Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Judges 11

Scripture

Judges 11:29
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah.

Observation

Because Jephthah’s mother was a prostitute his brothers shun him and drive him from their presence. Later, when the Ammonites come against Israel, Jephthah’s brothers appeal to him and his “band of scoundrels” to command their armies. After securing the promise of position and leadership upon his return, Jephthah confronts the enemies of Israel. Before advancing against the Ammonites, Jephthah makes a vow to sacrifice to God whatever comes out of the door of his house upon his return. Jephthah is devastated when his daughter (and only child) greets him with music and dancing to celebrate his victory. Upon hearing of her father’s vow and his commitment to keep it, Jephthah’s daughter submits to him, asking only that before her death he allow her to “roam the hills and weep with her friends” to lament the fact that she will never marry. Jephthah grants her request which would later result in an Israelite tradition of a four day celebration by young women of Israel in commemoration of Jephthah’s daughter.

Understanding

1 Corinthians 3:16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

In this chapter; throughout the Book of Judges and also through the Old Testament we read of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon someone for a specific task or challenge. The Spirit comes from without to equip the chosen vessel or messenger, and then departs – usually resulting in a return to sin and compromise. The experience of the New Testament believer is radically and miraculously different. The Spirit of God actually dwells within me! I don’t have to wait for Him to come or ever fear that He will leave me. The Holy Spirit lives in me because I am “In Christ” and He is always at work in me as the Counselor and Comforter; the One who convicts me regarding sin and righteousness, and the One who speaks for me and who guides me into all truth. He is the Advocate and the wisdom of God in me. He is the One who is transforming me into the image of Christ and the producer of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in and through me. He is the seal and guarantee of God’s promised resurrection and He lives in me! Hallelujah!!

Life Application

John 10:22
“…receive the Holy Spirit”

Lord, thank you for deeming me holy and righteous so that the Holy Spirit can live within me. Help me to remember that even though you elected and chose me when I was dead in my sin, I am still an agent of free will and can choose to either heed or ignore the prompting of your Spirit. If (when) I fall into sin and compromise, it is not because He left me but because I took my eyes off of Him. Help me to seek, discern, treasure and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that I may walk in your will, power and victory all the days of my life and for the glory of your great Name.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Judges 10

Scripture

Judges 10:13-14

13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”

Observation

True to the theme of Judges, we find the Israelites in another one of their cycles.  They once again turned from God and began serving other gods and, once again, find themselves oppressed.  They cry out to God but he’s had enough.

Understanding

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are fresh in our mind from our current sermon series; so I’m sure a couple hand signals are coming to mind. 🙂  The first two commandments speak to the fact that God desires that we “have no other gods before me” (v. 3) and that we shall not make for ourselves any idols or “bow down…or worship them” for he is “a jealous God” (v. 4).  As we know, though, that’s exactly
what Israel has done.  And this time when they call out to God, He essentially tells them to call your other gods. 

While God is perfect and we are not, this is such a relatable moment for our human nature.  Having people betray you or let you down over and over again is frustrating and exhausting.  So when he throws out the “Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” I am reminded that I am made in His image.  Those feelings I’ve felt in moments of frustration are feelings that God has felt. 

The next few verses, though, reveal His perfect, redeeming love and forgiveness…

 15 But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.

 Though it may not be 100% clear here, if we read on, we find that when they repent – getting “rid of the foreign gods among them and serv[ing] the Lord – God does forgive them sets them up to once again be freed from their oppressors. 

Life Application

Such a beautiful story of God’s love for His people.  We learn that…

  • As we are made in His image – the emotions we feel, he has felt.
  • That, despite how many times we fail and mess things up, we serve a God who forgives.
  • That His forgiveness is freely given but it is contingent on our repentance.
  • We’ve got quite the example of love and forgiveness to live up to. 🙂

Father God, thank you for your crazy amazing love!  Thank you for setting a personal example of how to love and forgive others.  Help me to see others the way you see them, to be your hands and feet in a world that needs your love and to practice forgiveness the way you’ve called us to.   Show me the areas that I’ve harbored unforgiveness towards others and help me to release it. Show me the ways that I may frustrate you by my own disobedience, where I’ve replaced my worship of you with mere idols that could never rescue or fulfill me in the way that you do.  As I go out today, give me a greater understanding and awareness of how to serve you better – both in my own life and in how I encounter others.  In your precious, powerful and holy name.  Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei



Judges 9

*Join us for a great time of worship and refreshing in God’s presence this Sunday evening at 6pm for our Worship Encounter!
 

