Next-to-last day of the month. Actually have some sunshine going on outside, something not often seen in these parts. And we've been above freezing for a whole 24 hours now, something else we've not seen much of since around the first of November or so. So of coure, Yours Truly has been a bit under the weather and unable to enjoy much of it. Dear Wife has been next door most of the day, "watching" the Beloved Great Niece while Beloved Niece is at work. So it's been quite around here.
I'm a pretty good situation analyst, one of the best I know, and that's said matter-of-factly, not with pride or joy. It's not often fun, because you analyze situations and circumstances that give you answers, trends, and likely outcomes that Are Not Good. Not good for you and those you love, not good for the nation or the world or a whole lot of people. The Greek mythos had a figure named Cassandra, whose curse from the gods was that she would have the insight to warn people of coming disaster, but that they would not listen and she would have to watch the disasters come about, helpless to change the situation. I sometimes feel like that. I see catastrophe coming, and am powerless to change the matter, or even to be heard. I promise you, that in times coming soon, you will look back on this as the Good Old Days. I don't expect to survive, which is OK, I have a promise in eternity. Others are not in that condition, and all I can do is to point others to the One who is the only Security we shall ever have, or need. Sometimes, one gets discouraged and desperate, but I'm not the one in charge here. Glad of that, actually.
The Old Testament reading is chapters 1 and 2 in the book of the Judges. The people are in the Promised Land. The leaders who brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and through a whole lot of warfare, are dead and buried. Now what?
"What" is predictable to those who understand our fallen human nature, but who also see the Lord's hand and provision. This book is the story of those the Lord sent to His chosen people, to guide them on the way and to provide direction.
Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.
And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.
And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher:
And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?
And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.
And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.
Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.
And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.
And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.
And the house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)
And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Show us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will show thee mercy.
And when he showed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.
And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.
Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.
Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.
Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.
Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:
But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.
Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.
And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:
But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.
And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.
And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.
And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.
And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
The New Testament reading here is verses 1-30 of chapter 7 in the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus is definitely making an impact here, and reaching out FAR beyond the confines of the Jews. That was not too hard for Him, and neither was raising the dead. And He still can, and does.
Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.