Ch. 1 – Contend for the faith vs. false teachers
Updates from January, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
I use fire quite often…no less than every Sunday morning & evening, as well as Wednesday evening. Personally, I use fire no less than every day. I’m speaking, of course, of the fire of God’s Word!
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jer. 23:29)
While you can’t “see” it, it is the most powerful fire in the world; God give us more who use it daily!
I use it every day. We heat by burning wood in a Lopi fireplace insert. We live in the country about 9 miles from the church building and enjoy a 10 acre mini-farm, which provides plenty of wood to burn.
Why do people give? Notre Dame researcher Omri Gillath thinks this urge is related to a mother’s caregiving. Paul Zak, a California researcher, believes it is oxytocin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, that causes us to give. Others suggest there is a genetic basis for giving. Regardless of where this urge originates, one thing all the researchers agree on: generosity increases happiness and personal well-being. Social psychologist Jessica Collett declares that generous people are “happier, healthier and do better in life.” So when Jesus proclaimed “give and it will be given back to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over”, perhaps this was a part of what he meant. Whatever the case, giving is good for the giver. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
Last used fire in our fireplace a few weeks back. We don’t use it often due to the inefficiency of our fireplace.
I suppose I use fire in the winter everyday in the furnace; though, as Randal qualified, I don’t “see” that–I just feel the benefit of it.
Speaking of which, a good nudge might be: What’s your ideal room temperature?
The last time I used fire was when I toook the trash out to burn. In the burn barrell all the ash can be used to spread on her garden. Naturally, I am the one who spreads it. She had learned that it is has good qualities for the garden. I don’t understand – I just do what I am told!
Would you dare to live and speak as the apostle Paul? To live as the apostle Paul might be a bit much for some (he was a single man), but living a righteous life as he did is surely within the grasp of each. Would you speak as the apostle Paul spoke (Romans 15:18)? He made it a point to say only those things the Lord Jesus authorized him to say. What would this demand of you if you were to speak as Paul spoke? If you spoke as Paul spoke, what would you say about women preachers? If you spoke as Paul spoke, what would you say about infant baptism? If you spoke at Paul spoke, what would you say about the “head” of the church? The only ex cathedra for the church is Scripture – would you speak as Paul spoke on such topics? Would you dare speak as Paul spoke? RT
p.s. It looks like we will be shut down a couple-three days. there is nothing like global warming’s bitter cold and ice!
1. There are three primary sections in this chapter. First, we read of the birth of Isaac. Second, we read that Abraham sends out Ishmael (Hagar) from the family. And third, we read of Abraham’s interaction with the king of Gerar. Briefly, let us talk of each.
2. For a period of about nine months (cf. 20:18; cf. 18:10), women were barren in the land where Abraham resided. Though women were barren, Sarah was pregnant. As the Lord had promised both Abraham and Sarah a year previous, the Lord had also given the promise to both of them many years previous; now with much joy, a son is born to them (21:1-7).
3. For a period of about three years there was “harmony” in the Abrahamic house, but that “harmony” soon disappeared when Sarah saw Ishmael “mocking” (NKJV) Isaac. “Interpreters have generally concluded that the boy was either (1) mocking Isaac (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) or (2) merely playing with Isaac as if on equal footing (cf. NAB, NRSV). In either case Sarah saw it as a threat” (NET, translator note, E-sword). With Sarah feeling threatened, and the Lord sanctioning the remedy to Sarah’s feeling, Abraham sent out Hagar and Ishmael with the necessary provisions. However, those necessary provisions fell short of the actual need. Just as both Hagar and Ishmael were despairing of life, the Lord again intervenes and Hagar is able to see a well of water, a life spring of energy (21:8-21).
4. This is now the second occasion where the king of Gerar is unaware of a problem associated with Abraham. This, time, however, rather that Abraham being on the receiving end of a rebuke, he extends it to the king. The peaceful Abraham had not been reciprocated by the locals in the area. When the king was confronted with that, he pleads ignorance. “When Abimelech claims that he had no knowledge of this seizure, Abraham proposes that they make a covenant, testifying to the fact that Abraham had dug this well” (Willis, p. 285).
