Does the Old Testament mean anything to us as New Testament believers? If so, how can we say some Old Testament laws are still valid and others are not? And if Jesus paid the price for all of our sins, does that mean that we are free to live any way we choose?
Murder, Rape, Rebellious Children & Your Neighbor’s Ox
Deuteronomy 21 & Deuteronomy 22:
3 Kinds of Law
What attention to all the details of life we find here in the Old Testament law—everything from the jurisdiction in a murder case (Deut. 21.1-9) to “Good Samaritan” laws (Deut. 22.1-4) to rape and adultery (Deut. 22.22-30).
But why would God care about different kinds of seeds being sown together (Deut 22.9) or whether different materials were blended into one fabric (Deut. 22.11). Bible passages like these raise the question, “How can we say some Old Testament laws are still valid and others are not?”
Sowing seeds and blending fabrics may not seem like hot topics, but the question raised by these passages carries over into more relevant topics like homosexuality and transgender issues.
Where are You, Lord? Ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve been deeply hurt, possibly by someone close to you. Maybe it’s a financial trial or a serious illness. Whatever it is, we need to be like the psalmist in today’s reading.
Joseph was said to be a “type of Christ.” A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. What exactly does that mean and how should his example inspire us today?
Here we see the progression that comes by faithfully, and honestly, lifting our requests to God in prayer. The Psalmist prayed:
“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (v. 1).
He was saying, in effect, “Where are You, Lord?” Ever felt that way?
In spite of not fully understanding, the psalmist prayed in faith:
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken (vss. 3-4).
Then he goes on:
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me (vss. 5-6).
The psalmist made a conscious decision to trust God. He chose to focus on the faithfulness of God.
We, too, can choose to trust God in our trials!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3.5).
Our prayers may start out, as the psalmists did, “Where are you, Lord?” But if we stay faithful, God will not only faithfully answer according to His will and His timing, but we will be changed as we grow in our ability to trust Him.
Joseph and his family have been reunited. Here in chapter 47 we see Joseph’s care for his aging father, “Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh” (v. 7). Somehow I see Joseph helping his elderly father into some kind of a chair so Jacob can show his respect to Pharaoh and pray for him. But he doesn’t just care for his father; he also cares for his brothers. In verse 11 Joseph “situated his father and his brothers” and in verse 12 he “provided” for his father and his brothers. Remember, these are the same brothers who sold him into slavery.
Joseph is a type of Christ. A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. We can look at those old photos and see that while they were not perfect images, they give us some idea of what the real person looked like. In the same way, when we look at the various “types of Christ,” each one gives us an idea of some of the attributes of our Savior. Continue reading →
This chapter gives instructions for the church’s care of widows (vss. 3, 5-7, 9-16), the responsibility for families to care for their own members (vv. 4,8), and continues Paul’s instructions to Timothy about not being “hasty” to put someone in leadership (vss. 22-25).
Those Who Are Really Widows
Honor widows who are really widows (v. 3).
We have become an entitlement society. Young people think they are entitled to the latest smart phone or electronic gadget. Former employees believe they are entitled to compensation whether or not they were faithful employees. Irresponsibility is awarded in numerous ways and is the expectation.
There are times when the church, and by default society, should take care of others, but the Bible gives careful instructions for the dispensing of such help.
Laziness is condemned through the Bible. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul said:
“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (1 Thess. 3.10).
In this passage, Paul gives detailed instructions for the care of widows:
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry,12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan (vss. 9-15).
The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.
Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3
Money & Stuff
As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.
Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!
Money & Stuff
In the last post I talked about the tongue and the ears. God has a great deal to say about the words we speak and how well we listen.
In this post we’ll take a look at what God says about about our attitudes toward money and possessions.
If you mention money in a Christian context, often, one of two thoughts will come to mind.
Money is the root of all evil and those who have it are somehow unspiritual. Or …
God is just waiting to make me rich. He wants me to have the desires of my heart.
In reality, both are distortions of what God has to say about money. And He has a LOT to say about money.
Not the Root of All Evil
The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6.10 actually says:
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Sin is the root of all evil (Matt. 15.19; Rom. 5.12; Jas. 1.15) and the love of money is sin. Sinful attitudes toward money will get us into all kinds of trouble.
Money itself is neither good or evil, but it can be used for both. It can be used to help us care for our families as God instructed us to do (1 Tim. 5.8), it can allow us to help others (Prov. 22.9, 28.27), and can be used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 4.15-17). But it can also be used for all kinds of evil.
Money can be something we control or something that controls us. We control it by using it wisely and allowing God to bless others through us. Or we can demand it, hoard it, and be miserable when we don’t have it. You don’t have to have money to be controlled by it.
The love of money causes some to pervert justice in the civil realm (Prov. 17.23) and use unfair business practices in the marketplace (Prov. 11.1, 13.11). It has led people to lie, cheat, steal, extort, even gamble away everything they have. Continue reading →
Can you imagine being thrown into a dungeon and, eventually, into a well for speaking the truth? There is often a cost involved in following God. Sometimes it’s rejection by our families or friends and sometimes persecution in the work place or some other area of society. Jeremiah certainly suffered as a result of his unswerving faith and willingness to speak the truth.
What about us? We must ask ourselves, are we willing to stand up for the truth—in our families, work places, schools and universities? Or do we cave in when it’s too hard or costly? Continue reading →
Have you truly surrendered your life to God? Is your relationship with Him genuine or just religious activity? Sadly, we’re often content with little more than an appearance of godliness until hardship, drought or adversity comes our way.
Verse 36.15, “He delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.”
God uses tests, trials, and times of suffering to draw us closer to Him. Sadly, we are often content to just go about our lives without giving God much thought until we have nowhere else to turn. Sometimes the only way He can get our attention is to allow some adversity into our lives.
But in other cases, even when we are living our lives to please Him (as Job was), He allows adversity to take us to a higher place with Him, not to pull us down. That is when trust is so important. Continue reading →
The book of Judges contains some very interesting stories to say the least!
One of the more surprising, especially if you haven’t read it before, is the story of Jael and her tent peg! God used a “housewife,” a “tent-wife” in this case, to destroy Israel’s and God’s enemy with a hammer and a tent peg. Think about the courage it took. What if he had awaken while she was getting a good grip on the hammer? What if she had missed and just managed to awaken him? Can you imagine the fear she might have felt?
What can we learn from Jael’s story or any passage of Scripture, especially when it seems so removed from our life experiences?
Try dialoging with the Lord. Ask questions like. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? And then reread the passage. Continue reading →