Archive for October, 2010

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

When you read the above verse, what single word or phrase leaps off the page? Is it ‘Thanks be to God,’ or, ‘leads in triumph,’ or simply, ‘Christ,’ or ‘fragrance?’ For me, the word that makes this verse commanding, energizing the rest of the passage is the word ‘always.’

I like Noah Webster’s definition from his 1828 dictionary. In it he defines the word as: ‘Perpetually; throughout all time; as, God is always the same.’ Isn’t that just perfect? If we haven’t already realized it, we should be thankful to God always because He always leads us in triumph of Christ. That should give the enthusiastic and committed born-again believer a great deal of peace, especially in light of the next two verses from the same chapter.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

See the big picture lest you become discouraged. While it is true that we are the fragrance of Christ to some, to others we are the aroma of death. ‘Aroma of death?’ Where is the triumph in that; the previous verse proclaims that God always leads us in triumph.

This is the place where we must shift our focus; we must take our eyes off others and turn them back to Jesus. The triumph is not the transformed sinner; the triumph in this scenario is the Christian who is submitted to do His will. My friends, we are God’s enduring triumph! God’s triumphant when we are obedient; what happens beyond that is not reckoned into this equation. This is tremendously freeing!

So when we share a testimony or bear witness to Christ Jesus, the burden (we lay on ourselves) has been lifted. The victory was claimed by God when we simply obeyed. We can now freely share our faith having the weight-of-consequence removed from our shoulders. While it is true that to some we will always stink, to God we will always smell magnificent. Praise be to God!

Quoting the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 10:15, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!’ For good reason the passage does not read, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that win converts.’ We’re called to make disciples for certain, but no where in the Bible does God lay a guilt trip on us regarding success in that endeavor. Whatever the result we are always led in triumph! Don’t for get that.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Let’s Play JEOPARDY!

Please read the following definition taken from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary aloud and determine the word that is being defined. All responses must be phrased in the form of a question. : )

“In its most comprehensive sense, it includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of His will to man, in man’s obligation to obey His commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to His will or commands, is  _______.”

If you said, “What is religion?” you are correct.

But it’s Not About Religion…It’s a Relationship!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Through the years so many of us have been wounded and scarred by those operating outside the realm of religious circles and because of those experiences, whether real or imagined, we have redefined the word [religion] and summarily disposed of it. Friends, I consider that a wretched shame and once again, I’d like to address the matter.

Let’s unwrap Webster’s definition and see if the word has any redemptive value. First he says that religion in its most comprehensive (complete) sense consists of a belief (faith) in the being and perfections of God. Stop right there. Webster is fundamentally saying that religion is that which we believe to be true about God. So far, I am not offended by the ‘R’ word.

Webster continues that religion is God’s revelation (disclosure of His promises, purposes, procedures, etc) to us and that His followers are obliged (required and committed) to obey His commands. Okay, I can see that we’re now entering troubled waters; nobody wants to or enjoys being told what to do. At this occasion I would tender that there are many people who reject divine compliance because they cling to a degree of immorality and therefore have dismissed the ‘R’ word based on the admission of this tenet. Here’s the reality: if we, without restraint and enthusiastically, consider ourselves to be followers of Christ Jesus, we are in fact devoted to obedience. This does not mean we are declaring perfection towards the attribute, but rather submission to the ideal. If you agree so far, you are religious!

Not to Worry

Furthermore embraced within religion there is (according to Webster’s definition), a state of reward and punishment, man’s accountableness to God; true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. Again, if we are committed to our relationship with Jesus; if we are sincere, then these components of our faith do not trouble us. In His straightforwardness our Father has made devotion a black and white, either/or proposition, not because He desires to impose heavy restrictions upon us, but rather because we’re likened to dumb sheep who require the simplest of instructions. Personally, this dumb sheep finds the ‘One way’ doctrine extremely comforting.

