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"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
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Reading for Today:

  • Judges 1:1–2:23
  • Psalm 48:1-8
  • Proverbs 14:15-17
  • Luke 14:1-24

Notes:

Judges 1:19 they could not drive out. “They” of Judah could not. They had been promised by Joshua that they could conquer the lowland (Josh. 17:16, 18) and should have remembered Joshua 11:4–9. This is a recurring failure among the tribes to rise to full trust and obedience for victory by God’s power. Compromising for less than what God was able to give (Josh. 1:6–9) began even in Joshua’s day (Judg. 2:2–6) and earlier (Num.13; 14). In another sense, God permitted enemies to hold out as a test to display whether His people would obey Him (2:20–23; 3:1, 4). Another factor involved keeping the wild animal count from rising too fast (Deut. 7:22).

Judges 2:1 the Angel of the LORD. One of 3 preincarnate theophanies by the Lord Jesus Christ in Judges (see 6:11–18; 13:3–23). This same Divine Messenger had earlier led Israel out of Egypt (see Ex. 14:19). I will never break My covenant with you. God would be faithful until the end, but the people would forfeit blessing for trouble, due to their disobedience (see v. 3).

Psalm 48:2 The joy of the whole earth. See the judgment context of Lamentations 2:15. the sides of the north. “North” is an interpretive translation of a word that occurs as a Semitic place name, i.e., “Zaphon.” In Canaanite mythology Zaphon was an ancient Near Eastern equivalent to Mt. Olympus, the dwelling place of pagan gods. If this was the psalmist’s intention in Psalm 48:2, the reference becomes a polemical description of the Lord. He is not only King of Kings but also is God of all so-called gods. The city of the great King. See Psalm 47:2 and Matthew 5:34, 35. God Himself has always been the King of Kings.

Luke 14:21 the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind. I.e., people the Pharisees tended to regard as unclean or unworthy. The religious leaders condemned Jesus for His associations with prostitutes and tax collectors (see 5:29, 30; 15:1; Matt. 9:10, 11; 11:19; 21:31, 32; Mark 2:15, 16).

Luke 14:23 into the highways and hedges. This evidently represents the Gentile regions. compel them to come in. I.e., not by force or violence, but by earnest persuasion.


DAY 18: Why was there a need for the judges?

“Another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done” (Judg. 2:10). The first people in the land had vivid recollections of all the miracles and judgments and were devoted to faith, duty, and purity. The new generation were ignorant of the experiences of their parents and yielded more easily to corruption. To a marked degree the people of this new generation were not true believers.

The new generation “followed other gods” (v. 12). Idol worship, such as the golden calf in the wilderness (Ex. 32), flared up again. Spurious gods of Canaan were plentiful. El was the supreme Canaanite deity, a god of uncontrolled lust and a bloody tyrant, as shown in writings found at Ras Shamra in northern Syria. His name means “strong, powerful.” Baal, son and successor of El, was “lord of heaven,” a farm god of rain and storm, his name meaning “lord, possessor.” His cult at Phoenicia included animal sacrifices, ritual meals, and licentious dances. Chambers catered to sacred prostitution by men and women (see 1 Kin. 14:23, 24; 2 Kin. 23:7). Anath, sister-wife of Baal, also called Ashtoreth (Astarte), patroness of sex and war, was called “virgin” and “holy,” but was actually a “sacred prostitute.” Many other gods besides these also attracted worship.

“The anger of the LORD was hot” against them (v. 14), which was followed by plunderers and calamities designed as chastisement to lead the people to repentance. During these times, “the LORD raised up judges” (v. 16). A “judge” or deliverer guided military expeditions against foes and arbitrated judicial matters (see 4:5). There was no succession or national rule. They were local deliverers, lifted up to leadership by God when the deplorable condition of Israel in the region around them prompted God to rescue the people.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Joshua 23:1–24:33
  • Psalm 47:1-9
  • Proverbs 14:14
  • Luke 13:23-35

Notes:

Joshua 24:15 choose...this day whom you will serve. Joshua’s fatherly model (reminiscent of Abraham’s, Gen. 18:19) was for himself and his family to serve the Lord, not false gods. He called others in Israel to this, and they committed themselves to serve the Lord also (vv. 21, 24).

