Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2: Judges 15 – 16; Psalm 103; Proverbs 14:17-19; John 2



Overview

            Judges: Samson went to see his wife but his father told him he had given her to Samson’s companion. Samson then caught 300 foxes, tied pairs together by the tail with a torch in between each pair. He set the foxes loose in the Philistine’s grain fields. The Philistines discovered Samson did this because of his wife. So they killed his wife and father-in-law. Samson retaliated by killing many of them. He hid in Judah.
            The Philistines camped against Judah, so Judah took 3,000 men to capture Samson. Samson let Judah turn him over to the Philistines as long as they promised not to harm him. When he was turned over, the Spirit came upon him and he broke his bonds, and then killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
            Samson called to the Lord because he was very thirsty after the battle. God brought forth water in a hollow and it revived Samson. Samson judged Israel for twenty years.
            Samson went to a prostitute in Gaza. Philistines surrounded the city to ambush him when he left. At midnight he tore the city gates off and carried them to Hebron.
            He then loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek. The Philistines came to her and paid her to find out the source of Samson’s strength. She asked, he lied, she did what he said but still had his strength. This happened several times until she guilted him into telling it was his Nazirite hair, a sign of God’s commission. So she had a barber cut it while he slept. The Philistines then captured, blinded, and forced him to grind grain in prison.
            His hair grew back. When the Philistines were partying and praising their god, they brought Samson out to entertain them. He was between two pillars of the house where they were partying. It was a big house with 3,000 people on the roof. All the lords of the Philistines were there. Samson pushed the pillars apart, the house collapsed. In his death, he killed more Philistines than any other time of his life.
            Psalm: David praises God from his inmost being, his soul. He praises because of God’s sovereignty in forgiving our sins, healing us, and supplying our needs.
            He praises God for his justice, grace, and mercy. He praises God because he is mindful of our weakness. He elaborates on God’s forgiveness for those who fear him. God has compassion on them like children.
            Though people pass away quickly, God’s steadfast love continues from generation to generation of those who fear him and obey his commandments. It is because God’s throne rules over all.
            David calls on the angels to praise God. They are the ones who do his will. Everyone, everywhere are to praise the Lord.
            Proverbs: Fools and quick-tempered people are a lot alike. They embracing evil, which will eventually catch up with them and they will have to bow before the righteous.
            John: Jesus goes to a wedding with his disciples and his mother. When they run out of wine, his mother gets Jesus to turn water into wine so the groom will not be embarrassed. The wine Jesus created was better than the best wine that had already been served. His disciples believed in him as this manifested his glory.
            Jesus went to the temple for Passover. He drove out the people who were using the temple as a place to changing money and sell animals. The disciples later remembered the prophecy of Psalm 69:9 that zeal for his house would consume him.
            The Jews challenged him for doing this and he told them that if they destroyed this temple, he would raise it up in three days. They questioned this because it took forty-six years to build the temple. However, Jesus was talking of his body when he would be raised from the dead. The disciples remembered this later and believed the Scripture and Jesus’ word.
            At the Passover, many believed in Jesus but he didn’t trust them at that time. He knew what they wanted and didn’t need their testimony.

What Stood Out

            Judges: “But he did not know that the Lord had left him” (Judg 16:20).
            Psalm: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps 103:2).
            Proverbs: “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated” (Prov 14:17).
            John: “Many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people” (John 2:23-24).

