Reflections on 1-2 Chronicles, Good Kings, and Parenting

josiah

I’m reading through 1 and 2 Chronicles right now, and something stuck out to me that I never noticed before. Most of the names in the lists of kings don’t really stick out, but there are a few that you’ll remember from Sunday School or your children’s bible: Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. The “good kings.”

Jehoshaphat sought after God, and his heart took delight in the Lord. Hezekiah did what was good and right and true before the Lord, and cleansed the temple. Josiah did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and found, read, and reinstituted the Law of God.

They were great guys. Really.

And all three of them lived long, prosperous lives, passed on to the next life, and left their kingdoms to their sons. Their terrible sons. Their obstinate and rebellious and downright evil sons.

And their sons set up altars to false idols. They murdered their subjects and sacrificed their own children to pagan gods. They led their people to rebel against God’s perfect and good and holy commandments. In a word, they undid all the good their fathers had done. And the kingdom never recovered.

Today, many of us men are working hard to build our kingdom. And maybe we’re even doing it biblically. We’re striving to follow God, reading our bibles and saying our prayers and serving in our churches. And while all of that is noble and admirable and good, we must make sure we don’t forget our first ministry: our home.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that you’re on the church board if your kids aren’t in the pews. It doesn’t matter how many summer camps you’ve been at if your kids don’t want to be there. It doesn’t matter how much you tithe or how many sermons you’ve preached or how many chapters of Proverbs you’ve read this month if your kids aren’t in love with God.

So men: Rise to the occasion. Teach God’s words diligently to your children (Deut. 6:6-7). Don’t build kingdoms that will crumble in a generation. Build a legacy that lasts. Be a good king who raises up good kings.

As for you, my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Reflections on Nehemiah

Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3-4), published in 1886

There is a cool passage from a cool story in a cool book of the bible that probably 95% of Christians have never read.

Here’s the setting: In the 5th century BC, God’s people have been in exile and slavery for over two generations, but finally are permitted to return to their homeland. They return to a destitute Jerusalem and, despite political opposition and threats of violence, rebuild the city and experience revival.

And how did that revival happen?

Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 8: “[The priests] read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.”

Families put their lives and businesses on hold to do in-depth bible studies with their religious leaders. They spent entire days reading, praying, and worshipping (9:3). If they came across a commandment that they weren’t actively living, they immediately implemented it, like, right then and there (8:14-16). Husbands and fathers in particular spent extra time actively learning the same content the priests and Levites were studying (8:13).

And the result? A revival that changed a nation.

Many Christians say they want our nation to turn back to God. They want lives changed, they want people delivered. They want revival. But things like that don’t happen just by wanting them or tweeting them or complaining about them. They come about when people like you and I dedicate ourselves to God and His Word. They come about when we learn what God says, when we care about what God says, and then we do what God says, like, right then and there. They happen when fathers decide to lead their families in worship, instead of being passively present when our wives are reluctantly forced to lead.

Want the world to change? Maybe take a break from binging Netflix tonight, and study Nehemiah with your wife.

Ten Reasons the Ten Commandments are Important (TEN COMMANDMENTS)

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Every few years, the Ten Commandments find themselves embroiled in controversy when some progressive pastor suggests that God doesn’t really like them all that much (a silly supposition, since God never changes and Jesus told us these laws would never fade away). And while I’d’ve hoped that Christians could agree on such basic universal truths as “We should only serve one God” and “Murder is bad,” it’s apparently not so obvious.

So here are ten facts about the Ten Commandments that you may or may not know:

ONE: They were literally written by God.

I know, I know. The whole bible was written by God. But technically, it was ghostwritten by God (or Holy Ghost-written by God, amirite?): God communicated His words through prophets and apostles, but God didn’t actually put pen to paper. David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote his psalms; Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote his gospel; Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote his epistles. That’s why the scriptures are called God-breathed, not God-written.

