Wednesday, March 20. Judges 3 – 6

The “Aram Naharaim” of the Othneil story in Judges three is in the far north (far off and north of the map below) of Palestine, in the area of the city of Haran. Balaam would have been from this area (Numbers 23). Closer to Israel were the Moabites whose home was on the east side of the Dead Sea (see the map below from www.BibleStudy.org).

Both of these nations were enemies of Israel, but the motivation for their aggression was not their animosity toward Israel, but the deliberate action of the Lord. He “sold” them into the hands of the king of Aram and “gave” the king of Moab power over them.

You should notice however that when Israel repents and turns to the Lord, that God responds by ‘giving’ the aggressor kings into the hands of Israel’s deliverers.

Three messages come to mind.

First, that God is absolutely sovereign over the nations. They stand or fall at His whim and direction. Second, God is determined that His people do as He says, and having tried blessing and revelation and reason, God is not adverse to using the “stick” when the “carrot” doesn’t work. Finally, God does not intend His people have options. Once you belong to God, the only option that makes sense is reverence and obedience. The notion that one ought to be able to take or leave their religion without consequence is a notion unknown and unsubscribed to by the Lord, who holds all things in His hands.