~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Judges 1:1-2:9 ~ Luke 21:29-22:13
Psalm 90:1-91:16 ~ Proverbs 13:24-25
Old Testament - Today we begin the book of Judges! Coming up in this book, we’ll be reading about Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Delilah, and Micah - to drop a few names. Below is a commentary on the book overall.
Date: Eleventh century B.C.
Content: The book of Judges covers a period of several hundred years following the conquest of Canaan, during which time the people were ruled by individual leaders called judges or saviors. Their task was primarily military, being to expel the enemy from the land. Throughout this period of Israel’s history there is a tragic cycle to be observed - that of rebellion against God, followed by the judgment of God, usually in the form of foreign invasion. The children of Israel then cry to God for help and a “judge” is sent to save them. This cycle is repeated numerous times throughout the book. Tragically, the people never seem to learn that rebellion against God is a sure road to disaster.
Theme: The grim lesson of Judges is that “the wages of sin is death: (see Romans 6:23). Sin takes many forms, from the sophisticated sins of kings to the barbaric events that close the book, but the net results is always the same: when everyone does his own thing, chaos and destruction are the inevitable outcome. Through it all, however, God in his faithfulness saves the people when they truly repent and turn to him. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 4)
More commentary on Judges is at these 3 links –
Really interesting commentary at this first link titled, “The Role of Women in the Book of Judges” – check it out: http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1481
An image is below for Judges chapter 1 verses 14 & 15 today - "When Acsah married Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for an additional field. As she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What is it? What can I do for you?" She said, "Give me a further blessing. You have been kind enough to give me land in the Negev; please give me springs as well." So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs."
Today in Judges Chapter 2 verses 1 & 2 we will read these words from the angel of the Lord – “I said, “I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars. Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?”” The Israelites disobeyed God back then. Why? Do we disobey God in our lives today? Why do we do this? I have a hunch that maybe sometimes we are simply afraid. Afraid of fully following and trusting God. We may think that God really won’t live up to his promises. At these moments our faith is weak. And we end up disobeying God. Fortunately our inconsistencies do not affect God’s perfect consistency. God never changes. We do. And we can allow ourselves to either be changed by God such that we live in obedience to him – or, we can continue to disobey God and live tumultuous lives. It’s a pretty simple choice. One decision brings an amazing peace that surpasses all understanding and the other decision – grief and frustration. Do we disobey God in our lives today? Why have we done this? Can we instead choose to obey God in our lives?
An image is below for Judges chapter 2 verses 4 & 5 today - "When the angel of the LORD finished speaking, the Israelites wept loudly. So they called the place "Weeping," and they offered sacrifices to the LORD."
New Testament - Bible.org's commentary on our Luke chapter 21 readings titled "The Second Coming of Christ" is at this link and commentary titled "Preparations for the Passion of Christ" is at this link.
Psalms - Bob Deffinbaugh with Bible.org has commentary on Psalm 90 titled "Place for Pessimism" at this link and his commentary on Psalm 91 is at this link and at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs 13:24 is true - "If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them." The one thing that makes me a bit nervous about this Proverb is that I have a hunch us humans can over-do our discipline. I think there is obviously a difference between loving / godly discipline of our kids and mean / destructive discipline. I pray that we are led by God to know the difference. Yes, discipline is good. Godly / loving discipline. Mean / destructive discipline is not good.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!
12 Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations--these that remain among you--and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, 13 know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you. (Joshua 23:12-13)
Warning, warning, warning, don’t hang out with the folks I’ve just put out of the land I’m giving you. God couldn’t have been clearer in His instructions to Israel. God was the one who would drive out the people He had dispossessed, not Israel. But the eviction process would stop if Israel stopped obeying the commands of the Lord. How often are we like Israel? Forget for a moment obeying God’s commands, how often don’t we obey the commands of little ole instruction sheet and then blame our failure to get that “stupid” thing working on the manufacture instead of our failure to obey the directions?
The “Blame Game” that started back in the Garden of Eden, in the Book of Genesis, continues today and it is failure to take responsibility for our own breakdowns to obey the “Word of the Lord. Even Moses participated in that deadly game when he failed to follow God’s instructions. God told Moses and Aaron to speak to the rock when Israel found herself in the Wilderness without water but they struck the rock, not once but twice.
6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
God told Moses and Aaron that it was their own disobedience that would keep them out of the Promise Land, but Moses told the people it was their disobedience that kept him out, The Blame Game.
37 "And the LORD was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, `You will never enter the Promised Land! 38 Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him as he prepares to enter it.
Israel’s reasons for not getting out the inhabitants were as varied as the number of her tribes and families. She failed to clear out her Promise because she failed to obey and follow after God. Let us strive not to make the same mistakes as Israel, let us strive to obey the Voice of the Lord so that the enemies that live in our hearts will be rooted out not because we are so strong, but because our obedience will allow the Holy Spirit in to do the job we are unable to do.
Today’s reading includes the story of Jesus sending his disciples, Peter and John, ahead of Him to prepare the last Passover meal (22:7-10) He will share with them before His crucifixion. How lovely that today, this evening to be specific, at Sundown the Jewish Festival of Passover and then the Fest of Unleavened Bread begins. Jesus became the Pascal Lamb for the entire World so that the Death Angel would pass over the hearts of all those who call on His Name and bring us into eternal life, once and for All. This is no AWESOME coincidence! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world died for you and for me, a great reason to rehearse the story of the first Passover to remind us of what that Passover really means.
12 Teach us to make the most of our time,
so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90)
If ever there was a need to make the most of our time throughout the generations, now is the time. I am inundated by the many voices calling for my attention and most of the time I give the wrong voice an inordinate amount of time neglecting the voice of wisdom to my peril Today the 12th verse of Moses’ psalm becomes my prayer.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Mike makes a good observation about the use of verse twenty-four. Too often we hear this verse used to justify horrendous physical abuse. But today when I read Mike’s comments I realized that the people who brutalize their children with cruelty disguised as godly obedience are themselves out of control and lacking discipline in their own lives, thus are incapable of disciplining others rightly.
Yet there are a lot of parents who go to the other extreme and do not use any kind of discipline because they say, “It will hurt little Johnnie or Jane’s self-image.” Lack of discipline and abuse seem to me to be different sides of the same coin, neglect. On one side, abuse, the parent or guardian is “getting” off on the cruel treatment of the child. On the other side of the coin the parent is placing their self-interest, not having to expend time and energy in giving their children tools to learn self-control the child will need in the future.
To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
As someone who works in a college I know cheating is rampant, and the kids didn’t begin cheating when they showed up on the collage doorstep. If one is cheating to get information, one is not learning the information.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | April 23, 2005 at 12:30 PM