~ 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 great map of the judges in Israel that we'll be reading about:
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 is at this link titled “The Role of Women in the Book of Judges." (below is an image of Deborah)
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 - Today in Luke chapter 22 we read in verses 3-6: "Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around." Sad... Bible.org has a powerful essay on "The Biography of the Betrayer" at this link. Below is a fresco from the early 14th century by the Italian Renaissance Florentine painter Giotto titled "Pact of Judas." In this fresco the two priests on the right discuss Judas's treachery, while the third plots with Judas, who is in the clutches of the devil...
Psalms - Today in Psalm 91:11-12 we read the words quoted by Satan to Jesus during the temptation in the desert: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” As you read this Psalm, do these words apply to Jesus only? Or to those who trust in the Lord as well? Do you believe that the Lord is guarding you in all your ways? Do you believe this is possible? (I hope your answer is yes) Do you recall Jesus’ response to Satan in Matthew 4:7: “It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” What do Jesus’ words to Satan tell you about these words in the Psalm? Can we believe these words of the Psalmist, and also not put God to the test at the same time? As an example, maybe to just myself :) , is driving over the speed limit putting God to the test? Is deciding to skip church one week (or for many weeks) because we have some chores to catch up on / or fun stuff to do / or because we’re just tired, putting God to the test? Think we just might look like this little guy below to God when we come up with all of our excuses of why we don't go to church...?
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.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Do you agree with our Proverbs today that if you love your children you will be prompt to discipline them? Do you think this same logic applies to our relationship with God, our Father? If God loves us, do you think He will be prompt to discipline us? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!