~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Judges 15:1-16:31 ~ John 2:1-25
Psalm 103:1-22 ~ Proverbs 14:17-19
Old Testament - Judges 15 today is quite a chapter! Whew... Samson is a whirlwind in this chapter... I know I probably should not chuckle about this - but a donkey's jawbone?? Who would have ever thought this could be a lethal weapon. Well, now we all know it can be indeed.
In Judges chapter 16 verse 3 we continue to see Samson's strength - "But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the city gates with its two posts, and lifted them, bar and all, right out of the ground. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron."
And then we get to the famous story of Samson & Delilah. In verse 21 the Philistines finally overpower Samson by cutting his hair - a symbol of Samson's relationship with God.
New Testament - John chapter 2 verse 11 is of note - "This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was Jesus' first display of his glory. And his disciples believed in him." It is interesting that John refers to Jesus' miracles as "signs." Signs seems to indicate the significance of Jesus' actions, rather than the marvel. What do you think Jesus' miracles might have been "signs" of? A stained glass image of this sign at the wedding at Cana is below -
Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion has a very interesting commentary on John chapter 2 verse 14 - "In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; and he saw money changers behind their counters." Tyndale answered the question of why there were merchants & money changers in the temple as follows: "The temple tax had to be paid in local currency, so foreigners had to have their money changed. But the moneychangers would often charge exorbitant exchange rates. The people were also required to make sacrifices for sins. Because of the long journey, many could not bring their own animals. The price of sacrificial animals was much higher in the temple than elsewhere." It is understandable why Jesus was upset with all of this. Thank goodness we do not have this system still in place for us today - with moneychangers & merchants for tax & animal sacrifices... thank you Jesus!
Psalms - Psalm 103 is a great Psalm today! Each verse is a powerful reminder of God's character and our relationship to God. Verse 8 definitely stands out today - "The LORD is merciful and gracious. He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love." Do you believe that God is merciful and gracious? Have you experienced God's mercy? His grace? Do you believe that God is slow to get angry? When was the last time you experienced God's unfailing love? (think now... God loves you so much he's given you beautiful life-giving oxygen to fill your lungs as you read this... praise God for the very air we breath!)
Today in Psalm 103 verses 11 & 12 we read these verses about God – “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” I think these verses get at what it is like to be spiritually reborn and living in relationship with God. These verses are a glimpse of the true freedom that is found in relationship with God - freedom of living in God’s perfect love and freedom from our slavery to sin. Do you believe that God’s love for you is as high as the heavens are above the earth? Do you believe that God has removed your sins (transgressions) from you as far as the east is from the west?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 14 verse 17 is convicting for me... wow... the Proverbs have been convicting me a bit more than I'm used to lately... I do take this as an overall good thing. It's good to get convicted by God's Word. Verse 17 - "Those who are short-tempered do foolish things, and schemers are hated." No, it's not the short-tempered piece that is convicting me, but that last piece - schemers are hated.. I don't like to admit it, but I think on occasion I am a schemer. I don't mean to be... but I think sometimes it seems as if I am. And when I am busted in a "scheme" - that I may not have really consciously thought was a scheme - there are some hurt feelings, anger and maybe even hatred toward me in that moment. Wow... bummer. I pray that I can move beyond being a schemer in every way. Life is too short to scheme.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!