5. Application: rather than focus on a personal application, I think it is worth notice that, to this point, we have God’s scheme of redemption unfolding before our eyes. In the beginning there was a promise to Adam and Eve, but that promise to the first couple was, seemingly, destroyed in the world-wide flood. However, Adam’s descendant, Noah, was through whom the promise was to come. Through Noah came Shem (two sons of Noah excluded), and from Shem came Abraham (Nahor and Haran excluded). In the next chapter we see it narrowed further (Ishmael being excluded).
We get our light from bulbs nowadays, our heat from vents. We seldom see or use fire anymore. So tell us about the last time or most memorable time you used or enjoyed fire. Maybe a candlelight dinner. Or a bonfire at camp. Is it still permitted to burn fall leaves?
Fire in the Bible is so common, it’s hard to know where to start. Maybe where the Scriptures talk about God being a fire.
In Jamaica, near Port Maria, there’s a place called Firefly. The drive up has extremely tall bamboo on each side creating natural vaulted ceiling as you make your way to the top of the hill. While the view from the top is amazing, I can’t help but enjoy the beauty of the road leading to it.
This brings to mind the path we follow as Christians. We must never take our eyes off the destination of heaven. Even so, we presently enjoy the gifts of every spiritual blessing in Christ. As we reflect on all God has done for us shouldn’t that bring a smile to our faces. Onward and upward fellow pilgrim! Don’t miss the beauty of the journey!
The road home!
As a student at FHC many years ago, I was eager to preach anywhere people had enough perseverance to endure it. I had to travel over 100 miles to find such extraordinary saints. I made the trip in a old VW bug. The drive home took two hours and I remember that somewhere along the highway there was a lighted cross standing on a hill. Every time I saw it I thought to myself, “The way of the cross leads home.”
Man is gifted with freedom of choice, the capacity to deliberate and decide the direction of his life. Man can love and feel a wide variety of emotions; he dreams and imagines; he feels the need to worship; he is troubled with a conscience. All of these or combinations of these have at one time or another been put forward as the meaning of “created in the image of God.” However, while these are unquestionably related and they are even characteristics of that which separates mankind from the animal world, it still does not provide a clear definition.
I believe the key to understanding what it means to be made in the image of God is found in Genesis 4:25, 26 and 5:1-3. To grasp the meaning we must follow the progression of thought in context:
- Adam and Eve sin and are forced from the Garden – 3:1-24
- Cain and Abel are born – 4:1, 2
- Abel pleases and Cain displeases God with their sacrifices – 4:3-10
- Cain becomes a vagabond away from the presence of God – 4:11-18
- Lamech, Cain’s descendant, becomes a murderer too – 4:19-24
- Seth is born as “another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain killed” – 4:25
- “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord” – 4:26
- Seth’s descendants include Enoch who walks with God & Noah – chapter 5
- Wickedness becomes dominant aside from Noah and his family – 6:1-12
Unlike Cain, Seth, as Abel before him, chose to honor the will of God. Seth was “appointed another seed instead of Abel.” Moreover, Seth taught his descendants to honor God. His first-born was Enosh and “then men began to call on the name of the Lord” (4:26). Others of Seth’s descendants were Enoch, who walked with God, and Noah. Seth restored to Adam and Eve a line of descendants who are called “the sons of God” (6:2). In contrast, Cain’s descendants include the murdering and polygamous Lamech, who compared himself with Cain, his grandfather six generations removed. Lamech was so irreverent that he composed a poem about his murdering vengeance. What is noteworthy is that Lamech is singled out among Cain’s progeny and Enoch of Seth’s offspring with biographical information. Each represents their family’s lineage. In time Seth’s descendents intermarried with Cain’s descendents and became corrupt. The world was so wicked that God destroyed it with the flood.
Seth was born in Adam’s image and likeness (Genesis 5:3). This is in stark contrast to Cain. But the important thing is to see that the same language is employed to describe Seth as was used in Genesis 1:26. In reference to Seth, it means he chose to walk in the example of his father Adam, in harmony with the will of God. Seth reflected God in his life, as his father Adam did. To be in the image of and in the likeness of is to resemble and reflect. So for man to be in the image of God means that God created man with all that he needed to choose God’s will, to walk in God’s statutes and to be blessed of God. This includes man’s power of free will, his intellect, his self-awareness, his wide range of emotions, his conscience, his imagination, his inclination to worship. It includes all of these but is not limited to these. “Created in the image of God and according to His likeness” involves all that raises man above the animal world, and enables us to fulfill God’s purposes for us. Man was created to do what is right and good, to choose God’s will, and to please God. But man’s purpose cannot be realized without living in harmony with God’s will.
