Re:Verse reading–Genesis 3:1-19 (day two)
The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” vs. 12-13
Who wants to be wrong? Nobody. Look at any trial and even if a crime has clearly been committed lawyers will haggle over minutiae to exonerate their clients. This isn’t new. If you have ever wondered if anyone has ever just accepted the guilt of their actions, the answer is…no. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Sound like a conversation with your children? It is our inherent sin nature. We want to be right, we want to have others look upon us as virtuous and when caught in sin we manufacture a lie to cover the deceit of our hearts.
Did Adam or Eve fool God? It’s folly to think we ever could. This probably won’t stop our predilection to pass blame, but hopefully we will be quicker to repent and face whatever comes our way.
Re:Verse reading–Genesis 3:1-19 (day one)
” ‘You will not surely die,’ said the serpent to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.’ “–v 4.
If a ship is strong, capable of navigating the ocean, we call it seaworthy. If (since) God is strong, capable of keeping His promises, we call Him trustworthy.
Eve would have saved herself (and us) great heart ache to have remembered this truth. Why did she doubt God’s goodness and essential honesty? Why would she lend credibility to the whispered accusations of a talking snake? Why do we?
It is the second question that must be answered by every living soul. 1) Is there a God? 2) Is He good and worthy of my trust?
This confidence guides our reaction to His law. Even when difficult or painful, God’s plan is “good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2) because that is who He is.
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day seven)
“In those days, there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”–17: 6
Most scholars think that Samuel wrote the book of Judges. Years later, he was the historian who reflected on the lessons of this unproductive chapter and recorded them as a warning.
Authority is good. (The Spirit, government, parents, pastors–see Romans 13). Samuel will later struggle with the idea of a human king for Israel (see 1 Samuel 8) , but even he concedes that unrestrained personal freedom is an unworkable system.
Haven’t we come to the same place? Headed there? Challenging any authority outside of self? Don’t we (apart from the influence of Christ) resist leadership too?
“I am a man under authority” said the Centurion who so impressed Jesus. (Matthew 8:9) For Jesus, submission is a virtue. Like Samuel, He warns those who recognize no king but self and its thoughts, “You are on an unwise path”.
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day six)
And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” Judges 17:3
The Israelites committed two grave evils: idolatry and casting the LORD in their own image. They were quick to adopt the lifestyle of pagan worship, and even when they did get the name right (the LORD) they believed things about him or worshiped him in ways that he did not prescribe at all, not even close. Judges 17 is a keen reminder of this reality in the ancient Israelites…and us. We can make God into our own image. We can be guilty of getting His name right, but ascribing things to Him that He has not revealed. This only ever happens when we choose to listen to ourselves, others, or culture over God; or we interpret what God has revealed to us through the lens of our own choosing.
Sadly, the result is the same, chaos and subtle (and not-so-subtle) destruction. How do we ensure we are actually listening to God’s voice? Two connected ways. One, by faithfully
and regularly reading the Bible. The Holy Spirit teaches us, which means that consistent reading of God’s Word has a self-correcting affect on us; the Holy Spirit won’t let us continue casting God in our own image. Two, faithful fellowship with other Christians. When we do fellowship right, we can gently nudge each other the moment we begin to make God in our own image.
So, Christian do both faithfully! God desires that you know Him!
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day five)
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
It seems like this was the “default setting” for the Israelites- When there was no King (voice of God), they selfishly turned inward to find guidance and understanding.
Thousands of years later, we see that we are the same. Sadly, this inward and selfish bent has been the default setting for the human heart throughout history. Apart from a relationship with God through Christ, we are left with our own (man-made) wisdom and understanding to guide and govern us.
The good news of the Gospel, is that God has made a way to speak to the human heart that will trust and follow Him. Even in relationship with God, there is still the struggle against this “default setting”.
How can we resist? What can we do? Start with these:
Accountability- Hebrews 10:23-25
Discipline- 1 Timothy 4:7
Humility- Psalm 139:23-24
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day four)
Micah’s mother meant well. She was pleased to find what happened to her silver and she dedicated it to the Lord. Where she failed though was in her application. Instead of worshipping the Lord in the way He had prescribed, she did it in her own way. She disobeyed God’s direct command to make no graven images. She sought to worship God according to her own sinful heart.
Are we guilty of ignoring God’s commands and doing things our own way? Have we placed idols before God? Maybe we had good intentions, but we failed to base our actions in Scripture. Have we lost sight of the Truth in Scripture…saying that it was good for the ancients, but it is no longer valid for today? Ask the Lord to search your heart and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. God’s Truth never changes…it applies today just as it did thousands of years ago.
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day three)
“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah.” What does a priest of Yahweh bring to the mix? Power, baby. This is the new economy–bringing together an individual who wants to protect what’s his, and a holy man looking for the highest bidder. What could go wrong? Apparently nothing–and that’s the problem. Such an arrangement works because it conforms to fallen human desire. And religion that works for us–that’s certainly attractive. It’s spirituality as personal protection. But if all you’ve got is a security system, pretty soon everybody’s an intruder. Including the Lord. Now, seriously, what do you suppose would happen if God had access to your life?
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day two) …and his mother said, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son to make a graven image and a molten image”…vs. 17:3
No matter how many times you reread that verse it still sounds ridiculous. How could anyone think that the best way to dedicate something to the Lord would be to make an idol? You’re right it just doesn’t make sense. How could anyone ever get to that point in their discernment to allow such an incongruity to happen?
It seems like a blatant affront to the ten commandments, but are we so far removed from Micah? We may not be making graven images, but I am sure there are things that we are consciously putting in front of God. How often do we decide to take a Sunday off? What about our time alone with the Lord. Do we value our sleep our personal time, more than what he has asked from us?
If someone were to write our story would they react the way we do when we read about Micah?
Re:Verse reading–Judges 17:1-6; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1-7; 21:25 (day one)
“In those days there was no King in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”–17:6
Sad and instructive chapters. We watch as Israeli society disintegrates.
Every decision seems worse than the preceding. A Israeli man has an idol (17). The tribe of Dan steals it and sets the idol up for their whole tribe (18) (Dan eventually became a center for idolatry in Israel). The gang rape of an concubine (19). Inter-tribal war to vindicate her death (20) A rash decision, followed by a worse one. (21)
Amazed and helpless we watch this tragedy unfold and fear that we are living in a similar moment. Over and over the diagnostic sentence is repeated. NO King in Israel (not God, no governor). Unrestricted and unchallenged personal choice. Chaos results.
It isn’t inevitable. The book of Ruth tells of people in the same period who lived with faith and humility under the Government of God. Very different outcomes.
May the Lord give us ears.
Re:Verse reading–Judges 13:1-5, 14:1-9, 16:1-30 (day seven)
“The dead that he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life”–16:30
It was the best day of his entire life. Like the thief of the cross, clarity came to Samson with just minutes left on the clock. Maybe physical blindness helped him realize that he had been spiritually so. Maybe iron chains helped him know that he had long been chained to himself and his desires.
If so, he is not alone. God often meets us in adversity. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” says Psalm 119:67.
At the end of his life, Samson returned to God and found grace. He was never better or wiser or more useful.
Same with us on the day we die to self. The end of the old man is often the beginning of the new man. It will be our best day too!