So in this vein of simplicity (and concerning the receipt of reward and punishment), which do you prefer? As it pertains to accountability, would you rather answer to man or God (who will judge most righteously)? In the observance of moral duty, which is preferable to you: holiness or hollow-ness? My friends, it is as Webster says, “that the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.” Do you agree?

RELIGION (from the Latin) religio, (which means) to bind anew

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Religion: I know…it’s just a word. Folks, I am not hung up on semantics. If it were just about words I would have tossed this one aside a long time ago, but it’s more than that. The rationale behind abandoning this or any word varies I suppose, but I submit to you that behind many of these reasons lie unresolved (or perhaps unrealized) sorrows of the heart. In those situations I fear it is easier to change a name then resolve a problem and that I believe is the bigger issue. So I ask, “Is it really the word, or is it something else?”

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks…The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it…Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Luke 6:45, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalms 44:21

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A while back I had the displeasure of reading an opinion article posted on CNN.com (reposted on  Face Book). The editorial was titled Bible has some shocking family values,’ and was penned by Michael Coogan, who CNN informs is a lecturer on Hebrew Bible-Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School, a professor of religious studies at Stonehill College, the director of publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum, and the editor of “The New Oxford Annotated Bible. An impressive pedigree. Sadly, Mr. Coogan had missed the mark with his opinions and in an attempt to avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law (Titus 3:8-10), I will extend an admonition concerning Coogan’s article, issue by issue.

Michael Coogan: “When talking about so-called family values, pastors, popes, and politicians routinely quote the Bible as if it were an unassailable divine authority — after all, they assume, God wrote the Bible, and therefore it is absolutely and literally true. But that is a misconception.”

God: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

God: 1 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “The Bible itself makes clear, its authors were human beings…(they) wrote over the course of more than a thousand years, and their writings reflect their own views and the values they shared with their contemporaries.”

Me: Referring back to 2 Timothy, the word inspired is theopneustos in the original Greek and literally means ‘God-breathed.’

God: If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:37), Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. (Jeremiah 1:9)

God: 2 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: ”So it’s not surprising that inconsistencies are frequent in the Bible.”

Me: There most certainly are inconsistencies in the Bible, however, there are no contradictions. More often what we see are eye-witness accounts from diverse peoples and it is there versions of the events that vary. Much in the same way if Coogan and I attended a party and were later asked about who was in attendance. I might say, “Man, the place was packed out; everybody was there!” while my friend might say, “What a boring party; there was nobody there.” Having been a police officer I can assure you that having inconsistent witnesses is an indication that the combined story is not contrived or rehearsed.

Many have complied lists of supposed contradictions in the Bible and Instead of trying to address each, I stumbled across a website where the host lists 143 of them and offers clear and concise and Biblical explanations for every one. You can visit that site HERE.

Michael Coogan: “Although Jews and Christians, individually and collectively, have for the last 2,000 years accepted the Bible as authoritative in principle, in practice many of its values have been rejected.”

Me: He’s right: many have rejected the Bibles values, but not because of the reason he would have us believe! Here’s the truth:

God: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Romans 1:20-25

Me: In other words (we) are blinded by our selfish pursuits. Those who desire to maintain a form of godliness endeavor to establish that their sin is not a sin at all.

God: 3 —  Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “On issues such as slavery, no one today would maintain that slavery is acceptable, even though, according to the Bible, it was a divinely sanctioned institution.”

Me: Slavery is not an institution sanctioned by God. It was (and is) a reality and God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy set about to regulate an enduring practice. If slave owners practiced consistently what God had prescribed, slavery could have become an equitable and humane arrangement for the impoverished. It sounds an absurd notion to us, but slavery had the divine potential to become a brilliant redemptive tool for the indigent.

God: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. Exodus 21:2-6

God: 4 —  Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “In current debates about family values, most of which have to do with sex, opponents of abortion and advocates of a woman’s right to choose both cite the Bible in support of their conflicting views, even though the Bible in fact says nothing specifically about the issue.”

God on Abortion: ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person. Deuteronomy 27:25a

God on Adultery: You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14

God on Fornication: The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body” – but the immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:17b-18

God on Homosexuality: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Leviticus 18:22-23

Me: Perversion doesn’t change.

