Spiritual Rants: April 23 “Thumbs Down” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Judges 1:1-2:9 Luke 21:29-22:13 Psalm 90:1-91:16 Proverbs 13:24-25

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Old Testament:  Judges 1:1-2:9

They had no king, all they wanted to do was everything.

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Judges 1:1-10  Thumbs Down

Moses had warned everyone to obey God’s laws or there’d be consequences (e.g. Deut. 20:16-17).  Joshua warned them more than once and especially on his way out (e.g. Josh. 24).  However, what is the key verse in the Book of Judges?  “In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6; 25:21).  This would suggest that the book was written looking backward from the days when there was a king in Israel.  Samuel is usually suggested as the author.

Inquiry is made of the Lord probably by Urim and Thummin.  Judah was chosen to fight against the Canaanites.  The Canaanites were never totally driven out of the land contrary to Yahweh’s wishes and gave the Israelites fits for centuries.  At this point, however, they captured Adoni-bezek and cut off his thumbs and big toes as he had done to, supposedly, seventy other kings.  This was a tragic thing for King Adoni-bezek.  He was not able to text for the rest of his life or maneuver a sword or plant his feet in battle.

The warriors of Judah also captured Jerusalem and Hebron.

Judges 1:11-26  Cooking The Books

Judah then went after Debir which was known as the “town of books” so it may have housed a library.  Caleb promised his daughter for a wife.  Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, won the prize.  Othniel was good at capturing towns but must’ve been a little fearful of Caleb.  He let his new wife ask her father for springs.  She got off her donkey and asked him  (Don’t read it in the KJV.  I’m warning you.)  He gave her the land with water that she desired.

They were able to drive out the inhabitants of a few other hill towns as well but got stuck in the valley because they had Cadillacs, I mean, iron chariots.  But Caleb, Caleb, he’s our man, he was able to do it though no one else could.  (I need to work on that.)  Caleb had to be close to a hundred at the time!

The tribe of Benjamin was not able to drive out the Jebusites in Jerusalem so they were still there in the time of the kings (v. 21).

The tribe of Joseph encountered the people of Bethel (v. 22).  Their scouts came across a fella leaving the town and gave him the same deal they had given Rahab years before.  The man and his family were saved same as Rahab’s.

Judges 1:27-36  Fails

Other failures included the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali and Dan.  None of them were able to drive out the Canaanites in their inherited areas.  Joseph was later able to subdue the Amorites in hill country that belonged to Dan.

Judges 2:1-4  A Pain In The Neck

The Angel of the Lord Himself spoke to the people of Israel from the town of Bochim.  He said and I quote, “I will never break My covenant with you . . .” (Josh. 2:1).  The Angel of the Lord is most likely Jesus.  He is quoting Yahweh.  Of course, He IS Yahweh.  But He is telling the Israelites that though they have royally messed up, HE IS NOT GOING TO BREAK HIS COVENANT with them.  In other words, the four covenantal promises of the Bible can NOT be annulled or broken.  They are one way promises for the nation of Israel.  (The four covenants are: Abrahamic in Gen. 12:1-3; Palestinian in Deut. 30:1-10; Davidic in 2 Sam. 7:12-16; and the New Covenant in Jer. 31:31-34).

However, the fact that Yahweh will never forsake Israel does not mean there won’t be consequences for their disobedience.  The Angel told them that their failure to drive out all the pagans was going to result in a pain in their neck, well, literally, “a thorn in their side” (v. 3).

So they named the place where the Angel spoke Bochim which means “weepers” because all the people wept over their sin and what the Lord had said.

Judges 2:6-9  Joshua Dies

Another account of the death of the great man, Joshua (cf. Josh. 24:29-30).  He was buried in his new home town in Timnath-heres.  He was 110.

New Testament: Luke 21:29-22:13  

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Summer comes right after a tree starts to leaf, so the remaining time of the age will be brief.

