did it here with Gideon.
Verse 36: "So Gideon said to God, 'If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said-- look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.'" He goes out there the next day and the ground is dry and that little piece of fleece is so wet he could wring a bowl of water out of it. You think, "Wow, that's cool but maybe that's just some weird freak of nature." So he says, "I tell You what, God, let's do it again but this time everything else will be wet and I want that fleece to be dry." God didn't say, "Forget it! I'll get somebody else!" God does it. Verse 40: "And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground." I think Christians misunderstand this story. There is a common phrase that I have heard for years, "I'm going to put out a fleece." In other words, "I need God to give me a sign to show me that He wants me to do something." With Gideon, this was not a fleece for guidance as we so often say but this was a fleece for confirmation. He had already seen a miracle in this story that we didn't cover, fire coming out of a rock and completely consuming the meat that was on it. This was a confirmation. Second, Gideon didn't ask for a natural sign but a totally supernatural sign. We may say something very natural like, "If the phone rings at 1:00 in the afternoon, then I know the Lord wants me to do such and such." Well, that's very natural, phones often ring. This is very different; and what if the phone rings at 1:10 or 1:05? Does that count or is it 1:00 only? What if it's 1:01? You see, when we start doing that it gets really weird. This is the point I want to make: you, Christian, have an internal GPS system and it's called the Holy Spirit. He's living inside of you and He's not just around moving on special people like prophets in the Old Testament. Unique to New Testament believers, the Holy Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity is living in you. So here we are, so freaked out about the "how" and the "where" in guidance instead of the "Who" in guidance. "But I don't know where?" "So?" "But I don't know what?" "So?" You know "Whom" you have living in you - you have the Holy Spirit. Just move, walk and do normal stuff and trust God and He'll guide you with your internal GPS system. "But I need a fleece!" No, you have the Holy Spirit and He's a lot better than a fleece.
Chapter 7, verse 1: "Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley." Now, I've been in this place and in fact a couple of years ago some of you were there with us. We were in the valley and on one side was Mount Gilboa and there was this spring of Herod, and then we saw the hill of Moreh in the distance where the Midianites were. Gideon had 32,000 untrained men with no real weapons. The Midianites had 135,000 well trained soldiers and he's scared right now but he's there. Verse 2: "And the Lord said to Gideon, 'The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'" Sometimes bigger isn't better. Sometimes if you have too many people in an army like this you're not as mobile as you were with just a few infantry men and really great highly trained soldiers. This already seemed impossible: 32,000 outgunned by 135,000 - four to one; so it's a shock to Gideon when God says there's too many. He's thinking, "Yeah, there's too many of them." "No, there's too many of you for Me." If Spock from Star Trek would have been there or if this was James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise and he said, "You know Spock, there's too many of us." Spock would have said, "Illogical captain." This was completely illogical. God said there were too many, not for you, there's not enough for you, but there's too many for Me. So God tests their faith. You know a faith that is untested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Oh, we have faith in God when the cupboards are full and our health is good and, "God is good! Halleluiah! I trust Him!" Big deal. What about when it all goes? Verse 3: "Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.' And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained." Ouch! Twenty two thousand leave and again that's another shock to Gideon. Just like in Deuteronomy 20, the officer goes up to the army and says, "Okay, if any of you guys have fields that you haven't planted, go home; if any of you guys are engaged and you haven't gotten to marry your wife, go home; and if anybody here is afraid of war, get up and go now; and 22,000 said, "Okay," and they were gone. But this is good because one timid soldier in a battle situation is worse than a whole bunch of enemies because fear is contagious. It's better that 22,000 leave now than in the middle of the battle field. Verse 4: "But the Lord said to Gideon, 'The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go.'" At this point Gideon is thinking, "Oh great, God just wants me to die and He's leading me to slaughter!" No, He's leading you to victory. God will sometimes stack the odds against you so that it's not hard, it's impossible. "Unless God shows up, I'm sunk." It's a good place to be in. Elijah on Mount Carmel wanted the people to see that it was unmistakably God so as his sacrifice was laid out on a rock he said to them, "Go get water and pour the water all over this altar and sacrifice." They did it. "Do it again," he said over and over again so that it was dripping with water. When fire came down from heaven and consumed it, it was unmistakably God. The odds were stacked against him. God will often stack the odds against you like David against Goliath; he was this little kid with a few pebbles going against a well trained nine-footer in battle. So it was unmistakably the Lord.
I've watched people in churches for a long time doing projects and I often hear, "Oh, pastor, we need more people." Maybe not. Instead of more people, maybe you just need a few good ones because a few good ones will go a longer way than a whole bunch whose hearts really aren't in it. Sometimes you don't need a whole bunch more, you just need a few that are called and inspired and energized by the Lord.
