A Shelter In Any Storm

In the 1950s, Western culture was rife with concern about fallout from nuclear war.  As a result, families built shelters to protect them from a nuclear storm. Looking back, the concern seems like much ado about nothing, but at the time, the threat was very real.

What shelters do you run to when you encounter pain, suffering, or fear?

Join me today as we explore the shelter that will protect you from any disaster

TODAY’S READING

Judges 1:1-2:9
Luke 21:29-22:13
Psalm 90:1-91:16
Proverbs 13:24-25

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Judges 1:1-2:9. The book of Judges is one of the more uncomfortable books in Scripture to read for me. It tells stories about “godly” people doing ungodly things and ungodly people doing ungodly things. The bottom line lesson I learn from this book is that God can work through broken people. That doesn’t mean he excuses our questionable actions, but it does mean he works through us in spite of us.

The Bible Background Commentary explains that cutting off a man’s thumbs and big toes (verse 6), “was designed both to humiliate prisoners and to insure they could never serve as warriors again. Unsteady on their feet and unable to grasp a sword, spear or bow, these men could only beg to survive.”

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that Joshua seemingly did nothing to raise up a leader to replace him. In chapter 1, this becomes obvious. Initially, the residual effect of Joshua’s leadership guided Israel, but soon it began to unravel. In fact, as chapter one progresses, it appears that Israel loses steam in driving out their enemies. The danger for Israel is that living alongside the other nations makes them susceptible to taking on their values—which they do. Furthermore, in 2:1-9, we read that God didn’t bless Israel’s efforts because they failed to break down the altars of the Canaanites.

Luke 21:29-22:13. At the beginning of this section, Jesus compares the coming kingdom of God to a fig tree. In Palestine, the fig tree is the first to show its leaves and indicate that summer is approaching.

We read in 22:2 that the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus because for they were afraid of the people. The leaders were feared that if they tried to kill him, riots would ensue. Judas Iscariot’s role, then, was to provide the authorities with a way to kidnap Jesus in an isolated place without attracting a lot of attention—like kidnapping him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Notice Luke’s words in 22:7: “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” Normally, he would write that the day occurred when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. But by using the Greek term which means “it is necessary,” he points to Jesus as the ultimate sacrificial lamb.

Psalm 90. Notice that Moses wrote this psalm.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

Dwelling place. Refuge. The place we go to hide. First line of defense. Confidante.

In our two psalms today (Psalm 90-91), we read how the Lord has been our “dwelling place” (90:1) and that “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (91:1). Have you ever wondered what it means to make God your dwelling place?

The question can be ascertained by answering the question: “When you feel stressed or happy or in pain, where do you go first?” Some people go to a friend. Other people go to a spouse. Then again, some people make friends with their bottle, or some other addiction. Making God our dwelling place means making him our person of first response.

God is jealous for our love—not only because he loves us, but because he knows his love is better than any other alternative.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. How have you experienced God as your dwelling place?
  3. How do you make him your dwelling place?
  4. What does Psalm 91 tell you about God?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

1 Comment

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One response to “A Shelter In Any Storm

  1. Mike Mullin

    Current news and our daily reading raise an interesting question. Franklin Graham is disinvited to an event because he intimated or simply said (I don’t have the quote) that Islam is evil. Now with God angry at Israel for not driving out all the Canaanites as he commanded, could it be said that their religion was evil? Was God commanding Israel to destroy these other nations because they not only refused any treaty or compromise with Israel but because what they believed misled them and was therefore evil? Certainly Christians are called to dramatically different strategies than to destroy those who fail to receive Jesus (the recent Amish reminder of forgiveness being one example). We are to love and seek to convert those of other faiths, but is it fair, or accurate to call another religion evil? It was evil for Israel to adopt one of these other religions. It was evil not to destroy these other nations. I am wondering what a Christian is to do today as we are surrounded by many “nations” which do not recognize Jesus.

    Mike M

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