Archive for June 2012

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“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.” 2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)

“But know your [Saul’s] kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as a ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”  1 Samuel 13:13 NASB

 David had just recently (approximately a year ago) defeated the Ammonites (there they are again) and it came time for kings to go to war. This was around the springtime in the land and seemingly a good time to go to war. In those times conquering the people around you was important so that you had many people paying tribute to you and your people could work a little less. This all made you look better as king. But as Israel this had another context. Many times Israel was God’s tool of judgment. Israel would take a nation that God wanted to subjugate. We must remember that God gave the people of Canaan 400 years to turn from evil before the Israelites came from Egypt and God judged the inhabitants of the land because of their lack of repentance.

 So David decides to stay home while his army led by his top general Joab goes out to fight. So David’s first bad decision is not being where he is supposed to be at the time he is supposed to be there.

 Next David has a little case of insomnia walked around the roof of his palace and saw a beautiful woman bathing on a roof. David asked about her and someone told him he was Uriah’s wife Bathsheba.

 Now how David didn’t know that this woman was wife to one of his Mighty Men of Valor, which included just 37 men, is kind of befuddling, but given that women weren’t really given the same social status is plausible. But David, knowing that this woman’s husband was a faithful servant, and just so happened to be out at war, decided that he wanted her for himself that night. Then the bombshell hit’s… she’s pregnant

 So David get’s her husband to come back, tries to get him to sleep with his wife so people will think it’s his baby. That doesn’t work so David decides to send the man, with the note that will kill him, to his General.

 “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.” 2 Samuel 11:27b NASB

 After this murder the Prophet Nathan comes to David and tells him a story about a man with many sheep who steals the one sheep his neighbor owns to feed his guests. Of course this enrages the king who says the thief should be put to death, and Nathan informs David that he his the thief and the sheep is Bathsheeba. David admits that he has sinned and Nathan tells him that he will not die but that this child will not live.

 So David made some bad choices.

  1. He doesn’t fulfill his duties as King of Israel by going to war.
  2. He sleeps with a woman married to one of his Mighty Men
  3. He has the woman’s husband murdered.

But this is where this story takes a turn because David was a man after God’s heart. David after getting this news “inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and when and lay all night on the ground.” (2 Samuel 12:16 NASB)  After 7 days of fasting the child died, but everyone was scared to tell David because they thought he might hurt himself.  After he found out though he “arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes, and came into the house of the LORD and worshiped.”

This confused his servants who asked him why he acted the way he did, and David replied “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast again? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22,23 NASB)

So that is how David responded to a rebuke, and to a punishment. David’s sin followed him throughout his Kingship, as the Prophet Nathan prophesied, but we can see later that David did learn from what happened”

In 2 Samuel 24 David takes a census that he shouldn’t have taken. He didn’t listen to Joab and the commanders of the Army. But this time no one had to rebuke him before he realized his sin.

Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly. 2 Samuel 24:10 NASB

This time the Prophet Gad came and gave David three options for punishment: 7years of famine, 3 months of fleeing from his enemies, or 3 days of pestilence. So David’s answer was “let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for his mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” Although the pestilence killed 70,000 peoeple God was merciful on the city of Jerusalem.

So David the second time realized his sin before someone had to point it out, and still trusted in the mercies of God. He didn’t want to be in the hands of man he wanted God to punish him.

David made plenty of bad choices, but every time David repented and got right with God, which is what you and I need to do even today.

Posted June 14, 2012 by mattiev9287 in Uncategorized

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“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” “When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.” Judges 11:30-31, 34 (NIV)

Jephthah was a judge of Israel. He was the son of Gilead by a prostitute. Later his half-brothers left him out of the inheritance that the sons would receive after Gilead’s death because he was an illegitimate son.

Because of this mistreatment by his brothers he left and went to the land of Tob. There Jephthah became a commander of a group of adventurers. Judges 11:1 says that Jephthah became a mighty warrior. His stature as a warrior must have been known to his kinsmen and very respected because Judges 11:5,6 says “the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites” (NIV)

This is another place that Lot’s choice has come back to haunt Israel. These are the son’s of Lot and his younger daughter. God gave both the Moabites and Ammonites territory while the Israelites were in Egypt.

After the people of Gilead and Jephthah came to an agreement on the fact that if Jephthah delivered them from the Ammonites he would be there leader, Jephthah sends messengers to the king of Ammon asking why he is attacking Gilead.

The king of Ammon replies that Israel took land that belonged to the Ammonites and that he wants the land back. Jephthah responds with an accurate account of what happened when the Israelites left Egypt. How every nation that was on the way to the promised land was afraid of them and would not allow Israel to pass on their way to Canaan. And one king, Sihon king of the Amorites, even came out to battle the Israelites. “Then the LORD the God of Israel gave Sihon and all his men into Israel’s hands” and “took over the land of the Amorites… from Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan” (which was the disputed territory) (Judges 11:21,22 NIV).