Insight

            Judges: Samson was far from the best of characters in the Bible. As a Nazirite, he violated the vows often. A Nazirite was supposed to separated himself from worldly thing and be dedicated to the Lord, which means he should not become unclean for any reason. However, he touched dead carcasses making him unclean. He killed many people; each instance of a person dying suddenly beside him would make him unclean. A normal Nazirite would have had to shave his head and start all over again with his vows. However, the Angel of the Lord commanded that no razor should come on his head (Judg 13:5). This would have exempted him from starting over, but his disregard for other regulation and his weakness for women were abominable, yet God used him to keep the Philistines at bay.
            A weakness that we have in common with Samson was his ability to spin stories instead of speaking the truth. His seduction by Delilah betrayed this weakness. Of course, he should have never been sleeping with her in the first place. Rather than telling her the source of his strength was none of her business, he came closer and closer to the truth as she pressed him. Once he admitted that there was a way he could be tamed, he was on a slippery slope of lies. He regarded his sinful relationship with her more important than obedience to the Lord.
            How often do we do the same thing? We tell a little fib. The next thing we know, we are telling more. We tell lies because we believe that the relationship the lie gives us with people is more important than obedience to the Lord. The sins pile up and eventually we are like Samson and we look around to discover the Lord has left us. This isn’t a case of losing salvation for us, it is a case of the Lord letting the consequences of our sin catch up with us.
            Psalm: This Psalm is a theological masterpiece. It gives praise to the Lord for many of his attributes. We can learn much about the Lord from it. We learn that God provides general grace in meeting our needs and healing our diseases. We learn that God is righteous and just by revealing his ways through Moses. Yet he is also merciful and gracious when he forgives our sins. When he forgives, the sins are gone forever. He chides, but he is slow to anger and he is the one who provides for the removal of our sins.
            We learn about mankind in that our lives are very fleeting but God is eternal. God keeps his promises forever. However, we are still called to fear and obedience. His forgiveness and love isn’t a blank check to do what we want.
            We even learn about angels. They do his bidding and are ministers who do God’s will.
            It is all good theology, but it isn’t a complete theology. Written before the cross, it doesn’t include the very important fact that our sins are forgiven because of the blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t include the fact that we obtain that forgiveness by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing God raised him from the dead (Rom 10:9-10). Since we live after the cross, we need to be obedient to that.
            Proverbs: Quick tempers are not a point of pride. The Bible condemns this in many places. This proverb clarifies that quick tempers only bring about foolishness. I hear people say that it is okay to be angry because Ephesians 4:26 says to be angry (like a command) but don’t sin by let it continue overnight. That is a wrong interpretation of the verse. The New Living Translations gives a better understanding. “And ‘don't sin by letting anger control you.’”
            Other’s say it is okay to be angry because Jesus was. It’s okay if my anger is righteous. Well, here’s a good test for anger, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires” (James 1:20). Can you say that in your “righteous” anger, it was totally pure or was it something in you that caused it? It is better to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).
            John: There is a lot going on in the second chapter of John. People have differing opinions about much of it. Did Jesus really turn the water into wine or was it grape juice? They argue that the holy Son of God wouldn’t create something that was fermented. They forget chapter one that says Jesus already created everything and that would include everything needed to produce wine. People argue about Jesus’ cleaning the temple and that we can have righteous anger like his. See my discussion above about our anger.
            However, the end of the chapter reveals that our thoughts and ideas should not be so presumptive. At the Passover, many people believed in Jesus. John 1:12 says that all who received him, who believed in his name would have the right to be children of God. So, presumably all these people were solidly behind Jesus. However, Jesus doesn’t trust them. He knew what was in their hearts and he knew what they wanted from the Messiah. They wanted him to restore the kingdom of Israel, boot out the Romans, and even rule the whole earth. Does Jesus work with people who have wrong impressions of what he is supposed to do and what he is not supposed to do? Too many people tell us what God would do or not without really understanding what he has told us in the Bible. After all, God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, holy, good, just, righteous, and loving. We can’t imagine how to put all those together in all perfection. All I’m saying is that we should be more cautious about proclaiming how we think God should act and more concerned with living the way he has commanded.

Application

            Little lies are easy to tell when we don’t want to hurt someone. That is simply pleasing others instead of honoring God. I also need to recognize that anger is 99.99% me being sinful and confess it as sin. Jesus knows me and I can’t ignore that.

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