Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The People Want a King

Samuel was a faithful judge who walked with God each day.
But sadly his unworthy sons could not receive such praise.
When it came to godliness, they didn’t bring a thing,
So the people said to him, ‘Appoint for us a king.”

Samuel’s heart was broken as he experienced this rejection.
He had been faithful to the task of giving spiritual direction.
But God told Samuel, “Don’t feel bad, it’s Me they’ve cast aside.
They desire to copy the world and let their devotion slide.

Samuel returned to the elders of Israel and this is what he said:
“If you choose to follow this path, there will be changes ahead.
You will lose your sons and daughters, which ought to make you nervous.
He will tell you how he needs them in his government service.

He will take your mules and horses and your finest fields.
You will pay unending taxes on all that your business yields.
With these ever-increasing burdens your conversations will ring
With deep regret and songs of lament having consented to rule by a king.”

Nevertheless the people refused to heed Sam’s proclamation. They said,
“Give us a king so we can be like all of these other nations.”
Samuel told the Lord about it wondering what this would bring.
The Lord replied, “Heed their voice. Go and find them a king.”

We gain wisdom as we read this story over and over again,
For it reveals the trouble that came and how it all came to an end.
So let us take this inside knowledge, apply it to life today.
Let us be careful to heed God’s voice and in His presence stay.

Consider the troubles we now face in the time in which we live.
Consider how the middle class is forced to give and give.
If only we would seek God more and look to government less.
We could avoid the trouble in store and dig our way out of this mess.

Let us learn from Israel’s sin with all their foolish decisions.
Let us consider the Word of God and make some sensible revisions.
Let us help each other more rejecting big government plans.
For it’s not politicians but Jesus alone, who is the Savior of man.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Samuel Becomes the Judge of Israel

Samuel 4

Israel went out to a Philistine fight, was soundly defeated by them.
When the day was finally over, they lost four thousand men.
That evening in camp the elders said, “We need to bring the ark.
Perhaps it will give the soldiers a lift; bring comfort to their heart.”

When the ark arrived in the camp, it erupted with a great roar.
The Philistines began to wonder if they could win the war.
But the Philistines rallied and fought with great fear Israel to defeat.
Thirty thousand died that day and Israel’s despair was complete.

Among the casualties of the war was the loss of their precious ark.
Hophni and Phineas died that day, their lives having missed the mark.
A messenger brought a report to Eli whose heart was filled with dread.
Poor Eli fell down and broke his neck. He too was pronounced dead.

The ark was taken to Dagan’s temple and placed before his face.
Sometime that night before the morn, Dagan fell down from his place.
There he lay prostrate before the ark appearing as though it was planned.
The second time the idol fell down, it removed his head and his hands.

The hand of the Lord lay heavy on them. Many were struck with disease.
This deadly destruction terrified their hearts, brought them to their knees.
The Philistines placed the ark on a cart pulled by unbroken stock.
Amazingly they pulled the ark home in a mutually cooperative walk.

They finally stopped near Abinadab’s house located high on a hill.
There it stayed for twenty years til Israel would follow God’s will.
Finally the people confessed their sin with fasting and prayer in accord.
When the Philistines rose to afflict, they were routed before the Lord.

From that day on throughout his life, Samuel judged this nation.
They regained their cities and towns with all of their population.
Samuel travelled across the land to serve as Jehovah’s judge.
Israel learned that life is better serving the One above.

We too are like the Israelites with our many conflicting thoughts.
Too often we live for money or pride instead of how we ought.
The Scripture is given for every believer. O how its wisdom we need!
Help us O Lord to apply its direction and treasure its truth to heed.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 26, 2010

Samuel Hears the Voice of God

1 Samuel 3

Samuel served God in the tent of meeting from the time he was just a boy.
Seldom did Israel hear from God; there was no one He could employ.
Eli had failed to be a strong leader, his sons were vile indeed.
Israel had no faithful shepherd. The Lord was exceedingly grieved.