Luke 21:29-38  Figgy Pudding

You might remember that Jesus had cursed a fig tree in the book of Mark (11:12-14 cf. (Matt. 21:1-19).  The fig tree is often taken as symbolic of the nation of Israel (Jer. 24:1-5; Hos. 9:10).  Jesus is saying that once things start happening around the nation of Israel, everything will take place quickly, within one generation (v. 32).  When the Israelites see the signs of v. 25-28, they will also see the establishment of the Messiah’s 1,00o year reign.

Jesus taught (v. 36) they should be alert, not living in sin (v. 34) so they will be ready when the Kingdom comes (Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40; Titus 2:13).  Jesus taught in the Temple by day and on the Mount of Olives at night.

Luke 22:1-13  The Set Up

Satan was working in Judas Iscariot.  He was also working in the chief priests and scribes.  Satan, Judas, and the religious leaders worked together to deliver up Jesus.  Upon close scrutiny of this entire story, it can be seen that Jesus was in total control.

Jesus had a plan set up to eat the Passover meal at a certain man’s house.  He could be identified by the fact he was carrying water.  Usually women carried water.  The man was probably a believer.  The disciples found the man and prepared the meal.

Psalm 90:1-91:16     A Lament By The Venerable Moses And A Song Of Trust By Anonymous

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Psalm 90:1-91:16    Life And Death

Two psalms today, one about life and breath, the other about years and death.

Psalm 90:1-17    Death

Our reading includes two psalms today.   (Hey, I didn’t come up with the readings.  OYB did.).  The first is the only psalm in the psalter attributed to Moses.  If Psalm 90 was written by Moses, it is the oldest of all the psalms.

Psalm 90 could have been written after God’s threat to slaughter all the Israelites after their rebellion in the wilderness (cf. Num. 16:14; 13-14, see Please Un-bless Us!).  The next psalm, 91, is written by the ubiquitous Anonymous.  It was probably written in response to God’s threat to wipe out all the Jews.  It was an exhortation to faithfulness in light of His wrath.  So both psalms are linked in that sense.

Moses begins by affirming the lordship of God and His place as Creator (vv. 1-2).  He is able to create man from dust or change them back again into dust (v. 3).  A thousand years are like nothing to Him (v. 4, see Peter’s quote of this in 2 Pet. 3:8).  Men are like grass that is bright green in the morning but withers and dries to a dull brown in the sun (vv. 5-6).  Hey, Peter quoted that verse, too (cf. 1 Pet. 1:24 though he probably had more Isa. 40:6-8 in mind).

God is slow to anger (cf. Exod. 34:6) but can be provoked nevertheless (v. 7, 11).  McGee quotes the founder of Dallas Seminary as saying, “secret sin on earth is open scandal in Heaven” (v. 8).

We’re lucky to live seventy or eighty years down here (vv. 9-10).  C. T. Studd wrote a poem with the refrain, “Only one life ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  So we need to be careful what we do with that one life (v. 12).  Paul’s motto was, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

You might think that verse 13 is a verse pleading for the Lord’s Second Coming but, of course, it’s not since it was written by Moses before the first coming.  He was wanting God’s presence again amongst the Jews.  But, I must ask, what are your priorities?  Are you longing for God’s presence?  Are you looking forward to His bodily return?

Moses asks that His joy in the Lord will begin at dawn each day (v. 14), that God will make His people glad for as long as He has afflicted them (v. 15).  If you say that the Lord has not afflicted you, I might ask if you’ve really met Him.  He says He disciplines his children just as a Father would (cf. Heb. 12:5-11; Prov. 3:11-12; Rev. 3:19).

Moses asks that God show His glory through His works on behalf of the Jews (v. 16).  He also asks God to bless the work of His people and favor them (v. 17).

Psalm 91:1-16  Life

Moses’ theme was God’s glory in light of the death of many in the wilderness.  Psalm 90 portrays the brevity of mankind, Psalm 91 portrays the eternal life of the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous trusts in the Lord and wishes to live in His shadow (vv. 1-2).  He trusts God for protection as a bird would cover him with its wings (v. 4).  He will save him from traps (v. 3).

