Daily Devotional (6/07/2012) – “Judges”: ‘God Gave Him Two Thumbs…Off?!?’

June 7, 2012

“Judges” Devotional #1:

‘God gave him two thumbs… off?!?’

Scripture –   Judges 1: 1-7

1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites? ”

2 The Lord answered, “Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands. ”

3 Then the men of Judah said to the Simeonites their brothers, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them.

4 When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. 5 It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites.  6 Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

7 Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Well…. Judges sure starts out with an interesting tale, huh? 🙂

The Israelites have begun their “take-home test” given to them by God upon settling in the Promised Land.  They are to completely drive out all of the other nations that are residing within their borders; especially destroying all of those peoples’ idols and altars to their false gods.  This was for the good of Israel, so that the temptation to stray from God’s commands and to worship other gods would not be so strong amongst them.

God has especially set apart the tribe of Judah to lead up this task, with the other tribes of Israel to follow under their direction.  This display of tribal unity, however; never takes place.  With both tribes being in the southern edge of the country, Judah establishes a bargain with the tribe of Simeon:  “If you help us with our land, we’ll help you out with yours.”  The other tribes are left out of this little agreement and left to fend for themselves for a time.  The next devotional will focus more on those battles and the problems that arose during them.

But for now… let’s talk about a guy having his big toes and thumbs chopped off, shall we? 🙂

We are introduced to Adoni-Bezek (or “the lord of Bezek”) in verse 5 of this passage, with us only being given his title and not his actual name.  His Canaanite city of Bezek was equipped with both Canaanite and Perizzite forces, but were routed by the Israelite army… who had the true “Lord” on their side.  This powerful ruler flees for his life, but is eventually captured by the Israelites.  Though directed by God, their punishment of this ruler seems very odd… the cutting off of his big toes and his thumbs.  Adoni-Bezek can see the irony of this sentence, having admittedly doing the same thing to SEVENTY other kings after his various conquests.  This practice was designed to prevent men from taking up a sword against their new master, as well as to impair his ability to run away.  He also kept these powerful men as slaves within his court, feeding them scraps like dogs…for the amusement of himself and his guests.  Adoni-Bezek gives credit to the true “Lord” of Heaven and Earth who orchestrated his political defeat and gave him just punishment for his cruel treatment towards his subjects.

In New Age terms, this type of justice is often referred to as karma; but it is quite Biblical:

Galatians 6: 7-8

7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Despite not being a believer in God, Adoni-Bezek could see God’s Hand at work in the justice being done in his life.  May we understand that our actions, both good and bad, have earthly consequences and all fall under the judgment of the true Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Please join us this Summer for our Sermon Series, which will focus on The Book of Judges. We will learn and explore the lives of individuals who brought God’s light into a very dark time, which is the same task given to us all in today’s world.


Pastor Josh

Published in: on June 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

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