“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


FREE eBOOK:

Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer LifeI would love to have you join me on this journey through the Bible. Just sign up for the BIBLE IN A YEAR daily posts so you don’t miss a single one.

Sign up now and receive a copy of “Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life.”


Marriage Made in Heaven?

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “A Marriage Make in Heaven?”

Previous Posts in the Marriage Series


Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

Click here for all the posts in the “Blended Families” series that we just finished.



I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays
Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Messy Marriage Coffee for Your Heart Christian Blogger Linkup Women of Intention Mississippi Mom Writer Wednesday Seeking God in All I Do
Thursdays Chasing Community Booknificent Thursdays Dare2Hear
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends Fresh Market Friday Dance with Jesus
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

“What you do in moderation, your children will do to excess!” July 13

 

What you do in moderation, your children will do to excess! - Compromise and ungodly influence affected one family and a nation for generations. How are you influencing others, especially your children? Often, what you do in moderation, your children will do to excess!Compromise and ungodly influence affected one family and a nation for generations. Often, what you do in moderation, your children will do to excess! How are you influencing others, especially your children?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 83.1-8
Proverbs 21.1
Acts 17.16-34

 

What you do in moderation, your children will do to excess!

 

2 Chronicles 21 & 22:

The Off Ramp of Compromise

Can you imagine your brother-in-law becomes the king and the next thing you know there is a knock on the door. There are soldiers outside. They drag your husband out and kill him in front of you and the children! Then they head for the homes of your other family members!

That’s basically what Jehoram did to his brothers. Remember, although he made some mistakes, his father Jehoshaphat was considered a good king. But at the end of his life, he allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel and they went into business together. God didn’t allow that business to prosper. In fact, He destroyed it, but his son Jehoram ends up married to wicked Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.

How do you suppose they met? Did Jehoshaphat take his little boy along as he went to Samaria on business? Did he and Athaliah play together as children? We don’t know, but somehow they ended up married and Jehoram ended up following the ways of his wife’s family. She eventually killed her own grandchildren so she could seize power after her husband’s and sons’ deaths! What a family heritage!

Compromise is costly. And it doesn’t just affect us. It affects those around us, especially our children. It’s been said, “What you do in moderation, your children will do to excess.” That is often the case.  Continue reading

December 6 “Turn your world upside down”

turn your world upside downWe have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and look at the consequences! It has affected education, politics, business, family life and more. Like a handful of faithful men and women did in the first century, how can you turn your world upside down?

 

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 3 & 4
Psalm 138.8
Proverbs 29.18
1 John 4.1-21

 

Hosea 3 & 4:

Turn your world upside down

What a beautiful picture of God’s mercy with His people and the fact that He will, eventually, redeem the true church and the nation of Israel.

Verse 3.1, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.’ ”

But that does not mean that there are not consequences for sinful behavior.

It’s impossible not to see some of the parallels between our nation and the church of God in America to rebellious Israel. We have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and loved a lover, a god, of our own making—one who allows us to live however we desire. Look at some of the phrases in chapter 4:

“…no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land … swearing and lying … killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint … bloodshed upon bloodshed … you have rejected knowledge … forgotten the law of your God … they set their heart on iniquity.”

No truth or knowledge of God: He’s been “kicked out” of our schools, our government and the public arena.

Swearing and lying: In politics, in business (whatever it takes to make a buck), and the list goes on.

Killing and stealing: Just turn on the nightly news.

Committing adultery: Even a sitting President can get away with sexual immorality and argue the meaning of the words. Continue reading

November 20 “Has God removed His hand from our nation?”

crumpled and wrinkled american flag backgroundHas God removed His hand from our nation? Has He given us over to our sinful desires and self-will? And, if so, how should we respond?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 31 & 32
Psalm 130.1-4
Proverbs 28.28
James 1.1-27

Ezekiel 31 & 32:

Has God removed His hand from our nation?

In chapters 31 & 32 God continues to speak to Egypt, perhaps more as a warning to His people that they could no longer turn to worldly powers for help and protection. In chapter 31 He compared Egypt to a great tree under which many had taken refuge, but which was about to be broken and destroyed.

As I said yesterday, it’s God who raises up nations and individuals, and He can just as easily bring them to ruin and does—for His holy, just, and righteous purposes.

Sadly, as I listen to the news and see the magnitude of evil, the lack of restraint, the lack of respect for the law (even by our elected leaders), I wonder if God has taken His hand off of our nation as a whole (Rom. 1.24, 26, 28).

But rather than becoming depressed or giving up, we must pray harder, witness more faithfully, and speak the truth in love as God gives us opportunity.

Pray harder, 1 Timothy 2:

¹First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.

Even while I complain about the state of our nation, I’m convicted that I don’t pray enough, especially for our leaders.

