Judges 10:13 | God Stopped Saving


Something that I fear personally happened to the Israelites. They rejected God for such a long period of time that God refused to hear them when they finally called out to him.

13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” Judges 10:13-14 ESV

“I will save you no more” is such a devastating response. Topped with a burning challenge from God to them… “cry to the gods whom you have chosen”.

There are two key words that must be addressed that highlight the gulf between these people and God. The rebellious people are so selfish and shortsighted that they are oblivious to the eternal picture that God operates from. God created life to be enjoyed and to delight in Him as the Creator, but people want to enjoy what is right in front of themselves to the extent that they become slaves to that desire and then fail to enjoy what would have been wonderful.

4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 ESV

God turned away from their cries for help and he tells them that he will not “save” them this time. Moses is not here to stand in the gap to advocate on their behalf.

Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them. Psalms 106:23 ESV

The first key word from God is that he would no longer “save” them. Salvation is not secured and because of their rejection of God for so long God is giving them what they wanted by their choice and life without need of him. A common but incorrect idea is that God in the Old Testament is unforgiving and the God of the New Testament is loving. It is not true because God is unchanging. He is the same then as he is now. He was loving and merciful to these people but he is not to be taken for granted and he will not force himself on anyone.

22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! 23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense…But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. Isaiah 43:22-24 ESV

Why should God save them? Is he obligated to them to be there like the rich father who is always bailing a spoiled ungrateful son out of jail? God created us the only obligation is ours to be amazed by a God who is loving, just, and powerful. God does not need me. I need God and only He can save.

The second key word from God is that he tells them to ask the gods they have “chosen” to serve for help. Obviously the gods of man-made material will not save however for the contemporary reader don’t think this does not apply to you. What do we serve? What do we put our trust in? Money, scientific advancements, power, sex, drugs, work, or what? Will they save you? Will they provide joy, contentment, and love? For a short period of time maybe, but what then when you get old or tragedy strikes? At some point in this temporary life our obligation to the creator will be called on. Will any of your man made gods that you have chosen to serve save you?

33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:33 ESV

God resolved the problem in that Moses could only intercede for that generation of his time God provided a perfect king and priest. Jesus came that he would stand with the father and advocate on our behalf. God will listen to those who he has “chosen” and those who have “chosen” Christ because Christ is interceding for us. Do not be consumed by the temporary pleasure, power, and money that is right in front of you. God calls us to see the big picture. The eternal picture. God did eventually save the Israelites because they repented in a real way.

16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel. Judges 10:16 ESV

They put away those things that kept them from serving God and they chose to serve him and because of that God once again heard their cries and provided someone to save them. Ask God for the desire to choose him, to serve him over the idols of today. Repent from self-serving evil that consumes today. Christ will intercede and God will save you today and for eternity.

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 ESV

Judges 9:14 | Vote for Brambles


Gideon was asked to be King and he refused reminding the people of Israel that their King is God and God alone. After Gideon’s death one of his 70 sons wanted to take the people up on the offer to be king and so he made a power move to achieve that. This power move was financed by with money collected at an idol’s temple by naive family and involved associations with worthless characters in society.

4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. Judges 9:4 ESV

The final power grab was cemented by the murder of all of Gideon’s sons just like any new king would do in the pagan countries that Israel has removed from the land. Gideon did not want to be King and he did not want his sons to be king yet they were all murdered as if they were rivals to a throne. One son Jotham Gideon’s youngest escaped. Jotham if he was seeking a kingdom could have mounted an army to fight his brother for power but like Gideon he wanted no King for Israel but God. So before he fled he told a parable that included a curse on the people who supported the evil acts of his brother.

8 The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the 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 good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’ Judges 9:8-15 ESV

Christ used parables extensively in his teaching and it should be no surprise to see God speak to the people in parables in the Old Testament as well. Here Jotham speaks even to contemporary society as we vote and install leaders. Each of the trees that were asked to be king refused because they would need to give up the blessings that they provided to everyone. The olive tree would stop providing oil, the fig tree would stop providing sweet fruit, and the vine would stop providing the wine to cheer the hearts of men. Finally the bramble is asked to be King. Unique among these trees, vines, and bushes is the bramble because he would be able to provide an authority and cover between other nations or God and the “trees” that called the bramble to be king. “Come take refuge in my shade” the bramble tells them, but the bramble warns that his shade will only be of benefit if the leaders called him in good faith. In contemporary society leaders are called to protect borders and keep order. They are needed. But some people want leaders that will provide for them with money or power. How can they manipulate the system to provide a benefit to themselves? People and corporations make a regular practice of this in today’s society. Votes are given to those that will do the most for a particular class, or culture, or type of person not what is best for society as a whole.

When you vote why do you vote for the person running for office? Abimelech wanted power and the people who voted for him wanted to share in that power. Abimelech killed all of his brothers because of a lust for power and money. Cain killed a single brother because of jealousy and God in mercy let him live. What can be said for a man who kills 68 of his own flesh not for passion but because of a lust for power? What can be said for the leaders who supported such naked evil?

All people are sinners so looking for a perfection in any man is a waste of time. Trump and Clinton are not saints so the question then is are you voting in good faith for one of these brambles to lead this country or are you supporting them because of a lust for power and you don’t really care if they unfairly crush the enemy to your side of the argument? As a conservative Hillary is a nonstarter for me to support. Her world view in regard to how government should be used does not align, she actively supports abortion which is the murder of children up until the day of birth, she lied about what happened in Libya to protect herself politically, and she sees herself so above the laws that should apply to all men when she kept her own email server for what could only be to hide conversations from the freedom of information and future historians. Trump on the other hand is a wild card. He does not care about ideological things like abortion but only to champion his own name “Trump”. He says he will build a wall to keep immigrants out of the country and he says he will ban Muslims from entering through visa programs to the cheering of Middle America. Racists and bigots have come out of the woodwork to attack anyone that does not support Trump. Would my vote for him lend credibility to the evil that surrounds this billionaire?

For the leaders that supported Abimelech it was a clear cut condemnation. A king was not needed and it was not Gideon’s wish that any of his sons would be king. The way power was consolidated with the blood of many men is one of the most shameful acts in the Bible. Jotham’s rebuke and curse is plain to see in that the shade provided by the bramble would also be used a trap and fuel for an all-consuming fire to the people who sought to install him in power. Paul puts it this way to the church in Rome.

2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:2 ESV

These people that supported and put Abimelech into power must now submit to his rule. When he becomes a tyrant and evil King that generation has no say in having him removed. In fact in just a few short years they grow tired of his oppressive ways and try to have him removed.

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, Judges 9:22-23 ESV

God is just and what was done to Gideon’s family would not stand so just as Jotham proclaimed the bramble became a trap of complete destruction.

45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. Judges 9:45 ESV

As a Christian we must submit to the governing authorities in whatever land we live and if we are fortunate enough to have some degree of choice in our leaders then we should pray for them and take the vote seriously. However do not turn to politicians and government to save because they are always a bramble that can be the tinder in any fire just as quickly as they can be a shade and protection from the outside forces. Put your trust completely in Christ and weigh your motives when voting.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Ephesians 4:15 ESV

Judges 8:23 | Vote for …


It is political season and a new president will be elected soon. The choice at this point in the race makes some angry and some excited. The emotion that some have wrapped up in the candidates is greater than even those that follow sports teams in devotion. There is no logic or reason for some because it is all about party affiliation. Strawmen have been constructed and the opponent must be demonized and dehumanized so the hate can spew forth. Neither of the candidates are moral people. Both crave power and earthly temporary success or transformation. Their followers may stand to benefit financially or otherwise if elected but in the end all of it is temporary. Sometimes a leader is unanimously chosen because of great success and the people come to force them into position. Gideon was successful enough as a general freeing Israel from the surrounding aggressors that the people wanted him to be more than a judge they wanted him to be more than even Moses. They wanted him to be a king.

23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” Judges 8:23 ESV

The people wanted to Gideon to rule so that his success would be passed onto them so they could say to the surrounding nations “Look there is our King he is greater than your king that died at his hands”. Gideon rejected this advance because he knows that the success that was achieved with just 300 men was done to give God glory. Gideon tried to remind the people that God would be their king and ruler. It was God that saved them. It was God that provided for them. The same is true today. Do you want a Democrat or a Republican to be your ruler? Or do you trust Christ as the king of Kings? The Bible narrative tells us that the nation of Israel continued to ask for a ruler so they could be like other nations.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 1 Samuel 8:4-5 ESV

Samuel a prophet who is judge over Israel is advancing in years so the people come to him and tell him to appoint a King as successor. When Samuel inquires to the Lord for their request God agrees but it is not His desire or plan for the people.