Verse 5: "So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, 'Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.' And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, 'By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.'" This is a test of urgency; the position of the man in battle will tell a lot about the man. Here's the deal: some people got down on all fours; others got down on their knees and took the water in their hands and lapped it like a dog would lap it with his tongue but in a vigilant position, looking at the landscape. Three hundred did that - they were ready. God looked at that and said, "That's all I need. Just those few people who live vigilantly and are ready; those are the ones I'm going to use for this battle. They go out to battle with some candles and some pots and they bang the pots and they light the candles and it's enough that God uses it to scare the enemy and they run around in circles and kill each other. Humanly and strategically, if you look at 300 men against 135,000 soldiers what do you say? "Those poor 300, they're doomed," but if you stack the 135,000 against God who created them and everybody else, you think, "Those poor 135,000 Midianites, they're dead." A lot depends on how you choose to view life.
Chapter 8, verse 28: "Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon."
Chapter 9 and 10 are easy to sum up. Gideon's son, Abimelech decides, "I'm going to become the next judge, the next leader." He wasn't called by God. He was an opportunist, was ambitious, had a lust for power and he murders his brothers all on one stone and assumes power and now he's about to reap what he has sown. Verse 5: "Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself." Verse 51: "But there was a strong tower in the city," now here's the deal, for three years, Abimelech reigned, the Shechemites revolted against him, there was a strong tower in the city and all the people of the city fled there and shut themselves in and they went up to the top of the tower. Verse 52: "So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone," now this baby weighs about 20 to 35 pounds and is about 12 inches in diameter, "on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man, his armorbearer, and said to him, 'Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" You know, a guy is always a guy; even at death. "I've got my pride! Kill me; I don't want them to say a chick did it!" "So his young man thrust him through, and he died." Here's what's interesting: Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap. Jesus said, "Whatever measure you use, it will be measured back to you." He killed seventy kids on a stone and a stone fell on his head - perfect and poetic.
In chapter 10, there are two more judges. They are just briefly described. Tola reigns for 23 years and Jair reigns for 22 years and Israel sins against God again and now the Philistines enter the land and take over. Next time we'll pick up from the Philistines onward in this 350 blight of the Children of Israel.
History can repeat itself. British historian, Arnold Toynbeelooked at 22 civilizations throughout history and he noted that 19 of the 22 nations collapsed when they reached the immoral status of the present United States of America. He said, "There's something interesting when people lose their bearings and lose their morals and become as we have become, so post modern that we do what is right in our own eyes that we become ready for the collapse of our nation." The Children of Israel were one nation under God and then they left the God that they were once under and they became under God's judgment because of that. We're all Americans and we should all pray for our nation. We have a chance to get involved in the elections and to vote. We could say, "I'm apathetic, I don't care and I'm not going to vote for anybody because they are all bad; forget it." Or we could get involved and especially pray and be active; be an active Christian and let the light shine. You know what? Every homosexual in the world is coming out of the closet; every terrorist in the world is showing their colors; and I think it's time for Christians to come out of the closet and show our colors and be bold!I don't think we have anything to be afraid of. I'm not asking you to blow yourselves up; I'm asking you to love the world up; I'm asking you to blow people up with love; share the Gospel; and let your light so shine among men that they see the difference.
Heavenly Father, we pray that would be so in Jesus, Name. Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/11/2007
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Destination: Genesis 1-11
Genesis 1-11
Skip Heitzig
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We begin The Bible from 30,000 Feet with a tour of Genesis Chapters 1-11. On this flight we'll travel all the way back to the very beginning - The Creation. We'll meet the first man and woman and their deceiver - the Serpent. We'll fly over God's new creation and meet a man named Noah, who God saved from His judgment - the Flood. We'll also take a look at "beginnings," the first time things are mentioned in the Bible a special significance should be given to them. The word Genesis itself is a Greek word that means "origin," the book describes the origins of creation.
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7/18/2007
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Destination: Genesis 12-50
Genesis 12-50
Skip Heitzig
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This week's flight is going to take us over the second section of Genesis, which is biographical in nature and focuses on the lives of four key people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. We'll travel through the time era known as the Age of the Patriarchs. If you look at your window, we'll be passing over Canaan and Egypt, Canaan is modern day Israel.
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7/25/2007
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Destination: Exodus 1-18
Exodus 1-18
Skip Heitzig
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In our third tour, we'll be visiting the book of Exodus chapters 1-18. We'll get an overview of the central historical event contained in the book, the redemption of God's people from the bondage of Egypt. The setting for our journey is the nation of Egypt and Israel's wanderings through the wilderness. For this flight the key chapters to review in advance are: Exodus: 1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 12 and 14.