However, the Ten Commandments are different. We are told several times that God literally carved them into stone with His finger.

“…[God] gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:18)

“Then the Lord delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God…” (Deuteronomy 9:10)

In this way, the Ten Commandments stand apart from the rest of the scriptures, not being transcribed but literally carved by God.

TWO: God spoke them out loud to over two million people.

Many times throughout the Bible, you’ll read phrases like “Thus saith the Lord” or “Command these people, saying…” What that means is God spoke these words to some spiritual leader, who then repeated these words to God’s people.

But again, the Ten Commandments stand apart in that they were spoken directly by God to His people.

“These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice…” (Deuteronomy 5:22)

It is estimated that there were somewhere between two and seven million Israelites at the time. And Moses gathered those millions of desert wanderers around Mount Sinai, and God spoke these commandments out loud to them all. There was no denying that these divine laws came from God.

THREE: They are listed not once but twice in the Law.

The first five books of the Bible contain 613 laws (if you think that’s a lot, keep in mind that the United States has over 20,000 laws about guns alone). And in that limited space, God doesn’t repeat many of His commands. For instance, the “greatest commandment”—to love your neighbor as yourself—is only listed once. And yet God presents all Ten Commandments not once but twice (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5).

FOUR: When God created a nation, they were His Bill of Rights.

After over four hundred years in slavery, God fantastically delivered His people from the greatest superpower on earth and led them to form a nation of their own. And the central tenets of this new nation was these Ten Commandments. Of all 613 laws He had given them (or the millions of laws that have been written by countless nations since), God felt these ten were foundational to a successful and free society.

FIVE: They explain Jesus’ commandments to love God and love others.

In one famous exchange, a lawyer asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded that the right answer was:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and [to love] your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

However, it might not always be clear how to love God or love your neighbor. That’s where the Ten Commandments come in handy. The first four provide instruction related to loving God, while the latter six command us how to love others.

SIX: Jesus said the Ten Commandments were the key to eternal life.

In another famous exchange, a rich young ruler asked Jesus for the key to eternal life. Jesus responded,

“If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)

The ruler pressed further, asking which ones He should keep. Jesus answered by listing half of the commandments and the command to love your neighbor (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18).

According to Jesus, anyone who wants to enter into life should keep the Ten Commandments.

SEVEN: The Ten Commandments apparently gave the rich young ruler riches and influence.

As mentioned previously, a certain ruler (Luke 18:18) who was rich (Mark 10:22) asked Jesus for the secret to eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17), specifically citing five of the Ten Commandments. The rich young ruler responded, “All these things I have kept from my youth” (Matthew 19:20).

Taking the whole Bible into consideration, it is likely that this young man found financial success and influence because of his obedience to God’s commandments. After all, God told Joshua that if he kept the Book of the Law,

“You will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

Promises of economic success and influence are found throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 28:1-14 and Proverbs 3:1-4, to name a few). It’s no wonder that this young man, who made keeping God’s laws a priority, found both success and influence.

It’s worth noting that, while this man kept many of the Ten Commandments, he doesn’t claim to have kept all of them. Loving God and not coveting are famously absent from the list, and Jesus asks the young man to give to the poor, trust God fully, and follow Him (Matthew 19:21). Jesus later tells His disciples that if the man had obeyed Him—and kept all Ten Commandments—he would have increased his possessions and influence and found eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

EIGHT: Paul quotes them too.

In Romans 13, Paul writes to the Christians of Rome about how to live as members of society. He lays out the role of government and instructs these believers to pay their taxes. Then he tells the Christians to “love one another” (Romans 13:8). To make sure they understand what this looks like practically, He elaborates further, listing the latter six commandments (the love your neighbor commandments).

Paul’s letter reaffirms that the Ten Commandments are central to a biblical understanding of love and that they are integral to loving successfully in society.

NINE: They establish moral absolutes.

