Stiff Necked Children

Submit to God   

As I was preparing a short devotion for a men’s breakfast about submitting to the will of God I became more interested in the subject and found more information than I needed.  That led me to expand my thoughts and to write this post.  There is much difficulty in Christians submitting to God. Starting with myself I might add.

I have always been a guy that wants to be in control.  Control and submission are like oil and water I regret to say.  I know the control issue is an issue of the flesh and the submission issue is something done through the spirit.  And so the battle rages on.  Why do I have such a problem doing this?  I believe most people in the Christian community continue to be hard headed and fail to submit as well, why ?

It’s not a new phenomena as we see in the Old Testament writings.  Submission to God has always been avoided by the human race.  And this occurs even when we know that the wrath of God will come.

In a discussion with my pastor this morning we agreed that less than one percent of God’s Church today is in submission to God.  What a rebellious society we are living in.  God’s word says to submit to His will, however most of us are not doing it while claiming to be Christians.  What is the answer to this and how can we please the Lord?  It’s clear that without submission there is eventually a price to pay.  At the very least something negative will occur in our lives that we could have been protected from if we had submitted to God’s will.  We know this yet we continue.

The definition of submit from Merriam Webster is to yield oneself to the authority or will of another or to surrender. Definition of surrender is to give oneself up into the power of another or to yield. The definition for yield is to give way to pressure or influence: submit to urging, persuasion, or entreaty.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

God’s word, the Holy Bible, clearly indicates we are to be in submission to God.

 

 

 

“Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chonicles 30:8)  This was written by Hezekiah after the Assyrians came and took the northern kingdom. They took the people captive and there was not much of the people left.  He is telling them to turn back to God. He is saying if they would turn back to God then God will provide and their families that were taken away will returned. He is practically begging them to turn their hearts to God and worship Him. He told them if they were to turn back to God then surely God would bless them because God is gracious and merciful.

For the people that will not submit to God and reject His grace and mercy, their lives do not go very well and then destruction occurs. God is merciful and compassionate, but He won’t protect us forever if we choose to remain out of His will and fall under the control of Satan.  Eventually you will reap what you sow and everything that goes around comes around. When that happens to people they blame God for the judgement that comes on them. But the only thing that can keep you from the judgement is God’s protection.

“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” (Job 22:21)  In other words, submit to God and you will have peace and some good will come of you. 

And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, “Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 10:3) In other words – how long will you refuse to submit to me???

“Serve the LORD with fear, rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:12) The bottom line: Blessed are those who put their trust, or, happy are those who put their trust in Him. Submit to God’s royal son.  

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)  Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about daily needs and to seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness, then all these things will be added to them.  So let us have a good look at this, we know that the Kingdom of God is where the Lord reigns. That is where God is. If we have God reigning over our lives then we have the Kingdom of God within us.

So then, if we keep our priorities in order and do what is right we would, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Moses said to the children of Israel, “Set your hearts unto all the words which I have testified to you this day, and you shall command your children to observe and do all the words of this law. It is not an option for, it is your life.” (Deuteronomy 32:46)

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

In other words- submit to the father…He (Jesus) is declaring that He is in perfect harmony with the Father with all the work He is doing. Then He told Philip, “The works that I do I do not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” And this is the same kind of testimony he gives here, “What I’m doing, I’m only doing because I’ve seen the Father do it. I’m doing the works of the Father in your midst.”

Jesus modeled submission to the Father. We would be wise to take the example. 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)  No transformation without submission. Do the will of God. 

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; and 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:6)

Do what you do as unto the Lord, not to please men but to please the Lord, as a good witness for Him.  Submit to the Lord. 

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)  You will need the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to submit to God. You won’t be successful on your own fighting the battle of the flesh.

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17)

This passage is from a commentary by Check Smith:

You see, our problem is that we so often lose sight of eternity. As we are in this world we get so involved in the worldly things, that our vision becomes clouded and we lose the sense and the consciousness of the eternal. And when you lose the consciousness of the eternal, then Satan can just really do a trip on your mind.  The seventy-third Psalm, Asaph speaks about that trip that Satan did on his mind, when he got his eyes upon the world and the people in the world. He said, “Now I know that God is good, but when I sought to understand a few things I was almost wiped out. Because I began to look at the prosperity of the wicked, I began to see how they got along and they didn’t seem to have any problems,” and this that and the other. And Satan just really started to put a real trip on him. And he said, “When I sought to know these things, I almost slipped.” He said, “It doesn’t pay to try and serve God. It doesn’t pay to try and be good. And when I sought to know these things I almost slipped. Until I went unto the sanctuary of God and then I saw their end.” In the sanctuary of God his vision was corrected and he got sight now of the eternal.  “God, what are You doing? God, how can You say You love me? God, if You love me, why is this happening to me?” It’s because I have my eyes on the temporal, material advantage and God is looking at the eternal plan and the eternal advantage. It’s important that we step back and we get the long view and realize that the world is gonna pass away and the lust thereof. He who does the will of God abides forever.[1]

So why are we – men and women alike so hard headed?  We must learn to listen and we must obey and submit.  We are stiff-necked children.  We want it our way and we keep doing it our way. We want to be in control instead of letting God take the wheel.

Let’s try it Gods way.

Pray that we will kindle a deeper relationship with God. Pray that all Christians would be convicted toward turning to God and another great awakening takes place. Praise the Lord, King of Kings.  Pray for healing in our land and that our nation would turn back to God.  Lord have mercy on us. Please save us from ourselves Lord for we have lost sight of eternity!

 

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

[1] Smith, C. “C2000 Series on 1 John 2:12 – 3:24 by Chuck Smith.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 1 Jun, 2005. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/smith_chuck/c2000_1Jo/1Jo_002.cfm

 

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 3

We have now come to the key chapter of Genesis that bears the burden of the subject at hand which is God being grieved at his heart for creating the wicked and degenerate people on the land.  We are talking about mostly every human alive in that time with a few exceptions.  I believe we are close to that again now.  The Lord will never use a flood to destroy the earth again, next time it is fire.

I must note for clarity that the earth populated very fast with descendants of Adam and Eve.  As you read the genealogy and see the lines of families produced from Adam and Eve you might have a major question. Why don’t we hear about these family lines and people? When reading Genesis there is evidence that enough offspring were generated from some key people to build entire cities.  The human race was exploding!  One thing to keep in mind is that the Lord allowed men to live long, long lives and procreate the world.  A man can make a lot of babies in 1,000 years. The population at the time of the flood was great as it is now.  The population was high.

For some examples, we have just learned of Enoch in the last post.  Enoch’s father Jared lived 962 years. He fathered Enoch at the age of 162 and the Bible says he went on and begat sons and daughters for another 800 years. Enoch was taken up by God at age 365 but beforehand he begat sons and daughters one of which was Methuselah.  Methuselah lived 969 years and begat sons and daughters. An important fact is that Methuselah was the father of Lamech who was the father of Noah. Lamech lived 777 years and again this man fathered many sons and daughters.

The point I need to make here is the Bible will focus on the line that leads to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  All other lines are unimportant to the story.  Pay attention to Noah and his 3 sons he had at around 500 years of age.  Shem, Ham and Japheth.  If you are reading this you are a descendent of Noah and one of his three sons.

We are now in Chapter 6 of Genesis and up to Chapter 9 we will have a drastic change in the way God treats mankind.  He allowed these men to live over 900 years but during that time they became too wicked.  Mankind had broken every single command the Lord gave except the command to procreate the world. They kept that command well. God will severely limit how many years a man can live going forward. I won’t address the Sons of God and daughters of men here because there is a special post on that subject you can go to. Please do … you can click the link at bottom of this page.  In short there was an outpouring of Satanic activity. One thing I will mention about the Sons of God and Daughters of men is that mixed marriages occurred that went against the will of God. Believers were yoked with unbelievers.  All of humanity was depraved and wickedness in both word and deed was universal and unparalleled. We have a full account of the worlds degeneracy, it’s apostacy from God and the rebellion against Him. Back in Chapter one and verse 28 mankind had a blessing. (Be fruitful and multiply.) What has happened is man’s corruption abused and perverted the blessing to the point of a curse and the sin that God forgave became more exceedingly sinful. It says in Proverbs 29:16, “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth.” The more sinners there are the more sin increases and the multitude of offenders emboldens men.

And that brings us to the key verse which is verse six of chapter six.  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8)

And then… woe to mankind… All humans and life except Noah and his family and what they were commanded to save in the Ark.