Samuel was resting in the temple as he cared for the burning lamp.
Twas the wee hours of early morn before the light’s dawning advance.
He heard a clear voice call out his name and ran to say “I am here.”
But Eli told the young servant of God, “I didn’t call you near.”

Twice more this happened and twice he responded. Eli perceived the truth:
God had set this young man apart and was calling him as a youth.
Eli told him how to respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
So Samuel resolved to calmly react the next time he was able to hear it.

Sure enough, the Lord called again and Samuel said, “I am here.”
What God revealed about Eli and sons chilled his soul with fear.
When Samuel revealed judgment was coming for both of Eli’s sons,
Eli, not at all surprised, said “May the Lord’s will be done.”

The Lord blessed Samuel as he grew up. All of his words were right.
Soon all of Israel became aware that he was God’s guiding light.
So from a hurting mother’s prayer and a life as a lonely child,
God created a leader of men to save a nation beguiled.

Maybe your childhood was less than stellar, filled with sorrow and pain.
When limited to the wisdom of man, such facts are hard to explain.
But God often heals a wounded heart and sets it free to love
That He might use it to impart grace that comes from heaven above.

So open the wounds of your painful past; reveal the sorrows too.
Give them over to God above; allow Him to heal you.
Then tell the world that God heals hurts; live out His gracious plan.
God will use your transformed life to bring hope to a wounded man.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Birth of Samuel

I Samuel 1-2

Elkanah was a Levite man who lived in the Ephraim hills.
His wife Hannah loved the Lord, but she felt so unfulfilled.
Hannah in her outward way appeared so meek and mild,
But deep within her spirit, she yearned to bear a child.

Elkanah had a second wife whose womb was fruitfully open.
She taunted Hannah with her smirk and cutting words ill-spoken.
Hannah grieved and promised God, as she knelt at the house of the LORD,
To give her son to lifetime service if her prayers were not ignored.

God, of course, heard all of her prayers. The delay was not a rebuke.
He answers prayer exactly on time. Not one of them is a fluke.
Eli the priest observed her prayer; learned of her earnest petition.
He told her spirit to be at rest and prepare for a coming addition.

It wasn’t long before she conceived and gave birth to a special son.
She gave him the name of Samuel,* for by prayer the battle was won.
She treasured each moment with her child preparing to keep her word
Knowing it was because of God’s grace that his birth occurred.

When he was weaned she took little Sam along with a sacrifice.
She taught him how to worship and gave other important advice.
Next she took him to the priest presenting Samuel so fair;
Then she knelt before the Lord and poured out her heart in prayer.

Elkanah and Hannah returned to their home but left little Sam behind.
He learned how to minister to the Lord. He was truly “one of a kind.”
Hannah’s heart ached but she was true to the promise she had begun.
God then gave two beautiful daughters and three additional sons.

Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with God and men.
With Godly character instilled in him, the next phase could begin.
Eli was old and his sons were wicked. God heard the nation’s cry.
Samuel soon would be the high priest; Hophni and Phinehas would die.

Perhaps you have waited many long years for an answer to your prayer.
You’ve been praying earnestly wondering if He is there.
Let the example of Hannah remind you that nothing is wrong.
“For the race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong.” **

* Samuel means “heard of God”
**Ecclesiastes 9:11

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ruth and the Kinsman Redeemer

The Book of Ruth

Naomi and husband, Elimelech, experienced a famine severe.
They left Bethlehem, moved to Moab, and stayed there many a year.
They had two sons who married girls of Moabite descent.
When all three husbands suddenly died, all hope and joy was spent.

Naomi decided it would be best to go back to Bethlehem.
She told her daughters they should stay and find good Moabite men.
Orpah left and returned to her home to live with her folks for a while,
But Ruth decided to stay with Naomi and share her every trial.

Naomi told Ruth to call her “Mara,” for her sorrow was great.
The joy of life had now turned bitter with heartache on her plate.
Together they travelled to Bethlehem where they were warmly received,
But how they would support themselves, they had not yet perceived.

Boaz was Naomi’s relative from her husband’s side.
Because he cared about the poor, gleaners were not denied.
Ruth’s love for Naomi and faithfulness created a strong appeal,
So Boaz managed harvest conditions to keep Ruth in his fields.