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8/1/2007
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Destination: Exodus 19-40
Exodus 19-40
Skip Heitzig
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In our fourth tour, we'll again visit the book of Exodus, visiting chapters 19-40. The setting for this week's journey is the Sinai Peninsula where God reveals the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel and gives specific instructions on how He is to be worshiped. For this flight the key chapters to review in advance are: Exodus: 20, 25, 26, 27, 29 and 32.
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8/8/2007
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Destination: Leviticus 1-17
Leviticus 1-17
Skip Heitzig
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In our fifth flight from 30,000 Feet, we fly over the first seventeen chapters of the book of Leviticus. This is a book on worship and describes the worship life of the nation of Israel. In this first tour of Leviticus, we'll see how the first part of the book focuses on the way to God through sacrifice and lays down the law - literally - on how man was designed to live and how man can be atoned for his sins. The key chapters to review in advance are: Leviticus: 1-5, 10, 16, 17.
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8/15/2007
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Destination: Leviticus 18-27
Leviticus 18-27
Skip Heitzig
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This week's study will take us through Leviticus chapters 18-27. The theme of Leviticus could be summed up in one word - holiness. The second section of Leviticus focuses on our walk with God through sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we become holy or set apart for God's purposes. The key chapters to review in advance are: Leviticus 18-20, 22, 23, and 25.
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8/22/2007
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Destination: Numbers 1-14
Numbers 1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Our seventh flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us through Numbers chapters 1-14. Numbers is the fourth of the Pentateuch. In the Hebrew it is called ba-midbar, "in the wilderness." In the Septuagint version it is called Arithmoi or "numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the book. It is so called because it contains a record of the numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26). The key chapters to review in advance are: Numbers 3, 6, 9, 11, 13 & 14.
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8/29/2007
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Destination: Numbers 15-36
Numbers 15-36
Skip Heitzig
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In our eighth flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet Pastor Skip will give us a tour of Numbers chapters 15-36. We'll see that the second section of Numbers covers the failure of one generation to enter the Promised Land and the reorganization of a new generation that enters into the Promised Land. Key chapters for this flight are: 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, and 27.
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9/5/2007
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Destination: Deuteronomy 1-34
Deuteronomy 1-34
Skip Heitzig
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In our ninth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip Heitzig will take us on a tour through the entire book of Deuteronomy. The Hebrews called it "Elleh Haddevarim," "These are the Words," or "Devarim," (words). Deuteronomy can be organized around three messages given by Moses while the Israelites were on the plains east of the Jordan River. It occurs after the 40 years of wandering and the Israelites are now ready to enter the Promised Land. The key word of this book is covenant and speaks of the special relationship that God has established with His people. Key chapters for this flight are: 6, 7, 31, 32, 33 and 34.
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9/12/2007
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Destination: Joshua 1-12
Joshua 1-12
Skip Heitzig
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Pastor Skip Heitzig will be our tour guide during our tenth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. This week's journey will take us through Joshua 1-12. We'll get to know Joshua, son of Nun, who shared in all the events of the Exodus, and held the place of commander of the host of the Israelites. The book of Joshua describes Israel's conquest of Canaan and the first section describe how Joshua conquered the land. Key chapters for this flight are: Joshua 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10.
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9/26/2007
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Destination: Joshua 13-24
Joshua 13-24
Skip Heitzig
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In our eleventh flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip Heitzig will give us a tour of the Promised Land. We will see how Joshua divides the land "as an inheritance to Israel," and we'll see different tribes and where they settle, both in and out of the Promised Land. Key chapters for this flight are: Joshua 13 and 20-24.
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10/10/2007
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Destination: Judges 11-21
Judges 11-21
Skip Heitzig
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Flight thirteen over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over Judges chapters 11-21. Pastor Skip Heitzig will guide us as we complete this overview of Judges. We will see that the second part of Judges shows the fragile nature of these Judges and a people who, "did what was right in their own eyes," that kept them in their sin cycle.
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10/24/2007
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Destination: Ruth 1-4
Ruth 1-4
Skip Heitzig
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In our fourteenth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip Heitzig will give us a tour of the little romantic book of Ruth. We'll see how the book of Ruth shows the godly courage and love of two very different women from very different backgrounds. We'll meet some amazing characters on this flight who become key people in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
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11/7/2007
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Destination: 1 Samuel 1-15
1 Samuel 1-15
Skip Heitzig
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The fifteenth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us on journey through 1 Samuel chapters 1-15. Join our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig for this exciting tour on which we'll meet a man who would be become King. This man's good looks, physical size and success in war made him an obvious choice from a human perspective, but the book of 1 Samuel highlights his tragic flaw - he disobeyed God's commands. From the ashes of Saul's tragedy God raises up another man who would become King, a man after His own heart, King David. The key chapters to review are 1-3, 8-10 and 15.
