Thursday, December 9, 2010

‘Be Available: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy’ (Judges – OT Commentary) by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe – Book Review

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One of the most anointed and gifted theologians of our day is Dr. Warren Wiersbe. ‘Be Available: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemyis Dr. Wierbe’s Bible Commentary on the Book of Judges.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

God is Looking For a Few Good People. Picture a world where people live according to their own personal standards, where believers can’t seem to agree, and where people are trapped in every kind of sin. Sound familiar? While the list hits close to home today, these issues are found in the book of Judges. And it’s during times like these when God is searching for those who are ready, willing, and available to confront the enemy.
Part of Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s best-selling “BE” commentary series, Be Available has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe shares the insight that God’s kingdom advances through those who are available to Him. Based on the book of Judges, this study encourages us to stand for what’s right, and step into what God is doing in our world.

Here is the author’s biography:

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago.  For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. He has written more than 160 books, including the “BE” series of Bible commentaries (of which ‘Be Authentic’ is one), which have sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

In the Introduction, entitled ‘The Big Idea,’ Ken Baugh, Pastor of Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, California, describes what Dr. Wiersbe’s commentaries have meant to his ministry and his life:

Dr. Wiersbe’s commentaries have been a source of guidance and strength to me over the many years that I have been a pastor. His unique style is not overly academic, but theologically sound. He explains the deep truths of Scripture in a way that everyone can understand and apply. Whether you’re a Bible scholar or a brand-new believer in Christ, you will benefit, as I have, from Warren’s insights. With your Bible in one hand and Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary in the other, you will be able to accurately unpack the deep truths of God’s Word and learn how to apply them to your life.
Drink deeply, my friend, of the truths of God’s Word, for in them you will find Jesus Christ, and there is freedom, peace, assurance, and joy. (p. 11)

In ‘A Word from the Author,’ Dr. Wiersbe makes this observation:

I think that we today are living in a period similar to that described in the book of Judges:         
·         There is no king in Israel.
·         People are doing what is right in their own eyes.
·         God’s people can’t seem to work together.
·         People are in bondage to various enemies.
But here and there, God is raising up men and women who believe Him, confront the enemy, and win the victory.
The challenge of the book of Judges is – be available! No matter how dark the day, God can still work through people who will trust His Word, yield to His Spirit, and do His bidding.
Will you be among them? (p. 13)

The book of Judges takes a look at an amazing chapter in Israel’s history. One of the most intriguing people to me is Deborah, a Jewish judge who Dr. Wiersbe describes as ‘a woman of faith and courage’ (p. 45). He goes on in detail:

God had raised up a courageous woman named Deborah (which means “bee”) to be the judge in the land. This was an act of grace, but it was also an act of humiliation for the Jews, for they lived in a male-dominated society that wanted only mature male leadership. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them” (Isa. 3:12). For God to give His people a woman judge was to treat them like little children, which is exactly what they were when it came to spiritual things.
Deborah was both a judge and a prophetess. Moses’ sister Miriam was a prophetess (Ex. 15:20) and later biblical history introduces us to Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Neh. 6:14), Anna (Luke 2:36), and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9). God called Deborah a prophetess and a judge, but she saw herself as a mother to her people. “I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel” (Judg. 5:7). The wayward Jews were her children, and she welcomed them and counseled them. (pp. 46-47)

That is a lot of valuable biblical information; what a pleasure to be able to 
share Dr. Wiersbe’s wisdom and knowledge!

Another interesting person in Judges is Samson. Here is Dr. Wiersbe’s description of this man:

Samson was unpredictable and undependable because he was double-minded and “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). It has been said that “the greatest ability to dependability,” and you could depend on Samson to be undependable.
Bold before men, Samson was weak before women and couldn’t resist telling them his secrets. Empowered by the Spirit of God, he yielded his body to the appetites of the flesh. Called to declare war on the Philistines, he fraternized with the enemy and even tried to marry a Philistine woman. He fought the Lord’s battles by day and disobeyed the Lord’s commandments by night. Given the name Samson, which means “sunny,” he ended up in the darkness, blinded by the very enemy he was supposed to conquer
Four chapters in the book of Judges are devoted to the history of Samson. In Judges 13-14, we’re introduced to “Sunny” and his parents and we see the light flickering as Samson plays with sin. In Judges 15-16, the light goes out and Samson dies a martyr under the ruin of a heathen temple, a sad end to a promising life. (p. 125-126)

Samson’s life is a cautionary tale to not take the life that God has given us, and the Holy Spirit He has entrusted to His believers, and not waste it by getting involved with the temptations of this world.

In the final chapter of the book, ‘Looking Back and Looking Around,’ Dr. Wiersbe looks at how the lessons in Judges can apply to today. One of the points he makes is that ‘God Still Blesses Those Who Live by Faith:'

It has well been said that faith is not believing in spite of evidence (that’s superstition) but obeying in spite of consequences. I might add that it also means obeying God no matter what we see around us or ahead of us or how we feel within us. Faith doesn’t depend on our emotions (Gideon was frightened much of the time, and Samson felt he still had his own power) or our understanding of the situation. Faith takes God at His word and does what he tells us to do. (p. 182)

This book includes ‘Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion’ which are highly insightful, and really get you to think about your answer! I like this question: 'Who are some "losers" (in literature, sports, politics, history, the Bible) became winners?' (p. 122) 

I highly recommend using resources from Dr. Wiersbe; our Life Group worked through the study of the book of Galatians, ‘Be Free: Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality.’   I have reviewed other Dr. Wiersbe’s books on my blog: Be Authentic: Exhibiting Real Faith in the Real World,’ reviewing the lives of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (you can read my review hereand ‘The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: It’s Always Too Soon to Quit! – 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon’ by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe – Book Review’ (you can read my review here). I consider Dr. Wiersbe to be one of the Godliest and most insightful theologians in our world today – and we attend church with one of his daughters, so that is another incentive to studying his work!  

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B&B Media Group, Inc. for review purposes. 

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