Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Rise of Israel

One of my prayers for the E-100 is that by reading Scripture in this broad way, you will begin to see the narrative or “thread” that ties the Bible together from Genesis to Revelation.  Consider the concept of a king:

  • God’s people are ruled by a king (Pharaoh) in Egypt for hundreds of years; a king who enslaved and mistreated them.
  • God’s people are delivered from the king of Egypt by whom?……their king in heaven!
  • But wait…..Judges 21:25 provides a summary statement about the attitude of the people even after this deliverance…“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  (Can anyone say Genesis 3!?!)
  • The people made themselves king over their own lives, but this doesn’t work out too well as they continue to be oppressed by foreign nations.
  • So, this statement is made in the reading this week….”when the people said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel, so he prayed to the Lord.  And the Lord told him:  ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (1 Samuel 8:6-7)

This question of “Who is King?” is one of the primary threads that ties the biblical narrative together.  So, here’s some questions I’d love to hear your response to:

  • Why do you believe that the people of Israel rejected God’s authority through the prophet Samuel, asking for a human king instead?
  • In what ways to do you see people (not exluding ourselves!) rejecting the authority of our king in heaven, doing what is “right in our own eyes” instead?
  • As Israel did with King Saul, in what ways do we voluntarily enslave ourselves to a “king” resulting in harm when our king in heaven desires to give us blessing and freedom?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Pastor Clint

Categories: E100 | 1 Comment

The Judges

The book of Judges is one of my favorites in all of the Bible simply because of the many incredible stories told within.  As you are reading these accounts and others like them in Scripture, it is important to remember that just because something is recounted in a biblical narrative that does not mean God approves.  For example, though God uses Sampson to work out His purposes I do not believe Scripture would have us model our lives after this man…..can you say “hot-tempered, meat head!”  Likewise, Gideon “tested” God with the fleece and God was gracious by playing along.  However, Deuteronomy 6:16 commands, “do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  In fact, this is one of the things I love about the whole Old Testament….it gives story after story about how God loves and uses people just like you and I….stubborn, messy, disobedient people.  This, of course, does not mean that we should use God’s grace as a license to disobey!

One of the most important things to notice in Judges is the pattern of God’s people that is highlighted in Judges 2:6-3:6 and then illustrated throughout the rest of the book.  God has just helped Israel take possession of the promised land in dramatic fashion under the leadership of Joshua.  Having seen God provide in this way the people should be ready to enjoy the peaceful rule of God in their lives and their land, but alas…..

The Cycle

The generation that actually saw God provide dies and a new generation comes to power who doesn’t know God in this personal and powerful way. (2:10)

This new generation begins to take on the priorities of the culture around them instead of steadfastly holding onto the worship of God in the ways of obedience. (2:11-13)

Because of this, God hands his people over to their enemies in defeat. (2:14-15)

After suffering the results of disobedience, God’s people finally cry out to the Lord for help (1:18, 4:3 and elsewhere) and the Lord sends a “judge” to rescue them.

God’s people maintained a measure of gratitude and obedience during the rule and blessing of God through a particular judge.  But when that judge and the generation who had experienced God’s blessing dies and a new generation comes to power the cycle begins again.  (2:19)

 

Note, you will also be reading the account of Ruth.  As you read, notice how this story is a powerful testimony of personal faithfulness during a time of general unfaithfulness….”Ruth” takes place during the time of the judges.

 

Here’s some questions I’d love to hear your response to….

What can we learn about the results of faithful obedience and disobedience to God as we read these accounts?

Do you see the pattern established in Judges continuing to work out in the lives of people today?  If so, how?

What are some keys to breaking these patterns both within ourselves and as we think about preparing the next generation….our children and grandchildren?

 

 

Categories: E100 | 4 Comments

The Law and the Land

This week’s readings begin with the Ten Commandments.  In the giving of the commandments God wasn’t trying to start a religion; he was trying to build a relationship with his people (19:4-6). The Ten Commandments show us what God really cares about in three main areas. The first four center on our relationship with God (20:2-11). The  next group addresses our relationship with others (20:12-14, 16) and the third group deals with our relationship to things (20:15, 17).  The remainder of the texts in the section (and the rest of Scripture for that matter!) recount the struggle that God and people go through to develop and maintain relationship.

Take a few moments to watch this three minute video of Charleton Heston in “The Ten Commandments” (and be grateful for the strides cinematography has taken in the past few decades!)  After you’ve watched the clip, I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding the questions below or about anything else you read this week.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts……

By its portrayal in this video, do you think  Hollywood understands God’s desire to be in relationship with people?  What do you think the video convey’s about Hollywood’s perception of God and the Ten commandments?

Categories: E100 | 8 Comments

Moses and the Exodus

The readings this week reveal exciting accounts of God’s provision and rescue of his people using a man, Moses, who felt quite unequipped for the task.  These are exceptional stories worthy of being made into a Hollywood blockbuster!  In fact, these stories are so exceptional that some Christians have trouble believing that they actually happened and seek ways to explain away the supernatural provision of God.  Some biblical commentators believe that the sea crossed by the nation of Israel was really only a body of water  a few inches deep.  Likewise, other scholars believe that the manna provided by God  in the desert was really the natural by-product of a desert bug, not unlike a locust.  Do you see any problems with explanations like these?

While some of these explanations make for interesting reading I continue to question why we, whose faith is based on a resurrected life, feel the need to explain away other supernatural occurrences in God’s word.  If God has the power to bring life out of death, doesn’t he have the power to turn all the water in Egypt to blood?  So here’s my question to you all:

What does it, or what would it take for you to believe in supernatural occurrences such as what you are readying this week?

Categories: E100 | 3 Comments

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