It begins just behind the hotel where Ralph Hart and I used to stay, and goes straight past the library and down through the town. After you pass the library, the lane is bordered by birch trees whose limbs form an archway over the road for about a quarter-mile. When it snows, the white flakes cover the tree branches and drift down on the road surface, enveloping the lane in a tunnel of white.
Walking there is like walking on a cloud. There are few cars in Sosnofka, so there is very little noise. Occasionally you may hear two friends walking and talking on the lane, but mostly it’s just very quiet.
I think of the lane often and of the people we met in that little town and if I’ll ever see any of them again in this life. Well, if not in this life, I look forward to seeing some of them in eternity.
(The picture is not the actual lane, though it is very close to what it looks like.)
From Chester Rebel:
On Monday, January 31, the Powell Grove Church of Christ in Lebanon, Tennessee, will host the Wilson County Tea Party. A film will be shown titled: "Islam Rising: Geert Wilder’s Warning to the West," including a Q and A session. They will discuss the growing Islamic/Sharia law threat to our country from without and within. Contact: 615-444-4972
From Joe Slater in Justin, Tex.:
I don’t know how many have already heard about the Pennsylvania late-term abortionist who has been charged with multiple murder counts. The lapdog media hasn’t touched it as far as I know. Anyway, I put an article about it on my website.
The stifling, still heat of July failed to deter this boy welded to his bicycle, as the gravel road covered by oaks provided him passageway to adventures up and down the hill, across to woods holding secrets not told since the Indians disappeared long centuries ago. The rare car stirred up swirls of white dust which floated back to earth at their leisure, not bound by natural laws of gravity. Like the dust, little held this boy to his house, except for meals and an occasional urgent need to slug back some water, before his urgent energy propelled him back into the road.
Covered in perpetual shade for long stretches, the road doubled as a tunnel to quiet forays into the woods, the last gurgles of the stream heard only by an ear pressed down nearly to its surface. The dappled lane shifted shadows as often as the boy’s fantasies moved from the Old West to space to Bigfoot.
The road was all his, made for his pleasure, at his signal. Cars and trucks were interruptions, unwelcome intruders into his realm. Trees crowded the side ditches, sentinels guarding his treasure of distraction.
For a summer, no longer, that road was not the conveyance to a destination, but the final stop of childhood. And what a grand one it was!
We finished Philippians yesterday, and on Monday the reading schedule (NT on weekdays in a year) puts us to read the letter of James. If you’d like a little commentary to go with that, read Charles Hess’s Notes on the New Testament, over on OldPaths.com. He has several other epistles covered as well, so check that out.
If you’re not following any sort of regular plan, join us. This is a great time to jump in.
My favorite road is the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to SIlverton, Colorado, because of the beautiful scenery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQu2aeCGk-E
Spiritually speaking, my favorite road is the road less traveled: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2009/12/27/choosing-the-road-less-traveled/
Hard to think of a single favorite road, but the Appian Way comes to mind right now (and most any Roman road…fascinating stuff).
What stretch of street or road do you consider to be most outstanding or memorable? It could be one you personally know, or one you’ve read about. In the latter category, it could be ancient or modern. All kinds of options there. Maybe the street you grew up on. Maybe a peaceful stretch of country road you like to visit. Describe it for us and why you find it worthy above all others.
Photo above is the Jabel Hafeet Mountain Road in United Arab Emirates.
“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:1-2 NKJV).
Americans seem predisposed to be suspicious and always looking for “hidden meanings.” The plethora of Crime Scene Investigative TV shows, hidden psychological explanations of behaviors, and movies like “The Da Vinci Code,” and political platitudes have so fostered a climate of doubt, disgust, and distrust, that many, if not, most Americans rarely accept anything “at face value.” But this honesty with truth is exactly what Peter is calling for: “be mindful of the words” of the holy prophets and apostles of the Lord. Many today approach the Bible with their same daily doubt so that they look off the pages, between the lines, or beneath the words for some “code,” and are bereft of the faith that comes from reading and accepting the word of God “at face value.” The Devil has disciples by causing people to look for God’s Truth everywhere else but at the words, themselves.
