Monthly Archives: May 2017

Vowing A Vow

In the book of Judges, the concept of “vows” comes up in the record about Jephthah.  He made a vow to God that if God give victory to him to defeat the Ammonites he would offer a burnt offering of the first thing that comes out his door upon returning home:

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. Judges 11:30-31

As the record goes, his one and only daughter came through the door. He had just fought an enemy whose main god was appeased by child sacrifices. Many scholars believe that Jephthah’s vow meant that his daughter would be dedicated to serve in the temple the rest of her life and there are some who believe she was an actual burnt offering. Irregardless, God did help to deliver the enemy into his hands, but I have issues with the ‘vow’ part. The way this reads sounds like an ‘I will do this, if you will do this’ proposition. Are we taught in God’s word somewhere to pray this way????

Things digress in the book of Judges. Israel went from a God-only culture to a God plus gods of the surrounding culture to then to the stage of forsaking God and worshipping the idols of the culture around them:

6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him. Judges 10:6

Jephthah’s ‘vow’ to God seems off to me. God does not do things because of bribes or manipulation. God delivered them because of his love, compassion and grace when they trusted and listened to him.

Jesus Christ talks about oath in Matthew 5:33-37:

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

James 5:12 says essentially the same thing:

12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

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Unity of the Spirit

There is one God over all. God is a spirit, not a man, who is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). There is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is Lord, appointed by God for that very purpose. The spirit is what God gives us through Jesus Christ when we choose to believe. This is the church! It is what the New Testament is all about!

The only way to keep unity in the church is through the spirit which has its ultimate source in God:

Ephesians 4:3-4 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body (not 24,000, God recognizes one body), and one spirit (it is genitive so it is the unity that proceeds from the spirit {spirit of God in Christ in a person}) 

Unity doesn’t come from a particular denomination or non-denomination, unity comes from the spirit.There is so much disagreement in the world today. It is everywhere. In the religious culture, it is rampant. I run across blogs and podcasts and even though I may disagree on one point or another, I enjoy reading or listening to someone who discusses God’s word. I know that there is no one that gets it all right.

In the Word of God there it is true there is a lot of doctrine, but there also is so much in its pages about practice.  The book of Acts is an example (The book of ‘Praxis’). The first half of Romans is certainly doctrine, the second half is practice.  The first three chapters of Ephesians is about doctrine, chapters 4-6 is about practice. Practice is important without which life is nothing but lifelessness and error. God’s word is exciting and vibrant. The word in conjunction with the holy spirit’s in-working lights up the word and its energy motivates the practical walk.

God wants us all to know his heart. Listening to others often stimulates my interest spiritually in areas of the Word that I may have questions about. With God’s assistance I enjoy digging into the Bible and over and over my expectations are rewarded with great treasure.

The Word of God is more than just words on a page. It is not a dust-covered lifeless book.   The Word of God can lift the heavy veil of darkness off of a person’s heart. It is access to comfort, inspiration, excitement, joy, genuine peace and undeniable heart and life healing.

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Abimelech ~ My Father is King

In the last post, I wrote about Abimelech, one of Gideon’s sons by a concubine that lived in Shechem. Gideon turned down the draft to be king after his great victories. The name ‘Abimelech’ means my ‘father is king’ and ‘father of a king’. Somebody didn’t get the memo! (Judges 8:23)

In the last post, I wrote about Abimelech, one of Gideon’s sons by a concubine that lived in Shechem. Gideon turned down the draft to be king after his great victories. The name ‘Abimelech’ means my ‘father is king’ and ‘father of a king’. Somebody didn’t get the memo! (Judges 8:23)

3 And his mother’s brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.
4 And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.
5 And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. Judges 9:3-5

Enter politics, follow the money! Abimelech was named king. 70 pieces of silver came from the house of Baalberith to support him. The house of Baalberith, the house the god of the covenant between the Hebrews and Canaanites, was something the true God warned against.

Three years into his reign, the Shechemites got tired of Abimelech and enlisted Gaal to go up against them. Zebul a ruler in Shechem helped Abimelech and Gaal was run out of town. Abimelech attacked the city and killed his opponent and even burned (remember the bramble bush?) down the tower that was their protection (Judges 9:49). As Abimelech went on and attacked the city of Thebez, he went after its tower and tried to burn it down, but a woman dropped a rock on his head from the tower. Oops!

The story of Gideon’s son, Abimelech, has a lot to say about self-appointed leaders or even man-appointed leadership. It is God who chooses to enlist men and women to do his work. He does not call them to titles, grandiose posing, and crowns. True leadership is easily recognizable. The end result of God’s work brings fruitful peace and not a miasma of ambition, dissatisfaction and unrest.

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