God: 8 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “…Many contemporary believers would argue that, as with slavery and the status of women, it is time to recognize that the values of the biblical writers are no longer necessarily our own.”

Me: The term contemporary believers (in the context with which Coogan employs it) is merely a cipher regarding those who would desire to preserve an appearance of faithfulness while simultaneously maintaining an immoral lifestyle. The reality is that these folks no longer recognize the values of the Bible because they conflict with their aberrant ones.

God: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

God: 9 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “Individual biblical texts should not be appealed to selectively: Such cherry-picking is all too easy because of the nature of the Bible as a multi-authored book.”

Me: I agree…and so does God; which is why we need to accept God at His word.

Michael Coogan: “What did its words mean when they were written…Only in this sense can the Bible be considered to have timeless relevance that transcends the historical particularities of its authors.”

Me: Nonsense. Godly values do not change. They can’t.

God: For I am the Lord, I do not change (Malachi 3:6a), God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19), Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

God: 10 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: (regarding our moral freedom) “Whatever you wish people to do to you, so you should do to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Jesus in Matthew 7:12)

Me: I’m actually appalled that an alleged biblical scholar would take these words of Christ to falsely affirm that Christians can do whatever they please. That’s ridiculous and entirely out of context. Coogan, you should be ashamed of yourself. Sensing our tendency to loop-hole our way through life, it doesn’t surprise me that the very next words out of our Lord’s mouth were these:

God: Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

God: 11 — Coogan: 0

Michael Coogan: “I suggest, the essence of the Bible — its ultimate authority — is not in its individual pronouncements, but in its underlying message: equal, even loving, treatment of all persons, regardless of their age, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

Me: The essence of the Bible Mr. Coogan is salvation through Jesus Christ and the underlying message is love. The fact is that the Lord places a greater significance upon the lost and therefore, so should I. It might be a stretch to put it this way, but God thinks less of me than those who lifestyles He and I oppose. Why? Because He desires to save them, and well, I’m already saved. God‘s love abounds towards everyone and He blesses the saved and the unsaved, but make no mistake about it, God does not approve of sin and never will.

God: Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

God: 12 — Coogan: 0

Me: Mr. Coogan. Assuming that we both get to Heaven, one of two things might occur. God is either go to say to me, “Dave, I cannot believe that you believed everything that was written in the Bibles,” or He is going to say to you, “Michael, I cannot believe that you didn’t believe everything that was written in the Bible.” Frankly, I’d very much prefer to hear the first remark over the latter.

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Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the Lord). (And) still the people acted corruptly. 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

It’s no wonder King Jotham didn’t go to church, after all look at what happened to his father, King Uzziah; all he wanted to do was burn some incense in the Temple and the Lord struck him with leprosy! Uzziah was incensed (pun intended) and until the day he died he likely shared his resentment with anyone within earshot. This had an impact on Jotham, for when he became king he steered clear of the temple entirely. This of course started a domino effect. Since Jotham wouldn’t go to church, the people of Judah wouldn’t go either and consequently they became corrupt.

The burden was still theirs, but their leaders mislead.

Do you think our leaders and our president would have an influence on this nation if they embraced Jesus Christ, the Church, and the Word of God? 

A Half Truth is a Lie

Uzziah was a godly man, but he messed up. It might not have been Uzziah’s intent, but when he spoke of his bitterness, he undoubtedly left out the parts where he was in sin. All anyone (Jotham), ever heard was that Uzziah entered the Temple clean and exited the Temple with leprosy. The reality is that he entered the Temple unclean and left the Temple judged.

