Spiritual Rants: April 30 “Don’t Give Me Your Lisp” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Judges 11:1-12:15 John 1:1-28 Psalm 101:1-8 Proverbs 14:13-14

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Old Testament:  Judges 11:1-12:15

Jepththah shouldn’t have vowed a vow, he could regretted it and how!

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Judges 11:1-28   An Illegitimate Judge

Jepththah was the seventh judge (ninth if you count Shamgar and Abimelech).

What you will notice about all the judges in the book of Judges is that most of them are losers.  Not all but most of them.  Othniel had his wife ask her father for water on their new digs.  Ehud who was a “leftie” and Shamgar were heroes.  Barak was a sissy who hid behind Deborah who was a heroine.  Gideon was a coward but eventually was just immoral and used his fame to gain wealth.  We’re not even counting Abimelech as a judge.  Tola and Jair didn’t amount to much.  Now we come to Jephthah.

Jephthah was illegitimate.  His father was Gilead but his Mom was a prostitute.  He had several brothers who kicked him out of the family as being unworthy so he hung with a bunch of ne’er-do-wells.

The Ammonites came and fought against Israel so then they asked Jephthah to lead them in battle.  Jeph said, “oh, now you want me back?  OK,  but if I win then you have to make me the ruler over you.”  Nice bargain.

Jeph went to the Ammonites (sorry but I have to say it, “sometimes you feel like a nut . . .”) and rehearsed the whole history of Israel and the Ammonites together.  He was proving to them that their claim to the land was legit.  They didn’t care.  Next step:  war.

Judges 11:29-40   A Bad Rash

The Bible says a lot about making vows to the Lord in the Old Testament.  Most of it is about not making a rash vow.  But apparently Jephthah did not have proper religious upbringing and didn’t get that in Temple school.  He also should have known that the Lord would give him victory without making a vow.  Anyway, he made a vow that if Yahweh would give him victory, he would dedicate the first thing he saw when he came back from battle.  That was very unfortunate.

It was unfortunate because the first thing he saw after defeating the Ammonites was his only daughter.  He had dedicated her to the Lord.  Now here’s where things get sticky.

In verse 31 the Scripture says, “then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”  That sounds like Jephthah has to offer up his daughter as a burnt offering.  However the Hebrew can be translated, “and I will offer or a burnt offering” which would get Jeph off the hook of sacrificing his daughter as a burnt offering.  The OT prohibits child sacrifice (Lev. 18:21; 20:2; Deut. 12:31; 18:10; Jer. 19:5; Ezek. 20:30-31; 23:37, 39) so there is a good chance that Jephthah dedicated her to the Lord as a perpetual virgin.  This would ensure that his line was not perpetuated.  Sad but a morality tale for us.  Don’t tell the Lord you’re going to do something and not follow through but also to think before you act.  

By the way, Jephthah makes the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” in verse 32.

Judges 11:1-28   Don’t Give Me Your Lisp

The tribe of Ephraim has a history of being whiners (cf. Judg. 8:1) and would continue to be whiners.  Here they are whining that Jephthah didn’t ask them to fight with him.  Is that a reason to fight?  Apparently, it was.  Jeph’s men captured the area by Ephraim.  If anyone came out with an Ephramite accent, they’d get offed.  The test was the pronunciation of “Shibboleth.”  The Eph-ers pronounced it “Sibboleth” without the “h” sound.  They really should have learned accents.  42,000 mispronouncers died at that time.

Jephthah was in charge for six years and then gave up the ghost.

Ibzan ruled after him for seven years.  He was like Jair in having 30 sons but also had 30 daughters.  He most have worn his wife out!

Elon was on top for ten years.

Abdon was a judge for eight years. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who all drove Caddys.  I mean they rode on donkeys, the equivalent of a Caddy in that day.

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon all didn’t amount to much.

New Testament: John 1:1-28

To believe in Jesus’ name allows you to be without blame.

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John 1:1-5   Word!

