Don’t face your giants like David

You all know the story. Little ol’ Shepherd boy David is delivering some cheese and bread (awesome brother!) to his brothers on the battle field while Israel is at a stand still against the Philippine Army. 

Why the stand still? 

Glad you asked.

Because the Philistines have a proud, taunting, and huge(9′ 6″!) soldier double dog daring the Israelites to come out and fight him!!

David sees the situation, gathers a few stones for his sling shot, and grouds his assurance of victory to King Saul in that the LORD fights for him.

We know what happens next. David slings away and sinks a rock right into the giants head. He then take Goliath’s sword and cuts his head off. You can almost hear the mass amount of ‘gulps’ in Philistine throats.

Israel advances and secures a great victory that day. So what does this story mean today? Is it more than a story? In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says that everything written in the Old Testament was for our benefit so that we didn’t make the same mistakes they did.

So, what’s the lesson here? The story is commonly interpreted as an encouragement to not be scared of the “giants” in our lives. Rather we should face them, trusting God to grant us the victory.

Is that how you’ve heard it? I have.

But the more you look at the biblical narrative as a whole you see a disconnect. You see very faithful people of God not getting the victory all the time (Job, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul etc.). You see very sinful people of God still being used for God’s purposes and experiencing His blessings (Abraham, Rehab, David, Solomon, the 12 disciples).

So what is a more accurate way to interpret this story? Well, Christologically or Gospel centered.

You see, we shouldn’t look to David for what to do. We mistakenly put ourselves as the hero. That’s where we go wrong. You see, Jesus is the hero. We are the frightened Israelites. We are the ones who share in the benefits of another’s actions. Just as the Israelites shared in the victory because of David’s actions.

Jesus is the hero who beat our enemies of sin, satan, and death. Our confidence to kill sin, repent, turn away from evil and worship God comes only on the grounds of Jesus actions on our behalf. We are passive beneficiaries of Jesus’ victory on the cross. When Jesus said that the whole Bible spoke of Him, this is part of what He meant.

How amazing is the story of David and Goliath now?

Once I learned to look at the Old Testament this way, it shed a whole new light on all those popular stories. 

I hope and pray it does for you too. 

Let me know what you think! Or if there are other stories you now see with a more Christ centered view.

For a deeper understanding check out this book by Dr. Ed Clowney

The Unfolding Mystery
Soli Deo Gloria 

How could God have Israel wipe out entire nations?!

This is quite possibly the hardest things to understand in the Bible. Some people may turn to the book of Joshua and read the stories of the Israelite conquest in Canaan to find some pretty ruthless campaigns. At first glance it seems unnecessary and over the top. Without CONTEXT, you can get a real different sense of the God of peace and mercy that is heralded.

The first and most important piece of context is from God Himself. In Genesis 15:16 He says, “And they (the Israelites) will come back (from Egypt) here (the land) in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Paranthesis mine.

We see here that God sends His own people into slavery and oppression so that He doesn’t judge the Amorites prematurely. Doesn’t seem irrational or tyrannical, does it?

Next, in Deuteronomy we see Moses reiterating the Sinai laws and covenant to the Israelites before they cross over the Jordan river to take the land. Strikingly, in Deuteronomy 9:4 Moses tells them, “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’, rather it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you”

Here we see that God is not arbitrarily ordering the murder of nations. These nations have sinned against God generation after generation, more than 400 years, and at last God is judging them. His instrument of judgement is the nation of Israel who He promised to give the land after their conquest. 

The final point I’d like to make to show that God is not racist or an evil tyrant is from another passage in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 20 Moses says, “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you.”

Even here we see an extra length of mercy. If they didn’t want to fight with Israel, they lived; they were then made to work for them. 

Clearly, God did not arbitrarily order genocide. The biggest help in understanding is context. Read the first 6 books of the Bible straight through and it is much easier to understand. You wouldn’t pick up a novel, start reading halfway through, and put it down because in one chapter a character wasn’t “nice”. You’d read before and after to get the whole picture or read from beginning to end-like normal.

Hope that helps! I hope this helps you answer other people asking you these hard questions.

Soli Deo Gloria 

God spoke through a donkey!

But was the donkeys owner, Balaam, even a true prophet of God?

