April 24

Judges 2:10-3:31

They say the first generation gathers it all, the second generation enjoys it all, but the third generation squanders it all. It appears to be true at this point in our scripture reading regarding the nation of Israel. We read in:

Judges 2:10 (NKJV) “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

Israel turned from the very God who saved them from Egypt and had given them Canaan. They began to serve the Baals and the Asherah’s (Click to view more information on these two pagan deities).

So God delivered them into the hands of their enemies…and the vicious cycle began.

Maybe you’ve see it happen, to yourself or others; the way God does such a beautiful work in someone’s life, and yet their hearts have that tendency to wander away – sometimes Christians wander far, far away (James 5:19-20).

Thank God He is merciful and compassionate and moved to pity when we groan (Judges 2:18). Not just once, or twice, but repeatedly throughout the ages we’ve seen it in Israel, how disobedience led to defeat until they eventually came to that place of despair, they would cry out to God who would raise up a judge through whom He would rescue the people…only to see them eventually revert back to the ways of the world.

Judges 2:19 (NKJV) “And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.”

Due to their disobedience the victories vanished and constant testing was implemented. We read of God’s testing three times in this section (Judges 2:22; 3:1, 4). Do I really love God? We’ll fin out, my love will be tested through temptation.

Another result of living in the midst of enemies, is this generation would learn war. This is applicable both physically and spiritually. If there were no enemies, there would be no need to fight – but now they they allowed themselves to live in this type of “neighborhood,” so the fight would be fierce.

The children of Israel, once again did evil in the sight of the Lord (we read that seven times in this book) and the LORD delivered them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim, King of Mesopotamia – they served him eight years. But Israel cried out, and God raised up Othniel, and the Spirit of the LORD empowered him to deliver Israel – and the land had rest for forty years. 

When Othniel died the children of Israel again, did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD therefore delivered them into the hands of Moab, and they served them for eighteen years. But Israel cried out, and God raised up Ehud, who had an interesting way of leading the nation to freedom…and the land had rest for eighty years.

But the people would revert back to their old ways, the ways of the world – under the sway of the wicked one. Israel cried out in prayer and God raised up Shamgar as judge.

It’s cycle that I’m afraid we frequently fall into. May God use this book to help us see the foolishness of such lives – may we learn to be faithful from this day forward.

Luke 22:14-34

Jesus deeply desired to eat this particular meal with His Apostles. It would be His last before He accomplished His mission of the cross and resurrection, and He had much to share. Eventually the day would come when they would fellowship once again (Luke 22:18) where the Apostles would even be ruling over “kingdoms” one day (Luke 22:29-30) (something to look forward to).

Communion and baptism are the only “institutions” given to us as a church. Baptism is to be done once, when we’re old enough to clearly understand what it signifies, but communion is to be done frequently, in remembrance of Him. The bread symbolizes His broken body on the cross, while the cup signifies His shed blood that washes away our sins. We should partake of communion often. In this busy world it’s so easy to forget Jesus, and how much God loves us, to even forget the simple fact that we’re forgiven.

While the Creator of the universe is preparing His heart to stoop to the lowest place in that universe, isn’t it crazy that the disciples are arguing about who will be the greatest? Sounds a little like us, huh? Jesus tries so hard to reach us with the teaching that the greatest is not the president or the pastor – the one who’s “over” everyone; no, the greatest is the one willing to be the servant of all, serving as if they’re “under” everyone (an under rower). Even Jesus was among them as a servant!

Jesus revealed the fact that He was about to be betrayed by one of them and He also revealed the fact that Satan had been asking for Peter.

Luke 22:31 (NKJV) “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

It’s interesting that Satan needs permission even to tempt us. God gave him that permission, but Jesus also prayed for Peter. The Lord knew the journey ahead, for Peter, that he would fall, but he would also get back up, and through the prayers and encouraging words of Jesus, he would even be used by God to strengthen the brethren. 

Psalm 92:1-93:5

Psalm 92 was a song for the Sabbath Day. The list of things to do is very appropriate, from morning til evening.

Give thanks to the LORD, sing praises to His name, declare His lovingkindness in the morning, God’s faithfulness every night (Psalm 92:1-2).

The Psalmist was a musician, able to play multiple instruments, but even if you’re not gifted in this way, you do have a voice, and a heart, you can use to bless the Lord. Sing to Him with the choice of your voice.

The Psalmist acknowledged that God was the one who made him glad, he was even confident in his triumph (Psalm 92:4). He also knew the wicked would be defeated, destroyed forever…no doubt about it.

Do I know all these things? Am I aware of the reasons I have to praise God for the past, present, and future?

If you’re a Christian you have a wonderful name/title, not only connected to Christ but anointed with the Spirit of God. Christ means “Anointed one.” We are “anointed ones,” (1 John 2:20). We can echo the words of the Psalmist, “I have been anointed with fresh oil.”

To “flourish” (Psalm 92:12) means to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.” The environment God speaks of is the house of the LORD, the courts of God (the Temple back then – today it’s church). Even when we age, we will still bear fruit (moral and ministry) fresh and flourishing…to do what? Enjoy my retirement? Put it in cruise control? Rock back and forth on a chair? No – to declare:

Psalm 92:15 (NKJV) “To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 93 is a Psalm reminding us that the LORD is on the throne, and His throne is established. Since His throne is established the earth is established (under His rule) and it cannot (I cannot) be moved.

The enemy will rise up against us like a flood, but the LORD is mightier than they and God will have His way.

Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV) “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.”

I pray that encourages you.

Proverbs 14:1-2

V. 1 – It’s true of both men and women, we can build people up (edification) or we can tear people down (destruction). The wise woman builds up her family with a life and lips of love, with words of edification and truth.

1 Corinthians 8:1b (NKJV) “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (edifies).”

Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

Proverbs 31:26 (NKJV) “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

V. 2 – One’s attitude and estimation of the LORD is seen in the way we walk ( live our lives). Obedience reveals a healthy fear and reverence of God; disobedience reveals a person who despises God, doesn’t think too highly of Him.

May the LORD be highly esteemed in all of our hearts…it will be evident to Him and to all others.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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