Judges - The Texture of Failure: Week 4

By Jacob Toman

Last week we observed the life and times of Othniel and Ehud, two of the six major judges of Israel. Today we will observe the life and times of Deborah and Gideon.

 

Read Judges 4...

1.   How is Deborah introduced? (Hint: See 4:4-5)

2.   Who are the enemies oppressing God’s people ? (Hint: See 4:1-3)

3.   What is Deborah’s message from God to Barak? (Hint: See 4:6-7 and 4:14)

4.   How does Deborah play a role the deliverance of God’s people?

a.   Deborah delivers a _____________ from the Lord

b.   Deborah encourages and challenges leaders to _____________  the Lord

5.   Who is given the credit for the overthrow of Jabin? (Hint: See 4:23)

 

Read Proverbs 26:27 “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;  if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”

Does this verse from Proverbs apply to any of the characters involved in the story of Judges 4?

 

The story of Deborah gives us a powerful, vivid example of the deliverance God provides to his people. Listening to the Lord’s leadership and following his ways are paramount in the life of God’s people.

deborah.jpg

 

The story of Gideon shows us how reluctant God’s people can be to follow the Lord - even in the midst of God’s very presence and miraculous wonders.

 

Read Judges 6...

1.   What are the summary descriptions of God’s people at the time of Gideon? (Hint: See 6:1, 3, 7)

2.   How does Gideon react to meeting with the Angel of the Lord? (Hint: See 6:13, 15, 17)

3.   What motivates Gideon? (Hint: See 6:27)

 

Read Judges 7...

4.   How is the army of Gideon shaped and changed? (Hint: See 7:2-6)

5.   Why does Gideon go down into the enemy camp? (Hint: See 7:10)

6.   What does Gideon accomplish despite his fear?

First Impressions: Legion TD 2

By Michael Mendis

Legion TD 2 logo.jpg

While most of my gaming time is spent delving into story-driven single-player games, every now and then I find a multiplayer game that sucks me in and offers me a different way to enjoy gaming.  One such game that has done this for me lately is Legion TD 2, a competitive tower defense game that originated as a mod for Warcraft 3.  This new, standalone title was recently introduced to me by one of my supporters, and it’s a fascinating game that has taken me by surprise with how addicting it is.

In Legion TD 2, two teams of four players defend against waves of enemies that are trying to attack each team’s king.  Each player creates units to defend a single path in which computer controlled monsters will spawn.  If the monsters defeat the player’s units, they proceed downward toward the king; if the player’s units beat the monsters, they teleport down to the king to defend against any monster that made it past your teammates.  The competitive aspect of the game is that you can hire special monsters called Mercenaries to spawn on the opposing team’s side.  Victory in the game requires coordinating with your teammates to decide when you are going to send big Mercenaries to the other side, and managing your resources so that you can both hire units defend your lane and hire Mercs.  Fail to walk those lines, and you'll find yourself falling behind pretty quickly.

Legion TD 2 gameplay.jpg

When starting a match, there are five character classes that you can choose from; each class has its own strengths and weaknesses, which provides depth to the gameplay but also means it takes a while to get used to each class.  As you play more matches with each class, you'll gain a better understanding of how to place and upgrade your units in order to maximize their strengths.  I've seen different players use the same class in different ways to defend against the waves of enemies, which indicates that there is a lot of replay value to the game.

At this point in time, there is only a limited tutorial for the game (although this could change, as the game is in Early Access and thus is not yet complete), which means that new players could find it rather unforgiving at first; fortunately, the game forces you to play only against AI opponents for the first few matches, which is easier than fighting other humans.  Playing against AI is also a good way to experiment with classes that you aren’t familiar with.  Once you get past the learning curve, though, the game is a ton of fun; there’s a subtle satisfaction in perfecting your use of a particular class, and seeing your units come out on top against particularly tough monsters.  Even though I’ve logged over 30 hours playing the game, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface, and that there’s a lot more for me to learn and improve upon as I experiment with new strategies.  Legion TD 2 is a fascinating fusion of competition and cooperation in a genre that could use some fresh ideas, and it’s well worth checking out.

Judges - The Texture of Failure: Week 3

By Jacob Toman

Up until now, we’ve studied some of the broader themes and concepts in the book of Judges.  These themes include:

1.    “The people of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord”

2.    “The Lord delivered” or “The Lord gave”

3.    “The Land had Peace”

We will now transition for the next few weeks of our study to focusing on the individual lives and deeds of some of the “major” Judges mentioned in the book. Major Judges are those who delivered and then subsequently served Israel for a lengthy period of time; the text often cites a period of peace or war during which the major Judge was at work. Minor Judges, on the other hand, are leaders who are only briefly mentioned. The book of Judges doesn’t ever clearly define a Judge with a succinct phrase, but often times the common themes of deliverer, warchief, or leader are used to describe them.

So who were the Judges? There are six major Judges listed below, and 6 minor Judges. There is also one person who claims the title of king that is mentioned in Judges - but more on him in later weeks.                                  

"Major Judges"

Othniel        Judges 3:9-11

Ehud           Judges 3:11-29

Deborah     Judges 4-5

Gideon        Judges 6-8

Jephthah    Judges 11:1-12:7

Samson      Judges 13-16

“Minor Judges”

Shamgar                        Judges 3:31

Tola and Jair                  Judges 10:1-5

Ibzan, Elon, Abdon       Judges 12:8-15

Map of Israel during the time of the Judges.png

This week we’re focusing on Othniel and Ehud. Read Judges 3:7-11 then respond to the following questions:

1.    Why are the Israelites in the “hands of Cushan-Rishathaim”? (Hint: See verse 7)

2.    Whom does the author attribute to Israel’s deliverance? (Hint: See verse 9 & 10)

3.    What is Othniel’s family lineage? (Hint: See Judges 1:12-14)

 

Read Judges 3:12-30 then respond to the following questions:

1.    Why are the Israelites under the authority of Moab? (Hint: See verse 12)

2.    The king of Moab’s name “Eglon” means Cow-like. How is he described in the passage? (Hint: See verse 12, 13, 17)

Eglon is ____________ (See 12)

Eglon possesses __________ (See 13)

Eglon is very ____________ (See 17)

3.              When does Ehud decide to follow through with his plan? (Hint: See verse 18 & 19)

Judges triangle.png

 

Ehud is proactive against the enemies of God’s people. He strategizes a plan, sees an opportunity, and at great personal risk follows through with the plan. What can we learn from Ehud’s strategy and execution of a plan against God’s enemies? Are we ruthless with sin? Do we strategize how we can exterminate sin from our own lives?