March 27

Deuteronomy 7:2 (NIV) 2and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Many people stumble at this portion of Scripture. It is amazing how modern "science" justifies the brutality of some cultures and condemns Christian history as un-Christian. If a culture is faithful to its beliefs, though those beliefs slaughter innocents and destroy indiscriminately, we are told we just don't understand their culture. But when power mongers live in disregard to Christian principles, yet operate in the name of Christ, it is condemned as Christianity's dark side.

Look at any culture today that does not have a Christian heritage and ask yourself if you would honestly want to live there. Yet, few educators will acknowledge the wonderful blessing faith in Christ has brought to the world.

The passage today is often cited as an example of the brutality of the Old Testament God. What is ignored is that the Children of Israel were in Egypt 400 years while the cup of iniquity of these people was filling up. They had the truth during the time of Melchizedek, at the beginning of that 400 year period, but they turned from it and became increasingly wicked. By the time Israel entered the land, the people there were slaughtering babies by the thousands to Moleck, burning them alive. (12:31) The other god they worshipped, Baal, included self-mutilation and perverse sexual practices in public worship. When cultures become that evil, life becomes unbearable and filled with misery and disease. It was God's mercy to command (and only the Creator has the right to) that those cultures be wiped out. They were influencing the world for evil, and God was replacing them with Israel to influence the world for good.

Consider: Education's perspective changes yearly. God's Word never changes.

March 27

Matthew 25:8-10 (NIV) 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9"'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

During the week before the crucifixion, Jesus told several parables about His return to the earth. Our passage today is from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Five had brought plenty of oil. Five did not bring enough to last until the groom came for them. While they were waiting, the foolish virgins ran out of oil. They asked the wise virgins to share their oil, but they sent them to buy more for themselves. While they were away buying oil, the groom came. The five wise were let into the marriage banquet, and the others were locked out. When they knocked on the door, the groom replied that he did not know them.

The expression of not knowing someone is found earlier when some try to enter heaven (Matthew 7:22-23). In that passage, Jesus says they never fed, clothed or visited Him in jail. He was referring to things done to the least of His brothers as being the same as doing it to Him. Comparing these two teachings we could relate the oil to a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. He is the One who sheds light upon our path. The Scripture makes the simile of oil and the Holy Spirit. Some lives are so yielded to the Spirit that they serve God continually without even consciously being aware of it. Their thoughts are set upon the desire of the Spirit and controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6). You can't give that to someone. Each of us must individually seek that from God.

Many of the parables of the return of Christ imply that He will come at a time that no one suspects. Many will be taken off guard, while others will be waiting expectantly. Are you waiting? Is your life full of oil? Continue to ask for more of your life to be filled with the Holy Spirit, available to serve others at His leading.

Consider: Whether we live to see His Second Coming or die before that event, we should live every day as if it were our last.