Judges 11:1-12:15, John 1:1-28, Psalms 101:1-8, Proverbs 14:13-14
Today is the 30th day of April welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it’s great to be here with you today, it being the 30th day of April. That makes it the last day of April. So, here we are, the last day of the fourth month of our 12-month journey. We are well underway. Today is the 120th day of the year. So, we’ve taken 120 steps out of 365 steps. We are well underway way, out in the deep now as we sail across the year and through the Scriptures. So, in the Old Testament we’re in the book of Judges right now. Yesterday in the New Testament, we concluded the gospel of Luke, which will bring us once we get to the New Testament today to the final gospel, the gospel of John. And we’ll talk about that when we get there. But first Judges chapters 11 and 12
Introduction to the Gospel of John:
Okay, as we talked about at the beginning today, we have now reached the New Testament, which leads us into some brand-new territory, the final gospel, the gospel of John. And as we talked about before the gospel of John is different than Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the first three Gospels in the New Testament and they’re known as the synoptic Gospels because even…even though they are written to be read by different audiences they have a lot of the same material, a lot of the same stories. The gospel of John is very different than the first three, the synoptic Gospels. It’s like it has some things that are similar but it’s like 90% different from the other Gospels. And, so, this brings us a completely different perspective for Jesus’ life and ministry. It actually even looks at Jesus differently. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we…we see Jesus being a human being, doing His earthly ministry. And it’s not that we won’t see that in the gospel of John. It’s just that John’s conclusions, his Christology, right, his view of Jesus is…is a very elevated. So, the gospel of John we will perceive Jesus as divine, as God in these stories a little bit more explicitly than we see in the synoptic Gospels. And the thing is, John…this is this is John, the apostle…the apostle John that we’re…that we’re talking about here. And, so, he would’ve been aware. This is the final gospel to be written, the last of the Gospels in time to be written, probably roughly 30 years maybe after the gospel of Mark. So, you now, Mark comes first and then Matthew and Luke and then you and then John and there’s a span of about 30-ish years there roughly and all of these writings all of the gospel narratives were written after the letters of Paul. Paul’s writings are the…the earliest Christian documents that are preserved. But we’ll talk about that when we get to Paul and we’ve got a ways to go. But whereas Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written to be compelling descriptions of Jesus and His life and His sacrifice and what His purpose was, they were written to compel a person to believe whereas John is writing aware of the other Gospels already. He knows the parts of the stories that have been told. He knows the whole story because he was there in the ministry with Jesus watching Jesus do His ministry. And, so, John is writing to people who already do believe. He wrote it to build up their faith, to strengthen them that they might come to know Jesus in a deeper, more profound way. And, so, with that we begin the final gospel. John chapter 1 verses 1 through 28.
Okay. So, we have entered into the gospel of John and, you know, we’re just taking our first step in and just getting our toes wet. And our toes are wet by the Jordan River. That’s where we find ourselves today, with John baptizing. And, so, that’s the lay of the land there and we’ve kind of talked about where were going as we go into this final gospel.
