Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 August 2022:
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.
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.
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.
Judges 20:19-48 — Tens of thousands had to die to address normalized perversion in the land.
Psalm 95:1 – Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
When was the last time your joy in the LORD caused you to shout aloud?
- Psalm 95:6 – “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Worship is motivated by thanksgiving and awe.
Psalm 95:7, 8 – For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts….
God will speak to you today in subtle ways – do not harden your heart. Disobedience comes from a hardened heart. Do what God has put upon your heart. Remember, partial obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is also disobedience.
Psalm 96:3 – Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
Will you declare the glory of God today?
Psalm 96:7 – Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! God wants you to worship as a family.
Psalm 96:10, 11 – Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it. Let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. ”
God is merciful, but He is also just. Only God understands how to rightfully apply justice, mercy, and grace – how He does this is beyond our comprehension. We all seem to want God to administer justice to those who hurt us, but we want God to show us mercy when we hurt others. We suffer the injustices of the world, but we know that only God’s mercy creates the opportunity for injustice to even occur, since He hasn’t already condemned us in his wrath. Ultimately, God will bring justice, and all of creation will rejoice in His justice. But today, we rejoice in and proclaim His mercy and grace, while we hope (trust) in the final revelation of His justice. As instruments of God’s mercy and grace, we have been called to a ministry of suffering while we serve as ambassadors to an unjust world. And Peter warns us to not lose perspective and to have both patience as well as a sense of urgency, understanding that the Lord delays in His coming for the sake of sinners, but His return is imminent:
- 2 Peter 3:9-12 – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Be gratefully patient in your suffering but be ardent in your evangelism.
Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
God uses national leaders to bless or punish the people of a nation. The best way for a nation to ensure great leaders is to repent.
Proverbs 21:2 – Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you how you are deceiving yourself. Popular psychology recognizes the importance of being self-aware or introspective, but secular social sciences fail to solve societal problems because only the Holy Spirit can expose and change the heart.
Proverbs 21:3 – To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Make your act of worship obedience to the Lord. Don’t try to make up for disobedience by doing some act that God never asked you to do in the first place. Just obey in the circumstances God puts before you, one day at a time.
Proverbs 21:9, 19 – It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife….. It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
A quarrelsome and fretful person, whether it be a wife, husband, relative, close friend, or a business partner, can make your life miserable. Understand that your attitudes, words, and actions can have a dramatic impact on others. Someone said that people are like elevators, either bringing you up or bringing you down. What sort of elevator person are you? Some people are great at lifting up people outside of their homes while tearing down people within their homes – they treat friends better than family. However, the Bible says that if you don’t take care of your family, you are denying the faith. Do your friends like being with you more than your family does?
Proverbs 21:11 – When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
Do you require punishment or merely instruction to do what God commands? Someone once said that wisdom is understanding what you have never experienced. Wise people learn from God’s word and from watching the truth of God’s word play out in the lives of others. For example, God’s word says, “Don’t commit adultery.” You can trust and obey God’s word, you can observe and see the destructive impact of adultery in the lives of others, or you can commit adultery and experience destruction for yourself. God gives you the ability and the freedom to choose. You own the responsibility, but God owns the accountability.
Proverbs 21:13 – Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
God often treats you the way you treat others. If you are praying to received something from God that you are not willing to give to others, God sees through that, and you should not expect to receive that for which you are asking.
Proverbs 21:16 – One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead.
People wander into death by paying attention to something other than the Good Shepherd.
Proverbs 21:17 – Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
Americans have cable, cell phones, nice cars, etc, but also have more debt than assets, less than a 2% savings rate, and they no longer tithe. Over half of US consumer debt is owned by China. What does God think about that?
Proverbs 21:24 — “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
The Bible uses the word “scoffer” 19 times. The word is mentioned in Proverbs 13 times. 2 Peter 3:3 says that “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” Scoffers are those who are too proud to humbly obey God. The Bible says that those people will increase. You cannot reason with a scoffer. They will not listen.
Proverbs 21:26 – All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.
Christians overcome the cravings that destroy others by, in part, focusing on giving to others.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Aug 22: Today, declare the glory, righteousness, and faithfulness of God to as many as possible today. (Psalm 96)