Regarding Boaz Naomi observed strong character in his life.
She saw that he had interest in Ruth as a prospective wife.
She explained the Kinsman Redeemer, told Ruth just what to do.
As a kinsman, he could redeem her if he would follow through.

Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law and carried out her suggestion.
Boaz responded to Ruth’s request and acted with discretion.
First he had to open the door to a relative closer than he.
Once again he demonstrates his life of integrity.

Boaz went into the city and gathered the elders round.
Then he called the other kinsman to hear the proposal sound.
Naomi had a piece of land for redemption at a fair price.
Included in the redemption process, Ruth would become his wife.

The responsibility of the redeemer is to preserve the family name.
The nearest redeemer wanted the land, but the duty he would not claim.
This left Boaz free to redeem the property for the clan.
He joyfully took Ruth to be his wife and gave her Mahlon’s land.

Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer. He paid the debt we owe.
He has received us as His bride because He loves us so.
Just as Boaz honored Ruth and showered her with love,
So the Lord in glorious truth will take us to heaven above.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Samson and Delilah

Judges 16

When Sampson saw Delilah that day, feelings of love swept through him,
But she attempted to lead him astray so the Philistines could subdue him.
“Tell me the secrets of your great strength. How can you be restrained?”
“Tie me with some brand new rope,” Samson quickly proclaimed.

So Delilah tied him with new rope tight just as Samson had said.
But just when his capture was in sight he snapped them off like thread.
When this trick failed she tried again but clearly she was failing.
She pestered him for days on end with constant nagging and wailing.

One day when she once again pled, he told her about his long hair.
“If you were to shave my head, my strength would no longer be there.”
Delilah kissed him and stroked his face til he fell asleep in her lap.
The barber sneaked in and cut off his hair while he was taking a nap.

When he awoke he heard her shout, “The Philistines are here.”
He arose, stretched out his arms; suddenly experienced fear.
His strength, once great, had abandoned him and to his sad surprise,
The Philistine army captured him and cruelly gouged out his eyes.

So there he was, working in prison pushing the grinding stone.
His dignity and freedom was gone, his life no longer his own.
Day after day he plodded along, his head bowed in silent prayer.
No one saw he was growing strong or noticed his flowing hair.

There came a day for a pagan assembly, a time to celebrate.
They brought Samson into the temple laughing at his fate.
He stumbled through the pagan shrine until he found the main pillar.
Crying to God, he pulled it down; it became a Philistine killer.

Samson also died that day when the temple came tumbling down.
The God of Israel heard him pray; made him a man of renown.
Samson killed many with feats of strength before he went astray,
But never had the Philistines suffered as they did that day.

Samson was a mighty man but given to sorry vices.
He fell victim to Satan’s plan and to his evil devices.
We can avoid the devil’s schemes and resist his evil charmers
If we stay close to our Lord supreme and put on our spiritual armor.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Samson Defeats the Philistines

Judges 15

Have you noticed in your life experience how some are born for trouble?
They march through life mowing down others leaving a pile of rubble.
Samson was that kind of a man. He was not perfect by far.
How is it that God could use someone whose behavior was so bizarre?

You must remember that God is above all the wisdom of man.
He alone is aware of the truth, of the sins over many life spans.
He often used an imperfect man to bring justice to wicked nations.
He used Sampson to set Israel free from Philistine domination.

We already know how it all began when his wife betrayed her spouse.
She placed others above her marriage, so Samson left the house.
A few months later he came with a gift to spend some time with his wife.
That’s when he learned she belonged to another creating additional strife.

It is true that he was betrayed, but he had left in an angry fit.
Her father thought he rejected his bride convinced that he had split.
As a result to avoid the dishonor, he gave her to Samson’s best man.
That failure in their communication is where the trouble began.

Samson, enraged, wanted revenge; saw their fields of flowing wheat.
He tied 300 foxes two by two with a torch behind their rear feet.
Then he released them into the fields, the vineyards, and olive trees.
The wheat and all the Philistine crops were completely destroyed with ease.