In today’s world, most people either have one God or no gods. But that’s not always how it was. For most of human history, people worshiped many gods. There was a god of agriculture, a god of money, a god of weather. These gods didn’t always get along, and usually had competing views of morality.

As a result, it was hard to know what was right and what was wrong. After all, the god of the river might command one thing, but the god of war would command another. And humans were free to pick whatever god or system of morality suited them at any particular moment.

But the Ten Commandments changed all that. God started off these commandments by declaring that He was the absolute and only God, and that these commandments were His perfect standard of living. There could be no debate whether murder was right or wrong, or whether it was sometimes okay to steal. God, the one and only God, the true God, had declared that these were wrong, whether you or the king or the entire nation agreed. Right and wrong existed because they were established by God, and no matter who you were or where you lived, these commandments applied to you.

TEN: There are only ten of them.

Let’s be real. The “Ten Commandments” has a nice ring to it, and they easily fit on two tablets of stone. It’d be much harder to memorize the “Six Hundred and Thirteen Commandments,” let alone to fit them on a poster.

Conclusion:

The Ten Commandments are important. They are clearly important to God, they were important to Israel, and they should be important to us as well.

We’ll look more into lessons we can learn from God’s Ten Commandments in the coming months.

What is Love?

love

Dictionary.com defines love as “a passionate affection for another person.” But then again, Dictionary.com also believes that boys can turn into girls, so they’re probably not the best source for getting an accurate (let alone biblical) definition of love.

And it’s incredibly important for us to understand what love is. After all, we are repeatedly commanded by Jesus to love:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 25:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27)

Jesus reiterates this commandment in His final discourse:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

Heck, God goes as far as to say that He is love:

“We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

So, what is love? Is it a feeling? Is it being nice? Is it an open door, or a battlefield, or a drug?

According to the bible, love is obedience to God’s commandments:

“If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:21)

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:2-3)

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in them.” (2 John 6)

In any given situation, the most loving thing you can do is the thing God has told you to do. No wonder God gave us these wonderful commandments. It wasn’t just to keep us in line; it was to keep us in love, and as long as we obey His laws, we can be certain that we will be walking in love*.


Notes:

* Some readers might deny this biblical definition of love, citing the Pharisees as a counter-example. After all, the Pharisees supposedly kept the law, and yet would not be considered very loving by Jesus’ standards. In actuality, the Pharisees didn’t keep the law—at least they didn’t keep the whole law. Sure, they kept some of it, but they also rejected a whole lot of it (Matthew 23:23, Mark 7:8-13). Obeying a few commandments while intentionally ignoring the rest isn’t true obedience, and thus isn’t love.

Encouragement from Genesis

abe

I recently reread the book of Genesis with several teenagers from the church. While discussing it, the most common thing the students brought up was all the weird and terrible things the main characters kept doing:

  • Abraham lies about his wife being his sister, and she is almost swept into Pharaoh’s harem
  • Lot, while inebriated, impregnates both of his daughters
  • Judah sleeps with (who he assumes is) a prostitute, then tries to have her executed
  • Jacob deceives his father to steal from his brother, then spends twenty years running from God
  • Isaac, like his father, practically sells his wife into an enemy king’s harem to save his own skin

And that’s not the half of it! From cowardice and theft to sexual deviance and murder, they were guilty of it all.

But here’s the beautiful thing… God still blesses them!

Despite their sin, despite their selfishness, despite it all, they are still God’s people.

Why?

Because God made a promise. God promised some idol worshipper named Abram that if he forsook his previous life and followed after the one true God, that God would bless Abram and all his descendants after him (Genesis 12:1-3). And Abram, while certainly not perfect, followed God (Genesis 12:4). Abram, though he occasionally faltered, believed what God had said (Genesis 15:6). And God kept His promise.

And an entire family, an entire people, an entire nation was blessed because of it.