“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis 7:4)

“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:  All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.  And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.  And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:20-24)

And so, at one time God saw that all was good, but now there was a change, a repentance, because it grieved God at his heart. He no longer saw it as good.  Can you feel his grief?  How terrible a situation where the evil became so bad that God had to wipe all life from the face of the earth and change the lifespan of man along with other things.  It grieved him at His heart. Oh my…

Noah lived to age 950. And then we have a period called “The confusion of all things”, and the “Origin of Nations.”

Men unified to honor themselves and all spoke the same language.  They built a huge city to keep together which was a breaking of God’s command to fill the earth. God separated them for their disobedience. He punished this evil attempt and separated mankind into small ethnic groups by confusing their universal language into many different dialects.

So now we have the origin of nations. The nations were all formed from the descendants of Noah’s three sons.

The first nation was the descendants of Japheth and would be Gomer (Germany), Magog, Tubal, and Mechech (Russia), Madai (Persia), Javan (Greece), Tiras (Italy), Togarmah (Armenia), Tarshish (Spain) and Kittim (Cyprus).  Can you identify a land you are from?

The second nation was from the descendants of Ham and would be Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Phut (Africa), Canaan (the Canaanites of Palestine), Nimrod (Babylon and Assyria), Sidon (Phoenicia), Heth (Hittites), Jebus (the Jebusites, the occupants of Jerusalem before King David’s reign), Philistim (the Philistines) and Sin (Possibly the Asian people of China, Japan, India, etc.).

The last nation was made from the descendants of Shem and were through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the nation of Israel. And through the Abraham, Ishmael and Esau: the Arabic countries of the Middle East.

I will end with a writing from the Anthropologist Arthur Custance, “And thus we conclude that from the family of Noah have sprung all the peoples of the world, prehistoric and historic.  The events described in Genesis 6 to 10 and particularly the prophetic statements of Noah himself in Genesis 9:25-28 with respect to the future of his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together combine to provide us with the most reasonable account of the early history of mankind, a history which , rightly understood, does not at all require us to believe that modern man began with the stature of an ape and only reached a civilized state after a long, long, evolutionary history, but made a fresh start as a single family who carried with them into an unpeopled earth the accumulated  heritage of the pre-flood world.”

And so there you have it. So many times, God said it was good and it was, until the will of man and sin entered the picture.  And it got so bad that God repented and it grieved Him at his heart. And then His wrath prevailed with the culmination of the great flood and the making of the nations of the future.  All in the master plan.  When I read this section it just tugs at my heart as a father.  Can you imagine the huge family you have created becoming so evil you had to kill them all?  Well, we cannot think like God thinks because we are human and he is the Almighty.  I know what the death of a dream is and I know the love a father has for his children.  All we can do is think like humans so it tugs at my heart.  I hope you received something from these posts.

Click here to visit the Sons of God and Daughters of Men post.

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 2

“And God saw that it was good,” remember that.

The end of chapter one says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”  Six days in and all is good!

Now there is a heaven and an earth but no man yet to till the ground. We now have the story of Adam and Eve.  There were no wild plants or grains growing on the earth so far. There was no rain.  What watered the land so far were springs that came forth from the ground.  God decided to make man to care for what he had made and so He formed a man from the dust of the ground.  Keep in mind he made man in his likeness (like Him).  The Lord breathed life into the man’s nostrils which created life and now we have a living person. A man named Adam. God then planted the Garden of Eden and put Adam in the garden. In the center of the garden the Lord placed a tree of life and He also put in a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Man was supposed to care and watch over the garden and He gave the man a stern warning, “You can eat of every fruit and tree in the garden except one- He told man that if he were to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that he would surely die.”

Then the Lord said that it was not good for man to be alone.  The Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and then took out one of the man’s ribs and made a woman out of the man’s rib.  This process by God is the design of marriage. It is why a man leaves his mother and father and becomes joined to a wife with the two being united as one. (The institution of marriage.)

We have just finished the creation and origin of all things. It took six days to create and one, day seven of rest.   We will now go through the stage of corruption.

The woman was convinced by the serpent who was the shrewdest of all the creatures that she should eat from the tree that God had forbidden. She ate some fruit from the forbidden tree and also convinced the man to have some.  As soon as they ate it they realized they were naked and saw things they never saw. They hid themselves because they were naked and when God came walking through the garden He could not find them.  God was not pleased with this outcome.  He then cursed the serpent. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) You might think is about men and women hating snakes but it has a much deeper theological meaning. It could be interpreted this way, “And there will be intense hatred between Satan and Christ. Eventually, Christ will crush the head of Satan, while suffering a heel wound in the process.”  This verse is known as the “Proto-Evangel,” the first Gospel.

He said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Because the man listened to the woman and also ate from the tree the Lord cursed the ground and caused it to be a struggle to grow food from it because now it will have weeds and thistles. The lord declared that now man will sweat in order to eat and live and will one day return to the dust he was made from.  This is where we had paradise lost and God’s judgment rendered, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and will need to cultivate the ground to be fed from the dust that he made them. It seems the Lord now have the first of a grieving at His heart.  The subtlety of Satan has worked and Adam has sinned.  Can you feel it?  They were overtaken by the three deadly temptations that many centuries later the apostle John would warn us all to beware of. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  Adam has been declared the first human sinner. In actuality, Eve ate first but because Adam was supposed to be the head of the human race he was responsible. (See Romans5:12)

We will now be introduced to God’s redemptive power and His holiness and grace.  We see his holiness as he pronounces five judgements. The five judgements were on man, (Gen 3:17) on women, (Gen 3:16) on all of nature, (Gen 3:18) on the serpent, (Gen 3:14) and on the devil. (Gen 3:15) We see His grace, as God deals with sinners. He showed grace as he sought out Adam in Genesis 3:9, “And the Lord God called unto Adam.” This is where God took the first step to reconcile man back to himself. He showed grace in promising them a Savior in Genesis 3:15 as mentioned above. He showed His grace in clothing them. (Gen 3:21) He showed grace in removing them from the Garden of Eden. (Gen 3:24) This was an act of mercy and not an act of judgement. If God had not removed them from the Garden it would have been a situation where all of mankind would have eaten from the tree and lived forever in total immorality. The next time we read of the tree of life is not until the end in the first two verses of Revelation 22.

As we get into chapter 4 we know that Eve has given birth to two sons.  And we witness the very first murder of mankind and the very first human liar. Yes, man killing man started way back then. This is nothing other than the effects of pure sin. We see the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, and Cain being driven from the blessings of God. Can you feel God’s heart grieving?  Remember all the times God said, “It is good.”

Before we move on to condemnation and the Great Flood. I want to mention the ministry of Enoch in Genesis chapter 5.  Enoch is one of only two men who walked with God prior to the flood. The other man was Noah who will be introduced next post. We know Enoch walked with God because God apparently had told Enoch that when his son Methuselah died the world would be destroyed by a terrible flood. This might be why Methuselah lived longer than any other human in the history of the world.  Methuselah lived to be 969 years old before he died. That was a prophecy of God and the reason Methuselah lived so long may have been because God was not willing that anyone should perish.  He was giving sinful mankind as much time as possible to repent.  (See 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9)

Enoch was a man of great faith and he preached of God’s second coming centuries before even his first coming took place. He was the first recorded preacher and he was the first of only two humans that got to heaven without physically dying. The other man that was directly taken up to heaven by the Lord is Elijah. He was taken up in a whirlwind. Enoch was taken up by God at the age of 365, he just was not there anymore because God took him.

Depending upon your level of belief and faith that may sound strange.  Someday however, millions of Christians will experience the very same thing as it is written.

Click here to jump to the next post when we will look at “The Condemnation of all Things.”

God bless you all;

 

 

The Tubthumper

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 1

“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart”.  (Genesis 6:6)

I chose the title for this because of the incredible reverse of sentiment from the Lord in only six chapters of the first book of the Bible. As the book begins we see God creating the world. It is a wonderful display of His awesome power and His purpose.  He creates man and woman made in His image.  Before long though, sin enters the picture and what was once bathed in innocence becomes shattered by the Fall.  [The Fall was the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve.]  They broke the fellowship with God and evil was unleashed causing the destruction to begin. One right after the other events began happening.  We had Adam and Eve getting expelled from the garden of Eden, next we saw their first son become a murderer, evil bred still more evil and the world He created became so vile that God spoke those words I began with.  God started out saying, “It was good”, He said it repeatedly but ended by saying, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

I hope you read and study the Holy Bible.  It provides a fantastic spiritual history for you.