Scripture

Judges 9:56-57

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness.

Observation – What does it say?

As one of the most powerful judges of Israel, Gideon was requested to be king over Israel. But that wasn’t God’s desire for his people. So Gideon tells them that he won’t rule over them and neither will any of his sons, so they can get the idea out of their heads. But, after Gideon died, his son Abimelek played on the people’s desire for a king and asserted himself into that position. Not only was he not appointed by God to lead the people, but he secured the throne by killing all 70 of his brothers (except for one who escaped). Not only was Abimelek in the wrong, but the people of Shechem had turned away from God and began worshiping idols as soon as Gideon died.

The majority of Judges 9 chronicles the bloodshed, death and destruction that came to both Abimelek and the people of Shechem. And these last verses in the chapter give reason for all of it: God was repaying them for their wickedness.

Understanding – What does it mean?

You reap what you sow.

When you look around, it can seem like the wicked are prospering. And at times, it can feel like the people of God are struggling. I’m sure that’s how Abimelek’s brother Jotham felt when, as an innocent man, he was fleeing for his life while his murderer of a brother was being crowned king. It feels backward.  King David was deeply troubled as he observed the same thing happening in his lifetime:

Psalm 73:12-14

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

In that present moment the wicked prospered and David, who had strived to honor God, was being afflicted. But as David sought the Lord about it he had a moment of clarity:

Psalm 73:16-17

16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.

The wicked may seem to prosper for a season, but in the end their wickedness will come back on their own heads. The apostle Paul reminded the Galatian church, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Life Application

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

God, give us strength to do what pleases you. Thank you for the reminder that the day will come when everyone will reap what they have sown. We want to continue to do good and to serve you well that we may reap a harvest. May our decisions always be made in light of eternity. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


Judges 8

*Join us for a great time of worship and refreshing in God’s presence this Sunday evening at 6pm for our Worship Encounter!

Scripture

Judges 8:1-3

“Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he said this.”
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Observation

The men of Ephraim were angry with Gideon for not inviting them to fight against Midian from the very beginning. They felt neglected and overlooked (John Gill exposition) and were envious that Gideon got all the credit for defeating Midian.
Instead of celebrating with Gideon after they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to him, they criticized his leadership. Scripture says that they “accused him fiercely”.  Gideon’s humble response to their criticism, as he made them aware that what God allowed them to accomplish was greater than what he accomplished because they closed out the war, caused the Ephraimites anger to subside.
 
Understanding

Pride was at the root of the Ephraimites’ anger, but Gideon’s humility calmed them down.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Instead of adding fuel to the fire, Gideon’s humble response to the Ephraimites’ complaints silenced their critical spirit and resentment towards him. Although Gideon was the general, placed in that position by God, and the Ephraimites were in the wrong by complaining to their leader and disrespecting him due to envy and pride, Gideon did not use his position as leverage or try to make a right out of two wrongs. Instead, he humbled himself and that caused the Ephraimites to change their behavior towards him.

Life Application

“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
Laying down our rights for others can become very difficult, especially when we feel attacked and criticized. However, in this story, we see that even great leaders did it. Humility is not a sign of weakness, but God’s Word says that it actually brings honor. Pride is what brings destruction in our lives. (Prov. 18:12)
Pride brings destruction in our relationships and a prideful heart also affects our relationship with Jesus, so let’s be wise and choose humility over pride.
 
Holy Spirit, help us to walk in humility and choose to love and serve others instead of fighting for our own rights. Help us to lay down our rights for others as we continue to live in the fullness of Your grace and mercy. Amen. 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Judges 7

Scripture

Judges 7:2

“The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Israelites were doing evil in God’s eyes. So God handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites treated the Israelites very cruel and harsh. The Israelites were on the verge of starvation, when God heard his people’s cries, and anointed Gideon to rescue them from the hands of the Midianites. 

