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 94

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Welcome to Day 94 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Judges 19, 20, 21; 2 Corinthians 4 (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

Judges chapters 19-21, The situation in Israel had deteriorated so much that some of God’s people behaved like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1–11). Warring between their own tribes is the result.

Today’s reading begins with 19:1, “In those days Israel had no king.”

… and ends with 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”

2 Corinthians 4:1 “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways… 7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us… 16 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

O bservation

Honestly, I’m tired of blogging about Israel’s unfaithfulness… and today is no exception. Could focus on the deplorable acts of the Benjamites in Gibeah… How, in lieu of the men of that city raping a male guest, they were given a female concubine in stead… They raped her and she died as a result.

We get it. Israel has no king (leaderless) and each one is “doing as they see fit.”

Paul reflected on this type of behavior in Romans 1:29, “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity…”

How sad is it that Israel was led out of captivity only to begin warring against one another, with tens of thousands of their own people dying in the process…

Regardless of Israel’s unfaithfulness, God’s faithfulness is never in question. He gives them over to their depravity for seasons, but His heart toward them never changes… “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

God only ever wanted to be Israel’s king. To be their God. To watch over, provide for, and protect them.

A pplication

1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

We are all tempted… we are all faced with making a decision, every day, to follow the Lord… or not. To keep his commands or to live according to our flesh, and its desires.

Even as Israel was being led out of captivity, even with having seen firsthand the plagues, the miracles the redemption of the Lord as they were being led out of Egypt, it didn’t take long for the Hebrews to fall into depravity. (Remember when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai? He came down to find Aaron, the high priest had fashioned a golden calf for them to worship, and they were in the midst of a drunken orgy!)

It’s so easy to think, “If I had been there and seen those miracles… If I had seen Jesus heal the sick, blind, lame… “That I would never falter in my faith…” The reality is, plenty of people were there and rejected Christ, refused to believe.

Those verses in 1 Corinthians 4, that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us…” We have the benefit of having God’s Spirit, not only WITH us, but WITHIN us.

That’s where our war is…

P rayer

We are part of your body, Lord… I pray that you would strengthen each person who reads this blog today. Let each of us know how much we need each other. Show us how to build one another up and to spur one another on to love and good works.

Thank you for placing your Spirit in this jar of clay…

Galatians 5:16 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

God places his Spirit within this “jar of clay,” this “earth vessel” that holds the Spirit of God… Pretty incredible.

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6 thoughts on “Day 94

  1. Mark Long on said:

    Another great message of hope!

    We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Cor 4:8-10

  2. Shock on said:

    As I read these verses from Judges and Corinthians, I cannot help but compare the Israelites to America. In 1776 Americans left British rule and put their trust in God, evident on everything from the wording in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution to the monuments around DC and even on our money. The leaders of America where great faithful men (and faulted, just like David). Over the past 200 years we have slowly moved further from God. Are there places in our country like Gibeah? Will it be written someday that America has no king (leader) and the people did as they saw fit? I pray that we as a Christian nation can see the writing on the wall (plainly in these Bible verses) and begin moving towards God instead of sliding further away and becoming more like Gibeah.

    Does anyone else feel this way?

    • Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (MSG)

      This spoke to me today. We often throw in the towel because life seems overwhelming. There is so much poverty in the world, or even just in our community, how can we help? We hit a brick wall and throw up our hands and say, “Well we tried.” The truth is that brick walls are nothing for God. We sometimes need to march around it for days, but they will come down.

      If everyone does a little something to correct a wrong in the world, the wrongs will slowly disappear. Procrastination is not an option. Time is on our side if we start now. We are individually insignificant, but we are all significant in the body of Christ.

      Lord, show us the one thing we can do for Your kingdom.

    • It makes perfect sense. We are wayward people who do not want leadership, but want someone who will do what we want.

  3. Food-we all must make the choice for ourselves as to consume. No leader so they did what they wanted? Where is the pride to do the right thing when no one else is?

    I cannot eat everything I think I would like to eat. That gets me fat and unhappy. Instead the joy comes with discipline and self-control to do what I feel God wants me to do. We always have a choice.

  4. Nicole Marvin on said:

    @Shock-Your thoughts remind me that I need to pray for our country and our leaders. I need to pray for strength and boldness for Christians.

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