OYB April 2
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Apr 02
21:10-14 Here are some thoughts by David Guzik: In the ancient world, it was not uncommon for a man to take a wife from among the captives, especially if she was a beautiful woman! Yet obviously, this was open to great abuse; so God give specific guidelines to govern this practice in Israel.
First, the captive woman had to be purified and humbled: shave her head and trim her nails. This denoted a complete break with her past, and the willingness to start anew, humbly as a child.
Second, the captive woman had to show a change of allegiance: put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house. This showed that the captive woman no longer regarded her former nation and her former family; now she was a citizen of Israel.
Third, the captive woman had to mourn her past associations: mourn her father and mother a full month. This would be time when she could resolve issues in her heart regarding her family, and when her husband-to-be could live with her a month without intimate relations - so he could see if he really wanted to take this woman as a wife, and to make sure he was not making a decision based only of physical appearance or attractiveness.
After the month of mourning, the potential husband was free to marry the captive woman - yet, he did not have to. But if he decided not to, he had to set her free with dignity (you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally). This was a remarkable protection of the rights of a captive woman!
All I can say is that it would have taken superhuman self-control for the man not to try to have intimate relations with a beautiful woman residing in his home for a whole month. But in those days, families lived together, so they probably wouldn't have been alone. I also saw, at least in the first part of it, sort of a story between Jesus and His Bride. After taking a captive into His custody, she had to be purified and humbled and show a change of allegiance. She was even allowed to mourn her losses of those she loved. We certainly do that when our families don't want a part of our newfound marriage covenant with Christ!
21:22-23 If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree, the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. This is a powerfully prophetic verse. Jesus was cursed in the sight of God, which is probably why Jesus said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" And Jesus was taken down that very day, and buried.
22:5 A woman must not put on men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God.
David Guzik: Some have taken this command to be the "proof-text" against women wearing pants; some Christian sects command that women wear only dresses. Yet, this is not a command against women wearing a garment that in some ways might be common between men and women; it is a command against dressing in a manner which deliberately blurs the lines between the sexes. The dramatic rise in cross-dressing, transvestitism, androgynous behavior, and "gender-bender" behavior in our culture is a shocking trampling of this command, and will reap a bitter harvest in more perversion and more gender confusion in our culture.
22:28-29 All I could think of is, "What about the woman-is there any way she would want to live with a man who raped her?!"
9:55-56 If you look down at the notes on this passage, it reads pretty cool. "Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up as Elijah did?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them. "You don't realize what your hearts are like. For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them (emphasis mine)." This addition is included in other versions and it is so beautiful.
9:57-62 This is the cost of following Jesus. To me, it sounds like the men were stalling. Jesus is looking for people who are really serious about the Kingdom work.
10:2 The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ask him to send out more workers for his fields. Many are ready to hear, who will go and tell them? In China alone, one of the most persecuted nations for believers, around 10,000 people a day receive the Good News of Jesus as their Savior! Think about the spiritual hunger out there. We can go in many ways-in person (missions), with our time, talents, money, prayer, children (send our children on missions). Everybody can do something!
9-10 We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? This is our prayer today!
Questions for reflection:
Have you ever had something you knew that God wanted you to do (or not do) and you stalled? Most of the times I remember stalling are when God asks me to go make amends with someone, or when I'm super afraid to do something. Challenge yourself to trust that God is big enough to make your mission a success!
Have you ever thought about going on a mission trip? Have you ever thought about supporting a missionary? Have you ever thought of being a volunteer for a missionary organization? If you need information as to how to go about any of these three, ask me. There's a great satisfaction that comes through investing in the Harvest!