How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Chapter 5 of the Gospel of John begins with Jesus visiting the Pool of Bethesda.
Bethesda has two meanings. “Beth” in Hebrew and Aramaic means “house of mercy” or “house of grace”. “Hesda” means “shame, disgrace”. “Shame, disgrace” came from all the invalids at the pool and “grace, mercy” came from the perceived healing powers of the waters in the pool. Continue reading
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Jesus was preaching to the crowd that gathered to hear the discussion he was having with the disciples of John the Baptist. Christ was condemning the cities that had failed to repent even after having witnessed the works of Christ.
I would assume the cities that Christ was referring to in the earlier verses, considered themselves to be an epicenter of intellect and enlightenment. But Christ is telling them they will pay the price for their arrogance, stiff necks and harden hearts. This is just as the great prophets of the Old Testament had preached to metropolises of their time.
After denouncing these worldly centers, Christ then speaks the words in verse 25. Continue reading
To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?
When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel. I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it. I am talking about the arrogance of those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge. The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime. People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction. But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.
Justice is very subjective. 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
When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”
What has Jeremiah said or done to make the officials of Judah want to have him perish? Well, let’s look back at Jeremiah 26:4-6: Continue reading
“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
The prophet Malachi has written the words of God, and here he has written another example of the arrogance of man. This is God calling us out for our arrogance.
Israel had its expectations of God just as we do now. They had expectations about what God should or shouldn’t be doing. So when God didn’t meet their expectations they spoke as Malachi has written in these verses. Continue reading
You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Malachi is addressing the priests and rulers of Israel. In verse sixteen, Malachi tells the priests just how sinful they have been, but he also lets them know that there is still time for repentance. He also advises them of the consequences they will have to suffer if they continue on their current path. Continue reading