Proverbs 14:14 backslider in heart. This term, so often used by the prophets (Is. 57:17; Jer. 3:6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 22; 8:5; 31:22; 49:4; Hos. 11:7; 14:4), is here used in such a way as to clarify who is a backslider. He belongs in the category of the fool, the wicked, and the disobedient, and he is contrasted with the godly wise. It is a word that the prophets used of apostate unbelievers.

Luke 13:23 are there few who are saved? That question may have been prompted by a number of factors. The great multitudes that had once followed Christ were subsiding to a faithful few (see John 6:66). Great crowds still came to hear (14:25), but committed followers were increasingly scarce. Moreover, Christ’s messages often seemed designed to discourage the halfhearted. And He Himself had stated that the way is so narrow that few find it (Matt. 7:14). This contradicted the Jewish belief that all Jews, except for tax collectors and other notorious sinners, would be saved. Christ’s reply once again underscored the difficulty of entering at the narrow gate. After the resurrection, only 120 disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15) and only about 500 in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6).

Luke 13:29 They will come. By including people from the 4 corners of the earth, Jesus made it clear that even Gentiles would be invited to the heavenly banquet table. This was contrary to prevailing rabbinical thought, but perfectly consistent with the Old Testament Scriptures (Ps. 107:3; Is. 66:18, 19; Mal. 1:11).


DAY 17: Why would Jesus call Herod a “fox” in Luke 13:32?

Some have suggested that Jesus’ use of this expression is hard to reconcile with Exodus 22:28; Ecclesiastes 10:20; and Acts 23:5. However, those verses apply to everyday discourse. Prophets, speaking as mouthpieces of God and with divine authority, were often commissioned to rebuke leaders publicly (see Is. 1:23; Ezek. 22:27; Hos. 7:3–7; Zeph. 3:3). Since Jesus spoke with perfect divine authority, He had every right to speak of Herod in such terms. Rabbinical writings often used “the fox” to signify someone who was both crafty and worthless. The Pharisees, who trembled at Herod’s power, must have been astonished at Christ’s boldness.

Jesus’ message to Herod was: “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (v. 32). This expression signified only that Christ was on His own divine timetable; it was not meant to lay out a literal 3-day schedule. Expressions like this were common in Semitic usage and seldom were employed in a literal sense to specify precise intervals of time. To “be perfected,” i.e., by death, in the finishing of His work. (See Heb. 2:10; John 17:4, 5; 19:30.) Herod was threatening to kill Him, but no one could kill Christ before His time (John 10:17, 18).

Jesus adds that “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (v. 33). Not all prophets who were martyred died in Jerusalem, of course. This saying was probably a familiar proverb. The statement is full of irony, noting that most of the Old Testament prophets were martyred at the hands of the Jewish people, not by foreign enemies. Luke’s inclusion of this saying underscores his theme in this section of his Gospel—Jesus’ relentless journey to Jerusalem for the purpose of dying.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Joshua 21:1–22:34
  • Psalm 46:7-11
  • Proverbs 14:12-13
  • Luke 13:1-22

Notes:

Joshua 21:43–45 So the LORD gave to Israel all the land. This sums up God’s fulfillment of His covenant promise to give Abraham’s people the land (Gen. 12:7; Josh. 1:2, 5–9). God also kept His Word in giving the people rest (Deut. 12:9, 10). In a valid sense, the Canaanites were in check, under military conquest as God had pledged (Josh. 1:5), not posing an immediate threat. Not every enemy had been driven out, however, leaving some to stir up trouble later. But God’s people failed to exercise their responsibility and possess their land to the full degree in various areas.