Before we get into the heart of things let us start with some background information about Genesis.  There are 50 chapters in the book of Genesis comprised of 1,533 verses holding 38,267 words.  The key word for the entire book is “Beginnings”.  A key verse for the topic I am addressing is Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”   The topic I am covering with this title is the first half of the book, “the four great events”.  Another key verse is Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  Please note that Christ is that seed of woman.

Genesis was written by Moses 1450 – 1410 B.C. and Moses was born at least three centuries after the events in Genesis ended.  In actuality, the book was written by God but breathed through Moses.  We will be dealing with what is called, “The Fertile Crescent”, in chapters 1-11 which spanned more than 2,000 years and 1500 miles. We will learn why God chose Israel to be His redemptive people by the time we end chapter 11.  We will only be focusing on the first 11 of 50 chapters, therefore how God chose Israel will be covered with chapters 12 to 50. In this topic, we will be covering the four great events which are: Creation– God is the sovereign Creator of matter, energy, space and time. Man is the pinnacle of the creation. The Fall– Creation is followed by corruption. Man gets separated from God then gets separated from man. Despite the curse of the Fall, God promised hope of redemption through the seed of the woman (Chapter 3, verse 15). The Flood– As man multiplied, sin multiplied until God had enough and was compelled to destroy humanity with exception of Noah and his family. The Nations– the unity of the human race, we are all children of Adam through Noah. Because of the rebellion at the tower of Babel, God fragments the original culture and language of post flood and scatters people over the face of the earth.  In a future segment, I will cover the second half which is, “The Four Great People”.

Ok, on to the beginning. As I was reading the book of Genesis I connected with several things I hadn’t before. The presence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, reproduction of its own kind, the unknown population and the amount of grief the Lord experienced. Each time you study a part of the Bible the Lord will allow you some more meat to digest. So He opened my eyes on these.

I won’t go verse by verse through the first seven days of creation because you can read that for yourself.  I will note however that in verse 4 of the first chapter God said the first, “it was good”.  In verse 10 when the waters were separate from the land called earth he said the second, “it was good”. I want to mention that God made the stars to light the earth at night and he separated the light from darkness because we were meant to be in the light.  Good goes to light and evil goes to darkness. See verse 16.  I would also like to point out from verse 11 that He made the grasses and the herbs and the plants and fruit, “Whose seed is in itself.” In other words, it will always be the same. You can’t see wheat growing into a corn stalk or rice becoming apples because it is whose seed is in itself.  How awesome is that. In verse 12 He said, “it is good” once again and again in verse 18 He said it.  Then in verse 21 we see that God saw that it was good.  God then made man and women in His own image. He formed Adam form the dust of the ground. No rain had occurred yet, nor had the ground been tilled.

Before we get too far into chapter 2 of Genesis I have a question for you.  Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus was there during the creation?  That is an incredible thing to get our arms around as human beings. He was there. He always was, even at the beginning we can see the mystery of Jesus Christ. The very first verse speaks of the plurality in the Godhead.  It is indicating the Trinity.  God is the Hebrew word Elohim.  El is a singular term for God and the im ending makes it plural so we have, “In the beginning Gods…” There are other signs and types throughout Genesis which I will visit later, but for now we can already see Jesus the Christ at work in the creation. In Colossians 1:16 it claims it was by Him (Jesus) that all things were created. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 it says all things came from God, but they came through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2, 10-12 says that through Jesus the universe was made and Psalm 102:24-27 refers to Elohim as the One who’s hands made the universe. We must understand that Jesus was speaking the truth when He said He was one with the Father. Let us look at Genesis 1:26, Who is the us? It’s the Father, the son and the Holy Ghost.  Jesus was there and was an instrument of the creation. In Genesis 3:8 who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden?  God the father is a spirit. (John 4:24) Only Jesus Christ takes on a form. (Hebrews 10:5) We will re-visit this later with the introduction of Melchizedek but there already is plenty of evidence Jesus Christ was there before the world was ever created and is still with us today. The same today as yesterday. Amen! When I think of this I can only say wow! And remain totally amazed and in awe.

Next time I will address the Fall in Chapter 2 and the evil overcoming mankind before the flood that brought that grieving to the Lord. For now, please read Genesis and be encouraged by it. The evil and darkness that is in the world can seem bleak but God has a plan. We have hope. You are in His plan and salvation is available.

To jump to part 2 click here.

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

 

The Lost Christmas Story

The Lost Christmas Story

We could call this the ignored story behind Christmas or we could call it, “The Grinch that Almost Stole Christmas.”  As we see the Christmas settings around town there will always be a nativity scene.  We usually see the beautiful manger scene with baby Jesus but there is one missing figure every time.  It’s not Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and it’s not Santa.

Throughout the World Christmas pageants are common and have been a tradition in many churches. Our Sunday School classes have Christmas plays that always include three characters, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  There could also be some angels, wise men, shepherds and/or a few animals. There is one person however that is never in the Christmas pageant.  And it’s right that he not be there for he is the vilest individual one could run into.  But he is an important figure in the story and must be kept in Christmas.

 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  (Matthew 2:13)

My post revolves around the second chapter of Matthew and verses 13 to 23 of the Holy Bible.  Beginning back in Chapter 1; verse 18, Matthew describes an angel’s message to Joseph in a dream, followed by the journey of the magi in response to the appearance of the star, the magi’s conversation with Herod, their worship of the child, the slaughter of the innocents, and the holy family’s flight into Egypt, precipitated by another revelation to Joseph in a dream.

So, you see, the one figure from the biblical narrative you won’t see portrayed in a child’s Christmas pageant is King Herod. He is way too mean, nasty and evil to be involved on that holy night.

Most of us know the story of the wise men coming into the court of King Herod and asking where they could find the child born King of the Jews.  Herod, was thought of as the King of the Jews and believed he was.  Herod was crafty and thought he could have the foreigners lead him to this child born as King of the Jews and do away with him.  But, the wise men saw through the evil plans of Herod and returned home, “by another way.”   This is usually where the Christmas eve story typically ends.

That was only part one, though, of the two-part story.  The second part is what everyone wants to ignore because the details are just horrific. It gets a “R” rating for the intense violence.  We can’t be sharing this with kids heading home to put out milk and cookies for Santa.  We never want to replace visions of sugarplums with horrible nightmares.

You see, King Herod was enraged when he found out the magi had double crossed him and did not lead him to the Christ Child.  Because of this he sent his soldiers out to commit such an atrocity it ranks up there with Hitler’s deeds.  He commands them to break into every Jewish home in the region in and around Bethlehem, find every male child and cut their throats.

You may or may not know there is a Christmas carol about this wicked action.  It is called the Coventry Carol. The words are a melancholy lullaby, sung by grieving mothers to their dead children:

Herod the King, In his raging,

Charged he hath this day,

His men of might, in his own sight,

All young children to slay.

 

Then woe is me, poor child for thee,

And ever mourn and say,

For thy parting, nor say nor sing,

By, by, lully, lully.

The carol tells the story of everything having been sweetness and light.  But then, it all changed and they heard the pounding of fists on their doors as Herod’s soldiers were after all the newborn sons.   The mothers of the City of David weep their bitter tears, and they cradle their lifeless babies in their arms:

Lullay, Thou little child,

By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod was in his final year of his 41 year reign and he was definitely evil enough to commit these atrocities.  He was king in name only because the Romans were calling the shots then. It was Herod’s job to carry out all the dirty work like subduing a rebellious colony on behalf of the emperor.  And Herod relished his dirty duties.

To let you know the type of guy King Herod was:

During his reign, he had at least nine wives and at least 14 children and perhaps more. He executed one of his wives named Mariamne for adultery, her mother declared herself queen charging Herod was unfit to rule so Herod put her to death without a trial.  There were two young sons from his marriage with Mariamne and he looked at them as a threat so he executed them.  After murdering his wife, mother and two sons he named his eldest son the exclusive heir to the throne.  But then he grew jealous of the crown prince and had him executed. The emperor was so appalled that he refused to allow any of Herod’s remaining sons to claim the title of king- although three of them would eventually rule as “tetrarchs” each governing one third of his father’s realm.

Thirty-three years later, one of them, Herod Antipas, would look upon Jesus at last, as he stood before him in chains, wearing a crown of thorns.

Would anyone doubt that this man was capable of ordering the soldiers to kill babies?

We know that Jesus escaped that fate because an Angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and warned him with instructions to flee to Egypt.  Some may find it troubling that God would send an Angel to rescue Jesus but let all those little babies die.

