Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Holy Spirit - Session 8 - Israel's Judges

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is doing a study of The Holy Spirit. The study will look at who the Holy Spirit is, His role in the Trinity, His interaction with man, His role in and after man's salvation. This is an intense study of the Holy Spirit in scripture. We are using the bible as our primary reference resource. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments below. We welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, and prayers

Last week we discussed the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

The most frequently used terms or expressions for the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament are what?

Spirit of the Lord, My Spirit, The Spirit of God, Your Spirit

In nearly all of these cases, the reference to the Holy Spirit is clear.

The Spirit’s coming upon men was, as a rule, not the result of their great spirituality nor did it necessarily result in spirituality. When the Spirit came upon men, they possessed supernatural ability (or power). That power or ability was not unlimited but generally was limited to certain tasks, abilities, or functions. That power did not necessarily make the recipient more spiritual.

Examples of men when being empowered by the Holy Spirit didn’t result in spirituality were who?

Samson, Saul,and Balaam.

Men empowered by or filled with God’s Spirit did things they would not and could not normally do. The empowerment of the Spirit meant that God’s work would be done through men. This work was not because of man’s abilities or necessarily his desires.

When men were empowered by His Spirit they would represent God in some way, by word or work. When prophets spoke or wrote under the influence and of the Holy Spirit, they could say, “Thus saith the Lord.” The Holy Spirit's control over leaders like Moses and David enabled them to lead as though God were leading men through them (which He was).

The Holy Spirit accomplished divine communication from God to men, by empowering the prophets. He also had an illuminating and teaching ministry which enabled men to understand what God had revealed in the Scriptures. David, in the psalms, seems to be especially sensitive to this.

Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.

If there is any doubt as to whether the Holy Spirit that we are talking about in the Old Testament is the same person in the New Testament let's look references in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old Testament, first of all by Jesus

Matthew 22:43 (HCSB) He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him ‘Lord’:

This is from

Psalm 110:1 (HCSB) ⌊This is⌋ the declaration of the LORD to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

This was a prophetic revelation given by the Holy Spirit to David.

The apostles referred to the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament too.

Acts 1:15-16 (HCSB)15 During these days Peter stood up among the brothers—the number of people who were together was about 120—and said:16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David spoke in advance about Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.

Acts 1:20 (HCSB) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: Let his dwelling become desolate; let no one live in it; and Let someone else take his position.

Peter said this when the apostles decided they needed to replace Judas. Peter was using a very liberal quotation from Psalms 69:25 and 109:8. Much like some preachers today that a liberal quotation to try to make a point. It works if it applicable but if taken out of context in an attempt to prove a point that is completely against other proofs in the bible it doesn’t work that’s why we need to know the word.

Acts 4:25 (HCSB) You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant: Why did the Gentiles rage and the peoples plot futile things?

We talked about that verse a couple of weeks ago saying that when the Christians were praying after Peter and John were released after having been arrested they said that the Holy Spirit had revealed those times to the writer of Psalm 2.
One last one

2 Peter 1:21 (NKJV) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Now let’s get back to what we started two weeks ago talking about the Holy Spirit’s empowerment of men in the Old Testament to do specific things. 

Craftsmen and Artists

Exodus 31:1-6 (NKJV)1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:2 "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze,5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.6 And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:


1 Chronicles 28:11-12 (NKJV)11 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat;12 and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things;


Solomon the Builder (1 Kings 5:1–7:51)

In addition to his remarkable insight, Solomon is also remembered for his building exploits. He built the temple of course. The design that David gave him is described in 1 Kings chapter 6.

1 Kings 6:38 (NLT) The entire building was completed in every detail by mid autumn, in the month of Bul, during the eleventh year of his reign. So it took seven years to build the Temple.

Then his palace and the building on the palace grounds;

1 Kings 7:1 (NLT) Solomon also built a palace for himself, and it took him thirteen years to complete the construction.

Then there were other building projects.

2 Chronicles 8:1-6 (NKJV)1 It came to pass at the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house,2 that the cities which Hiram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them; and he settled the children of Israel there.3 And Solomon went to Hamath Zobah and seized it.4 He also built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the storage cities which he built in Hamath.5 He built Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars,6 also Baalath and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities and the cities of the cavalry, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

Administrators, and Leaders

Joseph, Moses, David, Joshua, Saul, most of the kings of Judea and some of the kings of Israel.

The Judges of Israel

Then there were the Judges. They were before the kings.