Someone told the Philistines why Samson expressed such ire.
They went up to the Timnite home and killed them all with fire.
That only served to stir him more. From the hills he came bounding down.
He slaughtered many Philistines stacking them on the ground.

The men of Israel woke up one morn with Philistines camped in the valley.
They said, “Go get Samson, bring him back, or today will be your finale.”
They went to Samson and made a promise to take him down there alive.
Samson was willing to face the Philistines, sure that he would survive.

The Philistines shouted as he came down and the Spirit came upon him.
He broke the ropes, grabbed a club and began a task quite grim.
He flailed the jaw bone of an ass and killed a thousand men.
The Philistines who came against him were defeated once again.

Many prefer not to hear this story wishing God would leave it out.
It’s so much easier to give God glory when we read about men devout.
But Samson was a real man with all of his anger and sin.
God used him to deliver judgment on those who had sinned against Him.

Yet to come is a terrible day when men stand at the Great White Throne.
They will be judged for their Christ-rejection and claim their sin as their own.
Here is the way to avoid this judgment: accept God’s salvation plan.
Give all of your life to the Savior’s love and reject the wisdom of man.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

THe Birth and Rise of Samson

Judges 13-14

Over and over we see in the scripture Israel’s rise and fall.
For a season they honored God, but then their service would stall.
All too often the next generation failed to walk in the path.
They found themselves in subjugation, the object of God’s just wrath.

In one of those times under Philistine rule, a barren woman cried.
She had desired to conceive from the day she became a bride.
Then one day her LORD appeared and said she would bear a son.
“This boy shall be a Nazirite, for he is a chosen one.”

A second time the LORD appeared to help them understand.
He told of the special rules for their son in the manner God had planned.
So she gave birth to a little boy and raised him as God had said.
Little could they imagine the trauma that lay ahead.

The young man grew and he was blessed. The Spirit began to stir him.
He wanted a certain Philistine girl; naught could be said to deter him.
On their way to acquire the bride, a young lion fiercely attacked.
By the Spirit, he tore it apart before there was time to react.

After the arrangements had been made, Samson went back to marry.
He saw the carcass of the dead lion he hadn’t bothered to bury.
He saw that bees had used the carcass to store their delicious honey.
As he stopped to enjoy the treat, he thought of a riddle quite funny.

He said to the men at the wedding feast, “I have a riddle for you.
If you can guess it, you’ll get a prize, but if you do not, I do.”
When they agreed he said to them, “Here it is plain and complete:
‘Out of the eater comes something to eat, out of the strong, something sweet.’”

Three days came and they could not answer, so they threatened his bride,
“If you don’t get him to reveal the answer your father and mother will die.”
Samson’s bride railed on him employing her wifely charm.
Then having told her he lost the bet, bringing financial harm.

Samson said to his Philistine cheaters, “I don’t play second fiddle.
If you had not plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.”
So angry was he that he left his bride and returned to his father’s house.
The bride was given to his best man and she became his spouse.

Clearly we see as we read this account there was plenty of fault all around.
Samson’s new friends were embarrassed, for he made them look like clowns.
The Philistine men were clearly at fault for threatening the bridal parents.
His wife was wrong to deceive her husband. She should have been transparent.

So here is a lesson for all to learn concerning friendly relations.
Relationships built on lies and deceit result in complications.
Honesty and love go hand in hand producing much peace and joy.
Many a friendship can be saved when these virtues we employ.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 15, 2010

Judges--Part 5--Lessons in Faith from Gideon

Gideon obeyed the Lord’s command and destroyed the altar to Baal.
It raised quite a ruckus in his town, for many thought he had failed.
Gideon learned about leadership: it’s not all joy and affection.
Many times the leader is faced with criticism and rejection.

It wasn’t too long after that the Amalekites invaded.
When the Spirit came on him, Gideon was persuaded.
He blew the trumpet long and loud announcing the situation
Imploring all the fighting men to come and save the nation.

