Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23 - Judges 17

Today's reading in our daily plan is Judges 17. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • We see an example of God's people, Israel, falling into idolatry through the life of one individual, Micah, and his family.
  • Verse 6 summarizes the attitude of the Israelites through the time of the judges, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit."
  • Israel's failure to follow God even affected their priests and Levites.  The Levite in this chapter accepted money, idols, and position in a way that was inconsistent with God's laws.  While Micah revealed the religious downfall of individual Israelites, this priest illustrated the religious downfall of priests and Levites.  
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Israel's attitude reflects the attitude of many today.  Micah and his mother seemed to be good and moral and may have sincerely desired to worship God, but they disobeyed God by following their own desires instead of doing what God wanted.  As verse 6 says, "everyone did as they saw fit."  But God hasn't left our conduct up to us and our opinions.  God has given us standards to live by.  Standards that honor God and bring about the freedom and life we all really desire.  But sadly, still today, many pay no attention to God's standards and instead live as they see fit.
  • Ignoring God's direction leads to confusion and destruction.  The Israelites continually found themselves in trouble and captivity due to rejecting God's right way of living.   
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • We are often tempted to use our personal feelings to determine right from wrong.  This is what was happening in Israel: "everyone did as they saw fit."  We see this same mentality in the saying, "If it feels good, do it."  But a drug addict feels good after getting high.  The gossip gets a rush from spreading rumors.  The Bible says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). Our feelings can betray us. God has given us a standard to live by that goes beyond personal feelings.  Spending time in God's Word each day helps you distinguish between what you feel and what is right and true.  
  • Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  We can avoid conforming to society's low standards by taking God's commands seriously and applying them to our life.  Where are you currently conforming to society's standards?  What can you do to start living out God's will for your life?