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May 14, 2022

JUDGES 20-21:
In yesterday's reading, the people of Dan took all the items in Micah's household shrine and Micah's Levite priest. The priest’s name was given at the end of the chapter. He was the grandson of Moses! And then the Danites slaughtered the unsuspecting residents of Laish, forgetting about the law about giving terms of surrender before attacking. Then we heard of the unnamed Levite and his concubine (meaning, additional inferior-status wife). Nothing happened according to God's will in this story. While the author says nothing negative about any of the characters, all had their faults. However, the Levite stands out as a terrible husband. And what happened at Gibeah— as we will see today— became the basis for Israel's first civil war.

This poem is perhaps the most-dark of all the despairing psalms. One encouragement to us is that God has now revealed things about our hope of heaven which were unknown to the writer. This psalm offers no hope or encouragement. But the presence of Psalm 88 in Scripture gives us permission when in our darkest depression to come to God in prayer speaking words like found here.

Yesterday in the 3rd chapter of First Timothy we heard one of the key passages in God's Word on the qualifications of church leaders. The chapter ended with a fragment of an early worship song.

GNT Translation notes:
1Tim. 4:1 The Spirit says clearly that [in later times//0] some people will abandon [their belief in true teachings//the faith] [0//in later times]; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons.
6 If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus[. As the Lord’s servant, you must become increasingly mature in all the teachings that help us to believe more fully— like the good teachings that you already follow.//, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. ]
11 Give [the believers//them] these instructions and [0//these] teachings.
12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, [in fully believing true teachings//faith], and purity.
16 Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Verses with ‘conscience’:
1:5 The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and [(sincerely) believing in true teaching (without pretending/hypocrisy)//a genuine faith].
3:9 [PET they must believe fully in the true teachings which God has revealed to us, and must live with a clear conscience.
1:19 and [to keep on believing in true teaching//keep your faith] and [to live with] a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and [have wrecked their minds so that they are no longer able to believe in true teaching//have made a ruin of their faith].
4:2 Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron.