~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Judges 9:22-10:18 ~ Luke 24:13-53
Psalm 100:1-5 ~ Proverbs 14:11-12
Old Testament - Allright, I don't know about you, but I'm seeing quite a bit of pride flowing around in Judges recently - particularly in today's readings. And we all know the old saying, "Pride goeth before the fall." And indeed we are seeing people fall after their prideful fits. In fact, Satan himself was guilty of the sin of Pride. He wanted to be equal with God. He thought he was all that and a bag-o-chips. But he ain't. Never will be. So, maybe the saying in regards to Satan certainly is "Pride goeth before the Fall." And that's Fall with a capital "F" unfortunately.
We saw Abimelech's deadly pride in yesterday's readings when he had killed 70 of Gideon's sons - his half brothers - so that he could rule the people of Schechem. Pride & Power. Deadly combination then - and still is today. We then read Jotham's parable in yesterday's readings and see that his words came true in today's readings. I am amazed at the depth of Abimelech's sin of pride even in his dying moment when we read in chapter 9 verses 52 through 54 today: "Abimelech followed them to attack the tower. But as he prepared to set fire to the entrance, a woman on the roof threw down a millstone that landed on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. He said to his young armor bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me! Don't let it be said that a woman killed Abimelech!"" Wow... Now - don't get me wrong. I think for me to say that Abimelech was completely prideful and that I am not is the same sin - pride. It would be prideful for me to put myself above Abimelech. He's not a lot different than we are today. I think pride is something we all probably struggle with at some level or at some point in our lives. I know I do. We are all sinners. And as I read about Abimelech in Judges today - or reflect upon Satan's Fall - I realize that pride is a sin that we really must vigilantly watch our entire lives. If we don't, I think we can get blinded to the fact that we're prideful - and we'll say dumb things like "don't let it be said that a woman killed (fill in your name as if you were to say this about yourself in the 3rd person, cuz that's how you refer to yourself when you are prideful)!" :) Pride kills... let us pray for humility in our lives today. God can redeem and heal us from our pride!
Even poor Gaal - who I think was trying to do the right thing fell prey to pride as we see in verse 29 today - "If I were in charge, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would say to him, `Get some more soldiers, and come out and fight!'"" Unfortunately, Gaal got his wish and it did not turn out well for him. Pride goeth before the fall... An image is below for verses 37 & 38 - "But again Gaal said, "No, people are coming down from the hills. And another group is coming down the road past the Diviners' Oak." Then Zebul turned on him triumphantly. "Now where is that big mouth of yours?" he demanded. "Wasn't it you that said, `Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?' The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!"
New Testament - We finish up the Gospel of Luke today! It's been awesome to read through Luke again this year. I hope it has been for you as well. And tomorrow... the Gospel of John!!! Yeah, I'm excited. John is just one of those books in the Bible that speaks to me on a spiritual level - at a level I fully can't even consciously comprehend - every time I read it. By the way, I do think this happens actually with any and all books of the Bible that we read. I believe our spirit is fed in ways we do not even consciously realize when we read any and all portions of God's Word. But, somehow, when I read John, I know it's happening! Luke's wrap-up is fantastic today... Below is the artist Rembrandt's oil painting "The Supper at Emmaus" from the year 1648:
The Road to Emmaus! This is a phenomenal portion of the Bible. I actually heard a sermon on this passage of the Bible not too long ago - just after Easter. And the pastor said that each of us as Christians are journeying along the Road to Emmaus. And Jesus is coming up to walk beside us. He is with us. And all too often we do not realize that Jesus is with us! Our eyes are not opened. The pastor encouraged us to open our eyes - through prayer, reading God's Word, and reflection on God's Word - and realize that Jesus is journeying on the road to Emmaus with us. Let us not miss him. Do you believe that Jesus is journeying along side you in your Walk today? Yes, at this very moment, is Jesus with you?
I love Jesus' first words to all of the disciples in verse 36 - ""Peace be with you."" Wow... how simple - and profound - and true! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings peace into our lives, minds and hearts if we will let him in. Do you believe that Jesus' words to you at this very moment might be - "Peace be with you." Will you accept the heavenly peace that can only come from Jesus?
Verses 46 & 47 today sum up the Gospel message very nicely - "And Jesus said, "Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: `There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.'" Do you believe this to be true?
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 24 titled "Christ our Companion" is at this link and commentary titled "From Invisibility to Invincibility" is at this link and commentary titled "The Ascension" is at this link.
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 100! I will copy this short Psalm below. Does this Psalm speak to you? Do you feel joy while reading this song? I have read much of “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg (a great book!) and he has a great chapter on JOY being a spiritual discipline. It is amazing to realize that Joy is a gift from God we should be experiencing every day. I pray you are experiencing joy as a spiritual discipline! Think this Psalmist in Psalm 100 was?
A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
When is the last time you shouted for joy to God? Do you regularly worship God with gladness? Do you come before our Heavenly Father with joyful songs? Do you know that you are God’s? Is this fact alone worth being joyful about each and every day?
Proverbs - How's this for a sobering Proverb in verse 12 today - "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." Things that make you go hmmm.... think this Proverb is true? I do. I know it is. And I think it is a Proverb that should make each of us stop and think about the path we are on now. Is it the path God wants us to be on? Or is it perhaps a path that looks attractive to the world (remember the Fallen world info at the beginning of this post...)? We all have paths to choose in our life. Many times over we will have to choose which path to walk upon. Are we walking upon God's path for us toward light and life?
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on my comments above related to our readings in Judges, have you ever struggled with pride? Do you think pride might be an ongoing struggle for most of us (all of us?) for most of (all of?) our lives? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!