Psalm 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us. The precious personal presence (see “God with us” in Is. 7:14; 8:8, 10) of the Divine Warrior (see “LORD of hosts” or “armies,” e.g., Pss. 24:10; 48:8; 59:5) secures the safety of His people.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. This twin command to not panic and to recognize His sovereignty is probably directed to both His nation for comfort and all other nations for warning.

Luke 13:11 had a spirit of infirmity. This suggests that her physical ailment, which left her unable to stand erect, was caused by an evil spirit. However, Christ did not have to confront and drive out a demon, but simply declared her loosed (v. 12), so her case appears somewhat different from other cases of demonic possession He often encountered.

Luke 13:12 He called her to Him. The healing was unsolicited; He took the initiative (see 7:12–14). Furthermore, no special faith was required on her part or anyone else’s. Jesus sometimes called for faith, but not always (see 8:48; Mark 5:34).


DAY 16: Are catastrophes a sign of God’s judgment?

Upon hearing about an incident where Galileans were sought out and killed in the temple by Roman authorities while in the process of offering a sacrifice, perhaps because they were seditious zealots, Jesus asked His listeners, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners…because they suffered such things?” (Luke 13:2). It was the belief of many that disaster and sudden death always signified divine displeasure over particular sins (see Job 4:7). Those who suffered in uncommon ways were therefore assumed to be guilty of some more severe immorality (see John 9:2).

Jesus did not deny the connection between catastrophe and human evil, for all such afflictions ultimately stem from the curse of humanity’s fallenness (Gen. 3:17–19). Furthermore, specific calamities may indeed be the fruit of certain iniquities (Prov. 24:16). But Christ challenged the people’s notion that they were morally superior to those who suffered in such catastrophes. He called all to repent (v. 3), for all were in danger of sudden destruction. No one is guaranteed time to prepare for death, so now is the time for repentance for all (see 2 Cor. 6:2).

Jesus also mentions another disaster in Siloam, where evidently one of the towers guarding an aqueduct collapsed, perhaps while under construction, killing some people (v. 4). Again, the question in the minds of people was regarding the connection between calamity and iniquity (“worse sinners”). Jesus responded by saying that such a calamity was not God’s way to single out an especially evil group for death, but a means of warning to all sinners.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Joshua 19:1–20:9
  • Psalm 46:1-6
  • Proverbs 14:7-11
  • Luke 12:32-59

Notes:

Joshua 20:1–9 cities of refuge. Moses had spoken God’s word to name 6 cities in Israel as refuge centers. A person who inadvertently killed another could flee to the nearest of these for protection (see Num.35:9–34). Three lay west of the Jordan, and 3 lay to the east, each reachable in a day for those in its area. The slayer could flee there to escape pursuit by a family member seeking to exact private justice. Authorities at the refuge protected him and escorted him to a trial. If found innocent, he was guarded at the refuge until the death of the current high priest, a kind of statute of limitations (Josh. 20:6). He could then return home. If found guilty of murder, he suffered due punishment.

Proverbs 14:10 At its depth, suffering and rejoicing are personal and private. No one is able to communicate them fully (1 Sam 1:10; 1 Kin. 8:38; Matt 2:18; 26:39–42, 75).

Luke 12:33 Sell what you have and give alms. Those who amassed earthly possessions, falsely thinking their security lay in material resources (vv. 16–20), needed to lay up treasure in heaven instead. Believers in the early church did sell their goods to meet the basic needs of poorer brethren (Acts 2:44, 45; 4:32–37). But this commandment is not to be twisted into an absolute prohibition of all earthly possessions. In fact, Peter’s words to Ananias in Acts 5:4 make it clear that the selling of one’s possessions was optional. money bags which do not grow old. These purses that do not wear out (so as to lose the money) are defined as “treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” The surest place to put one’s money is in such a purse—in heaven, where it is safe from thieves and decay, as well.