Gideon lay a fleece on the ground for a sign of hope.
He requested the ground to be dry but the wool to be soaked.
When he arrived in the morning, the wool was soaking wet.
But that one miracle was not enough to help him cease to fret.

So Gideon did it once again but reversed the way he asked.
“This is how,” Gideon said, “I’ll know to pursue this task.”
Well you guessed it. It happened again, only in reverse.
Gideon now knew these foreign invaders surely would be cursed.

The second test Gideon endured was how his army was numbered.
God reduced them from thirty-two thousand down to only three hundred.
He said, “I am going to deliver you—these invaders are toast,
But I have to do it with very few men or your army will boast.”

Gideon and Purah spied on their camp and as unlikely as it seems,
He heard a soldier tell another about his unusual dream.
“I saw a loaf of barley bread come tumbling into our camp.
I have been thinking about it all day wondering what it meant.”

To Gideon’s surprise the enemy combatant gave an interpretation.
He told his friend that his dream was about their situation.
“We are camped here in Israel’s valley. This is their rightful land.
This dream means that God has given us into Gideon’s hand.”

Well my friends, you know the story, for he was exactly right.
Gideon and his band of three hundred surrounded them at night.
They blew their trumpets and smashed their lamps creating quite an allusion.
Scared out of their minds, the Midianites fought each other in the confusion.

God may ask you to do a big thing, something impossible to do.
That’s because He wants all to know, it didn’t come from you.
God spends a lifetime growing your faith that you might prevail,
For you serve a mighty God, the One who never fails.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gideon—The Reluctant Warrior—Part 1

Judges 6
Israel had peace for forty years and then she fell away.
The people forgot their former estate and failed to watch and pray.
So once again they were oppressed hiding in clefts and caves.
But our loving Lord in response to their prayer, devised a plan to save.

God sent a prophet to remind them of the God they rejected
Pointing out the Amorite gods which they had wholly accepted.
This is why they found themselves ravaged by neighboring Midian.
Deliverance, however, was soon to come by the hand of Gideon.

The Angel of the Lord came down, called Gideon a mighty man.
Gideon replied, “Why O Lord, do we suffer under Midian’s hand?”
The Lord replied, “It’s time, my friend. Go deliver the nation.”
Gideon said, “I can’t do that. I’m a man of lowly station.”

The Glory of all Heaven said to him, “Surely God is with you.
Just as Egypt fell before, so Midian will fall too.”
Gideon hurried to prepare a goat, placed food upon a rock.
The Angel touched it with his rod and fire surrounded the pot.

That same night a message came from the Savior of his soul.
“Destroy your father’s altar to Baal, cut down the Asherah pole;
Then build an altar to the LORD, and offer your father’s bull.”
(In doing this the Lord would establish Gideon’s appointed role.)

Gideon did as he was told and made the sacrifice.
But fearing what the people might think, he did it in the night.
Sure enough calamity arose creating an angry cry.
There were even demands from some that Gideon should die.

As you know there is more to the story, which we will soon review.
We must remember to give God the glory and do what He tells us to do.
There will be times in your earthly life when you are under the gun.
Just remember when trouble’s in sight, you belong to God’s Son.

Nothing can happen that God does not know; He allowed this trial to come.
Stand back and trust; let your faith grow. The victory will soon be won.
Though you can’t see it with earthly eyes, everything is in its place,
For Jesus, who is your defense attorney, never loses a case.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 12, 2010

Deborah the Prophetess

Judges 4

Over and over Israel failed in their walk with the Lord.
With Godly leaders they would prevail as the scriptures record.
First it was Othniel followed by Ehud; Shamgar came a bit later.
But after them, they fell away and sinned against their Creator.

Because of their sin Israel suffered for more than twenty years.
When they finally cried to the Lord, their prayers were sweet to hear.
Deborah the Prophetess summoned Barak and told him about God’s plan.
“Go engage Sisera in a fight. God’s given him into your hands.”

Barak remembered the 900 chariots Sisera had to show.
He said to Deborah, “You come along. That’s my condition to go.”
She said, “If you’re afraid, I will go too, for Sisera is sure to fall;
But when our people remember this day, it’s a woman they will recall.”

