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bible reading weekend july 18



Bible reading for weekend July 18. 

Judges 1-2

"Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them." (Judges 2:16)

WHO WERE THE JUDGES? The period between Joshua (the conquest of the land) and Saul (the first king of Israel) is known as the time of the Judges. The twelve tribes at that time operated more or less independently as states within the larger nation. The period covered by this book is circa 1370 to 1050 BC. Israel's enemies which were not displaced from the land became a snare to the nation, leading them into compromise, idolatry, and inter-marriage. The judges were military leaders, with special endowment from God, raised up as deliverers for the nation. Their leadership involved organizing troops to combat enemies, hearing judicial cases within the land, and leading moral and spiritual reform in the nation. We will see, however, that some of these leaders had as many moral problems as did the nation at large. 

CYCLES. As you read the book you will become aware of a repeating pattern in the story (2:11-20). The people compromise and yield to idolatry; bondage and suffering follow; they cry out to the Lord; God raises up a deliverer (judge); a period of peace follows; the judge dies; the people yield to idolatry again. See the diagram above.  As the saying goes, "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it." And the corollary to that is, "Those who do know history are doomed to watch others repeat it." 

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Acts 5-6

"And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:42) 

MEETING NEEDS, PREACHING THE GOSPEL (5). The early church shared resources generously with one another. Joseph, nicknamed Barnabas ("Son of Encouragement"), sold some land and donated the proceeds (4:36-37). It was not long before this practice was spoiled by hypocrisy and deception (5:1-11). Ananias and Sapphira made a posture of giving, and lied to the apostles about their proceeds. They were swiftly judged by God (compare with 1 Cor 11:17-32) and the stature of the apostles increases even more (5:12-16). The apostles are arrested again, but miraculously are released. We read about the mixture of respect, fear, and hatred toward the apostles from the leaders and people in Jerusalem.    

MEETING NEEDS, SOLVING PROBLEMS (6). A complaint arises concerning the care of widows within the fellowship (now over 5000 people). Widows were dependent on charitable giving, and apparently, the Hebrew-speaking (culturally Hebrew) widows were better cared for than the Greek-speaking (culturally Hellenistic) widows. Seven godly men, all with Greek names, were chosen to oversee this ministry of care. This was a good decision, and likely, this is the origin of the diaconate (deacons) within the church.  Particularly, Stephen stands out as a man of faith, having supernatural power, and being an effective evangelist. Conflict inevitably arises, and he is brought to trial. Stephen's face being "like the face of an angel" does not mean he looked "cherubic" (as painters term it) or innocent, but more likely, his gaze exuded supernatural power and confidence. For more details see the NET Bible notes.    

We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.


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