I love the Apostle John!  God did, too.  In fact, John must’ve felt loved because he always referred to himself as the apostle Jesus loved.

We begin the fourth gospel which happens to be written by John.  The main distinguishing feature of the Gospel of John is that he is trying to show the deity of Christ but also bring people to salvation (cf. the purpose statement of the gospel in John 20:31).

The beginning five verses point out that Jesus aka “the Word” was with God in the beginning aka Creation.  And not only was He with God, he literally was God.

John is pointing out that Jesus Himself is the Creator.  Nothing came into existence without coming through Jesus.  Further, Jesus is life and He is also light.  When He came into the world, the light came on but people couldn’t figure it out.

Notice that John is saying that there was a Creation at a point in time.  Since God was the only one there when this happened and John was getting his information from God, we can trust it.

John 1:6-13   Old Yeller

There is another John in this book, John the Baptist.  JB came to witness to the Light aka Jesus.  Jesus made the world but the world did not recognize their Creator.

Verse 12 is very important.  Everyone that receives Jesus receives rights of sonship.  The only requirement, and I mean the only requirement, is faith (v. 12).  To “believe in His name” means to believe in His character and that He is Who He says He is, God, the Savior (cf. Titus 1:3-4).  Man has no control over this type of birth as in regular human birth.   Men who are born of God are born from God (v. 13 cf. chap. 3).

John 1:1 -16   Grace And Truth

Jesus was God before all time but took on humanity and was “full of grace and truth” (v. 14).  Some may have grace and some may have truth but rarely are the two seen together in the same entity.  The reason Jesus had to become man was to represent mankind to God in his sacrifice.  The reason He had to be God was to be a perfect sacrifice for God.  The two had to come together for Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice and take our place and take on our sin.

John tells us that Moses brought us law but it was Jesus alone Who brought both grace and truth (v. 17).  As the OT told us, no one has ever seen God.  It was God’s only Son who has explicated God to us by living on earth as a man (v. 18).  The word used for “explained” is the one normally used by preachers who go verse by verse through the Scripture.  Literally, the word is “exegeted.”  It means to explain in detail.

John 1:19-28  John the Barker

The religious leaders went to the John the Baptist and asked if he was the Messiah or Elijah.  He said he wasn’t.  He said he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness that the Messiah was coming.

So they asked him why he was baptizing then.   He said that he was baptizing with water but Someone else was coming of Whom he was not worthy to untie his shoelace.  In other words, he was the carnival barker for God.

Psalm 101:1-8     A Royal Psalm By David

Only the righteous can truly minister but never can a pastor be sinister.

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Psalm 101:1-8   A Morality Manifesto

There are only two psalms written by David in this third book of the Psalms (Pss. 90-106).  This is one of them.  It is David’s own policy statement for his rule over Israel.  One might ask how anyone might live up to the standards set out in Ps. 101.  The answer is that they can’t.  David himself caused the death of his main rival for the love of his life, Bathsheba.  The victim was her own husband, Uriah.  David was not always the paragon of morality.

How can we view this psalm then if David wrote it as the standard for his kingdom but even he didn’t measure up to it?  There is One Who is to come that will live up to the standards in this psalm, the hope of Israel, the Messiah.

David says he will sing of Yahweh’s hesed, His covenantal, binding love (v. 1).  He then begins on his list of moral qualities that should be found in a king and those in his rule.

  1. blameless (v. 2a, cf. characteristics of an elder in Titus 1:6 NIV)
  2. integrity (v. 2c)
  3. watches what he watches (v. 3, cf. Job 31:1)
  4. puts no faith in the faithless in their faith (v. 3b)
  5. will not allow his motives to be corrupted (v. 4)
  6. will off those who betray their friends (v. 5a)
  7. won’t associate with the openly arrogant (v. 5b)
  8. only hang with upright people (v. 6)
  9. won’t hang with crooks or liars (v. 7)
  10. when he gets up every day, he will slay anyone who is an enemy to his city (v. 8)

David obviously committed murder himself (violating #1), committed adultery (violating #3), and betrayed his friend, Uriah (violating #6).  So David may have wanted to rise to the level of these standards, he wasn’t successful.  However, Jesus will.

Proverbs 14:13-14   Everybody Loves A Clown

There may be some who deal in laughter, that person may seem joyous but not always after.

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Everybody loves a clown.  That was the name of a 60’s song.  It was really about Jerry Lewis.  Apparently, he was sad even though he was carrying on.  Often, that is true.  A funny person is often just covering over deep hurts (v. 13a).   A clown may be someone with very deep thoughts and also deep pain.

The other side of the coin is a person who is clowning all the time and not being serious.  A non-thinker could end up just a stinker.  And with a lot of pain and grief (v. 13b, see “Think Ahead” as part of Houston, We Have A Problem).

I make a distinction theologically between someone who is saved and a true disciple.  Someone can trust Christ and do nothing with their faith.  There are rewards for those who persevere and try to be the best Christian they can be (see Bema Me Up, Scotty!).

Someone who backslides in their faith will reap what they sow (v. 14a, cf. Gal. 6:7).  Usually bad things will happen in their lives and then they will wonder why.

A “good man” is a Christian who is persistent in his faith (v. 14b).  He will also reap what he sows.  That person is a true disciple.  He’s not just clownin’.

Choose Life: Scripture:  John 1:14   NASB    “Full Of Grace And Truth”

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   John 1:14

Most people don’t have any problem believing that Jesus is full of grace.  We like that idea.  Not many like the idea that Jesus is full of truth.  Even WWJD is really based on Jesus being full of grace.  Who would say that WWJD means that He turned over the tables of the moneychangers or He walked up to the Pharisees and said, “You are whitewashed tombs” (Matt. 23:27).

The reason we like the grace part and not the truth part is because we like the concept of God being like a cosmic grandparent who doesn’t think anything we do is wrong.  In actuality, God is our Father who disciplines us like a good father would (cf. Heb. 12:7-10).

Are you experiencing God’s discipline today?  We should not just hope that God will forgive us, though He will.  It’s best to think about what you can learn from God’s discipline.

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

Fun Application:   

Ps. 66:18 indicates that  our relationship with God can be impeded by our sin.  But the following verse informs us that our relationship is restored as soon as we confess our sin (cf. 1 John 1:9).  Is there something you need to confess today to restore your relationship with God?  Having a “pity party” will do nothing for you.  As soon as you confess, you are forgiven.  Then move on and forget about it all.  God does (cf. Ps. 103:12; Jer. 31:34).

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:   Don’t Give Me Your Lisp

Choose Life: Scripture:  John 1:14   NASB    “Full Of Grace And Truth”

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   John 1:14

Most people don’t have any problem believing that Jesus is full of grace.  We like that idea.  Not many like the idea that Jesus is full of truth.  Even WWJD is really based on Jesus being full of grace.  Who would say that WWJD means that He turned over the tables of the moneychangers or He walked up to the Pharisees and said, “You are whitewashed tombs” (Matt. 23:27).

The reason we like the grace part and not the truth part is because we like the concept of God being like a cosmic grandparent who doesn’t think anything we do is wrong.  In actuality, God is our Father who disciplines us like a good father would (cf. Heb. 12:7-10).

Are you experiencing God’s discipline today?  We should not just hope that God will forgive us, though He will.  It’s best to think about what you can learn from God’s discipline.

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

Fun Application:   

Ps. 66:18 indicates that  our relationship with God can be impeded by our sin.  But the following verse informs us that our relationship is restored as soon as we confess our sin (cf. 1 John 1:9).  Is there something you need to confess today to restore your relationship with God?  Having a “pity party” will do nothing for you.  As soon as you confess, you are forgiven.  Then move on and forget about it all.  God does (cf. Ps. 103:12; Jer. 31:34).

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:   Don’t Give Me Your Lisp

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