One problem though…God thought Gideon had too many warriors with him and instructed Gideon to “thin the heard” a bit. You see, God knew if he let Gideon and the Israelites go into battle against the Midianites with that many people, the Israelites would boast and take credit for the victory because they would have thought it was from their own might and not God’s might that brought them the victory.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”-Luke‬ ‭18:27‬ ‭NIV

Gideon was already doubting himself when God called on him to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of the Midianites. Gideon already felt that his clan was the weakest in the whole tribe, and that he was the least in his entire family. Now God calls on him to rescue the people of Israel, and to do it not with the 32,000 men he originally had in his army, but with only 300 men! I believe God wanted to ensure that his people were to remain humble and totally rely on His strength and might, rather than their own. If His people had already forgotten what He did for their ancestors, God was surely going to remind them of His awesome power through Gideon and the 300 men.

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”-Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭NLT

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christʼs power may rest on me.”-2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Against all odds, there is no one that I would rather have in my corner than Jesus.

Thank you Jesus for always having my back. Although I may turn away from you sometimes, you never turn away from me. Jesus, you are almighty, all powerful, all knowing, loving, merciful, and gracious to name a few. But above all, you are the Lord and Savior of my life. Open up my heart to your ways and your will. Help me Jesus to be obedient and faithful to you. In your name I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Judges 6

Scripture

Judges 6:11-12
…Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor!”

Observation
The Israelites continue their vicious cycle of doing evil in the eyes of the Lord soon after God sends them a judge to deliver them from His latest punishment. Here, as a result of their return to sin and idolatry, God delivers Israel into the hands of the Midianites to be oppressed for seven years. The Midianites, whom the Bible says are as numerous as locusts, descend upon Israel to steal any harvest, grain or livestock that the Israelites would reap, leaving Israel without sustenance. As always, when the suffering becomes too much to bear, Israel cries out to the Lord. God sends a prophet to confront Israel with her sin and raises up Gideon to deliver Israel from her oppression.

God is gracious and patient enough to entertain both Gideon’s accusations and doubts; confirming the calling and promised victory by accepting an offering from Gideon. When the awe and fear that result from this encounter threatens to overwhelm Gideon, the Lord proclaims peace to Gideon; prompting Gideon to erect an altar and name it Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace.

As the first order of business, God instructs Gideon to destroy the altar to Baal that his father had erected and to cut down the Astoreth pole that is beside it so that a proper altar may be built for offerings to the Lord God of Israel. When the men of the city discovered who had destroyed the altars, they implore Gideon’s father, Joash, to surrender up his son to be killed for his deed. Joash puts the onus on the god whose altar was destroyed to defend himself against the affront, causing them to now call Gideon, Jerubbaal, which literally means, Let Baal Plead.

When the Midianites (and the Amalakites) once again gather to pounce on Israel, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him and he blows the trumpet to gather Israel together for war. Twice again, God strengthens Gideon by condescending to provide a sign, via the fleeces, that He will indeed be with Gideon and deliver Israel by His hand.

Understanding
Romans 4:17
God…calls the things that are not as though they are.

Gideon sees himself as a coward from the least of the families of Israel; hiding in a hole hoping to be unseen long enough to put together enough wheat to make a loaf of bread for his family. But God sees him for what he will be when he moves in the strength of the Lord – a man of valor, a mighty warrior. All the tales of Gideon’s courage and victory that follow his encounter with God stem from a renewed sense of identity. At the point that Gideon believes that he is who God says he is – God is able to do great things in and through him.

Life Application
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

 The greatest endeavor that I can undertake to partner with God in His redemptive work in my life is to continually and passionately strive to live in light of all that His word says I am by virtue of being “in Christ”. I am free from trying to earn and be what and who God says I already am! Just as children will live up to their parents expectations and become who they say they are – good or bad – so I will only become, in action or attitude, who God wants me to be when I believe that I already am all that He says I am. So often I get the cart before the horse and work to frustration trying to become holy in his sight. His word says that I am already holy in His sight by virtue of being hidden in Christ and clothed in His righteousness. All that I do should not be the result of trying to be holy, it should all stem from the realization that this is what I should do because I am holy. When I truly believe that truth, all that I do will naturally and effortlessly follow from that sense of Identity. Maybe that is why we are called human beings and not human doings.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Judges 5

*Join us this Sunday, October 23, for our WORSHIP ENCOUNTER @6pm!