But in the book of Judges today we are in this story that’s so disconcerting. It’s like so disruptive. Like what is going on here with the story of Jephthah one of the judges of Israel who makes a vow to God that if God does what he wants, and what he wants is to be victorious in battle, but if God gives him what he wants that he’s gonna sacrifice the first thing that comes out his front door to God. And that's…I mean…that’s probably gonna be a person, right? If you think, “the first thing that comes out my front door” I mean…that…that’s likely to not be an animal. Like, it could be but like what kind of vow is that? Can you imagine, “Lord, you know, if you give me a raise this week, I’ll sacrifice the first thing that comes out my front door. So, we’re upside down even as we begin. Jephthah is victorious in battle and when he comes home it’s his daughter that comes out the front door and his heart is broken as we see from the narrative in the Scriptures that now he’s made a vow to God that he can’t break a vow to God. Now he regrets the vow he made. And, so, when the daughter really understands that it's…it’s her…like she’s gonna die, she asks for a couple months. And there’s all kinds of ways to try to make this story different than the story is. Like, he didn’t really sacrifice her. She didn’t really die. She just had to remain like childless. Like, there’s…there’s ways that we try to make things different than they are when they’re not how we…how we want them to be. And this is a story that we wouldn’t like…we’d rather this be a different kind of story. But that’s just not how it reads. And, so, we have to just read it as it reads. She goes away for two months, she comes back. Her father sacrifices her to God and then a tradition is born from that point forward that moves on throughout Israel where some days are spent each year kind of reliving that story and wandering around. We look at that and it’s like I head scratcher, it’s confusing. What’s going on here? Why is this in the Bible? Here’s another one of these encounters with a story that’s just a tragedy. The thing that…that we have to see is that God didn’t ask Jephthah for that kind of vow in any way in any shape. Jephthah made this vow and then once everything came to fruition, he kept his vow. God didn’t ask for the vow. God didn’t send his angel and say, “Jephthah, I will give you victory in battle if you will sacrifice the first thing that comes out of your door” and then Jephthah makes an agreement, and this is all on God. This is all on Jephthah. When it comes to human sacrifice, God’s pretty explicit in the Bible, that He had never asked for any of that from anyone. In fact, God says in the Scriptures that it had never entered His mind. Like He never even thought of that. So, we have to understand the time that we are in. Moses is dead. Joshua is dead. The entire generation that walked with Joshua is dead. We have moved centuries forward. Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. Israel has fallen away to worship all kinds of other gods, the God’s of the regions around them, precisely what they were warned against. And, so, now they are a convoluted mess. That’s how “something like the first person that walks out my front door will be a sacrifice to God” could even happen. It’s not in the Mosaic law. It’s never a commandment anywhere in the Bible. This is what doing what’s right in your own eyes leads to. The people have become tribal even toward each other. They aren’t a cohesive unit. They are fragmenting the underpinning of what held them together, which is the law, which is not being adhered to and they are committing spiritual adultery by giving themselves, giving their hearts in worship to another God. This is idolatry. It was God who rescued them and came to them and said, “I am your God. I am the only. There is no other.” And yet, here they are chasing after false gods. That’s how things get the way that they are. So, we can look at this story and it can turn our stomach, or it can tip us upside down or it can tip us sideways and we’re like blaming God for all this. We have to understand, God didn’t do this, didn’t ask for this, has no part in this. And from here we just keep watching. We just keep watching what the children of Israel did. We wandered in the wilderness with them. We came out of slavery with them. We’ve been with them all along and we saw how they were knit together to be a people. But they are completely a fragmented tribal society at this point. It’s falling apart and there are judges that come, and they bring people back and then there are judges that do things like Jephthah and then there are judges that are just simply mentioned. We don’t know anything about them or what they did. What we do know is that this tight unit of people that were on the same page, following their God across the Jordan River, we’re not gonna see anything like that again. The slide that we begin to see here in the book of Judges continues all the way until we get to the place where these very same people that have been rescued from slavery kill the one who rescued them and didn’t even see it. That’s how blind. And, so, we’re watching this slide from here in Judges and it will continue forward. It’s a back-and-forth. There will be definitely generations that return to God with all kinds of vigor and God will bless them. But it’s this kind of continual downward slide where two steps forward, one step back toward their own destruction.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We don’t like disruptive stories. But we thank You that we…we can engage, we can learn, we can look into those stories because some of the reasons that we don’t like them is that they’re in the Bible. And, so, it makes us feel weird, like why would You want this in there? It’s so that we can see how bad things can get. It’s a warning to us not to follow the same pathways because they only lead to destruction. And, so, come Holy Spirit. Probably not any one of us have made any kind of vow like Jephthah and we never will but we do have all kinds of expectations and we need to reset those. We need to align our expectations with Yours instead of trying to fit You into our expectations. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.