Barak led his army that day to a victory God had ordained.
Their opponents were thrown into disarray til not a man remained.
Now Sisera fled to Jael’s tent searching a place to hide.
Jael offered to help the man and covered him up inside.

Exhausted from the battle that day, he slept as though he were dead.
Jael took a stake in her hand and held it just over his head.
With a mighty swing of her arm, she drove the tent stake through.
Just like his men on the field of battle, Sisera had to die too.

Just at that time Barak came by chasing this general who fled.
Jael told him to look inside, for there lay Sisera dead.
Israel was delivered yet again by the One who was their defender.
When we think of this glorious day, these women we remember.

It takes courage to follow the Lord. We must be strong and mature.
There will be challenges along the way, times we may be unsure.
But God has given His Holy Spirit to be our Teacher and Guide.
It is He who shows us the way and every need provides.

You can trust God as you walk this day. Place your hope in Him.
Read the Scripture, take time to pray; heed the small voice within.
There is no task that God will give in which you must yield to fear,
For the One who lives within is always and ever near.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Great Value of Leadership

Judges 2-3

Joshua’s generation served their God until they all died out.
But their children who followed them sadly were not devout.
The truths their fathers had fought to preserve were tossed away like trash.
Their many afflictions were well deserved and all their hopes were dashed.

God left some nations to test this group so they could learn to fight.
There were five kings of the Philistines along with some Canaanites.
Israel married their pagan daughters, had sons to till the sod.
It wasn’t long before they began to worship their false gods.

Because they accepted so much evil in the eyes of the Lord,
He gave them up to a pagan king with the sin they adored.
Eight years they endured cruel oppression with suffering so unreal.
God was busy preparing their hearts to follow his servant, Othniel.

For forty years Othniel led and Israel learned to obey.
But as soon as he was dead and gone, they quickly fell away.
Once again the cycle occurred. You can see it plain as mud.
So God raised up a fearless leader, a man by the name of Ehud.

Ehud was a left-handed man whose specialty was the knife.
He went to King Eglon with a gift that appeared to be very nice.
Now Eglon was exceedingly fat and as he arose from the chair,
Ehud stuck him so very deep, the sword was covered in there.

Now Ehud locked the doors to the room and headed out for his home.
The servants mistakenly thought their king was on the bathroom throne.
Ehud escaped and rallied the troops, told them to fight for their life.
When it was over they were in charge led by the man with the knife.

These are two of the many judges sent to help Israel survive.
God sends leaders still today to keep our faith alive.
We place our hope not on the man but on the God who leads.
His leaders, who faithfully proclaim God’s Word, help his flock succeed.

Have you thanked your man of God for the leadership he provides?
Does he faithfully point to the Word to be the standard and guide?
In times like these when there is a famine with regard to God’s Word,
Be thankful if you belong to a church where the gospel is clearly heard.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finish the Job!

Joshua 23 - Judges 1

It took Israel seven or eight years before they experienced rest.
They gratefully sent the Eastern tribes home, back to the land they possessed.
Joshua by now was growing old and soon he would experience death.
In an all-tribe assembly he retold about how they began this quest.

All of Israel affirmed their pledge to follow God that day.
They would forsake the heathen gods and continue on the way.
So after this meeting Joshua died at the age of one hundred ten.
He was faithful to fulfill his call just as Moses had been.

Even though they conquered more and more, not all the country was won.
They must continue to fight this war until all the work had been done.
The question was placed before the Lord, “Who should go up and fight?”
The Lord replied, “Send Judah forth to conquer the Canaanites.”

Together with the Simeonites, they won by the grace of the Lord.
They captured the king, cut off his thumbs; he could no longer hold a sword.
They also cut off his two big toes. It was hard to stand upright.
Minus these four appendages, this king had fought his last fight.