Scripture

Judges 5:31

“So may all your enemies perish, Lord!
    But may all who love you be like the sun

    when it rises in its strength.”

Then the land had peace forty years.

Observation

Labeled “The Song of Deborah,” Chapter 5 is an example of early Hebrew poetry.  It’s a song of triumph that follows the victory outlined in Chapter 4.  Chapter 4 begins…

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 

And they remained oppressed by Jabin for twenty years, until they were delivered by Deborah.  The song was intended to preserve the victory and bring praise to God for generations to come.

Understanding

Ch 3-16 represent the cycles of oppression and deliverance experienced by the Israelites.  The cycle included abandonment of their beliefs, followed by a period of oppression (in this case 20 years, but the cycles for each period varied from 3-40 years), repentance, then [finally] restoration and peace.

Does this cycle sound familiar to anyone else? 

I find myself getting sidetracked by things – sometimes event really good things…and, no I do not abandon my beliefs completely; but I do find myself allowing other things to take priority at times.  The beautiful part of these crazy cycles that Judges takes us through – SEVEN of them! – is that

God is always faithful to restore us and, with that restoration, comes peace. 

Then the land had peace for forty years.”
 
BUT, did you catch the most important part?  The contingency factor is repentance.  It’s when we choose to repent – which literally means “to turn.”  It’s when we turn away from what we are doing and towards God that seems to “unlock” that healing restoration and peace.   

Life Application

God, you are so good!  Thank you so much for extending such grace with your children.  You are faithful to restore, faithful to provide, faithful to forgive, faithful to love us from the inside out.  Show me where I need to lay things down, where I need to turn away, where I need to turn more towards you.  And use me to bring others to you as well. 

Amen.

*PS Another thing that struck me in “digging in” on this Chapter, was a note in Matthew Henry’s commentary – “That one of these judges was female (Deborah) is striking confirmation of God’s sovereignty in raising up leaders that He chooses in any era.”  At a time when women were considered property – spoils of war to be divided among the men (v. 29-30) – Deborah was called out by God to be one of the judges to deliver His people from oppression.  Thank you God that you are all powerful to call us, to gift us, to use us to accomplish Your will.  

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

 

– Rei



Judges 4

Scripture

Judges 4:8-9

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.

Observation – What does it say?

Because of their sin, God gave Israel over to Jabin, king of Canaan. But after some time the Lord planned to deliver them. He spoke through the judge and leader of Israel at the time, Deborah, and commanded Barak to lead the Israelite army to fight Jabin’s army. Rather than simply trusting God’s word and obeying, Barak puts a condition on his obedience: He will only lead Israel’s army if Deborah accompanies him.

It appears that Barak had more trust in Deborah than in God to bring about victory. And because of it, the victory and honor would pass from Barak to someone else.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Putting conditions on obeying God causes us to miss out on the victory and honor God intends to give us.

God had given Barak the opportunity to be used by him to bring complete deliverance for Israel and to be honored in the sight of all God’s people. But Barak missed out because of his unwillingness to obey without reservation or condition.

I was reading in our Catalyst book this week, “When Heaven Invades Earth,” where Bill Johnson writes about Christians making the excuse that they will obey God’s command to make disciples after they become more mature/stop sinning/learn more/etc. It sounds honorable to want to grow in character before we obey the command to disciple others, heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons. But God never gave us that option. When Jesus gave the following commands, it was to imperfect disciples with no reference to prerequisite character or maturity requirements.

Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 10:7-8 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’
 
Maturity and growth in godly character comes as we obey, not before we obey.

Life Application

Obey fully, without condition or hesitation.

