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May 3

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‘Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!”’ (Judges 17:13 NKJV).

From: May 3, 2020

OUR MANMADE RELIGION DOES NOT PLEASE GOD

What a convoluted story this is! It begins with Micah’s confession that he had taken 1,100 shekels of silver from his mother, who had consequently put a curse on whomever had stolen it. When his mother heard his confession, she blessed him, and told him that she had dedicated it to the Lord for her son all along to make for him a carved image. So they used part of the money to make a carved image and to make a priestly ephod and set up a shrine. Micah even set apart one of his own sons as priest of his shrine.
 
Then one day, a Levite came passing through, Micah offered him room and board with an annual salary to replace his son as his priest. And the Levite agreed to the arrangement. So, Micah exclaimed, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me!”
 
Why? Because he knew that the Levites had been chosen by God to be His priestly tribe. Micah had broken nearly every law concerning worship given to Israel in the making of his own carved images and shrine, yet he thought putting a Levite priest over his manmade religion would please God. No wonder the writer of the book of Judges remarked, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
 
As strange as this story is, we can recognize our own tendency to do the same as Micah. For we seek to earn God’s approval with our own homemade religion, thinking we are doing right. But the Bible warns us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 16:25).
 
We think we can please God following our own way, but there is only one way and that is Jesus. For as Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, forgive us for striving in our own way and thinking that our self-effort will please You. For faith alone pleases You. We therefore repent and turn to follow Your Son Jesus in all things. No longer following our own way, but following Him. Help us to hear His voice and follow His lead today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus” (John 3:1-2 NLT).

From: May 3, 2018

NIC AT NIGHT
Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus after dark. Perhaps he wanted a private conference, and night time was the only time Jesus wasn’t surrounded by crowds. Or perhaps it was because Nic didn’t want prying eyes from his sect to see him talking with the Galilean. Whatever the reason, this member of the Sanhedrin came to Jesus humbly and willing to listen, although he didn’t fully understand all of Christ’s teaching. One of the greatest verses in the Bible was given in this conversation between Nic and Jesus, as the Lord taught him of God’s love, God’s Son, faith and eternal life (see John 3:16).
 
In contrast to the Samaritan woman in John 4, to whom Jesus so gently revealed Himself, He was much harder on old Nic, saying, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?” (John 3:10). But Jesus knew what was inside the human heart. And He revealed Himself in a way that was appropriate to the hearer.
 
The gospel of John is the only one of the four that wrote of Nicodemus. John mentions Nic on three occasions. There is the dialogue at night in John 3, Nicodemus urging his fellow members of the Sanhedrin to first hear Jesus themselves before judging Him (John 7:50-51), and his helping Joseph of Arimathea to prepare Christ’s body for burial after the crucifixion (John 19:39-42).
 
Nic may have started out with Jesus by the dark of night, but he came out into the light of day at the end. I think John included these stories in his gospel because old Nic ultimately believed in Jesus.

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 NKJV).

From: May 3, 2017

This verse contains the theme of the book of Judges. In this book we see illustrated, in vivid and violent detail, the ugly chaos of a rudderless and relativistic culture. Western culture is already on its way to such an end, as it has increasingly embraced the same mantra. Without a mutually agreed upon and absolute moral standard of right and wrong, human society slides further and further down the slippery slope of sin.
 
The stories in the book of Judges, and the news reports in our world today, make us long for a true king. It makes us long for a king like Jesus.

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18 ESV)

From: May 3, 2016

All Adam’s children are “condemned already” because of sin and because of sin’s wage, which is death. Every member of the human race is born under the curse of sin. It was this curse, this condemnation that Jesus took upon His own body, so that the judgment that we had earned fell upon Him. As a result, those who “believe in Him are not condemned.” Why? Because there is no longer any condemnation left for those that are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Jesus took it all upon Himself. But what of those who do not believe? They are “condemned already.” The condemnation of sin remains upon them. They have not afforded themselves of Christ’s payment. They will face judgment without Christ because of their unbelief. What you believe matters.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17 NKJV)

From: May 3, 2015

The message concerning Jesus is the good news that God loves us and desires to save us through His Son. He was not sent to “condemn the world.” For the world has been under condemnation ever since Adam’s sin. Jesus came to rescue us from the condemnation that is already present upon us. Not everyone will recognize this. Some will prefer the darkness, blindly stumbling in sin’s chains towards judgment. However, a few will cry out to Jesus, finding themselves not only pardoned, but adopted into God’s family.

“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19 NLT)

From: May 3, 2014

Some who know about the gospel, question how God can judge those who haven’t heard it. They offer this question as their own excuse for not believing. Yet, Jesus told Nicodemus that this attitude is based not on reason, but on their passion for darkness and sin. Those who hear the gospel about Jesus and reject it are already under God’s judgment. They have loved darkness and rejected the Light, so God has rejected them. What we do with Jesus has everything to do with what God does with us.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12 ESV)

From: May 3, 2013

Jesus tried to explain being born of the Spirit to Nicodemus by comparing the Spirit to the wind. But Nick didn’t get it. At least not at first. Jesus often used “earthly things” to help explain heavenly ones. Earthly things like: sheep, soil, weeds, wheat, chaff, farmers, sons, coins, fields, barns, houses, rocks, virgins, lamps, banquets, weddings, etc. These things represented greater things. Scientists describe things by subtraction, by autopsy they identify down to the inanimate and unintelligent parts. Earthly things lose their wonder on the mortician’s table. Yet, when Jesus speaks of earth and heaven, those of us who believe, become wide-eyed like a child at God’s creation again.

“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life” (John 3:14-15)

From: May 3, 2012

As the bronze snake was a symbol of suffering, so Jesus foretold His intent to take on Himself the source of suffering for the world, which is man’s sin, by being lifted up on the cross.

“No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3)

From: May 3, 2011

The kingdom of God is only perceived with spiritual eyes. Those who haven’t been born again are blind to spiritual things. Only Christ can give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Born again people have been made alive spiritually.