That is a part of the theological issue we face so often: the problem of evil and sin, the question of why a just and an all-powerful God allows human suffering to take place. With that question answered elsewhere in no easy way, King Herod is well suited to play the role of evil incarnate.

So, Herod does not belong in a Sunday School Christmas pageant or play. But we must not forget about him.

King Herod is important to the Christmas story because he will help us remember what kind of world we live in and why this world needs a savior.  Jesus did not come to the world to bring a mid-winter festival.  He was not born into some Christmas card scene, rather He was born into a World where Families wander homeless and corrupt tyrants rule by murder and deceit.  Jesus didn’t come to offer respite from the world.  He came to save the world.

For us,

His Christmas weary disciples,

We have a role in carrying out the mission, by using the spiritual gifts he gave us along with whatever material resources we have.

It may be easier to remember the mission if we keep King Herod in Christmas.

 

 

 

Why? Evil and Sin, Why?

GirdloinsThe bombers at the Boston Marathon got me thinking about something I read recently about evil and the universality of sin. It is indisputable that all are sinners and it has been estimated that some 40 billion human beings have lived (or are living) on this earth since God created Adam, the first human. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that perhaps one third of these 40 billion people lost their lives at the hand of another human being. So then, hundreds of millions of living flesh and blood creatures (people) have been stabbed, shot, stoned, strangled, gassed, bombed, burned, buried alive, hung, drowned and yes, blown up by other living flesh and blood creatures. (people) Each person has been given a sin-gauge at birth which is called a conscience. Unfortunately some gauges only have faulty operation and the voice of conscience is defiled. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The exceeding wickedness of sin is unfathomable. We can expect more to continue because the world has rejected the preventive actions of the Word of God, the Son of God and the Spirit of God. Gird your loin’s people for the battle is raging on.

So why has God allowed sin and evil? Couldn’t he have stopped it?

Simply put it is because God created man with a free will.  When he created Adam and then Eve he created them with a high reasoning capacity and the ability to make choices.  It was obviously the choice of God not to create humans as robotic and controlled.  He wanted to give the humans he created in his own image some real freedom.  He offered Adam and Eve a multitude of choices among lots of perfect and good things but he also offered them the choice of an evil thing.

God did not create sin or evil, however he did create the potential for sin by creating the tree of good and evil.  He declared that tree off limits and it was the choice of Adam to go against his creator that has allowed sin to permeate the world.  The day that Adam made that choice he made it for all of mankind. Sin was immediately imputed to the human race, you and I and all the rest of humanity.  God had the ability to create a world where there was no sin and no human suffering.  He chose not to restrict our freedom.  God created both angels and men as intelligent creatures possessing moral natures that could determine and choose between right and wrong.  What if God had stopped Lucifer (Satan), and Adam one second before they sinned.  If that happened He would have, in effect, have violated their moral natures and reduce them to mere walking robots.  That is how I see it.  There is another suggestion some scholars present. 

Actually he did create everything perfect and without evil.  It says in the beginning of Genesis that all of His creation was good. In verse 6 it says that “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”  Then something terrible happened.  An extremely damaging thing happened to all of creation at that first sin.  The Bible says in Romans 8:22 that “… all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Adam and eve wanted space and control and they got it.  Along with it came the sin, death and evil that permeated the world.

The question many ask is, “why did God let anything like that happen?”  After all, He is God!

God could have prevented sin but he chose not to.  He did it for the same reason that we all move ahead to have children.  He did it out of love. It was likely a desire to have a relationship with a being created in His image, much like we want to have a relationship with our children in our own image. (But now, who can know the mind of God?  No one can.) God made the choice to bring Adam and Eve into the world with the risk of choice and we choose to bring children in the world when they have choice.  And our children often make choices that pain our hearts in unimaginable ways.  Love is always the most costly of any actions that anyone can take. 

God created the potential for sin because it was the only way he could create humans with the potential to love and the potential to produce goodness.  He had to offer the bad with the good.  Or the good with the bad, if you will.  But it was not God that made sin a reality. It was man. Satan introduced sin into the universe but it was man that introduced it to our world. 

There is one other suggestion that some scholars give for the allowance of sin. That God allowed man to sin so that he might display His awesome grace.  Before Adam was created God was already exhibiting his omnipresence (in being everywhere at once), his omnipotence (in setting the galaxies into motion), and his omniscience (in creating angels).  However, there was one attribute that was closer to his heart than any other.  It was his grace.  Where there is no sin there is no need of grace.  So that is why some think it was allowed.  As Paul wrote, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b).  

I don’t think I can accept that one because of the price.  My goodness… take a look what God had to do to correct the situation.  He had to give His only begotten son to pay the price and to free us from eternal punishment due to what was started by Adam.  Love is always the most costly of any actions that anyone can take. 

Have a Godly day,

“The Tubthumper”

A Genesis Dysfunction Junction, Part 2

birthannouncementIt all started with Jacob wrestling with Esau in his mother’s womb.  Please see Genesis 25:20-26.  Rebekah was unable to become pregnant.  She was only able to become pregnant because God interceded on her behalf.  So she became pregnant and she was aware something strange was going on inside her.  She was alarmed about this as you might guess so she went to the Lord to ask Him what was going on.  The Lord told her there twins inside her.  He told her it was not just that twins were inside her but there were actually two nations inside that womb.  The Lord told her clearly that the older of these twins inside her would serve the younger one.  When the two boys were born and emerged the first one out was Esau but Jacob was clinging fast to Esau’s heel.

These things I mention above have set the course for Jacob.  There is a discord between Isaac and Rebekah.  Isaac wants his boy Esau to have the blessing because he was his favorite of the two children and Rebekah wants Jacob.  In fact, she is fully in tune with what God wanted from the beginning and also Jacob was her little darling.  The two were split on affections for their children. They were each deceiving or being underhanded toward their mate.

Now don’t forget too that earlier Jacob purchased the birthright from Esau because Esau really didn’t care about it.  He only cared about the immediate fulfilling of his fleshly desires.

This Is a Hebrew narrative which is scenic. Action moves along from scene to scene. As chapter 27 opened up it looks like Isaac is ill and bedridden, maybe an invalid for some time and he thinks he may die any time. We see the scene that he wants that nice tasting venison. That is what he is thinking of and lusting for and so he wants Esau to get him the barbecued venison by hunting and preparing the meat.  Isaac can then revel in the glory of his masculine hunter-man son and then he will give him the blessing.  This is all coming from the flesh and not the spirit.  The Characters are always the central element in the plot. Esau was a profane and materialistic person that didn’t care about spiritual things and yet Isaac wanted to give him the blessing because he thought Esau was the greater man and he favored that son. Isaac was not in tune at all with what God desired.

Enter Abraham… when Abraham knew that his days were short he looked for a wife for his son Isaac. That is what Isaac should have been doing for his sons.  But the only thing on Isaac’s mind as he was getting old was getting that blessing to his favorite boy Esau.  Even though he knew God meant for it to go to Jacob from when God told his wife at the beginning.  Surely you don’t think Rebekah kept her conversations with God to herself. I believe Isaac was going against Gods will because I believe Isaac knew God’s will was to have Jacob receive the blessing.  I believe Isaac knew this before Jacob was born and I believe Rebekah reminded him of this many times while the boys were growing up.  It is inconceivable to think that Isaac was not aware of God’s words to his wife that “the older would serve the younger”. (Gen. 25:23)  Can you imagine Rebekah not telling Isaac over and over again as they were butting heads over the two boys throughout their lives? I cannot.

I have referenced many commentaries about this and know there are countless Bible Scholars that also hold this view.

I believe Isaac knew who the birthright was to go to. He knew God’s will. Isaac was directly trying to go against God’s will and give it to Esau when it was meant for Jacob. Some say Isaac had no idea it was Jacob he was blessing instead of Esau but I’m not so sure that Issac didn’t kind of half catch on that it was Jacob. Remember in the scripture where Isaac said the voice was Jacobs but the hairy face was Esau’s?

I must admit that when reading this story some years ago it was all about Jacob stealing the blessing from Esau. Now, however, the situation looks different. We can see a man that was not depending on God. We can see a man that had forgotten about his dependence on God and he was acting fully in the flesh. He was trying to have his way and figured he could direct where the blessing would go. We can see lots of dysfunction going on in the story. Isaac was trying to deceive God. Jacob was trying to deceive Esau. Rebekah was trying to deceive Isaac and help God with His plan. Esau was just being a worldly man as usual.