God, forgive me for the times I try to justify my lack of obedience. Help us to be a people that obeys you fully and experiences the fullness of victory and honor you desire to bestow on us. Thank you that it’s not about our ability, but our availability and willingness to surrender to you. Our trust is in you! Amen.

– Levi Thompson

To check out the discussion or join in click here.

 



Judges 3

Scripture
 
“But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
“Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
“After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭3:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Lord was angry with Israel for their disobedience. As a result, they suffered the consequences by being given over in slavery and bondage to Cushan-Rishathaim and Eglon, King of Moab.  The Israelites cried out to the Lord for help and the Lord raised up 3 people, Othniel, Enud, and Shamgar to deliver them, as a response to their cries. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
He is a holy and just God who punishes for disobedience, but at the same time is merciful when His children cry out to Him for help.The Lord’s character consists of both judgment and mercy. One cannot exist without the other.
 
The Israelites continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord by serving other gods. However, when they were suffering as a result of the consequences of their actions, they cried out to the Lord for help. Instead of turning Israel away and giving them what they deserved, the Lord was merciful and sent 3 saviors to deliver them from their bondage and slavery.
 
“For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭120:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Life Application

 
The answer to our cries for help is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has saved us from the bondage of our sins! 
 
He did not turn us away when we were helpless and dead to our sins. He did not turn us away when we continued to reject Him. Instead He sent His only Son to take the beating for our own wretchedness and past, present and future sins. Let us thank Him by worshipping Him.
 
In Higher Learning yesterday, Pastor Parker said the highest form of worship is obedience. Let us worship Him for our salvation by being obedient to what and where He calls us. Let us live in the freedom of His Spirit instead of in the chains of sin and bondage that we once knew, for He already took the weight of our sins upon Himself and paid our debt in full.
 
Thank You Lord for sending Your Son as our deliverer. Thank You for not giving us what we deserved, but instead showing us mercy and grace. We desire to worship You and show our gratitude through our obedience. Lead us Holy Spirit in your ways and in Your truth. Help us to walk in step with You so that we can experience true freedom. Amen. 
 
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Judges 2

Scripture

Judges 2:10

“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.”

Observation-What does it say?

The angel of the LORD had just finished scolding the Israelites for their disobedience of God’s command. God kept His covenant with their ancestors, delivered them from Egypt, and gave them the land that was promised to them. All they were asked to do is to tear down all the idols and alters of the people who were inhabitants of the land, and drive them all out. Instead they let these inhabitants live alongside them, and tolerated their customs and beliefs. This infuriated God.

Now Joshua and the people of his generation have now died, leaving a new generation to take their place. This generation did not acknowledge the LORD, or even remember the mighty things He has done for them.

Understanding-What does it mean?

 It is important for us to remember where we came from, where we are, and where we are going.

We as Christ Followers should remember where we came from. We too were once slaves to sin, on a path towards an eternity separated from God. But God sent Jesus to free us from our sins. God gave us an opportunity to have eternal life, and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. All we have to do is put all our trust and faith in His Son Jesus Christ. 

 As I reflect on this generation, I see similarities to the generation we are reading about in this chapter. It seems that this nation in particular is pushing God out more and more. We are letting the world dictate our beliefs. This nation is keeping God out of schools, workplaces, and we are being more tolerant, even catering to other people’s outside religious belief systems. Are we doomed to suffer the same fate as these same Israelites in today’s reading?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalms‬ ‭103:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

 “But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”-Joshua 24:15

As the spiritual leader of my household, my first priority is to minister to my family. I want to ensure that they know the LORD, love the LORD, and serve the LORD wholeheartedly. I can do this by setting the example. I want my kids seeing me not only spending time with God, but enjoying my time with Him. I want to share with them all the great things God has done for our family. I want them seeing someone who turns to God when things get rough, instead of someone who “flies off the loose end”. I want them to see a man who cares for others, as well as their spiritual well being. Ultimately, I want to demonstrate to them the characteristics that Jesus displays to me.

Father God thank you for all you have done for me and my family. I pray that we can live lives that are pleasing to you. May the praise and glory we give you not only be heard within our household, but may it be heard no matter where we go in life. May you be glorified and remembered because of it from generations to come. Amen.
 
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-Moses Gaddi