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Bible

Judges 7

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Along with the passage identified in the title of the post, I was reading from Timothy Keller’s Judges for You book which I purchased on Amazon. This is “the book” that I am referring to, unless otherwise noted.

What Did I Learn?

I know I’ve heard this story before, but for 2/3 of the people to be too afraid to stay is astounding to me. And for the last 1/3 to be so brave after 2/3 leaves? and for them to say that they were still wanting to fight surprises me.

 

What Stood Out To Me?

Judges 7:18 I didn’t like that he told them to go into the camp saying “For the Lord & for Gideon!” I’m confused, because isn’t that taking the glory away from God and putting some on himself. Like it was about him? And since God led him the entire time, I felt it was a slight to God to put any amount of praise onto himself.

Judges 7:25 It sounds pretty barbaric that they killed the princes of Midian and took their heads back to Gideon. … Not much to comment other than that seems rough, but I have to remember it was a different time and different culture. And war today is much different than war back then.

The book says this “Notice what great faith Gideon shows in verses 3-8, trusting God and not numbers.” This is something that really stands out to me, and I’m surprised I didn’t notice it in the bible reading. It was only when it was spelled out to me in the book, that I am totally impressed and motivated. Instead of worrying and saying, “uh… God this doesn’t make sense. I went from 30k+ to 300. Are you sure?” He said, “Yes, God! Lets do this!” I want to be more like that. Faith Like Gideon! He believed that God knew what he was doing and he ran into war with less than 99% of what he had and he still had faith they would make it out victorious! Can I do that? Can I live my life with less than 99% of what I thought I had to help me and still make it? With less than 99% of the money we have now? With less than 99% of the possessions? or quality of items I have? Or not even talking about that, can I trust in God when I look at myself and say, “I have nothing, but I will trust that you will provide me with all I need to serve you in the way you want me to.”

 

What is God Trying to Tell Me? or
What Does This Tell Me About God?

Obviously, this tells me about how mighty God is, that he is able to take over an entire Midianite army with 300 people and that he is true to his word, that he led Gideon to this and helped him the entire way.

In the book + in the bible it talks about how God wanted to emphasize that the victory was all God’s. I need to remember this on the daily. So many times, I start out saying “God you are so good and this is all because of you. This is all yours.” And then as time goes on, and the days go by, I forget. And I start saying, “This is so great. I am so lucky. We are awesome. Sean, you are great.” I need to continue my praise to the One who deserves it all. Or as Timothy Keller puts it, “The glory is His, and the privilege is mine.

 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Genesis: Intro + Chapter 1-3

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What Did I Learn?

I didn’t realize Genesis was probably written by Moses during the time they were all in the desert wandering around.

 

What Stood Out To Me?

Genesis 3:16 This is when God is punishing Adam + Eve for eating the fruit. God tells Eve that she will have painful labor but he also says “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.”  This stands out to me because it makes it sound not so easy. This is my CSB version. In my NLT study bible it says it this way “You will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” 

 

What is God Trying to Tell Me?

A couple weeks ago, when I was in my small group and we discussed Deborah in Judges, we discussed at length the role of women: in churches and in the home. We talked about the concept of submitting to your husband. With the Genesis 3:16, it speaks to me and confirms to me that submitting to your husband is part of our role. I ended up calling my mom and talking to her about it. We discussed at length the idea of submitting to your husband and also discussed the idea of whether or not God punishes (out of love, to teach a lesson, not to cause pain) his people. The punishment part, I may discuss in another post, but this is what she said about submitting to your husband.

She basically said in an ideal world it would be easy to submit to your husband because he would love you and listen to you and be kind and also be in prayer about every decision, but that God honors wives when they submit to their husbands and that even though you might need to deal with the consequences of their decisions on earth When you are brought to heaven God will never hold it against you if you submitted to your husband because it is what he calls of wives. She also made it a point to say that in every relationship, or company, or anything, there is a leader. There is one person that people look up to: A CEO if you will. And God has appointed the man to make those hard decisions, to lead the family. And that in a marriage, God has made it the man’s job to make those hard choices.

