Archive for April, 2013

24
Apr
13

What is truth?

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.” John 18:36-38a

In this passage of scripture, Pilate asks a question for the ages:  What is truth?  Jesus had just testified that He came to bear witness to the truth, so the question is rightly and justifiably begged, and it deserves much meditation and thought.  What is truth?  And how do we know what is the reliable source of truth?  A poignant question, to say the least!

For Christians, there is one source of truth, the Holy Bible.  Since God is eternal (Psalm 90:2), holy (Isaiah 6:3), all knowing (I John 3:20), unchanging (Malachi 3:6) and truthful (Numbers 23:19), and since He is the author of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21), then God’s Word would naturally reflect all the character traits that He possesses.  In addition to this, it seems no accident that Jesus Christ is identified as the Word in John 1:1-5, especially since He was later described as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).  As the image of the invisible God, He exemplified and identified all the gracious qualities and characteristics of God that we previously could only read about and not see, but made God visible to us.

Since Jesus is identified as the Son of God, the image of the invisible God and the Word, then we can rely on Him to be all that God is, since He is God.  This includes that He is the bread of life (John 6:35), the light of the world (John 8:35), the door (John 10:7, 9), the good shepherd (John 10 11, 14), the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) and the true vine (John 15:1).  But most of all, He is the way, the TRUTH and the life (John 14:6).

What is truth?  It would be best asked, “Who is truth?”  The answer would be, Jesus!

15
Apr
13

Lessons from King David: The Damage Caused by a Bitter Soul

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.  Hebrews 12:14-15

Bitterness is a small seed that, if not properly rectified, can grow into a weed that spreads and will take over everything, destroying everything in its path.  It is a rot to the soul that can be eliminated if we recognize bitterness for what it is and know how to deal with it in a Godly manner.

We must recognize that bitterness is our problem, not the problem of the person who may offend us.  We can know that we harbor bitterness when we remember the smallest details of a perceived sin against us, or when we review the events over and over again.  It may start when we are resentful that an apology doesn’t come, or when we think we have been sinned against, even if the other person doesn’t realize it.

All in all, bitterness is the refusal to forgive, whether an apology is offered or not!  We must reject such feelings, because the Bible teaches us to “pursue peace with all men,” knowing that “many be defiled” by choosing to keep bitterness in their heart.

There was a well-trusted advisor in King David’s court by the name of Ahithophel.  In fact, when he gave advice, he was so trustworthy that it seemed that “he had inquired at the oracle of God” (2 Samuel 16:23).  When Absalom started a rebellion against David, remarkably, Ahithophel joined Absalom.  Ahithophel’s treachery hurt David so much because it was not a distant enemy who turned against him, but a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend” (Psalm 55:12-13).  What would cause such a seemingly great man to turn against the man anointed by God to be king of Israel?  Ahithophel had a son by the name of Eliam (2 Samuel 23:24) who had a daughter.  Eliam’s daughter was Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3), the same woman whom David defiled in adultery and then tried to cover up his sin by having her husband killed.  Ahithophel chose to hold bitterness in his heart against David for what he did to his granddaughter and her family.

To get rid of bitterness, we have to recognize it as our problem and not the problem of someone else.  We must realize that it is sin, confess bitterness as our sin, and then receive God’s forgiveness for it.  If it is not exterminated from our soul, then bitterness can cause serious problems, just as it did with Ahithophel.

14
Apr
13

Lessons from King David: Thirst

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2

In this Psalm, David is a physically far away from home.  Verse six reveals that he is on the peaks of Hermon.  This would put him on a mountain range that starts at least 40 miles north of the Sea of Galilee.  If he were on the outer edge of this range, he could be over 60 miles away from the Sea of Galilee.  It is probable that he yearns to be closer to home in order to be closer to the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant.  The implication here is that he is far away from the presence of God, because the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of God’s presence.

It would also seem that David is spiritually far from home.  He is in despair, he is disturbed, and he has been weeping bitterly.  He even mentions that he feel like he has been forgotten by God (v. 9).  As we see the picture of a deer panting for water, we are given a picture of a drought, a time when everything is dry and shriveled.  This is a picture of death, and David probably feels like he is spiritually in a very dry place, if not near death.

There are times in our lives when we feel like we are far away from God.  Sometimes, we may even feel forgotten by Him.  These feeling may be a result of difficult adversities that we are facing or the direct result of our own sinful actions.  In either case, we should feel a thirst for God that can only be quenched by His presence, and the living water that only He can offer.

Once we earnestly reach out to God in His holy place, He is sure to reach in to us and heal our hurts, mend our wounds, and satisfy our thirst.

13
Apr
13

Lessons from King David: In The Wrong Place at The Wrong Time

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 11:1

The story of David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11 when he commits adultery, conspires to lie and executes a murder shocks us as the account is about a man who was so strong in the faith and wrote such beautiful songs to God.  He committed adultery with Bathsheba, and when she became pregnant with his child, David tried to get her husband to come home from war and sleep with her to cover David’s sin.  Twice Uriah rebuffed the king, saying that he could not enjoy the pleasures of home when his comrades were fighting at war.  When this plan did not work, David had Uriah put at the front lines and ordered everyone to withdraw, making Uriah a sitting duck.

All this action got David into a lot of trouble, and it caused strife in his personal and professional life from which he would never recover.  It causes us to wonder how a man of God in such a high place of honor could fall so far.  Yet, there seems to be a key element that should act as a red flag for us in our lives.  David wasn’t where he should have been.

2 Samuel 11:1 tells us that at a time when kings were at the battlegrounds, David stayed home.  Much trouble can begin when we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, just like David.  If he had been at the battlegrounds, as was the custom in that day, this sin may have never occurred, and he would have been spared so much strife.

The same is true of us.  We much watch our step, and never be in a place where we can get in trouble.  We shouldn’t hang out in places where trouble can occur, such as bars or nightclubs.  We should not put ourselves in a place where our temptations may overcome our spirit, like in a darkened room with a significant other.  When on the internet, we must watch where our fingers take us when no one is looking.  This warning is true not only in the physical world, but in the spiritual world, also.  We should never be in a spiritual place where we can be enticed by the pleasures of sin, or be drawn away from the truth of God’s Word to looking to other places or mediums in search of spiritual truth.

How vital it is to be sure we are always in the right place at the right time!

12
Apr
13

Lessons from King David: Five Smooth Stones

And he took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.     1 Samuel 17:40

David is an interesting and lovable character in the Bible.  His great faith in God is evidenced by his being listed in Hebrews 11, the chapter in God’s Word that listed people who showed exceptional faith.  David’s close-knit relationship with God is pointed out by Samuel’s proclamation to Saul that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  David’s very soul sought out the Lord God like a thirsty deer searches for a stream of water (Psalm 42:1).

Yet it seems odd that when he went out to fight the giant Goliath, he picked up five smooth stones to defeat the Philistines’ champion.  David used a sling, which was a deadly and accurate weapon, and one with which he was familiar as a shepherd.  When he went to face Goliath, he only had to use one of the stones in defeating him.  So why did he pick up FIVE stones instead of just one?  If he was a man of such great faith, why didn’t he just pick up one stone?

A careful study of David’s entire career, even to the last part of his wars, may provide an answer.  2 Samuel 21:22 states, “These four were born to the giant in Gath,” a reference to four giants that David’s army faced in battling the Philistines.  One of these giants even had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot (v. 20)!

What a great testimony of faith and reliance in what David expected God to do through him!  When David when to defeat Goliath, he was also expecting to face his sons, too!

Do we exhibit such great faith in God in our lives and actions?  What hinders us in our way?




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