Old Testament In a Year: April 21 – Judges 19, 20, 21

Judges 19, 20, 21
Focus Verse: 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. – Judges 19:24

The old man who invited the Levite and his concubine to stay the night at his house had a warped sense of what was right. In his mind, it was okay for the worthless men of Gibeah to violate his daughter and the Levite’s concubine. But it was not okay for them to violate the Levite. He somehow reasoned that it was less wrong to prostitute the women than the Levite. He placed more value on the man’s life than he did on the women’s lives. In deciding between two evils, the old man presumed that he was choosing the lesser evil. But in God’s mind, all life – female and male – is equally valuable; and a violation of either is equally evil.

If perhaps you have to make a choice between two evils, know that one is not less evil than the other. So, choose neither.

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Old Testament In a Year: April 20 – Judges 16, 17, 18

Judges 16, 17, 18
Focus Verse: Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” – Judges 16:28

Samson’s reckless behavior was probably not appreciated by God. His roller coaster relationships with Philistine women, his lies, his tattling about the source of his strength, his imprisonment at the end of his life – none of this was part of God’s original purpose for Samson. God wanted Samson to “be a Nazirite to God from the womb” and to “begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”

Because God is omnipotent, He knew Samson would behave in the way that he did. So, he used Samson’s recklessness and anger issues and mishaps and mistakes and tumultuous relationships to accomplish His purpose in Samson’s life and in the nation of Israel at that time. God didn’t take back the strength that He gave to Samson. He didn’t forget about him because of his faults. When Samson had his sight and was a free, brash, powerful man, God was with him. And when Samson was blind, chained, and humiliated before the Philistines, God was with him. God remembered him. God strengthened him. God used him more mightily in his last day than in his first days.

Human beings have a tendency to take flight when those they know do stupid things. But God is not a human being. When you are disobedient or when you make a mistake or when it seems like you have screwed up your entire life, God does not run away from you. He stands by you. He fights for you to make a comeback. He does not take back the talents, gifts, and abilities He gave to you. He uses everything that you have gone through – the good and the bad, the successes and the failures, the mistakes and the miracles – to make your end greater than your beginning.

Old Testament In a Year: April 19 – Judges 13, 14, 15

Judges 13, 14, 15
Focus Verse: His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel. – Judges 14:4

Because the Philistines were Israel’s enemies and heathens who did not believe in God, Samson’s parents did not understand why their son was so bent on marrying a Philistine woman. They wanted him to marry an Israelite woman; however, they did not know that God was using their son’s behavior to bring about something good. If Samson had not sought an opportunity against the Philistines, he would not have had the opportunity to destroy them.

You may not understand why God allows others to make wrong decisions or even why He allows you to make mistakes. But amid all the failings and wrongdoing of human beings, the purpose and plans of God are being accomplished. In that regard, every situation can be thought of as being from the Lord.

Old Testament In a Year: April 18 – Judges 11, 12

Judges 11, 12
Focus Verse: And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” – Judges 11:2

Jephthah was shunned by his step brothers because they did not share the same mother. He was regarded as illegitimate and unwanted. He was banned from having an inheritance in his father’s house due to the woman who birthed him.

This is not how it is in God’s family. You are not unwanted or unloved due to the status of your birth. Regardless of who rejects you, God will receive you. He has a plan for your life just like He had a plan for Jephthah’s life. You have an inheritance in His Heavenly kingdom. You are His beloved child.

Old Testament In a Year: April 17 – Judges 9, 10

Judges 9, 10
Focus Verse: Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. – Judges 9:56

Has someone wronged you? Has someone done evil to you or those you know? If so, don’t try to make it right on your own. It may seem like they are getting away with it just as it seemed Abimelech was getting away with murdering his seventy brothers. But God’s eyes go to and fro in all the earth. No wrong goes unnoticed by Him. He takes note of every injustice.

Vengeance is mine, the Lord says, I will repay.

Let God avenge you. Leave it to Him to right your wrongs.

Old Testament In a Year: April 16 – Judges 7, 8

Judges 7, 8
Focus Verse: As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” – Judges 7:15

Before he experienced victory over Midian, Gideon worshiped God. He didn’t wait until after the battle was over to praise God. He praised God before the battle. This was a sign that Gideon’s faith finally conquered his fear. He fully believed the word of the Lord.

In this world, you will have battles to fight. But because of Christ, victory is already yours. He has overcome all trouble, every darkness, sin, death, and hell. And because He has overcome, you have overcome as well.

You don’t have to wait until the battle is over or until your blessing comes to worship God. You can worship God before the battle. You can worship God in the midst of the battle. You can worship God while you’re waiting on your blessing. Why? Because the battle has already been won. The blessing is already in your hand.

Old Testament In a Year: April 15 – Judges 4, 5, 6

Judges 4, 5, 6
Focus Verse: And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” – Judges 6:12

When the angel of the Lord met Gideon, he called him a “mighty man of valor.” But Gideon’s words and actions after this exultant greeting show quite a different kind of man.

First, he questioned God’s presence. The angel told Gideon that the Lord was with him, but Gideon’s response was: “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Second, he doubted his might. The angel told Gideon to go in his might and save Israel from Midian, but once again Gideon’s response was one of doubt. He said: “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

Third, he tested God’s word. The angel had already told Gideon that God would use him to save Israel, but Gideon decided to test God before trusting Him completely. He put out one fleece and asked God to let it be wet with dew while the ground was dry. God did so. But that wasn’t enough for Gideon. He said: “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” God did so again.

Throughout this passage, we see that Gideon was a fearful man who doubted God and doubted himself. Yet, the angel of the Lord called Gideon a “mighty man of valor.” Why? Because God saw something in Gideon that Gideon did not see in himself. Behind his uncertain and faithless exterior, God knew Gideon possessed a mighty heart and a valiant soul. God knew that although Gideon appeared to be a coward, he actually had a courageous spirit.

God did not call Gideon what he appeared to be – fearful, faithless, uncertain, doubtful, timid. God called Gideon what He actually was – mighty, man of valor.

What is God calling you? Listen to Him. Trust Him. Become what He says you are.

Old Testament In a Year: April 14 – Judges 1, 2, 3

Judges 1, 2, 3
Focus Verse: Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. – Judges 2:18

If you forsake God, He will not forsake you.

Out of His justice, He will punish you for disobeying Him and turning away from Him. But out of His pity, He will not punish you forever.

He could abandon you, but because God is merciful, He will not. No matter how deep you sink in sin, He is always near to save you if you call out to Him. You can never go to a place so far where God cannot reach you. You can never do something so wrong that God cannot redeem you. Where your trust, faithfulness, and obedience to Him ends, His devotion and love for you begins.

1 Year In God’s Word: Day 111 — Judges 19-21, Luke 16

year-in-Gods-Word-day-111

Judges 19
Focus Verse: But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. (25)

The Benjamites who inhabited Gibeah were wickedly wrong in what they did. But the old man and the Levite were also wrong. They should have been willing to sacrifice themselves. They should not have even suggested that the women they were responsible for loving and protecting be hurt in any way. Both of them were inadvertent accomplices in the concubine’s murder.

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