cover to cover – week fourteen

Joshua 24-25; Judges 1-25

Joshua
(Joshua 24:14-15) “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We have to choose Whom we will serve. We choose each day. We must abandon idols and choose to serve Him, and bless our households by bringing them to serve Him as well, whether we are actively showing our family the Way, or we are praying our heart’s desire for each of them to follow hard after Christ. We must guard our households for eternity through prayer and our own actions by serving Him.
(Joshua 24:29) “…they buried him in the land of his inheritance.” Joshua, the bones of Joseph, and Eleazar, son of Aaron all were buried in the Promised Land. Joseph’s bones were buried on the land Jacob had bought. His daddy’s property. The land promised to the Israelites. We stand on an inheritance promised from our Father. We have a Promised Land waiting for us in Heaven that is the place Christ went ahead of us and prepared. We have a rich inheritance of fellowship with the saints, joy in His perpetual presence, and Grace beyond imagination, extended to each of us as believers, and followers of His Ways. Not only in heaven when we die, but we get to experience a Promised Land of fellowship and richness right here today, because of Grace. I want to know Christ, and all that knowing Christ entails. What a blessed Redeemer we serve.

(Judges 2:10-12) “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt.” More of the above point—we must teach our children God’s ways. It is up to them who they will serve; Not knowing the Lord and what He has done for you will result in doing evil and serving idols. We cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24).

Judges 3 & Judges 17, 18—this is a great example of how reading the Bible chronologically and not straight through as it is written is helpful. Matthew Henry points out how from chapter 17 to the end of the Book are written before God appointed judges over Israel. “What is related in this, and the rest of the chapters to the end of this book, was done soon after the death of Joshua. That it might appear how happy the nation was under the judges, here is showed how unhappy they were when there was no judge.”

Gideon

Judges 6 – I love the story of Gideon. There he is hiding out in the winepress, and the Angel of the Lord appears to him, addressing meek Gideon, as “valiant warrior.” He says first, “The Lord is with you.” Isn’t that the way God works, taking a weakling and making him strong with His presence? I am almost laughing because I know Gideon. I am Gideon. Gideon tells the Lord, “Who am I that the Lord could use me in any way at all? My family is weak and I am the weakest of them!” (6:14) Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” Go in this might of yours—don’t you love that the Lord sees us as we will be, not as we are? I cherish that because that is the only encouragement I need to be assured I am not who am to the Lord, but who I will become in Him. Thank you Lord, for when you send me, I have strength to face the enemy. Poor little Gideon then starts to wonder, if I’ve seen God, surely I am dead. In verse 23, the Lord has to reassure Gideon, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” So, Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. Jehovah-Shalom, which means “be complete… safe… finished, translated as “peace” or the “absence from strife.” Jehovah-Shalom is the name given Gideon’s altar, so that was the name he called God. With the Lord’s presence, Gideon finally felt safe and knew the peace he had longed for. I could use a reminder like that about now to know Jehovah Shalom—The Lord is Peace. Amen. Gideon still seeks the Lord to give him a sign, and the Lord seeing his heart desires to turn to Him, obliges, and fills the fleece set on dry ground with dew, then keeps the fleece dry while the ground is filled with dew to show Gideon AGAIN that He is with him against the Midianites. He then gives Gideon the victory with only three hundred men. Thus, all knew that the Lord Himself handed over the victory to Gideon’s army of 300. (8:23) But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” (Zechariah 4:6 – “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”) He raises up humble and fearful Gideon to warrior status. He calls into being that which is yet to come. He speaks courage over us. He calls us by name, powerful names that He gives us. He graces us with His presence and delivers us from every enemy, sometimes even our own enemy within, fear and doubt. Who is like our Lord? Who else saves us until the day is done? No, not one. No not one! We were in Bible study the other night and started singing this song a Capella and it still resonates in my soul.

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our souls diseases
No, not one! No, not one!


Chorus
Jesus knows all about our struggles
He will guide till the day is done
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus
No, not one! No, not one!

Samson
DEDICATED. Strong, betrayed…avenged.

I wish I could say I absolutely love the story of Samson, but I don’t. I hate that Samson is just hard for me to believe. I don’t like it that some of God’s Word I have to accept without really getting it. I don’t understand where, in the prior chapters, the depravity of man is so great and stories are told all about it, sin sickness and betrayal are rampant, to the degree of cutting up a tortured woman’s body and distributing it to the twelve tribes of Israel because God’s chosen ones, the sons of Benjamin, were immoral.

It occurs to me that I am doing exactly what the Bejaminites and tribes of Israel were doing as I just want to skip over this. Truth is, I’d rather not talk about it. Forgive me Lord, for such injustice. If you want real insight and perspective, please visit Bev’s story on this. It broke my heart, and that is exactly what God wants from us–broken hearts over evil. We cannot ignore it. The Bible is real. It isn’t a fairy tale where they all live happily ever after. There is real judgment, real atrocities, real struggle between bad and good throughout Scripture. So often we gloss over this kind of stuff in Scripture and pick and choose what we believe and what we don’t. What I get from this passage on Samson are two main points and a host of application. God will use who He decides to use. I don’t even have to like them. Each one of us has (at least) one flaw that can cause us to stumble, cause us to lose sight of our calling. And, God redeems even horrible circumstances, betrayals, rapes, and murders to turn His chosen ones back to Him, and that is just part of the Good News sometimes rather encryptically written between the lines. Samson was God’s chosen, a Nazarite from birth, and his life represents twenty years of Israel’s leadership under a Godly man–flaws and all. God wants us to learn that He can and will use whomever He desires to bring forward His Kingdom—even the least, like Gideon, even the flawed like Samson, even the ones I don’t have to like, even me. Thank you, Lord, that even Your church is full of corrupt sinners like myself—a stark reminder that not one of us earns God’s favor and Grace that He so generously gives. No, not one. No, not one.