Our task as Christians and Teachers is to convince everyone of the absolute truth of the Word of God “as it is in truth” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). To do that, we must: “let your “Yes,” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment” (James 5:12). Let’s keep all eyes clearly focused upon “the words” of the Scriptures that God has given to all.
Larry Miles is discussing. Toggle Comments
Welcome, John T. Polk II, to The Fellowship Room. We will enjoy cogitating on exegetical profundities with you.
Please welcome John T. Polk II as our newest Fellow here on TFR. It’s a pleasure to have someone of Johnny’s experience with us. He and I met when we both were speakers at a preacher’s retreat in Ill. (Same place I met Stephen; on that same jaunt, I met Ron and stayed at his house — that trip was special in many ways.)
Be sure to read his bio on the Fellows page.
We’re looking forward to Johnny’s contributions. He’s already know to many of us, in his comments here on TFR and, as I recall, one article of his that we’ve posted here.0.000000 0.000000
Ch. 1 – The Christian graces / Power, honor, glory of Jesus / Scriptures authored by the Holy Spirit
Ch. 2 – False teachers & apostasy in general
Ch. 3 – Scoffers / Christ’s 2nd coming & the end of time / Living in preparation for the end
I Corinthians 14:26
“Let all things be done unto edifying”
An E-Letter from Ted and Barbara Knight to EDIFY our Brothers and Sisters in Romania
January 27, 2011
Dear Brothers, Sisters, & Friends,
When I was a student in high school, I played on the basketball team. I was not a great player but I made the team and was one of the top five on the team. I remember one game that stands out in my mind vividly. We were playing one of our rivals in a game and one of the opposing players shot the ball. It bounced off the rim and went up high and I went up to rebound it. I knew there was a player right behind me who was about to get the ball so I tipped it back up and was going to jump up and get it. However, when I tipped it, the ball went in the opponents’ basket and I made two points for them! The coach called timeout and rather sarcastically asked me, “Whose side are you on?” I sure didn’t INTEND to make points for the opposing team, but I did.
In Exodus 32:19-26 the children of Israel got mad at Moses and decided to go over to the Devil’s side by rejecting God’s instructions. They talked Aaron into making another god to go before them and leave the God of heaven. When Moses returned and found out what had been done, he rebuked his brother severely, then stood at the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” When the sons of Levi came Moses gave them instructions that resulted in tremendous suffering to about 3,000 men.
May I ask you to consider, “Whose side are you on?” Are you standing firmly on the Lord’s side in your life? Are you speaking for HIM to your friends? Is it possible for the Devil and his family to know that you are on God’s side by the way that you live each day? Please be careful. You may not INTEND to help the opponents of God, but unless we are diligent we may give assistance to his efforts. Remember the warning of Peter in 1 PET. 5:8-9 and don’t let the Devil deceive you and entice you to score points for his team.
We are doing well here on a beautiful day and we pray that all of you are doing well too. May God bless and keep you is our prayer. We love you.
With Much Love,
Ted & Barbara
If you do not wish to receive this message, let us know and we will remove your name. If you know of others who might wish to receive it, please send their email address and we will add them.0.000000 0.000000
As a part of The Equip Network, Daniel Howell’s most recent One Word podcast features Self-control. Excellent thoughts for both young in the faith and mature in the Lord. Daniel and his co-host talk about guardrails, “kill or be killed,” what people mean when they say they struggle, all with practical suggestions. Such a needed topic today!
Father, make the impossible happen today, because you are the God who creates from nothing by a single word. –United Prayer
What is your prayer today?
1. For some reason Abraham journey from his location (Mamre) to Gerar (going toward Egypt). It was here that we learn of Abraham’s unfortunate experience with fear. Abraham was a tremendously wealthy man, and the king of Gerar could see this. The king desires to make an alliance with such a wealthy person (sheikh). The Chumash (Jewish commentary) asserts that the king took Sarah because of her beauty (at 90 years of age), but it is more likely that it was due to a political alliance.