And the Lord said, “I will be with you and bless you. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 26:2-5)

There are two lessons to learn from this:

  1. You are blessed because God made a promise.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not perfect. You make mistakes. You slip up. But guess what? In spite of all that, God will still bless you. Why? Because of someone else’s faithfulness.

If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

  1. The choices you make will bless your family for generations to come.

Over four thousand years ago, some guy in the desert listened to God, and God blessed him. His wife didn’t always listen to God, but God blessed her because anyway. His kids didn’t usually listen to God, but God blessed them anyway. His nephew didn’t listen to God, but God blessed them anyway. His grandkids and great-grandkids ran from God and disobeyed Him, but God blessed them anyway. And four thousand years later, a world that largely ignores God is still being blessed by Him. All because of a promise God made:

In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

Your obedience affects those around you. Your faithfulness will transcend your short time on earth. So don’t just live for yourself. Live for your family. Live for your community. Live for the generations that are yet to come. They are counting on you.

BIBLICAL ECONOMICS: God Cares about the Poor

There is much conversation today about poverty. From politics to the pulpit, from backyard talks around the barbeque to internet debates on Twitter, everyone has something to say about the poor. But what does God say about the poor?

The bible makes it clear that God cares for the poor. We are told throughout scripture that God:

  • defends the needy (1 Samuel 2:8, Psalm 12:5)
  • is a refuge for the poor (Psalm 14:6, Isaiah 25:4)
  • saves and rescues the poor from destruction (Psalm 35:10, Psalm 72:4, 12-13, Psalm 109:31, Jeremiah 20:13)
  • listens to the prayers of the impoverished (Psalm 34:6, Psalm 69:33)
  • promises to help the needy (Psalm 69:32, Isaiah 14:30, Isaiah 41:17)
  • and lifts the poor up close to Himself (Psalm 113:7, Psalm 140:12, Psalm 146:7)

Not only does God care about the poor, but He commands us to care for the poor as well. We are commanded:

  • not to exploit or take advantage of the poor (Deuteronomy 24:14, Proverbs 22:22)
  • not to deny or pervert justice towards the poor (Exodus 23:6, Leviticus 19:15)
  • to be kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:21, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 19:17)
  • not to oppress the poor (Proverbs 22:16, Proverbs 28:3, Zechariah 7:10)
  • to share with the poor (Leviticus 19:10, Proverbs 22:9)
  • not to mock the poor (Proverbs 17:5)
  • to speak up for the poor (Proverbs 31:9)
  • to consider the poor (Proverbs 29:7)
  • And to listen to the poor (Proverbs 21:13)

Furthermore, Jesus cared for the poor, and commanded His followers to do the same:

  • Jesus first announced His ministry with the claim that He was anointed to “preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18)
  • He regularly told His followers to give to the poor (Mark 10:21, Luke 6:38, Luke 12:33)
  • He was so charitable to the poor that when one of His followers left a room, it was assumed they were going to give to the poor (John 13:29)
  • He told His followers to make sure to spend time with the poor and invite them to fellowship together (Luke 14:13)
  • Part of His ministry was preaching the gospel specifically to the poor (Matthew 11:5)
  • Jesus famously told His disciples to feed the hungry and thirsty, clothe the naked, and take in the stranger, claiming that caring for the “least of these” was caring for Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:34-40)

Jesus’ followers took these commands to heart:

  • Paul wrote that Christians should be hospitable and charitable to those in need (Romans 12:13, 2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • John wrote that caring for others in need was evidence that a believer was filled with the love of God (1 John 3:17)
  • In their respective ministries, both Peter and Paul were eager to remember the poor, and encouraged each other to do so (Galatians 2:10)

From the Old Testament to the New, it is evident that God cares for and helps the poor, and that He expects His followers to do the same. But a few questions arise:

How are we to help the poor?

What are the causes of poverty?

