May 1: Who Will Fight for Us?
Judges 1:1–2:10; Philippians 1:1–11; Psalm 61:1–62:12
“Who will go up first for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?” (Judg 1:1).
I’ve felt this way before—wondering who will be my advocate in my time of need. It’s ironic that we are surrounded by people, and we have constant access to communication, and yet we can still feel alone. In a world of ambient noise, we’re often left feeling that no one is there to come to our aid. Most of us do have people to help us; it’s just that we’re not willing to ask for help. At all times, we have someone who will be our guide in times of distress.
Paul tells us that it is Christ “who began a good work in you [and He] will finish it until the day [He returns]” (Phil 1:6). In essence, the story of Paul and the Philippian believers’ struggles is really the same story told in the book of Judges. God’s people are at war against powers seen and unseen (Phil 3:1–4; compare Col 1:16). They feel lonely and wounded, but when they search their hearts, they see that God really is rising up to defend them. In Judges, He sends His people great advocates who go out before them in battle. In Philippians, we see Paul telling his story to a church in need of a leader so they can look to his example (e.g., Phil 1:12–25; 3:1–21). We also see Paul, time and time again, point to the greatest example: Christ (e.g., Phil 1:9–11).
In the humility of his situation, Paul sees God at work (Phil 2). When God’s people found themselves in dire circumstances, being opposed by outside forces, they saw God come to their aid (e.g., Judg 4). Christ is our advocate before God the Father, and He is our guide in this life, which can often be confusing and disheartening. God’s faithfulness in guiding and loving His people remains the same today as yesterday, but now we see an even greater manifestation of that love in Jesus.
What humbling situation are you going through? How can you hand it over to God and trust in His providence?
JOHN D. BARRY
- After that Joshua was dead, the children of Israel asked the Lord, saing, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites to fight first against them? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have given the land into his hand. And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites: and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot: so Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up, and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. And they found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and cut off the thumbs of his hands and of his feet. But Adoni-Bezek said, Seventy Kings having the thumbs of their hands and of their feet cut off, gathered bread under my table: as I have done, so God hath rewarded me, so they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died. (Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and hath taken it and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and had set the city on fire.) Afterward also the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and toward the South, and in the low country. And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron, which Hebron beforetime was called Kirjath Arba: and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. And from thence he went to the inhabitants of Debir, and the name of Debir in old time was Kirjath Sepher. And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath Sepher, and the name of Debir in old time was Kirjath Sepher. And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath Sepher, and taketh it, even to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz Caleb’s younger brother took it, to whom he gave Achsah his daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz Caleb’s younger brother took it, to whom he gave Achsah his daughter to wife. And when she came to him, she moved him to ask of her father a field, and she lighted off her ass, and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? And she answered him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a South country, give me also Springs of water: and Caleb gave her the springs above, and the springs beneath. And the children of Keni Moses’ father-in-law went up out of the city of the palm trees with the children of Judah, into the wilderness of Judah, that lieth in the South of Arad, and went and dwelt among the people. But Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it, and called the name of the city Hormah. Also Judah took Gaza with the coasts thereof, and Ashkelon with the coasts thereof, and Ekron with the coasts thereof. And the Lord was with Judah, and he possessed the mountains: for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valleys, because they had chariots of iron. And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses had said, and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak. But the children of Benjamin did not cast out the Jebusites, that inhabited Jerusalem: therefore the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day. They also that were of the house of Joseph, went up to Bethel, and the Lord was with them, And the house of Joseph caused to view Bethel (and the name of the city beforetime was Luz.) And the spies saw a man come out of the city, and they said unto him, Show us, we pray thee, the way into the city, and we will show thee mercy. And when he had showed them the way into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his household depart. Then the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz, which is the name thereof unto this day. Neither did Manasseh destroy Beth Shean with her towns, nor Taanach with her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam with her towns, neither the inhabitants of Megiddo with her towns: but the Canaanites dwelled still in that land. Nevertheless when Israel was strong, they put the Canaanites to tribute, and expelled them not wholly. Likewise Ephraim expelled not the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. Neither did Zebulum expel the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol, but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. Neither did Asher cast out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Sidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob, But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth Anath, but dwelt among the Canaanites the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, and of Beth Anath became tributaries unto them. And the Amorites drove the children of Dan into the mountain: so that they suffered them not to come down to the valley. And the Amorites dwelt still in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, and when the hand of Joseph’s family prevailed, they became tributaries: And the coast of the Amorites was from Maaleh-Akrabbim, even from Sela and upward. And an Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought ou unto the land which I had sworn unto your fathers, and said, I will never break my covenant with you. Ye also shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land, but shall break down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice. Why have ye done this? Wherefore, I said also, I will not cast them out before you, but they shall be as thorns unto your sides, and their gods shall be your destruction. And when the Angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, the people lifte dup their voice, and wept. Therefore they called the name of that place, Bochim, and offered sacrifices there unto the Lord. Now when Joshua had sent the people away, the children of Israel went every man into his inheritance, to possess the land. And the people had served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the Elders that outlived Joshua, which had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did for Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun the servant of the Lord died, when he was an hundred and ten years old: And they buried him in the coasts of his inheritance, in Timnath Heres in mount Ephraim, on the North side of mount Gaash. And so all that generation was gathere dunto their fathers, and another generation arose after them, which neither knew the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. Judges 1:1–2:10
- Paul and Timothy the servants of JESUS CHRIST, to all the Saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi, with the Bishops, and Deacons: Grace be with you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ: I thank my God, having you in perfect memory, (Always in all my prayers for all you, praying with gladness) Because of the fellowship which ye have in the Gospel, from the first day unto now. And I am persuaded of this same thing, that he that hath begun this good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, As it becometh me so to judge of you all, because I have you in remembrance, that both in my bands, and in my defense, and confirmation of the Gospel you all were partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how I long after you all from the very heart root in Jesus Christ. And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment, That ye may allow those things which are best, that ye may be pure, and without offense, until the day of Christ, Filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:1–11
- Hear my cry, O God: give ear unto my prayer. From the ends of the earth will I cry unto thee: when mine heart is oppressed, bring me upon the rock that is higher than I. For thou has been my hope, and a strong tower against the enemy. I will dwell in thy Tabernacle forever, and my trust shall be under the covering of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my desires; thou hast given an heritage unto those that fear thy Name. Thou shalt give the King a long life: his years shall be as many ages. He shall dwell before God forever; prepare mercy and faithfulness, that they may preserve him. So will I always sing praise unto thy Name, in performing daily my vows. Yet my soul keepeth silence unto God; of him cometh my salvation. Yet he is my strength and my salvatin, and my defense; therefore I shall not be moved. How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be all slain: ye shall be as a bowed wall, or as a wall shaken. Yet they consult to cast him down from his dignity; their delight is in lies: they bless with their mouths, but curse with their hearts. Selah. Yet my soul, keep thou silence unto God: for mine hope is in him. Yet it he my strength, and my salvation, and my defense: therefore I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory, the rock of my strength; in God is my trust. Trust in him always, ye people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our hope. Selah. Yet the children of men are vanity, the chief men are liars: to lay them upon a balance they are altogether lighter than vanity. Trust not in oppression nor in robbery: be not vain: in riches increase, set not your heart thereon. God spake once or twice, I have heard it, that power belongeth unto God, And to thee, O Lord, mercy: for thou rewardest everyone according to his work. Psalm 61:1–62:12