Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 26: Judges 6; Psalm 95 – 96; Proverbs 14:5-6; Luke 22:54-23:12



Overview

            Judges: The people did evil in the sight of the Lord and he gave them over to Midian who devoured their crops and livestock. They were very numerous. Israel cried to the Lord and he sent a prophet to tell them they had disobeyed.
            The Angel of the Lord then appeared to Gideon and said the Lord was with him. Gideon questioned how God could be with them because they were oppressed by Midian. The Lord told him to go and save Israel and he could do it even though he was weakest in Manasseh because the Lord would be with Gideon. Gideon wanted a sign so he brought a present, meat from a young goat, unleavened bread, and broth. The Angel of the Lord told him to put the offering on a rock and pour the broth over it. He touched it with his staff and fire came out of the rock devouring it. The Angel of the Lord disappeared. Gideon was afraid he was going to die because he saw the Lord but the Lord told him not to fear but have peace. Gideon built an altar and called it The Lord is Peace.
            That night the Lord told him to destroy his father’s idol and Asherah. He was to sacrifice a bull using the wood from the Asherah. He was afraid of his family and the townspeople so he did it at night.
            The next day the people saw the broken Baal, Asherah, and remains of the bull. They discovered Gideon had done it so they told his father, Joash, to bring him out because he must die for the crime. Joash told them if Baal was a god then let him deal with Gideon. So they called Gideon Jerubbaal, “Let Baal contend against him.”
            The Midianites crossed the Jordon and Gideon called together Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. Gideon was apprehensive so he asked God to confirm that they were to save Israel. He laid out a fleece for a sign. He asked two different night to have a sign. The first was to have the fleece be wet with dew and the ground dry, the second the ground wet with dew and the fleece dry. That’s what God did.
            Psalm 95: Let us worship the Lord because he is a great God. He holds all nature together. He is our maker. When we hear his voice, we shouldn’t harden our hearts like Israel’s fathers did in the wilderness. God was angry with them for forty years. They didn’t enter into his rest.
            Psalm 96: Let us sing a new song to the Lord. Let us declare his wonders among the nations because God is feared among all the gods. All their gods are worthless idols, but God made the heavens. We are to ascribe to God all the glory due him, bring an offering, worship, and tremble before him. The nations are to recognize that the Lord reigns. All nature extols his greatness and he will judge the world in righteousness and the people with faithfulness.
            Proverbs: Faithful witnesses tell the truth while unfaithful ones lie. Scoffers will do what they can to come up with alternative facts but it is all lies. A knowledgeable person doesn’t have a problem understanding the truth.
            Luke: The crowd takes Jesus to the high priest’s house. They build a fire in the courtyard and Peter joins them around the fire. A servant girl recognizes him and Peter denies Jesus. As time passes, two more men recognize him and Peter denies Jesus each time. A rooster crows and Peter weeps bitterly.
            The guards beat Jesus and mock him until the assembly of elders comes together in the morning. They ask him if he is the Christ but Jesus tells them they won’t believe him but they will see him seated at the right hand of the power of God. They ask if he is the Son of God and Jesus says he is. They stop questioning him because they believe he has admitted guilt.
            They then take him to Pilate and accuse him of misleading Israel, forbidding paying taxes, and being a king. Pilate asks Jesus if he is king of the Jews and Jesus says he is. Pilate tells the chief priests and crowd that he doesn’t find any guilt in Jesus. They complain that Jesus has been stirring up people from Galilee to here.
            Pilate then sent Jesus to Herod who was in Jerusalem but Galilee was under his jurisdiction. Herod was delighted to see Jesus but only to see a miracle. When he couldn’t get anything out of Jesus, he let his soldiers mistreat Jesus and sent him back to Pilate.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord is Peace” (Judg 6:24).
            Psalm: “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (Ps 96:5).
            Proverbs: “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding” (Prov 14:6).
            Luke: “And he said to them, ‘You say that I am.’” (Luke 22:70).

