OYB April 29
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 29
9:22-24 After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem, and they revolted. God was punishing Abimelech for murdering Gideon's seventy sons, and the citizens of Shechem for supporting him in this treachery of murdering his brothers. What a fine reminder that you can't get away with sin. God may lay "dormant" for awhile, but a person's day in court will come for hurting others!
10:9-10 The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, "We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal." The OT is sort of like a broken record when it comes to rebellion and unbelief! I wonder why people (us too) wait so long to come to God when we are living with the pain of our sinful choices and unfaithfulness. Every day when we choose our own methods of dealing with our desires and problems instead of turning to God, we serve images of Baal!
10:15-16 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." Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery. We forget that our sin and the consequences thereof bring pain to God's heart. Why? He is a Daddy. What loving daddy wouldn't feel broken when watching his children struggle in sin and bondage?
24:25-27 Then Jesus said to them, "You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn't it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?" Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. It is clear that these men still didn't believe, which is why Jesus was criticizing them. I can only imagine what Jesus took them through-the almost sacrifice of Isaac; the life and suffering of Joseph while being the sacrifice and savior of his people and then reunited with his brothers who suddenly recognized him; the Passover with the lamb's blood delivering from death, many of David's Psalms that talk of Messiah's suffering as well as reigning on earth in the future Millennial Kingdom, many of Isaiah's Messianic prophecies—He was written all over the OT!
24:40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. It's an amazing thought that when we get to our eternal home, all of our scars will be healed but Jesus' scars will remain. It's as if His scars healed ours...or His stripes healed ours.
24:42-43 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched. Jesus eats many times in His resurrected body. This is some of the many evidences that we too will eat in our resurrected bodies (the Wedding banquet, as well as the tree of life will produce fruit every month for us to eat from).
14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed but the tent of the godly will flourish.
I just read something that will explain this verse. In an amazing book by Frank Viola, From Eternity to Here: rediscovering the ageless purpose of God, He pointed out that Abraham was a man of "altars and tents." Altars because he was willing to sacrifice for the purposes of God (Isaac, his only son), and tents because his heart was not wrapped up in the security of this world but he followed God to unknown destinations and dwelt in tents. Remember that Abraham is a Father God type. God is also a God of altars and tents. He sacrificed His only Son on the altar for us, and He also moved from place to place in shelters or Tabernacles. I see this verse differentiates between houses and tents because the wicked have their hearts tied to this world, whereas the godly are willing to give up security to follow God. Please note that I don't think God literally means houses and tents, but in our hearts, where is our security? What are we willing to do to follow His Spirit?
Questions for reflection:
Do you ever find yourself "hiding" from God? When you have disobeyed or when you feel ashamed for general choices in life, do you run away or come to Him? Remember, He is the only cure for our sin and shame. We can find relief sooner by running to Him instead of wallowing on our own for so long.
Are you a person of "the tents?" Do you work at cutting your affections and attachments from this world, looking forward to a better home, or do you wrestle with living as if this world is your home? I have noticed that the more I own, the more it owns me. My "stuff" becomes like magnetic gravity that pulls me away from the things of God. And the more I let go of it, the lighter and freer I become, ready for His purposes!
When my husband and I sold our house in 2007, we got rid of about 2/3 of our household items (you could have decked out a small country with all our stuff!). Then we moved again in 2008 and got rid of about another ¼ of our stuff. Since then, we've realized how much happier we are, and how much less we have to take care of, and we wonder if we should just move again so we can get rid of even more?? (It's becoming fun to see how little we can live on!). Weird, I know. But just try this:
Clean out all the stuff in your closets and garage and basement that you're not using, and then this spring/summer, hold a garage sale and donate the money to missions. If you need a suggestion for which one, go to www.hopegivers.org and donate your garage sale proceeds for orphans in India. These orphans are being raised to become missionaries and church planters to change their country for Jesus! Just think about how far a little garage sale money could go for planting seeds in India!