Monthly Archives: November 2012

Desensitization To Evil

Why was Lot so reluctant to leave Sodom before its destruction? It is hard to answer that question. 

II Peter 2:6-9 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

 God calls Lot ‘just’ and ‘righteous’ (which basically mean the same thing) in II Peter. He certainly was bothered by the things going on around him.  He was vexed by unlawful deeds, yet he continued to live there.

Think about what surrounds us today.  We are constantly barraged by ungodly issues.  There is nothing new under the sun. All one has to do is to look at what is presented to us on TV. Cable news runs practically non-stop and they for the most part, promote liberal ungodly agendas. Movie channels deliver soap opera type movies all day long. Profanity, nudity and violence dominate the story lines. Reality shows are popular, even though they are not true reality. “They” say we live in a changing world. Truthfully the world has not changed much. Good is still good and evil is still evil. Both can effect us.

We can start to become desensitized to evil if we are not careful. The more we are exposed to it, the less serious its violations seem. In Lot’s world he still had a choice and at some point he became accountable for his choice. While Abram developed character in believing the wonderful promises of God, Lot was looking at cave dwelling after escaping the ruin of Sodom.  Neither of these men were perfect, they differed in the focus and direction of their attention.

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Life’s A Beach?

One of my favorite pastimes is sitting on a beach early in the morning looking out over the horizon.  I love the salty air smell and the intermittent sqawks from the gulls. It is so quiet, majestic and humbling and so very peaceful. In a few short hours however, the beautiful sea could be transformed into an enemy and cause great chaos and damage. Insurance companies place the label “an act of God” to describe the force behind the damage.  Raging seas are certainly not “an act of God”, just as quiet beach contemplation really isn’t salvation. Whether it’s the ocean or beautiful mountains and scenery, this verse in Jeremiah puts things in perspective:

Jeremiah 3:23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.

The rulership of this world and how it functions is not under God’s control. Good and evil co-exist on this planet. God is certainly the creator of the heavens and the earth, but something else exists in this world that seems to drive to topple God’s creation and cause depravation instead of abundance. God’s solution to it’s effect is set in the central theme of Genesis in chapter 3:

In Genesis 3:14-15 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (The use of the word ‘seed’ in Genesis is interesting. It is used 59 times. No other book of the Bible uses it that much.)

In Genesis, God wrote about His son who would come and provide the salvation necessary for man to survive and abound in this world and eventually to have access to eternal life with Him. Salvation requires a choice.  Free-will choice is a just provision of God. He doesn’t push us, he simply laid it all out in the life of His son.

God is spirit, we can’t see Him, but throughout ages he has given His spirit (the very essence of what he is) and laid it upon certain men and women in the Old Testament.  In the New Testament that essence is available by choice to every human being. It takes up residence internally in man now and is not conditional like it was in the Old Testament. We have the choice to become of God’s seed and in doing so become enmity to worldly seed. Our heels get  bruised when we yield to the worldly influences, but it doesn’t have to effect our head. We have access to God by remembering what he has written in His Word or by reading it. We can pray with the spirit or with our understanding and the raging seas are quieted. I don’t even have to run to a beach to get that. It can be accomplished anywhere even in the middle of utter chaos.

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Brother’s Keeper?

Do you remember the first time you heard the Cinderella story. Being in the stage of life that I now am in, I have seen many versions of the story and each version seems to take on the flavor of the culture.

Sometimes people look at the Adam and Eve story as an old story and have trouble relating the idyllic agrarian culture of that time and its events. Regardless of culture, ethnicity, race and time frame, the Adam and Eve record is about two human beings and their relationship with God. Whether Adam was black, white, middle eastern, farmer, immigrant or even right-brained or left brained, he was human and subject to the free-will choice nature God gave him. The same humanness is played out over and over today and it is displayed in every decision we choose to make.