Insight

            Judges: The beginning of this story about Gideon demonstrates how far Israel had sunk in doing evil before the Lord. They knew the basics about the Lord as Gideon said their fathers had told of God’s miracles taking them out of Egypt. So here is the picture. Joash, Gideon’s father gathers his kids in the evening and tells them about everything the Lord had done taking the people from Egypt, through the wilderness, and capturing the promised land. He probably told them of Othniel and Ehud. They may have even sang Deborah’s song. Then Joash gets up, goes outside, and offers a sacrifice to Baal and Asherah.
            What kind of crazy religion is that? Today we call that hedging your bet. He knew God was powerful and had provided in the past, but just in case God doesn’t come through, he also had other gods. The prophet that came to them told them this was disobedience and all their troubles was a result of this.
            How different are we when we think we have to earn God’s love by our works. He wants us to do things, but it is supposed to be in his power, not ours. It is out of love of him, not to earn his love. His love is solid and unmovable (Rom 8:31-39). Others of us worship the Lord on Sunday and go home to pay homage to our idols of materialism, work, porn, and other things. This is no different from the way Israel was living.
            However, when Gideon saw the Lord face to face, God gave him peace. He was a long way from being a perfect God-worshiper, but with the peace of God, he was able to take baby steps of obedience. The first was to get rid of the idols. The second was to prepare for war. We need to get rid of our idols before we can live victorious lives in Christ.
            Psalm: Thinking about the state of Israel during Gideon’s time and then these Psalms brings quite a convicting declaration. Our God is above all other gods. There isn’t one of them that can control nature. None of them have ever created from nothing, not even one thing. None of them can save us for eternity. God is worthy of all our worship.
            One of the gods of today is science’s theory of evolution. Aaron molded a golden calf and Israel said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (Ex 32:4)! Science has done the same thing. It has come up with theories that inorganic matter, rocks, chemicals, and such have come together to make life by chance. Now we are supposed to bow down to this god and say it has made us. Oh, yeah, I forgot, this inorganic matter just made itself and is the real god, because it is self-existent. Or it could be some form of energy that is self-existent and produced all matter. Note, this energy or matter must have made itself, otherwise, people would have to admit there is a God who made it. They expect us to worship it rather than our God who is above all their theories. He has clearly made all things and we are without excuse (Rom 1:20).
            Proverbs: Are we still taking about evolution? Scoffers are the ones who don’t believe the Bible and the clear answer to creation in six literal days as explained in Genesis 1. They are looking for alternative “facts” and that lands them squarely on evolution and a big bang that still doesn’t explain how the universe came into being. They modify their theories every day because the theories all have flaws. This is all in vain because they want wisdom that agrees with their belief that there is no God. Yet a person with understanding, one who knows and trusts the Lord and the Bible, has no problem with creation and God being the source of it all. Of course, scoffers usually want to have alternative facts because the truth would hold them accountable to God and then they would have to turn to Jesus for salvation. That is what they want to avoid.
            Luke: Many people know who Jesus is. If you talk to them and ask questions rather than trying to tell them about Jesus, you will find out that they know quite a bit about him. The Jewish leaders were in the same category only more informed. They asked if Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the one anointed by God, all synonyms for the meaning of the Greek word we transliterate as Christ.[1] They knew he was the Messiah, otherwise, they wouldn’t have asked him. They wanted him to admit it so they could accuse him of calling himself God. However, they may have had some different understanding about what the Messiah was. So they narrow it down to asking if he was the Son of God. Jesus knows that they can’t interpret this as anything other than claiming to be God. He answers, “You have said so” (Luke 22:70). This is Jesus’ indictment of their belief. They just admitted that they understood all that Jesus claimed by his miracles and his teaching. They now have no excuse for their actions. They just condemned themselves.
            When we talk to people about Jesus and they say he is a good teacher, a prophet, or something other than the Son of God. They are trying their best to deny the truth that Jesus is God in the flesh. Sometimes we shouldn’t be too eager to try to convince them that Jesus is the Son of God. Maybe asking about Jesus’ miracles and his teaching should come first. The Jewish leaders took three years of following Jesus before they were convinced. When we ask people about Jesus, they should draw the conclusion that Jesus is the Son of God, but haven’t, we can ask them what Jesus claimed for himself and what the Jewish leaders believed. After all, the name of Jesus is powerful. Hopefully at the name of Jesus, their knees will bow and confess he is Lord (Phil 2:9-11).

Application

            These other gods in my lif are often well hidden. I need to be careful what draws me away from Jesus. I also should not be afraid to confess to others that he is my Lord and Savior.