Check out Numbers chapters 22-24 for the whole story. I’m going to share my opinion on the question above. 
After reviewing the account of Balaam and the other biblical texts mentioning him(Numbers. 31:8, 16; Deut. 23:4-5; Josh. 24:9-10; 2 Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14), I believe that the best way to describe Balaam is a spiritual mercenary. It seems clear that he buckled to political pressure and saw great honor and fortune to be gained if he went along with Balaks plan to curse the Israelites. Balaam received clear opposition from God, but went to meet Balak anyway. I believe God’s permission in Numbers 22:20 was to prove what was truly in Balaam’s heart. He truly didn’t care that God already forbade him to go. Balaam likely was excited for what he could gain even if he wasn’t giving Balak what he wanted. We are shown his heart’s when he is rebuked by his donkey and told by the Angel of the LORD that his way is perverse. I think it is clear that Balaam did not have a desire to follow God’s will. What is curious though, is why anyone thought he was a prophet of God to begin with. What was his track record previously that gave him the title prophet? Is it possible that he was appointed by God to call the people to worship Yahweh? Was he an example of what God does in a nation so that their iniquity is complete as God spoke of the Amorites to Abraham in Genesis 15:16? Had Balaam been used by God for that purpose earlier but had since gone astray to seek fortunes for his services? I believe some of the New Testament passages referencing Balaam lendspeak credence since they speak of prophets or leaders in the church going astray in the same manner. I believe Balaam likely was a prophet used by God but at the time of our story had since gone astray and sought after monetary gain and political honor.

Is the God of the Bible a personal God?

​Who likes a cold friendship, rude people, a short answer to a loaded question? If I described someone that loved you very much but didn’t know basic details of your appearance, birth day, where you work, what school you went, or never even liked, loved, or followed anything you did on social media you would think I was messing with you. 

One of the greatest and distinguishing aspects of the God of the Bible is His personal character. I only want to draw your attention to His presence or dwelling with His people. From the very beginning of the Bible God has made it a priority to dwell with His people. We see Him walking in the midst of the garden when Adam and Eve were trying to hide from Him. After the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt we see God command a tabernacle be built where the people would make sacrifices to Him and where His presence could dwell with the people. About 600 years after the Exodus we read that God’s glory and presence fills the temple which King Solomon builds for the LORD. The proceeding and remarkable extent God demonstrated His desire to dwell with His people was in the incarnation of God the Son Jesus Christ. John 1:14 tells us that the Word, Jesus, became flesh and dwelt among us. After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the nature of people’s relationship with God is dramatically changed. God no longer dwelt within a building, but within His people. Galatians 2:20 tells us that the life we live by faith in Jesus is no longer us living, but Christ living in us. 

The full  restoration of God dwelling with His people is realized after the New Heavens, New Earth, and the New Jerusalem come to be. The words of Revelation 21:3 are excellent; “And I heard with a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be their God…””. God started dwelling with His people in the Garden of Eden. This fellowship was broken and God will ultimately restore mankind back to the same level of fellowship when the New Heavens and New Earth arrive at the end of the age.

God is personal. His isn’t distant. He isn’t cold. He has always made a way to dwell with His people.

 No other world religion can say that.

Does God condone polygamy?

​My initial response to someone looking to justify polygamy from the lives of a few Patriarchs in the Old Testament is to point them to the culture from which Abram came out of. In Mesopotamia, polygamy was normal if a man’s first wife was barren. The first wife was even involved in selecting the second wife. Those cultural norms reveal a good reason for what they did. Also, since there was little to no special revelation (written books) from God at this time in history it’s no surprise that the patriarchs continued in their old ways. They likely would’ve had the Genesis account of God instituting marriage with one man and one woman. From the Bible’s perspective, Adam never married another woman. This is a worthy record enough for all to follow after instead of cultural norms. Their polygamous ways were merely residue from their previous life. They had not yet fully left their former life as God commanded.

On the practical side, we see nothing but turmoil, strife, and contempt when it comes to polygamy. Hagar ended up being despised by Sarai. Ishmael and his descendants throughout history have been a scourge to themselves and the rest of mankind, just as God said. Sister rivalry took on new heights between Leah and Rachel. Even leading them to hand over their maids to Jacob as the competition for bearing children raged on. 

Most importantly of all, God never condones it. God’s Word never suggests it. And as Jesus interprets the command against adultery, He points out that any lustful intent in your heart towards a woman that is not your wife is adultery. This commandment is impossible to keep in polygamy. It is nonsensical to think God would condone a lifestyle that necessitates breaking His commands over and over again. Even one of the qualifications of being an elder in the church laid out in 1st Timothy by the Apostle Paul is that he must be a one woman man.

Soli Deo Gloria

Resource: http://www.ancient.eu/article/688

Hey you…yeah, you…you’re looking good. And so does my NEW blog.

thumbs up to new blog

thumbs up to new blog

Well, a new blog. I had one before. That was fun. I constantly journal my devotions. I often think that I should blog some of the stuff God teaches me through there and every so often I just have the urge to write.

My purpose is ALWAYS going to be to point you to Jesus. I desire all to see the Gospel in new and deeper ways. I believe that is what a Christian will do the rest of their life.

If you are ever encouraged or helped or have any comments, please let me know!

Hope you come back often and read and are encouraged! I hope your love for God deepens