Witness more faithfully, 1 Peter 3 NASB:

14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but ]sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Are you ready to give a defense to everyone you meet? Can you defend your faith … not just what you believe, but why? Do you know how to share the Gospel or do you leave that to the pastors and preachers? Do you share your testimony with others?

Speak the truth in love, 2 Timothy 2:

24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

We need a holy boldness to speak the truth, but do it in love. Paul said if we have not love we’re not much better than a clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13.1).

So let’s pray for our leaders and pray for ourselves that we might have boldness, faith, and confidence in the day of trouble (Ps. 86.7). Let’s better prepare ourselves to share the truth. And let’s never forget:

“… where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,  so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5.20-21).

 

Continue reading

October 31 “Make a difference”

counseling comforting convinceAs believers, we are part of a family. And as a family, we have responsibilities to one another. We also have a responsibility to lovingly speak truth to those who are lost. Each of us can make a difference.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48
Psalm 119:113-120
Proverbs 28:5
2 Timothy 4:1-22

 

Jeremiah 47 & 48:

Overcoming evil

In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.

Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.

Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately. Continue reading

October 26 “Those who are ‘really’ widows”

happy senior woman portraitPaul said the body of Christ should help provide for those who are “really widows.” Who are they and what should that look like?

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 37 & 38
Psalm 119.73-80
Proverbs 27.23-27
1 Timothy 5.1-25

 

Jeremiah 37 & 38:

Costly faith

Can you imagine being thrown into a dungeon and, eventually, into a well for speaking the truth? There is often a cost involved in following God. Sometimes it’s rejection by our families or friends and sometimes persecution in the work place or some other area of society. Jeremiah certainly suffered as a result of his unswerving faith and willingness to speak the truth.

What about us? We must ask ourselves, are we willing to stand up for the truth—in our families, work places, schools and universities? Or do we cave in when it’s too hard or costly? Continue reading

July 13 “Compromise & influence”

imagesCA2EDBA1

Compromise and influence affected one family and a nation for generations. How are you influencing others, especially your children? Often, what you do in moderation, your children will do to excess!

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 83.1-8
Proverbs 21.1
Acts 17.16-34

2 Chronicles 21 & 22:

The off ramp of compromise

Can you imagine your brother-in-law becomes the king and the next thing you know there is a knock on the door. There are soldiers outside. They drag your husband out and kill him in front of you and the children! Then they head for the homes of your other family members! Continue reading

July 5 “Why we can’t think straight”

thinking straightThe fall of man not only affected our relationship with God, but our ability to think and reason.

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 5 & 6
Psalm 79.11-13
Proverbs 20.13-14
Acts 13.1-25

2 Chronicles 5 & 6:

The God of all men

Chapter 6.32-33, “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, … when they come and pray in this temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel …”

We see God’s desire for “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2.4) even here in the Old Testament.

He alone knows our hearts

Chapter 6.29-30, “whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men).” Continue reading

June 30 “How’s your corporate worship?” & LINKUP

How do you view the music on Sunday mornings? Is it something you see as nice “if you make it on time”? Do you purposely come in late to avoid it? Or do you see it as an offering to the Lord?

worship

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 23-25
Psalm 78.40-55
Proverbs 20.3
Acts 9.22-43

1 Chronicles 23-25:

Worthy of our worship

Verse 25.1, “Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.”

The passage goes on to tell us there were 288 singers, plus musicians and support staff, 4,000 in all! What a music ministry that must have been! There were people singing and praising the Lord all the time!

And when I read the Psalms and other passages of Scripture, it appears to me there is lots of praise and lots of music in heaven. I believe God loves to receive our heartfelt praises often expressed through music and singing.

How do you view that time in the service where the truths of God are being proclaimed through music and song? Do you see it as just the prelude to the service, something to be enjoyed “if you make it on time”? Or do you see it as a time when you really focus on God and worship Him? Do you allow the words of the songs to penetrate your heart? Do you “think about” and “meditate on” the words you’re singing? Or is it “vain repetition”?

Let’s ask God to give us a “right spirit” where praise and worship are concerned. Continue reading

May 1 “Testing & persecution”

Persecution will come at times, Don’t be surprised by it! Instead, see it as an occasion for sharing your testimony and the truth about God.

persecution

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 4 & 5
Psalm 54.1-7
Proverbs 15.12-13
Luke 21.1-19

1 Samuel 4 & 5:

God is always at work

Another sad time in Israel’s history where God withdrew His immediate presence and protection from them because of their willful disobedience and idolatry. But this narrative leaves no doubt that even when people may not make the connection, God is always at work in the affairs of men.

That is true today, as well as, in Old Testament times. I once read that the word “history” actually means “His-story” and I certainly believe that’s true. So the question is, “What is God doing today?” How does everything that’s happening in our world—whether politics, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other world events, play into His plan and purpose? He is there in the blessing and protection, but also in the withdrawing of blessing and protection. (An interesting read on the subject is Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, What in the World is Going On?) Continue reading