Names from the past

“Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth” (1 Chronicles 1:1–4 NIV).

Names. Genealogies. People who lived long ago.

These usually don’t mean much to us. In fact, we probably think these are the most boring parts of scripture and perhaps we even skip over them when we read them. The Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible left them out as being irrelevant. Continue reading “Names from the past”

They did what was right in their own eyes

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 ESV).

This statement introduces an episode concerning a Levite from Bethlehem who was looking for a different place to live. He ended up in the hill country of Ephraim, just north of Bethlehem. There a man named Micah hired him to be his own personal priest. This man had made an idol and his own shrine for worship. Originally one of his sons served as his priest but when he had the opportunity to have a Levite as his own personal priest he jumped at the chance (see Judges 17). Continue reading “They did what was right in their own eyes”

Watch what you say!

“Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.’ Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon” (Judges 11:29-33 NIV).

Have you ever made a promise to do something if something happened that we wanted? Perhaps we haven’t done this with God, although sometimes we may try to bargain with him in this way, but most of us have said something similar to someone. Continue reading “Watch what you say!”

Don’t forsake God

“The people worshipped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshipped the Baals and abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths” (Judges 2:7-13 CSV). Continue reading “Don’t forsake God”

Don’t tamper with God’s word

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18–19 ESV).

What a stern warning to end this book of prophecy! And what a stern warning to end the collection of books we call the “New Testament.” Continue reading “Don’t tamper with God’s word”

God’s judgments are true and just

“After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and just. For he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!’” (Revelation 19:1-2 NET).

As we mentioned in our previous article, John’s Revelation is not the easiest to understand. There are many explanations and interpretations, but there are also eternal truths in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “God’s judgments are true and just”

Fear God and give him glory

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!’” (Revelation 14:6-7 NET).

John’s Revelation is not the most straightforward scripture. There are many explanations and interpretations, some of which have merit and some are more in the realms of fantasy. But whatever interpretation we want to place on it, there are some eternal truths that we can see in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “Fear God and give him glory”

Do the deeds you did at the first

In the beginning of John’s Revelation Jesus addressed seven letters to seven congregations in the Roman province of Asia. The first of these is addressed to the Christians in Ephesus.

The congregation in Ephesus had a wonderful beginning. Paul visited the city at the end of his second teaching trip, spending time debating with the Jews in their synagogue. Such was the interest that he returned on his third teaching trip. He spent two years teaching in this Roman city which was steeped in paganism. Such was the success of Paul and his companions that those who made images of Artemis, the local goddess, started a riot in protest. (All of this can be found in Acts 18-19). Continue reading “Do the deeds you did at the first”

Walking in truth

When John wrote his second letter he was concerned with truth as well as with love. And when you think about it, these two go hand in hand: truth and love. In a world where “truth” seems to be defined as whatever a person wants it to be, it is refreshing to read about something definite and concrete called “truth” – and it is based in God’s word.

“The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever…” (2 John 1-2 NIV). Continue reading “Walking in truth”