2. In any case, the Lord intervened and brought to the king a solemn warning. This frightened the king and he inquired of both the Lord and then Abraham the reason for it. When Abraham had the opportunity to answer he gave an answer that plagues (yes, plagues) man: “I thought…” (NKJV; cf., the NIV, “I said to myself”). Being sufficiently rebuked (or vindicated), Abraham and Sarah humbly (presumably) move on.
3. Why do we have such a story in Genesis? Is it because the Lord wants to point out a failing in one of His prophets? Perhaps; it is more likely, however, that something greater is in view. “The focus of the narrative of chapters 20 and 21 is on the relationship between Abraham and the nations. Abraham’s role is that of a prophetic intercessor, as in the promise ‘all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you’” (EBC, p. 161).
4. The word “prophet” is introduced to us for the first time, and Abraham is the Lord’s prophet. What is a prophet? A prophet of God is one who speaks and acts by the Lord’s authority. In the previous chapters we read of the Lord’s intimate interaction with Abraham, but we don’t read of him having the word “prophet” associated with his name (though it is easy and correct to assume that he was). This “status” will play a role in forthcoming chapters.
5. Application: “I thought…” This phrase is used so frequently that people hardly take notice of it anymore. We should be careful in using it. We use it as frequently as we use the phrase, ‘Well, everyone else is doing it.” It was not that Abraham was thinking, but that in his thinking he attributed to another person a certain course of action. Did Abraham have reason to think this? Perhaps he did, but is it always that case that an over generalization will fit the specific? We can’t help but to use the phrase; we can, however, be sure that when we use the phrase we are careful that our thinking is based properly on ALL the facts (information) we can attain. If we cannot, let us be cautious in its use and application.
Somebody somewhere declared February 11 as “World Day of the Sick.” Not that we should all time our sick days for that date, but that we should consider the plight of the sick. A day to focus attention on the subject. People like Benedict XVI publish messages to and about those who are ill.
Your Nudge, should you choose to accept it: Write a paragraph, or more, to or about the sick, showing your usual compassion, insight, and biblical knowledge.
February is probably as good a date as any for such a World Day, considering the Northern Hemisphere’s nasty weather this time of year.
Note: My opening words, “Somebody somewhere,” are a euphemism, to avoid getting sidetracked into a dead-end discussion.
Arise! Shine! For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
For several years I read through Oswald Chambers’s devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, and greatly benefited from it. Times are, however, he goes badly wrong, and his comment on this verse is one example of that. He begins by writing,
We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there.
Chambers quoted only the first two words of this verse in his devotional thought. The rest of the verse is necessary to understand the imperatives given to Israel. Man is able to arise and shine because the light of God has already come to him and the divine splendor has risen like the sun to illuminate his day.
The first command to arise calls Israel to rouse herself from her stupor. This third section of Isaiah, 56-66, sees beyond the exile to the restoration, to a people returned to a devastated country, a destroyed temple, a world in shambles. To a broken spirit. Their return may be dulled by the reality of their situation.
But, no! Isaiah will not have it. God’s glory is focused on them. It is not time for mourning, but shining. The shining of the city (metaphor for the people) is to serve the nations who come to the light. It is the light of salvation. The people of God are called to shine forth as God’s beacon.
My mind ties this verse together with Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (NET).
At the top of the list of good deeds is the proclamation of the gospel, just as Jesus was doing during that moment of teaching on the mount.
The verse has inspired a number of hymns, among them, “All Ye Gentile Lands Awake.” Here’s the first stanza:
All ye Gentile lands awake!
Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring o’er you break,
Heralding a morn divine,
Telling, God hath called to mind
Those who long in darkness pined.
What amazes me about Isaiah Chapter 1, is the similarity between our society today and the society that Isaiah found himself in. In Isaiah 1:2-3, the inspired prophet quickly instructs his readers to “Hear….for the Lord has spoken.” One of the major problems of our society today, is that they, like the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, have “rebelled against God” (Isaiah 1:2), closing their ears to the hearing of God’s word (Isaiah 6:9-10; cf. Matthew 13:14-15).
