Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tuesday, September 8th: Judges 4-6, John 3:1-18 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is  Judges 4-6; John 3:1-18

In Judges 4 we read how God gave victory to the Israelites,  who were being oppressed by Jabin, the king of Canaan. The leader of Jabin's army,  Sisera, was the only one from his army to escape the Israelites. He thought he was safe when got away from the battlefield and hid in the tent of Jael, an ally of Jabin's,  only to be murdered  with a tent peg while sleeping. Sisera thought he was safe and hidden from the Israelites,  but God's will was done and Sisera died.

In chapter 6 the Israelites have rebelled against God and are in trouble again and need help. Here we read about Gideon, who was selected by God to save the Israelites from the Midianites,  who were now oppressing Isreal. Gideon was somewhat like Moses in that after he was told by the angel from God that he was to save Isreal,  he doubted himself and God's choice of using him. Gideon even goes so far as to test God twice to see if God really meant what he had said to Gideon.

I'm often amazed at the patience God has for us. God doesn't need to prove Himself, but He does anyway,  and we still doubt what He says. Where in my life am I doubting God? 

One area that comes to mind is our prayer requests. Some of them we have had for a long time and they still haven't been answered,  do I still believe that God cares about these things and is working on them? The real answer is "yes,  but I need to be reminded of this and keep carrying on. I'm thankful that God has patience with me when I doubt, and that He forgives me when I doubt.

John 3:16-18
(16)For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18]  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son

These verses are some of the most popular and we'll known verses from the Bible. They form in a lot of ways the backbone or basis of what the Christian life is, and what it's about.

The key one for me now is verse 17, it says that Jesus didn't come to judge but to save. So often I judge a person or a situation that someone is in, I need to remember that I'm not the judge,  and the judging will come later. Now it's about saving. Keeping this in mind makes us better witnesses. 


TammyIsBlessed said...

In Genesis 3:15 God says to the snake "I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

In a lecture by Ray Vanderlaan, he points out that Sisera means "snake", and Jael means "Yahweh is God". Not a great idea for a man named snake to take refuge in the tent of a woman named "Yahweh is God" - the end result should not have been surprising!

I reread my cousin Tammi's post on this passage from a few years ago and she reminded me of some great points. This passage on Deborah is one of the rallying cries of "evangelical feminism" and yet when you look closely at the text, you don't find evidence for it. Deborah was judging Israel, settling their disputes - which speaks volumes about the state of the priesthood at the time, and a whole lot of men who are not doing the jobs God had delegated to them. But Deborah didn't just take over leadership from Barak even when he cowered. Rather, she reminds Barak of what God had instructed him and encourages him to lead as he was called. More women need to recognize the need to nurture strong male leadership in both our churches and homes.

We must remember that Judges is a cautionary tale about a very dark time in Israel's history. Deborah's story does not instruct on women's leadership any more than Samson's encourages relationships with prostitutes or Ehud's encourages political assassinations.

Conrad said...

John 3:17 was a reminder for me too - not to judge but to rather have the desire to show God's love to those who need it. After all, someone first showed His love to us.

Pamela said...

Great thoughts Nathan and Tammy for yours as well.

John 3:16 is one that is so well known but today verse 18 stood out:
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

We are condemned. As I read the hateful comments of the people posting about the "crazy clerk denying marriage licenses" and standing up for a hateful religion that denies the law it is so painfully obvious that society is turning its back on God. However, people can say whatever they want because that's what free will looks like but there will come a time when people will be held accountable.