Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 71

Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome to Day 71 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Deuteronomy 19, 20, 21; Galatians 3 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Deuteronomy 19, laws concerning cities of refuge for those who have killed another, intentionally or unintentionally, and enforcement of these laws.

Deuteronomy 20, when going to war… “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Deuteronomy 21, in this chapter provision is made for the putting away the guilt of blood from the land, when he that shed it had fled from justice, for preserving the honor of a captive woman, securing of the right of a first-born son (though not the favorite) for the restraining and punishing a rebellious son, for the maintaining of the honor of human bodies, which must not be hanged in chains, but decently buried, regardless of the offense. [Excerpts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary]

v 18, “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 they shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.”

Galatians 3:2, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?”

v 28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

O bservation

Even when there was a promise, 19:8 “If the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land he promised them…” They still had to fight, war, drive out those occupying the land.

Again they were commanded to completely obliterate all those living in the land the LORD has promised them… if they had to go to war against them. If they offered a treaty, those living there became servants. If war broke out, the men were killed but not the women and children.

A pplication

Sometimes you may have to fight for what God “gives” you. No question that God had given them the land, but they still had A LOT of work to do to occupy it.

They weren’t fighting the PEOPLE of those territories… they were fighting their gods and their practices. God was concerned that his people would be led astray…

This is difficult for many people to digest, that “the God of the Bible” is THE God… according to who? “What makes THEIR gods worse, or less-than.”

In our world that is becoming more and more polytheistic (believes in many gods) and has a, “whatever works for you” viewpoint… that we maintain that there is ONE God… Sounds really narrow-minded. “And what about Jesus? How is he connected to the God of the Old Testament??” (John the Baptist referred to Jesus as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”) “And, why was God so cruel to those people who worshiped other gods. There weren’t hurting anybody…” (Many of their practices were detestable to God. Involved child sacrifice and sexual acts.)

One of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 is “You shall have no other Gods.”

All roads don’t lead to God… Different roads lead to different places.

It all makes sense to me…  although at times I still wonder about some of those same questions, but I still land on, God… is God.

Makes me think of Matthew 11, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”

Ephesians 6:11-12, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

There is always a tension between the Law and the Spirit. Following the Spirit, there are still “laws.” But we are not “under the Law.” Even though we are not “under the Law” adultery and murder are still wrong.

The bigger picture is about righteousness… Where it comes from. For believers in Christ, righteousness is “imparted” because of what Jesus did. “When I see the blood (of Christ) I will pass over (Passover) you.”

Hard for me to imagine ever taking my son out and stoning him for rebelliousness, not matter what he had done. (Imagine being brought up on charges for that in court today. The story would make CNN…)

P rayer

Lord, I thank you that I don’t have to answer for you… I can’t. I’m ok with “Your ways are higher than my ways.” These are the same questions people have been asking for centuries… I just trust you along the way.

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5 thoughts on “Day 71

  1. Much of today’s reading and my SOAP is hard to read… even for me. The coexist graphic is representative of where our culture is today… I used it only for that reason.

    Jesus was pretty clear when he said in the Gospel of John, “I am the way, the truth and the life… no one comes to the Father, except through me.” Sounds pretty narrow… and it is…

    • Catherine on said:

      Pretty narrow, for sure…maybe this is why I keep seeing a picture of me on a tightrope with my eyes only on Jesus at the other end…not looking to either side,but straight ahead to those loving eyes….

  2. Yes, we are not under the law (since the Spirit of Christ dwells in us), in that the law cannot save us. For those of us who ARE saved, obeying, observing the law(s) is a sweet response of love to our Savior, and “..His yoke is easy, and His burden is light”. The Spirit enables us to keep the law(s) when we yield to Him, out of love for Yeshua. 🙂

  3. However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. Deut 20:16-18 NIV

    The Israelites have a poor track record of not falling away from God and into pagan practices. The people needed to be destroyed not because of God’s wrath, but because of God’s love for Israel I think.

    I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Galatians 3:2 NIV

    Applying this to today, replace “works of the law” with “going to church”.

    So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? Galatians 3:5 NIV

    For years, I thought going to church was all I needed to do. How silly of me. The more I get to know Jesus as a friend, one who keeps me straight, the more I love Him.

    Lord, I love my church family, but I love you more. I hope you don’t mind if I refer to you as my “bestie”. I believe in you, Jesus. Amen

  4. Martha on said:

    I really cannot bear this section of Deuteronomy alone. There needs to be the nuance of the New Testament or I have to see it all as a metaphor like “I am the promised land and the Lord wants everything in me that is evil to be leveled — take no pity, leave no survivors” that fits with my zeal. This morning I did start listening to the Sermon on the Mount with my children. We have the Word of Promise audio edition New Testament. It takes about 25 minutes to listen to the entire sermon, which was exactly the amount of time we had to get ready. Matthew 5 reads like Deuteronomy in its topics but all the law has been restated.
    In yoga it is said that first we have to go from living an animal existence (eating, sleeping, procreating and defending) to living a human one then move on from there to living a divine existence. I can see these differences in the two laws. In Deuteronomy God is showing people how to be a people set apart and holy. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is calling us not to be a people but to be like God “perfect” or as I read in one commentary, a closer translation is “complete.”
    That fits the image of the resurrection where everything human has been put to death and what is deathless, eternal remains.

    Galatians 3 is helpful for sorting out theology and getting to that pure faith but it still seems to me to be calling to the Deuteronomy level of religion where God is separate and we are His people saved from slavery in a proverbial Egypt. It is not the becoming God level that Paul spoke of in Galatians 2 “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” I observe people laying their sins and their pasts down on the altar and getting a fresh start but not really laying down themselves — their likes and dislikes, personalities, the sense of self that they were before is still there. In yoga that is called living in the ego, who we think we are, rather than in our soul which is our divine nature.

    The Lord gave me a picture the other day of what my choices are: I can become Christ or I can beg at His throne for help with my circumstances the rest of my earthly existence. Until He showed me that I never thought about it, those are two very different aims. It seems there is a lot of the begging at the throne type of Christianity, it is familiar and I know what to do. The other seems so foreign and all my real primal hold me back fears come out — about losing all of myself, all my identity, the suffering that this all could bring upon me. It is such extreme renunciation to say every word I say will be Christ’s, every action I do will be His, my entire life is His and I will watch it all from the back seat. I do that when I am desperate and really cannot see my way through a situation but on good days I want my life to be mine.

    St. John of the Cross says that the ultimate path of spirituality is detachment — let it go, surrender more and more. More of my self needs to be laid down, all of it not just the parts I don’t want to live with.

    Father help me to draw into a closer union with You, living as Your Son — cast out my fear with Your perfect love and let me run towards You with great abandon and great love, In Jesus’ Name and for His sake, Amen

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