Sunday, April 23, 2017

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


            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).


            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.


            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.

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