When God  said “Where art thou?” to Adam after he had been deceived, Adam came out of hiding and told God the truth.  When God asked Cain, “Where is Abel?” He responded,  “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” This is a very arrogant rhetorical question that exposes his evil thinking. God knows Cain is lying and that he had murdered own his brother. Cain threw his own guilt back on God.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” That is a relevant question today. I truly believe from reading the Bible through and through that God’s desire for each His people is strength, power and confidence. Regardless of our culture, Psalm 121 is true today:

121:1  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?
2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

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Type and Antitype

E.W. Bullinger in his book, Figures of Speech Used In The Bible describes a figure called ‘Type’. His definition is: “A figure or ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, called the ‘Antitype’.” A figure of speech is a literary figure that draws your eye to something important. The ‘Type’ is not an exact match-up, it is a simple illustration or shadow of something to come. Melchizedek is an example of a ‘Type’.

Melchizedec is found in the Bible in three locations. Genesis 14:18-20 (his name used 1x), Psalm 110:4 (1x) and Hebrews 5-7 (9x). In the first location in Genesis, Abraham is greeted and blessed by Melchizedec when he returned victoriously from a war with four kings who tried to take over an area of smaller kingdoms. Abraham rescued his nephew Lot, who had been taken captive during the battle. Melchizedek was a high priest and the King of Salem. Since ‘Salem’ means peace, he is also called the King of Peace. In Hebrew 7, Melchizedec is called the King of Righteousness. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedec out of respect for his position as the high priest of a priesthood that was different from the Levite priesthood that would form in later generations in Israel.

Abraham was the great-grandfather of Levi (Hebrews 7:6-10) who later, was the head of a tribe that served as Hebrew priests of Israel. Levites were servants of God who worked from age 25 to 50 as teachers of the law. Some of them were priests. None of them were kings. Their positions were inherited. (Check out Hebrews 7:3) The Levites were paid tithes from the other tribes for their support. The Levite’s priesthood was to the one nation of Israel.

There is a lot in these records that are a shadow or ‘type’ of the priesthood of Jesus Christ after the order of Melchizedec. What caught my eye when I was reading the Genesis 14 record was that Melchizedec brought forth ‘bread and wine’ to Abraham as he returned from the war. My mind immediately thought of Jesus Christ’s last supper and the bread and wine analogies, prior to his once and for all sacrifice. Levites sacrificed yearly for the sins of Israel. It was not a permanent sacrifice. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice would mean a new covenant for Israel.

In reading all these sections of scripture, I can see that Melchizedec was certainly not Jesus Christ, but he might have been an illustration to help in Israel’s transition as traditional, religious Hebrews of the early Christian church to the new covenant.

Hebrews 7:15-22 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

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The Presence of Something Else

In the King James Version of the Bible, there is an interesting verse that people could very easily attribute evil to God.

Isaiah 45:7 I form (yatsar) the light, and create (bara) darkness: I make (asah) peace, and create (bara) evil: I the LORD do (asah) all these things.

In Isaiah 45:7 the word ‘form’ is the word ‘yatsar’ and according to Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, it means to make something out of something pre-existing. The word ‘create’ means to derive something from nothing. It is an interesting use of words. The word for evil is ‘ra’ and it refers to calamity, distress, adversity and disaster. There is a lot to look at in this verse and its immediate context.

In the beginning God created the earth. When it became without form and void, He put it back together by saying: ‘Let there be light’. He restored the pre-existing matter. Darkness is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of light.  God is not evil nor does he cause evil. When God is absent by man’s freewill choice, he is subjects himself to the nothingness of something else. That is the way the world is.  The way to dispel darkness is to turn on the light. The way to dispel evil is to turn to God.

I Corinthians 1-2 contains an interesting record comparing the wisdom of the world to the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Looking back to Genesis, it is interesting to reflect why God warned Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They lived in the presence of God in the garden.  When they decided to ignore God’s warning and turn to someone else’s wisdom, the lights went out and disaster was the result. They bumped into all sorts of calamity. God did not bring the problems. They were caused by the presence of something else.

Physical light is such a simple way to illustrate God. In a totally dark room one has to grope and move about with tentativeness and caution. Bumping into things is expected. The minute even one ray of light enters, things get better.  God is the overcomer of darkness.

The second Adam, Jesus Christ, is God’s solution to the misery of this world that was inevitable because of the actions of the first Adam.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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