The characters are contrasted with each other. Jacob and Rebekah both knew that God had chosen Jacob but they thought God couldn’t fulfill His purpose without their help. That was a mistake.  The trickery goes on and the blessing goes to Jacob which is right where God wanted the blessing to go. In the next scene Esau was full of anger for not getting his blessing and wanted to kill Jacob. The plot resolution occurs as Jacob was sent away for his protection from his brother.

In the end we see that Isaac lived to be 180 years old and died in the presence of both of his sons. (Gen. 35:28)

We have witnessed here a permissive father and a controlling mother.  We also have an errant older son and a deceptive younger son. As mentioned earlier this all looked like dysfunction.  We must not forget that Isaac’s family is one of the most important in the Bible because God used it to build the nation of Israel. No family is perfect.  Mine is not and surely yours is not either. God uses broken people from broken families to accomplish His perfect purpose. He chose to do that and chooses to do similar things today. God can use our brokenness to draw us closer to Him.

Let us all take the malfunctioning parts of our lives to the Lord for He will provide the healing and rebuilding and get us on the right path.

God bless your day,

FJ1‘The Tubthumper’

A Genesis Dysfunction Junction

Esaus blessingA Bible story I have read and heard over and over again has struck me in a different way than ever before.  It is funny how we look at something a certain way and then all the sudden we see it in a different light.  In Genesis 27 and 28 Moses, the writer, the story teller and the author of the Pentateuch describes Isaac.  My attention turns to Isaac this time which is a different approach for me.  I always looked at this particular story as being mainly about Jacob receiving his blessing as designed by God.

We get the scene laid out for us with narrative that Isaac is ill, old and blind. We have a story line that describes him as not thinking he will live long. In the end, however, we see him living for many years after this story.  Is it possible Isaac was using this situation timing to do his will against the Lords? We can unfortunately relate to what he was doing.

Let’s look at the big picture.  As we look at the background on Isaac we find he lived a long life. (Gen. 35:28) Therefore he lived a few decades longer.  He also didn’t travel much and never moved away from the same area. (Gen 35:27) When we take the larger part of the Old Testament into consideration we get to fill in the blanks. We know that Isaac was considered one of the irreplaceable (trio) of founding fathers of God’s people just as Abraham and Jacob.

We can deduct that Isaac was always content with the simple pleasures of life. He didn’t seem to travel and do some of the other things the great men of the Bible have done.  Isaac obviously knew God and feared God. Evidence is present that the Lord spoke to Jacob twice about being what He called, the God of your father Isaac. (Gen. 28:13; 46:1-3) We also can find that two times Jacob spoke of, ‘the fear of his father Isaac’. So we see the respect. (Gen. 31:42; 53) It is clear to me that Jacob saw through Isaac that God is the one that comforts and He is also the one worthy of reverence or ‘fear’. This is the ‘The fear of God’ we so miss in our land today.

As we look at the narrative of the current passage in Gen 27 we need to remember that Isaac is the only man in the entire Bible that was tied upon an altar, saw a knife coming at his heart and then heard the voice of an Angel stop his impending death as his father’s sacrifice. He knew intimately that God had spared him and was worthy of fear and worship.  That is what makes this situation so troubling.  This great man is going through the same things we experience!

Isaac married his cousin Rebekah and they shared a spirituality and love for God. They made some big mistakes as parents in their child rearing. They were divided on their affections between their twin children. (Gen. 25:28) We can’t tell if they didn’t bring the two children up with the word of God or if it is possible they went astray as some do with backsliding or being a prodigal. It is hard to pin this down because the two children are grown at this point.  It does look like the word of God ended up being neglected and because of that issue alone the family suffered. (Gen.27:41)  It was because they strayed from the word of God that when the time came for Isaac to pass on the treasured blessing He followed his logic and not the spirit to want to give it to Esau. It was evident to all that God had chosen Jacob.

Rebekah thought she could help the Lord out by scheming to get the blessing over to Jacob. Isn’t that like what happens sometimes in our lives? We think we need to help God get things done when in reality he doesn’t need us for anything.

The key descriptive is that Isaac has forgotten about God in his daily life which is similar to how we forget about the Lord. Because he forgot about God he wasn’t following the will of God. He was operating out of pride and selfishness or in the flesh rather than following the lead of the Holy Spirit. Isaac was all about enjoying Esau’s hunting skills and manliness. Rebekah also acted in the flesh by trying to do what was right through her own actions. Isaac knew that God wanted the blessing to go to Jacob so he was trying to pass the blessing on to Esau against the Lords desire. Jacob, the scoundrel, goes along and works with the deception. It looks like dysfunction junction and a lack of trust all about the family.  It strikes me this time as a sort of soap opera.

Our author, Moses, guides us to make certain conclusions about Isaac’s spiritual condition.  We have the characters, the plot and the plot resolution. We have the conflict and the tension to make it all exciting.

To be continued…

Follow the rest of the story in Part 2 by clicking here.

Please have a Godly day,

“The Tubthumper”

A Weighty Issue, Part 2

FruitOfTheSpiritLarge I am back to continue on the issue of overeating.  I prefer the word overeat to gluttony.   I mentioned the social eating aspect of our culture yesterday.  Yes, we eat because we are bored.  We eat when we are sad.  We also eat when we are happy.  When we want to celebrate, guess what?  You got it… We eat!  When we are grieving we eat.  When someone dies food becomes the way we show sorrow and show our support.  We have come to expect huge amounts of casseroles, cakes and salads for the occasion.  There are good times when we should be eating together such as thanksgiving with the family but we are truly over doing it and supersizing.

I mentioned previously the shortage of scriptures dealing with this subject but if we only have this one it is surely enough.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”, (1 Cor. 10:31).  I am supposed to be a disciple of the Lord.  Am I a good disciple if I am overeating or if I am guilty of gluttony?  I think not.

We all need to eat and usually when I overeat I don’t consider it sinful.  You know an alcoholic doesn’t really understand he is an alcoholic until it is almost too late.  I think us foodaholic’s have the same issue.  For me it does not register, that is not me.  I actually love the taste of the food, delight in the kitchen aromas and I revel in good fellowship around the table.  Gluttony and overeating doesn’t apply to me so I move along to bigger and better things to overcome.

I read in the newspaper this morning there is a guy at our capital today that has spent his last 114 days on a kayak and bicycle expedition that started in Alaska and he is not stopping until he reaches every capital in the United States.  His name is Romano Scaturro and he calls it his 50@50 ride to raise awareness for childhood obesity and hunger in the US.  He says, “nearly one in three children in the US today are overweight or obese, due to poor diet and lack of exercise, while at the same time there is a massive food shortage resulting in one in six children going to bed hungry.”  He has a daily blog at www.FRAANK.org  if you want to check it out.  His cause made me think of my fantastic mountain bike and how it has hung on my garage wall all summer.  What a slug… Scaturro is probably pedaling to my place right now to show me.

Some have said obesity is the scourge of our time, the Black Plaque of the 21st century.  I am sure if we look at photos of people back in the 1940’s we will see a slimmer group of people.  And did you know that clothing makers are making cloths larger than they did back then.  A size 34 waist is still labeled a size 34 but it is sized like a 36.  I bet you didn’t know that.  Everything has gotten super-sized just like Burger King.   I mentioned yesterday the classic of The Seven Deadly Sins by Henry Fairlie.  In it he depicts a glutton as a hog at the trough.  He eats, not because he loves the taste of food, but scarfs it down with hardly a thought, shoveling in great quantities of the stuff, all in an attempt to fill that inner abyss which defines his existence.  This is a person that is killing himself softly and slowly, but just as deadly as with a pistol.  Remember now, I am preaching to me, myselfand I. The supersizing we see going on is the world telling us it is right.  In John 2:15-16 it says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

So what can I do to change the paradigm?    

Praying about it in advance will work wonders.  Actually, just thinking about it in advance will help. Praying will strengthen the resolve.

Advance planning can head off much of it.  If we have fruits in our house, I’m less likely to get into the ice cream or homemade jelly and crackers.

Make self-control with food one aspect of a balanced and healthy life.  Exercise, work, play, worship, sufficient sleep, and proper eating are all important areas of a good life.  Change is in order.

I can meditate on this verse, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”, (1 Cor. 10:13).  

