The 2nd after the Epiphany
Speak, O Lord
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
“Samuel! Samuel!” My interest was peaked. I listened intently as my parents told me another bedtime Bible story. “Samuel! Samuel!” Quickly though I became confused and perplexed by the story—and then the Lord called a third time, “Samuel! Samuel!” As a young child, I couldn’t take it any more. I burst out in bewilderment, “Samuel, answer the phone!” I had a lot to learn about the Scriptures. But at the time it didn’t make sense. The Lord was calling and it seemed to me at the moment like no one was listening.
Isn’t that one of the most frustrating things you can think of? It is the worst when someone doesn’t listen to you. Our teachers talk about it all the time in our school. Especially in the younger classrooms, teachers often report a bad day at school to parents like this: “Suzy, didn’t really have on her listening ears today.”
Parents know what this is like in the home, too. There’s nothing worse than telling a toddler not to touch something, then they get that evil little grin on their face, and go right ahead to touch it, push it off the table, and break it. Then again, maybe it is worse when your children are old enough to know better and they tune you out to watch TV or play video games, or they willfully disobey what they know to be a house rule. Read the rest of this entry
4th Sunday in Lent
Lost in Sin . . . Found in Grace
Text: Judges 10:6-16
After all that God had done for his people! If you read the Bible books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua straight through, you will be impressed with a time period when God miraculously intervened more than any other time in Israel’s history. The accounts of God’s interactions with the Israelites during the days of Moses and Joshua are truly amazing.
You may be able to do a quick survey of stories in your head. First God sent the 10 Plagues on Egypt so that Pharaoh would let his people go. Then he led two million people out of Egypt and through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground—the same sea he used to destroy their enemies.
While in the desert the Israelites whined and complained and moaned and groaned. Yet God provided water for them, sometimes miraculously turning bitter water sweet or bursting water out of a rock for them. He dropped bread called manna and birds called quail out of the heavens for them to eat every day. He revealed his glory and might on Mt. Sinai. He defeated countless enemies. He brought them to the Promised Land of Canaan that did not belong to them and defeated all those enemies. He made the impenetrable walls of Jericho fall down when Israel marched around them and even made the sun stand still for a day so general Joshua and Israel had more time to rout the enemy. Read the rest of this entry
This is the ninth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Judges and the book of Ruth. It should only take about 10 minutes a day, or about three chapters a day to complete the assignment.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Judges and Ruth:
Judges Background: The name for the book comes from the title given to the leaders of Israel in the book. The judges were not men that sat in a courtroom with long black robes. The judges were more like military generals who also functioned leaders of the people. This was an intermediary period from the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel when, as the book often states, “Israel had no king.” A theme for the book can be taken from the very last verse which tells us that in those days Everyone Did As He Saw Fit. This was a time period when sin ran rampant, and the graphic and gory details of Judges highlights that. Over and over again we see a tragic pattern: Rebellion, Repression, Repentance, Rescue. In other words, the people would sin, a nation would conquer them, they would turn from their sin, a judge would deliver them. Perhaps a better theme for the book might be: The Lord Delivers His People as we read time and again about the Lord mercifully rescuing his people.
Judges 1-2: These chapters are introductory and set the background for the stories to follow. The people of Israel failed to obey the Lord’s instructions when conquering the land of Canaan. They did not completely drive out and destroy the people of the land. Thus, they intermarried, mixed cultures, and mixed religions. The Israelites slid down a slippery slope with these heathen religions-they tolerated, then they incorporated, then they switched over. We Christians can use this as a warning about the world we live in. All sins and temptations will wear away at our conscience and our faith if we do not remove ourselves from those sins. First comes tolerance, then dabbling, then finally all-out sinning. Christian beware! Read the rest of this entry