We don’t have time to go into it during this study but after Joshua led the nation of Israel into Canaan and the captured much, but not all of the Promised Land, Joshua and that generation of leaders died.

Judges 2:10-16 (NLT)
10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.11 The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight and served the images of Baal.12 They abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the LORD.13 They abandoned the LORD to serve Baal and the images of Ashtoreth.14 This made the LORD burn with anger against Israel, so he handed them over to raiders who stole their possessions. He turned them over to their enemies all around, and they were no longer able to resist them.15 Every time Israel went out to battle, the LORD fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as he had warned. And the people were in great distress.16 Then the LORD raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.

The new generation forgot the mercies of God to Israel and the nation's covenant to obey the Law of the Lord. They started to worship Baal who was a fertility-god, whose worship was thought to bring productivity to mankind, animal life, and the produce of the field. They also served The Ashtaroth were the female counterparts to Baal. Ashtoreth was about love and fertility. Idolatry was regarded as a breech of covenant, and it involved immoral rites incompatible with the holiness God demanded of his people. So God chose to use Israel's enemies as a means of chastening them.

When they cried out to Him God answered by raising up judges, i.e., saviours or deliverers. But the ministry of the Judges had no lasting effect upon Israel. The Book of Judges records an unvarying cycle in which Israel repeatedly relapsed into idolatry.

The Lord enabled the Judges to lead the people of Israel victoriously against their foes. Both the victories and the defeats recorded in the book of Judges are interpreted as acts of God. A strong Judge could influence the people for God during his lifetime. The Judges did not form a dynasty, however. At the death of a Judge, the people tended to lapse into idolatry again. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

There’s a lot more to this but as I said we don’t have time and that is not this study. This study is the Holy Spirit.

The first Judge that is empowered by the Holy Spirit was Othniel.

Judges 3:9-10 (NLT)9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz.10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him.


Judges 6:34 (NLT) Then the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him.

We all know the story about Gideon and how he defeated the Midianites with a force of 300 men. So we aren’t going to spend any time on background for him. There is much more to Gideon than the 300 men thing though. I encourage you to read Judges chapters 6 through 8.

What are some of the things we learn from Gideon?

It’s okay to ask that God confirm what He has told us, just so we can be sure that it was him.

Judges 6:36-40 (NLT)
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised,37 prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.”38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.39 Then
Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.”40 So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

Once we are sure that it is God speaking then do what He says.  Remember He told Gideon to reduce his army from 22,000 to 300. He did and those 300 men routed the Midianites.

Jephthah (yif-tawkh')

Judges 11:1-3 (NLT)1 Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute.2 Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.”3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.

During Jephthah’s lifetime the Ammonites were the people God was using to chastise the Israelites.

Judges 11:5-6 (NLT)5 When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob. The elders said,6 “Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!”

Long story short (read the 11th chapter for the whole story) Jephthah confronted the king of the Ammonites and it was on.

Judges 11:29 (NLT) At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites.

Remember Jephthah’s mother was a prostitute which may have caused him to make a vow that wasn’t well thought out.

Judges 11:30-31 (NLT)30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites,31 I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

The form taken by Jephthah's vow is reminiscent of his half-heathen background. He vowed to offer as a burnt offering whatever first came out of the door of his house to meet him when he returned as victor from the Ammonite war. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

He defeated the Ammonites and when he returned guess who came out of his house. His daughter.
Judges 11:34 (NLT)34 When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters.

To Jephthah the vow was sacred, and it had to be carried out. Human sacrifices were forbidden in Israel, but Jephthah had lived on the fringes of society, where heathen ideas prevailed. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
She asked him to give her two months to spend with her friends and he agreed but when the two months were up Jephthah fulfilled his vow.

Judges 11:39-40 (NLT)39 When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel40 for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.

Although some commentators suggest that her perpetual virginity would have been a fulfillment of the vow, the text seems to leave no doubt that Jephthah's daughter died at the hands of her father. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

What do we learn from Jephthah?

God can use you no matter your background. His mother was a prostitute and his brothers actually ran him off because of his mother yet God raised this man up to judge His people Israel.

We also learn to not make rash promises to God or anybody else. We need to think before we make vows. As a matter fact God tells us we aren’t required to make a vow to Him but if and when we do we have to keep it.

Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (NLT)21 “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin.22 However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow.23 But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the LORD your God.

We'll continue with one more judge next week. It will be one that you will remember. Then we are going to talk about the Holy Spirit empowering some of the Old Testament prophets.

Audio of Session 8 - Israel's Judges

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