I came all this way to conclude with the real answer.  It is SELF CONTROLAnd self-control is the fruit of the spirit.  We need to have control as we battle the lust of the flesh.  “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”, (Gal. 5:17).  One of the opponents in the Christian life is our own flesh nature.  I am referring to the lusts of the flesh nature, which is in opposition to the Fruit of the Spirit. A Christian overcomes the lusts of his flesh nature by walking or being controlled by his spirit nature, which is in harmony with the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”, (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV)  Here is the NIV translation of the same verse, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Here we see the self-control added.  As we look at the King James Version, I want to point out the word “longsuffering”.  Longsuffering has to do with a patient endurance of trials and sufferings and a joyful acceptance of the will of God.  That is better than simply using the words SELF CONTROL.

I think I get the gist of it and I will close by reflecting back on 1 Cor. 10:31 used at the top of this post.  It should cause me to ask, “Will my eating and my actions toward my body please my Lord and bring glory to Him?

The paradigm shift begins now.   Not a diet but a change that brings control.  Diets do not work for the long term.  Take it from me.  I have tried them all.

God bless you and keep you,

FJ1“The Tubthumper”

 

 

A Weighty Issue Confronts Me

This post is for me.  I am preaching to myself so don’t feel convicted unless you have been trying it on and the shoe fits.

Here I am again… at a stage of increasing waistline, my cloths are getting tight and I don’t have enough energy anymore to blow my hat off.   A couple years ago I went on a weight reduction program and reduced myself down to pretty close to where I want to be.  I went down two sizes and I felt great.  Now here I am back to the weight I was before then and not feeling good at all.  It is a fact I have done this most of my life.  I have been the yo-yo diet guy, up and down, up and down and mostly up.  I am the one that can tell you diets do not work for the long term.  I know it isn’t good for my health.  I know I need a paradigm shift and I know I shouldn’t be living this way.  The only excuse I have is that I am weak minded and easily led as a friend wrote in his song a few years ago.  I wonder why I only feel the guilt just after I have consumed mass calories that I shouldn’t have.  It happens whenever I have just consumed something I don’t need in my body but couldn’t leave alone.  It was the pie, the ice cream, the chips, the cookies and the whatever.   If I would have that same feeling before I stuff that poison in my mouth I might live longer.

Well, I can dodge the subject just so long and then it comes to me.  It is sin.  Just like other things that take away from God, the food consumption is doing it this time.  There is not a lot of scripture that deals with this issue, but there is enough.  I don’t think it was such an issue back in the day because food was not so readily available and folks had to go out and hunt or grow what they eat.   Also life was not as leisurely as we all make it today either.

What is God’s perspective regarding overeating?  I will look into that within the context of the next couple of entries.  Right away I know that we are not supposed to allow our appetite to control us.  We are to control it.

In Proverbs 23: 1-2 it says, “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what [is] before you; And put a knife to your throat If you [are] a man given to appetite.”  In other words, watch out for all that good looking lustful stuff in front of you for it is deceitful.

Our modern life today seems to revolve around food and consumption of other various things that are taken orally.  Modern life also seems to revolve around pleasure.  We do whatever makes us feel good.  And let’s face it.  Food makes us feel good.  Have you heard the term “comfort food”?  Do you see how quickly they come to mind?  Mac and cheese, meatloaf, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs oh my!

In my business I am daily asked to meet over lunch and treated to lavish dinners by wholesalers I deal with.  It seems like all that food is coming at me from cannons lodged out in the hills.  Watch out… incoming missile!  I often decline invitations simply because I know in my weakness I will succumb to the lust of feeding the flesh.

I know it is not just me that has the problem.  In the United States today obesity has gotten to proportions it never has before.  If our politicians don’t destroy what we have been given in the United States we will do ourselves in.   Here are some statistics:

USA Obesity Rates Reach Epidemic Proportions:  This is old data and is as of 2003.  It is likely worse now.

• 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese

• Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight

• 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations

• 25% completely Sedentary

• 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 since 1990 Obesity Related Diseases

• 80% of type II diabetes related to obesity

• 70% of cardiovascular disease related to obesity

• 42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals

• 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity

• 26% of obese people having high blood pressure Obesity Related Disease Costs Overwhelm HealthCare System

I know I eat sometimes because it brings me comfort.  It is an emotional thing.  When my wife asks me if I am ready for dinner I am always ready.  When she asks if I am hungry I must honestly ask myself, what the heck is hunger?  I don’t think I know that.  But I am always ready to eat.  It is a mental and emotional thing for sure.  It may even be the worship of an idol.  The problem is that I am turning to food instead of turning to Christ.  I should be turning to Scripture for the comfort needed.

Is it an overeating problem or is it just plain gluttony?  Am I a glutton?  I am examining myself for the symptoms.  Hang in with me and I should be able to answer by the time I am done with this.

Let’s define it…The word “gluttony” is derived from the Latin “gluttire” meaning “to gulp down,” “to swallow.”  The Merriam-Webster dictionary says it means “excess in eating or drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence”.  Hmmmmm.

I am sure you have heard of the seven deadly sins of which Gluttony is one.

The early church fathers not only identified gluttony as a deadly sin, but went on to spell out precisely what constituted gluttony. It included the following….

–Eating before the time of meals to satisfy the palate

 –Seeking delicacies to gratify “the vile sense of taste”

 –Seeking sauces and seasonings to make food more enjoyable

–Too much intake.

–Eating too eagerly.

With a definition like that, I am guilty and feeling fully convicted.

I must change…

I am not blaming this issue I have on anyone else.  It is my problem.  I keep doing it and here I go again.  God gave us food as a blessing and I shouldn’t be abusing His gift.  I should also be respecting the body that God gave me instead of treating it with disrespect.  It is written that our bodies are a temple of His.  “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”, (1 Cor. 6:19-20).   If you take a look in Genesis (the beginning of creation) we can see that we (humans) were the last of His creations.  We were the grand finale!  We were created in His image so I (we) need to be sure the image is edifying.

I need to begin respecting my body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Ok… I know you only have the capacity for just so many words per post and this one is running over so I need to close for now.

TO BE CONTINUED…   Click here to jump to the conclusion…

FJ1

“The Tubthumper”

Practice polygamy? Why not, King David did it.

After conquering Jerusalem, David took more wives and concubines.  Why did he do this? Does this mean it is ok to practice polygamy?  How do we explain such passages in the Bible?

Why did he do this? Well, he is a man. Why does any man want more power, control and many women on his arm?  That’s basic in sin 101.  Lust of the flesh.  We won’t review his son Solomon in this post but Solomon had over 700 wives and concubines.  I believe the polygamy issue was born all out of sin and never was condoned by God.  I also know that most, if not all the great men of the Bible were destroyed by that very issue.  We can name them from David and Solomon to Samson and others.  The lust for women and power destroyed them. When it comes to women we (men) are weak minded and easily led.

We are not sure the exact number of wives and concubines David had in Jerusalem and elsewhere.  The Bible names the sons born to him because of his actions.  “David took more wives and concubines in Jerusalem”, 2 Samuel 5:13-15.  From what I see regarding his time in Jerusalem David had 8 wives and at least 10 concubines. Again, I believe David was disobedient to the Lord.  Like many men he became obsessed with power and wealth and it caused him to stray from his spiritual life.  When we do this we end up in falling into apostasy.

God revealed His will for monogamy right in the beginning. God created one woman for one man.  We read in Genesis 1:27; 2:21-25 that this is true.  In Deuteronomy 17:17 it says, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”  This verse was referenced in relation to David’s son King Solomon but applies to all when we look at God’s word.  Please take note too that David realized his sin and was riddled with guilt and shame.  He repented for that sin of polygamy.

As is the case with most instances of sin his actions followed him and caused much pain in his life.  As we read on we find that David’s desire for those women led to much trouble down the road.  We saw one half-sibling defiling another half-sibling, one sibling murdering another and we see the breakup of the Davidic Kingdom.  Anywhere we see this polygamy situation in the Bible it always led to big trouble down the road.  See for yourself and read about Solomon, Jacob and others.

God didn’t sanction or condone polygamy.  God forbade it. He also punished those who did it. Just because instances of plural wives were seen in the Old Testament a lot of people assume it is ok.  Assumptions are not always a good policy.  I admit that it is true that polygamy became a worldly custom during those times and it was common for kings and men of wealth to take on many wives. We all know that one of the symbols of royalty and power was the size of the king’s harem.

I have not seen any evidence in the Bible anywhere that would allow me to believe God approved, let alone make lawful, more than one wife for any man.  The actual truth is that He forbade it and He forbade it to the Kings of Israel and he forbade it for is.  It is written!

We all reap what we sow; therefore, these lessons should be heeded by any man. Even though God forgives our sins when we repent there still is a cost to pay.

