We have made it another month!!! Guys! This is huge!  We have been reading the bible day in and day out for 4 whole months!  If you are behind don’t even worry about it!  Daily bible reading is literally the hardest part of the Christian Life.  So many things stop us from sitting down at the Fathers feet and reading His beautiful story of redemption.  It’s almost like there are evil forces at work to prevent that from happening.  Guess what? There is!!  Sitting in God’s Word leads to FREEDOM!!!  Satan and your flesh want you to remain a slave to them.  Join me in saying, “NOT TODAY!” And lets jump right in!

Judges 13:1—14: 20

Ok, new word for our word bank today.  THEOPHANY (Thē ŏphʹ ȧ nē) Physical appearance or personal manifestation of a god to a person.[1] When you see the phrase Angel of the Lord, it is referring to a manifestation of God.  Theophanies are the temporary way God allows people to “see” him.  So, they are different from angels because they are God and they are different from Jesus because He was God incarnate.  Clear as mud? Good let’s roll on.  My point is that Manoah and his wife offer to give the angel of the Lord a meal, He corrects them and says you can offer me a burnt offering because they are speaking to God. He is teaching them how to worship Him. 

Warning: God gets to trump God’s rules, but humans don’t.  It was not in keeping with the commandments for Samson to marry a Philistine.  His parents were right to object.  But the creator of humans and the Law gets to do what He wants to move His story along.  Samson being dedicated to the Lord should not have eaten honey out of the dead carcass because he was not supposed to touch dead bodies.  For sure not to down play the Law, but I get the feeling that this infraction is the least of his problems. 

If you ever questioned the fact that God uses imperfect people to carry out his perfect plan, tuck in and get to know Samson.  Just in today’s reading he tells his father, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” So obviously he is a romantic.  Sounds like the perfect beginning for a Rom-Com.  He also loves a riddle but is tormented by this wife, so he gave up the answer.  He then calls her a heifer.  There is that romantic coming out again. He is so mad he leaves but not before killing 30 Philistines.  Call me crazy but this guy seems to have some issues.  Too much honey from carcasses maybe.

But, if you look for where God is in this story you can see He is at work in Samson, just like He was with Moses.  He prepared Samson’s parents for his birth. He is positioning Samson for work by having him marry a Philistine.  He is preparing Samson for work ahead.  Training Him up to take out the Philistines.  He is teaching him that when the spirit moves, Samson moves.  Samson’s whole purpose is to allow God to work through him so God can rescue the Israelites from the Philistines.  Perfect God uses imperfect people.

John 1: 29-51

Remember John’s theme in this gospel “Believe that Jesus is God.” John highlights things like John the Baptist (let’s call him JTB, so we don’t confuse him with John the writer of this gospel) saying things like, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” JTB’s disciples follow Jesus.  I love that He is like, “What do ya’ll want?” and then says saying “Come and see.”  This is the sequence we all have to follow.  We have to come to Jesus, and then we get to see. 

I love how we get to see the message spread in this story.  From JTB, to Andrew, to Simon (Peter), to Phillip, to Nathanael.  This is the power of word of mouth sharing of faith.

John also records Jesus telling them that He is now the connection between heaven and earth.  We remember this stairway to heaven from our study of Jacob in the OT. 

Psalm 102: 1-28

This psalm is so sad!  But such a good reminder that when we feel this way, the first response should be, “Lord, can you bend down and listen to me?” Not drugs, alcohol, prescriptions, food, or blabbing to friends.  

Proverbs 14: 15-16

I am fortunate to be married to someone who thinks through every possible step to take and possible outcome.  However, left to his own devices he might never actually take a step. This will shock you but left to my own devices I tend to be a “Ready! Fire! Aim!” kind of person.  Jesse’s hesitation used to drive me absolutely insane.  My rashness use to make him insane.  But now I see how brilliant God is for putting us together.  Together we are prudent and consider steps, and then take them.  Working together we avoid danger and recklessness.   

[1] Feinberg, Charles Lee. “Theophany.” Ed. Chad Brand et al. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2003 : 1586. Print.

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