[1] S. Grimm and S. Wilke, New Testament Lexicon, Joseph Henry Thayer, ed., (Seattle: Biblesoft 2006), s.v. “NT:5547.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25: Judges 4 – 5; Psalm 94; Proverbs 14:3-4; Luke 22:35-53



Overview

            Judges: After Ehud died, the people did evil. God gave them into the hands of Jabin, king of Canaan and Sisera his commander. Sisera had 900 chariots of iron and oppressed Israel for twenty years. The people cried to the Lord for help.
            Deborah, a prophetess, was judging Israel. She sent for Barak and told him by the Lord to take 10,000 men and God would give Sisera to him. Barak said he would go only if Deborah went with him. She agreed but told him the honor of killing Sisera would go to a woman.
            The Lord drew out Sisera and routed him before Barak. Sisera ran away and took refuge in Jael’s tent, a Kenite. She invited him in and when he slept, she killed him. Then she told Barak.
            Deborah then wrote a song providing many details about the battle. Then Israel had rest for forty years.
            Psalm: The Psalmist asks the Lord to take vengeance. The enemy has been oppressing Israel. The Psalmist explains that he Lord hears and sees all. He disciplines nations, rebukes, teaches knowledge, and knows a man’s thoughts.
            People the Lord disciplines are blessed. They will eventually get rest because God doesn’t forget his people. The Lord stands up for them against the wicked. Even when it appears hopeless with the wicked banding together, the Lord holds us up and cares for us. The Lord is our refuge and the Lord will wipe out the wicked.
            Proverbs: A fool gets beat up when he mouths off, but a wise person’s speech keeps him safe.
            If you don’t have an ox you don’t have to feed it, but the ox is what helps provide a good harvest.
            Luke: Jesus asks the disciples if they lacked anything when he sent them out without provisions. They replied they had enough. Now he tells them to get provisions and buy a sword if they don’t have any. The fulfillment of the prophecy that he was numbered among the transgressors must be fulfilled. In fact, all prophecies about him must be fulfilled. They had two swords and Jesus said it was enough.
            They went to the Mount of Olives and Jesus told them to pray so they wouldn’t enter into temptation. Jesus went a stone’s throw away from them and prayed that this cup would depart from him, but whatever the Father wanted and not his own will. An angel strengthened him, yet his agony was great and his sweat was like drops of blood. When he was done praying, he found the disciples asleep from sorrow. He asked why they were sleeping and again told them to pray that they wouldn’t fall into temptation.
            Judas led a crowd to Jesus and he came close to kiss Jesus. Jesus asked if he would betray the Son of Man with a kiss. The disciples asked if they should fight and one cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus stopped them from doing anything more, healed the ear, and asked the crowd if they came out with clubs and swords as if he were a robber. Then he said that they could have taken him any day when he was teaching but the night was there time in the power of darkness.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “The Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (Judg 4:9).
            Psalm: “He who teaches man knowledge— the Lord—knows the thoughts of man” (Ps 94:10-11).
            Proverbs: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox” (Prov 14:4).
            Luke: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40, 46).

