Are you bored with God’s Word? Do you allow God’s Word and God’s wisdom to affect your heart intensely or is it too often “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”? Sometimes our familiarity with the Word or with certain passages can keep us from benefiting from our Bible reading. Are there some simple steps to assure we “listen” to God’s voice more attentively?
Judges 5 & 6
Are you bored with God’s Word?
Judges 5 & 6:
A Familiar Story
Probably one of the most familiar stories in Judges is the story of Gideon. Those of you who were brought up in Sunday school have probably heard the story many times.
But God doesn’t want us to come to His Word, going “ho-hum, heard that one before.” His Word is “quick” as the old King James Version says. That means it’s “alive.” Think of the “quick” under your fingernails—very much “alive,” as you know, if you’ve ever gotten a splinter under there!
We should come to our Bible reading expecting God to speak to us in a fresh way. It’s not that we’re free to put our own spin on God’s Word, but there is so much in every passage that we couldn’t mine it all in a lifetime.
Remember our questions from yesterday and how we can use them to dialog with the Lord. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? And I would add, has my familiarity with this passage caused me to miss something you want me to see?
So what can we learn from this familiar story?
One thing that jumped out at me is in verse 6.6:
“So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.”
These were tough economic times for the children of Israel and they responded by “crying out to the Lord.”
Difficult times should drive us to prayer, as well, but passages like this should also remind us that ongoing consistent prayer for God’s wisdom can keep us from many of the consequences of our own foolishness which bring financial and other problems.
I’d love to know what speaks to you in these chapters?
Why not write those questions on a 3 x 5 card, keep it as a bookmark in your Bible. You can, also, journal your thoughts and note any key verses.
Today’s Other Readings:
Only the Blood of Jesus
Verse 6, “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”
Only the blood of Christ can redeem any of us from the bondage of sin and the curse of eternal separation from God!
Mercy for the Less Fortunate
21a says, “… he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.”
Or as Jesus put it, “It is more blessed to give than to receive!”
Joy in Heaven
When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone? How about your testimony?
Verse 7, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
You don’t need a degree in theology to share your faith, just a little preparation. And when you do, God will open up opportunities and allow you to be part of that “joy in heaven”!
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In recent years, the Share Jesus without Fear book and its growing family of ancillary products have sparked a faith-sharing movement that continues to gain momentum. It began with the jaw-dropping story of William Fay, once a money-driven businessman with Mafia ties who ran a house of prostitution until it was raided by police. Facing the threat of jail time, Fay turned to Jesus Christ for redemption and ever since has been turning others to Him as well. Share Jesus without Fear relays Fay’s passionate, effective instructions on how to share the love of Christ with anyone–without feeling intimidated on either side of the conversation. Bold and joyful, the outreach movement continues without fear.
“Christians and non-Christians have something in common,” writes Rebecca Pippert. “We’re all uptight about evangelism.”
So begins the bestselling book on evangelism as a lifestyle. Through stories, biblical insight and plain common sense, Pippert helps us feel relaxed and enthusiastic about sharing our faith. She offers an inspiring view of what effective, engaging evangelism might look like—for individuals as well as for churches through memorable stories, like this one:
When I first came to Portland, Oregon, I met a student on one of the campuses where I worked. He was brilliant and looked like he was always pondering the esoteric. His hair was always mussy, and in the entire time I knew him, I never once saw him wear a pair of shoes. Rain, sleet or snow, Bill was always barefoot. While he was attending college, he had become a Christian.
At this time a well-dressed, middle-class church across the street from the campus wanted to develop more of a ministry to the students. They were not sure how to go about it, but they tried to make them feel welcome. One day Bill decided to worship there. He walked into this church, wearing his blue jeans, T-shirt and of course no shoes. People looked a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. So Bill began walking down the aisle looking for a seat. The church was quite crowded that Sunday, so as he got down to the front pew and realized that there were no seats, he just squatted on the carpet—perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, but perhaps unnerving for a church congregation. The tension in the air became so thick one could slice it.
Suddenly an elderly man began walking down the aisle toward the boy. Was he going to scold Bill? My friends who saw him approaching said they thought, You can’t blame him. He’d never guess Bill is a Christian. And his world is too distant from Bill’s to understand. You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.
As the man kept walking slowly down the aisle, the church became utterly silent, all eyes were focused on him, you could not hear anyone breathe. When the man reached Bill, with some difficulty he lowered himself and sat down next to him on the carpet. He and Bill worshiped together on the floor that Sunday. I was told there was not a dry eye in the congregation.
The irony is that probably the only one who failed to see how great the giving had been that Sunday was Bill. But grace is always that way. It gives without the receiver realizing how great the gift really is.
As this man walked alongside of his brother and loved him with all that he had received from Christ’s love, so must we. This man was the good Samaritan. He made Bill feel welcome, feel as if he had a home. So he also knew the secret of the parable of the prodigal son: there finally is a homecoming, because we really have a home to come to.
This thoroughly revised and expanded edition of Out of the Saltshaker is now even more valuable, with new chapters on the natural stages of evangelism (cultivating, planting and reaping), new stories of God’s work in people’s lives and added material on meeting the challenges of the new competitors to Christian faith. Out of the Saltshaker is more than ever a rare book—one that is both fun and deep, light and life changing.
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