We will examine these questions related to the biblical view of poverty in a series of future articles, BIBLICAL ECONOMICS.

charity-poor

Three Important Lessons from Philippians 1

philippians_titleFor to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. (Philippians 1:21-24)

  1. Death isn’t scary

Paul tells the church of Philippi that to die is far better than to live. Why would this be so? Because to die means to be with Christ. For a Christian, to be absent from the body means you are present with God (2 Corinthians 5:8).

There are (supposed to be) two kinds of people in the world: those who are afraid of death, and those who aren’t. Those who are afraid are afraid because they don’t know where they are going. The others aren’t afraid because they know exactly where they are going.

If you belong to Christ, then death has absolutely no hold on you. Death has no sting, no victory, no power (1 Corinthians 15:55, Romans 8:2).

Now as we shall see, we shouldn’t morbidly welcome death at every moment. But we also shouldn’t fear the day when we will finally go home many, many years from now.

  1. You choose when you die

Paul makes a statement that would probably be declared blasphemy if uttered by a Christian nowadays: “What I shall choose I cannot tell.”

Choose?

Paul got to choose whether he’d die or not?

This stands in the face of today’s common belief that God might take your life at any moment (a view espoused in Francis Chan’s Crazy Love in Chapter 2, titled “You Might Not Finish This Chapter”). But the bible makes it clear that the man or woman of God gets a say about when they go.

Paul was told at the time of his conversion that he’d die a martyr (Acts 9:16). And yet through faith, he was repeatedly delivered from death. From his own lips he testified that he got to choose when he’d die. And when he finally did die, it was after he had told God he was ready to go (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

And Paul wasn’t the only one who had a say in the matter. Think back to Hezekiah. He was told by the prophet Isaiah to get his life in order, because he’d be dying soon. Hezekiah didn’t like that much, so he prayed a simple 27-word prayer, and God immediately healed him and extended his life.

Moses told the Israelites during his farewell address that God has “set before you death and life.” He then told them that the choice what theirs: “Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Solomon confirmed this, teaching that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

Now obviously we can’t choose to live forever. Anyone who would want to live forever clearly doesn’t have a grasp on point one (“it’s far better to be with Christ”) and it motivated by fear. It would be unscriptural to desire to live away from heaven forever. But based on the entirety of scripture, we must conclude that long life is promised for God’s children. And any young person who has died prematurely has ultimately died because they didn’t choose life.

  1. You should choose to help others

Paul, talking about his impending choice, doesn’t say he is making his choice based on how much more money he can earn for himself. He doesn’t base it on his desire to see Avengers 2, or in hopes of being around when Firefly inevitably makes its return.

So how did Paul make the choice?

To remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

He based his choice on the needs of the world around him. His life was poured out to bring the message of a saving Christ to a dark and dying world.

This should be a primary motivation for everything we’ve discussed.

Does God want you healthy? Yes. And as a healthy child of God, you are to go lay hands on the sick and see them recover (Mark 16:17). Does God meet all of your needs? Yes. And because you have freely received, freely give (Matthew 10:8). Did Jesus tell you to cast your cares on Him? Yes. Now bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

When talking about how abundantly God has blessed you, we often forget the third promise God made to Abraham:

  1. I will bless you.
  2. I will make your name great.
  3. You will be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)

But a primary reason God has promised to bless us is so we can bless those around us.

And when talking about choosing to live a long life here on earth, the question you should be asking is:

“Do I have more to give to those around me?”

Once the answer is no, then it’s probably time to pack your bags and head on home to glory.


Related Posts:

A Few Lessons My Son Taught Me from Proverbs 1

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Yesterday was the first of the month, and as my custom is, I read Proverbs 1 to my four-month old son. As I read the chapter out loud, several important themes began to emerge, things that are reinforced throughout the rest of Proverbs, throughout the Old Testament, and throughout the entire bible.

Here are seven things I learned from the first seven verses of Proverbs.

  1. We can all be wise

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline.”