Over and over we see this account as the Israelites steadily advanced.
As they believed and trusted God their skills were greatly enhanced.
Remember Caleb, that grand old man? He advanced to Hebron by faith.
Because of his courage and trust in God, even the giants were chased. *

But Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher—all of these tribes failed.
When faced with fierce resistance, they didn’t completely prevail.
Some of the enemy became their slaves but failed to leave the land.
Oh that Israel had driven them out according to God’s clear plan!

What can we learn from the Word of God as we study their failed deeds?
We see clearly how trouble comes when instruction we fail to heed.
Whatever the task to which you are called, press on and see it through.
Be strong like Caleb, trust in the Lord; be blessed in all that you do.

* The sons of Anak fathered the giants in Canaan known as the Anakim

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 8, 2010

Intervention From Above

Joshua 10

Many have heard about the war on the day the sun stood still.
The Amorites sought to even the score with Gibeon in mind to kill.
The Gibeonites had come to Israel and by guile a treaty made.
When this became known to Amorite kings, all of them felt betrayed.

These five kings surrounded the city causing a spirit of fear.
The Gibeonites called upon Joshua to bring his army near.
With a forced march in one long night, the army quickly arrived.
The Amorites were not prepared, confused by the sudden surprise.

Joshua’s army fought that day and gained the upper hand.
He prayed for God the sun to stay so they could conquer the land.
The Lord above heard his cry and halted the sun and moon.
Giant hailstones fell from the sky destroying the Amorite platoons.

Ever since that day of war, the world has known this story.
Miracles are kept in store for those who give God the glory.
What are you doing for the King? Are you fulfilling your call?
You may ask God for anything when you’re giving your all.

So where are you in the fight today? Do you need intervention?
If you have spiritual giants to slay, give this thoughtful attention:
The battle in which you are now engaged is observed by One unseen,
And as His banner of truth is raised, our Lord will intervene.

You may not need the sun to stop or hail to fall from the sky,
But every soldier engaged in war is depending on God on high.
When you give Him your full attention and serve with undying love,
You will receive divine intervention that comes from heaven above.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don’t Forget to Consult Your God

Joshua 9

When Achan was stoned, God forgave and Israel was back on track.
Ai was then quickly dispatched as they followed His plan of attack.
When all the kings west of the Jordan heard about their success,
They joined their armies to make war, ready to fight to the death.

The Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites and more joined the coalition,
But some crafty men of Gibeon planned a strategic mission.
They dressed themselves in dirty old clothes often patched and mended.
Their goal was to resemble a weary band on a journey nearly ended.

They loaded their donkeys with moldy bread. They seemed a pitiful band.
Upon their arrival they announced, “We’ve come from a far away land.
Our bread was warm, our wineskins new, but now they are old and cracked.”
Israel’s leaders believed the ruse; they should have been checking the facts.

These men of Gibeon proposed a treaty bound by solemn oath.
They would never fight each other, for that would be bad for both.
This entreaty made good sense, for peace would be the reward;
The men of Israel discussed it at length but forgot to ask the Lord.

Three days after the deal was struck, all Israel learned the truth.
Because they failed to seek the Lord, they were deceived by sleuth.
The people grumbled against the leaders, their emotions deeply provoked.
The elders said, “We gave our word. The treaty cannot be revoked.”

Joshua summoned the Gibeonites; spoke with a voice strong and terse.
“You placed yourselves in our hands, so now you’re under a curse.
Because of the word we gave by oath you shall surely not die,
But now and forever you will cut wood and carry our water supply.”

Here is the lesson so clearly shown: a decision in haste is not wise,
For when the details are fully known, it becomes loathsome to our eyes.
So don’t forget to consult your God in all the plans you make,
For if you take time to seek His face, you’ll live with fewer mistakes.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sin in the Camp

Joshua 7

The first battle was over and all were at rest; the people were filled with joy.
God had triumphed on their behalf and Jericho was destroyed.
Perhaps they thought there would be no test everywhere they went,
But trouble loomed that very first day and it dwelt in Achan’s tent.

Now Jericho was “devoted to God”, which meant all was given to Him.
But Achan saw some silver and gold and took it on a whim.
He hid God’s treasure in his tent, buried it deep in the ground.
But having disobeyed the Lord, the consequence was profound.

