September 4, 2022Day 248
Boaz was an example to his community and still is to us today. Throughout time, too many rich people have been likely to be greedy and uncaring, but they don’t have to be. Boaz hires local reapers like all landowners, but he treats his with kindness, giving them food and breaks in the shade, and greeting them with blessings. He also allows the poor to glean for no cost, as God said we should. There is a hint in verse 8 that a lone woman gleaning might not meet with such care at other nearby farms. How do you think the local poorer people felt about him?
September 3, 2022Day 247
Ruth’s story is a relief after the grimness of Judges. Perhaps God meant it to show us that even during the lawless time of the judges there were still faithful people who loved God and loved each other. The story begins with a little backstory. Elimelech and his wife and sons go to Moab during a famine, the boys grow up there and marry, then all three men die, leaving three widows. Orpah did no wrong; she was well within her rights to return to her family, and Naomi sent her with blessings. But Ruth apparently found a better mother in Naomi than at her own house. Her words of commitment have lived for thousands of years.
September 2, 2022Day 246
At the beginning, this chapter seems to show repentance. The people are mourning because the tribe of Benjamin has been decimated. Notice who they blame, in verses 3 and 15. Was it God’s plan that they have a civil war over an act of cruelty and murder? At first, they make sacrifices and “peace offerings.” But then they come up with their own solution to the need to repopulate the tribe of Benjamin with wives for the few male survivors. What do you think of their plan? What do you think God thought of their plan? The book of Judges ends here, and notice what the writer thought it was necessary to repeat at the very end.
September 1, 2022Day 245
Finally, the people of Israel are shocked enough to go to God at Mizpah. All the tribes gather except Benjamin, who not only refuse to come, but instead go to war against the other tribes. At first, the tribes are fairly presumptuous, assuming they’ll win, but after two days losing, they finally submit themselves to God in earnest, fasting, praying, and offering sacrifices. The third time they go up, they win, but God must still be weeping. What a way to have “justice” among brothers! They will yet regret it.
August 30, 2022Day 243
The tribe of Dan had been allotted land between the mountains and the sea, but they had been unable to conquer the inhabitants and had gone back into the mountains (see chapter 1:34-36). Now they were trying to find other land to take. They came across Micah and his priest, and the priest gave them words, supposedly from the Lord, that they wanted to hear. So when they conquered Laish (very sad words in 27-8) they took the priest with them and Micah was left without. What a betrayal of all God’s plans for the people to have a united priesthood serving Him!
August 29, 2022Day 242
Here is a dysfunctional family! Micah steals from his mother, but when he confesses and gives the money back (which is good), she gives it to him to create idols with! So he does, and then he hires a priest to be his very own. Was this the plan God laid out and Moses and Joshua repeated, and repeated, and repeated? No! All three, Micah, his mother, and the young Levite, are in the wrong. Yet Micah thinks now God will bless him.
August 28, 2022Day 241
Of course we can’t see very much of Samson’s life in these few chapters. But it really doesn’t look as if he ever got over being so self-centered. One of his great weaknesses was for women, and it was his undoing. When Delilah begged and pleaded and cried, he finally gave in and told her his true secret. (You’d think he would have realized how foolish that was, by the way she had betrayed him all the other times!) Blinded and imprisoned, he had time to think, and at the end of his life, he did reach out to God, but note his motivation—he wanted revenge for his eyes. The story of Samson is the story of God working through a weak and faulty person.
August 27, 2022Day 240
The sad story of Samson continues. When his wife is taken from him and given to someone else, he is so angry that he takes vengeance on the whole people of the Philistines. God did raise him up as judge to deliver the people from the Philistines, but just imagine how much better the story would be if Samson were really dedicated to God and not to himself. Still, as we see in verse 19, God is patient and helps Samson.
August 26, 2022Day 238
It appears that Manoah and his wife were so thrilled to have this special baby that they didn’t raise him with discipline. They must have given in to his every demand when he was little, because now that he is grown up, he still thinks he should have anything he wants. When Manoah tries to reason with Samson, he won’t listen—the woman “looks good,” and that’s all that matters. And Manoah gives in. What does this tell you about Samson and his family life? Later, when his wife begged and coaxed and cried for her way, Samson was not prepared to stand for principle. He, too, gave in without much pressure.