Sure, there are some people that seem to be endowed with a greater intellect in life, but wisdom and intelligence aren’t synonymous. I’m sure we all know a handful of people who aced the SAT and excelled in AP Calc, but are dumber than a brick.

Fortunately, God said He’s give wisdom to anyone who asked in faith. And He’s not stingy with wisdom, either. According to James, God gives wisdom like a democrat gives out free cell phones during an election year.

True biblical wisdom comes from continually seeking God’s Word, and the benefits of godly wisdom (versus book smarts) are unparalleled.

 

  1. We can all be successful

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives.”

Contrary to popular belief, nowhere in the bible does God command anyone to be poor. God is constantly dishing out advice throughout the bible on how to financially prosper, so the church has the resources to reach the lost.

Case in point: Joshua 1:8, where God tells us precisely how to succeed and prosper in life. And if that’s not convincing enough, the entire book of Proverbs is a monthly devotional written by the smartest guy in the world who turned one of the smallest, weakest nations into a thriving empire whose people continue to dominate the financial market to this day.

 

  1. We can all live the right way

Their purpose is… to help them do what is right, just, and fair.”

Did you know it’s possible to live the rest of your life and never sin again?

Jesus taught us to pray for that in the Lord’s Prayer. Furthermore, Jude exalts God as “Him who is able to keep you from falling.”

If you want to read more about this, check out this post.

 

  1. Even the “simple” and young can live this way

These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.”

Wisdom, success, and righteous isn’t only reserved for those with IQs calling above the 150 threshold. Anyone, from the professor at Harvard to the kid struggling with sixth grade vocab, can enjoy the blessings of God.

Proverbs 8:12 says God gives us wisdom to find out “knowledge of witty inventions.” That means he’ll give brilliantly simple ideas to just about anyone seeking after wisdom.

A great example? The guy who decided to flip ketchup bottles over made $13 million. Pretty simple idea, huh? Imagine what you could accomplish if you followed the leading of God and looked at things from a slightly different (or upside down) angle.

 

  1. You need to seek God’s Word

“… by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables.”

Every blessing from God is the result of seeking His Word. Joshua 1:8 states that one must be constantly speaking God’s Word, thinking about God’s Word, and doing God’s Word. And James admonishes the church to not simply hear the Word, but actively participate in accomplishing the Word of God.

 

  1. You need the fear of the Lord

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.”

It all comes down to the Lord. And if the fear of the Lord is the foundation, that means that ultimately any schooling, be it elementary school, high school, college, or even Sunday school is a waste of time without God.

Notice, too, that it doesn’t say “The Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.” It’s a fearful reverence and admiration of God that leads to biblical wisdom and knowledge. (Prov. 9:10, Psalm 111:10)

 

  1. Fools deny these simple truths

But fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

This teaching is supposed to be simple. “God is good… He wants good for you… He’ll take care of you and teach you to be a successful adult… just stick with Him.”

Unfortunately, many Christians deny what the bible teaches. They believe that God is out to get them, that makes His kids poor, unhappy, unsuccessful, and sick, that He makes it impossible for them to live right and them punishes them when they fall short, and that ultimately He might just kill you.

The bible has a name for that. “Foolishness.”

These are lessons that God taught David during those years in the pastures and the wilderness and the palace. David in turn instilled them in his son Solomon, who recorded them for God’s people. And I intend to follow in David’s footsteps and teach them to my son.

“Follow God, and He will make you wise beyond your years. He will raise you up into a successful and prosperous man of God, and He will teach you to walk perfectly before Him.”

PROVERBS ONE

(1) These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

 

(2) Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,

To help them understand the insights of the wise.

(3) Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives

To help them do what is right, just, and fair.

(4) These proverbs will give insight to the simple,

Knowledge and discernment to the young.

 

(5) Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.

Let those with understanding receive guidance

(6) By exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables

The words of the wise and their riddles.

 

(7) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,

But fools despise wisdom and discipline.


