Thursday, April 26, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 26th

Today's reading is Nehemiah 3-7

You're responsible for your part of the wall.

Nehemiah 3, now this is an exciting chapter, right? Maybe not. No, it’s not as bad and the genealogies of Chronicles which make every other listing of names in the Bible seem small, but this chapter teaches us something important. Do you see it?

I’m going to assume you do. However, I will put it in writing just to make sure we are on the same page. Every group worked on the area which was close to them and by each doing their part the whole was completed.

This wasn’t a job which could have missing sections. If a plank on the bottom of a boat falls off the whole ship sinks not just the part that fell off. Every part was important, and here everyone did their part and the job was completed (and quicker than some may have thought). This chapter is a reminder that we all have a job to do and when everyone in the church does what is needed then great things are accomplished.

In the case of a city wall, if one part is breached the whole city is taken. The same is true in the church. The pastor can preach a great sermon and the music can be wonderful, but if the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in a month and they stink up the church no one is going to come. If the church building is beautiful but the greeters are rude, people will stay away. Yes, there are times when some aspects fall short and grace can be given but if some in the church continually fail to do their part the whole will suffer.

My challenge though isn’t to look at what others are doing but to concentrate on what is in front of you. This is what the people did here, they weren’t inspecting another person’s work but did theirs.

So what are you doing (or supposed to be doing)?

Photo by Marl Clevenger on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 25th

Today's reading is Ezra 8-10 and Nehemiah 1-2

There is much criticism of the scriptures of what we see here in chapter 10, where men divorce women who are not Israelites. The problem with this criticism is that it is based on a misnomer. God never told the people of Israel they could not marry people who were not of their race, but those who were not of their religion.

Rahab and Ruth are two of the greatest example of this. They were absolutely not Jewish but they were brought into the nation of Israel and even blessed by God. Their difference was they believed in God. This made all the difference.

God and the Bible aren't racist. They do teach that marriage outside of your faith brings difficulties and most would agree. The problem here as in other place wasn't a race problem it was a faith problem.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 24th

Today's reading is Ezra 3-7

Sometimes weeping is right when others rejoice.

It's hard to rebuild something. There are times you can never put things back the way they were. This is the case here is chapter 3:8-13. The people who had never seen the glory of the temple of old were excited, but those who saw how much difference there was found themselves weeping over what was lost.

Are either of these groups wrong? No.

For the people who had never seen the previous temple, the excitement of being able to worship God in a temple was something to celebrate and it should have been. For those who had seen what was lost, was it wrong to weep? No, the people of Israel needed to weep because it was there generation which had lost the temple, they needed to grieve. There was a need to remember why they had lost the great temple of Solomon.

The lesson for us is to realize that there are times when people see events from a different perspective and neither are wrong or ungodly. Give grace to those who weep when you are rejoicing or those who are rejoicing while you are weeping.

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Monday, April 23, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 23

Today's reading is 2 Chronicles 34- Ezra 2

Losing God's word in church.

In chapter 34 we read the incredible story of finding the book of the Law of Moses in the temple. It is an amazing story of revival and change brought by the power of God's word. Before I get started on what I am wanting to look at I want us to see the power God's word brought on the people. A true renewal started among the people of God and a return to keeping the commandments God had given. This to me is a reminder of the power of the word of God.

However, I have to wonder how you can lose the word of God in the temple of God. It's like losing the Bible in the church. Yet it makes perfect sense. When people see the church (the temple) as merely a place of rituals to please God and not a place to know God, then it is easy to see how the Word of God can be lost and forgotten. Whenever ritual reigns, even if the ritual is contemporary music, videos, and upscale sermons, then God's word is lost.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Friday, April 20, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 20th

Today's reading is 2 Chronicles 29-33

Don't waste time serve God now!

Manasseh was the most wicked king Judah ever had. Generations later the corruption he brought on the Judah was still destined to bring judgment. This king killed his own children, worshiped other gods, and made them worse than the people God had driven out before Isreal. Yet, you will see him in heaven.

No, I have not become a universalist.

At the end of his reign, Manasseh got right with God. He even tried to reverse some of the evil he had done. This is a testament to the grace of God. God wants to change the hearts of tyrants and he does. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't consequences. Manasseh's son was wicked, the kingdom was corrupted and captivity was certain. 

Yes, you might be able to wait until later in life to make things right with God, but the costs on others are something you can't undo. Don't wait, serve faithfully always.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - April 19th

Today's reading is 2 Chronicles 24-28

May my hands guide, so their feet will choose right

One of the saddest things that I see is when a child seems to faithfully serve God while they are young but when they are older and their parents die or they move away they stop. In young Joash's life, the person he was trying to please was the high priest Jehoiada. It seems Jehoiada used his influence to ensure that the temple was repaired and that people didn't serve other gods. The mistake Jehoiada made was that he didn't use his influence to truly impart a personal faith in Joash.

I do want my daughters to live for Christ when they are at home, but it is my greatest fear that they won't seek God after my influence has gone. It's a scary thing for a parent to allow a child to find their faith and not give all the answers or dismiss their questions by force of personality. The truth is that some who parents fear will never serve God return to Him and some who start off good drift away. What doesn't change is that parents and leaders need to develop a personal faith inside of those we influence and not an imposed one.

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey April 18th

Today's reading is 2 Chronicles 19-23

Which love?

In chapter 19 we see the prophet chiding Jehoshaphat for helping the northern Tribes of Israel who were in rebellion against God. The question asked is should you love those that hate the Lord? The problem comes when we see in the New Testament a command to love our enemies. SO, is God changing his mind or is something else going on?

God isn't changing his mind. Love in Hebrew is a broad term like it is in English. I love neighbor and I love my wife, but I don’t treat them the same. I could give other examples, but we know that love carries different meanings depending on the content.

To make this clearer I want to point out that this exact spelling of the word love is used one other place in the Bible. In Proverbs 20:13 it says, “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” We should all realize that God designed us to sleep. Sleep is a vital part of our lives yet here Solomon says we shouldn’t love it. The meaning is clear, sleep shouldn’t have a special place of honor nor should it be looked at as something more important than everything else. Do we have, if I can use the term, a relationship with sleep? Yes, but it can’t be the focus of our lives.

Here God isn’t saying that we shouldn’t love people in the way God speaks of in the New Testament. What we see is Jehoshaphat didn’t reach out in love in order to bring the knowledge of God to Ahab but in order to build a military alliance. The problem is that Jehoshaphat isn't in the proper relationship with Ahab and is trusting this alliance rather than trusting God. The “love” that Jehoshaphat had was one of the love of an ally not the love one has for a lost soul. This is the "love" God is against, not the love for lost people. 

Photo by Adri├ín Tormo on Unsplash