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Accessible, Perfect Wisdom

8 Dec

No mere man had greater wisdom than Solomon (1 Kings 4:29–32). Yet, regarding his wisdom, he received it (1 Kings 4:29), and therefore it is less than its source—indeed so much less (Job 12:13; Rom. 11:33)! Christians can be confident that we trust and serve a perfectly wise God. We can find contentment in him, knowing that he is wisely bringing about his perfect plan (Isa. 46:10). We can have hope and peace in the worst of circumstances, knowing that God’s wise providence is caring for us (Phil. 4:7; Psa. 23). We can rejoice knowing that we do not trust and serve a lesser king, but the omniscient, omni-wise King of kings. We can worship him for his lovely wisdom, especially for the wisdom shown in his eternal plan of redemption through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:20; Acts 2:23). And we can shout “hallelujah” for the giving of his perfect wisdom to us in his Word (2 Tim. 3:16; Prov. 1–2)! What a tremendous gift. If one lacks wisdom, ask the Lord who gives generously (James 1:5)! Seek it in the pages of Holy Scripture, asking that the Spirit would illumine your mind and heart to receive, know, and apply the wisdom already laid down—the wisdom that can make man complete (2 Tim 3:15–17).

Let us not think, Oh, I wish I could have sat at the feet of Solomon. Oh, to be one of the men that stood in his presence. Remember, you can sit at the feet of the Almighty; you can stand in his presence by opening your Bible and praying for the Spirit’s assistance. And if “Happy are [the] men, happy are [the] servants, that stand continually before [Solomon], and that hear [his] wisdom” (1 Kings 10:8), how much happier ought we to be who have the complete, perfect wisdom of God recorded for us and accessible to us in his Scripture!

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Jehovah’s Faithful Presence 

13 Jul

​”For the cloud of Yahweh was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night before the eyes of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:38 LEB) 

This remarkable statement closes out the book of Exodus by comforting God’s people with the reassurance that God is always present with his people in a special way. It emphasizes the unbreakable faithfulness of God to his covenant people, for he had previously promised to guide them into the promised land, to protect and lead them on their journey (Exo. 3:8,17; 13:11, 21-22, et al). The same God who rescued them from Egypt would see them all their way. Even when the people rebelled and were ungrateful, Jehovah provided them with all their needs. Moses too had said to Jehovah that it would be pointless for them to continue on their journey if Jehovah’s presence did not go with them (Exo. 33:14-16), which illustrates mans need to perpetually rely on God. 

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; he never changes (Num. 23:19; I Sam. 15:29; Psa. 55:19; Jam. 1:17). He reassures his people that those he rescues from sin, he also guides them with his continual special presence until they enter Glory (see also Rom. 8:28-30)…as he promised.

Thanks be to God. 

Don’t Skip the Genealogies

18 Apr

genealogy graphicScripture is replete with various genealogies but many approach them with either indifference or with a negative mindset or emotions. There are various ways in which this plays out, for instance, people often see the lists, the begets, and the names and (1) skip past them altogether in order to get to the good stuff, (2) skim them out of a recognition for their inclusion in the Bible but give little actual attention to them, or (3) to be able to say they’ve actually read every word of the Bible.  I have fallen into all three at one time or another. But I would like to advocate for a fourth option—(4) recognize that these genealogies are no less inspired than any other passage, quote, or story in the Bible, that they play a purposeful and significant role in Scripture, that God has sovereignly determined their place and providentially kept them in the corpus of his Holy Word.

How then is that to change our interactions with the Word? First, choose not to skip past them, but to give them the time they deserve. This will likely require more time spent on these sections than you are used to, but it is worth it. Secondly, deliberately tackle these sections when you get to them. If you have difficultly seeing a genealogies purpose, check out some commentaries, think about the importance of the family or person that is the focus of the genealogy, read the text surrounding the genealogy for information to why it exists and why it is placed at that point in Scripture, try mapping the genealogy out on paper as a visual aid, and don’t hesitate to ask a trusted Christian who spends a lot of time in the Word for help.

