Why so many gods?

“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23 NKJV).

Travelers to Kathmandu typically visit the expansive Hindu and Buddhist enclaves where they view hundreds, if not thousands, of images, temples, stupas and other shrines and icons of those polytheistic religions. Many westerners accustomed to faith in one God wonder why anyone would be attracted to an immense pantheon of lesser deities. Surely monotheism is a superior and more desirable faith, since it honors one Almighty, All-wise, Ever-present Being. Continue reading “Why so many gods?”

Gods all too human

The gods of man are all too human. They are but human passions projected onto a large screen, full of intrigue, ambition, and desire. They are as fickle, unstable, and capricious as their human creators. But they serve their intended function: the gods allow humans to deify their desires and approve their passions. Humans are not required to adhere to an unchanging standard of conduct. The actions of the gods also explain, to a point, the vagaries and injustices of life.

Living under such gods, however, is hard. One never knows what they want, what to expect next, what to do to please them. So from Canaan to Central America, man even goes so far as to sacrifice his offspring on altars as appeasements. Life under divine vindictiveness and superhuman hate and hardness has nothing to recommend. Continue reading “Gods all too human”

The more important matters

Micah was a prophet sent by God to deliver his message primarily to the people of Judah. He was a contemporary with a prophet better known to us – Isaiah.

“The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah – the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.” (Micah 1:1 NIV)

Micah was from Moresheth, a town about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem on the border with Philistia. He was not a ‘city-dweller’ but from a more rural background.  His writing style seems to reflect this, being of a common man from the poorer class of society. Continue reading “The more important matters”

Replacing sin with obedience

As the first king of the divided kingdom of Judah, Rehoboam drifted further from following God. When he died his son Abijah continued that trend during his three-year reign:

“He followed all the sinful practices of his father before him. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been” (1 Kings 15:3 NET).

When Abijah’s son Asa became king, it must have been a breath of fresh air! “During his reign the land had rest for ten years. Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved” (2 Chronicles 14:1-2). Peace and a return to God’s ways. But to return to God, what did Asa have to do? Continue reading “Replacing sin with obedience”

Love and knowledge

Sometimes living as a Christian can seem confusing. Unlike the Law of Moses given to Israel, there isn’t a list of “do’s and don’ts” detailing how we should live. Instead we find principles we can use and examples we can see that help us determine how we should live.

One of the big ‘issues’ that the Christians in the first century had to face was in eating. Although this might seem strange to us, we need to realise the problem was not necessarily in the food itself, but in people’s perception of who we were, based on what we were eating. In particular this had to do with food that had been sacrificed to idols. Continue reading “Love and knowledge”

Change your heart

“Write to the messenger of the congregation in Pergamus: ‘He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: I know you are holding fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of my faithful martyr Antipas, who was killed among you, where Satan lives.’” (Revelation 2:12-13 McCord)

When we begin examining the Christians in Pergamus (or Pergamum), we discover what looks to be an exemplary group of Christians. They were standing up for Jesus, even though they were being persecuted. Even when some were being killed, presumably because they would not deny Jesus, they still were true to Jesus – and at least one Christian had been killed. This was taking place “where Satan lives” and Satan was the evil behind what these Christians were going through.

When you find Christians who have such a strong faith, you would think that they would not allow anything or anyone to undermine their faith. Sadly, this was not the case. Continue reading “Change your heart”

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”

Calling evil good

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV).

“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:22-24). Continue reading “Calling evil good”

Carrying old baggage

“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 15:1 NKJV).

When people convert from one religion to another, it is rare that they are able to make a clean and immediate break with all of the beliefs and practices of their first faith. Many of those are so deeply ingrained as to seem instinctive; they have become part of the person’s identity. But they are not intrinsic characteristics; rather they are simply the old baggage remaining from rejected faith. Continue reading “Carrying old baggage”

How quickly we forget

It took the Israelites three months to reach Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1). During this time God had shown that he was with his people and that he would take care of them.

Besides leading them out of Egypt after the last plague with the plunder they had been given, he led them through the Red Sea when it appeared they were boxed in and had no where to go (Exodus 14). When they needed fresh water, God provided (Exodus 15, 17). When they needed food, God provided quail and manna (Exodus 16). When enemies attacked them, God gave Israel the victory (Exodus 17). Whatever they needed the Lord provided. Continue reading “How quickly we forget”