Royal Law

Re:Verse passage – James 2:1-13 (day four)

James is known as a practical application of righteous living.  In verse 8, James refers to the royal law.
The admonition to not show partiality goes back to Levitical law (Leviticus 19:18) as well as Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19:19.  Scripture is consistent from Genesis to Revelation…it does not contradict itself.  The amazing quality of the biblical message is that, even though the Bible was written over hundreds of years by multiple writers, the message validates itself.  The truth of the message speaks of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in its authorship.

Do you believe the Word of God?  Do you believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?  James says if you believe in the truth of Scripture, you will obey it.  Your everyday life will reflect the Truth to a lost world…things like not showing partiality.  Love you neighbor as yourself.  Show your faith by your obedience!

Are You a Doer?

Re:Verse passage – James 1:19-27 (day four)

James gives us a mark of a true believer in this passage.  If a person loves God, he will love His word…the true believer will not just hear the word of God, he will obey it.  Obedience is a characteristic that the believer is glad to demonstrate.  John 14:23-24 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

Do you love the word of God?  Do you obey the word of God?  James says you cannot just say you love the word, your obedience will prove it!  Your work will not lead you to a relationship with God, your work or obedience is the result of your relationship with God.

Test and See If It Is Real

Re:Verse passage – James 1:1-12 (day four)

The book of James is known as a practical application guide rather than a theological treatise.  James has multiple references to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  The author, the brother of Jesus, must have been greatly impacted by the Lord’s sermon.  We get a glimpse of the character of James in the opening verse…  James describes himself as a bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Humility characterized James’ life as he led the church at Jerusalem until his martyrdom in 62AD.

Being a practical treatise, James begins by addressing the trials that face each of us in life.  James says ‘when’, not ‘if’ trials come.  We can all expect to face trials, temptations, troubles, and tests.  According to our faith, we will respond to these trials.  If our faith is real, it will be revealed through the trials. Others will recognize our true faith.  If it is false, your faith will burn up when tested.

How do you respond when trials come?  Do you see the hand of God at work in your life?  Do you know the peace of God when you are tested?  James says, “the proof is in the pudding.”

So What?

Re:Verse passage – Judges 2–8; 1 Samuel 3:1-11 (day four)

What have we learned from the Judges?  Every good bible study needs to answer one question…”So what?”  “Now that I have studied this passage, so what…what does it mean to me today?’  What we learn from a study, we have to apply to our lives.  Looking back in review of our past 12 weeks in Judges, what have we learned and what am I going to change in my life?  Have I seen examples that I can follow or maybe to avoid?  Will I respond in faith to an assignment from God…even if it seems to be impossible?  Will I listen for the voice of God speaking to me?  “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

Positioning

Re:Verse passage – Judges 8:18-34 (day four)

It was a sad commendation of Israel.  Verse 33 says that as soon as Gideon had died, Israel played the harlot with the Baals.  Verse 34 says the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God.  God had brought Israel out of Egypt, out of slavery; He had delivered them from the Egyptian army; He had brought them to the Promised Land after feeding them in the wilderness for forty years; He had displaced the people in the cities and the lands before them; and had now delivered them from their enemies and given them peace.  With all this history, Israel just walks away.  Where was their relationship with God?

We can easily fall into the same trap.  If we fail to maintain our personal relationship with God…fail to read His Word daily…fail to pray and worship…fail to keep fellowship with other believers…we will not have a relationship to sustain us when temptation comes.  (Make no mistake…Satan knows exactly when we are most vulnerable.)  God’s love and grace are always available…we just have to be in a position to receive it!

For or Against?

Re:Verse passage – Judges 7:23-24, 8:1-9 (day four)

Which way is the wind blowing?  That is the question the leaders of Succoth and Penuel wanted to know.  These two cities were east of the Jordan.  They regularly had contact with these nomadic tribes and they did not want to stir up ill will.  Their goal was to get along with everyone and remain neutral and uninvolved.  Take no stand on anything so nobody gets offended.  Forget that God had given instructions regarding hospitality to your brothers.  Sit on the fence so you can drop off on either side as needed.

Their unwillingness to commit did not turn out well for these two cities.  In our spiritual life, we sometimes take the same position as Succoth and Penuel.  Truth be known, we are either for God or against God.  There is no neutrality in our spiritual lives.  It did not go well for Succoth and Penuel…neither will end well for us.  Each of us must take responsibility for our own decisions.  Are we for God or against Him?  We can’t be neutral!

Be Aware

Re:Verse passage – Judges 7:12-22 (day four)

Can God use a man in His kingdom work if he is not a child of God?  The answer is a resounding yes!  God can use anyone He chooses to accomplish His work.  When Israel rebelled against God, He often used pagan kings and nations to deliver His judgment upon them.  Here in our Re:Verse passage, God uses a pagan warrior to deliver a message to Gideon.

Just because a person does a lot of good things in their life, does not mean they have a relationship with God.  Matthew 7:22-23 says, “Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  You cannot trust in works to gain salvation, only through Jesus Christ can you receive forgiveness of sin and life eternal in heaven!  Ask God for discernment to know the difference between works and faith.  (Luke 21:8)

Iron Sharpening Iron

Re:Verse passage – Judges 7:1-11 (day four)

It is important who we surround ourselves with.  Even heroes rarely act by themselves.  Having an iron-sharpening-iron friend is vital to the success of every believer.  For Gideon, the person closest to him was Purah, his servant.  The name Purah means ‘fruitful branch.’  Purah’s name likely reveals his character.  For Gideon, Purah’s presence was enough to overcome his fear of visiting the Midianite’s camp.  Gideon was a better, obedient servant of God when accompanied by Purah.

Who is in your life that spurs you to serve God better and encourages you to walk uprightly before Him?  Is there a Purah in your life that gives courage and commitment to you to be a better servant of God?  Are you that person to someone else?  If the answer is ‘no one’, ask God to bring someone into your life that sharpens your walk with Him!  God never intended for us to face life alone…a strand of three cords is stronger!

Are You Sure?

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:36-40 (day four)

God has initiated many of the biblical encounters we have in scripture.  Moses, Saul, Esther, Jeremiah…all were tasked with a seemingly impossible assignment.  Like Gideon, they initially questioned God whether they were really the one for the job.  Each recognized their inadequacies and failures and were amazed that God would actually choose them for His work.

Have you ever questioned God whether He really wanted you to be the one to carry out a task?  Maybe He prompted you to witness to a co-worker or a family member…or maybe He wanted you to go on a mission trip…or maybe He confronted you with an opportunity to teach His Word!  Were you looking around for a fleece to lay out to confirm that God really meant what He said?  Truth be told, we are just like Gideon.  When we are uncomfortable with our instructions, we question God, hoping for a different answer when He sees it from our perspective!  Learn to recognize God’s voice and learn to obey without question.  God does not need our input!

Reality?

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:1-16 (day four)

Like many times before and many times after, when God chose a deliverer for Israel, He did not choose the most powerful, most talented warrior.  When Gideon first is introduced, he is hiding from the enemy in the wine press.  Here he is, hiding, and the angel of the Lord addresses him as a valiant warrior.  Gideon’s view of reality did not match the angel’s…he questioned first the presence of the Lord and then he questioned his own abilities.

We may be hard on Gideon for questioning the Lord, but don’t we do the same thing?  God tells us something in Scripture like ‘ask and I will hear and answer’, or ‘it is better to give than to receive’ and we manage to discount the words and reinterpret them to match our reality.  This is idolatry.  Whose reality are we going to believe…our own or God’s?  For Gideon’s part, at least he came to the point of obedience…after the Lord looked at him!