April 2

Luke 8:22-56

In the Amplified version, in verse 23 it says, “they were in great danger.” We also know that Jesus chose these twelve to be the men to be in seats of leadership in His kingdom. They talked about those kingdom seats when they argued over who would be greatest. They should know that God wasn’t through with them yet. Even though they were in grave danger, they would not die when they took authority and acted in faith. In all honesty, if I was in that boat, I would probably be waking up Jesus, too.

Jesus asks, “Why were you so fearful?” Okay, we can understand why someone would be fearful when their lives were in great danger; however, Jesus was teaching them they had authority over anything that would try to hurt them. They didn’t need to wake Him up; they could have rebuked those winds and waves themselves.

Is this just true for the disciples, or is it true for us today? If we are in great danger, we may have feelings of fear, but is our faith strong enough that we will act on it? We can pray and should pray, but we also need to do our part to take our authority and speak to our situations.

We should not feel like we are UNDER – under the trouble, under the sickness, under the danger. Our emotions should not be more powerful than our inner spirit, our heart. I’m not saying the emotions are not validated or real, but my faith is real, too. I want my faith to lift me to a place of victory OVER the situation. People may ask you, “How can you have joy and peace?” You can answer, “Because my faith is in God.” When our faith is strong, we not only have rest in our soul, but we can say to the mountain, “Move to the sea!”

In this chapter we also see that Jesus took authority over evil spirits that possessed a human body. The demons asked to go into a herd of swine. We see animals can be possessed by demons. The swine basically committed mass suicide, perhaps because they didn’t want the possession or perhaps the spirits caused the destruction. However, we see the authority Jesus had over the spirits. We have the same authority.

Years ago, there was an elderly woman who faced an intruder to her home. At gunpoint, the woman took authority over the devil that was possessing the intruder, and the man put his gun down and left the home. We have authority over natural and supernatural threats.

Judges 8-9

Gideon is one of the persons listed in the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:32. Faith is reliance to the point of obedience. Was Gideon perfect? No, no one listed in Hebrews 11 was perfect. They are called people of faith because they leaned on God’s strength and ability instead of their own, taking action on trust in Him. Many people throughout history have done the same. The question for us today is, “Are we living in obedient surrender?”

In verse 23, the people asked Gideon to rule over them. Gideon, a judge and not a king, said, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.”

Even though Gideon started off serving God and being the instrument God chose to defeat the enemy, Gideon was not perfect. He made a golden garment that became worshipped, thus Gideon led Israel astray into idolatry at the end of his life.

It is clear throughout Judges that there are cycles of sin, consequence, cries, and deliverance. The sin was often idolatry because the people wanted something tangible and visible in which to put their trust. They were not born again like we are. They didn’t have the Spirit of God on the inside like we do.

In addition, there was a growing desire to have a tangible king like the nations around them. In chapter 9, we read of the brief reign of Abimelech as a king in Shechem. Before his rise, the people had 70 men who served the people. After his rise, Abimelech killed the seventy men, which definitely revealed his character. He was looking for authority and power, destroying anyone or anything that threatened his self-promotion.

Jotham spoke from his heart in a parable of trees, a story of turning from God’s government to lift up their own king and their own self-rule. Abimelech reigned over Shechem for three years.

In verse 23, it says that God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the people. Can God do that? Apparently, he can, and He did. The word for “spirit” is not an angel or demon. It refers to a disposition. God stirred the people’s hearts against Abimelech. It also says the people “dealt treacherously” with Abimelech. In the beginning, they made an agreement with him, a covenant, and then they broke that covenant oath. This is what the phrase “dealt treacherously” means – to break or go against a covenant.

In verse 56, it says that God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, and he died. He would have died from a blow a woman gave him, but dropping a grinding stone on his head and crushed his skull. Women often worked with these millstones to grind up wheat to make bread. Abimelech cared about what people would think of him after his death. Women are generally physically weaker than men, so to be killed by a weaker person would be a shame. Dying, he asked his armor bearer to kill him with a sword, which he did. However, the man died, it was God who was behind Abimelech’s demise.

Today, we might look at situations, knowing God is sovereign, or in control, and wonder why God would not intervene and stop an enemy, a crime, or even a sickness. We could wonder why God does not intervene and bring more change to a career, finances, or relationships. Yes, God is sovereign over all; He is in control. However, God doesn’t always intervene. He gave the world to us to manage and maintain. Sin is here. Death is here. It’s a fallen world. We also have a spiritual enemy that we need to take authority over. Sometimes bad things happen because we made some wrong decisions. For example, if we don’t work, we may not eat.

What can we do if we face trouble in this world?
Pray and surrender in faith. Our humble cries invite God into our situation.
Do our part. Go to the Bible and speak Scripture over ourselves. Soak ourselves in the Word.
Bathe in prayer and meditation. Turn off distractions and press in.
Take authority over the enemy and anything going against God’s will.
If there is anything in our life that is contrary to God’s heart, give it to God and ask for His help to overcome by the power of the Spirit.
Claim the promises and proclaim them as done. Receive them in the heart no matter what we see, hear, or feel.
Praise God for the answer.

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