Monday, April 20, 2015

On one occasion of Jesus preaching to a crowd of followers John observes, “many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. who can accept it?’” (John 6:60, NIV). Certainly God’s command to Joshua and ancient Israel are “hard teaching.” Working through hard teachings is a part of a Christian's duty to study to show himself approved... In his book to fellow pastors, Brothers, We are Not Professionals, John Piper writes in his chapter, Brothers, Show Your People Why God Inspired Hard Texts
And if God ordained for some of that precious, sacred, God-breathed book to be hard to understand, then God unleashed in the world not only an impulse to teach people how to read but also to think about what they read-- how to read hard things and understand them and how to use the mind in a rigorous way.

Here are a few additional thoughts to keep in mind and we teach through Judges:

1. God is sovereign over life and death. Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (KVJ)

2. God is a righteous Judge. Psalm 7:11 “God is a righteous judge…”

3. The ancient world was cruel, inhumane and brutal.  In Joshua and Judges God uses ancient Israel as His instrument of judgment. Death, war, and hatred toward one another are all results of the fall, the entrance of sin into the human experience.

Remember, war and death were not a part of God’s original plan at creation. Following His creation God declared all that He had made, “very good.” It was Adam’s rebellion against God that brought death into the human experience, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” Romans 5:12, NIV.

4. Even in judgment there are glimpses of God’s mercy and grace.

Genesis 15:16 reads, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” One commentary observes of this scripture, “God would wait centuries giving opportunity for this people to repent! His grace and mercy waited to see if they would repent and turn from their headlong plummet into self destruction” (Hard Sayings of the Bible).

Read Timothy Keller’s excellent article The Issue of Holy War here

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Gospel According to Judges: Judges 1:19-36 Questions for Reflection

Dig Deeper

The focus of the first verses of the book of Judges is on the family of Caleb. Timothy Keller in his book Judges for You observes, “The family of faithful Caleb here, in miniature, is what all Israel should be like.” Caleb was one of the twelve scouts sent out by Moses to investigate the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:6). Only he and Joshua brought back a positive report that Israel indeed should proceed into Canaan. This is not because Caleb and Joshua minimized the threat the people of Canaan posed but rather their faith in the power of God to keep His Word was sure. After the other scouts spread word of the strength of inhabitants of Canaan urging the Israelites to retreat Caleb was the first to speak up, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us” (Numbers 14:7b-8). It is Caleb’s partner Joshua who rises to prominence and is chosen by the Lord to lead the Israelites after the death of Moses, but Caleb remains an example of life-long faithfulness to the Lord and his family.  

What examples of faithfulness do you glean from Caleb in the following Scriptures?

Numbers 13:30; & 14:1-9--

Numbers 14:24; 14:30, 38 & 26:65--

Deuteronomy 1:35-36--

Joshua 14:6-7--

Joshua 15:13-19 & Judges 1:12-15--

Judges 1:20--

Memorize This

Joshua 1:9-- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” NIV