 

Similar posts


 

I wrote a book! It’ll be the best book you read this year (Ephesians notwithstanding).

One Verse that Proves God’s Stance on Healing

One Verse That Proves God's Stance on HealingWhen the subject of healing gets brought up, lots of questions start to swirl around in peoples’ minds: “Why am I sick?” “Is healing for everyone?” “Does God make people sick?”

Fortunately for us, God answers these questions repeatedly throughout the bible. As I’ve mentioned before, there are over 170 distinct passages in the bible that address God’s attitude towards healing. But there is a single verse that reveals to us God’s stance on healing.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

There are several lessons we can glean from this one scripture.

Healing is Good

We are told that during His ministry, Jesus Christ went about “doing good.” But in what ways did He do good? According to Luke, by healing.

We see throughout the bible that Jesus is committed to doing good. The seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel tells us that God always gives good things to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). Furthermore, James 1:17 says that good things always come from God, and that there isn’t even an inkling that this will ever change.

Now it may seem obvious that healing is good, but there are many Christians who aren’t so sure. Being confident that healing is always good, we can rest assured knowing that the biblical promises of God’s unfathomable goodness includes physical healing.

Sickness comes from the Devil

Again, you might take this for granted, but much of the Christian community thinks sickness comes from God. Take Job, for instance. The common understanding of Job is that God caused terrible things to happen in Job’s life to test his faithfulness. But according to Job 2:7, it was Satan (not God) who smote Job with painful boils. Far from “God giving and taking away,” the text makes it clear that Satan caused this infirmity.

Jesus confirms this is John 10:10, where He claims:

The thief (Satan) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

From the mouth of Jesus Himself, anything that steals, kills, or destroys comes from Satan, and not God. Every sickness known to man fits that description, and to attribute any ailment, disease, or injury to God is to reject the biblical text. God only has good things for His kids, and offers life in the place of sickness, pain, and death.

Jesus Heals All

According to Acts 10:38, Jesus heals ALL. That includes you.

We see this confirmed over and over and over again throughout the bible. Luke 9:11 tells us that Jesus healed all who had need of physical healing; Matthew 8:16 says that Jesus healed all who were sick; and John 6:37 says that Jesus doesn’t turn anyone away.

In fact, there isn’t a single biblical example of God refusing to heal someone in need, and the only time in the entire bible we see Jesus not heal is when He was prevented by the unbelief of those in need. A lack of faith in God’s power and willingness to heal is the only thing that has ever prevented Him from healing the sick.

Summary

When I talk to people who have questions about healing, I often bring them to this verse. After reading through it, I usually ask them a series of obvious questions.

Me: “According to this passage, is healing bad or good?”

Them: “Good.”

Me: “Where does sickness come from?”
Them: “The devil.”

Me: “How many people did Jesus heal?”

Them: “All of them.”

Then I ask them a few more questions.

Is God with you, too?” Isaiah 41:10 and Matthew 28:20 say He is. And both Hebrews 13:5 and John 14:16 say He will always be with us and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Have you been anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power?” Luke 24:49 answer that question with a definitive and resounding YES. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 attests to this truth by saying that we have been anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. And Ephesians 3:20 says that the infinite power of God dwells in us. His people.

No bible-believing Christian can deny that physical healing is good, that sickness comes from the enemy, and that God is ever willing to heal anyone who comes to Him in sincere faith. But more than that, we see that this miraculous healing power, this authority, this goodness has been placed in us by none other than God Himself.

So let’s live in obedience to the commands of Jesus, and go out into a world of lost and desperate sinners, preaching the gospel and healing the sick (Matthew 10:8; Mark 16:18). This is good in the sight of the Lord.

