In today’s Judges reading, we see a song from Deborah and Barak praising God for their success and blessings. What if, every time we received a major blessing from the Lord, we wrote and sang a praise song for him? That would be such a cool testimony that people could know for generations. Think about it next time God blesses you in a major way.
4 – Deborah was the only recorded female judge.
8-10 – Barak would not go without Deborah. Whether it was God or Deborah he did not trust, his lack of trust resulted in not him, but a woman, receiving the glory of a war victory.
1-31 – It was common for people who experienced the greatness and favor of God to write and sing a song praising him for his blessings. In the Old Testament a few are: Moses, Deborah and Barak, Hannah, and in the New Testament we see Mary and Zechariah.
41-42 – We often don’t know how to pray when we’re not sure of God’s will. This is a great example of how to pray. God wants to know your heart, but ultimately wants us to submit to his will.
44-46 – Clearly the disciples did not understand the magnitude of the situation or the agony through which Jesus was going.
52-53 – Jesus calls the chief priests out explaining that they obviously didn’t view him as a dangerous criminal because they had had many other easier opportunities to arrest him.
6-11 – Those who seek to disprove God often attempt to outsmart him or disprove him by our own standards and understanding. The Psalmist makes it clear that the one who formed the eye can see as much and more than we see.
Do you ever wonder if God answers prayers? In today’s Luke reading there is a parable that reminds us that God does hear us. Don’t make the make mistake of equating God with the judge. But if even the unrighteous judge hears persistent requests, how much more will God?
13 – It is unclear why the Geshurites and Maacathites were allowed to stay on Israel’s land while all others are driven out. It could be that they didn’t pose a threat of causing the Israelites to be unfaithful to God.
8-12 – Caleb and Joshua were the only two who trusted the Lord to give them the land like he promised even though it looked impossible. Because Caleb “wholly followed the Lord” he was blessed with an inheritance and good health.
12 – The Anakim were legendary people and are believed to have been giants.
1-8 – As is explained in verse 1, this parable encourages the hearers to pray and not lose heart, but it should not be mistaken that the judge represents God. The judge is meant to be an unrighteous man, but the comparison is made that if even he can be persuaded to do the right thing with persistence, how much more will God hear our prayers?
9-14 – This is a warning against self-righteousness, which is an easy trap for those of us who do our best to faithfully follow Christ. It is far easier to see ourselves as the justified tax collector than the Pharisee.
Based on the first 3 verses, this is most likely written about the beginning of the Israelites’ return from exile. They can begin to see God’s goodness being restored to them, but they have still have not fully returned to the prosperity they once knew. They’re still asking if God is angry, but they’re aware of his faithfulness.
This is similar to a comparison made in Proverbs 12:9. Because of the honor/shame society the Israelites lived in, they would much rather be seen as honorable or as having wealth, whether it was true or not, so they would not receive shame.
Busyness has become a sort of badge of honor for us these days. If, for some reason, you actually take the time to rest and relax, you get several underhanded “compliments” about how great it must be to not be busy. We fill our time with a bunch of “good things”, but often separates us from the best thing – spending time with God. Take a little inspiration today from Mary and Martha’s story in Luke.
5-11 – Moses commands the Israelites to give of their first fruits and acknowledge God’s faithfulness when they have success.
18-19 – All nations were not required to give back to God and acknowledge him. Only Israel, his chosen people, were, but that also meant that they received greater blessings.
16-26 – The word, “amen’s” meaning is significant as the Israelites’ response because it means “so be it”. In other words, they are accepting the consequences of being cursed if they fail in these areas.
38-42 – This is a crucial lesson for those of us who allow busyness to become an excuse for why we don’t spend time with God. We can choose to be consumed with a lot of good things or we can choose what’s best.
2-4 – The Lord’s Prayer. Can be used as a guide for our prayers.
5-13 – Jesus encourages his disciples to be persistent in prayer, seek what God wants, and expect great things from God.
15 – Though advice from others should never trump what God calls us to do, we are to seek wise counsel from those around us who can be trusted.
16 – This is a helpful thought for those of us who are easily angered.
