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May 8, Day #129 – The Giver of Life

We come today to Judges 6:1-7:8, and the book of Judges, as in the words of my younger days, is beginning to sound like a broken record, for we read, “again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites” (Judges 5:1). It is the same behavior – just a different judge and a different oppressor. This time, the judge that God raised up is Gideon. Earlier in my life, like Gideon, I thought, “how could God ever use me?” After we first traveled abroad – to Europe – we came home to the United States awestruck by the spiritual needs of Europe, and we really wondered, “What does this mean for us?” Gradually, God revealed His will that we serve Him as missionaries over there, and our fleece became, “Can He meet our needs to get us there? Will He provide for us there?” Our faith seemed so weak, but we wanted it to be steadfast (like David in our Psalm for today). As God directed each of our “little” steps of faith, He strengthened our weaknesses, He answered our prayers, and He opened and shut doors to us that no man could shut or open - giving us His full assurance that it was right for us to serve Him abroad. Many times we were afraid and didn’t know which way to turn. Looking back now, I am still amazed that He ever allowed us to serve Him like that. Well, such is also the story of Gideon. We see how God led and called Gideon, and in Judges 7:1-8, we see how God reduced the size of his army to ensure that Gideon was merely an instrument in the hand of the Lord, Who Himself would accomplish the work. I can testify personally that this was also our experience.

Psalm 57:9-11 reflects David’s missionary heart - that all nations come to know the God Whose love, faithfulness, and glory are great and reach to the heavens. David says that he “will praise the LORD among the nations and sing of Him among the peoples” (verse 9). Twice, David exalts “God above the heavens and proclaims His glory over all the earth” (verses 5 and 11). We reiterate what we said yesterday – this is God’s eternal purpose – to be glorified over all the earth. This Psalm stirs my own heart because God is exalted above the heavens and His glory is over all the earth. It moves me because I often feel like Gideon and like David - (1) like Gideon living in an unfriendly world under Satan’s control that seeks to dominate, harm, and rob us of our joy and peace; and (2) like David living among “lions and ravenous beasts – men whose teeth are spears and arrows – whose tongues are sharp swords” (cf., Psalm 57:4).

In John 5:16-30, we see that Jesus was often healing people on the Sabbath, for which reason, the Jews wanted to “kill Him” (verse 18). In this section, we see that Jesus teaches biblical truth about Himself and His Father. He identifies and equates Himself with God the Father – “Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” … that “all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father; He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father” (verses 19-23). Three times in this short section, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth” (verses 19, 24, and 25). No greater or more direct claims to deity could be made than what Jesus is saying here. Moreover, He makes the claim that just “as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself” (verse 26). No greater evidence for this truth could be offered than the many individuals Jesus raised from the dead, and yet the Jews rejected Him and wanted to kill Him – the very One Who is the Giver of life.

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