The spiritual condition of that society was deplorable in God’s sight (Isaiah 1:4-6). Their worship to God was vain and empty – hypocritical at best, and God would not hear their prayers (Isaiah 1:10-15).
God offers a solution to their spiritual blindess (Isaiah 1:16-18; cf. Revelation 3:18-22), just as He offers us the same solution today.
The question is, are we as a society willing to “hear the Lord’s voice” and “open the door” to the Lord’s invitation to dine with Him? (Revelation 3:20).
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This is a verse that sadly, even many Chrisistians only look at or refer to at Christmas time when peoples thoughts are about Jesus and His birth. I know that He was not born on Dec. 25th but we need to use that opportunity to reach folks who at other times would not be as responsive.
But the main thrust of this short passage to me is that at all time of the year and forever it gives us a picture of the Lord Jesus and who He was, is and is to come. Thanks be to the heavenly Father that we have a Savior who is called “ Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Theses traits that He has help us understand just how much the Godhead loves us! We can rest assured that the Lord Jesus will always be there for His people showing the example we need to be fruitful, productive members of His Church who are always ready to reach the lost and strengthen the saved. So, when you hear these words in Is. 6:9, and I hope that it is not just at Christmas, share them with others and stop to praise our “Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!”
Isaiah 66:1, 2
There are so many special and meaningful passages in Isaiah, but this is the one I choose. Where does God reside? “On Him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
Many years ago I met a lady who was abrasive and unfriendly the first few times I visited her (her mother was a member and shut-in). But finally she agreed to study with me. We had a simple open Bible study and as we neared the end of our study, she was literally and visibly trembling. I suggested we go and she be baptized and she immediately agreed and was.
A couple of months later I had a study with another lady about the same age. We went through the same process and just as before, this lady visibly trembled at the Word. I suggested that we go and she be baptized. She paused, offered a couple of excuses and declined. I couldn’t persuade her. She never allowed me to study with her again.
The ability to tremble at the Word of God is a wonderful thing. Ezra witnessed its power (9:4, 10:3). But it is only one virtue among many and can be tragically lost if it is not accompanied with obedience.
The late theologian, Elton Trueblood, predicted: “By the year 2000, Christians will be a conscious minority surrounded by an arrogant militant paganism.” While he missed it by a decade, the substance of his forecast is coming true. More and more there is a growing anti-religious sentiment. A few years ago, Ray Waddle before he retired from religious editor for the Tennessean, wrote: “In the near future, American culture will be downright hostile to religion and the result will be churches smaller.” A sample of what to expect comes from Oxford professor Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion. Dawkins declares God is “a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, capriciously malevolent bully”. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
If there is a great way to determine how religious a man is, just check his pocketbook. In Acts 19, Demetrius was a religious man, but his religion was of the “green” sort. In today’s world, many express a degree of devotion to God, but when the pocketbook is affected, that religious “devotion” wanes a bit!
Our jobs, we are told time and again, are necessary. With these jobs we can provide the necessary things of life. That is what they thought in Jeremiah’s day as well (Jeremiah 44:15-19). Yes, this a a great way to test certain things, such as one’s religious devotion to the Lord. That “fork in the road” becomes a clearer path to take when one’s devotion is to the material of this world.
Another great way to test one’s religious devotion is to educate him in spiritual things (teachings) that are beyond this world. What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8,9).
Since God’s ways & thoughts are so far above ours, what right do we have to question God or His word? None whatsoever. We have no right to object to ANYTHING He might ask of us through His word. Everything He commands and asks is right and proper—whether we agree or understand why is beside the point! We have as much right to object to the instruction and correction of our heavenly Father as a toddler does to object to the instruction and correction of his earthly father! He’s the potter, we’re the clay; He’s the shepherd, we’re the sheep; He’s the master, we’re the servants! Friends, we must exercise faith, submission, & humility before God. Why? Because His thoughts & ways are above ours in every way (cf. Job 42:1-6). May we reflect on this great truth regularly.
As Isaiah preaches, he forthrightly declares what God will not do; it is a petition stated in a declarative way: “Therefore, do not forgive them!” The NET reads, “Don’t spare them!”