After David committed the sin of taking Bathsheba and then having her husband murdered, he repented.  David had a real heartfelt and wrenching repentance and there was never any further evidence of him committing that sin again.  That is an important fact.

Let us look at 2 Samuel 12: 9-12, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. (See here, David despised God. He despised the person of God! He despised God by taking her as his wife and thus the sword was never to depart from his house. What was his house like at that time?  It was all of those plural wives along with his children. God was doling out some major punishment here for some major sin committed by David.  Take notice!) Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (God has just announced that the sword will now come down on his house and on his family. God said it would be done in the sight of this sun. In other words it will be done in daylight for all to see.) For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. (God is saying to David, “you did this thing secretly but I will do this before all of Israel in broad daylight”) And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (You can see the repentance here.  You can read of David’s prayer to God in the 51st Psalm which was a prayer of a true broken and contrite heart.  You can see that it was true repentance and that David turned away from polygamy at that point. You will also see in the next verse the cost of that sin to David that was to be sadly borne out.) Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

God dished out a tremendous punishment to David.  He took away all of his wives leaving only Bathsheba and we see later that when David returned to Jerusalem all the concubines were put into widowhood until they died. No more polygamy for him and no more concubines.  He had truly repented.  David died with his heart fully to God.  He was a “man after God’s own heart,” because his heart was in the right place.  His heart was in the love of Christ.

So, yes there was polygamy in Israel and yes, polygamy was a sin.  God never sanctioned it and he never condoned it.  He condemned it!  And “they reaped what they sowed!”  Remember, God made one wife for Adam he did not give him a harem.  God started out the family as he meant it to be.  He created a family of one man and one wife.  That is what I would say to a new believer that has questions about polygamy.  If we look to the New Testament we see that one of the qualifications to be a Minister in God’s Church is that he have only one wife. 1 Timothy 3:2 says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach”.  Let’s also look at 1 Timothy 3:12, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” So we see you cannot even be a deacon if you have more than one wife. So once and for all, Polygamy is and always was a sin!

I think I will conclude by mentioning God’s view of women.  Frank Viola recently published a great article about this in one the Christian magazines.  Back in ancient Israel the Jews had a very dim view of women.  Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education and were expected to raise the kids and keep the house.  The women could not even worship God.  The women had to stay in the “women’s court” which was below the men’s court and nearer to the gentiles. The men were given the worshipping privileges.  Basically women were regarded as inferior to men and treated as property like cattle and slaves were treated.  The daily prayer of thanksgiving each Jewish man prayed showed how poorly the Jews looked on women.  This is how the prayer is done, “Praise be to God. He has not created me a Gentile. Praise be to God. He has not created me a woman. Praise be to God. He has not created me an ignorant man.”  So this was the view of women and it was not much different in other cultures.  Ever since the fall of humanity women have been treated as inferior.

But then Jesus came! 

Then we can see God’s view of women.  All throughout the New Testament we see God’s viewing of women and how beautiful they are n His eyes.  The most important thing is that He chose a woman to depict that which He came to earth for, “His very bride”.  And He certainly is not ashamed of that!

As Frank Viola said, “So sisters, take your high place… this is God’s view of you. You are fellow heirs in the Kingdom of God. You are fellow priests in the church of god.  You are honored.  You are cherished.  You are valuable.  You are needed.”[1]

Now, I want you to remember that Christ will never have but the ONE WIFE!  And if you are to marry, you are to be the wife of one husband.  Amen!

“The Tubthumper”  FJ1



[1] Frank Viola in an article published in Christianity magazine. Unknown date (Read online on Crossroads website newsletter in March of 2012)

Remembering His Saints

CTekakwithaIn October of this year Auriesville will be a very busy place when just within walking distance my neighbors at The Auriesville Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, which is a National Roman Catholic shrine right here in Auriesville, New York will host a major event for Catholics.  We should be preparing for Roman Catholics to arrive from all around the world for an event that does not happen very often.  They will be canonizing Kateri Tekakwitha as a saint.

To canonize a saint is (as I understand it) to declare (a deceased person) to be a saint and entitled to be fully honored as such. The term “saint” is often used to describe a person of exceptional holiness, formally recognized by the Christian Church, especially by canonization. Canonization is a solemn declaration by the pope in which a deceased member of the faithful is proposed as a model and intercessor to the Christian faithful and venerated as a saint on the basis of having lived a life of heroic virtue or having remained faithful to God through martyrdom.

The photo to the left is the only known portrait from the life of Catherine Tekakwitha, circa 1690 by Father Chauchetière.  Sometime during the year 1656 she was born within the  Ossernenon, Iroquois Confederacy (New France until 1763, modern Auriesville, New York). 

Kateri Tekakwitha (pronounced [ˈgaderi degaˈgwita] in Mohawk), originally known as Catherine Tekakwitha informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680) was an Algonquin and Iroquois Native American religious lay woman from New France and an early convert to Roman Catholicism. Consequently, she was shunned and exiled by her tribe. She died at the age of 24 after professing her vows of virginity.  Known for her chastity and corporal mortification of the flesh, she is the first Native American woman to be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. Tekakwitha was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980. On February 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced at Saint Peter’s Basilica that Tekakwitha will be canonized on October 21, 2012  So that is what is happening regarding “saints” in our local Roman Catholic activities. I wonder if they will allow a “Tubthumper” to attend.

In the Bible, the word “saints” refers to holy people — holy, however, not primarily in the moral sense, but in the sense of being specially marked out as God’s people.

Many of the letters of the apostle Paul (see Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) begin with a greeting that includes the word “saints” such as, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia.” In such statements, Paul includes all believers in Christ. The saints are God’s possession (Acts 9.13) and God’s beloved (Romans 1.7). They are saints because God has called them: they owe their status to no one but God.

Saints are often depicted with a halo to signify the holiness. Note that Judas has no halo.

It is in and through Jesus Christ that God has “sanctified” them (1 Corinthians 6.11), or “made them holy,” or “made them saints” (Ephesians 1.1; Philippians 4.21).

Saints are characterized by faithfulness to their Lord (Ephesians 1.1; Colossians 1.2); they are called to endurance in their faith (Revelation 13.10; 14.12). To them has been revealed the mystery of the Gospel of Christ (Colossians 1:26). They are called to conform their lives to God’s holy character; i.e., to live a life that is consistent with their status as saints (Ephesians 5.3). God ministers to the saints (Romans 8.27) and intends that they minister to one another’s needs (Romans 12.13; 2 Corinthians 8.4 and 9.1; Ephesians 1.15, 4.12 and 6.18; Colossians 1.4; 1 Timothy 5.10). The saints will receive a glorious inheritance at Christ’s return (Ephesians 1.18; Colossians 1.12; 1 Thessalonians 3.13; 2 Thessalonians 1.10).

All believers are saints because of the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ. Usually in the New Testament “saints” refers to the corporate church.  While the term “saints” designates the Christians living in a certain city or town (as addressed in the greeting of Paul’s letters), most often the term designates all Christians in the entire world (Romans 8.27; 1 Corinthians 6.2, 14.33; Ephesians 1.15, 18).

In this sense, anyone who is within the Body of Christ (i.e., a professing Christian) is a ‘saint’ because of their relationship with Christ Jesus.

Within some Protestant traditions, “saint” is also used to refer to any born-again Christian. It is this definition that I prefer and do consider myself a “saint” do to the fact that I am a “born again” Christian.  Just call me “Saint Tubthumper” or “Saint Frank”.

Many emphasize the traditional New Testament meaning of the word, preferring to write “saint” to refer to any believer, in continuity with the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers.

All that rhetoric above simply leads me to my point on this post.  I was finishing up my reading at the end of the Old Testament earlier today in the book of Malachi and I noticed a verse that was profound.

The love of God is being shown through His remembering His own saints: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (Malachi 3:16-17).

Wow!  A book of remembrance, it is that point that caused my eyebrows to rise.  A book of remembrance was written.  “This book of remembrance can be looked at as the most glorious record ever kept.  God is keeping a “divine diary” that contains all those words of affection to the lord spoken by believers.

What about “when I make up my jewels”?  What do you think of that?  The Hebrew translation for “jewels” is sebullah, and it means “special, peculiar treasure.”

Isn’t it fantastic to know that God “remembers” His people, His saints, His jewels and all the words of affection we utter?  Praise His Holy name!

SING PRAISE TO GOD WHO REIGNS ABOVE!

Let all who name Christ’s holy name give God all praise and glory;

Let all who own His power, proclaim aloud the wondrous story!

