The Trees And The Bramble

The Trees And The Bramble

Today I wanted to write about Judges 9:1-21.  This is the story of Abimelech and his thirst for power.

Abimelech was the son of Jerubbaal a/k/a Gideon.  Gideon was a great judge of Israel who helped free the Israelites from Midian.  For doing this the Israelites wanted to make Gideon king but Gideon refused.  He didn’t want to be king because he knew the Lord God was king.

Gideon left seventy sons who were to judge Israel, but Abimelech, who was the son of one of Gideon’s concubines, wanted to take complete control of the Israelites. Continue reading

The Path To The Water

The Path To The Water

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

That saying dates back to 1175.  It dates all the way back to the twelfth century and yet it will always be true.

It never ceases to amaze me how you can tell people and show them what they are doing isn’t the best course of action, yet just like children they refuse to listen or believe what you are saying.  They refuse your advice until they walk off the cliff and hit the ground hard.

We all ignore prudent and helpful advice throughout our lives.  Sometimes we may not believe the person giving the advice knows what they are talking about.

We have all had bad experiences because we relied on bad advice. Continue reading

Seek God – The First Law

Seek God – The First Law

2 Chronicles 30:18-19

For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”

Hezekiah was the thirteenth king of Judah.  According to the Old Testament, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.  Hezekiah cleansed and restored the temple of the Lord and returned Judah to the laws and traditions as set down by Moses.  This included the celebration of the Passover.

Many people came from tribes outside of Judah to celebrate the Passover.  They had not consecrated or cleansed themselves per the laws of Moses.  Hezekiah understood what was truly important about this feast.  It was a milestone for all the tribes of Israel to be returning to their laws and traditions and once again celebrate the Passover.  He knew it wasn’t about following processes and procedures.  It wasn’t about having all your I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

What was important was, in the words of Hezekiah, “…who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers…”.  Without setting your heart to seek God all the laws, traditions, rituals, celebrations and sacrifices are meaningless.  They are just vanity, an attempt to show off for your neighbors and friends.  They are for the benefit of no one but your vanity.

Perhaps Hezekiah knew what would become of Israel and those who pronounced and enforced the law in the time of Christ.  For in Matthew 23 Christ lets those who are in charge of the law know just how hypocritical they are.  This hypocrisy is the result of those who have no longer set their heart to seek God.  They have, through pride, covetousness and vanity set themselves as gods.

I have read a number of debates on the subject of the laws of Moses and whether or not they apply to Christians since Christ was the fulfillment of the law.  I really don’t know the answer or if the answer really matters.

Hezekiah prayed for those who set their heart to seek God.  To me that is the first and most important law.

Deuteronomy 5:6-7

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.

That law says to me, seek God and set him in your heart every day. And if you do that your sin, which is inevitable, will be forgiven.  That was what Hezekiah prayed for and that is what Christ died for.  All else is vanity and striving after wind.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If The Root Is Holy

If The Root Is Holy

Romans 11:16

If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

I took some time to read commentaries by biblical scholars and theologians in regards to this verse.  All of them seemed to deal with civilizations, tribes, congregations, etc..  They were all saying this verse could refer to the church, meaning Christ was the first fruit, the root, thus making the early Christian church holy.  Some of them also referred to the Jews, going back to Abraham as being the first fruit.  And some referred to the Gentiles, who through their acceptance of Christ were the first fruit and were made holy.

I took this on a more personal level, which is how I tend to treat the whole Bible. Continue reading

Ahab’s Retort

Ahab’s Retort

1 Kings 20:11

And the king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’”

When I read this verse I knew I liked it but it took me a couple of times it to understand the simple message that King Ahab, the king of Israel, was conveying to King Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria.

King Ben-Hadad had gathered all his forces together, which included the armies of thirty two other kings.  That must have been a substantial military force.  For some reason Ben-Hadad wanted to conquer Samaria which was part of Israel and part of King Ahab’s domain.  Ben-Hadad massed all his forces around Samaria and was ready to attack. Continue reading

Never Correct A Scoffer

Never Correct A Scoffer

Proverbs 9:7-12

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Sound advice for all of us. Continue reading

Musicians In Charge

Musicians In Charge

2 Chronicles 34:12-13

And the men did the work faithfully. Over them were set Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. The Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music, were over the burden-bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service, and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers.

Many passages in the Old Testament reference the importance of music, especially in a spiritual way.  There are verses in Samuel about the musicians accompanying the prophets and playing music as the prophets prophesied.  There are verses speaking about Saul, when given to his fits of psychosis and whatever else afflicted him, how he would have the musicians play to soothe his troubled mind.

King David assigned great importance to music.  He had a department of music in his government right along with his department of defense, department of the gatekeepers, department of the treasury, etc., etc. Continue reading