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11/14/2007
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Destination: 1 Samuel 16-31
1 Samuel 16-31
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight sixteen over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. This week our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will complete our tour of the book of 1 Samuel, covering chapters 16-31. On this flight we'll meet the man who God calls, "a man after my own heart (Acts 13:22)," David son of Jesse. We'll see David as a young shepherd boy who defeats Goliath and rises to national prominence overnight. His instant popularity arouses the jealousy of King Saul and forces David into hiding.
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11/21/2007
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Destination: 2 Samuel 1-10
2 Samuel 1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Flight Seventeen over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over 2 Samuel chapters 1-10. Our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will show us David's triumphs as King over Israel, after the death of Saul. Join us as we see how David's faith in God leads him to be victorious politically and militarily as one by one he defeats his enemies. We will also see how David's obedience leads to a new promise from God. The key chapters to review for this flight are 1-3, 5, 7 and 9.
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12/5/2007
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Destination: 2 Samuel 11-24
2 Samuel 11-24
Skip Heitzig
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In our eighteenth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig will take us to our next destination, 2 Samuel 11-24. On this flight we'll see David's transgressions and the troubles that resulted from them. By presenting both the strengths and weaknesses of David, we see a complete picture of a very real person who was described as being "a man after God's own heart." The key chapters to review are 2 Samuel 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 23, and 24.
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1/9/2008
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Destination: 1 Kings 1-22
1 Kings 1-22
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight nineteen over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over 1 Kings 1-22. On this flight we will see the transition that Israel undertakes as it moves from the rule of King David to the rule of his son King Solomon after his death. After Solomon turns from the Lord, we will see how Israel is divided and moved in and out of the power of many kings such as Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and Ahaziah. These chapters will reveal a story of true loyalty and disobedience to God. The key chapters to review are 1 Kings 1-3, 6, 8, 11, 12, 18, and 19.
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1/16/2008
completed
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Destination: 2 Kings 1-25
2 Kings 1-25
Skip Heitzig
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Flight twenty over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over the entire book of 2 Kings. Our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will continue to lead us through the history of the divided nation of Israel, and how in spite of the many kings who took control of the land, we will still see a nation without true leadership. As we soar over this book, we will see first how Israel comes into captivity by Assyria, and then the triumph of Babylon over Judah. The key chapters to review are 2 Kings 1-4, and 18-21.
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1/23/2008
completed
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Destination: 1 Chronicles 1-29
1 Chronicles 1-29
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight twenty-one over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over the book of 1 Chronicles. On this flight we look back once again at God's promise that He would establish His reign on earth through King David. Chapters 1-9 of 1 Chronicles will look in-depth at the the royal line of David and then we will see again the reign of David in chapters 10-29. Join us as we fly at an altitude of 30,000 feet and see how God fulfilled His promises to David and how that presents a witness of His faithfulness to us as well. The key chapters to review are 1 Chronicles 17-18, 21-22, 25, and 28-29
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1/30/2008
completed
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Destination: 2 Chronicles 1-36
2 Chronicles 1-36
Skip Heitzig
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Get ready for our twenty-second departure for the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, Pastor Skip Heitzig will take us soaring over the entire book of 2 Chronicles to see the beginning of the reign of King Solomon all the way to the spiritual roller coaster after Solomon's death and the separation of the kingdoms. From the building of the temple (2 Chronicles 1-9), to the decline of the temple (2 Chronicles 10-36:16), to the destruction of the temple (2 Chronicles 36:17-23), we see a parallel to 1 and 2 Kings from a spiritual viewpoint. The key chapters to review are 2 Chronicles 17-20, and 29-32.
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2/6/2008
completed
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Destination: Ezra 1-10
Ezra 1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Flight twenty-three over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over the entire book of Ezra. Our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will point out two very important sections of this book; the restoration of the temple (chapters 1-6), and the reformation of the people (chapters 7-10). This book will continue the narrative of 2 Chronicles by showing God's faithfulness to keep His promises by returning His people to their homeland. The key chapters to review are Ezra 1-10.
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2/13/2008
completed
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Destination: Nehemiah 1-13
Nehemiah 1-13
Skip Heitzig
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Get ready for our twenty-fourth departure for the Bible from 30,000 Feet. We will fly at cruising altitude over the entire book of Nehemiah with our pilot, Pastor Skip Heitzig. In this book, Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer, is given permission to lead third and final return to Jerusalem to repair and rebuild the city's walls. This book will show us a political construction (chapters 1-7), and a spiritual instruction (chapters 8-13). Join us as we see how Nehemiah gathers his spiritual strength from God during a time of great opposition.