Today’s Psalm reminds us how vast, great, and capable our God is. Is the God who set the earth in motion, raised the mountains to their heights, and created boundaries for the oceans overwhelmed by our problems? Of course not! He is able to care for you no matter what is going on.
50-56 – God actually gives an explanation here for why he’s asking the Israelites to drive other people out of their land. If people are left, they will hinder the Israelites.
2 – Earlier in Numbers God explained that the Levites would not receive an inheritance, but instead would receive what was offered to God. This command is another way God provided for the Levites.
11 – They had specific cities of refuge for people who accidentally killed people, but God makes it clear what defines an accidental death and who should not have access to the cities of refuge.
16 – We often think we’re too busy to pray or spend time with God. This is clearly an indictment on that because Jesus needed to teach and heal crowds of people and yet he made a point to get away and pray.
22 – The scribes and Pharisees had not audibly expressed their concerns, but Jesus knew them anyway. They must have been a little thrown off when Jesus addressed their unspoken criticisms.
26 – When we see God move, whether in our lives or someone else’s, we are moved and amazed.
Seeing God’s power, creativity, and control in nature can remind us of what he can do in our lives. What can be so big in your life that the God who built the mountains and controls roaring seas can’t handle?
A lot of times we get caught up in how many times the people in the Bible screw up. We’re appalled! How can these people not GET IT! Today, in Numbers, we get to read about a handful of people who make faithful decisions. Pay attention to Eldad, Medad, Joshua, and Caleb today. Let them give you a little hope that faithfulness is possible.
26-30 – Eldad and Medad are examples of God using ordinary people who haven’t necessarily gone through all the expected requirements to be holy people.
12 – Clearly Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, were in the wrong for speaking against Moses, God’s chosen servant. It does seem odd, though, that only Miriam was punished.
25-33 – Of all the spies, only Joshua and Caleb believed they could overcome the inhabitants of their promised land. The others did not trust that God would give them what he promised because it looked impossible to them.
36 – A great example of how we should pray. We present all our requests to God, but always have an attitude of submitting to His will.
38 – Jesus’ words, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is true of us in a number of temptations we face. We intend to do God’s will and honor him, but often our ability to withstand it is too weak.
51-52 – The mention of this young man is found nowhere else in the Bible and has very little explanation.
Those who seek salvation and/or security in anything but God will falter.
God cares about the way we conduct business. He cares about the morals and ethics we show to the world.
Is that a habit? Get it!?! Because she’s wearing a…oh never mind. Jesus had a habit that he was known for. This habit is mentioned frequently throughout the Gospels and it seemed to be a big part of who he was. Jesus went off by himself to pray. When things were getting rowdy or something major had just happened, Jesus didn’t panic, run away, or take charge, he went to pray. What’s your habit?
21 – Note that modifications were made for those who were poor, but everyone still had to offer something.
34 – Why would God put leprous disease in an Israelites house if it is unclean? Remember, being unclean wasn’t necessarily because you had sinned and it wasn’t sinful to be unclean.
The priests must have been extremely busy with leprosy cases considering all the checks and double-checks they had to perform.
34 – “Sheep without a shepherd” – like any of us before we find Christ.
44 – Five thousand men means there were at least as many women and children.
46 – Jesus is frequently described as going off by himself to pray. This seems to be how he regroups and reconnects after strenuous teaching or healings.
52 – Once again we see someone’s heart hardened. It does not mention who did the hardening this time. When our hearts are hardened we are unable to recognize God’s work.
This Psalm is helpful when we need restoration.
Encouragement to share the work God has done in your life, “I have not hidden your deliverance”, “I have spoken of your faithfulness.”
The difference in result when our words are righteous and when they’re wicked.
No, we do not condone breaking the law. As we begin Leviticus, we will discover that there were a lot of laws for the Israelites, 613 to be exact. We will also discover that they broke the laws a lot. It’s important to understand that the laws were not meant to be fun-ruiners. Instead, laws are meant to protect and prosper people.
We obviously don’t sacrifice like this for our sins anymore. Instead of ignoring this because it’s not relevant, it might be helpful for us to think about how much more seriously we’d take sin if we always had to sacrifice something valuable for it.