For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
The simple believe what they are told, but the wise investigate its truth before acting upon it. It is foolish to react angrily to rumour without confirming its truth. It is important to confirm the facts of a case before deciding what one believes about it and taking action.
I try to avoid applying the Bible to modern politics because I believe God calls us to dedicate our allegiance to the Kingdom of God, not to earthly nations. However, today as I read this psalm I was struck that it was a plea for God come to the defense of Jerusalem. As I read it, I feel led to pray that God come to the defense of the land of Israel. I pray that He send His Holy Spirit upon the people living there and call them to follow Him faithfully. I further pray that He demonstrate His power upon this earth by coming to the defense of that land so that the peoples of this world will go to Jerusalem to worship Him. Let all of this happen so as to bring glory to the name of God.
When John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to two of his disciples as the Lamb of God, they went to Jesus and asked where He was staying. Jesus replied, “Come and see.” Later, Philip went to Nathaniel and told him about Jesus. Nathaniel was skeptical. Philip did not attempt to convince him, he just said, “Come and see.” Following Jesus is not an intellectual exercise. It is something that you need to experience to understand. When we attempt to reach others for Christ, let us remember this. Rather than try to convince their intellect, hoping their heart will follow, let us invite them to experience what it means to follow Christ. Let us call out to those around us, “Come and see.” Do not take my word for what it is like to follow Jesus, come and see for yourself.
I was struck by the similarity between the instructions given to Samson’s mother when she was told that she would give birth and the advice given today to pregnant women (especially those who have had trouble carrying a child to term). She was told to avoid alcohol and watch her diet carefully (avoid foods forbidden under Jewish law).
Something that strikes me every time I read this passage is that Samson never learned use good judgement in his relationships with women. I fault Samson’s parents for this, for not directing his interests towards women who would be good for him. I will use an example of someone I know. When he got out of high school, he got involved with people who were a bad influence on him (the bad influence went both ways in his case). When his father realized what types of women he was getting involved with, he found a way to direct his interest elsewhere. The father did not do it by telling him he needed to stay away from his friends. Rather his father convinced him to pursue an interest in a different area, where he would just so happen to meet women more likely to be a good influence on him. The funny thing is that while she influenced him to turn away from moving in a bad direction, he did the same for her.
The passage tells us that God used Samson’s poor judgement when it came to women, but how much better would things have been if Samson’s father had turned his interest towards a woman who would have been good for him? God will use our flaws for his glory, but that does not mean he could not use us even better if we avoided those mistakes.