for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.”
The theme of these verses seems to be a common one throughout the Old Testament. False idols, and the destruction of a nation that turns to them is reported throughout the Bible, especially in the books of the prophets.
I have written a number of times about false gods and idolatry, and this will be another piece on that subject. I’m sure there will be a few more times I will write about this, since I am currently reading the book of Jeremiah and still have fifteen more books to go in the Old Testatment. Continue reading
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
Ask and it will be given…
Many think, that according to this verse, all you have to do is pray really hard and voila, there it will be. Then after taking this naïve approach, they are extremely disappointed when it doesn’t appear before their eyes or happen as planned. Continue reading
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
Job and his friends are trying to find the answer to why Job, a very righteous man, has suffered horrific losses. He lost all his wealth and possessions, his family has been killed, except his wife, and his body is covered in boils and sores.
Jobs friends are convinced it must be retribution from God for a great sin or sins. Job is steadfast in his declaration of innocence and righteousness, and he is correct. Job is convinced it is some horrible trick being played on him by God. Throughout the Book of Job the men are professing to know why God has done this to Job.
Job’s friends proclaiming their knowledge of God demonstrates the arrogance of man. Continue reading
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Many who read these verses would say that Christ is telling us to not judge others and their actions. I agree. But I had a different train of thought when reading these verses today, and it’s the same thought I’ve had throughout the New Testament and the Bible. It’s the teaching and emphasis of the individual and the individual’s self responsibility. Continue reading
In those days they shall no longer say:
“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
When I read these verses two words came into my head. We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.
In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations. When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers. But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes. Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods. They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
My post, Living In Your Paneled House, dealt with the words of the prophet Haggai. He was addressing the people of Israel after their return from captivity in Babylon. The Old Testament Book of Haggai starts by him admonishing the Jews for taking care of their personal homes while neglecting the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple. Haggai was letting all people who hear his words know that they must take care of their spiritual house, which is our spiritual self, which is the house of the Lord. Continue reading
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
What is James talking about in these verses? He is talking about personal responsibility.
He is telling us that temptation and sin are of our own doing. We are not puppets and God is pulling the strings. We are all free individuals able to make our own decisions and choices. And with freedom comes responsibility, personal responsibility. Continue reading