Daddy blog

I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Proof Text Without A Context Is A Pretext


S: Judges 21:11 This is what you should do: Completely destroy every male, as well as every female who has slept with a man.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.

O: The last four chapters of Judges is a sordid tale, with seemingly no good guys. First, the Benjamites repeated the sin of Sodom & Gomorrah, wanting to rape the Levite from Ephraim. Then, the Levite and the old man in Gibeah were willing to sacrifice the girls to be raped to save him. Then, the Benjamites raped the poor girl to death. Then the Levite cut her up into 12 pieces and sent them to the other tribes of Judah and rallied the troops who then massacred every Benjamite man, woman and child except for 600 men who got away. Then they felt sorry that a tribe of Israel had been wiped out and massacred the innocent people of Jabesh-gilead just because they didn't send anyone to fight the Benjamites, and took the remaining 400 virgins to be forcibly made into wives for the surviving Benjamites. Then they had the remaining 200 Benjamites kidnap wives for themselves from the girls of Shiloh.

Taken out of context, a verse like Judges 21:11 seems to advocate killing those innocent people of Jabesh-gilead. There are other verses like that in the Bible, for example, the Danites massacre of the peace-loving people of Laish in Judges 18.

The fact is that, the book of Judges, like many other parts of the Bible, are descriptive and not prescriptive. And even in the prescriptive parts of the Bible, you can take verses out of context.

A: It is important to look at the whole counsel of scripture. That is why we need to read the whole Bible and not just cherry-pick the parts we like. Professor D.A. Carson has often quoted his father as saying that "a text without a context becomes a pretext for a proof text."

As we memorize scripture, we also need to also know the context of that scripture. Last week's Adventures in Odyssey, No Chemistry Whatsoever, had a sub-plot illustrating that.

P: Father, help us to understand Your Word as we read it, and not to be misled by taking things out of context. In Jesus' name, amen.
This song has nothing to do with the topic of this post, but because today is 31 August, Merdeka Day (Independence Day), I thought it would be appropriate for the day.

Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Samson's Folly


S: Judges 16:4-31

O: People often think of Samson as a big muscular guy and his hair as something magical. Samson probably was actually a fairly ordinary-looking man, not especially muscular. Otherwise, why would the Philistines keep wondering about the source of his extraordinary strength and want Delilah to find out its secret? If he had big muscles, they would have assumed it was due to his muscles.

Secondly, the long hair was not magic -- it was only a symbol of his Nazarite dedication unto the Lord. As such, the Lord gave him supernatural strength when it was needed.

The fact was that Samson had repeatedly not lived up to his Nazarite vow of dedication. He repeatedly disobeyed the Lord, and Delilah was merely the last in a long string of disobedience. The cutting of the hair was, in effect, the last straw.

This is also recognized in that Samson prayed to the Lord to again give him supernatural strength at the end.

Little by little, over the years, Samson whittled away his Nazarite vow. Since he still had his strength, perhaps he thought he was getting away with it. But eventually came the day of reckoning.

A: We must stay true to our dedication unto the Lord. We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a unique people who were called out of darkness into light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Therefore, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

P: Father, when I am faced with the temptation to compromise, let me stay steadfast in Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just a little seed of faith


S: Judges 4:1-24 The Lord allowed the Hazorians to oppress the Israelites for 20 years because they stopped following the Lord. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord raised up Deborah the prophetess to judge Israel.

She told Barak ben Abinoam to lead an army against Sisera, the Hazorian general, telling jim that the Lord has promised him victory. However, Barak didn't have enough faith and said he would only go if Deborah went with him.

Deborah replied, “Very well, I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.”

So the Lord gave Barak's forces victory, but arranged for Sisera to be killed by Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, instead, as prophesied.

O: Barak didn't have enough faith to lead the army of Israel on his own against the army of Hazor even though the Lord had prophesied victory. But he had just a little bit of faith ― enough that if Deborah went with him, he would be willing to do it. This robbed Barak of the full glory of the victory, but God was still able to use that little seed of faith to achieve His purposes.

Nonetheless, Barak was still listed in the Faith Hall of Fame of Hebrews 11. God was able to take that little seed of faith and grow a tree of victory with it.

In Mark 9:14-29, we saw a man didn't have a lot of faith Jesus could heal his epileptic son, since Jesus' disciples already failed to do so. Yet because he had just a little seed of faith to say to Jesus, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” God was able to take that little seed of faith to heal his son.

A: We often lack faith. When confronted with a difficult situation, it can be hard to trust God. But if we have faith just a little seed of faith, even as small as a mustard seed, God can still do amazing things.

This is because it's not so much dependent on our faith, as much as the One we have faith in ― God.

P: Father, I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief! In Jesus' name, amen.

Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Even believers can fall into last week's trap


S: Jeremiah 42-43 After Ishmael ben Nethaniah murdered Governor Gedaliah, Johanan ben Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders asked Jeremiah to ask God to show them what to do and where to go, promising that they would obey the word of the Lord. However, when Jeremiah told them the Lord wanted them to stay in Israel and not flee to Egypt, Azariah ben Hoshaiah and Johanan ben Kareah refused to listen and claimed that Jeremiah lied. They decided to disobey God's word and go to Egypt instead, and even forced Jeremiah and Baruch to go with them. As a result, they would be caught up in the horror of Nebuchadnezzar's sacking of Egypt.

O: This is a repeat of last week's lesson: Why bother to seek God's Word if you won't follow it? The difference here and there was that there, Zedekiah was a bad king who didn't follow God from the beginning, while Johanan ben Kareah seemed like he was trying to follow God at first.

This is a lesson to us who follow God. Even believers can fall into this trap.

A: As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:11-13, "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

P: Father, I am weak but You are strong. Jesus, keep me from all wrong. Keep me walking close to You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)