Insight

            Judges: The account of Israel’s backsliding and Barak defeating Sisera’s army while Deborah was judge of Israel is another episode in Israel’s unfaithfulness and seeking God only when they were in trouble. The interesting part of this is that Israel was being ruled by a woman and a woman is the one who actually killed the enemy’s commander. I don’t know how many people dismiss her leadership when they say that only men should be leaders. She was certainly an exception in the history of Israel. However, Barak’s response to being told to battle Sisera reveals the state of the male leadership at that time.
            Barak was clearly told by the Lord though Deborah to go into battle and he would be successful. He either didn’t trust Deborah or he didn’t trust the Lord. His refusal to go unless Deborah went with him betrayed his spiritual weakness. Though he obeyed and went into battle, the honor of the victory went to Jael, the wife of a Kenite, a Gentile. Now that would be very insulting to a proud Israelite. To make it even worse, Deborah wrote a song about it elevating Jael.
            Men in the church should take note of this. When men abdicate their role as spiritual leaders, God will use women. The state of Israel at that time was pretty bleak. If the number of women leaders in the church is any indication of where most men are, then the church is in trouble.
            When we are supposed to do something for the Lord and refuse or do it in a way other than what he wants, we will not be rewarded in the way the Lord initially intended. It isn’t that his will won’t be accomplished because nothing can thwart the Lord’s plans. The credit will go elsewhere.
            Psalm: When we think the world is crashing in around us and there is no hope, we need to remember that the Lord is our refuge. He knows exactly what is happening around us. He sees everything and hears everything. If that isn’t enough, he even knows our thoughts. He knows the thoughts of those around us. We must realize that some of what is happening is discipline to make us stronger. It isn’t always punishment for sin as happened to Israel over and over. It can be discipline for sin, but when we are truly born again and we are walking by the Spirit, most of our troubles are for our good to help us continue to develop godly character.
            Proverbs: Some people are too cautious in their investments. These are the people who stash cash away because they don’t trust banks. The lesson from the Proverb is that if you want a return on your business or investments, it takes some money and time up front. The man without an ox doesn’t have the expense of feeding it, but he can’t get as big of a crop without the animal.
            The Bible has some practical advice for everyday living. From a spiritual standpoint, if you don’t take time to study the Bible, pray, and worship, you will have more time for other things. However, without that investment, your spiritual life and your harvest of righteousness in the kingdom of God will be meager.
            Luke: There is a lot going on in today’s reading. There is the odd request by Jesus to have swords available. It seems that this was only so that the disciples would be considered transgressors. And that is exactly what they became when one of them struck the high priest’s servant. However, Jesus was not a transgressor as he stopped the possible fight and healed the servant’s ear. Commentaries vary on the meaning of all of this. Clarke suggests this as a possibility but confesses that it is obscure.[1] Barnes seems to think that carrying weapons for self-defense was common because of robbers and this was to be the new way of travel as opposed to the previous way.[2]
            However, one thing that is striking is that Jesus twice told the disciples to pray that they would not enter into temptation. He told them this after ensuring they had at least one sword before he prayed and again just before the crowd arrived. It is possible that they not only were tempted to stop Jesus from being taken but one of them acted on the temptation, thus Jesus being counted among transgressors.
            Jesus’ warning is something we all need to heed. We should pray that we aren’t tempted. Our temptations are a result of our own desires and not God’s (James 1:13-14). Temptation in and of itself is not a sin. We are all tempted and multiple times every day. However, sin comes when we yield to that temptation. If we are praying not to be led into temptation, then we are developing desires that line up with God’s desires. It means we are developing the character that God wants us to achieve. I’m not saying we will become perfect, but we should not be seeing the same old temptations popping up all the time. When we’ve worked one out, then we will move on to the next. The process is called progressive sanctification and will be completed when we are finally free of our sinful bodies and are in heaven with heavenly bodies. In the meantime, we must pray not to enter into temptations.

Application

            When I face trying situations, I need to pray that they don’t result in temptations to get out according to my own desire. I need to line up my desires with the Lords. He does provide a way out (1 Cor 10:13).


[1] Adam Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, (Seattle, Biblesoft, 2006), Luke 22:38, Electronic Database .
[2] Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes, (Seattle: Biblesoft, 2005), Luke 22:38, Electronic Database.

Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24: Judges 2:10 – 3; Psalm 92 – 93; Proverbs 14:1-2; Luke 22:14-34