Arrows may fly by the psalmist at any time of day or night and not find their target though many may fall around him (vv. 5-7).  The psalmist will see what God does to those who oppose him and it won’t be pretty (vv. 8-9).  Plagues won’t even affect him (v. 10).

Satan tried to tempt Jesus using verses 11-12 (cf. Matt. 4:5-7).  But Jesus wouldn’t fall for it.  “Context, context, context” is the motto of those trying to interpret Scripture properly.  Satan failed.  Jesus knew that these verses could not be used in presumption but were descriptions of how God protects those who trust Him.  Take that TV evangelists!  They would have us believe that God is a genie that we can use by shaking Him out of a bottle.  The truth is that we are His servants (cf. 2 Cor. 4:5)!  He uses us as He pleases and then promises to protect us.

We can whip wild animals, if it’s God’s will.  Generally, we shouldn’t try out verse 13 at home.

Years ago, back in Texas, a friend of mine had just gone through a rough divorce.  He loved his wife and didn’t want to leave her.  He taught me verses 14-15.  He used them as solace.  Of course, they have been the solace of many over the years.

God can and will deliver us from any hardship, if we trust Him (v. 14).  When we call, He will answer (v. 15a).  He will rescue us and be with us (v. 15b, c).  This is an unequivocal promise.  There are no provisos and no loopholes.  If we trust, God will provide His presence.  Whether we feel it or not, He is with us (cf. John 14:21).

God will not only give us His life (cf. John 10:10) but, generally speaking, He will prolong our lives (v. 16, cf. Eph. 6:2-3, Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16, e.g.).

Proverbs 13:24-25    The Joys Of Discipline

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Don’t spare on kids the rod lest they grow up to be spoiled and bored.

Sometimes I would let my kids have a love tap on the bottom if they acted up in public.  But this was in the 1990’s!  It was not PC!  My wife would always say, “What if there is a camera around that saw that?”  She was right.  I was putting myself in jeopardy in this day and age by disciplining my kids.  Wow.  I guess I just had to trust the Lord.

My rule was to only discipline my kids if absolutely necessary.  And then I would remind them of what it felt like so to minimize the need to do it again.  I think it worked.  I have two really good kids.  So don’t buy the anti-biblical propaganda floating around these days.  The Bible says clearly that if “spare the rod,” we will “spoil the child” as put in poetry by Samuel Butler in 1662 (v. 24a).  In other words, if we don’t discipline our children, we’ll have a bunch of brats running around.  That explains some things today, doesn’t it?

To discipline a child is to show love to that child (v. 24b).  And do you know what?  They understand that, too.  Now, don’t go hog wild, parents.  McGee said his father would wait a day to discipline him to make sure that he wasn’t disciplining McGee in anger.  That’s not a bad idea.  It used to scare the heck out of McGee, too, wondering when the second shoe would drop.  So his father got the most out of his discipline, too.

A believer, who is disciplined, knows how to ration his food and have enough (v. 25a).  An unbeliever eats everything at once and then ends up wanting (v. 25b).

Choose Life: Scripture:   Luke  21:33   NASB    “I Promise”

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”   Luke 21:33

As much as I preach and teach God’s perfect Word, it has crossed my mind recently that I may not be trusting God’s Word as fully as I should.  Our verse today says that the heavens and earth will pass away but God’s Word will never pass away.  Not ever.  That’s pretty trustworthy, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s just a few promises you can trust from God:

Matt. 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Phil. 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matt. 28:20 ” . . .  lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

James 1:5   But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Isa. 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Jer. 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Zeph. 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

There’s many more.  How are you doing trusting God today?  Are you fully trusting His promises?

If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Memorize a verse today.  The ones that are easiest to memorize are the ones that are most important to us.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Cooking The Books

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