Scripture for Monday, October 30 (10/30)

The scripture for today, October 30 (10/30), is Hebrews 10:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ “

In the Law of Moses, people were expected to avenge those who did not follow the law. Some things were even punishable by death.

But Jesus told us to forgive people so that God,, in turn, will forgive us (Matthew 6:14).

What is forgiveness? It is not condoning the bad someone did. Forgiveness is letting go and letting God do any punishing that may be required. Forgiveness is wishing the other person well. You may not trust the other person to not do the bad thing again, and you may forever fear that person. But you can always hope and pray that their lives and hearts will change for the better some day. No one is so bad that you cannot wish them well and pray for them. That’s forgiveness.

Vengeance only prolongs the pain; vengeance is hard on us. So, as the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” God will do his part ~ the hard part. He has left the easy part for us.

 

Scripture for Saturday, October 7 (10/7)

The scripture for today, October 7(10/7), is Joshua 10:7f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Clouds in blue sky“So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’ “

We today cannot imagine a good God condoning violence, let alone promoting it. But think back. Mankind was quite barbaric in the centuries and millenniums before Christ. God never runs very far ahead of mankind, or else mankind would not understand, would grow discouraged and then not even try to follow God. By the time Jesus came, God was saying, “No more violence.”

In this scripture for today, God was telling Joshua to attack people in the Jews’ Promised Land ~ Canaan. This brings up a related question: Why would a good God allow one group of people to kill off another group of people? God had told Abraham centuries earlier, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16).

In Leviticus 18:24, 28, God warned the Jews through Moses, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled….And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” So God warned the Jews that, if they got as bad as the previous people in Canaan, he would drive them out too.

One of the monstrous sins of the Amorites was child sacrifice in the open fires of Marduck.  Eventually, the Jews began doing the same thing, and God drove them out of their Promised Land to Assyria and Babylon.

Further, in Old Testament times, God often punished people immediately. Why punish them? Partly to get them away from the good people. And God used armies of believers to do the punishing for him.

In the New Testament, God does not expect us to do the punishing. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry feed him….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Thank God, he has taken the terrible task of vengeance away from us. We can just forgive (let loose of) our enemies and hand things over to God to take whatever steps need to be taken. In the meantime, we can read the Old Testament and learn that God takes notice when people are doing bad things to us. God does take care of us. God does love his children.

Scripture for Sunday, September 17 (9/17)

The scripture for today, September 17 (9/17), is Nehemiah 9:17 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore, you did not desert them.”

Such love! We rebel against God (who is only trying to save us from hell) over and over because we don’t want anyone telling us what to do, and God forgives over and over. First Peter 3:9 says “The Lord…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God could turn us all into robots and force us to obey him. But that wouldn’t be Love. God is Love, and he cannot go against his own nature. He does not desert us when our spirits become self-destructive.  Instead, he follows us around and pleads over and over, “Follow my Son, Jesus, to safety!”

Would you be willing to forgive as many times as you expect God to forgive you?  Would you run after someone who wants nothing to do with you as much as God runs after you? 

Scripture for Friday, September 8 (9/8)

The scripture for today, September 8 (9/8), is Daniel 9:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Medium“O Lord, we and our kings, our princes, and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.”

Daniel is praying for his countrymen. Have you prayed for your countrymen and government lately?  I Timothy 2:1 & 2 says “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone ~ for kings and all those in authority.” At the time Paul wrote this, Nero Caesar, who led the persecution of tens of thousands of Christians, torturing many to death, was the king over the Roman Empire. Paul prayed for him.

All your life, have you done nothing but complain about your government? Isn’t it time to stop complaining and start praying? It is hard to pray for someone and they stay your enemy.

Then, pray for your countrymen. Pray for forgiveness for what your country is doing wrong. Pray with thanksgiving for what your country is doing right. All countries—regardless of how great or small—have both. Humbly ask on behalf of your countrymen for forgiveness of whatever shames them, comfort for whatever losses they feel, and gratitude for everything that is right.  Be proud of whatever country you live in.  Do not leave. Stay and help it be even better. Be patriotic.