Cast each false idol from its throne, for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone:

To God all praise and glory.

 

“Saint Tubthumper”

The First Attempted Holocaust

Hitler was not the first…

We all know about the tragic things that were perpetrated by Germany’s leader, Hitler during the well documented Holocaust period.  Did you know there could have been a major Holocaust a lot earlier in history?  There have been many attempts to annihilate the Jews which have all been unsuccessful. Let me tell you about the very first attempted Holocaust in history as recorded in God’s word.

This event occurs in the book of Esther.  In this book is the description of what happened to the majority of Jews (roughly 80 percent) that decided to remain and not return to Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia after the Persian conquest of Babylon.

I don’t think there is another book in the Bible where God is any more evident as he works in behind the scenes during this horrible attempt at destroying the Jewish people.

The part I want to point out today is the recording in this book of the most horrible example of anti-Semitic hatred in the entire Bible.  This occurs at the hands of Haman the Agagite.  Haman was the Adolf Hitler of the Old Testament.

Esther was selected by the king at the time to be his queen because she was the most beautiful girl in the land.  She was from the tribe of Benjamin and she was indeed a very, very beautiful girl. (Esther 2:7) She was raised in the city of Susa in Persia by her cousin Mordecai.  I wanted to introduce Mordecai because he has an important part in the attempted holocaust.  The king at the time, King Ahasuerus, held a beauty contest of sorts to find the most beautiful woman in the land and Esther won the contest hands down.  The King was smitten! It is written in Esther 2:17, “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. (KJV) So like many men of today he threw out his old number one wife, Vashti and replaced her with a hottie named Esther. (Also called Hadassah in her younger years.)  It is important to point out that Esther is really a Jewish girl, however, she did not at the time, reveal herself as Jewish. (Esther 2:10, 20)

Mordecai, Esther’s cousin had become a palace official and was in good favor after he and Esther prevented an attempted assassination of King Ahasuerus.

Soon after Esther became queen, the king appointed a vicious and heartless politician named Haman.  Haman has been described as being an unwitting servant of Satan himself. He has been also referred to with nicknames like Haman the haughty, Haman the heartless and Haman the shameless.  He was incredibly arrogant and self-centered.  Know any politicians like that?  I prefer the heartless as a name for him.  The name of haughty was tagged because he swelled with pride after being elevated to prime minister by the king. (Esther 3:1)

Let’s go back to Mordecai.  Mordecai always infuriated Haman because he refused to bow down and honor Haman whenever he walked by.  In Esther 3:5-6 it says, “And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that [were] throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, [even] the people of Mordecai.”

So Haman was out to kill Mordecai and he wanted to go even further and destroy all the Jews in the Kingdom.  Remember this is representing 80 percent of the Jews at the time.  He began by lying about the Jews to the king.  He claimed to the king that they were disloyal and must be destroyed.  He also offered to pay 10,000 talents to have them destroyed in a bloodbath which in today’s money would exceed $30 million dollars.  He got the king to sign the death warrant and then they sat down together and enjoyed a drink. (Esther 3; 15) So out went Royal orders announcing all Jews would be executed on February 28 the following year which was 473 B.C. (3:12-15)

Mordecai informed Esther of this and advised her to visit the king but Esther could not do this because nobody, not even the Queen, can enter the king’s inner court without certain instant death.

Esther began to work on figuring out some way to get to the king. (Her husband)  She said, “And if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).  Esther got to see the king at a banquet and suggested to him that there be a second banquet she will prepare just for the three of them.  Esther, King Ahasuerus and Haman which was quickly agreed to.  Haman was so proud and puffy about all these fantastic happenings that involve him.  It would be just him and the king and queen showing that he was special.  Haman’s wife suggested he build a gallows and have Mordecai hanged upon it the very next day.  Haman had the gallows built.

Now the king will learn what is going on.  Esther the queen has prepared the banquet that she so carefully orchestrated.  We turn to Esther 7: 1-6 to find what is happening as Haman and the king arrive.  “So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.  And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What [is] thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what [is] thy request? and it shall be performed, [even] to the half of the kingdom. Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.  Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.”

Now the tables are turned and what happens next actually has a little humor.  King Ahasuerus was so upset he was unable to speak and went outside to his palace garden for a few minutes.  Haman was filled with fear as he should be.  He very cowardly ran to Esther and begged her to intercede with the king and save him.  In his cowardly fright he was so agitated that he accidentally fell on the sofa where Esther was relaxing (7:8).

Just then, in walks king Ahaseuerus and he interpreted that Haman was trying to rape his wife.  Haaaa!  The king learned that a gallows had been built. (Built for Mordecai) The king was so filled with wrath that he ordered Haman himself to be hanged that very night on those gallows.   So Haman was hanged on Mordecai’s gallows and the king’s wrath was pacified.  Justice is served and the very first holocaust attempt is thwarted.

Mordecai was appointed the new prime minister and this led to the institution of a new feast.   Mordecai and Esther instituted the new memorial feast to commemorate yearly that glorious salvation from Haman the heartless (9:20-32). The feast is called Purim.

Earlier in Esther 4 verse 14 Mordecai had told Esther that “thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this”.  Now who can argue with that?  Esther had come to the kingdom to save the Jew’s from holocaust.

This end to Haman the heartless is one of the most vivid object lessons of the fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 12:3: “And I will…curse him that curseth thee”.

The Tubthumper

Daniel and the Lion’s Den from the Flipside

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions”, Hebrews 11:33.

I was reading in the great book of Daniel today and it struck me about how this great story of Daniel and the lion’s den told to children all over the world has a side no one wants the kiddies to know.  Only those that read all the text know the real story.  Grab your Bible and follow along.

I am in the 6th chapter of Daniel where an evil plan is being developed. Darius the new king of Babylon was organizing and setting up his kingdom.  He had 129 provinces and he appointed a governor for each one.  (129 governors)  Those 129 governors reported to 3 presidents.  Daniel was made one of the 3 presidents and he was at this time a little more than 80 years old.  Even at his age of 80 Daniel was still very much full of skill and abilities.  So much that King Darius wanted to elevate him even further and put him in charge of the other 2 presidents. (Dan. 6:3)

Here we see the evil plan being orchestrated because the plan of King Darius made all the governors and the other two presidents green with envy and filled with anger.  They began to plot as to how to kill Daniel.  But the King was fond of Daniel.

They devised a plot to trick Darius into signing a 30 day decree saying all praying during that time was to be directed to the king himself (Dan. 6:6-9).

Daniel found out about this and saw right through it.  Daniel was fearless and continued to pray 3 times a day as he always had and in plain view of all.

Of course the heartless plotters ran to King Darius to tie the noose around Daniels neck once and for all.  Well, King Darius realized he had been had and tried to find a way out of it but the law of the Medes and Persians left no loophole to escape. (Dan. 6:11-15)

This is where Daniel had to be thrown into the lion’s den and sealed with the kings own signet ring.  The king spent a very restless, miserable and sleepless night in his palace (Dan. 6:17-18).

Boy, o-boy when the morning broke the next day the King was up and rushing to that lion’s den.  He called out in anguish, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has he delivered you from the lions? (Dan. 6:20 in my words)

Hah, out of the blackness of the den comes a voice.  Daniel says to the king, “No worries sir, my God sent his angels in to protect me and the lions never touched me and I never hurt the lions either” (Dan. 6:21-22 again in my interpretation)

Now this is the part that is never told to the kids.

We have the reaction of the king!  He had a twofold reaction to all that had happened.  He was glad and he was mad.

This is the good part: He was glad and rejoicing that Daniel was saved and he issued a decree ordering all citizens of his kingdom to consider this almighty Judean God (Dan. 6:23, 25-27).

But oh boy, this is the bad part:  It is real bad!

The king was furious and took immediate vengeance upon the ones that tricked him.  He ordered them to be thrown into the same lion’s den that they had thrown Daniel into.  Not only the tricksters but also all their families were to be thrown in the den with them.  Yes, the king was mad.

The Bible says their bodies were instantly torn apart and ravaged by the lions.  A horrific and bloody scene it was.  It says in Daniel 6:24, “And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast [them] into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den”. (KJV)

Persian law was incredibly cruel back then.  It was much crueler than Hebrew law.  But even so our laws today are pale in comparison.

So now you see just as Paul Harvey always said on his radio show,  “And now you know… the rest of the story”.

The story still has a good ending as this verse allows, “I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he [is] the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion [shall be even] unto the end. (Daniel 6:26)

The end