Daddy blog

I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Eternal principles, cultural applications


S: 1 Chronicles 11:17-19 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. “God forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

O: The Three mentioned in this passage are a special group of mighty warriors loyal to David — Ishbaal ha Hacmoni (a.k.a. Yosheb Basshebeth or Yashobeam), Eleazar ben Dodai, and Shammah ben Agee ha Harari.

When I first read this passage, my reaction was, "My goodness, if I were one of the Three, I would be so upset that I risked my life to get you this water and you poured it out on the ground?"

But this incident illustrates something which is obvious in many places in many contexts in the Bible — cultures are different, and the same thing can mean different things in different cultures. To the Three, this act showed great honour — because when David poured out the water as a libation unto God, it was offering it to God and not wasting it as I would have taken it in my own cultural context. So the Three would have been honoured by David's sacrifice.

The principles in the Bible are eternal, but the application has to be in the context of the current culture. So there are many specific actions which are condoned in scripture which might not be appropriate in our own cultural context.

A: Evangelical Christians often look down on "liberals" for "not taking the Bible literally". But what does "taking the Bible literally" mean? Certainly, we need to take God's Word seriously. But we need to think and evaluate when applying Biblical principles to our current context. It may or may not be applied in exactly the same way as what the people in the Bible did — because their context was different. For example, we cannot apply Leviticus 25:44 literally today to say that it would be right to enslave people from a neighbouring country.

P: Father, give us wisdom in applying Your eternal principles to our lives. And when it is clear that something is wrong, give me the strength not to give in to temptation. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Your unfaithfulness affect other people


S: 1 Chronicles 10:1-3, 6, 13-14 Now the Philistines fought against Israel. The Israelites fled before the Philistines and many of them fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines stayed right on the heels of Saul and his sons. They struck down Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua. The battle was thick around Saul; the archers spotted him and wounded him. ... So Saul and his three sons died; his whole household died together ... So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord and did not obey the Lord’s instructions; he even tried to conjure up underworld spirits. He did not seek the Lord’s guidance, so the Lord killed him and transferred the kingdom to David son of Jesse.

O: From what we know, Jonathan, and presumably Abinadab and Malki-Shua, did not abandon the Lord -- only Saul did. But they all died as a result of Saul's sins. They probably went to heaven; it's unclear about Saul's eternal destiny.

Our sins can affect the people around us. Although God doesn't hold it against the children, a bad father's sins can affect their children negatively via their consequences. Saul's unfaithfulness ended up physically harming his children, though because his children remained faithful, their eternal destinies were still intact.

A: Two weeks ago, we saw how God was still willing to forgive Manasseh in spite of his horrible sins. Last week, we saw how in spite of Manasseh's repentance, the consequences of his sins remained. This week, we see how Saul's sins affected his children.

It's a dangerous thing to be unfaithful. Although God will always forgive and accept you back when you repent, there are consequences not only for yourself, but also for the people you love. I need to remember this every time I'm tempted.

P: Father, help me to remember this when I'm tempted. May I stay faithful to You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Better to repent now rather than later


S: 2 Kings 24:2-3 The Lord sent against him Babylonian, Syrian, Moabite, and Ammonite raiding bands; he sent them to destroy Judah, as he had warned he would do through his servants the prophets. Just as the Lord had announced, he rejected Judah because of all the sins which Manasseh had committed.

O: Last week, my life journal was about how Manasseh, the most horrible and wicked king of Judah ever, repented and the Lord forgave him.

But this week, we see that even though Manasseh himself personally repented and God forgave him, the influence of his evil years persisted until the Lord had to destroy Judah before they would repent under the Babylonian exile.

The fact is that, God may forgive us of our sins when we repent, but the effects of our sins persist.

A: Therefore, do not say, "I'll keep sinning for now, and repent later; after all, God will forgive me." The consequences of your sins will persist.

Manasseh's evil leadership in those years before he repented had already set things in motion. Too many people were already used to the evil ways, and persisted in them even after Manasseh's repentance. So this eventually led to the fall of Judah in spite of Manasseh's repentance.

Dr. W. A. Criswell, in a sermon from 1962, explained this process in much greater detail. Read his sermon here.

So: don't keep sinning, thinking you can repent later. Yes, it is true, God forgave Manasseh even after so many years of evil. But the consequences remained. Repent now!

P: Father, may I quickly repent as soon as I'm aware of my sin, and not allow myself to think that I'll repent later. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Repentance is possible


S: 2 Kings 21:6-16 [Manasseh] passed his son through the fire and practiced divination and omen reading. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits, and appointed magicians to supervise it. He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. He put an idol of Asherah he had made in the temple, about which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law my servant Moses ordered them to obey.” But they did not obey, and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites.

So the Lord announced through his servants the prophets: “King Manasseh of Judah has committed horrible sins. He has sinned more than the Amorites before him and has encouraged Judah to sin by worshiping his disgusting idols. So this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I am about to bring disaster on Jerusalem and Judah. The news will reverberate in the ears of those who hear about it. I will destroy Jerusalem the same way I did Samaria and the dynasty of Ahab. I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a plate on both sides. I will abandon this last remaining tribe among my people and hand them over to their enemies; they will be plundered and robbed by all their enemies, because they have done evil in my sight and have angered me from the time their ancestors left Egypt right up to this very day!’”

Furthermore Manasseh killed so many innocent people, he stained Jerusalem with their blood from end to end, in addition to encouraging Judah to sin by doing evil in the sight of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 The Lord confronted Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria. They seized Manasseh, put hooks in his nose, bound him with bronze chains, and carried him away to Babylon. In his pain Manasseh asked the Lord his God for mercy and truly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. When he prayed to the Lord, the Lord responded to him and answered favorably his cry for mercy. The Lord brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.

O: Manasseh was one of the worst ever kings of Judah, in spite of having such a good father, Hezekiah. He even committed human sacrifice on his son and murdered many people -- and the way that 2 Kings 21:6 puts it, it implies that these were godly people who supported Hezekiah's reforms.

Yet when he was captured by the Babylonians, he repented, and God forgave him. There is a "Prayer of Manasseh" in the Septuagint, which some think is the prayer he prayed in his repentance.

A: No matter how bad your sin is, when you realize it, repent! God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked! He would rather you turn to Him. God says, "Come, let us reason together -- Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."

P: Father, thank You that You sent Your only begotten Son, so that we do not have to perish, but have everlasting life. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)