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2/27/2008
completed
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Destination: Esther 1-10
Esther 1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight twenty-five over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over the book of Esther. The flight will be divided into two highly important sections: the threat to the Jews (chapters 1-4), in which we will see Haman's attempt to completely eradicate the Jewish people from Persia, and the triumph of the Jews (chapters 5-10), where we will see a young girl's godly strength and fight to save her people. This flight will show us a whole new set of villains, heroes, and ultimately the ever abounding faithfulness of God towards those who follow Him. The key chapters to review are Esther 1-10.
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3/5/2008
completed
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Destination: Job 1-42
Job 1-42
Skip Heitzig
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Our twenty-sixth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet takes us over the entire book of Job, the first book in the section of poetical books. This is a powerful story of a man who has everything taken from him; his health, wealth, and even his beloved family. Yet as we see God allowing Satan to test Job, God's faithfulness to those he loves is clear and Job's steadfast faith prevails. Join us this week as we see Job's dilemma (ch.1-2), the debate with his four friends (ch. 3-37), and his final deliverance (ch. 38-42). The key chapters to review are Job1-4, 8,11-12, and 29.
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3/12/2008
completed
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Destination: Psalms 1-72
Psalms 1-72
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight twenty-seven over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over Psalms 1-72. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us through the first seventy-two chapters of Psalms, which is divided into five books of songs, prayers, and poetry. Join us as we look at the deepest thoughts and emotions on the love and power of God. The key chapters to review are Psalms 1, 14, 23, 40, and 63.
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3/19/2008
completed
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Destination: Psalms 73-150
Psalms 73-150
Skip Heitzig
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Get ready for our twenty-eighth departure of the Bible from 30,000 Feet. We will fly at cruising altitude over the last three books in Psalms as we read through chapters 73-150. We will see beautiful writings of gladness and grief, pleading and prayers, and reverence and worship. Join us as we look at the deepest thoughts and emotions on the love and power of God. The key chapters to review are Psalms 119, and 146-150.
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3/26/2008
completed
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Destination: Proverbs 1-31
Proverbs 1-31
Skip Heitzig
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Flight twenty-nine over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over the entire book of Proverbs. Known for the wisdom it contains, Proverbs reveals to us how to deal with every day situations; be it love and lust, life and death, friends and enemies, and what our God loves and hates. On this flight, Pastor Skip will point out some of the most noted chapters and verses of one of the most read books of the Old Testament. The key chapters to review are Proverbs 1-2, 5, 14, 22, and 31.
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4/23/2008
completed
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Destination: Ecclesiastes 1-12
Ecclesiastes 1-12
Skip Heitzig
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Join us as we continue The Bible From 30,000 Feet, taking our thirtieth flight high above the book of Ecclesiastes. This book reveals some startling truths about how King Solomon felt about finding meaning and fulfillment in life through the things of this world, and ultimately his conclusion that "all is vanity" in a life lived without God. The key chapters to review are 1-3, 5, 8, and 12.
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4/30/2008
completed
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Destination: Song of Solomon 1-8
Song_of_Solomon 1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight thirty-one over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over Song of Solomon. This poetic book gives us a glimpse into the true love that Solomon has for a shepherdess, and the love and fulfillment they share in a marriage relationship. At an altitude of 30,000 feet we will be able to see the strong tie into the fulfillment and joy seen in the love of God for His people. The key chapters to review are Song of Solomon 1-8.
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5/7/2008
completed
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Destination: Isaiah 1-39
Isaiah 1-39
Skip Heitzig
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Our thirty-second flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet will take us soaring over the entire book of Isaiah. Thought to be the greatest of all the Prophets of the Old Testament, Isaiah's ministry lasted around fifty years, and his prophecies are quoted in the New Testament more often than any other Prophet. This book shows us a mix of both prophecies of condemnation (chapters 1-39), as well as prophecies of comfort (chapters 40-66). The key chapters to review are Isaiah 1-2, 6, 40, 52-53, and 55.
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5/14/2008
completed
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Destination: Isaiah 40-66
Isaiah 40-66
Skip Heitzig
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In our thirty-third flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet, Pastor Skip will take us on a flight high above the Bible to look at the second half of Isaiah. As we look through chapters 40-66, we will see the continued work of Isaiah, and how God used his gift of prophecy, both comforting and condemning, to generate change in the individuals he encountered. The key chapters to review are Isaiah 40, 52-53, and 55.
