DAILY DISCIPLINE #60
By Colleen Donahue
The Gulf War and Middle East Crisis which have been the news focus over the past several years have their roots back in the centuries that we have been studying. The recent war and skirmishes are but the tip of an iceberg that has been growing for centuries.
After Joshua's death, the Israelites entered the second phase of taking over the Promised Land. There was still much to be done and many Canaanites to drive out. But now there was no Moses or Joshua to lead them. They had leaders of the different Israeli tribes (Judah, Simeonites, Benjaminites, etc.) but now God Himself was their general. Promises of His presence, protection, and leadership were still intact just as He had promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua.
Let's begin to look into:
WHAT'S BEHIND THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS?
WHAT'S BEHIND OUR OWN CRISIS?
WHAT'S BEHIND THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS?
Day 1- What did the Israelites continue to do from the time of Joshua's death?
Judges 1:1-36 / Judges 2:6-7
Day 2- What did they fail to do?
Day 3- This "failure" on their part, which was in truth disobedience to God, their Commander-in-Chief, was the beginning of many "Middle East" crises over the centuries.
Day 4- These sins of disobedience not only brought about strife within the land between the different nations but soon took its toll upon the Israelites themselves.
Day 5- The result? God, as their Commander-in-Chief, stepped down!
Day 6- Nevertheless, because of His love and mercy towards His people what did God provide?
Day 7- How did the Israelites respond to His love?
Day 8- What consequences resulted from their arrogance?
Judges 2:20-23 / Judges 3:1-5
Day 9- Many years before his death what had Joshua warned the people about?
Thus the land that God had intended completely for His own people and His own purposes had been left to a lot of different peoples all with conflicting interests. Now, over the next four days, I'd like you to see if you can find a definite pattern that developed between the Israelites and God.
Day 10- Judges 3:7-11
Day 11- Judges 3:12-29
Day 12- Judges 4:1-4 / 14-24
Day 13- Judges 6:1-14 / Judges 7:21-25
Were you able to pick out the pattern? An EVIL was committed that led to BONDAGE of some sort. So the people CRIED OUT TO GOD. He then raised up a person (called a judge) to help them, which led to MERCY & DELIVERANCE.
Perhaps you've discovered that this pattern is not only unique to the Israelites. In fact, it seems to fit your life too. We sin, get ourselves into some kind of trouble or tight spot, we cry out to God for help, and God in His mercy seems to come to us.
WILL THIS ALWAYS BE OUR STORY?
Day 14- Modern society begins with the premise that man is basically good. But since the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, what does the Bible say?
Genesis 6:5 / Psalm 53:3 / Jeremiah 17:9 / Romans 3:23
Day 15- If this is true, then it is part of our very nature to do evil.
Isaiah 64:6 / Romans 7: 14-19
Day 16- What will always be the consequence of our sin?
Psalm 38:4 / Proverbs 5:22 / John 8:34 / Romans 6:23A
Day 17- In Old Testament times (i.e. in the centuries before Jesus lived) what was the only thing a person could do to restore his relationship with God?
Day 18- But sacrifices were temporary. The more the people sinned, the more animals they sacrificed, until even God Himself sickened of it.
Day 19- What did God want more than rituals of sacrifice?
I Samuel 15:22 / Hosea 6:6
Day 20- Thus the old sacrifice system was unsatisfactory to God and it was also unsatisfactory for man.
Hebrews 9:9 / 10:1-11
Day 21- Although WE do not sacrifice animals to try and win our forgiveness and favor with God, modern man tries to earn heaven by giving money, attending church, trying to be good, or spending time on a worthy cause. We may fool ourselves that these activities are satisfying to God but what will God say to us at Judgement Day?
Matthew 7:22-23 / Romans 3:20
BUT GOD WHO IS RICH IN MERCY AND WHO LOVED US.....
Day 22- In the fulfillment of time who did God send to be the final High Priest who would offer the last sacrifice?
Hebrews 5:7-10 / Hebrews 6:20
Day 23- What was Jesus able to accomplish that all the other High Priests could not?
Hebrews 7:23-28 / Hebrews 10:11-14
Day 24- God forgave the Israelites time and time again only because He accepted the sacrifice that the High Priest offered on their behalf. So it is with us. Our standing with God has nothing to do with our "good works". God accepts only what Jesus has done on our behalf.
Day 25- So, do we just keep on sinning and then run back to Jesus as the Israelites seemed to run back to God?
Day 26- Is there anything we SHOULD do?
SPIRAL TO THE BOTTOM
As you continue to read the historical records of the Judges, one is struck with the blatant, continuing sins of the Israelites. Perhaps more alarming to us is the close resemblance our society today is displaying.
Day 27- What had the Israelites consistently done that separated them from God?
Day 28- What seemed to be happening since the Israelites rejected God's rule?
Judges 17:6 / Judges 21:25
Day 29- Does this story remind you of something you might read in today's paper?
Day 30- What resulted from this incident?
Judges 20- 21:1-3
Day 31- It's important as we seek to understand the Middle East Crisis that we understand why there were centuries of strife between Israel and the Canaanites (their neighbors) and even among the Israelites themselves. What could have prevented it?
Deuteronomy 6:1-25 / Deuteronomy 7:1-26
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