Uzziah walked closely with the Lord and as a result became powerful and popular. But sadly he also became prideful and thought that he could enter the temple and burn incense to the Lord. Uzziah knew the rules; he knew only the priests were allowed to do this, but his arrogance clouded his vision and he did it anyway. God dealt with him accordingly. The stories Uzziah told afterwards probably always painted him as the victim and rarely (if ever) the villain.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

The Harm We Do

Have you ever grumbled about the church; about the pastor or about someone in the congregation? I know I have. The lesson from this Bible passage should serve to remind us that every time we do, we speak against the Lord and the work He is doing. Our careless words could have serious consequences; exaggerated and/or erroneous stories could very well result in keeping friends, family and strangers from attending that or any other church. King Jotham’s actions resulted in an entire people group becoming corrupt!

Let our conduct never cause division.

…Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:3-6

  1. What do verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. Are there changes we can address?

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And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of God. Then he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and by the temple, all around the king. 2 Chronicles 23:9-10

What is a Trophy?

Trophies are the tangible proof; the irrefutable evidence of triumph. Consider Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition: Among the ancients, a pile of arms taken from a vanquished enemy, raised on the field of battle by the conquerors…Any thing taken and preserved as a memorial of victory, as arms, flags, standards and the like, taken from an enemy.

Webster’s explanation seems to imply that trophies are less for the recipient and more for those who might witness their display—sort of like our testimonies. Think about that in the context of today’s Bible passage. Jehoiada the priest goes to the Temple and equips Judah’s army with King David’s trophies! These men were fortified, if you will, by the testimony David had left behind for God’s glory.

Is that not the purpose of a saintly testimony? Surely the testimony giver is blessed in the sharing, but isn’t it the hearer who is encouraged and empowered? Reflect upon that the next time you witness an athlete hoisting a trophy over his head. Were you in any way encouraged or empowered? Unless that contestant was glorifying God, the only one being elevated was himself.

God’s Trophy Case

Giving God all the honor, glory, and praise, King David placed all the trophies in the Temple, revealing that awards of this kind belong to God. Webster would likely agree for in his last entry (to his trophy definition) he writes ‘Present every hearer to Christ as a trophy of grace, ’ thus demonstrating that the trophy belongs to Jesus. Christians don’t receive trophies; we are the trophy, and accordingly we elevate Christ Jesus as champion.

So where are your trophies? Are they in the temple for all to see (and hear) or are they collecting dust? Let us endeavor to share them with others so that God can have victory in their lives too!

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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And when he (Jehoshaphat) had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21

Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah was a godly man, evidenced by the fact that the Bible records only one sinful blunder during his reign. However because of that singular indiscretion, the Lord withdrew for a season the peace he and the Kingdom of Judah had been enjoying, demonstrating clearly that everyone reaps what he sows every time he sows. As a consequence there would be war in the land.

Seeing the error of his ways, Jehoshaphat repents. With all the men of Judah, their wives, and their children, he stood before the Lord and prayed and then waited for His answer. In His infinite mercy God said, “Fear not for the battle is not yours, but Mine.” They would indeed go against the enemy but God proclaimed, “You will not need to fight in this battle.” (2 Chronicles 20:13-17)

That must have been very comforting to Jehoshaphat.

We know this to be true by what Jehoshaphat does by faith the day of the conflict – he announces that the singers would lead Judah’s army into battle. Insanity, right? How would you have liked to been a part of that choir? Amazingly, they too were on-board with the king’s decree and as a result of this faith-filled maneuver, the bewildered enemy was defeated when they turned and killed themselves.

Believing the Promises of God

Faithful obedience is directly proportionate to how much we believe of what we say we believe. Do we doubt the promises of God or are we willing to loyally proceed in such a manner that the world might say, “This is insanity?” I submit that in every situation, negative or otherwise, whereby a believer responds conversely to worldly protocol, non-believers stop and take notice. Of that group, some (seekers perhaps) will be curious and others (possibly the enemy) will be befuddled. As for the enemy; i.e., the one who perpetually denies the power of the Lord (like the adversary in Jehoshaphat’s story), essentially destroys himself.

For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 2 Chronicles 20:23

Jesus Freak

Are we on the right track?

