“Polygamy & Acceptable Sins” April 22

 

Polygamy & Acceptable Sins

“Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament?” I’ve heard that question many times. The truth is, it has always been sin, but at that time it was an acceptable sin by most people’s standards. What sins have you and I allowed to become acceptable?

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 9 & 10
Psalm 50.1-6
Proverbs 14.25-27
Luke 16.1-31

 

Polygamy & Acceptable Sins

 

Judges 9 & 10:

Acceptable Sins

 

In Judges 8.30-31 Gideon had fallen into the sin of polygamy. Though it was tolerated in that society, it was never God’s intent. It always led to trouble and often outright evil as it did here in chapter 9.

We are introduced to Abimelech his son by another relationship. Gideon didn’t even marry this woman. Sin always spirals downward unless repented of and forsaken. Abimelech, not only conspired to become king of Shechem, but set out to kill all of his brothers—70 of them. He succeeded in killing all but one who hid from him.

What is God saying to us through this story? What principles can we learn? Possibly about the dangers of compromise?

If we trace this story back to 8.27, we see Gideon went from his great victory (remember 300 men to fight an enemy whose army was “as numerous as locusts” and who had “camels without number”) to making an ephod and setting it up in his hometown. An ephod, generally, referred to a sacred garment worn by a priest.

Matthew Henry says this may have included some kind of oracle to divine God’s will. The end of verse 27 says, “But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family.”

 

Our Acceptable Sins

 

 polygamy acceptable sinsIs there an area of your life, where you have allowed compromise to seep in? Is there some “ephod” you have created to remind yourself of a past victory? Is there something that seems like “a little sin” that you are allowing to remain in your heart or life? Maybe it’s unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, covetousness, worry, gossip?

“Gossip? Everyone does it!”

What about that guy you flirt with at work? … “Hey, I know he’s married, but we’re just friends. I’m not going to do anything!” What if it were your husband flirting with a female co-worker? Would it seem as harmless?

In reality, there are no “little sins”—just those at the top of that downward spiral of sin and are perhaps more acceptable. Worry isn’t even considered a sin by many, just as polygamy wasn’t by many in Gideon’s time.

Nothing much has changed since the garden. God had given Adam and Eve a clear command, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2.16-17).

One chapter later the serpent hissed, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5) 

In other words, you can decide for yourself what’s right and what’s wrong. 

About living together … “I know some people think it’s wrong, but if I don’t let him move in, I’ll be alone. God understands. He doesn’t want me to be unhappy.”

Or …

“I know God hates divorce, but I just don’t love him any more. I can’t help it. God will forgive me.”

“I know he’s an unbeliever, but it’s only lunch.”

“Gimme a break! I’m a man. There’s no harm in looking! My wife is just jealous!”

“Everyone does it. It’s no big deal.”

What sins have we allowed to become acceptable?

 

Polygamy & Acceptable Sins - “Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament?” I’ve heard that question many times. The truth is, it has always been sin, but at that time it was an acceptable sin by most people’s standards. What sin have you allowed to become acceptable?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 50.1-6:

The Judge of Heaven and Earth

 

Verse 1, “The Mighty One, God the LORD …” El, Elohim, Jehovah will one day come, not as the Savior, but as the Judge of heaven and earth (vv. 4, 6). When He does, He will gather His saints (v. 5), but it will be a day of judgment and wrath for those who do not belong to Him.

 

Our Job

 

Until then He is drawing people to Himself and He has called us to be part of that process:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28.19-20).

He doesn’t desire that anyone would be condemned. In fact, He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2.4). So let’s be about our Father’s business by faithfully sharing the Gospel with others. We can’t save anyone, but we can sow the seed, water what has been planted, and disciple those who have come to saving faith.

 

Proverbs 14.25-27:

True Witnesses Needed

 

Verse 25, “A true witness delivers souls ….” Are you being a true witness for the Lord? Each of us is called to deliver souls from that Day of Judgment.

 

Luke 16.1-31:

The Power of God for Salvation

 

Luke 16.31 should be a great encouragement to us in our witnessing. When the rich man implored Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, Abraham said:

“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Witnessing isn’t about us. We don’t have to have some great testimony or some great preaching ability. It’s about the all-sufficient Word of God. It’s the power of God for salvation.

Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1.16).

 

What about you?

What keeps you from sharing your faith? Fear? Intimidation? Concern that someone won’t like you any more (fear of man)? Is it not having the right answers? What is hindering you from being that faithful witness?

If it’s lack of knowing how, there are many simple ways to do it. Learn one. Remember, it’s the Word of God, the Gospel, that is the power of God for salvation.

What sin have you allowed to become acceptable? Could you be sitting at the top of that downward spiral of sin? If you think you have it “under control,” you might be in more danger than you think (1 Cor. 10.12). Let’s pray for God’s help to be like the Apostle Paul who said:

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5.9).

Blessings,
Donna


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“The Care & Feeding of Prodigals” April 21

 

The Care & Feeding of Prodigals - Do you have a prodigal in your life? If so, how are you responding? Are you helping or just helping them stay reasonably comfortable in their pigsty?Do you have a prodigal in your life? If so, how are you responding? Are you helping or just helping them stay reasonably comfortable in their pigsty?

And from our other readings:

What is death? Why do we call an unbeliever spiritually dead? What is the second death?

And what about you … Are you a talker or a doer? Talking about God isn’t living for God. Talking about winning souls is not sharing the Gospel. Talking about prayer is not prayer.

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 7 & 8
Psalm 49.10-20
Proverbs 14.22-24
Luke15.11-32

 

The Care and Feeding of Prodigals

 

Luke 15.11-32:

Prodigals, Older Brothers & Us

 

Yesterday I talked about the danger of having a “ho-hum, I’ve heard that before” attitude about the stories in the Bible that are familiar to us. Today’s reading is another very familiar story, that of the “prodigal son.”

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 

So often when we read this well-known parable, our minds go to all the prodigals we know. Or maybe we think about our own testimony, how we were once prodigals. Certainly, those are important things to think about.

We need to identify those prodigals we know so we can pray for them, but we also need to take a closer look at some of the other important points in this parable.

Let’s start with the father in the story, how he responded, not just to his son’s homecoming, but also to his prodigal years.

Perhaps you have a prodigal, a son or daughter you have prayed for and wept over. You probably look forward to the day you can say, “My son (or daughter) was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v. 24).

We often fret and push and prod our prodigals to repent and come home. And, all too often, instead of letting them spend enough time in the pigpen to come to the end of themselves, we keep “feeding them”—bailing them out of many of their problems, not understanding that the “hunger” they are experiencing is God’s method of helping them come to their senses.

14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

This father was watching for his son, but he didn’t go after him, he didn’t send him money or help him in some way when he was “down on his luck.” It’s important to remember, the father in the story represents God who knows everything that is going on in the lives of His prodigals, yet let’s us go our way and lovingly allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions.

A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the back of fools (Prov. 26.3).

It was the consequences that brought the prodigal son to his senses.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

But his father saw him coming and ran to meet him. Instead of making him one of his hired servants, he threw a party to celebrate his return. His older brother’s response, however, was quite different.

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

The older brother represents the Pharisees and others with their self-righteous, self-sufficient attitudes. But sometimes they’re easy to miss. Continue reading

“Are you bored with God’s Word?” April 20

 

bored 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?

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 5 & 6
Psalm 49.1
Proverbs 14.20-21
Luke 15.1-10

 

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?  Continue reading