Where are you and what is your attitude toward Christ? Do you say you believe without putting “feet” to your faith? Do you believe He exists without trusting Him personally? Are you convinced He is who He said He was and live your live accordingly? Do questions about other religions or science confuse you? Or do you believe something else?
Even as professing believers we can fall into some of these attitudes. We can trust God for our salvation, but be contrary about obedience in certain areas or refuse to trust the Bible wholeheartedly. Or we can be confused because He isn’t working in our lives the way we want. We can believe He isn’t answering our prayers. Could it be that we have a wrong understanding about God and how He works in our lives? I hope you’ll read today’s post and evaluate where you are.
2 Samuel 17 & 18
5 Reactions to the Claims of Christ
Where are you?
John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible that this passage “catalogues the different reactions of people to Jesus’ claims.” We still see the same categories today.
First, those who are “convinced” of the truthfulness of His claims—faithful believers.
Verses 40-41a, “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.'”
Part of the meaning of the words “faith” and “faithful” includes the idea of “unquestioning belief or loyalty.” The convinced are loyal to Christ.
Verses 41b-42, “But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?'”
“Contrary” people are still around. “All the pastor wants is your money.” “Churches are full of hypocrites.” “The Bible was just written by a bunch of men.” And the list goes on.
Verse 44, “Now some of them wanted to take Him …”
There is a move today in our country, and it’s growing stronger, to make speaking biblical truth a crime. There are those, for instance, who would love to see anyone who speaks out against homosexuality or abortion arrested for what they call hate crimes.
Verses 45-46, “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?’ The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!'”
These men had been sent to arrest him, but when they went they didn’t know what to do because they saw something about him they didn’t understand. The Pharisees challenged them by saying, “Are you also deceived?”
Many people are confused today. They’ve seen just enough truth to think there might be something to it, but have not made the choice to believe. Often these people fear man more than God. They may be afraid to speak up or seek out the truth because of what people will think.
Proverbs 29.25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”
Or they’ve heard questions about other religions:
“Don’t all roads lead to God?”
“How could all those Muslims be wrong?”
Or tried to use human reasoning:
“How is it fair that an evil person could get saved on his deathbed?”
“How can the miracles in the Bible be true?”
“But science says …”
“Why would the Bible condemn someone who’s gay when they say they’re born that way?”
There is a fifth group, too, the “religious authorities,” we might call them the “religious establishment.” These people are often more concerned about maintaining their position and authority than in being a true follower of Christ or in seeking biblical truth. These people respond in the complete opposite way from John the Baptist, who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3.30).
Many in the religious establishment today are busy trying to stay “relevant.” For years some have ignored the first few chapters of Genesis in favor of a more “enlightened, scientific” view of creation. Others have “evolved” in their views about homosexuality and other politically incorrect issues. Still others refuse to discuss these subjects at all, preferring to teach more palatable things, some lifted out of context like false advertising claims.
Sadly, they can have a profound effect on others. They may put pressure on friends and family members not to leave their religious “tradition,” even though their church has actually left them and biblical truth.
Some of those who refuse to address the more challenging issues in Scripture or lift truths out of context, draw in seekers who want a better life. They follow Christ for what they believe He’ll do for them, just as the crowds did in Jesus’ day, and when He doesn’t deliver in the way and with what they want (a child dies, they get cancer or lose a job), they walk away from God altogether. They walk away because they’ve never been taught how God uses tests and trials, how to trust in His sovereignty and loving care, and how to stand when things don’t make sense to them.
So, where are you? Are you trusting in Him completely? Do you take Him at His Word and allow Him to be God? If you’re not where you believe God wants you to be, get into your Bible. Pray for wisdom and discernment. He is faithful to answer those who genuinely seek Him.
Today’s Other Readings:
2 Samuel 17 & 18:
A Man’s Pride Will Bring Him Low
Here we have the death of Absalom as God puts down the rebellion against David. Absalom got his head caught in a great oak tree as he passed under it on his mule. Many believe that it was his beautiful flowing hair that got caught in the tree. Remember that his hair had been a source of great pride to him. So much so that when he was forced to cut it once a year, he weighed what he cut off (2 Sam. 14.26).
Proverbs 29.23 says, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
But his hair was only an outward manifestation of a bigger issue with pride. It was pride that made him think he could take matters into his own hands by killing his half brother Ammon and then rebelling against his father. And while David certainly had responsibility in the state of affairs that led to this rebellion and heartache, he ultimately trusted God’s sovereignty and relied Him to work it out as He saw fit.
How Unconfessed Sin Affects Your Prayers
Verse 18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”
Sin that is not confessed and repented of, will hinder our prayers! It’s not enough to “admit” we have sin. Repentance means a change of heart that leads to a change in actions!
A Crown of Glory
Verse 31, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.”
The cosmetic industry, aided by our obsession with youth, has convinced us that growing older is a thing to be disdained. But the Bible paints a different picture, one of reverence for wisdom and maturity.
Instead of obsessing over each gray hair, we should be asking ourselves, “Am I growing in ‘the way of righteousness.'” Is my spiritual maturity keeping up with my physical maturity.
The writer of Hebrews rebuked his readers for not growing:
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5.12-14).
Along with wisdom, growth in maturity should bring increasing self-control:
Verse 32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Proverbs 25.28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”
In the ancient world, there was no “9-1-1” to call, so people would build walls around their cities where they could dwell with greater safety. These two proverbs taken together teach us that when we give in to our emotions and let them rule our lives, we are open to an enemy coming in and conquering us just like a city whose walls are broken down.
Enemies like sinful anger, unforgiveness and bitterness can do more destruction than any human enemy ever could. On the other hand, one who controls the passion of anger and other strong emotions and deals with them biblically has greater strength than any military leader.
What about you? Questions to ponder or Journal:
So where are you? I assume you are part of the “convinced,” but how well is your life reflecting that fact? Are you demonstrating unquestioning belief in and unswerving loyalty to your King? Or do you do so only at church where it’s convenient and won’t upset anyone?
Or are you confused, contrary, even hostile to the things of God?
What is your attitude about growing older? Are you focused on “the way of righteousness” or more concerned about those things the world emphasizes?
Lord, help us to respond to Your claims, Your Word, and Your grace in a way that would be pleasing to You and bring glory to Your Name … in the name of Your Son … amen.
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