Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28: Judges 8:18-9:21; Psalm 99; Proverbs 14:9-10; Luke 23:44-24:12



Overview

            Judges: Gideon discovered that Zebah and Zalmunna had killed his brothers so he killed them. The people of Israel wanted Gideon, his son, and grandson to rule over them but he refused. He said the Lord rules over them. But, he asked them for the earrings from the spoil they collected. They agreed and he collected enough gold to make a golden ephod, which he put in his city. All Israel whored after it and it was a snare to Gideon. The land had peace for forty years.
            Gideon had seventy sons from many wives and one son, Abimelech, from a concubine in Shechem. After Gideon died, Israel turned back to the Baals and didn’t honor Gideon’s family.
            Abimelech went to Shechem and convinced them to be their ruler. They gave him money and a house. He hired thugs, went to his father’s house, and killed all but the youngest son, Jotham who escaped. The city of Shechem and Beth-millo made him king over them.
            Jotham called to the elders of Shechem from Mount Gerizim and told a parable against them for making Abimelech king. He said if they were honest about making him king and had treated his father’s according to his deeds in rescuing them from Midian, then may Abimelech be their joy. However, they didn’t so he calls for fire to come from them on Abimelech and vice versa. Then Jotham escaped and lived in Beer.
            Psalm: God is exalted and mighty in his reign. He is enthroned on cherubim. He is holy and loves justice. He establishes righteousness in Israel. He is to be exalted and worshiped.
            Moses, Aaron, and Samuel all called upon God’s name and he answered them. When they did wrong, God forgave them but avenged their wrongdoing. He is holy and to be worshiped.
            Proverbs: Fools mock God’s provision for taking care of guilt. The upright welcome being accepted by God because of his provision.
            Our emotions are truly within us and others can’t fully comprehend either the bitterness or joy we have.
            Luke: Darkness came over the land, the temple curtain was torn in two, and then Jesus gave up his Spirit. The centurion praised God, the people turned and went away. The women who followed Jesus and his acquaintances watched it all happen.
            Joseph of Arimathea was a council member who didn’t approve of Jesus’ death. He took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a shroud, and put him in a new tomb. The women saw where he was laid then went to prepare spices and ointments. The Sabbath interrupted them so they rested.
            On the first day of the week, they took the spices to the tomb but found the rock rolled away. Instead of finding Jesus, they found two men in dazzling clothes. They told the frightened women that Jesus had risen. They reminded them that it happened just as Jesus said.
            The women remembered what Jesus said and told the other disciples. The disciples thought it was a fairy tale but Peter ran to the tomb. He saw the linen clothes by themselves. He went home marveling at what had happened.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god” (Judg 8:33).
            Psalm: “O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings” (Ps 99:8).
            Proverbs: “Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance” (Prov 14:9).
            Luke: “And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’” (Luke 24:5).

Insight

            Judges: Nothing good was reported during this time after Gideon conquered Midian. Even Gideon was drawn away from the Lord by making a golden ephod that all Israel worshiped. He had many wives but that didn’t keep him from having a child by a servant.
            Once again, as soon as a judge dies, the people turn back to the foreign gods and worship them. This worship of other gods affected the people in such a way as to lose all sense of decency. This is highlighted by the way Abimelech sought a position for himself and became king over two cities after murdering all his half brothers, Gideon’s sons. The elders of Shechem were no better as they were the ones who financed the operation and made him king.
            Sin may creep in to a person or a nation in small steps. However, there comes a point where it becomes an avalanche. The downfall of society after Gideon started with the ephod and blew up after his death. It should be a warning to us not to let the small “respectable” sins get a foothold.
            Psalm: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel are three examples of godly men in the Bible. While they were mostly obedient, each had some flaws. Moses struck a rock instead of speaking to it. Aaron was complicit in that as well. They both had previous sins as well. The only bad thing recorded about Samuel was his inability to keep his sons honest. They took bribes and perverted justice (1 Sam 8:3). Even though God forgave them, they still had to face the consequences of their sins. We know Moses and Aaron didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. We don’t know what personally happened to Samuel, but Israel wanted a king as a result of his wayward sons.
            God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice will never be compromised. That is why Jesus had to die for our sins. Someone had to pay the penalty and our sinful lives are never enough.
            Proverbs: There again, fools just reject what is right and holy. In Old Testament times, some people blatantly scoffed at God’s provision to cover guilt and sin through the sacrificial system. It isn’t any different today. Fools scoff at Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. They reject Jesus and act as if his death had no meaning. They trample Jesus under foot and treat as unholy his shed blood of the new covenant (Heb 10:29). Their end is not going to be pretty.
            On the other hand, Old Testament saints rejoiced in knowing that the guilt offering made them acceptable to God. Their acceptance was not perfect as is our because Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all and theirs had to be done over and over (Heb 10:10-14). We can rejoice in our acceptance into God’s family when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
            Luke: Jesus’ death had a profound impact on many people. The centurion praised God. Many simply turned away. Others watched from a distance. I don’t know how people who watched could bear it.
            Joseph came out of hiding as a disciple and courageously took Jesus’ body down from the cross. The disciples are strangely missing from the accounts. Only John is mentioned in John 19:26. I can’t blame them because they believed they would be killed along with Jesus. I don’t think I could stomach seeing a crucifixion and especially seeing how Jesus was brutalized.
            I can only fathom it from the standpoint of this side of the resurrection. Why seek the living among the dead? Rather than focusing on his death, the angels tell us to look for the risen Christ. We shouldn’t minimize his death because that is what we should all have to suffer for our sins. However, our hope is in the resurrection. It proves out sins are forgiven. It proves Jesus really is God. It proves we are children of God and have eternal life. That all depends on our belief and confession of Jesus as our Lord (Rom 10:9-10). Otherwise, we are just like the scoffers.

Application

            I need to think about Jesus’ death to put my sins in perspective. I don’t need to dwell on them because they are forgiven. I need to go forward in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

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