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Day 74 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Judges and Psalms.
Judges 13 – More than anywhere else in Judges, the stories of Samson demonstrate: (1) the presence of God with His people, (2) the sinfulness of people who need salvation, (3) the Spirit of God who empowers His servants, and (4) the self-sacrificing act of God who provides salvation.
The birth announcement of Samson reveals the presence of God with His people. Gradually, as with Gideon, the angel of the Lord is recognized as God Himself. This experience, expected to bring death, instead leads to worship.
Central to discipleship is the increasing recognition of the identity of Jesus leading to worship. The New Testament understands Jesus as the visible representation of the invisible God (John 8:58; Colossians 1:15).
In Judges, God’s presence is most evident when His people are most helpless.
How does this pattern finds its completion in the coming of Jesus? Hint: Matthew 4:13–17; John 3:19–21; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:3–5.
Our hopeless circumstances are not a hindrance to the God of all grace.
Judges 14 – The life of Samson embodies the sinfulness of a people who need salvation. God ordained that Samson’s Nazirite vow extend from birth to death. Samson breaks each Nazirite regulation. He touches a dead body, comes into contact with products of the vineyard, and provides an occasion for drinking wine. In Judges 16 his hair is cut.
The idea of seeing Samson as the embodiment of Israel’s need for salvation extends beyond his breaking of the Nazirite vow. Like Israel, he is governed by what is right in his own eyes, a mind-set that is deeply evil in God’s sight.
Neither Samson nor his parents have the spiritual vision to see God sovereignly working His salvation even through the sinful choices of a man.
How do we see God working His salvation through the acts of sinful men in the Gospel? Hint: Acts 2:23.
Judges 15 – God’s mission finds no success without the Spirit of the Lord empowering His servants, despite their obvious failings and disservice to Him. Deliverance from the attacking lion and several initial defeats of the Philistines are attributed to the Spirit who “rushes” upon Samson. As with other judges, this demonstrates the legitimacy of Samson’s saving mission and is later echoed when the Spirit “rushes upon” the first two kings of Israel, enabling their feats of deliverance (1 Samuel 11:6; 16:13).
How do we see the culmination and continuation of God’s saving mission coming by means of the Spirit’s confirmation in the New Testament? Hint: Matthew 3:16–17.
Despite our obvious failings and disservice to God, how do we see the Spirit empower the Church today? Hint: Acts 1:8.
Psalm 74 – under the Old Covenant the tabernacle represented God’s presence among His people, so when Asaph sees prophetically the day when the temple will be destroyed, he is emotionally undone, wondering if God has abandoned His people.
Asaph thus provides a pattern for how to trust God when your world is falling apart. We first recall God’s faithfulness in the past by reading biblical stories of God’s mighty acts, remembering testimonies from contemporaries, and recalling God’s personal help in our own life—supremely through the gospel of grace.
Like a lawyer, Asaph argues for why God must act. On the one hand, Asaph asks God to defend His own reputation. Then he appeals to God’s covenant promises to His children. Such appeals represent a believer’s love for his Father’s name, arising from his past experience of God’s love.
How did Jesus surpass the temple by bringing God’s presence to earth tangibly? Hint: John 2:18–22.
How does recalling God’s demonstration of love and faithfulness in Jesus quiet all fears that God could disappoint us? Hint: Romans 8:31–38.
In Jesus, we are utterly secure and God has revealed supreme “regard for the covenant” (verse 20). Jesus has paid for the curses of covenant disobedience, and we covenant breakers are put right with God for free, through the finished work of Jesus (Galatians 3:10–14).
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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