Judges 17:1-18:31 + John 3:1-21 + Psalm 104:1-23 + Proverbs 14:20-21
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Old Testament - Judges chapter 17 & 18 are sad chapters to read! In these chapters we see how far a Levitical priest had wandered from his original call to serve God - by accepting money, idols, and position in Micah's house. And we see how far the tribe of Dan had wandered from God's plan for the tribes of Israel by killing the citizens of Laish - a city that did not fall under God's judgment due to serving idols or wickedness - and Laish was outside the geographical boundaries of the tribe of Dan. Unfortunately, we see Dan's tribe worshiping idols. Verse 6 in chapter 17 stood out to me - "In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." This verse certainly seems to be building up to the kings of Israel that will soon be coming. But, this verse also indicates to me the importance for each of us to have a king - so that we don't just do whatever seems right in our own eyes. Fortunately, today, we have Jesus Christ as our king. He is the best king we could ever hope for. Do you consider Jesus to be your king?
An image is below for Judges 18 verses 22 & 23 - "When the people from the tribe of Dan were quite a distance from Micah's home, Micah and some of his neighbors came chasing after them. They were shouting as they caught up with them. The men of Dan turned around and said, "What do you want? Why have you called these men together and chased after us like this?""
New Testament - Today in John chapter 3 we will read about Jesus’ interactions with Nicodemus, a member of the Pharisees. This is obviously a powerful chapter, as Jesus’ words in this chapter include the famous John 3:16. In verse 3 we will read this from Jesus – “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” And to this Nicodemus asks in verse 4 – “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born?” What do these verses mean to you? Do you understand Jesus’ statement in verse 3? Do you understand Nicodemus’ confusion and why he asked the question like he did in verse 4? Jesus later goes on in chapter 3 to say that he is referring to being born again in “the Spirit.” It is not a physical rebirth Jesus is referring to in verse 3, but a Spiritual rebirth. I do think this is an appropriate time in our One Year Bible readings – the gospel of John and John chapter 3 in particular – for each of us to ask ourselves if we have been born again in the Spirit? If not, do you want to be born again in the Spirit? Will you pray today to God and Jesus for this Spiritual rebirth?
Bible.org's commentary on John chapter 3 titled "The Doctrine of Salvation" is at this link and commentary on "Jesus and Nicodemus" is at this link and at this link.
An image is below for verses 14 & 15 as Jesus says this to Nicodemus - "And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life."
Psalms - Psalm 104 is a beautiful hymn to the Creator! I like all of the verses - verse 19 stands out to me because I can find some cool images related to this verse on the web! :) "You made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun that knows when to set."
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs chapter 14 verse 21 we read – “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”
Worship Video: Reading John 3:16 today reminded me of the terrific We The Kingdom song "God So Loved:"
Do you believe John 3:!6? Click here for God’s love!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you fully know and believe John 3:16. Pray for 316 people that you can share the message of John 3:16 with this next year.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: How does today's Proverb speak to you? Do you love your neighbor? Who is your neighbor? Do you believe despising your neighbor is a sin? Are you kind to the needy? What are some ways that you are consistently kind to the needy? Do you believe that you are blessed when you are kind to the needy? 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.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.s. #3 - I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today! Please also consider partnering with us by financially supporting this ministry. Thank you!
Reading today’s Old Testament passage reminds me that things are pretty much the same today as they were 3-4 thousand years ago, nothing new under the sun. Here we have pictured some family dynamics that have gone awry. We have a son who has stolen from his mother and the return of the money, under threat or fear of a curse, is seen as time to get “religious” and honor the son who stole it. As we read on, we find out that the son’s mother is a grandmother because this man Micah has a son; what a godly example he is for his offspring, NOT.
Superstition, and superstitious have permeated Israel, not only is the God who protected them in the desert, the God who brought them out of Egypt with a might hand not served, he is looked on as one of many gods to be manipulated, a god that can be transferred from one person to another. When a nation falls into this kind of thinking, the children and other family members are used as a means of protection by the head-of-household, or the ones with the biggest posse and the greatest forth of strength. Three times, we read that either the son (1 time) or the priests (twice) were set-up to be “protection” for grown men. (17:5, 10; 18:19). Is this not what Abraham and Isaac subjected their wives too but magnified?
Whether we actually install our children as priests and give them a title as father, when we instruct our children to tell the Bill Collector on the phone that we are not in, when we stand back and send our children to the front of the line so that people will give them preference and force “mercy and grace,” we are setting up our children to be proctors like Micah and the men from Dan. When God moves from being our protector, our provider, our strong tower, when God moves from being a personal God to just a god, our children and relationships become a tool to be used to get what we want. We in effect, like Micah, like Dan establish our own religion build our own idols, even if it is not metal or stone, and offer up our children, spouses, and “friends” and other relationships on the alter of our fears.
Love desires to benefit others at the expense of self – for God so loved the world …; Lusts desires to benefit self at the expense of others. What is it? Do we love or lusts? Some very tough questions that I need to answer.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | May 02, 2023 at 09:06 PM