Week One: 1 January 2020 | 4 Tevet 5780
This weekly devotional is taken from the insights I gained from reading The Daniel Dilemma, by Chris Hodges (with a forward by Lysa TerKeurst). If you would like to read along with me as I take this year to study how to “Stand firm and love well,” you can purchase the book from this link at Amazon. There is also a study guide, but I will not be using it as I study this book.
Truth without grace is mean.
Grace without truth is meaningless.
Truth and grace together are good medicine.
Author, The Daniel Dilemma
Our world is in chaos. How do we hold to the truth in love?
The Woman Caught in Adultery
Looking for a reason to condemn Yeshua, the Jewish leaders had dragged a hapless woman from the very bed in which she and her lover lay (notice that only she was accused of adultery). Was this a set-up? Most assuredly. But the Jews weren’t setting up the woman—they were setting up Yeshua.
The Pharisees themselves probably weren’t guilty of being the sex partner; they kept strictly to the law. But it was likely they who convinced someone to take this woman to bed so that they could catch her in the act. His identity was protected. Hers was not.
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.
John 8:3-6 NLT
Yeshua was not concerned about her sin as much as He was about the sins of the Pharisees. “Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools” (Romans 1:22 NLT). They were the leaders of the people; what they said and did would be accepted as right.
But Yeshua showed a better way.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:7-11 NLT
We see it every day on television or on social media. Words designed to assassinate character and ruin lives. If we enter into that conversation (and we must), then we should learn how to do it in love and with compassion not only for those who are maligned but for those who malign as well. Only when we are willing to make the Word of God (Yeshua) our standard will we be able to help calm the chaos.
There is a balance to be sought here. We must balance the word of truth (God’s standard) with the reality of His love and His grace to cover our sins.
How can we expect those who are lost to ever come to Jesus if what we say is: “You are sinful and going to hell.” In essence, we are telling sinners that God’s love doesn’t cover their sins unless they are like us.
We become paralyzed by extremes. Either we are battle-weary and give in by accepting everything, or we polarize and refuse to participate. Yet there is another way. This devotional study will focus on a man who was thrust into a culture surprisingly very much like our own. He discovered how to stand firm and still be the calm in the cultural storm. His name was Daniel, meaning “God is my judge.”
Because ultimately, He is.