Judges 1 – Part 2QUESTION: The Ravages of Gossip - 2ANSWER:Judges 1 - Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“In Judges 1, the same thing held for the Israelites. They petition God and ask who should go up and attack the Canaanites first. The Lord declares that it will be the tribe of Judah. The leaders of that tribe immediately went and recruited their brothers from the tribe of Simeon to help them – in direct contrast to what God said!
“I believe that this insecurity on the part of Judah set the precedent for the failures of Israel throughout the book of Judges. Even so, in verse four, God delivers the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands. They battled a powerful Canaanite king named Adoni-bezek and, when he retreated, they pursued him. You know what the children of Israel did when they caught this guy? They cut off both of his thumbs and both his big toes. Know why? Because he had done the same thing to seventy, count them seventy, noblemen in his court. Did you know that a man can’t hold a weapon if he has no thumbs? And, it is impossible to run if you don’t have big toes?
“This toe-and-thumb cutting King, after he’d been subjected to the same treatment with which he’d given seventy other men, says in verse 7 that he realized God was paying him back in kind for the way he ‘cut down’ those seventy noblemen. Adonibezek was remorseful because his cutting had handicapped the lives of those men. But we do the same thing today, maybe not physically, but literally, with our cutting words. Gossip, slander, harsh joking, you’ve seen it. Cruel words incapacitate people around us everyday.
“Then the Lord gives us a contrast, in verse 12 and following, we revisit one of my favorite guys in the Bible, Caleb. I don’t think this a coincidence. Remember Caleb? Back in the book of Numbers, he and Joshua and ten whining buffoons go up across the Jordan to spy on these same Canaanites that the army of Israel is now taking on in Judges. Do you recall the story? The ten whiners came back and stood before the whole nation of Israel with their knees shaking and stuttered out something like, ‘oh no, Mr. Bill, the people up there are giants and they’ve got tanks and hummers and F-18’s. We could never prevail against them! We’re scared.’ I just see them poking out their bottom lips and crying. At least five of them probably wet their tunics.
“But, in Numbers 13:30, our man Caleb stands up and says, ‘Hey, these cats are crazy. The Lord, Yahweh, is with us you guys. No one, and I mean no one, can defeat us. We can go take the land!
“Later in Joshua 14, Caleb asked Joshua, before the Lord, for a specific mountain he’d seen in the land, the ‘land of milk and honey’. He said, ‘Lord, I want my mountain!’ And here, in verse 20 it says, ‘They gave Hebron to Caleb.’ It’s the reward of the Lord! Caleb, that old single-purposed, well-speaking, shooting guard to Joshua’s point, gets the mountain he longed for! He, like you and me, reaped what he sowed – positive, faithful, obedient gets the harvest of righteousness.Judges 1 – Read Part 3!