Joshua sent forth three thousand men to attack a nearby town.
To their surprise they were defeated with 36 soldiers down.
This little town, Ai by name, chased the army of God.
Joshua got down before the Lord, placed his face in the sod.

As he lay there imploring God he cried out as he shook his head.
“Why, O God, did you bring us here if only to be killed dead?”
The Canaanites will hear about this, and for what it’s worth,
They will take heart with this news and wipe us off the earth.”

God told Joshua, “Stand up like a man. There’s something you need to know.
You have a case of sin in the camp and that sin has got to go.
Consecrate the people of God, for tomorrow is the day.
Tomorrow when you assemble the tribes, the guilty one will pay.”

In order to find the evil doer, God gave Joshua a plan.
He called the people first by tribe and then by tribal clan.
Through this process God revealed; there could be no faking.
Thus the guilt was finally sealed upon the family of Achan.

You all know the story of how he died and all his family with him.
Imagine the tears as grandparents cried because of this evil sin.
Don’t ever think your selfish deeds have no effect on others.
O what pain and sorrow is felt by grieving fathers and mothers.

Come to the Lord while there is time. Come on bended knee.
Forsake your sin, make the right choice. Ask Him to set you free.
Receive the balm of Gilead, which brings healing to your soul.
No longer will you cry or be sad, for Jesus will make you whole.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Fall of Jericho

Joshua 5:13-6:25

As Joshua drew near to Jericho, He saw a man with a sword.
Drawing near he asked the man, “Which one of us are you for?”
“Neither for you nor Jericho, do I fight this war;
I am here in supreme command of the army of the Lord.”

In that moment Joshua awoke to a flash of divine insight.
It would be the Lord above who would lead this fight.
Joshua fell down before the Lord; then he heard this sound:
“Remove your shoes, O man of God, for this is holy ground.”

“I am giving you Jericho with all of its fighting men,
But I will do it in a way that never before has been.
March around the city each day with priests sounding the horns.
The seventh day march seven times. You won’t be weary or worn.”

The first six days that’s what they did beating a path in the ground.
They marched daily, eerily silent, never uttering a sound.
The people of Jericho must have wondered what it was all about:
Six days of silence; then on the seventh, they heard a mighty shout.

What they heard was Israel’s band, crying as loud as can be.
“Now is the time by the Lord’s hand, we take this wicked city.”
The walls collapsed; Israel rushed in, destroyed the city that day.
Rahab and family were found within and rescued without delay.

They burned the city to the ground. Nothing would be preserved.
For centuries Jericho hated God; their punishment was deserved.
This mighty victory came that day by the power of God’s hand.
The fear of Joshua, led by God, spread throughout the land.

There is a lesson in this account that everyone should learn.
The truth of God we must embrace and evil must be spurned.
Don’t be a fool who lives and dies, then suffers his just fate.
The door of salvation is open wide; don’t wait until it’s too late.*

* “Behold, now is the accepted time…now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7)

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crossing the Jordan

Joshua 3-4

The spies, who had stayed in Rahab’s house,
Escaped to the hills, which were near.
They knew the Lord was sending them forth,
For Jericho trembled in fear.

Three days it took to inform the clans
How each tribe would do its part.
God had given a careful plan
To follow before they start.

The priests set forth carrying the ark,
Their mission to complete.
As soon as the water touched their feet,
The Jordan piled up in a heap.

The priests walked out into the middle
And there they stood on dry ground
As Israel passed tribe by tribe
Heading for Jericho town.

Each of the tribes had chosen one man
To carry a rock from the river.
That night in camp they arranged the rocks
As a remembrance that God had delivered.

“The day may come when your children ask,
‘Why are these rocks piled here?’
Tell them how God heaped up the waters
And we crossed without burden or fear.”

God did this for Israel way back then,
But He also did it for you.
The rocks were a sign for all to come
Of His love and provision true.

You need never fear the Lord’s provision.
It comes one day at a time.*
Just bow your head in humble petition;
Continue the upward climb.

* See Matthew 6:25-34

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved