Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 25 June 2022:
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 – “But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.”
In ancient times, wars were total wars, wars of annihilation. The general concept was that enemies would be completely destroyed in order to avoid any chance of retaliation and to avoid any syncretism, the blending of cultures. The Old Testament describes God’s direction to His people during this specific time and situation where captives who were spared from death in war, and who submitted to terms of surrender would be ultimately integrated into the society without them having a negative impact on the culture. Even captives were given certain rights, protections, and comforts, such as the right to mourn the deaths of their loved ones after battle. God did not allow captives to be dehumanized. Mercy, grace, and reconciliation have always been God’s way.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 – If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Again, though this is very harsh guidance for God’s people for a specific and harsh time and place in their history, the general principles of parental responsibility and accountability still stand. God expects parents to hold their children accountable to the law. God expects parents to take the lead in demanding justice, preferring right and wrong over familial loyalties.
Psalm 72:11 — “In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound.”
When the righteous flourish, peace abounds. A truly just ruler has the moral authority to expand is reign on earth. We are all called to increase our influence for God’s glory.
Psalm 72:15 – “May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!”
We should pray for our leaders, particularly our faithful leaders.
Psalm 72:17 — “May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!”
God desires that we pray for righteous leaders continually.
Psalm 72:18 – “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.”
All good things come from God.
Proverbs 25:4 — “Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel.”
Does your holiness render you usable by God for special assignments?
Proverbs 25:26 — “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
How much pollution do you want in your drinking water? How much sin does God want in your life?
Proverbs 25:28 — “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
A lack of self-control leaves you defenseless.
Proverbs 25:6, 7 – “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.”
Don’t be a self-promoter. Let your reputation speak for itself. Margaret Thatcher once said, “Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” What you are should be so apparent that you don’t have to promote it artificially. Some people become great at writing resumes, conducting job interviews, collective awards, accreditations, etc, all to get important positions, but they are only “empty suits” who overpromise and underdeliver. Of course politicians are known for doing what it takes to get elected and then failing to be all that they said they would be or failing to do all that they said they would do. Proverbs 25:14 says, “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.” Instead, Christians should let their actions, rather than their words, earn them an invitation to the party and a seat at the table. Do whatever you do so well that everyone demands more.
Proverbs 25:9 – “Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret.”
God gives very specific instructions for conflict resolution that is often ignored by Christians who should be experts on conflict resolution because we have been given by God the ministry of reconciliation. In this verse, God tells us to first seek to handle matters with others 1-on-1 and privately, not sharing the issues with others. Is that what you do?
Proverbs 25:15 – “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.”
Patience is very powerful. Instant gains are usually quickly lost. Things that matter take time. Patience is the first virtue mentioned in the Great Love Verse, 1 Cor 13:4 – “Love is patient and kind….”
Proverbs 25:26 – “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Jesus is the Pure, Live Giving, Living Water. Always let His pure water for through you to others by remaining faithfully obedient and pure.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 June 22: Remove the dross in your life; don’t muddy the Living Water in your life; let the truth of the Gospel in you life speak more loudly than your words, while never missing the opportunity to share the Gospel verbally with anyone you can.