Judges 13 This chapter reveals a God who cares for His people even if they don’t seem to care for Him. God loves all His people, especially barren women and wants to bless these them. For four chapters, we read about Samson, the son of Manoah and “Mrs. Manoah.” It is the “Mrs.” that has the initial contact with the angel of God. It is she that quoted verbatim his words to her husband, Manoah. But, like Zechariah, when Manoah heard that his wife would bear a child, he needed more confirmation. And, both sons, John the Baptist and Samson would be a Nazarite.
Mr. Manoah may not have understood all the details about Samson’s birth, but he is commended for his obedience and faith as he entreated the Lord. And like Jacob, he wanted to know the name of the “man of God.” He needs confirmation on all accounts. After seeing the miracle of the flame and the rising of the angel to heaven, he then has a crisis of belief: “surely we will die for we have seen God.” Not so, Mrs. Manoah! She was perceptive: look at the evidence, God answered our prayer, he accepted our offering, he wouldn’t have shown us these things or let us hear things like this! How great was her faith! And God blessed her with a son.
When God speaks, do we believe Him 100 %! Or do we need more confirmation like Manoah and Zechariah did?
Numbers 26 & 27 Louis May Alcott wrote a classic called Little Women, which captivated audiences and still does today. But here in an obscure passage, we read about, not four, but five little women and the problem they faced. As Moses recorded the male inheritances of the children of Israel, he listed the names of men—not women–from 20 yrs. old and up. In the middle, we read: Zelophehad had no sons, only five daughters. He had stood firm against those who had tested the Lord and was found faithful. But, male hierarchy and the law said only males could inherit the land. So these five daughters wondered what happens to our father’s inheritance. What about us? They wanted their faithful father’s legacy to continue.
Bravely, but graciously, these five women entered the men’s arena to seek a change in the rules. They entered a patriarchal society to claim their father’s inheritance rights, and all eyes rolled! Moses was in a quandary! What do I do? Wisely Moses went straight to God and heard they were right teaching us that God honors courage and humility. These five little women gained the rights to inheritance and preservation of their father’s legacy! Women of today take heart! You, too, can be wise, tenacious, brave, and courageous.
Zelophehad raised five courageous women, and fathers can do the same today. These five little women sought to honor their deceased father, and God honored their request. These five little women are excellent role models for women today don’t you think?
Numbers 1-3 Boring lists of names? Numbers beyond our ability to comprehend? This is how the book of Numbers begins, but what we lack in comprehension the Holy Spirit has the understanding, and it is this: God is a God of details. He knows when a sparrow falls; He knows each hair on your head. Why is this important? It is because God has a plan, and your name is on it.
God knew that Moses needed others to serve, and so in eternity past, he chose men to help him. They were to be Moses servants to be ready to serve in whatever capacity God had planned. That was then, and it is the same today. God cares so much for each of us that He chose us for His kingdom’s work and called them His servants. A servant serves others even when inconvenient, also when he or she dislikes the “duty,” or when circumstances are convenient or inconvenient or when you may or may not receive recognition, and lastly, with an attitude that you are doing God’s work.
God has a plan for each of us. In eternity past, He looked down from his throne in heaven and said I need this person for this position, or I need that person for another job. And God did all of that just because He loved you and me. Amazingly He wants to be glorified through us. Stop and think about that today and praise God for His lovingkindness that He chose you for His work.
Exodus 32 Do you have trouble waiting–especially for God to act, to speak, or “fill in the blank?”
Do you become impatient? Do you want to wait, but circumstances take over, and you decide to take matters into your own hands? The Israelites had just said, ‘we will obey.’ Yet when a test came into their lives to wait, their commitment was shallow. When the people “saw” that Moses still had not returned, they made a decision: Moses’ God wasn’t working on their time table. It won’t be the last time these Israelites have a problem with waiting. They became impatient with Samuel and said you are old and your sons don’t follow, so appoint us a king. King David’s prayer life reveals that he must have had trouble with waiting too, for he wrote three times for God to help him in ‘waiting.’ [Ps 17:14; 37:7, 62:5]
Why do we have a problem with waiting? We misperceive time. The drama of leaving Egypt was still fresh in their minds, and they were anxious to get to the Promised Land, yet God knew that they needed the skill of waiting because time had always been determined for them. Now they were being tested to see if their commitment was real. Sometimes as we wait, we yearn for routine, and we get bored. Without a routine, we get lazy, and we become discontented; we lack a commitment to the cause. Like the Israelites, we do not have perseverance. We think we have the plan all figured out, and we want God to do it ‘now.’ One author put it this way; Waiting reveals the best and the worst in us and also reveals our lack of understanding that God doesn’t work on our time table.
Are you having trouble waiting? Cultivate this skill through prayerful meditation and study.
Exodus 28 Have you ever attended an ordination ceremony? The hierarchy has thoroughly vetted the person for ordination as to doctrine and personal testimony. The first ordination ceremony was held not in a church but in the desert with Moses officiating. Before its commencement, God told Moses three times that the purpose of choosing Aaron was so he could minister as his priest. Aaron was to be dressed in the most elegant garments and set apart to minister and his garments and the garments of his sons were made with gold, blue, scarlet threads woven as a picture of heaven. He was to wear the breastplate of decision over his heart for a memorial before the Lord continually.
Today, our ministers do not dress in such costly garments, but the purpose is the same. Each that is chosen and ordained is to be a minister for God. They are to come before the Lord with each decision over his heart—continually. Three steps were to taken to confirm them: anointing with oil, ordaining in word, and set apart as holy all to minister as God’s priests permanently.
Our Lord is our high priest, anointed with the blood of the cross, ordained in word by the Father and set apart as holy. His office is permanent, and he wears the breastpiece of decisions over his heart.