7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 1 Samuel 8:7 ESV

How many Christians look to the government and politicians to save them, to guide them, or to provide for them? God never intended for government to be our King. That is His role. Is God not our heavenly Father providing all that we need? Why do we look first and only to government and the corrupt people running it to provide for our needs? Certainly the government has a role and we need a judge to maintain law and order but the emotional view of our doom or salvation being based on who is in office is the height of unfaithfulness to God. Look at God’s warning to the people who demanded a King.

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:10-18 ESV

Why can we not put our trust in God to raise up people to lead when the time has need? Even Americans have not learned. Americans should be the first to understand that no kings are necessary and Government is not our salvation. Even in the time of Christ they wanted a King to rule over them.

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6:15 ESV

And why did the people plan to make Jesus King right there even risking war with Rome? Because they were focused on the temporary things of now. Jesus had just served food to the five thousand with only a few loaves and the people wanted that kind of power to be theirs. Is that not how politics work? Feed us and care for us. Lead us in battle. Make us successful. All the while God is there and able to do all those things without either of people who are trying to be elected.

Go and vote this year. Pick the candidate that speaks in alignment with your values or pick the candidate that will do the least harm. But do not look to any man or woman to save the country, laws, values, or whatever is most dear because that comes from God and God alone. The fact is that we already have a King His name is Jesus.

16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelations 19:16 ESV

Judges 6:12 | What name has God given you?


Gideon is the mighty warrior that God called up to save Israel… Wait that is actually not right. Gideon is young, untested, and needy. In fact the world would say that Gideon is not leadership ready let alone capable of leading a nation to war when God calls him. Yet this is who God has called and blessed to be leader from among the people to save the nation from oppression. Oppression the nation caused themselves because they refused to trust or seek God. He left them to their own and the end result was being overrun by people that did not respect or love them. Now God in His mercy is going to save Israel, because they cried out to Him, through a young unproven man. Gideon recognized his place in the societal pecking order and responded to the Angel accordingly with sound worldly logic.

15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15 ESV

Gideon sees himself as part of the weakest family from a tribe not named Judah. Then he reminded God that he, Gideon, is the weakest member of this weak family. Do you see yourself the same way? Or do you see yourself as a successful achiever? The Angel addressed Gideon as a successful achiever at the start of the conversation.

12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:12 ESV

God called Gideon what he would become not what he was right at that moment. Whatever success Gideon is about to see and live is not because Gideon is a powerful person who is able to achieve great things. That designation “mighty man of valor” is the result of Gideon doing exactly what God will ask him to do. God sees the beginning and the end of everything. This mighty man of valor designation is a result of the life lived in God’s mercy and for God’s glory. This name however is not something to be desired for the sake of personal ego because even an achieving person is not able to save outside of God’s plans. God lifts or brings down for His glory and for His purpose. There have been other mighty men of valor besides Gideon like the ones that Israel overcame to move into the Promised Land.

And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. Joshua 6:2 ESV

And the mighty men of valor could not save Israel from the judgment of God when they had forsaken Him.

He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land. 2 Kings 24:14 ESV

Mighty men are raised and fall according to God’s great wisdom and mercy. God calls Gideon this name because that is what Gideon will become as a result of God’s plans and God’s effort to save Israel. Gideon will become a mighty man of valor because from a worldly perspective Gideon will accomplish the impossible. He will rout the invading armies of tens of thousands with only a few hundred soldiers.

2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Judges 7:2 ESV

God looked at the 32,000 fighting men and told Gideon he had too many soldiers. Realistically Gideon’s 32,000 was woefully small compared to the 130,000 and more of the enemy encamped on Israeli land. Gideon asked the fighting men if they were afraid and if so they could leave. No surprise that 20,000 walked away knowing that this small army was going to be guaranteed death. The 10,000 that remained were still too many. In the end God kept less than 1% of the original fighting force. A force so small that everyone involved and everyone who observed what was to come would have no choice but to acknowledge the God of Israel had saved them.

God is still at work today and He calls His children by name. Is your name “mighty” because of what God has done or will do through you for His glory? Jesus told the disciples that they could know that He and God were one because of the amazing miracles.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. John 14:11 ESV

God wanted to show Israel that it was Him that they should trust and put their hope in. Gideon is mighty because he trusted God to go into battle with just 300 men. God’s power and glory were on display because of the amazing victory that day. Jesus performed miracles as signs and wonders that gave his words authority. “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” and these wonders are the proof he told the disciples. Then he followed that up with an even more profound statement.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father John 14:12 ESV

Jesus told the disciples and those that are called by His name even today that through them God will do mighty works. Follower of Christ have you listened and obeyed God in His call on your life? Have you become mighty because of what God has done through you for His glory?

Judges 6:36 | Fleece Moment


Have you ever tested God and inquired of Him to determine what direction He would have you go in life? Gideon a Judge and ruler of Israel did just that to confirm that God would be with him before going into battle.

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” Judges 6:36-37 ESV

Just as Gideon had asked in confirmation he received a result. He then also asked God for the reverse on the second night.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” Judges 6:39 ESV

Again God confirmed what Gideon requested. The reader might be thinking could I also be able to test God to determine an answer to this burning issue in my own personal life? Could this work for anyone?

Under the right circumstances God will reveal himself to anyone who draws near. However be warned that God is the very Creator of the universe and he is not required to answer mankind. Mankind answers to Him. In my youth I tested God in a similar way in something personal where God confirmed His will in my life. It is something I needed at that time to help me recognize His voice and what His expectations of me were to be. So I know personally first hand that God does accept these kinds of requests, but take note of how Gideon approached God in this test. Make sure that the request is worth the weight of coming before God and make sure it is in response to something God has put on your heart.

#1.) Testing God with some physical act like Gideon has done might be necessary for a young believer who is still learning to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit in their heart and mind. Gideon is called by God to be a leader and God is asking Gideon to do some things that could get him killed. It is understandable that Gideon might have second thoughts or that the voice speaking to him needed to be confirmed in some tangible way. Jesus was gracious to the father of a child who sought to have a demon cast away from his child. The father speaking to Jesus said “if you can do anything” and the incredulous reply of Jesus highlights the error of the father “if you can”!

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24 ESV

The father however recovers with wisdom that can only come from God “help my unbelief” and it is here that the father of the child has his faith worked out in real time in God’s grace and mercy. Faith is something that must be grown and worked at over time. The young Gideon about to go to battle or a new follower of Christ may be given mercy in their unbelief by God for God’s glory.

#2.) Testing God in this way might be necessary for a young believer who does not have a history of experience with God to draw on. When I was just becoming a believer in Christ I could hear him speaking to me, but He was asking for my service and a commitment of my life to Him. My relationship with Him at that time was new and shallow. Today I have years of a relationship and I know when God is speaking and if He tells me to do something worldly wisdom would say is a bad idea or might seem irresponsible I know through the faith of previous experience that God is trustworthy. Like the Psalmists I give thanks to Christ for past wonders knowing He will be faithful to the future unknown.

1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. 3 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. 4 Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. 5 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, Psalm 105:1-5 NLT

A young believer like Gideon without a lifetime of experience with God to trust on may need this kind of physical tangible proof of God’s intention and faithfulness.

#3.) Testing God is a dangerous pursuit under the wrong circumstances or the wrong motives. God had provided Gideon the tangible representation through the fleece yet Gideon wanted a second test and in this test Gideon recognizes that he might be pushing for something that is not needed. Others have found a negative reaction for challenging God and asking for a sign. John the Baptist’s father asked for confirmation when presented with a prophecy concerning his son the future herald for Christ.

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” Luke 1:18-20 ESV

Zechariah was the high priest and was not given any task other than to receive the good news from the angel. He did not believe what was before him when he rightly should have due to his history and position as priest. Gideon however acknowledges God’s power and in humility asks for the final test with the words “let not your anger burn against me”. God in His graciousness accepted Gideon’s request because God knows the heart of where the request came from.

#4.) God is not here to perform pony tricks for the amusement of people. Gideon did this over two mornings in the quiet of his relational prayers with God. This was not a spectacle from a throne of men to establish power. This request was part of something relational between God and Gideon to firm up Gideon’s faith that God would be with him and would carry him through the danger that lay ahead. God does not perform or jump to our commands. The opposite is true. If God calls then obey and jump eagerly knowing that God’s plans are always true.

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:5 ESV

My own fleece moment happened between myself and God when he called me to submit to Him when I was a youth. God the Father asked me to follow His son Jesus. I objected telling God that I was much too young and that it would be better for me when I was older. God is persistent and in the quiet of my heart God spoke to me, confirmed by a “fleece moment”, establishing a relationship with me that continues today. Since the days of my youth I have not had additional need for this kind of test with God. I do not need to test God or confirm His voice in that way. I know his voice and I have a history of God being exactly who He said He is and I trust Him even when things appear crazy or the request from God seems painful to me at that moment. If you are a young believer and God is calling you in your heart to something mysterious and amazing do not be afraid to draw near and test His faithfulness.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Psalm 34:8-9 NLT

Judges 4:4 | Gender Roles

Deborah is one of twelve judges recorded in the Bible that leads Israel in the time between Joshua and the eventual establishment of a king. What makes Deborah especially unique is that she is a woman and her introduction gives several keys about her role as a leader.

4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4:4-5 ESV

In this introduction we are given a glimpse into a powerful leader. She holds the office of Prophet and Judge demonstrating that God’s hand is on her both spiritually and administratively. Deborah is a successor and a peer to Moses in both spiritual and administrative leadership for the nation of Israel.

13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. Exodus 18:13 ESV

So it begs the question should women be spiritual or administrative leaders in the life of the Church? The contemporary culture would answer a resounding yes and it has become normal to see women successfully running large corporate organizations, holding leadership posts in government organizations, and possibly very soon the first woman may be made president of America. Inside the church however there are divisions around what spiritual leadership roles women should have and just how much influence that role should wield.

This question about roles of men and women is also directly linked to the current cultural shift of “genderless” bathrooms in the public square. The post gender society is just around the corner. The push in society to prove that women are equal to men has taken on other head scratching forms as well. The idea for example that women can do anything men can do even extends to the physical realms like war and sports. As a side note I once believed the Hollywood version of women’s ability to easily beat men who have height and weight advantages until I saw this boxing match between a wrestling body builder female and the average blue collar middle aged male. I was appalled at the real life way he abused his advantage and this boxing match quickly reminded me why it is in poor taste for men to fight women to begin with. The push to make men more feminine has also gained in popularity as abrasive “masculine” qualities are not as desired in business, school, or refined company. In the cultural quest to make men and women equal lost are wonderful things that make men and women unique and distinct. Women and men are equal in that both are created in God’s image, but contrary to culture norms women and men are not the same in design. They are distinctly different and as a society loosing that modesty and distinction may prove detrimental to the foundation of society.

Regardless what culture tells one about the roles of women and men the real answer in the organization of the church must come from God’s unchanging words and truth. The contentious words relevant to the question around women serving in spiritual leadership roles is found primarily here in Paul’s instructions to Timothy.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 ESV

There are two words that represent the two most popular sides to this issue. First is Egalitarian and the second is Complementarian.

Egalitarian – believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities

Complementarian – men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.

The Egalitarian view is the view held most closely by current society and it is a wonderful view to champion. America itself is founded on such a view even from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. The distinction however is that while all “men” are created equal before God in their rights they are not created equal in opportunity and that is where the Egalitarian view falls apart. I was born too short and without the athletic skills necessary to play basketball in the NBA. While I have an equal right to purse and try to play basketball in the NBA I do not have the same equal opportunity that Michael Jordan took advantage of. I am born as a man with male anatomy I do not have the same equal opportunity to be a mother and give birth to a child. The fact is everyone has unique unequal opportunities that set them apart and drive their passions in life. God has ordained an order and a plan for everyone.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

God’s plan His opportunity for everyone is different and unequal.

Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? Romans 9:20-21 MSG

Egalitarian while noble cannot be used as an excuse to demand equal opportunity where God has limited design and purpose.

The other view is complementarian and it is here that we find more consistency with the God’s purpose and design for His creation. From the beginning God created Men and Women to be distinct and to care for each other in complementary but equal roles.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 ESV

Both men and women are equal in rights before God just like the Egalitarian view however they are not equal in opportunity. Women have advantages that are not available to men and men have advantages that are not available to women. The real question is not if that is a true statement but where the lines of advantage are drawn. The culture wants to make that line disappear and the genderless bathroom is just a current example of that push. Complementarian worldview is especially noticeable in regard to family structure and it appears in Paul’s instruction to Timothy that this calling extends into the makeup of the church itself.

In family fathers and mothers have different roles and while those lines may look slightly different from family to family the general rules still apply. The larger point is that while family structures vary from a traditional father and mother, single parent, and even same parent (two mothers or two fathers) the ideal and original intent as designed by God is that of a father and mother. I was raised in a single parent home. It worked but only by God’s mercy and even then that family life would have been better served in a two parent home.

Fathers and Mothers have different roles in the home and in the same way God has established a similar order in the larger Church family. Women and Men are both capable of spiritual leadership and there are many examples of Godly women who are qualified to lead a church or teach even though Paul taught Timothy a role based structure for the Church. Exactly how that line should be drawn may vary between churches and denominations. And it appears that in some cases God has given women the opportunity to lead like Debora. However I believe like a single parent home this is a function of people working out their best plan in a fallen world outside of God’s perfect standards and leading the nation of Israel in Debora’s case is not leading a Church. I would vote for the right woman to be president of the nation, but I would be hesitant to make that same vote to run a church. In light of scripture the ideal that should be desired and worked at is a God directed role and function where we do not lose the role God assigned for each person to play. Pushing to make the church align to a post gender society does not honor God’s perfect plan for our lives and does not honor who God created men and women unique.

Judges 3:7 | Lustful Passion and Dead Children


After reaching the Promised Land the people of Israel abandoned God for the temporary and lustful pleasures that the other people groups around them had to offer. Forgotten are the god’s of Egypt they had found new god’s to worship.

7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Judges 3:7 ESV

Baal and Asheroth are a male and female divinity of the people that lived in the Promised Land before Israel. They are the god’s of that land and in effect the god’s of Israeli’s enemies. It is interesting how quickly the unholy surrounding culture seems to capture the imagination of the newly arrived Jewish peoples to the land. Within a generation these god’s were a trap that would plague the people of Israel until they too are driven from the land like they were commanded to do to the original peoples. These people that God judged and wanted displaced were not innocent occupants. These people were rebellious and evil before God. Looking at how Israel adopts their culture is proof of God’s justification to remove them from the land not unlike when He sent the flood that destroyed everyone except Noah. The Prophet Jeremiah more than 600 years later is telling the Nation of Israel that because of their evil God will destroy the nation and that their judgment had arrived just as it had for the peoples before them.

4 Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— 6 therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. 9 And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’ Jeremiah 19:4-9 ESV

God is patient but the evil lived out by those serving false god’s is too much for God’s good character and justice to remain silent. Sacrificing children to an idol is a horrifying path of selfish evil and lest the reader think they are above such “primitive and barbaric” practices look to our own contemporary culture where children are sacrificed through abortion in the millions every year at the altar of convenience, rebellion, and sex. Nothing really changes when it comes to the nature of people.

The difference between the nation of Israel in the future and the newly formed nation of Israel is that this earlier generation repented and returned to God when they needed help.

9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. Judges 3:9-11

While Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, was blessed by God and a worthy leader the remembrance and service to God by the people of Israel only lasts the remainder of his life. As noted in Judges 2 Godly leadership is a benefit to a nation however it does not have the power to change the hearts of individuals. After he dies the people returned to their rebellion and another Judge empowered by God will be needed.

One of the most amazing and powerful glimpses into God’s perspective that demonstrates God’s vision, plans, mercy, and grace is reviled to Elijah who as being hunted by Israelites who were also the servants of Baal. Paul recounts the event in his letter to the Romans.

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. Romans 11:1-5 ESV

The world may seem crazy and those that worship the gods of money, sex, and power in this land may seem to be everywhere but know that God is in control, God knows who His children are, and know that God has grace for those He is keeping from serving such evil.

Who will you serve? Who do you serve now? I pray reader that you would evaluate the priorities and the passions that you serve. If they do not come from God then you are no better off or more sophisticated than those of the past that served the Baals and the Asheroth.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24 ESV

Judges 2:10 | The Parents Failed


Who is responsible to teach children about God and the responsibility that children as they become adults have before their Creator? The harsh reality is that knowledge of who God is can be lost in a single generation. I have observed families where the grandparents are faithful church attendees, the parents were raised in church and believe the church is valuable but do not attend, and the children of said parents have zero knowledge about God or the church. The same happened throughout the Old Testament as it chronicles the almost systematic unfaithfulness of the people called by God to be His representatives on Earth.

10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10 ESV

How could the generation after Joshua not know what had happened to their parents and grandparents in the wilderness and the battles fought to secure the land where they were living? Worse yet how could they have not known the Lord?

The answer to the questions comes down to influence of children as they grow into adult hood. Below is a list of influences in a child’s life. It is a Top 5 list with 5 being first and least important.

5 – Leadership of the Country: Leadership of a country matters for the wellbeing of the people in the nation. While Joshua ruled and the elders that ruled with Joshua were in power the nation of Israel served God and followed His ways. In the Chronical of the kings of Israel one can see this dynamic play out over and over. Leaders who served God made an impact on the direction of the country. But this kind of influence is not personal and lasting in impact to the individual. While verse seven tells us that the people served the Lord in the days of Joshua the following verses from above tells us that as soon as Joshua’s generation was gone the next generation did not know the Lord.

7 And 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 work that the Lord had done for Israel. Judges 2:7 ESV

4 – Professional Ministry: Like the leadership of the country the leadership of ministry is vital to the corporate community and how well that church body will serve God. Bad leadership will destroy lives, but is it the responsibility of the Minister or youth leader to raise the next generation to know the Lord? The youth leader and professional minister casts vision and provides an environment to learn and know God. However their influence is limited to a few hours a week if the parents and children attend regularly. Parents and Students listen and understand the following… The Youth Minister cannot fix the problem. The youth minister in a majority of cases is only able to reinforce the Godly things being taught at home. All of the priests and sacrificial systems that were followed by the nation of Israel did not make the next generation know the Lord any better.

3 – School and Community Teachers: More influential to the next generation than Political leaders and Church leaders are the teachers and servants who care for children day in and day out. In western culture children are sent away each day to day care, schools, and community centers where they are taught reading, writing, and the cultural worldview of the day. These teachers have immense influence over the next generation because of the amount of time spent caring for and teach children each day.

2 – Peers and Friends: Here is a quote that highlights a fascinating truth about people and demonstrates the powerful and negative influence that peers have on each other.

If ten 14-year-olds are grouped together, they will form a Lord of the Flies culture with its competitiveness and meanness. But if ten people aged two to 80 are grouped together, they will fall into a natural age hierarchy that nurtures and teaches them all. For our own mental and societal health, we need to reconnect the age groups*

It is a powerful truth that youth peers influence the behavior of each other in a way that is almost second to none. When King Solomon the most wealthy and wise king of Israel died his son Rehoboam succeeded to the throne. He rejected the advisors of his father and took advice from his peers. This Lord of the Flies quest to establish power on behalf of the new king resulted in a permanent split creating the states of Israel and Judah with two kings going forward.

And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, 1 Kings 12:13 ESV

Left unchecked without solid adult interaction peer groups of youth are a decidedly devastating influence on the lives of individuals.

1 – Parents: The most powerful and most important influence in the life of any child are the parents or primary care givers. Their influence on the worldview of a child is unquestioned. Parents can however limit or relinquish their influence to the child’s peers and or teachers by not being actively involved and intentionally promoting a set worldview at home. For the next generation after Joshua to not know the Lord or what He had done speaks volumes about the parents and their priorities toward the children at home.

Joshua as a leader tried to influence the nation to serve God and while he was alive it seems he did so but that leadership did not bring about lasting influence only temporary law and order. Joshua asked the people to follow him but in the end his primary influence ended at the doors of his own household.

15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 ESV

God also put into place a system of teaching and church leadership that would point the way and provide support to those households that wanted to serve Him. Had those parents implemented and embraced the teaching that Moses outlined the next generation would not be lost. But in the end the teaching inside the church is only to support and reinforce what is going on inside the home.

19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:19 ESV

The reality for these people is that they did not train their children in the things of God. They like most people became consumed by earthly pursuits and abandoned the training of their children to someone else or worse yet to the influence of their peers. For parents upset over this news please understand that it is never too late to start having conversations, spiritual ones, with your children. Remember you are the biggest and most powerful influence in their lives.

A word also for youth that yearn to know more about God but are not receiving the training they need from parents. Know that you also are an influence. Tell your parents that you want to be in Church. Tell them you want them to explain the scriptures to you. Most parents will respond to this in a positive way.

Above all else know that God himself is a perfect Father and through the Holy Spirit He will provide the teaching needed for anyone that draws near and seeks his face.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalms 32:8 ESV

*Jones, Timothy Paul. Perspectives on Family Ministry. B&H Publishing, 2009, p48.