Luke 12:34 your heart will be also. Where one puts his money reveals the priorities of his heart. See 16:1–13; Matthew 6:21.


DAY 15: Where can we find stability in troubled times?

Psalm 46 was the scriptural catalyst for Martin Luther’s great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” This psalm extols the adequacy of God in facing threats from nature and the nations. God indeed protects (see vv. 1, 7, 11) His people upon the earth (see vv. 2, 6, 8, 9, 10). The major burden of Psalm 46 is that God provides stability for His people who live in two exceedingly unstable environments.

Specifically, “Even though the earth be removed” (v. 2). I.e., “When earth changes and when mountains move or shake or totter or slip” (see the language of Is. 24:19, 20; 54:10; Hag. 2:6). These are poetic allusions to earthquakes. Since “the earth” and “mountains” are regarded by men as symbols of stability, when they “dance,” great terror normally ensues. But when the most stable becomes unstable, there should be “no fear” because of the transcendent stability of God. And “though its waters roar” (v. 3). This is an illustration of powerfully surging and potentially destructive floods of waters. These will not erode God’s protective fortifications.

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God” (v. 4). Refreshing waters contrast with those threatening torrents of v. 3. See the garden of paradise concept often mentioned in ancient Near Eastern literature, but most importantly, see the biblical revelation, noting especially the “bookends” of Genesis 2:10 and Revelation 22:1, 2. “She shall not be moved” (vv. 5, 6). These verses pick up some of the key terms about moving, slipping, tottering, sliding, and roaring from vv. 1–3. However, here, because of the presence of God, the forces of nature and the nations are no longer a threat to the people of God who dwell with Him.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • Joshua 17:1–18:28
  • Psalm 45:6-17
  • Proverbs 14:6
  • Luke 12:1-31

Notes:

Joshua 17:12–18 children of Manasseh. Tribesmen of Manasseh complained that Joshua did not allot them land sufficient to their numbers and that the Canaanites were too tough for them to drive out altogether. He permitted them extra land in forested hills that they could clear. Joshua told them that they could drive out the Canaanites for God had promised to be with them in victory against chariots (Deut. 20:1).

Psalm 45:6, 7 Your throne, O God. Since this king-groom was likely a member of the Davidic dynasty (e.g., 2 Sam. 7), there was a near and immediate application (see 1 Chr. 28:5; 29:23). Through progressive revelation (i.e., Heb. 1:8, 9), we learn of the ultimate application to “a greater than Solomon” who is God—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 12:11 do not worry. I.e., do not be anxious. This does not suggest that ministers and teachers should forego preparation in their normal spiritual duties. To cite this passage and others like it (21:12–15; Matt. 10:19) to justify the neglect of study and meditation is to twist the meaning of Scripture. This verse is meant as a comfort for those under life-threatening persecution, not as an excuse for laziness in ministry. The exact same expression is used in v. 22, speaking of concern for one’s material necessities. In neither context was Jesus condemning legitimate toil and preparation. He was promising the Holy Spirit’s aid for times of persecution when there can be no preparation.


DAY 14: What passages in Luke are unique to his Gospel?

Luke included 12 events or major passages not found in the other Gospels:

1. Events preceding the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus (1:5–80).

2. Scenes from Jesus’ childhood (2:1–52).

3. Herod imprisons John the Baptist (3:19, 20).

4. The people of Nazareth reject Jesus (4:16–30).

5. The first disciples are called (5:1–11).

6. A widow’s son is raised (7:11–17).

7. A woman anoints Jesus’ feet (7:36–50).

8. Certain women minister to Christ (8:1–3).

9. Events, teaching, and miracles during the months leading up to Christ’s death (10:1–18:14).

10. Christ abides with Zacchaeus (19:1–27).

11. Herod tries Christ (23:6–12).

12. Some of Jesus’ final words before His ascension (24:44–49).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources
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Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
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