Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 26 Apr 18:
1. Judges 19:12 — “And his master said to him, ‘We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to Gibeah.’” The Levite believed that God’s people would be more trustworthy than unbelievers, but he was wrong. Today in America, the statistics on destructive and anti-social behaviors is almost identical within the church as within the secular society. What does the book of Judges have to say to us today?
2. Judges 19:22 — “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” There is no limit to the depths to which people can sink when they turn from God. Sexual perversion is one of the most mentioned traits of the ungodly.
3. Judges 19:24 – “Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” The man was willing to sacrifice the women, even his daughter, to the sexual perverts in order to protect the Levite. Morality had come to a point in society where God’s people were willing to compromise on one horrific sin in order to prevent another horrific sin. Today, we run the risk of giving in to sin after sin without realizing that it will never be enough to appease the ungodly. There is no compromising with the ungodly.
4. Judges 19:30 — “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.” The Levite had to do something shocking enough to get the nation’s attention. To that point, no one seemed to care that the land had become so depraved.
5. Judges 20:5 — “They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead.” The Levite didn’t mention that he actually gave the concubine to the mob to save his own skin. This is like a child saying, “The lamp broke,” rather than, “I broke the lamp.” Adam demonstrated the same lack of acceptance of responsibility — “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree….” (Genesis 3:12) The first step to growth is humility and a willingness to be honest with yourself, God, and others about your sin.
6. Judges 20:13 — “‘Now therefore give up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge evil from Israel.’ But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel.” The Benjaminites violently defended their sexually perverse and lawless lifestyle. Perhaps, they defended the perverse under the notion that people should have the right to live life however they want to live it. When the laws of man override the Laws of God, society is doomed to destruction. Today, our Nation has established and celebrates laws that directly defy God’s laws. Watch and see what happens next.
7. Judges 20:16 — “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” Many talented people are terrible sinners, and many will seek to validate sin by pointing to how talented the sinner is. For example, many people who openly practice sexual sins today, such as promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, etc, are very talented and very personable; so, people will point to their talents to legitimize their sinful lifestyle. Regardless of shifting public opinion, sexual sins remain an abomination before God which will be judged.
8. Judges 20:19-48 — Tens of thousands had to die to address normalized perversion in the land.
9. Proverbs 26:3 — “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.” If you don’t live by the spirit, you will like an animal that only responds to pain or pleasure.
10. Proverbs 26:6-9 — “Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” We are the messengers of Christ, and we must be very careful to be worthy of the calling. The Bible can be used improperly if not used in the Spirit. Bible knowledge is not Bible wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is hurtful. Often God’s word is misused in ungracious and inappropriate ways by people with self-centered, self-serving, self-righteous motives. We are commanded to speak the truth – in love. When truth and love go together, this is true love.
11. Romans 12:1 — “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Real worship is to surrender your life to God in holiness.
12. Romans 12:2 — “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The message of the world is not acceptable to God and competes with and distracts from the message of the Bible. You must be deep in the word and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be able to discern right and wrong in daily decisions.
13. Romans 12:3 — “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” If you catch yourself singing your own praises, check yourself.
14. Romans 12:9 — “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil.” To truly love is to hate evil; it is impossible to love while accepting evil which is always wholly contrary to love. God, who is Love, hates, “abhors” evil; therefore, we must hate evil also. God says that to truly worship Him, we must “present [our] bodies as… living sacrifice[s], holy and acceptable to God,” and He warns us that the world’s concept of love (along with concepts such as “acceptance” and “tolerance”) are contrary to His – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).” As we read in Judges today, the world loves evil and will violently oppose those who live by the love of God, but Paul encourages us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).”
15. Romans 12:9-21 — This section of Romans 12, often entitled “Marks of the True Christian” is worth re-reading every day: Abhor evil; strive for goodness; love everyone as a brother or sister; work hard in service to God; persevere and pray; go out of your way to help other Christians; be uncommonly kind to those who are unkind to you; empathize with others; be equally kind and hospitable to everyone; do not think yourself wise.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 April: Today, consider everyone around you as far more important than you, and serve them accordingly. References from today’s readings: “Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10) Note: the word used for “honor” here is the same used to describe the value of an object or the money paid to acquire something — worth. Consider everyone around you more worthy than you today. Treat them that way and see what happens.