Devotionals

  • April 18: Character Faults

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 13-15, Psalm 88, Mark 7:1-23, 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 Judges 13-15: Samson is perhaps the strangest of these judges, almost a crypto-superhero figure with enormous powers and odd/questionable behavior. It begins purely enough with this mother and father having a supernatural visit from an angel of the Lord, who announces that they are to have a child—in language that is familiar to the readers of the New Testament—and they are to bring him up as a Nazirite. He is to be specially dedicated to the LORD and set apart for him (Judges 13). When Samson is old enough, however, he takes a liking for a Philistine woman, to take her as his wife (14:1-2). His parents understandably object, not only because the Philistines rule over them, but also because they would rather he married someone within the covenant, a part of the “circumcision” (14:3). Samson’s…

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    April 17: Foolish Vow

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 10-12, Psalm 87, Mark 6:45-56, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Judges 10-12: A similar pattern—the downward spiral—begins again. Tola (10:1-2) and then Jair (10:3-5) rise to lead Israel for long years, but afterwards Israel again does what is evil in the sight of the Lord (10:6). They are going after other gods and abandoning the one true God, the LORD (10:6). So he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and the Ammonites (10:7-9). Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD (10:10). He tells them to ask the gods they have gone after to rescue them (10:14). They cry out to God again (10:15). After they show real repentance and put away the false gods, God begins to act in redemption towards them (10:16). It comes through the hand of a strange figure—Jephthah. He had been rejected by his family because he was the…

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    April 16: Betrayal and Judgment

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 9, Psalm 86, Mark 6:30-44, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 Judges 9: Things are going from bad to worse. And as we read this story of debauchery and betrayal, we must read the backcloth of night against the shining sun that we have had revealed to us in Christ, our true King—and be grateful. Gideon named his son Abimelech (Judges 8:31), literally “my father is king.” So while Gideon had refused the crown (8:23), he had also tacitly claimed it by having a son whose name was “my father is king.” This Abimelech, no doubt exalted by the experience, further exalts himself and betrays his father’s legacy at the instance of the people of Shechem (9:1-6), killing seventy brothers on one stone (9:5). One brother, Jotham, is not killed, and Jotham curses Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem for their betrayal (9:7-21). Abimelech only reigns three years (9:22),…

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    Sermon Video: Why Invest in the Community of the Church

    By Josh Moody

    Below, on April 10, 2016, Josh Moody preached a message on “Why Invest in the Community of the Church” in the sermon series “Four Steps to New Life.” Taken from John 21:1-14, we find two reasons to invest in the community of the church: you meet Jesus and you catch fish. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here.

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    April 15: Faithful unto the End

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 8, Psalm 85, Mark 6:14-29, 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 Judges 8: Gideon begins by showing savvy leadership wisdom towards the complaints of the men of Ephraim (8:1-3). He pours oil on troubled waters, soothes bruised egos, and negotiates a way to keep unity around the common cause of God’s honor and his victory. Gideon appears to be rapidly maturing. Next he exerts discipline against the men of Succoth and Penuel (8:5-9, 16-17). In the one case he negotiates with gentility; in the next he is aggressive. How to know when to lead with firmness, and when to find godly peacemaking? Again, Gideon seems to be acting wisely, though perhaps his response in this instance comes across as more than a little intemperate. He then defeats Zebah and Zalmunna (8:10-12, 18-21) and acts God’s vengeance on God’s enemies (8:13-17). This Old Testament God is also the New Testament God…

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    April 14: For the LORD and for Gideon!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 6-7, Psalm 84, Mark 6:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Judges 6-7: The pattern begins again. Rebellion, ruin, and then rescue. First Israel rebels (6:1). Then they are in misery and oppression because of their rebellion (6:2-6). Then they cry out to God for rescue (6:7). He then sends them a prophet to tell them exactly why they are in so much trouble—they have rebelled—in order to stir them up to repentance and prepare them for the rescue that is coming (6:8-10). Thereafter comes one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament: Gideon. It begins inauspiciously because Gideon is “hiding” (6:11). Is it ironic that he is called “mighty man” by the angel of the LORD (despite his “hiding) (6:12)? Or is it a statement of prophetic prediction of what he will become when the Spirit comes on him? We can do nothing without the Spirit…

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    April 13: Victory!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Judges 4-5: The story of Deborah has troubled the conscience of those who believe in a male pastorate or eldership for many years, but it need not do so. First of all, the New Testament describes the role of women in ministry with eminent examples of Phoebe as a deaconess (Romans 16:1-2), as well as Priscilla and Aquila who taught Apollos the Word of God more accurately (Acts 18:2, 24-26). These do not violate the norms of male eldership and preaching in 1 Timothy 2-3. Second, and more significantly, Deborah ascribes the leadership role to Barak, and it is only when (let us say it graciously) Barak wimps out of taking the initiative (4:8) that Deborah joins him and attests that by his action the honor of the attack would go to a woman. Whether that woman is Jael…

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    April 12: Downward Spiral

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12 Judges 1-3: The Book of Judges is one of the most rewarding, as well as most surprising, studies in the Old Testament. It has a clear overall message and structure: God’s people—once the generation that knew Joshua had died out—failed to keep God’s covenant (Josh. 24:31; Judges 2:10-13). They did not completely drive out the inhabitants of the nations (1:19, 21, 27-36) and began to “whore” after the baals, the false gods (2:11-13, 17; 3:6-7). As a result, God gave them over to misery, enslavement (3:8, 12-14). They were being tested to see if they would “learn war” (2:20-3:4), that is, learn that their effectiveness and prosperity depended upon their fidelity to their covenant with God. When they were in distress they would call upon the Lord, and, moved by pity, he would send a “judge” (3:9, 15),…

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    April 11: Covenant Renewal

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Joshua 24: The covenant renewal at Shechem. A blessed day, long in the memory of Israel, and symbolic of our covenant with Christ and our call to commit to him. Joshua gathers the people (24:1), and then tells them what God says. “Thus says the Lord” (24:2). And in his description of God’s message to them he outlines what God has done for them: how he called Abraham and multiplied his offspring, how he rescued them from Egypt, how he defeated their enemies (24:2-13). He wants them to realize that this whole story means that “it was not by your sword or your bow” (24:12). In fact, God says, “I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards…

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    April 10: Obedience

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Joshua 22-23: We have different assemblies in these chapters, with different consequences and results. First Joshua summons the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (22:1). He tells them that they have done their duty in helping their brothers subdue (though not yet totally conquer) the land (22:2-3), and therefore as Moses promised they can go back and take possession of the territory which had already been allotted to them “on the other side of the Jordan” (22:4). However, there is an apparent glitch. Soon the rest of Israel learn that these tribes have set up an altar (22:10). It appears that they are building an alternative altar to God—an action that both at Peor (22:17; Numbers 25:1-9) and with Achan (22:20; Joshua 7:10-26) had been shown to bring disaster, not only on the people who built the…

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