Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Welcome to Day 94 of our Life Journal!
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
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.”
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.
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…
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.