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12 thoughts on “cover to cover – week fourteen

  1. Annie,

    Really great post…you touched me with your line about guarding our households for eternity through prayer and our own actions through serving Him…wonderful and what has been on my heart a lot lately.

    Thanks for your wisdom and diligence in putting it all down!

    Helen

  2. Just wanted you to know I’ve been going around the house this afternoon singing at the top of my lungs….”There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one!!!!”

    Love,
    Jean

  3. Annette, I’ve been remiss on reading the blogs! I’m glad I didn’t miss this one! I loved your paragraph “We have to choose Whom we will serve. We choose each day. We must abandon idols and choose to serve Him, and bless our households by brining them to serve Him as well, whether we are actively showing our family the Way, or we are praying our heart’s desire for each of them to follow hard after Christ. WE MUST GUARD OUR HOUSEHOLDS FOR ETERNITY THROUGH PRAYER AND OUR OWN ACTIONS BY SERVING HIM.” I copied that paragraph to put with my Bible reading each day (on the back of what I copied from Helen on the Steps to Avoid Drifting!!!!).

    Love, love, love the Balm in Gilead song……was a favorite of my favorite uncle’s….makes me think of him and how his life was so devoted to Jesus.

    Teri, I heard Beth say one time that her mother thought you needed to give God your full name and address in case there was someone else in the world with your same name!!!!!

    Thanks so much for your wonderful insight, dear Annette.

    Love,
    Jean

  4. I wish I hadn’t been so preoccupied this week during these readings. I want to go back and read again. Your insights taught me a lot. Thank you so much. God is using you, Annette more than you know.

    Shalom, sweet sister!
    Love you,
    Angie xoxo

  5. Annie,
    Your insights are great. I re-read those chapters about the sons of Benjamin several times. I just didnt get it until I read Bev’s blog. Then it hit me. I agree with you, we can’t ignore it, skip over it. So many people are hurting from such vile behavior. God redemptive power restores. Those who have not found HIM need to know HIM. We are all flawed. I know I have been some of the worst of sinners, yet HIS grace has forgiven me through Christ. I am so thankful as I am a new creation. He is generous. I thank you for sharing all this. I am learning so much from you and the others.

    Blessings in Christ-

  6. I love the story of Gideon as well and like you, would like to skim over some parts and pretend they are not relavent, when I know darn good and well they are. I needed to be reminded that God redeems the ugly in the lives of others that I am sure are lost causes. My eyes are on the ugly instead of the God of Wonders.

  7. I forgot to tell you this. I laughed a little when you talked about things you didn’t like in the Bible. Not because it’s funny, but because it reminds me of my sweet little Mom.
    She read that Bible all the time, especially when she was unable to get around. It was always on her lap.
    She told me once that she didn’t think the apostle Paul liked women one bit. But then she said, “I shouldn’t have said that!” I guess she was from the old school where they thought GOD wasn’t reading their hearts and minds…just hearing what they said..:-)

    Goodnight!!
    T

  8. I loved this post, Annette. I pray that GOD will give me discernment that you have. That’s been a life long struggle for me.

    I was naive, then became a victim and as Beth says, “with victim stamped on your forehead” I suppose if it’s not visible to us, it’s visible to the enemy and we are powerless without the Holy Spirit working in us to discern or fight them off.

    I so desire discernment the way you see things. I need to learn to really trust even though I have no earthly reason to trust anyone. If I have a Father who loves me, HE will help me to make good decisions and learn to trust again.

    Bless you for your courage and your encouragement and your prayers.
    Love,
    Teri

  9. Hi Annie,

    Just dropping by to say Hi, and let you know this song is one of my long-time favorites…. Thanks for including it!

    Blessings,
    Barbara

  10. Annie, this is a great post. You truly do have great discernment and insight. He has done a wonderous work in you and you are being blessed and blessing so many by sharing your heart. I loved what you wrote in the whole post and all of it spoke to my heart. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings on your day and week.

  11. I’m home, back on your blog. Yours is my first visit in weeks now. I love your writing, Annette, because I so love your heart for God! You have such insight, such mercy, such compassion because you have such a God in you. It’s His courage, His wisdom rising in you. Thank you for your kind words. The depravity of man still runs rampant in our tribes. But praise God that He has paid our debt in full. My rape was allowed by my God who could have stopped it. But He uses even horrific things that happen to us for our good otherwise He would control every single action of every man. While I can’t explain my God, I don’t need to. I just want to respond to HIM in overwhelming love and gratitude for He restored life to me and restores me good to this very day–Joel 2:25. But as you wrote, throw away your gods and choose to serve HIM. I took notes in my Bible on what you wrote. Just loved every word cause I feel so connected with you and so grateful to you for your friendship, beyond any words I could find.

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