List of Scriptures Used

Acts 10:38 John 10:10 Isaiah 41:10 Luke 24:49
Matthew 7:11 Luke 9:11 Matthew 28:20 2 Cor. 1:21-22
James 1:17 Matthew 8:16 Hebrews 13:5 Ephesians 3:20
Job 2:7 John 6:37 John 14:16 Matthew 10:8
Mark 16:18

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(There is much more to say about biblical healing, the raw power of God that dwells in us, and the commission that has been given to Christ’s church. For more, check out my new book, UNFAIR ADVANTAGE, available for kindle or paperback. It will change your life.)

Three Things the Bible Says that Aren’t Actually True

three things the bible says that aren't actually trueSince I launched my website back in February, I’ve started reading different Christian blogs to get a feel for the lay of the land. And the thing I’ve discovered? By and large, if you want to attract a large following to your Christian blog, you basically have to reject the bible as truth and criticize orthodox Christianity.

That creates a bit of a problem for me, seeing as how, ya know, the bible is absolute truth.

But I think I found a loophole.

Here are three things the bible says that just aren’t true.

  1. There is no God.”

The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.” (Psalm 14:1)

Well there you have it. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and all those other angry atheists were right. And the source of their validation? The exact book they loathe and despise: the bible.

… or… maybe not.

We know the bible is absolutely true. Therefore, this verse records absolute truth. But to understand what is truly being said, this passage must be read in context.

The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

Psalm 14:1 isn’t saying there is no God. It’s saying that foolish people claim there is no God. This verse is accurately recording what a fool says, even though what the fool actually says is inaccurate.

So, this begs the question: how do we know if what’s being said is accurate?

It all comes down to context. For one, does the statement line up with the rest of scripture? And two, is the speaker a trustworthy and reliable source?

In this passage, the speaker is definitely not reliable. He is called “foolish” and “corrupt.” He clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about.

And his statement is definitely not in sync with the rest of scripture. The first words of the bible are, “In the beginning, God.” The bible doesn’t waste time proving God’s existence because it is so painfully obvious and self-evident.

“There is no God” is a false statement; “Fools say, ‘There is no God’” is a true statement.

Let’s see if we can find a few more “incorrect” passages.

  1. “Crucifixion will not happen to Jesus.”

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22-23)

Moments after Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus tells His disciples He will soon be executed. Peter’s response? “This shall not happen to You!”

While Peter is fervent with his message, we know he was wrong. For one, Jesus calls him “satan” just one verse later. And since satan is the father of lies, Peter can’t be telling the truth.

Also, all four gospels end with Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

“Crucifixion will not happen to Jesus” is a false statement; “Peter said, ‘Crucifixion will not happen to Jesus’” is a true statement.

And today’s final example of an “incorrect” bible passage?

  1. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”

And [Job] said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” (Job 1:21)

This is a common one. You find it quoted in approximately 53.7% of worship songs, it often turns up in Sunday morning sermons, and it’s used to prove that God sometimes bring evil into our lives.

But it’s not true.

First of all, the text makes it clear that satan (not God) took Job’s stuff away. And in the final chapter of Job, the titular character repents for saying this, claiming he “uttered what [he] did not understand.”

Already it’s not looking good for this oft-quoted passage. Job admits he was wrong, and the story itself refutes Job’s claims.

And the final nail in the coffin? There isn’t a single example in the bible of God taking good things away from his righteous children.

God does plenty of giving (like here, here, here, and here), but you just can’t find a solid foundation for the idea that God takes away. The best argument is Job 1:21, which is easily dismantled when one considers the entirety of scripture (and even just the entirety of the Book of Job, or the entirety of chapter 1 for that matter).


 

So yeah, apparently there are a few passages of the bible that seem wrong when taken out of context. The bible is, among many other things, a history book, and it records the events of history with perfect accuracy.

But some of the people whose stories are recorded made mistakes (David’s extramarital escapades, Balaam’s greed, Job’s ignorance). And we do ourselves a disservice when we follow in their errors rather than learn from them.

The bible doesn’t teach that God gives and takes away.

Job taught that.

And Job was wrong.

Thinking-Guy