Judges 6:1-40 ~ Luke 22:54-23:12 ~ Psalm 95:1-96:13 ~ Proverbs 14:5-6
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Old Testament - Today in Judges chapter 6 verses 1 we read - "Again the Israelites did what was evil in the LORD's sight." It is so interesting to see the back-and-forth relationship of the Israelites with God in the Old Testament. The Israelites did evil. They cried out to God. God saved them. Then... The Israelites did evil again... And I wonder - are we so different from the Israelites today? Should we be? Could we be? How? I do believe that through a growing and loving relationship with Jesus, we can be spared of this back-and-forth relationship with God. I believe this is the only Way. Let us not have to spend our lives running back and forth to "caves" as we will see below... Let us only run into the arms of the Jesus!
An image is below for verses 1 & 2: "So the LORD handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites fled to the mountains, where they made hiding places for themselves in caves and dens."
Today read about Gideon and the fleece. We also read about how the angel of the Lord comes to Gideon and tells Gideon he will save Israel out of Midian’s hands, because he is being sent by God. In verse 15 Gideon replies, “But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” You’ll notice how this reply of Gideon’s is reminiscent of Moses’ reaction to God’s call to serve in Exodus chapters 3 & 4 – “Why me? How can I?” etc. etc. And I think it is very useful for each of us to note that God often calls the seemingly lowly – like Moses and Gideon – rather than the seemingly mighty to act for him. This should be encouraging to us! I wonder if you and I are sometimes like Gideon and Moses? I wonder if perhaps we are being called to do something incredible for God in our lives, and we are making excuses like Gideon and Moses made excuses? Should we instead act in obedience to God’s call and trust that he will lead us? If God has called us to something, shouldn’t we have enough faith to believe he will give us the strength and wisdom needed for the journey? What is God calling you to do in your life that you are not doing? Are you making excuses like Gideon and Moses did? Will you instead move forward in faith and obedience to God in this holy calling in your life?
New Testament - Luke chapter 22 verse 70 is powerful - "They all shouted, "Then you claim you are the Son of God?" And Jesus replied, "You are right in saying that I am."" Check out those last two words of Jesus' - I am. Sound familiar? Remember from Exodus 3:14 when Moses asks the burning bush who he should say sent him to free the Israelites from Egypt. And what did God reply? "I am. Tell them that I am is sending you." And here we see Jesus use this same terminology that God used - I am. Below is a powerful image of Jesus before Pilate:
In Luke chapter 23 verses 8 & 9 today we read: "Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer." Herod wanted a miracle "performed." And Jesus simply stayed silent. Beautiful... I wonder if there are moments in our life when we would do well to model Jesus here - to stay silent in the face of a ridiculous request - or in the face of a ridiculous attack on our faith. Silence may be the perfect thing in the face of ridiculousness... Below is "Jesus before Herod Antipas" by the artist Duccio from the year 1308:
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 22 titled "The Rejection of Israel's Messiah - Part I" is at this link and Part II is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 95 verses 4 & 5 remind me of the Chris Tomlin song "Indescribable": "He owns the depths of the earth, and even the mightiest mountains are his. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too." Have you heard this song by Chris? Very joyful modern day psalm! You can view the song's lyrics here. Great tune... And great Psalms of praise in 95 & 95 today! Bible.org's commentary on Psalm 95 titled "A Warning about Worship" is at this link.
Wow.. Psalm 96 today is amazing! I love verse 1: "Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!" And I love the imagery in verse 12: "Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise."
Worship God: Today's Psalm reminds me of Chris Tomlin's song "Indescribable:"
Can you describe God? Click here for His description!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand." Luke 22:69 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray to Jesus today, who rules and reigns over all creation and sits at the right hand of the Father in honor and glory. Pray to your King, Jesus.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on Psalm 96 verse 1 above is there a new song God is asking you to sing to him these days? Will you sing this new song to God? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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This generation is blessed in so many ways. We are blessed because we have a record of those that have gone before us as what to do and not do. We can read and experience vicariously what other saints of God have experienced, be they failures or triumphs. So, with Gideon we get to look at a man swimming in a sea of doubts, angst, and uncertainty. God does not wipe him out but continues to work with Him and to answer his wavering questions of faith.
What I see in the big picture is this; our rebellion against the voice of God causes us to not recognize His voice in the midst of our despair. We question God, “Is it You?” We fail to trust, because we are surrounded by untrustworthy people. We first see Gideon, threshing wheat in the bottom of a winepress, an arduous job. Fear of the Midianites, and all the other enemies, had Gideon doing a job that should have been done out in the open so the wind could catch the grains of wheat as it’s thrown in the air, separating the chaff from the wheat, in a confined space with no wind. Hard work was made even harder because of a nation’s sin.
As I tried to visualize this scene and all the extra work it took, I was reminded of the words of Jesus,
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJVR)
When we go our own way, we take on the tremendous burden sin directly and indirectly brings upon us. When Godeon is called, God gives him a new perspective of who and what He is, “A Mighty hero …” When he is called God sends Him out in his own strength because “The Lord” will be with him and that is all Gideon needs. O, that I would learn this lesson. There is nothing in my own strength that can get any godly assignment done, it is only because “God is with me,’ that the purposes of God will be accomplished upon the earth.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | April 25, 2016 at 06:39 PM