October 15, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 2:1-5

For any parents out there, you almost always already know the answer when you ask your kids, “why did you do that?” When they do something wrong, what is their typical answer? Well, it typically sounds something like this: “I don’t know,” or ” he or she made me do it.” They have a hard time taking on the blame or maybe even seeing that they did something wrong at all.

In today’s passage, the people of Israel have the exact opposite reaction. The angel of the Lord comes to them and calls them out on a very specific sin and asks them that dreaded question every kid hates to hear, “why have you done this?” Their response was exactly what it needed to be. They repented, offered sacrifices and wept before the Lord.

So what about you and me? When we sin (and it is evident to us that we have sinned), what is our response? Maybe you have been called out by a brother or sister in Christ, or maybe the Holy Spirit is convicting you of your sin. Either way, you are being asked, “why have you done this?” How do you respond? Do you justify it? Do you blow it off as no big deal, saying things like, “well, everybody falls and makes mistakes”? Or have you hardened your heart so much that you just don’t really care anymore.

Whatever the case may be, let me encourage you to move toward a response like we see in today’s passage when you are called out in sin. Don’t allow yourself to continue in unrepentant sin. Definitely don’t allow your heart to harden to the sin in your life. If you have already allowed a sin in your life to harden your heart, go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to show you where you are wrong. Openly and honestly repent of it and make the necessary changes to eradicate it. And this is, as we will see in the life of Israel, to be a daily, ongoing process. If not, just like Israel, we will eventually grow hard and cold of heart toward repentance of sin.

Today, I encourage you to do this:

1. Spend time in prayer and meditation, reviewing your life and asking God to reveal any sin in your life.

2. Ask someone who is close to you to be open and honest about sin in your life, maybe a friend or a spouse.

3. Spend time in prayer asking the Lord to break your heart for the sin in your life and ask Him to forgive you.

4. Begin making changes in your life to get rid of those sins.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

October 14, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 1

We start a new JumpStart book today – the Old Testament book of Judges.  Let me give you a little background to catch you up…

Although the book of Judges does not specifically name it’s author, we believe that Samuel wrote it between 1045 and 1000 B.C.  This book can be divided into two sections:

  • • Accounts of the wars of deliverance in the Promised Land (Chapters 1-16)
  • •  Accounts of the times of the Judges of Israel that lead before there was a king (Chapters 17-21)

The book of Ruth was originally a part of Judges, until A.D. 450 when it was removed to become a book of its own.  The key verses of this book that give us an idea of what it’s about are…

Then the Lord raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.  Yet Israel did not listen to the judges but prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods. How quickly they turned away from the path of their ancestors, who had walked in obedience to the Lord’s commands.  Whenever the Lord raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering.  But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.  Judges 2:16-19

But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.”  Judges 10:15

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.  Judges 21:25

Get the picture?  Now to chapter 1.

What happens when we disobey God or only “partially obey” Him?  How does that turn out for us?  For our family?  For our church?  For our country?  I think you know the answer – and Israel should have, too!  Verse 19 is a sad history of disobedience that would come back to haunt them…  

The Lord was with the people of Judah, and they took possession of the hill country. But they failed to drive out the people living in the plains, who had iron chariots.

The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin.  (v.21) 

The descendants of Joseph attacked the town of Bethel, and the Lord was with them. they killed everyone in the town except that man and his family. Later the man moved to the land of the Hittites, where he built a town. He named it Luz, which is its name to this day. (v.22,25b-26)

The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in Beth-shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and all their surrounding settlements, because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region. (v.27) 

The tribe of Zebulun failed to drive out the residents of Kitron and Nahalol, so the Canaanites continued to live among them. (v.30) 

The tribe of Asher failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob.  Instead, the people of Asher moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land, for they failed to drive them out.  (v.31-32)

Who had God given this land to?  The descendants of Abraham – all of it!  Why did God command them to drive all the squatters out?  Because He knew it would corrupt the people. They would eventually turn to the idols of these pagan people and bring God’s wrath on them.  Did they?  You know the answer.

What’s the biggest conflict in the world today?  What has it always been?  Israel and the people living with and around them.  What if they had only obeyed?

What about you?  What has God told you to drive out of your life that you continue to coddle and keep as a lappet?  How has the demon came back to hurt you? What are you going to do about it?  Are you going to obey God – destroy it and inhabit the life God has promised you or disobey and live with it for the rest of your life?

I’m praying a prayer of deliverance and victory over you today.  I’m asking God Almighty to deliver you and for you to let go of the pagan idols in your life and serve the One and True God completely.

Posted by: Tim Parsons