But the King of Ammon didn’t listen so the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah and on his way to subduing the Ammonites Jephthah made his first bad choice. He told God that whatever came out of the door of his house when he returned he would sacrifice as a burnt offering. He then went on to victory and came home, but the first thing out of his house was his daughter, his only child. Jephthah does what he promised God he would do, which shows a great fear of God on his part, but Jephthah probably would have been better off not to make a vow like that to God.

How often do we make “deals” with God? “God if you do this I’ll do this” or “God if you give me this, I’ll do this”. Rarely do we hold up our end of the bargain, but more importantly what kind of deals are these? God want’s to bless us and give us the desires of our hearts, if only we would ask. And second we shouldn’t require God to do something for us or give us something in order to do what we promise, which is usually something like “I’ll pray everyday” or “I’ll read my bible” or “I’ll tithe”.

After this Jephthah makes another bad decision. This one costs the lives of 42,000 people. The Ephraimites then came to Jephthah asking why they weren’t asked to go with him to defeat the Ammonites. Jephthah responded by saying “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me our of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?” (Judges 12:2,3 NIV).

This wasn’t the first time the Ephraimites had been offended by a Judge defeating a foreign group. They had felt the same slight after Gideon had defeated the Midianites but Gideon responded with much more gentleness than Jephthah. “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave you Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” (Judges 8:2,3 NIV)

Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (NIV) Both answers came with a question at the end. One exhorted the Ephraimites and the other one challenged them. Gideon’s answer turned away wrath, while Jephthah’s answer led to 42,000 Ephraimites being killed.

Jephthah’s first choice, to make a rash promise to God, resulted in the death of his daughter, and his second choice, to answer harshly to the Ephraimites, resulted in the death of 42,000 Ephraimites.

Posted June 9, 2012 by mattiev9287 in Bible study, Judges

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“Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. [Abraham and Lot] parted company; Abraham lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD” Genesis 13:10-13 (NIV)

“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” “When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.” Judges 11:30-31, 34 (NIV)

“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.” 2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped in beyond the River (Mesopotamia) 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” Joshua 24:14-15

Four different instances lie before us. Three different men make three decisions that weren’t wise to begin with and we learn in two instance very soon the problems that creates and in the other it takes a while longer  for the full problem to arise. The last choice has to do with an entire people who we will see aren’t able to live up to the choice they make completely.

Today we will look at Lot’s case we see a man who has decided to pitch his tent toward the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  We know that these cities were evil and that God destroyed these cities as recounted in Genesis 19.

What we sometimes miss is how Lot and his family act toward the warning s of God.

We see quite clearly that Abraham knows that God is not joking around when He visits him. Abraham even found out that for just 10 righteous people, God would not destroy the city. But it would seem that only Lot and his family of 4 were found to be righteous.

So the men come to Lot and tell him to tell his WHOLE family including his sons-in-law to leave town because they are going to destroy the town. “But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.” [Genesis 19:14 (NIV)] For whatever reason Lot’s sons-in-law didn’t believe him. Maybe they hadn’t seen anything miraculous, maybe they didn’t think it could be done, or possibly they didn’t even believe in God, but no matter the reason they stayed in the city and presumably died that next morning.

Then it was Lot’s time to leave

“With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters  who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished’
“When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand… and led them safely out of the city for the LORD was merciful to them… one of them said ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back…” Genesis 19:16,17 (NIV)

Even though Lot had already told his sons-in-law that God was going to destroy the city he STILL hesitated before he left. Lot has his heart set on Sodom from the moment of his choice of the Jordan Valley. It seems that Lot started with a tent pitched, towards the city, moved into the city, and eventually became an influential man in the city as evidenced by his sitting at the gateway of the city when the angels came into the town. For some reason Lot didn’t want to leave; something was drawing him to the evil city, but God was merciful and still got him out of the city

“By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities–and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:23-26

The story is sad enough already, but sadly it gets worse. This time Lot didn’t stay in the city, but he moved a cave in the mountains. “One day the older daughter said to the younger ‘Our father is getting old, and there’s not a man left in the country by whom we can get pregnant. Let’s get our father drunk with wine and lie with him. We’ll get children through our father- it’s our only chance to keep our family alive.'” Genesis 19:31-32

So Lot’s daughters have to children by their father one is named Moab, the father of the Moabites, and the other Ben-Ammi, the father of the Ammonites. These two nations cause trouble for Israel for many years to come, and it all started with one man’s choice to choose the fertile valley near sin.

Posted June 5, 2012 by mattiev9287 in Bible study, Genesis