instruction

God knows what is needed.

God knows what is needed.

1 Kings 21

This chapter appalled me. More than once! I know I’ve read this chapter before, but it obviously didn’t make a lasting impression then. Today, it was as if I had read it for the first time. At first, I was appalled by Jezebel. She seemed to have absolutely NO problem forging her husband’s name and enlisting the help of false witnesses in order to engineer the death of an innocent man. Just when you thought you’d seen the depths of evil in Israel, that was a nasty surprise.

God helps us fight.

God helps us fight.

JUDGES 1

The first chapter of the book of Judges chronicles more of the war conquests of Israel. And as I read the various accounts, I thought about how God helps us fight. Of course, these were accounts of actual fighting, and we may not find ourselves out on the battlefield, but God helps us fight in other areas of our lives. When we need spiritual help, God fights for us. When we need emotional help, God fights for us. And whenever we align ourselves with God’s will, He helps us fight... and we always win.

God's ideas are best.

God's ideas are best.

JOSHUA 17

Ah, now the failures of Israel are coming back to bite them. By turns, before going into the Promised Land, the Lord told the Israelites that they should not make any treaties with the people living there, but that they should be completely driven out. First, God promised to drive them out Himself. When the Israelites didn’t want to go along with that (but instead wanted to fight), God told them they must destroy the nations they conquered.

God likes it when we consult Him.

God likes it when we consult Him.

JOSHUA 16

Did you think the lottery was a modern invention? Well, it isn’t. At least not according to the Bible. It dawned on me today, as I was reading Joshua 16, that the parcels of land in Canaan were being doled out to the various tribes via a lottery (or, the casting of lots). It seems that the Israelites did this quite a bit, and it was a practice still in use when the Roman soldiers famously cast lots for Jesus’ clothing as He hung on the cross.

God chooses the best of the worst.

God chooses the best of the worst.

JOSHUA 11

Choosing the best of the worst. Almost sounds like going to the polls sometimes. However, when it comes to choosing the best of the worst, God wasn’t voting; He was simply trying to maintain contact with the human race. Sometimes, I’m not even sure how He accomplished that. As I continue to read through the Old Testament, I’m awestruck at the large numbers of people who just don’t get it.

God values human life.

God values human life.

DEUTERONOMY 21

At first blush, this may seem like a strange chapter on which to affix a title like God values human life. After all, it references things such as murder, stoning, hanging, and captivity. Yet, beneath the discussion — like a strong undercurrent — I see a God who is trying to instill in His people a fundamental respect for life. Let’s take a quick peek at each section:

God plays the hand He is dealt.

God plays the hand He is dealt.

DEUTERONOMY 19

Blood feuds have been around for as long as there have been sinful human beings on this planet. According to the Wikipedia article on feuds, a blood feud is "a feud with a cycle of retaliatory violence, with the relatives of someone who has been killed or otherwise wronged or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits or their relatives."

God is all about freedom.

God is all about freedom.

LEVITICUS 25

There is something really beautiful in this chapter of Leviticus: "Even if [an Israelite slave] is not redeemed in any of these ways, he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (vs 54-55)