Teach me your way

Psalm 86 is identified as a “prayer of David.” He began by asking YHVH, the God of Israel, to listen and answer him, because “I am faithful” (Psalm 86:2). God is always “abounding in faithful love to all who call on you” (Psalm 86:5). God is always faithful to his people and God wants his people to be faithful. On this basis, we can “call on you in the day of my distress, for you will answer me” (Psalm 86:7). This is one of the great privileges of being a child of God.

Notice how David described God: “For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5). So often our view of God is that he is just waiting to pounce on us when we do wrong. This is not the view we find of God in the scriptures. God is loving and kind – he not only wants what is best for us but gives us those things that we need. Continue reading “Teach me your way”

Trusting in God

The account of David and Goliath stirs the imagination. Children love to hear about the boy David defeating the ‘giant’ Goliath. Even as adults we like it when the underdog wins.

The army of Israel was fighting against their enemy, the Philistines. Each army was camped on opposite sides of the Valley of Elah, a wide valley ideal for a conflict between armies. Rather than instigating a battle, the Philistines suggested an alternative: Continue reading “Trusting in God”

The perils of prosperity

Throughout history people seem to have had the idea that those who were rich would get to heaven and those who were poor would struggle to get there. This seems to have been backed by this idea: the wealth of the rich was evidence that God was blessing them; the poverty of the poor was proof that God was not with them. As attractive as that philosophy has been, it doesn’t take much reading in the Bible to discover that, more often than not, it is the poor who are faithful to God.

This brings us to the young man who came to Jesus who was quite rich. He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 NET). He had the idea that if he did something good he would be given eternal life. And since he was wealthy, he could afford to do whatever it was that this teacher asked of him. Continue reading “The perils of prosperity”

He had a different spirit

“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (Joshua 14:10-12 NIV).

Caleb was one of the great men of Israel. He was one of the twelve spies that were sent throughout Canaan when they first arrived at the border a few years after leaving Egypt. Ten of the spies were so overwhelmed with what they saw that they panicked and could not see how they could conquer the land. But it was Caleb, along with Joshua, who brought a different report. They knew that with God’s help they could take the land just as he had promised. Continue reading “He had a different spirit”

The need to trust in God

“Now Jericho was shut tightly because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter. The Lord told Joshua, ‘See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you, along with its king and its warriors. Have all the warriors march around the city one time; do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn, have the whole army give a loud battle cry. Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead’” (Joshua 6:1-5 NET).

The Israelite nation had crossed the Jordan River and were now in the Promised Land. God’s promise was being fulfilled! But…they were still living in tents and the land was full of hostile people. They still needed to conquer those living in the various towns and villages before they could settle down to a peaceful life. Continue reading “The need to trust in God”

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away

Job was an exceptional man. God described him in these terms: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8 NET).

In worldly terms he was rich and successful. In the list of what he owned were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, plus many servants. These were what made a man wealthy in the East and in his day. Although we aren’t given an exact time that he lived, it would appear to be in the time of Patriarchs, as we shall later see. Continue reading “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”

When hatred consumes us

Having favourites can lead to problems, especially when it is those of your own family. You would have thought Jacob would have learned his lesson in this. After all, both of his parents had a different favourite son, which had led to his having to flee for his life and live with his relatives in the north.

Of his two wives, he had an obvious favourite, but it led to his wives competing to see who could have his affections. And now he had thirteen children, twelve of whom were sons! You might think that he would have learned to stop playing favourites. Continue reading “When hatred consumes us”