Civil War

Out of all the Bible, there is one part that I dread to read the most. It’s even worse  than the story when King David fell from honor and committed adultery then murder.

The story comes from the last three chapters in the book of Judges. It centers around an incident in which a man’s concubine was brutally raped to death and then the man cut up her up in twelve pieces and delivered the parts to each of the tribes of Israel. This caused all the other tribes to fight against the man’s tribe, Benjamin. Civil war broke out in the Promised Land.

In that day, there was no king or judge over all of Israel. The Israelites came together against the tribe of  Benjamin and sought God about the situation and God heard their cry. They had to destroy the tribe because of its great sin. Then the Israelites were sad that one of the tribes had been destroyed. Only a few remained. The Israelites had also made a vow to God. They would not provide wives for the few remaining men so that they could repopulate. But in the end, a way was made so the vow was kept and the men got wives.

Judges 19 ~

22 While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.”

23 The old man stepped outside to talk to them. “No, my brothers, don’t do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful. 24 Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.”

25 But they wouldn’t listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and pushed her out the door. The men of the town abused her all night, taking turns raping her until morning. Finally, at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman returned to the house where her husband was staying. She collapsed at the door of the house and lay there until it was light.

27 When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer.[d] So he put her body on his donkey and took her home.

29 When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of Israel.

Judges 20 ~

46 So that day the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,000 strong warriors armed with swords, 47 leaving only 600 men who escaped to the rock of Rimmon, where they lived for four months. 48 And the Israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns—the people, the livestock, and everything they found. They also burned down all the towns they came to.

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Micah

I have never heard the story of Micah preached from the pulpit. And I must’ve been half asleep when I read it from my Bible in the past but today I was like a new Christian getting that great feeling of discovery. The story of Micah was vivid this morning. He lived when Israel had no judge or king. His idea of worshipping God was off kilter but he had a reverence for God. His story begins in Judges 17 which I have put in this blog and continues on in Judges 18. I just don’t have time this morning to tell the interesting second part. So, just read it for yourself.

Judges 17 ~

1There was a man named Micah, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim.One day he said to his mother, “I heard you place a curse on the person who stole 1,100 pieces[a] of silver from you. Well, I have the money. I was the one who took it.”

“The Lord bless you for admitting it,” his mother replied. He returned the money to her, and she said, “I now dedicate these silver coins to the Lord. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast.”

So when he returned the money to his mother, she took 200 silver coins and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into an image and an idol. And these were placed in Micah’s house.Micah set up a shrine for the idol, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. Then he installed one of his sons as his personal priest.

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area. He had left Bethlehem in search of another place to live, and as he traveled, he came to the hill country of Ephraim. He happened to stop at Micah’s house as he was traveling through. “Where are you from?” Micah asked him.

He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”

10 “Stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silver[b]a year, plus a change of clothes and your food.” 11 The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah’s sons.

12 So Micah installed the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah’s house. 13 “I know the Lord will bless me now,” Micah said, “because I have a Levite serving as my priest.”

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New Life

When a person becomes a Christian it is because the Holy Spirit helps them. Jesus was talking to a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus. He told Nicodemus just like it’s hard to understand where the wind begins and ends it’s hard to understand how the Holy Spirit prompts someone to come to God.

John 3 ~

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.[a]Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.[b] So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[c] must be born again.’The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

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I love the peacefulness of nature. God makes His presence known there. He is into every intricate detail.

The other night I was watching a documentary about the Rocky Mountains. It showed how snow would covered the mountains and then when the weather warmed the snow became large flowing streams down the sides. God invented that.

Psalm 104 ~

5 You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.
At your command, the water fled;
    at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
Mountains rose and valleys sank
    to the levels you decreed.
Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
    so they would never again cover the earth.

10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
    so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
    and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
    and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
    and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15     wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
    and bread to give them strength.
16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests,
    and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,
    and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.[b]

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All Praise

Psalm 103 tells the angels to praise God.

The angel Gabriel praised God when he told Mary she would have a son and call Him Jesus.

Psalm 103 ~

Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

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Unfailing

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

~ Ephesians 3:18

When you don’t feel loved, you need to run to God. Read the Bible. Search for His love in it. Ask Him to show you how much He loves you.

Psalm 103 ~

7 He revealed his character to Moses
    and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
    nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
    as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
    with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18     of those who are faithful to his covenant,
    of those who obey his commandments!

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
    from there he rules over everything.

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Make Me Young Again

I love Psalm 103. It was written by songwriter/musician and giant-slayer, David, of the Bible.

God forgives all our sins. He heals all our diseases and He renews our youngness with all the goodness He puts in our lives.

Psalm 103 ~

1Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness
    and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

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