Overview

            Judges: Another generation of Israelites grows up and they don’t know the Lord. They do what is evil and serve the Baals. God becomes angry and turns them over to their enemies. They are under great distress. So the Lord raised up judges to lead Israel and deliver them from the enemies. When the judges ruled, they followed the Lord. However, when the judge died, the people went back after the other gods. God was angry and said he would not drive out the nations Joshua left but would use them to test Israel. He also used those nations to teach war to those who had not experienced it. The nations left are listed. Israel also int ermarried with these nations.
            The king of Mesopotamia oppressed Israel for eight years. Israel cried out to the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Caleb’s nephew, Othniel and he defeated the king. Israel had peace for forty years.
            Israel turned back to the other gods, the Lord brought Eglon of Moab against them, and he oppressed Israel for eighteen years. They again cried out to the Lord and he sent them Ehud as a judge. He went to Eglon with a hidden sword. He told Eglon he had a message from the Lord. In private, he killed Eglon and escaped. He then led Israel and killed 10,000 Moabites. Israel had rest for eighty years.
            After him, Shamgar fought against the Philistines and saved Israel.
            Psalm 92: This is a song for the Sabbath. It is a time to praise God for his faithfulness with music and song. It is a time to extol God’s works because stupid people do not understand the end of the wicked, God’s enemies. It is a time to praise God for his care and provision for the righteous to whom he gives long life and declare God’s righteousness.
            Psalm 93: This Psalm praises God for his majesty as he reigns supreme over all creation. God is eternal and has always reigned. He is omnipotent and is greater than floods or thunderstorms. His decrees are trustworthy and he is forever holy.
            Proverbs: A wise woman does what is necessary to have a good home but a foolish woman does things that destroy her home. People who live good lives demonstrate that they fear the Lord while devious behavior shows they hate God.
            Luke: At the Passover meal, Jesus tells his disciples he will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. He said the bread was his body given for them. They are to do this in remembrance of him. He said the cup was the new covenant in his blood poured out for them. He then told them that one of them would betray him. What was going to happen to Jesus was predetermined but woe to the one who betrays him. They questioned each other about who the betrayer was.
            That turned into a discussion about who was the greatest. Jesus told them the greatest needed to be like the youngest and a leader like a servant. Jesus is an example because he was among them as a servant. He explains that they have been with him in his trials and he will assign them a kingdom just as his Father has assigned him his kingdom. They will be at his table in his kingdom and judge the twelve tribes of Israel.
            He then told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him but Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail. He tells Peter to strengthen the others when he turns back. Peter says he will die with Jesus but Jesus tells Peter he will deny him before morning.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so” (Judg 2:17).
            Psalm: “The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this:” (Ps 92:6).
            Proverbs: “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (Prov 14:1).
            Luke: “For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:22).

Insight

            Judges: The rollercoaster spiritual ride of Israel for the next three hundred years is described in Judges 2:16-20. When they had a strong leader, they followed the Lord, but when their leader died, they went back to worshiping other gods. When we read about these judges, it seems to take place quickly because the Bible doesn’t give many details. The important aspect are emphasized. They worshiped other gods; God let their enemies oppress them; God raised up a judge who saved them; they followed the Lord during the judge’s lifetime; they went back to worshiping other gods after the judge’s death.
            The same thing has happened within the Christian church but it occurs over centuries and not just the life of one leader. The early church was faithful until it got caught up in politics and strayed away from the Bible. There were ups and downs with pockets of believers who relied on Scripture for their source of faith. The Reformation brought about much needed change but it was not perfect. Post Reformation brought about revival and world evangelism. However, the current state of the church is fragmented. Some churches are worshiping other gods and others are remaining faithful to the Lord Jesus.
            Individuals can go through the same thing. However, as Christians, we shouldn’t be like a yo-yo. If we are abandoning the Lord for long periods, then we really should be questioning our commitment and our salvation. We should examine ourselves to make sure we are really saved (2 Cor 13:5).
            Psalm: The Bible is politically incorrect. If anyone tried to say someone is stupid or a fool, his grade school children or grandchildren would correct him quickly. “Grandpa, that’s not a nice word to use. We don’t use those kinds of words.” I’ve heard it and I’m sure many parents have. In most cases, it was probably a correct rebuke. However, the Word of God is dealing with something that is much more serious than calling someone stupid who makes a left turn from the right lane. God is talking about people who live their lives as if there is no judgment after death. They think that they will live forever without accountability for their actions in this life. They don’t know God and don’t even believe he exists. They don’t join with those who worship God on Sabbaths, Sundays, or any other day of their lives. If that person who made the left turn doesn’t know Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior and gets killed in a car accident, then that is truly a stupid person.
            Proverbs: The way we live and act demonstrates whether or not we really have a relationship with the Lord. This can be seen in the home where a wise person will do what is necessary to maintain that home in obedience to the Lord. The opposite occurs when people don’t care for or about the Lord. They do whatever they want and it often results in destroying their marriage and home.
            Luke: We can be sure that Jesus’ death was no accident. God wasn’t out of control. Jesus told his disciples what would happen to him was already determined (Luke 22:22). Jesus showed this symbolically in the bread and wine of the Last Supper. Like the bread he broke and gave to the disciples, his body is given. No one took Jesus’ life from him. His was a willing sacrifice.
            His blood is the new covenant. The old covenant was built on the blood of animals that couldn’t permanently take away sins. The new covenant is built on Jesus blood, which gives us eternal life, a new heart to obey him, and forgiveness of our sins (Jer 31:31-34). That new covenant is available to anyone who wants to enter into it. However, there are some, like Jesus’ betrayer, who will not enter into it.
            We should all be thankful for the new covenant. We would never be able to live up to the old and most of us are not Jewish so we wouldn’t even think about it. If you haven’t already, turn to Jesus for salvation in the new covenant. Repent and obey. Don’t be like Israel who chased after other gods or even people who call themselves Christians who stray from the Bible.

