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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB April 30

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are 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
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Judges

11:1-3 Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute. Gilead's wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. "You will not get any of our father's inheritance," they said, "for you are the son of a prostitute." ...Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him. Wow, this is sort of a mini Jesus-story! He was a great warrior. He had many half-brothers who did not accept Him and who were jealous of Him. His other "half-brothers," the Pharisees, were indignant that He would not get any of "their Father's" inheritance (they did not believe He was the Messiah or from God). Partly why they refused to believe is because they said, he is just the son of a carpenter, the son of Mary and Joseph (in other words, He had origin with sinful people of the world). And soon, Jesus had a band of worthless rebels following Him called "disciples."

I find the battle over this land fascinating. From the day the Israelites moved into the Promised Land, there have been territory battles. What is the big deal about this countryside that people would war over it for 4 centuries? There is no more disputed land in all the world! This alone should prove something! Even this week, I was reading in the Israel news that Jordan announced that Israel will go to war if it doesn't hand over Jerusalem to Palestine in the next 18 month. Add to that, the Vatican is trying to stake claim over parts of Jerusalem, including David's tomb and the upper room. What is so compelling about this land? You'd think everyone would just move out and move on. But, to coin a phrase from "Slumdog Millionaire,"

"It is written..."

Jephthah's Vow. This is worth taking some space to check out David Guzik's commentary, because I think it's worth it:

Some think that Jephthah did really offer his daughter as a burnt offering; if he did, this was clearly an example of misguided zeal for God, because God never asked him to make such a foolish vow or to fulfill it so foolishly.

i. Later in their history, Israel would begin to serve a terrible pagan god named Molech, who was "worshipped" with child sacrifice in the most terrible way imaginable. God never asked to be served in the terrible way people would worship Molech; this can't be blamed on God.

b. But it is more likely that what this means is that Jephthah set his daughter aside for the tabernacle service according to the principle of Leviticus 27:2-4, where persons set apart to God in a vow are not required to be sacrificed (as animals were), but were "given" to the tabernacle in monetary value.

i. We know that there were women who were set apart for the tabernacle service; they were called the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (Exodus 38:8; 1 Samuel 2:22). It is likely that Jephthah's daughter became one of these women who served at the tabernacle

ii. His daughter, and her friends, are rightly sorrowful that she would be given to the tabernacle service before she was ever married; probably, most the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle were older widows (however, there would have been much more to bewail if she was killed!)

iii. By sending his unmarried, only daughter to the service of the tabernacle for the rest of her life, it shows how seriously both Jephthah and his daughter took his promise to God.

iv. This seems like the best explanation, because Jephthah is listed as a hero of the faith (Hebrews 11:32); and it is hard to think of him as doing something so contrary to God's ways as offering his daughter as a human sacrifice.

By the way, if you read this passage in NASB, there is no mention whatsoever that the daughter dies, like NLT phrases. She only goes away to grieve her virginitiy (and probably not having children). Instead of the phrasing "she died a virgin," NASB says, "she had no relations with a man." I think David Guzik is RIGHT!

Lastly, here we find the divergence of Jephthah (you should try typing that!) and Jesus. Whereas Jephthah offered up his daughter hastily as the sacrifice, Jesus offered up Himself as the sacrifice and saved His beloved "daughter." Perhaps that would have been the more likely will of God--for J. to offer up himself instead of his daughter!

John

You will find that John is different than the other three Gospels. He gives a different perspective on Jesus, and especially focuses on Jesus' love. This is the same John that wrote Revelation.

1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man (NASB). This is a cool verse. Jesus is that true Light, and darkness cannot overcome it. One thing I especially love is how God created the physical manifestation of light and darkness so that we could fully comprehend what Jesus is to the world! There are some very cool parallels between Jesus and light. Light has a source, it is eternal (where light shines out it never stops until it makes contact), it makes things grow, it reveals hidden things, it produces energy and heat, it can be dangerous, it can be in many places at one time, you can't see (you're lost) without it, it is the source of life.

I love one person's description of evil. It is simply the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of light, and cold is the absence of heat. When God retreats, evil floods in.

1:16-17 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. Review: The written Torah brought judgment and condemnation. The Living Torah brought grace and peace with God through Jesus Christ! What a mystery! What a beautiful full circle!

Have you noticed that the Old Testament is really a "picture book" and the New Testament is the fulfillment of all the pictures? Is God an amazing Author or what? That He could write His-Story through so many lives over 4,000 years so that we would recognize it when His-Story put skin on-He is so complex, amazing, and glorious! I am constantly in awe of His sovereign creativity and ability to weave lives and stories all together to make sense! Kind of goes with that blog entry where we explored what it means to be a Christ-type and to have parts of our lives become a picture of His-Story, much like those people in the Bible. I believe the more we surrender to His will and live a life of sacrifice, the more we become a "Christ type" and a definitive picture in His-Story!