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May 13, 2024

JUDGES 20-21:
In yesterday's reading, the people of Dan took all the items in Micah's household shrine and Micah's Levite priest. The priest’s name was given at the end of the chapter. He was the grandson of Moses! And then the Danites slaughtered the unsuspecting residents of Laish, forgetting about the law about giving terms of surrender before attacking. Then we heard of the unnamed Levite and his concubine (meaning, additional inferior-status wife). Nothing happened according to God's will in this story. While the author says nothing negative about any of the characters, all had their faults. However, the Levite stands out as a terrible husband. And what happened at Gibeah— as we will see today— becomes the basis for Israel's first civil war.

This poem is perhaps the most-dark of all the despairing psalms. One encouragement to us is that God has now revealed things about our hope of heaven which were unknown to the writer. This psalm offers no hope or encouragement. But the presence of Psalm 88 in Scripture gives us permission when in our darkest depression to come to God in prayer speaking words like found here.

Yesterday in the 3rd chapter of First Timothy we heard one of the key passages in God's Word on the qualifications of church leaders. The chapter ended with a fragment of an early worship song.

Note how important the ‘conscience’ is to Paul!
1:5 The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and [(sincerely) believing in true teaching (without pretending/hypocrisy)//a genuine faith].
3:9 [PET they must believe fully in the true teachings which God has revealed to us, and must live with a clear conscience.
1:19 and [to keep on believing in true teaching//keep your faith] and [to live with] a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and [have wrecked their minds so that they are no longer able to believe in true teaching//have made a ruin of their faith].
4:2 Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron.

NLT Translation notes:
14 O LORD, why do you reject me?
Why do you [keep turning// turn] your face [away] from me?
1Tim. 4:1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from [true beliefs//our true way of believing//the true faith]; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by [believers//faithful people] who know the truth.
6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the [message of faith and] the good teaching[s] you have followed[— the teachings about our beliefs].
[Literally “words of faith” is plural, unlike ‘message’. PET: \6 Teach things like this to the brothers and sisters in the faith there, so that you'll be proven to be His good servant before our Lord Christ Jesus. A good servant of Christ must become more and more mature in all kinds of teachings that build up our beliefs— like the good teachings that you already follow.]
12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your [fully believing//faith], and your purity.


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.