Application

            I need to examine myself regularly to see if I’m straying or keeping on track with the Lord. It is easy to coast and think everything is going fine only to slip into sinful behavior. I don’t want to be a yo-yo in my devotion to the Lord.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 23: Judges 1 – 2:9; Psalm 90 – 91; Proverbs 13:24-25; Luke 21:29-22:13



Overview

            Judges: After Joshua died, Israel asked the Lord who would be first to fight the Canaanites. He told Judah to go. Judah asked Simeon to go with them and they agreed. Many of the victories over the Canaanites are then recorded, including their conquest of Jerusalem.
            We have a second accounting of Caleb’s offer to give his daughter in marriage to the person who conquers Debir. Also repeated is Othniel doing it and Achsah getting him to ask Caleb for a field then she asks for a spring of water.
            The Kenites, descendents of Moses’ father-in-law, settled among Judah. Judah and Simeon’s conquests are then listed. The victory of Joseph over Bethel is told. This is followed by the failures of Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. Joseph forced into labor some that Dan had not defeated.
            The Angel of the Lord spoke to Israel and told them they had disobeyed by not driving out all the inhabitants of the Promised Land. So, from now on, the Lord will not drive out any more of them. They will be left so that they and their gods will be snares and a thorn in their sides. The people wept when they heard it.
            Joshua died at 110 years old and they buried him. The people of Israel served the Lord during his years and the elders who outlived him and had seen the works of the Lord. They all died and another generation came after them, people who did not know the Lord or the works he had done.
            Psalm 90: God is eternal and he has always been there for us. Even though we only live a short time, he is forever. Our lives are brief. Our sins are not hidden from him. So the Psalmist asks that we consider God’s anger and number our days correctly and live wisely. He asks to be satisfied with God’s steadfast love. He asks that our lives be balanced with good as well as evil days.
            Psalm 91: God is our shelter when we abide in his shadow. He is our refuge. He delivers us from evils and shelters us under his wings. We don’t have to fear evils, enemies, or disease. Though thousands fall all around us, the evil won’t come near us. We see this as the recompense of the wicked. No evil befalls those who make God their refuge. God’s angels protect us and we can even tread on snakes and scorpions.
            God says he will deliver and protect those who love him and know his name. He will answer when we call and deliver us from trouble. He will give us long life and salvation.
            Proverbs: Failure to discipline a child shows that we really don’t love the child. True love wants the best for the child and therefore disciplines him.
            Righteous people are satisfied with what they have but wicked always hunger for more.
            Luke: Jesus tells the disciples that they know summer is near when trees break out in leaves. The same is true of Jesus’ return. When we see the things mentioned previously, we know his return is near. This generation will not die off without it happening. His words will endure forever. So we need to watch and be alert for his return instead of going the way of sinful behavior. If we stay alert, we will be able to stand before him when he comes.
            Jesus was teaching in the temple everyday and camping on the Mount of Olives at night. Passover was coming up and the chief priests and scribes wanted to kill him but they feared the people. Satan entered Judas Iscariot and he made a deal with them to betray Jesus without a crowd around.
            Jesus sent John and Peter to prepare for the Passover for them. When they see a man carrying a water jar, they are to ask where the room is for Jesus to eat with his disciples. They went and found it just as Jesus said.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judg 2:10).
            Psalm: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12).
            Proverbs: “He who loves him [his child] is diligent to discipline him” (Prov 13:24).
            Luke: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place” (Luke 21:32).