There are many differing beliefs when it comes to this, and I am not trying to tell anyone how they should live their lives, neither am I a marriage counselor to give advice. But I know from my own life, that my marriage has definitely benefited from my submitting. It has not come easy and I have dug my heels in countless times. But I know that the times that I have said, “Okay, Sean. You are the husband, you make the decision.” or after giving my opinion, and he has decided to do this own thing, I have said, “Look, Sean. If you have prayed about this, and you feel confident in your decision, I support you. I love you and I am proud of you and I support you.” When I am able to do this with no sarcasm or spite in my heart, with no underlying frustration or waiting for shit to hit the fan, our marriage is made stronger. And even when we have to face consequences, we face them together and in love, knowing that our decision was made together. I don’t walk away saying, “He did THAT wrong.” or harbor any ill feelings toward my husband.

I have to trust that in the bible when it says in 1 Peter 3 (CSB) “wives, submit yourself to your own husbands, so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live…” and “husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 

Or in the NLT it says “you wives must accept the authority of your husbands.” 

I was talking with a friend, who says that we are fully redeemed from the curse of Genesis 3 because of the new covenant, but it still talks about how we as wives should act toward our husbands in 1 Peter. This I cannot deny and I fully believe that my marriage has been made better by my attempt (and yes, I say attempt as I have never been perfect at this) at submitting to my husband.

 

Another thing, that I feel God is speaking to me about is sin. This is what the devotional in my bible says:

This is what sin does: it lies. It promises to be shiny and colorful… … forever. It promises to be worth it. Sin tells us that God wants to keep the good stuff from us, that what we want matters more than what He has for us (Gn 3:4-5).

This was a new take that I hadn’t thought of.  It goes onto say “Sin wasn’t worth it. It never is.” Which is my point. And I think sometimes it’s hard to remember that. Not only is it not worth it, but as it says in other parts of the bible, God hates sin. He hates it and wants nothing to do with it. And for us to do it so nonchalantly at times, hurts him. We should loathe it the same way he does, if we love him so.

I find in my marriage, the more time I spend with Sean, the more my likes and dislikes align with his. I would like to align myself more with God, and have my likes and dislikes be closer to His.

Judges 6

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Along with the passage identified in the title of the post, I was reading from Timothy Keller’s Judges for You book which I purchased on Amazon. This is “the book” that I am referring to, unless otherwise noted.

What Did I Learn?

Judges 6:11-24
When Gideon is approached by the angel of the Lord, I was confused. I need to read some more, but I thought they were referring to God as the angel of the Lord and that he was speaking to the same person but they were switching names from “The Angel of the Lord” and “The Lord”… But by the end, I think I realized that the angel of the Lord came, he thought it was a man, and then he began to also speak to the Lord out loud. So there were three of them in one scenario.

I had no idea what it meant in Judges 6:26 when it said to cut down the Asherah pole. So I looked up what an Ashram pole was. It said on Google/Wikipedia:

An Asherah pole is a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah, consort of El. (source)

So basically, its an altar to Baal and a pole to honor another idol and God is telling them to tear it down.

 

What Stood Out To Me?

Judges 6:7-10
The Israelites “did what is evil” and “so the Lord handed them over to Midian”… Then they cried out to the Lord and he said “You did not obey me”. Does this mean that God is punishing them? The term “handed them over” tells me it was an active thing that God is having this happen. Rather than the other argument that God does not punish, but merely allows natural consequences to happen because of your disobedience, which might be more of a passive stance. I’ve always struggled with this. I have always felt like there are many times in the bible where God actively punishes his people to teach them lessons. And yet, I hear over and over from Christian friends that God does not punish… and that when Jesus died on the cross all our punishment wait until heaven. I have trouble agreeing with this. Because that is saying that the God of the old testament is not the same God. Or that his ways have changed, which I don’t think they have. I think the way we are forgiven for our sins has changed, and that we don’t need to be bogged down by the old rules of the Old Testament in the same way, however, I don’t know if I agree that God never punishes his people, now that Jesus has saved us.

