The Shema has formed the foundation of Jewish prayers for millennia: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 ASV). When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus quoted the Shema.
He is one Jehovah. It is here we find that Jehovah is the only true God. There is no other. He alone is worthy of full devotion.
Some translations, like the Lexham English Bible, translate it like this, “Yahweh is unique.” He stands alone among all so-called gods as supreme. He alone is worthy of full devotion. Continue reading “Jehovah or me”
Fears abound. What if the stock market crashes? What if my career does not progress further? What if they do not like me? What if I lose “it”?
Since secular people consider themselves to have moved beyond superstitious idolatry, to assert that many contemporary fears are birthed in idolatry might sound oxymoronic. Yet, when we understand how idols function, the correlation is obvious. Fortunately, jettisoning idols along with their fears leads toward obtaining the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Continue reading “Our fears expose our idols”
“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”
I do not remember exactly how long ago it was that for the first time I just sat and shuddered at the implications of verses like Zephaniah 1:5 and 1 Kings 11:4. “… those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Molech.” “… when Solomon became old, his wives turned away his heart to follow other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God.” As the implications cascaded through my mind, my naiveté was shattered. Previously I had assumed there were only two possibilities. Either a person worshiped God or … Continue reading Danger: Hedging One’s Bets
Although many people might nod a glassy-eyed acknowledgment that we need to comply with Jesus’ teaching to lay up treasure in heaven as the self-vindicating rationalization of “yeah, I’m doing some of that” passes through their mind, Jesus’ subsequent teachings can startle lethargy like salt in an open wound. Sitting on a mountainside teaching the crowds, Jesus flayed open our inner workings in such a way which can sting because we know it rings true. Matthew 6:19-24 Since people treasure (love, serve and worship) whatever they believe takes care of them, some people serve the created order and accordingly seek … Continue reading Where’s the Treasure?