Insight

            Judges: The first chapter of Judges is not a sequential story of what happened after Joshua died. It recaps what occurred before and after Joshua died. It is also rather confusing because it says that Judah captured Jerusalem (Judg 1:8) but Benjamin couldn’t. Jerusalem is listed as a city which belongs to Benjamin (Josh 18:28), but is on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Josh 15:8). Judah was unable to capture it as recorded in Josh 15:63. To complicate this, it appears that the Jebusites were still in control of Jerusalem until David took the city (1 Chron 11:4). The clearest explanation is that Jerusalem was within Judah, though it was given to Benjamin. Both tribes tried to capture it, and though Judah was successful once, they Jebusites regained control until David had the final victory.[1]
            The remainder of Judges isn’t as confusing since it presents a more orderly accounting of Israel’s history before they had kings ruling over them. The ending of this reading sets the tone for the rest of the book. It tells of the generations of Israelites who didn’t know the Lord. The generation that died out after entering the Promised Land not only failed to drive out the Canaanites, but they didn’t do a very good job teaching their children about the Lord. It is a sad commentary on what happens when a people doesn’t teach their children or the children are simply stubborn rebels.
            We don’t have any ironclad promises that our children will become Christians. We do have general promises such as, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). However, this makes the assumption the child actually agrees with the training and accepts it. There are many times when a child will pay lip service simply to stay out of trouble. Then when he is on his own, he does as he wants. The Bible gives many examples of children who should have known better, as they had godly fathers. Look at Eli, Samuel, David, and many of the other kings who had kids go astray from the Lord. All we can do is trust the Lord and do our part to the best of our ability. Prayerfully, no one will say our children don’t know the Lord or what he has done for us.
            Psalm: Some think Moses wrote both of these two Psalms and not just the first. That explains why it’s easy to look at these two Psalms and conclude that if we live good lives walking with the Lord, we will never get sick, we will never succumb to enemies, and we’ll live to an old age. Everything Moses was saying was built on the promises given to Israel through him. God promised curses for disobedience or blessing for obedience. Yet in this we are also told to number our days correctly in order to get a heart of wisdom. That’s why he asks for a balance of blessing along with the adversity. Even a long life has toil and trouble. When we are satisfied by God’s steadfast love, we will understand and know that this life isn’t all there is. We were destined for more and that is what we will receive while the wicked are paid back for their evil.
            Proverbs: I ranted a few days ago about the evil direction that our society is going because parents don’t discipline their children. Here it is again. A sad part of the problem of not disciplining children is that it really means we don’t love them when we let them get away with anything. Even worse is when they are copying our behavior. Eventually, they understand that it was a lack of true love and often have animosity toward their parents. Look at Israel, it was only one generation before problems started happening.
            Luke: When Jesus said that this generation would not pass away until everything had taken place that he predicted, what did he mean? At first glance, it would seem he was talking about his generation. Some think he was talking about the persecution of the disciples and the destruction of Jerusalem. Indeed, some people of that generation saw it all happen. However, Jesus didn’t return after that. Since that generation has already died, it should be obvious that Jesus wasn’t taking about his contemporaries. The other option is to understand that Jesus was talking about a future generation that sees all these things happen.
            So we have had people from many eras that are sure Jesus will return before they all die. Just like today, they see Christians persecuted, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and all sorts of other things. Most of those were and are still missing one big thing; that is a temple in Jerusalem. Now it would be easy to say that we don’t have to be concerned with Jesus coming back until we see a Jewish temple constructed and sacrifices reinstituted. But that is exactly what Jesus warns us against with many parables. In today’s reading, he tells us to stay awake at all times. That means whether it looks like Jesus is coming back today or it may be many years from now. We should be praying that we will be able to escape this horrible future. But we also need to pray we will be able to stand before him. If we have been ignoring him and being disobedient, we may not be able to do that. That kind of disobedience would indicate we’ve never know him.

Application

            I need to stay alert to Jesus’ possible return at any time. It’s easy to think that it might not be today because one sign or another is missing. The bigger thing is to be found obedient to Jesus whether he comes back or I’m called home.


[1] Andrew Robert Fausset, Fausset's Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jerusalem,” (Seattle: Biblesoft, Inc., 2006), Electronic Database.