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April 1, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 1 Samuel 18-20
Audio: 1 Samuel 18-20

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Judges 13 (ESV)

And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

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Next: Judges 14

Back: Judges 12

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Judges 13:1a

    Evil – The Absence of Light/Right

    Just as the color black is not truly a color but is what results from the absence of light, so evil is not truly a "created thing" but is the absence of light and what is right. Throughout history people have tried to come to terms with how evil can exist if God is good, and is the creator of all things and is all-powerful. I don't think that's asking the right question. 

    For me, I think a better question is: can God (or would God) create beings which are Gods just as He is? If we think about it, even if God created beings which are "carbon copies" of Himself, there can only be one eternal God who is all-powerful and self-existent. There can only be one creator who is eternal. Everyone and everything else is created and as such, can only be made in the image of God (which the Bible clearly states in Genesis 1:26-27). 

    While we will never fully grasp why God created mankind with the capacity to sin, for us not to have that capacity would mean we would have to be created with the divine nature and we're back to the beginning where only God's nature is divine without the capacity to sin. This is exclusive to God Himself as it's who He is in Himself. 

    As created beings, we have the capacity to sin because it's in our nature. Human nature is so far from God, the Bible refers to it as a sin nature. This nature is against everything God stands for because we want to be the "god" of our lives and resist submitting His authority. We are prone to sin because it's in our nature to sin. It's what we desires and it's what Satan, the enemy of our souls tempted us with because sin is an offense to God. 

    When we read the Genesis account of the first sin, it's clear Eve wanted to be like God, "knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5) so she disobeyed God's command and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good as did Adam and the rest is history. 

    The people of God were not gods. They were people. And people have the capacity, desire, inclination and lust for evil. The Jews were blessed in that God showed favor for them and call them His people. It was to them He revealed Himself and it was through them He showed His power, His provision and His purpose for mankind. This privilege did not however include perfection (and from reading the Bible, it's clear they, like us, are far from perfect). 

    So why would God create being with only the capacity to sin? At least partly to show us how unlike God (ungodly) we are. When we are commanded to obey God, we are not machine who can be programmed to operate the way the programmer wants it to work. When we obey, it goes against our sin nature to obey and reflects our love for God and our willingness to submit ourselves to His authority. This submission reflects our desire to glorify God instead of us glorying the god of self. 

    But as we see the people of God "doing what is evil in the sight of God", we can't lose sight of the forgiveness that awaits those to turn from doing what is evil and turning to what is right. When we repent, it's a combination of turning from what is evil and turning to God. 

    Apart from Christ, every person only has the capacity to sin because of the absence of God's light. Without God intervening in their lives, they will never know they are in darkness.

    As Christians, we have the light of Christ in us. The Holy Spirit which is in us convicts us when we sin. If we are in Christ, we can't go on sinning as we did before because God's divine nature convicts us when we sin and also empowers us to overcome sin and temptation when we are born again. 

    As we love God and love others, we no longer desire to sin as we did before because the pleasure it once brought to us is met with the reality that we have turned our backs on God and turned to the god of sin and self. No pleasure of sin can surpass the sorrow of sinning against God. 

    What we see in the Old Testament is when the people of God did what was evil in the sight of God, they often recognized their sin. When they repented and turned away from their sin, God was faithful to forgive them (because He is a merciful God). 

    In today's chapter, because the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, He gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (Judges 13:1). And yet, God also provided someone (Samson) who would begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines (Judges 13:5). 

    This points to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ who would save God's people from their sins. What a tragedy so many Jews in Jesus' day didn't recognize Him from the pages of Scripture. Maoah and his wife certainly recognized him. 

    Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your Messiah?

    Does God know you as His child?

    If so, does it matter to you when you do evil in His sight?

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

  2. As always, an absolutely perfect reading today, as was your comment. 

    Today I have been completely overwhelmed by love and gratitude to God. I will always be awestruck at the work He is doing in my life. I am changed, and was able to joyfully say "Yes! " to each question you posed at the end of your comment. I'm filled with the Holy Spirit, and I finally feel like I'm "home."

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