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5/21/2008
completed
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Destination: Jeremiah 1-52
Jeremiah 1-52
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight thirty-four over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, as we soar over the entire book of Jeremiah. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us at an altitude of 30,000 feet to see the three writings of the book of Jeremiah. From the warning of judgment, to the promise of restoration, and finally the protective hand of God over those He loves, we will catch a glimpse of a man who openly allowed God to speak through him in unusual and sometimes bizarre ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel. The key chapters to review are Jeremiah 13, 18-20, 25, 31, and 52.
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6/11/2008
completed
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Destination: Lamentations 1-5
Lamentations 1-5
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight thirty-five over the Bible From 30,000 Feet. On this departure, we will look once again at Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations. We will learn why Jeremiah is referred to as "the weeping prophet," as we see him lament over the destruction of Jerusalem. This poetic book begins by revealing a man who is distressed for a nation under the consequences of its own sin, and ends with a prayer for the restoration of the nation from captivity. The key chapters to review are Lamentations 1-5.
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6/18/2008
completed
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Destination: Ezekiel 1-48
Ezekiel 1-48
Skip Heitzig
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In our thirty-sixth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip will take us on a flight high above the Bible to look at the book of Ezekiel. We will witness prophecies we've seen in past books being fulfilled as we see Jerusalem at the time of the Second Babylonian Deportation. As Ezekiel the Priest is deported alongside his people, we see God continue to offer promises of restoration through him, bringing the people a sense of hope in spite of their current tribulations. The key chapters to review are Ezekiel 1-3, 7, 33-34, and 38-39.
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6/25/2008
completed
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Destination: Daniel 1-6
Daniel 1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Flight thirty-seven over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us on a tour of Daniel 1-6. In these chapters, we will see the first of the deportations of the Israelites to Babylon, and witness both the prophetic history of the book, as well as the four prophetic visions of Daniel. Ultimately, the powerful stories in Daniel reveal a man of God; unwilling to compromise and full of faith. The key chapters to review are Daniel 1-2.
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7/2/2008
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Destination: Daniel 7-12
Daniel 7-12
Skip Heitzig
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Our thirty-eighth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us through the second part of Daniel. As we look at chapters 7-12, we will see the four prophetic visions of Daniel, and observe how his faith in God's fulfillment of prophecies led him to fervent prayer for the people of Israel. The key chapters to review are Daniel 9-12.
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7/9/2008
completed
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Destination: Hosea 1-14
Hosea 1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out and place your heart in the upright position for our thirty-ninth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour over the entire book of Hosea, a man called to prophesy to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam. As Hosea addresses the sins of the nation, we will see how God used the graphic parallel between his adulterous wife and the unfaithfulness of Israel. The key chapters to review are Hosea 1-4, 6, 9, and 11.
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7/16/2008
completed
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Destination: Joel; Amos; Obadiah
Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah
Skip Heitzig
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Get ready for flight forty over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will take us soaring over Joel, Amos, and Obadiah. In these three books, we take a look at the strong warnings that God gives His people against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness. We'll see God's use of these ordinary men to give extraordinary messages; we'll witness His patience, and at the end, we'll see how He stands ready to forgive and restore all who turn away from their sin. The key chapters to review are Joel 1-3, Amos 1, 3 and 7, and Obadiah 1.
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7/23/2008
completed
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Destination: Jonah 1-4
Jonah 1-4
Skip Heitzig
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Our forty-first flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet will take us to the well known book of Jonah. In this book, we will see what God can do in the life of a prophet, even one who is blatantly disobedient. Despite Jonah's defiance, God strongly redirects his path and brings him to repentance through a very unique situation. By the end of the book, we will see Jonah right back where he started and bringing God glory by doing exactly what He had originally asked of him. The key chapters to review are Jonah 1-4.
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8/6/2008
completed
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Destination: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk
Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out and place your heart in the upright position for our forty-second flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour over the books of Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk, three prophets used by God to criticize, comfort, and encourage the people of Judah. Through these prophets, God's people confess their sins and are confident in the salvation of God's mighty acts. The key chapters to review are Micah 1-7, Nahum 1-3, and Habakkuk 1-3.
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8/13/2008
completed
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Destination: Zephaniah & Haggai
Zephaniah; Haggai
Skip Heitzig
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Prepare yourself for our forty-third flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. This flight will take us soaring over the entirety of both Zephaniah and Haggai. The two books cover five chapters which speak of the coming Day of the Lord, His wrath upon Judah and her neighbors, and an encouragement after their return from exile to rejoice and rebuild the Temple. The key chapters to review are Zephaniah 1-3 and Haggai 1-2.