As you might already be aware, the earliest usage of the term Christian was meant as a derogatory remark in much the same way folks today call followers of Christ ‘Jesus Freaks.’ We should be honored when, because of our faithful authenticity, we are insulted and slandered, as it is likely an indication that we are walking properly. In those situations a slap in the face is the equivalent to a slap on the back. Such tribute however is not for those who have faith, but for those who exercise the faith they have been given. As we walk with Jesus, let us trust in His full support at least as much as we trust the concrete path we walk upon.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

These articles may or may not relate:

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Now when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled from the house of Judah and Benjamin one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.” ‘ ” Therefore they obeyed the words of the Lord, and turned back from attacking Jeroboam. 2 Chronicles 11:1-4

A Sad Situation

King Solomon is dead and his son Rehoboam, now reigning in his place, makes a huge blunder that causes the Kingdom of Israel to split. In an attempt to correct his error, Rehoboam goes to war against Israel hoping to unify the nation, but God would not allow it. The reality is that Rehoboam’s mistake was the thing that God used to fulfill the prophesy which was spoken in 1 Kings 11. It’s there we see that Solomon was the one in error when he multiplied wives, followed false gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13

As a result of Solomon’s sin (not Rehoboam’s), the majority of Israel left to become the ten northern tribes and Rehoboam was left to rule over the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Lord was doing a restorative work in Israel and He would not permit Rehoboam to work in his flesh to fix it. Yes, there was division, but God was allowing it for purposes all of which we cannot fully comprehend.

Recognizing God’s Sovereignty

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ …Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. Isaiah 46:9-11b

This was a timely lesson for me because there is division in my church. Don’t be shocked, because there is division in your church too. My wife and I sat down last night and discussed the situation and ultimately concluded that the entire situation is in God’s control; all we can do is pray. As painful as it is and for reasons not fully understood by us and others, He is allowing this scenario to play out.

So last night I prayed about it not at all expecting what would happen next. Instead of providing an answer to the problem, God chose to illuminate the Rehoboam problem in me—It would seem that ‘in my heart’ I too was prepared to do battle for the sake of unity. More amazingly, I had no idea the ‘Rehoboam story’ was a part of my bible study this morning. For the first time I saw the errant lunacy of fighting as the means of bringing about harmony. Whether or not God purposed it or was allowing it is less relevant than the fact He is in control of it—it will run its course and in the end God’s will [will] be done.

In the meantime, we pray because prayer changes us—it is not the first time God revealed a thing in me that needed attention and I pray it is not the last. Incredibly, the things that we think might be dividing the body of Christ are the very things God is using to make the body stronger–that is of course if individually we are submitted to the divine process. Are you submitted? If there is division, pray about it and let God change you.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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And Solomon had all these articles made in such great abundance that the weight of the bronze was not determined. 2 Chronicles 4:18

Bronze (or brass) in the Bible always speaks to judgment and it is not a coincidence that all of the components outside the Temple’s Holy Place were made of bronze. The last item in fact to be seen before passing into the Holy Place was the bronze covered door. In the typology, that door speaks of Christ Jesus and the bronze encasement speaks to all the judgement He endured and bore for our transgressions.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

What I like about the 2 Chronicles passage is that it records that weight of all the bronze used in the Temple was without measure. Similarly it can also be supposed that the weight of the judgment cast upon the shoulders of our Lord and Savior cannot be calculated. My prayer would be that we; that is you and I…

may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 2:18-19

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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Then Solomon determined to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal house for himself. Solomon selected seventy thousand men to bear burdens, eighty thousand to quarry stone in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred to oversee them. 2 Chronicles 2:1-2

The types and antitypes associated with the Temple built by Solomon are enormous and quite possibly innumerable. The fulfillment passages from the New Testament do however give us a threefold glimpse into the typology. John 2:19-21 for instance tells us the Temple is prophetically Jesus Christ. In inexpressible contrast, 1 Corinthians 3:16 cites that individually we’re the Temple. And while still grasping at that notion, Ephesians 2:19-22 reminds us that the church corporately is the Temple. While conceptually baffling, simultaneously (aided by the Holy Spirit), the believer somehow gets it.