Believers are “ordained” to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. We are to proclaim the virtues of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light
Are you fulfilling your office as a minister for God?
Gen 48 The psalmist wrote that we are to prepare the next generation to praise Him and then, in turn, tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts, his strength and the amazing things he has done. The reason is so that they will place their confidence in God and not forget the works of Him and obey His commands. [Psalm 78 paraphrase] How often do we fail to do just that and our children wonder what God did in our lives? We prepare our wills and leave it to lawyers to share our meager wealth but what about our testimony of what God has done in our lives?
When Joseph was told Jacob was on his deathbed he made it a point for Jacob to bless his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. There had been 17 yrs. since Jacob came to Egypt and now it was Joseph’s opportunity to have his boys receive the blessing of their grandfather. Jacob prayed that these would be blessed by the God of Abraham and Isaac and grow into a multitude on the earth.
There are some lessons here for us. We need to first take time for our children and grandchildren to know their grandparents. Are you adrift from them? Take time to introduce them so they have a lasting legacy. Notice that Jacob told them that God had been his shepherd all his life. He told them how the angel of God protected him from all harm. What wisdom have you prepared to share with your children and grandchildren? Take time to sit down with your children and grandchildren and testify to God’s faithfulness. Consider practical ways to share what God has done.
Time is short—eternity is long. What will they remember?
Genesis 44 God has used the separation of several years to soften the heart of Judah. Judah brought great grief to his father Jacob and no amount of consoling brought him relief. Jacob gave up all hope so when Judah wanted to take Benjamin to get more grain in Egypt it was the last straw. While that scenario was happening back in Canaan Joseph had sat in the dark of the dungeon until one day God intervened and now he sat second in command.
In each case, we can see by reading these stories that God is the one who orchestrates our days and our times so that He will get the glory. He will move heaven and earth to get Judah to repent and to use the dreams He gave Joseph to show Himself true. As bystanders in all of this, we listen with the brothers as Judah now stands before Joseph unaware that he is fulfilling Joseph’s dreams. His repentance is forthcoming and we weep with Joseph as our hearts are broken for Judah. But we also see how Joseph’s faith has not only strengthened him but gave him hope all these years. Truly we see the graciousness of God and the kindness in his heart. Years may have separated them but God has been at work in both of their hearts.
Judah stands perplexed as Joseph honors God: God sent me ahead to preserve you. Imagine Judah listening to all of this! The tears flow through the mind-boggling conversation. How could this be? Like Judah and Joseph, you may wonder how your present trial will turn out. Hangest thou in there; Romans 8:28 is true! “all things work together for good to them that love God.” God is patient and He will be honored in His time and place and through our circumstances.
ps Sometimes we see the end but sometimes only in eternity will see it. Give God praise for what He does reveal and do not hold bitterness in your heart for what He has not revealed.
Genesis 34 & 2Sam 13 When we come across stories like these two chapters we would like to avoid them because they “stink to high heaven.” Yet God has placed these here to remind us that His inspired word is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness.
God taught both Jacob and David to be strong men of God but they chose to waffle between the world and God. God reproved both men for their lack of strength of character and to guide their children in the truth just as Proverbs teaches.
Dinah and Tamar were not daddy’s girls. They lived in homes of all men and distant fathers in their upbringing. Instead of teaching their daughters, they failed parenting 101 and chose to favor sons over them. We want to scream and cry for these daughters and for their absentee fathers because they failed to set boundaries and teach trust. They ignored the violation when their daughters were raped. Both fathers let their sons handle the violation but then cried foul because his—not her—reputation was tarnished.
Studies have proven that fathers set the course of their daughters for their self-esteem and strength of character. Girls need the affirmation of a father to be strong in character. “Train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is old he/she will not turn from it.” Prov 22
Welcome to 2020! We begin again at the beginning, Genesis 1 -2. I am thrilled you have chosen to follow my page and to read along with me. Let’s get started: Please take your Bible and read the first two chapters of Genesis 1 & 2.
Stop and ask: What stands out to you? What is God saying as He speaks through the Holy Spirit? What lessons does He want us to learn?
Know this; the purpose of Bible reading is to guide us into all truth so we can be mature discerning truth from error. As a base premise for this year memorize 2Tim 3:16 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.”
Genesis 1-2: The earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep BUT the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. Isn’t that just like the heart of the unbeliever? They are without spiritual shape and their heart is empty, void of the Holy Spirit and without the Light of God. It takes the movement of the Holy Spirit to bring light into the soul. The light was good in the beginning and it is good for the unbeliever because it illumines deficiencies and illumines understanding when we yield. “If then your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark, it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” [Luke 11] When that happens you no longer are in darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Therefore, live like children of light” [Eph 5 author paraphrase]
This leaves us with a challenge for 2020 and a question: Where are we spiritually and are we living as children of light?
In Galatians, we talked about the privilege we have of being adopted into God’s family. Today we see how that process took place. It began in eternity past—in fact before the foundation of the world. As a people, we were predestined to be holy children of God because of the pleasure of His will. Yet when sin entered the world we found ourselves as children of wrath. However, God in his rich mercies and his great love made us alive in His Son Jesus Christ. In him, we have redemption through his blood and the forgiveness of our sins.
God is rich! He is so rich that he poured out on us not only the forgiveness of our sins but all wisdom and insight all because of His good pleasure. So now we are children of God, claimed as God’s own possession. Not only that, but we have been marked with the seal that cannot be broken of God’s promised Holy Spirit.
And why has God chosen to bring us into His family? It is so that we will be able to comprehend, understand—that is to have God’s perspective and to know His love with surpasses all knowledge that we might be filled to overflowing with His love that we can share these truths with others.