July 25, Reading 1 – Judges 21


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SAA Notes

In God’s grace, a link is formed in all the tragedy between the people of Jabesh Gilead and the Tribe of Benjamin. This becomes important later in Saul’s time. Most of the population of Jabesh Gilead apparently escaped, as the history related in 1 Samuel 11 testifies. The refrain in these two stories is: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Lawlessness destroys. The people need a Messiah!

SJA Notes

* Loving God, You are great and greatly to be praised, in Your city, Your holy mountain – the joy of all the earth.

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Again the lesson is hammered home in this passage – Religion without the Holy Spirit is useless, broken and fractured.

Israel wanted to do something good for Benjamin, they didn’t want their brother tribe to die out (although had sworn a foolish oath which meant they weren’t going to help them out personally).

We see the Lord works good through terrible human solutions.

But they are terrible solutions.

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

We need something better than our own eyes. We need someone who does what is right and tells us what the right thing to do.

More, we need a king that will be our King.

As always, the answer is Jesus.

We can be thankful that in Jesus we have a king who always does what is right.

We can follow Him, doing what He tells us, His Spirit living within us – Making our dead hearts alive.

So that we do what is right in God’s eyes, not our own.

Hallelujah, what a King we have!

* Father God Above,

Thank You that as with Israel so with us – That You work good for Your people, even through the bad and terrible decision we make.

Please refine us each day, make us more like Jesus.


July 24, Reading 1 – Judges 20


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SAA Notes

Benjamin is almost destroyed as a Tribe of Israel! The message is that religion cannot make any difference in itself. We need the Lord Himself, the work of the Holy Spirit! Benjamin puts family first above all other considerations. This is misplaced loyalty because it puts family in God’s place. It destroyed them except for the grace of God!

SJA Notes

* Righteous and Faithful God, we shout to You with loud songs of joy – For You, the LORD MOST HIGHT, are to be feared.

“But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel.”

It can seem a bit strange that the tribe of Benjamin would stand and defend the “worthless fellows” of Gibeah (and their actions in the previous reading).

The tribal architecture of Israel would probably have made a decision either way very strongly-argued.

We today have a similar temptation – To choose human bonds and community over what God has laid down.

The men of Gibeah were acting in gross perversion, they were broken men in need of a better saviour than what the judges were.

Religion on its own is worthless. Without the Holy Spirit living and at work in us we are useless vessels, hopeless and helpless.

Now, just as then, we need to stand firm in the WORD of God – Informed each day by God and His wisdom, His voice being the voice in our heads!

He is our rock, our deliverance!

* Gracious Father God,

Please use these passages of Israel’s troubled history to refine us as we read them – Please write Your word on our hearts.

You are our strength and our refuge Lord God.

Please equip us each day to go about what You want for us to do.


July 23, Reading 1 – Judges 19


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SAA Notes

The second story is about another Levite and his common-law wife. They have relationship problems and she runs home to father. What happens to her is an indescribable horror – due to the behaviour of her husband as well as that of the men of Benjamin.

SJA Notes

* Holy God, You are our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.

“No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing.”

Today’s passage gives us clear insight into what happens when rejection of God opens us right up to doing what is right in our own eyes.

Sin is not fun.

Sin does not bring about good for society, or for individuals.

There is no bright side to sin.

What horror we read here, and yet this is the truth of what happens when we turn away from God.

Our hearts go after our own desires, and we seek to destroy what is good and upright, what the Lord has set down as how to live under His rule.

This passage is a powerful reminder for us – We need Jesus!

Only He can break the grip of sin, only He can make our hearts new again!

* Dear God,

This passage is a hard read – Please open our hearts to understand what You want us to learn and know.

Thank You for Jesus, who redeems us from our sin and rescues us from its grip.