Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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March 17 - Evening

"Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. And the leaders of Shechem put men in ambush against him on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way. And it was told to Abimelech."
- Judges 9:22-25

Abimelech’s Treacherous Behavior and God’s Retribution

Gideon had seventy sons with his wives in his home town of Ophrah, but had one son with his concubine who lived in Shechem named Abimelech. After Gideon (Jerub-Baal) died Abimelech used the seventy shekels of silver the citizens of Shechem gave him from the temple of Baal-Berith in Shechem to hire outlaws to help him kill his seventy brothers in Ophrah. On one stone in Ophrah Abimelech killed 69 of his 70 brothers, but the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped. The citizens of Shechem crowned Abimelech king beside the great tree at the stone pillar in Shechem. (Which was the site of the great tree Abraham worshipped at in Genesis 12:6 and the stone pillar set up by Joshua at the great tree in Joshua 24:26. The remains of this site and the ruins of the Temple of Baal-Berith can be seen here.)

After ruling as king over Israel from Shechem for three years, Abimelech’s treacherous act that had been supported by the citizens of Shechem was confronted by the Lord. The Hebrew word for “ruled” in Judges 9:22 where it says, “Abimelech ruled over Israel three years,” is wayyasar, a verb used only here in Judges. This Hebrew word for “ruled” is from the Hebrew noun sar which is always used to communicate confrontation and violence, or a king who establishes his authority for “ruling” with enforced military activity. The people of Shechem crowned Abimelech king (melek) of Israel, but he “ruled” (wayyasar) like a warlord. Israel was forced into obedience through military action by this son of Gideon. Clearly, Abimelech is trying to continue Gideon’s dynasty as ruler, or “king,” over Israel.

After Abimelech’s three years of “ruling” Israel the Lord caused Abimelech’s support base at Shechem to turn against their warlord/king by sending an “evil spirit” (Hb. ruah ra’a, or “spirit” and “ill/bad”) to turn them against Abimelech. God did this to avenge the conspiracy between Abimelche and the citizens of Shechem that led to the crime of killing the seventy sons of Gideon in order that Shechem and Abimelech could “rule” all of Israel in Gideon’s place. This animosity caused by God ends with Abimelech attacking the city of Shechem and burning its fortress which killed about a thousand citizens in Shechem. Then, Abimelech moved his attacked to the city of Thebez ten miles NE of Shechem where he was killed by a falling millstone dropped on his skull by a woman from the top of a tower in the city of Thebez.
Oikodespotes (Gr) – Householder (Eng) – oikodespotes is a Greek word that refers to the “master of a house” as in Matthew 10:25 and Luke 13:25. The verb oikodespoteo is the verb form used in 1 Timothy 5:14 that means “to rule a house.”
Do I realize that just because a person gets away with doing something wrong or immoral in the natural world, does not mean the matter is legally or morally finished in the spiritual dimension?
I will consider the ramifications of my actions as they are seen by the Lord and all of those in the heavenly realms. (Psalm 33:13; 1 Cor. 11:10; Eph. 3:10; 1 Peter 3:7)

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Enough income to meet your needs


Strength to rebuke sin

This is a photo of the view of the terrain in the southern Negev. (Map)
Sites of Elisha's miracles and his ministry from 2 Kings 4 is detailed on a map.

Someone to Quote

“An individual’s misdeed can be the beginning of a nation’s disaster. The sun goes down, but the deed goes on…Eve a single deed generating an endless set of effects…may place the lives of countless men in the chains of its unpredictable effects…" - A. J. Heschel

Something to Ponder

Anselm – Anselm was born in the Italian Alps, 1033, and joined a monastery in Bec, Normandy under a great teacher named Lanfranc. England was conquered by King William of Normandy in 1066 and Lanfranc was moved from the main continent to England as an archbishop of Canterbury. Anselm then took Lanfranc’s position in Bec, Normandy in the monastery. When King William I died, William II brought Anselm over to England as the new archbishop of Canterbury. But, William II wanted to appoint clergy in church positions based on political reasons and political advantages which was against Anselm’s desire for pure spiritual leadership. William II exiled Anselm and confiscated the church property. While in exile away from England on the continent of Europe Anselm wrote some of the major theological concepts during the early days of the Scholastic movement in the Middle Ages. In his work entitled Cur Deus Homo (or, “Why Did God Become Man?”) Anselm presented the theory of Christ’s work of reconciliation which became known as the Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement. It is considered one of the best explanations of why and how Christ’s death on the cross reconciled men to God. The basis of Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement says that God is the Lord of the cosmos who is very nature is offended by man’s sin and in order to maintain order in the universe he created He cannot simply “overlook” or “forgive” sin without some equal satisfaction being made for man’s sin. Since sin is man’s problem, the satisfaction must come from man; but man is incapable of adequately providing an equal payment. To resolve this hopeless quagmire and the damned universe God became a man and offered the satisfaction. This theory is supported by 2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (Details here and here)

Here’s a Fact

In Genesis 23:16 Abraham weighs out four hundred shekels of silver to purchase the cave and field of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite. The fact that the Genesis document states that Abraham is using the shekel as a measurement of weight instead of as a type of coin attests to the early date of the recording of this document. By 700 BC the Lydians of Asia Minor had begun standardizing coins. Eventually the shekel would become a coin. (Details)


"Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children."
- Proverbs 17:6

Coach’s Corner

Lead someone to Christ. Share the need for Christ with someone and offer them the forgiveness and love of God.

2 Corinthians 5:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Genesis 23:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.
Genesis 12:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Joshua 24:25-26
English Standard Version (ESV)
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
Psalm 33:13
New International Version (NIV)
From heaven the Lord looks down     and sees all mankind;
1 Corinthians 11:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.
Ephesians 3:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
1 Peter 3:7
New International Version (NIV)
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
2 Kings 4
New International Version (NIV)
The Widow’s Olive Oil
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life
One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”
“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.
22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”
23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”
“That’s all right,” she said.
24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite!
26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”
“Everything is all right,” she said.
27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”
30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”
32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.
Death in the Pot
38 Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these prophets.”
39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine and picked as many of its gourds as his garment could hold. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. 40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.
41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
Feeding of a Hundred
42 A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.
43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’”
44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.
Judges 10
New International Version (NIV)
10 After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.
He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the Lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim; Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”
11 The Lord replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”
15 But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.
17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.”
Deuteronomy 19-20
New International Version (NIV)
Cities of Refuge
19 When the Lord your God has destroyed the nations whose land he is giving you, and when you have driven them out and settled in their towns and houses, then set aside for yourselves three cities in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess. Determine the distances involved and divide into three parts the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that a person who kills someone may flee for refuge to one of these cities.
This is the rule concerning anyone who kills a person and flees there for safety—anyone who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life. Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought. This is why I command you to set aside for yourselves three cities.
If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land he promised them, because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities. 10 Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.
11 But if out of hate someone lies in wait, assaults and kills a neighbor, and then flees to one of these cities, 12 the killer shall be sent for by the town elders, be brought back from the city, and be handed over to the avenger of blood to die. 13 Show no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.
14 Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, 17 the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, 19 then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Going to War
20 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.” When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them? 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

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