Judges - Staying Faithful

After God defeated the enemies of Israel they asked Gideon to be king and he declined. During the time that Gideon was alive and judged Israel they had rest from their enemies 40 years (Judges 8:28) because they worshipped the one true God. Gideon had 30 sons for he had many wives and one of his sons was called Abimelech (Judges 9). As soon as Gideon died Israel returned to worshipping strange gods and forgot God. Abimelech then rose up and killed all of his brothers except for Jotham (because he hid himself) and Abimelech made himself ruler. Jotham warns Israel of Abimelech's rulership and flees to Beer because he was afraid of Abimelech. Abimelech doesn't last very long (3 years) and has himself killed in battle after a woman drops a millstone on his head from a tower.

For the next 45 years Israel believes God and is ruled by judges that hearken unto God (Judges 10). After that they slip back into idolatry and become overrun by the Ammorites and Philistines and then they begged God to deliver them and cleaned up their act; removing the idols they once served. After their deliverance they had believing judges for the next 31 years. By chapter 13 they had slipped back into idolatry and the Philistines took them over for the next 40 years.

We here in the United States enjoy a measure of freedom and peace that has been sustained for over 200 years. Yes, we have been attacked but God has delivered us. We must stop and realize that when Israel turned away from God they stopped relying on God for their protection and prosperity and God didn't overstep their freedom of will. They became overrun by the neighboring nations. Consider for a moment what that would mean. Consider your neighboring nation and imagine them hostile and they take over your country. You are then subject to their laws and government. They are oppressive and make you serve them. They take your land and crops. They take your daughters away and enslave your sons. This is what Israel kept experiencing when they turned away from God. We must take heed that we stay steadfast on God's Word and worship Him and serve Him only.

Judges 13
:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD;
    and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah,
        of the family of the Danites,
    whose name was Manoah;
    and his wife was barren, and bare not.
:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her,
        Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not:
        but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
:4     Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink,
        and eat not any unclean thing:
:5     For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son;
        and no razor shall come on his head:
            for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb:
            and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

A Nazarite is one who separates him or herself out to be holy unto God. Nazarite is from the Hebrew word nazīr meaning to separate. This is a voluntary vow and the instructions are in Numbers 6. A few of the rules are; the Nazarite cannot cut their hair or drink or eat anything that comes from the vine like wine, grapes or even the kernels and husk.

The angel that appears unto Manoah and his wife builds their confidence and instructs them on how to raise their child to be a Nazarite. Initially they thought this angel was a man of God but after they offer a kid (young goat) as a burnt offering the angel ascends in the flame of the altar and they realize he was an angel.

:16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah,
        Though thou detain me,
            I will not eat of thy bread:
        and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering,
            thou must offer it unto the LORD. [giving honor where it is due]
    For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.
:17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD,
        What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
:18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him,
        Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? [secret; remarkable, wonderful]
:19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering,
    and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD:
    and the angel did wondrously;
    and Manoah and his wife looked on.
:20 For it came to pass,
        when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar,
    that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar.
    And Manoah and his wife looked on it,
    and fell on their faces to the ground.
:21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife.
    Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
:22 And Manoah said unto his wife,
        We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
:23 But his wife said unto him,
        If the LORD were pleased to kill us,
        he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands,
        neither would he have shewed us all these things,
        nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.
:24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson:
    and the child grew,
    and the LORD blessed him.
        [by putting His spirit upon Samson so He could teach and guide Samson]
:25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan
        between Zorah and Eshtaol.

God is doing what He can to help Israel. When God and His Word are not taught among the people they forget His ways. So God is training Samson so that His people may be delivered from the Philistines. God was guiding Samson because Samson was dedicated to God; separated out, holy and committed.

Matthew 6
:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God , [emphasis added]
    and his righteousness;
    and all these things shall be added unto you.

II Corinthians 6
:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
        for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
        and what communion hath light with darkness?
:15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
        or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
:16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
        for ye [the body of Christ-the believers] are the temple of the living God;
        as God hath said,
            I will dwell in them,
            and walk in them;
            and I will be their God,
            and they shall be my people.
:17       Wherefore come out from among them,
            and be ye separate,
        saith the Lord,
            and touch not the unclean thing;
            and I will receive you,
:18       And will be a Father unto you,
            and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
        saith the Lord Almighty.

Let us stand rooted and grounded in the Word, not mired in the world. To walk in His ways we must know them. To know them we must go to His Word and be taught His Word and remember His Word. We can then apply what we have learned; make all decisions according to the Word bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Also, train our children up in the Word so that they may know the riches that God has available now and eternally.