Let’s look briefly at one genealogy from Exodus 6:14-25:

  1. Israel
    1. Reuben
      1. Hanoch
      2. Pallu
      3. Hezron
      4. Carmi
    2. Simeon
      1. Jemuel
      2. Jamin
      3. Ohab
      4. Jachin
      5. Zohar
      6. Shaul
    3. Levi
      1. Gershom
        1. Libni
        2. Shimei
      2. Kohath
        1. Amram
          1. Aaron
            1. Nadab
            2. Abihu
            3. Eleazar
              1. Phinehas
            4. Ithama
          2. MOSES
        2. Izhar
          1. Korah
            1. Assir
            2. Elkanah
            3. Abiasaph
          2. Nepheg
          3. Zichri
        3. Hebron
        4. Uzziel
          1. Mishael
          2. Elzaphan
          3. Sithri
      3. Merari
        1. Mahli
        2. Mushi

Moses, the author according to orthodox teaching, recounts family lines of Israel. He begins with the sons of Reuben, then the Sons of Simeon, then of Levi, but then we see a change; he goes further into each of Levi’s sons. Why? The point is to show the historicity and family line of Moses and Aaron (v26–27), to give credit to the overall progression of God’s dealing with men (particularly his people), to show God’s faithfulness to his covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (and all those called by his name), to show Moses’ and Aaron’s familial tie to the people who are in bondage in Egypt, to show that they too are mere men being used by the almighty God, and to show us that the God we serve is the same faithful, saving, powerful, wrathful, gracious God. A few more interesting things can be noted:

Aaron’s family is taken the furthest in the genealogy. This may cause the reader to think he was given the prime focus, but this is not so—read on. He is second in focus (v26-27); his sons will carry out the priestly line; Nadab and Abihu will be judged for the liberties they take with worship; Phinehas will have great zeal for the Lord and by doing so, save lives (Num. 25).

No other sons of Israel/Jacob are included after Levi. Why? because it is focuses on Moses and Aaron who come from the 3rd eldest son of Israel.

Korah’s line is expanded one more generation unlike all but Aaron’s. Why? Was there a lot of barren women? No, more likely because Korah’s family played a prominent role to come; for instance, they rose up against Moses and Aaron in opposition to God’s design of the Aaronic priesthood (Numbers 16), and the sons of Korah wrote a good portion of the Psalms.

Moses’s line is not expanded even though we know he had sons (Exo. 4:20, 25); this is deliberate. Why? And here we see that the focus of this genealogy is Moses. We know based upon v26–27 that it is about Aaron and Moses; we know Moses’ family does extend; we know that Moses was the main mediator and servant God used at this time; we know that Moses is one of the major shadow’s of Christ Jesus who was to come (as a prophet, priest, king, servant, saviour, etc).

As you can see, there is much that can be learned from genealogies in Scripture. I hope you will have a desire to give them the time they deserve, since they are no less inspired or authoritative or sufficient for the Christians’s life.

What else do you see?

(graphic source: genealogylaois.com)

 

15 Dangers of Self-Pity

18 Dec

Self-pity puts the self first.
Self-pity can lead to cynicism.
Self-pity can lead to inactivity.
Self-pity can lead to negativism.
Self-pity can lead to depression.
Self-pity is contrary to the Gospel.
Self-pity is an enemy of contentment.
Self-pity often forgets the plight of others.
Self-pity forgets that suffering is part of life.
Self-pity can cause you to be critical of others.
Self-pity takes the mind off of God’s promises.
Self-pity often forgets the benefits of suffering.
Self-pity is adverse to determination and perseverance.
Self-pity takes the eyes off of the many blessings given you.
Self-pity is self-perpetuating and will increase in its destructive power.

Self-pity is a gnawing evil. Instead of pitying the self, pity Christ.

“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who…emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” -Philippians 2:5-8

Psalm 18:16-19 ESV

23 Apr

“He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”

David speaks of God’s loving arm of providence in worldly concerns and threats. Yet, I wonder if David didn’t also have in mind the LORD’s rescuing-hand from the many drowning waters of sin.  For was it not He who drew us out of sin and death? He who rescued us from the strong enemy, according to His good pleasure and will?

The context of the verse speaks specifically of David’s salvation from his earthly enemies; failing to recognize that would be improper. But  surely the truth of God’s salvation from sin, death, and wrath are echoed here. Afterall, salvation is from the LORD, whether from the vices of man, calamity, or the Grave.