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8/20/2008
completed
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Destination: Zechariah and Malachi
Zechariah; Malachi
Skip Heitzig
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We are about to take our forty-forth flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet, journeying over the final two books of the Old Testament. In ending the Minor Prophets, we'll first look at the expanded message of rebuilding the temple as Zechariah encourages the people to look to the future reign of the Messiah. We will then speed forward 100 years after the temple was rebuilt to the book of Malachi, where God's chosen people had once again slid back into their sinful practices. After 400 years of prophetic silence, Malachi brings a message of exhortation to the people who had resettled in Jerusalem. The key chapters to review are Zechariah 9-14 and Malachi 1-4.
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9/3/2008
completed
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Destination: Matthew, Mark, and Luke
Matthew, Mark; Luke
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for our opening tour of the New Testament and flight forty-five of the Bible from 30,000 Feet! This flight will take us on a sky-high tour over the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three synoptic gospels give us our first glimpses of Jesus' life and death here on earth. We'll see the service, sermons, sacrifices, and sovereignty of our King as we witness the fulfillment of many of the Old Testament prophecies we have previously studied. The key chapters to review are Matthew 1-5 and 17, Mark, and Luke.
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9/10/2008
completed
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Destination: John
John
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for our forty-sixth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour through the book of John, written by the Apostle John from Ephesus between A.D. 80-90. The spiritual depth of this book and its presentation of the incarnation through the God-man Jesus Christ sets it apart from the other gospels.
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9/17/2008
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Destination: Acts
Acts
Skip Heitzig
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On our forty-seventh flight over the Bible from 30,000 feet Pastor Skip will give a tour of the entire book of Acts. Acts is the history of how Christianity was founded and organized and solved its problems. The gospel writer Luke tells the story of how the community of believers began by faith in the risen Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, the promised Counselor and Guide, who enabled them to witness, to love, and to serve.
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9/24/2008
completed
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Destination: Romans
Romans
Skip Heitzig
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We are about to take our forty-eighth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. Join us as we soar over the entire book of Romans, Paul's letter to the church in Rome. This letter primarily focuses on the basic gospel message along with God's plan of salvation and righteousness for all humankind, Jew and Gentile alike. In our broad overview, we'll take a look at Paul's strong emphasis of Christian doctrine and his concern for Israel. The key chapters to review are 1, 3, 4, and 9-11.
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10/8/2008
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Destination: 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for our forty-ninth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet! As we look at 1 Corinthians, we'll see Paul's letters to the church at Corinth. His letters to the influential church confront their "religious" and arrogant mindsets and defend his ability to be an apostle of Christ. Through God's grace and use of Paul, he is later able to rejoice over the turnaround and acceptance of his God-given authority. The key chapters to review are 1 Corinthians 2-3 & 12-13.
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10/15/2008
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Destination: 2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Skip Heitzig
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Our fiftieth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet takes us on a flight over the second of Paul's letters to the church at Corinth. Between 1 & 2 Corinthians, the congregation was influenced by false teachers who spread opposition to Paul. Through God's grace and use of Paul, he is later able to rejoice over the repentance of the people to God and acceptance of his God-given authority. The key chapters to review are 2 Corinthians 4 & 12.
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10/22/2008
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Destination: Galatians
Galatians
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for our fifty-first flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour through the book of Galatians, a clear letter to the church in Galatia about the importance of remembering grace through faith and not the law. Paul's forceful letter addresses issues of legalism in the church and the false gospel of works. The key chapters to review are Galatians 1-6.
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11/5/2008
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Destination: Ephesians
Ephesians
Skip Heitzig
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Who are we in Christ? Grab your travel planner for flight fifty-two as we look at the book of Ephesians, Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus. In this book, Paul explains how we are the bride of Christ, a temple, and a soldier for the gospel. The unity that Paul emphasizes is described as a body working together for a common goal. The key chapters to review are Ephesians 1-6.
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11/19/2008
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Destination: Philippians
Philippians
Skip Heitzig
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In our fifty-third flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip will take us through the book of Philippians, another of Paul's letters to the church. Referred to as "the epistle of joy," the message contained in these pages is one of long suffering and joy in the midst of Paul's time in prison. Despite his trials, we will see Paul rejoice over the church in Philippi and encourage them in unity, humility, and prayer. The key chapters to review are Philippians 1-4.
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1/7/2009
completed
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Destination: Colossians
Colossians
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for our fifty-fourth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet! On this flight, we will take a look at the young church in Colosse, and how they became the target of a heretical attack. The main theme in the book of Colossians is the complete adequacy of Christ as contrasted with the emptiness of mere human philosophy. The key chapters to review are Colossians 1-4.
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1/14/2009
completed
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Destination: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 1-5;2 Thessalonians 1-3:18
Skip Heitzig
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In our fifty-fifth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour over the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Both books are written as an encouragement to the church in Thessalonica, exhorting them in the word, warning them against pagan immorality, and urging them to remain steadfast in the truth of the Lord. The key chapters to review are 1 Thessalonians 1-5 and 2 Thessalonians 1-3.
