Title: Judges 10. Jephthah, part 2: Transformation to proving God's will.
This beginning, JDG 10:6-18 serves as the introduction to both the judgeships of Jephthah and Samson.
JDG 10:7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon.
JDG 10:8 And they afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites.
JDG 10:9 And the sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.
JDG 10:10 Then the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against Thee, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals."
JDG 10:11 And the Lord said to the sons of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians [1 - Exodus], the Amorites [2 - NUM 21:3], the sons of Ammon [3 - Ammon joined Moab in JDG 3:12-14], and the Philistines [4 - Shamgar: JDG 3:31]?
JDG 10:12 "Also when the Sidonians [5 - JDG 18:7, 28], the Amalekites [6 - EXO 17:8-16; when Moses held his hands up] and the Maonites [7 - the Septuagint has "Midianites" which is probably the correct reading] oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands.
JDG 10:13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will deliver you no more.
JDG 10:14 Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress."
It is a sobering reality to discover that that which you worship is empty and powerless. Repentance cannot be in word only, it must be followed by action. There will be no deliverance until the idols are actually discarded.
If our minds are changed concerning what we love an honor, especially if it is as meaningful as loving and honoring God, then we must change. Our whole person changes into conformity with Christ.
Israel confessed to their sin, but they did not change their hearts and so it was just empty words. It is the same as offering a burnt offering to God without understanding or caring about what sin against God really is.
For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
It must be understood that it is not how we feel about sin that enables forgiveness. It is the crucifixion of Christ that makes for forgiveness. David speaks of a broken pride and a humble of contrite heart. We are not to condone sin or be passive towards it. So while emotional response to sin is not effective for forgiveness, and we understand this, the proud and arrogant and indifferent sinner is not a faithful follower of Christ.
About two hundred years from this time, God would speak through the prophet Isaiah as the final, crushing discipline was to be brought upon the northern kingdom of Israel in which they would be finally removed from the land.
ISA 1:10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.
God is speaking to Israel, but He calls them people of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was destroyed by God about 800 years prior.
ISA 1:11 "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?"Says the Lord."I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, And the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.
ISA 1:12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
Trampling is a picture of wild beasts thumping through the temple court, meaning that the people honored the court no more than the beasts did.
ISA 1:13 "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
ISA 1:14 "I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them.
ISA 1:15 "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
Their hands would be literally covered in blood since the throat of the animal was slit with a knife, but before they came into the court they were guilty of taking the lives of others as is brought out in verse 17.
ISA 1:16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil,
ISA 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
Their lack of love for the Lord in manifested in their love for themselves. With love of the Lord comes love of your neighbor and they possessed neither. Their selfishness led to ruthless treatment of the poor, the needy, the orphan, and the widow. Love for God is manifested in good deeds, and this is why we will each be evaluated by Christ for our good deeds at His Bema Seat.
They offered the burnt offerings and went through the motions of the rituals of the law, but their evil deeds were deep in their hearts. So God commands them, "Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight." Said to the Jews in our passage, "Removes the idols from My sight."
And so, God pleads with them. "Think about it."
ISA 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, "Says the Lord," Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
ISA 1:19 "If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land;
ISA 1:20 "But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword."Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Would you rather be white as snow and enjoy the best of the land or would you rather the sword? They were devoured by the sword of the Assyrians in 721 BC.
Israel, after the judgeship of Tola and Jair, have worshipped all the gods of their neighbors, and then after 18 years of severe oppression, they have verbally repented, but they still possess their little idols. Repentance is a change in mind. If the mind changes how can the conduct not change?
None of us walk into the Christian life with a complete knowledge of the will of God. We carry with us a large amount of erroneous ideas about what is good and what is evil. Yet, by the grace of God, since we possess the Holy Spirit within us and the word of God is available to us, the word and the Spirit transform our thinking.
The Spirit and the word literally change our thinking into conformity with the will of God.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [dokimazo] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
We prove to ourselves that the will of God is good, well pleasing [literal translation of euarestos], and perfect.
Good - flows from truth. It is guidance, confidence, purpose, singular of mind.
Good is a function of the truth. No longer confused about good and evil, what is truly good is no longer a mystery. This means that I have guidance and purpose. It also means that I am singular of mind or eye and so there is no longer conflict in my soul.
Acceptable - euarestos = well-pleasing. A heart full of joy, contentment.
The will of God brings an enormous side effect of pleasure or the joy of the fruit of the Spirit. To know good and to know he walks in God's good results in great joy within the disciple of Christ. He is also well-pleasing to the Father since the Father loves to see His children blessed, which blessing is never based on circumstances, but in how transformed the mind has become. The disciple is also well-pleasing to those around him, at least to those who have a capacity to receive his blessings, since all associated with the outflow of God's will are blessed by it, although many who are recipients of God's goodness reject it outright to their own detriment.
Teleios, "perfect" also means complete by which God reveals that His will lacks nothing and that it is perfectly filling.
In other words, by walking in His will, I will be made full or satisfied. I will lack nothing. Remember Christ's miracles of feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000. In each one all the baskets were full after everyone was fed, and not with scraps. God kept filling the baskets and if they were emptied again they would be immediately full. God fills us. The Spirit fills us. The word fills us. His plan fills us.