I feel like if God can, in a sense, choose to save his people then he could have chose to save his people before it happened. In which case, when he chooses to let his people have their consequences, or choose to not save his people, then, he is punishing us. Isn’t that punishment? Maybe people just don’t like the term punishment because they don’t like to view God as one that would allow hard things to happen to his people who he loves. Or people don’t want to come to terms with the fact that bad things happen to us for specific reasons. We want to blame someone else. But I don’t want to take away from the fact that God is completely Just and completely Good. And that we need to understand that first, before this whole thing is talked about.

Judges 6:31-32
I liked that Joash, Gideon’s father, is like “Baal is the one that should take care of Gideon, since he tore down Baal’s altar.” To me, it’s kinda funny.

Judges 6:36-40
Gideon asks God for not one but two signs. So I think that means that it’s okay to ask God for assurance that you are hearing him correctly, rather than just jumping into things without knowing for sure it’s God’s plan for you.

 

What is God Trying to Tell Me?

In the book, it says the difference between regret and repentance is that regret is when you feel bad because of the way it affects yourself. Keller says that repentance is when you are upset by the damage it causes your relationship with God. I was thinking of when I pray at night for forgiveness for being less kind or gentle or patient with my kids than I would like to be.

I know that God calls us to be kind, gentle and patient. I know that that is one of the main reasons that I want to be these things. But I also know that I want to be that way for my kids and that even if I wasn’t a Christian, I would want to be these things for my children. But I feel God saying that as hard as it seems to be sometimes to put God above my family, that I should first want to be the way God calls us to be because he calls us to be this way and that it hurts our relationship when I sin or fall short in anyway that God is calling us. And only second, should I desire to be a certain way for my children or family.

Confession Time:

Another thing this book is bringing out, that the bible reading didn’t, is that sometimes, when you fall into the same ruts over and over and are not making true progress, it might mean that you are not repentful (in the way he described repentance) and are instead only regretful of your actions. This made me think of my problems with talking about people. I have a bad habit of talking about people. It sometimes creeps into the realm of gossiping, but other times is just to point out things that people are doing in a way that is not positive. I am very ashamed of this. It’s not okay. I know it’s not okay. Sean and I struggle with this because we do it together. I justify it in my head, that sometimes its okay when it’s just husbands and wives talking about things, and everyone does it.  Sometimes we call ourselves “Statler and Waldorf” from the Muppet Show. We just sit back and make jokes. But I know it’s not right. I know that God is calling me to not be like this or talk like this. This lead me to make this meme: Which then led me to the Bible verse Romans 14:13, which led me to read the entire chapter of Romans 14. The parts that stood out to me said:

Romans 14:13  Let us no longer judge one another
Romans 14:3   Because God has accepted him
Romans 14:22 Whatever you believe about these things, keep between yourself and God.

In other words, God has accepted everyone, (especially Christians) but even non-Christians are made and created in God’s own image. He loves everyone and for me to judge others, or make fun of others or treat them wrongly, even if in my own head, or out of my mouth with my husband or close friends, it is still wrong and probably hurts God’s feelings. And I need to be keeping these feelings/judgements/jokes to myself. I’m trying to compare it to, us all being God’s children. And if I found out that someone was sitting around judging MY child or making jokes about MY kids, you better believe I would be not only hurt but pretty ticked off. Along with the fact that I am no where near perfect. What gives me the right to talk about people as if I think I am?

 

What Am I Even Doing?

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I got a new bible… the new SheReadsTruth Bible. It arrived yesterday and I love it so much. I already have an NIV study bible and I do love that one as well, but I’m really excited to make my way through this new SRT Bible as well. So, I decided to read through and document my reading. Basically, I type better and faster than I write by hand… so I decided to just put it on here because lets face it, no one really reads this here blog anyway! So who cares what they read/think about my personal bible study. And I figure the stuff I don’t want anyone to read, I can save it as private and no one will read it anyway! So there we go. That’s the why to this whole shebang.