Israel (man), in all his wisdom, is going to be humbled and the Lord will be exalted! It was man’s pride that brought all these vices into the land of Israel and corrupted it (and them). Can man hide from God? Not a chance! There is not a place man can know or go that God doesn’t know or is already there. But, with man’s inclination of self-preservation, he seeks to hide in the rocks from the terror of the Lord; as he exalts himself the only real result will be haughtiness humbled.
1. Sodom was entirely unaware of their pending doom, and is that not the norm when people move away from their moral underpinnings? As Abraham spoke with the Lord (18:33), the other two angels who were with the Lord move toward the cities of the plain preparing to tend to the situation at hand (19:1). Lot, being the hospitable man he was, saw to it that the two strangers had a place to sleep by offering up his home to them. He, also, was entirely unaware of what was about to occur.
2. The charitable spirit of Lot is suddenly contrasted with the brazen spirit of the men of Sodom; the evil and wicked behavior of homosexuality (by context, not to minimize other evil and wicked behavior) confuses and corrupts the mind. As vile as this was, we wonder what was Lot thinking when he offered up his daughters to these wicked men. In our time it is hard to imagine there ever being a social custom that was so sacred that a father would sacrifice his daughter in order to not compromise social etiquette. “Nothing but that sacred light in which the rights of hospitality were regarded among the eastern nations, could either justify or palliate this proposal of Lot” (Adam Clarke, E-sword), and yet is there any justification?
3. Having refused Lot’s daughters (fortunately for them), they turn their ridicule on Lot and have finally rejected his status as a judge in the city, pressing in on him to do him much harm. Though the men who sought to do Lot much harm were prevented by the angels, they did not realize that were on the verge of complete destruction – with no opportunity to change their ways (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
4. With the Lord being merciful to Lot and his family, the angels prevent the destruction from coming until Lot is in the location of Zoar (Zoar did not know how close it had come to complete destruction). When Lot and his family do arrive the destruction is overwhelming (19:23-25) and, out of curiosity perhaps, Lot’s wife looks back. This looking back, however, seems to be more than just curiosity. The NET reads, “But Lot’s wife looked back longingly and was turned into a pillar of salt” (19:26). A useful thought is also expressed in the margin of the NET, “Lot’s wife apparently identified with the doomed city and thereby showed lack of respect for God’s provision of salvation. She, like her daughters later, had allowed her thinking to be influenced by the culture of Sodom” (E-sword).
5. The destruction was complete and overwhelming; it is easy to understand how one’s thinking can be confused in such “chaos”; Lot’s daughters were confused in their thinking. Knowing their father would not concede to impregnate his daughters they take matters into their own hands.
6. Application: It does make a difference where we reside and with whom we associate. Paul writes that evil companions corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). In other words, we are affected more than we might realize. When we are consumed with self, by necessity, we leave others out. This was the result of the sinful activity of the cities of the plain, especially Sodom. In such a way of thinking all warnings, if given, are unheeded and when destruction comes it comes when one is not prepared. The Lord’s mercy was seen in at least two cases: first, that Lot lingered and the angels would not let him linger to the point of death (19:16); second, that a city was spared because of righteous Lot (19:21).
Here is your nudge for today, should you accept it: Write at least one paragraph (does this sound like high school or what?) on the book of Isaiah. You may talk about background, historical setting, the book as a whole, or a pericope or single verse. Anything about Isaiah.
If you can’t think up anything, we’ll let you squeeze by with a hefty quote from someone else. But we’d prefer your words.
At right, Michaelangelo’s conception of the prophet. The Sistine Chapel is a work of art. My neck hurt from looking up at the ceiling for so long, and I would have looked longer if I’d had the time. But much more is the book of Isaiah a work of art, more inspiring, more bracing, more worthy of our peering into it, more beneficial eternally than a man’s brushstrokes.
Jeff Kenee is discussing. Toggle Comments
So I said today on the Twitter/Facebook status about my latest UPLift poem, “Water to the Least.” That it was great to quote in sermons, classes or to your kids. As if parents needed extra stuff to tell their kids, right?
Got another one, a bit longer — OK, three three-line stanzas, rather than today’s single four-liner — coming up for the Cloudburst Poetry list. Better sign up for that, since those aren’t published online.