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1/21/2009
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Destination: 1 and 2 Timothy
1 Timothy 1-6;2 Timothy 1-4:22
Skip Heitzig
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Join us on a tour over the books of 1 & 2 Timothy as we take our fifty-sixth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. These loving letters to Timothy, a young pastor in Ephesus, reveal Paul's true love for his brother in Christ and desire to encourage him in the Word and warn against false teachings. In these letters, Paul exhorts Timothy to stand strong and "preach the word" (2 Timothy 4:2). The key chapters to review are 1 Timothy 1-6 and 2 Timothy 1-4.
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1/28/2009
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Destination: Titus and Philemon
Titus 1-3:15;Philemon 1:1-25
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight fifty-seven of the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, our tour guide Pastor Skip will take us through the books of Titus and Philemon. While the letter to Titus focuses on the importance of sound doctrine and the elements of the church order, Philemon takes a more personal approach and speaks on the application of the great principles of Christian brotherhood to social life. The key chapters to review are Titus 1-3 and Philemon 1.
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2/4/2009
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Destination: Hebrews
Hebrews
Skip Heitzig
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In our fifty-eighth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour over the book of Hebrews. Although the author of the book is not fully known, this well written letter reveals a man with a great desire to encourage Jewish believers to continue in the grace of Jesus Christ, instead of trying to escape persecution by bowing to the rites and rituals of Judaism. The key chapters to review are Hebrews 1-2, 6, 11, and 13.
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2/11/2009
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Destination: James
James
Skip Heitzig
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Our fifty-ninth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will take us over the distinctive book of James. Although grace through faith in the cross was vital for Jewish believer to understand, James addresses the issue of faith without a consistent lifestyle. This epistle adamantly declares that, "Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead, also." (James 2:26) The key chapters to review are James 1-5.
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2/18/2009
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Destination: 1 and 2 Peter
1 Peter 1-5; 2 Peter 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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Get your travel planner out for flight sixty over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. Our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will take us on a tour of the books of 1 & 2 Peter. Peter's first letter to the church exhorts Christians to remain steadfast in their faith when under persecution, and his second letter tackles the issue of false teachers and a need for discernment against the spreading apostasy. Both books contain a level of warmth in Peter's expressions, making them a great source of encouragement. The key chapters to review are 1 Peter 1-5 and 2 Peter 1-3.
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2/25/2009
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Destination: 1 John
1 John
Skip Heitzig
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In our sixty-first flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, our tour guide Pastor Skip will take us through the book of 1 John. John writes to define and defend the nature of the person of Christ against heretical teachings affecting the early church. As John addresses the heretical teachings of the time, he also addresses the preeminence of God's love for us, and our duty to love others in return. The key chapters to review are 1 John 1-5.
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3/25/2009
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Destination: 2, 3 John and Jude
2 John, 3 John; Jude
Skip Heitzig
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Flight sixty-two over the Bible from 30,000 Feet will give a sky high view over three small but concise books, 2 & 3 John and Jude. While all three books have a different primary focus, all are written with the purpose to encourage the church to keep a strong biblical foundation. This study will take us through the importance of biblical discernment, the need to be in fellowship with other believers, as well as the vital need to keep strong in the faith. The key chapters to review are 2 & 3 John, and Jude.
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4/1/2009
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Destination: Revelation 1-11
Revelation 1-11
Skip Heitzig
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With only two more flights to go, we welcome you to get your travel planner ready for the first half of the book of Revelation and flight sixty-three over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. Considered to be one of the most powerful books in Scripture, Revelation is a direct vision from God, to John, which he was asked to record for future generations. Revelation 1:19, "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." As the final warning to the world of the tribulation to come, it also serves as a source of hope for the Church. The key chapters to review are 1-4, 7, and 11.
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4/8/2009
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Destination: Revelation 12-22
Revelation 12-22
Skip Heitzig
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Flight sixty-four brings us to the end of the scriptures and the second and final part of the book of Revelation. Chapters 12-22 lead us into some of the most thrilling text in the entire Bible, giving us a glimpse into the seven bowl judgments, the Beast, and the future tribulation, but also bringing us great hope for God's Church. The key chapters to review are Revelation 12-14, 18, and 20-22.
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4/15/2009
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Bible from 30k Final Q&A
Skip Heitzig
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We have landed our flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. As we touch down and head to pick up the final baggage from our 65 flight series, our last sky-high view of the scriptures will includes this final Q&A Celebration. Pastor Skip and others answer questions from the last year, as well as on the spot questions from the audience.
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There are 64 additional messages in this series.