Getting it

Despite the modern Christian rejection of the word religion, I cherish and embrace its intrinsic worth, for contained within are the components of our faith that we get to take part in. Those who discredit, disdain, and summarily dismiss the word have been prejudiced (apparently) because they see religion as the thing(s) they obligatorily have to do in supposed violation of their free will. While others quite frankly reject the word because they’re offended by someone else giving them biblical direction, failing to realize that the ordinances are God-breathed. That my friends is a shame.

I elevate the issue because in Solomon’s actions we see what God can do when a person is determined to do those things he gets to do. We note that Solomon’s free will was not violated–he could have refused. He could have said, “Hey, this was my father’s pet-project, not mine. I may have inherited the mission, but I don’t have to do it,” and God would have raised up somebody else to do the work. I’m pleased that Solomon didn’t perceive the construction of God’s Temple as just another element of somebody else’s legalistic religion.

More Typology

At the beginning of the chapter we read how Solomon established a workforce of 153,600 men. I assumed at this point that these were Israelite men. I was somewhat surprised to discover at the end of the chapter that labors were in fact alien residents who lived amongst the Jews. I believe it pictures how the Gentiles were to be spliced into God’s Holy nation of people. The Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17 would put it this way:

And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree

I am excited by the prophetic implication. What also excites me is that God’s people; i.e., His followers, understand that He has chosen us for this work. We are His tools and the appreciative believer willingly summits himself to the Hand of the Master. What should happen if we refuse? Jesus tells pointedly…

“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40

Christ is building His church and as He declared in Matthew 17:18, “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” So if we deem the mission legalistic or replete with religiosity, there are plenty of grateful folk waiting in line to take our place. My prayer is that we, as both constructors and components of Christ’s Temple joyfully recognize that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart (*perfect heart, KJV) and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

The Myth

Nike, the winged goddess of victory, is of course a myth, which is quite fitting since the philosophy behind the slogan “Just Do it,” (that we currently attribute to the modern day name), is also a fairy tale. Taken out of its biblical context, “Just Do it” minimally serves to set one up for ruin. However, in its proper framework, the phrase is the perfect tag for a most wonderful counsel.

The Math

As we read King David’s encouragement to Solomon, the numbers begin to add up. Inspired by God, David lays down a pattern for the boy king to follow, first acknowledging that the tried and true God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is also his God. “If the God I follow were not genuine,” David might have said to his son, “I would have told you so!” Therefore David does proclaim, ‘Know God.’ The Apostle Paul would add…

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11

Serving God

It might seem obvious, but it’s of vital consequence to recognize that we cannot serve God until we know something about God. It is for this reason David prescribed the order to be followed. Once we know, and as we are committed to knowing Him more, the church, both individually and corporately can more effectively serve Him. Performance flounders for those whose biblical and relational knowledge of Jesus is shallow.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

A Perfect Heart

In the New King James version, the passage is rendered as serving God with a loyal heart, while the King James translation cites a perfect heart. The message being conveyed by both is that Christian service is not to be done half heartedly. Since the Father searches our hearts entirely and wholly comprehends our intensions, to bring Him less than all is pointless.

I will praise You with my whole heart… Psalm 138:1a

.Less of Me

David continues that we should seek Him…

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a

And that we have been chosen by Him…

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you John 15:16

And that we have a house to build too!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

How Do We Pull it Off?

When we talk about things like perfection, aren’t we over extending ourselves? You bet we are. As we read further along in 1 Chronicles 28 we discover that David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple that was to be built. Similarly, our Father has given us the pattern in His written word to pursue.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

David told Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God–my God–will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord,” and God tells us the same thing; we have the identical assurance.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6; 4:19

No Worries

God does not take away our ability to choose, so we can, if we desire, worry. But in light of God’s established promises (for those who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), why would we elect to waste precious time focusing on our anxieties–Jehovah Jireh is our provider and His grace is our sufficiency. We can know Him, whole heartedly serve Him, and seek Him resting in the reality that we have been chosen and thoroughly equipped by Him. Praise be to God!

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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