Uzzah and the ark

The Ark of the Covenant had been captured when Samuel was a boy. Although the Philistines returned it to Israel, it ended up staying in the home of Abinadab near Kiriath-jearim. 

David was concerned at the beginning of his reign as King over Israel that he have access to the Ark of God. He said, “Let’s move the ark of our God back here, for we did not seek his will throughout Saul’s reign” (1 Chronicles 13:3 NET). It is a sad statement on Saul’s reign that the Ark was not consulted to discover what God wanted of him as king at any point during his forty years reign. Continue reading “Uzzah and the ark”

God’s action and man’s response

Newton’s third law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is no similar spiritual law at work in God’s plan, since we can never equal his actions. But there is a divine principle that applies about action and reaction: Every action of God deserves a positive and receptive reaction on man’s part.

In the plan of salvation, people have sometimes ridiculed the emphasis on God’s part and man’s part. The two are decidedly unequal. God’s part deals with the procuring or accomplishment of salvation. Man’s part is described by receiving or accepting salvation.

For all that God has done for us, then, something must be done on our part. Salvation is not automatic, nor universal. There are conditions to be met. Something must be done by an individual in order to receive it. Continue reading “God’s action and man’s response”

Are we listening?

Samuel had been dedicated to the Lord as a child (see 1 Samuel 1). His mother had been unable to conceive and she promised God that her first child would be given to serve him. God answered that prayer and his mother took him to serve in the tabernacle with the high priest, Eli.

One night, as he was going to bed in the house of God, Samuel heard a voice calling to him. He assumed it was Eli – as Eli’s eyesight was failing that was a logical conclusion. He ran to Eli but Eli hadn’t called him; he was told to go back to bed. And it happened again, with the same conclusion. Continue reading “Are we listening?”

Know what to do with God’s word

James’s three-pronged advice appears, at first glance, to help improve human relationships. It certainly would improve them, were we to apply it to how we deal with others. Not a few sermons and classes take this approach. But attention to context places us on a different plane.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1.19.

Continue reading “Know what to do with God’s word”

One thing at a time

Winston Churchill said, “Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” A less remarkable person reportedly said, “If you try to catch two rabbits, you’ll catch none.”

The help-wanted ads clamor for a person who has “multi-tasking skills.” Do those exist? It seems as though a person may do more than one thing at a time but may make a mistake because attention is diverted. Continue reading “One thing at a time”

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”

“Give us each day our daily bread”

It is difficult to understand how people who had been freed from bondage would ever say they wanted to go back.

Yet, that is exactly what Israel did in Exodus chapter 16. God’s people had been freed from bitter bondage but were actually wishing they were back in Egypt. They complained they had pots full of meat and plenty of bread (Exodus 16:3).

So God gave his people quail and bread from heaven to eat. Continue reading ““Give us each day our daily bread””

Judgement is coming

A question which often perplexes Christians is that there are people who will be lost, who will not spend eternity with Jesus. We spend time with people who are religious and do so many good things but have never put on Jesus by being immersed into him. Sometimes we may even begin to question whether baptism is even important.

Jesus addressed this in what we call “the Sermon on the Mount.” “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’” (Matthew 6:21-23 NET). Continue reading “Judgement is coming”