Category: Devotional

The Unrighteous Righteous

Throughout Kings we have seen David described as righteous over and over again. We are told that he obeyed all the laws and regulations of the Lord and — if you’re like me — the justice side of your brain is hollering, “WHAT!?”

Is this the same David who married foreign women? The same David who forced himself on a vulnerable married woman? Who tried to cover that affair up? Who had the husband killed so he could marry his baby-mama? The one who was too cowardly or distant to discipline his own children? The one who refused to hold his own men accountable? The one who tasked his son to exact revenge on his behalf? That guy? That guy obeyed ALL THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS? Are we sure we’re talking about the same fellow?

Then we read about Solomon marrying 700 women of royal birth. Remember these were treaties signed with foreign nations! So not only was Solomon amassing women who will turn his heart away, but these women are also of royal birth and represent treaties with a great many nations and/or city-states. And, of course, if you are going to maintain good relationships with those peoples with whom you have a treaty, you are going to honour their heritage for fear of upsetting this new ally. You can see something similar today in the way our political leaders in the west will attend a Catholic Mass on Christmas, a Hindu Temple for Diwali, and a Muslim Mosque for Ramadan.

It is clear that both of these men have broken the laws and regulations. So then, why is Solomon found guilty where David is found innocent? Make it make sense!!

The difference was the same then as it is today. We need to pause the ‘JUSTICE!’ part of our brain and examine the ‘grace’ part. In order to bring a better understanding, let’s look to the Apostle Paul. This passage from Romans is talking about Abraham, but it could just as easily refer to David or anyone else who came before Jesus, but trusted in the Lord:

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:20-22 (NIV)

Today I was again reminded that David was a man “after God’s heart”. This doesn’t mean that David was PATTERNED after God’s heart, but rather that he was CHASING after God’s heart. His eyes were on the Lord, even if his hands and feet and eyes and… other things… were places they should not have been. And that — to quote Robert Frost — has made all the difference.

This is the same way that God sees us today. This is how our faith is credited to us as righteousness. The righteousness that we could not hope to earn by our works. And so this righteousness is a gift of grace through faith that justifies us in the eyes of the God who will be our ultimate judge.

Justified. Just-as-if-I’d never sinned at all.

God’s Hatred of Yeast

Ever since the Passover we have been reading about unleavened bread. Yeast is not allowed! If you’re like me, you have likely been wondering why God has such an irrational abhorrence toward leaven.

Well, if you Google that you are likely to end up with several folks telling you that it is because of Paul’s teaching in Galations 5:9 that, “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump.” But in the words of Kevin McAllister… I don’t think so. I find it extremely unlikely that God was pointing to leaven as a metaphor for sin without ever explaining that metaphor for hundreds of years… long after these people who started the practice were dead.

Another — better — explanation you will get is that the Egyptians chased them out so quickly that the Israelites didn’t have time to leaven their bread and so the practice points back to the Passover in that way. (cf. Exodus 12:31) And this sounds reasonable, until you realize that just a few verses earlier God told the Israelites that they would need to observe the coming passover with unleavened bread before the Egyptians ever chased them off. So this always seemed unlikely to me.

I was stumped

But as I was talking with my wife about this, she casually suggested that God probably just wanted the bread to be a special symbol. Talk about a lightbulb moment! The bread was set apart!

Think about it. You know that Passover is coming, so you are going to make a special, unleavened loaf. A loaf that was, from its inception, always meant for a sacred purpose. You were not going to grab a loaf off the shelf that was already made for something else and repurpose it! This bread would be set aside for God.

God doesn’t deserve our “sloppy seconds”. He deserves forethought and intentionality. Ponder that thought as you consider what you offer to God in terms of your time, talent, and resources.

Levitius 9-11 | 050/365

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

Do not be afraid. We hear God and his angels say this so often when they appear in the Biblical narrative that one wonders if perhaps it is the standard greeting in Heaven. But I think this phrase has another application. Job accuses his friends of lying in order to defend God. I think this is a challenge we should receive as Christians today… and every day, for that matter.

How often are we tempted to soften God’s truth. We like to shave off the corners, and sand down the rough edges until we’ve taken the brick for building and turned into a smooth river stone. God does not need our defence. Especially if we are going to misrepresent Him. That judgement will get overturned on appeal anyway.

God flooded the world, drowning almost the entire earth’s population.

God killed the guy who touched the ark, who was only trying to help.

God authorized the slaughter of the Canaanites, He created, He destroys.

God chose to bless and use people who were terrible, like Saul or Saul.

God doesn’t want us to like Him, He wants us to understand who He is. So don’t bother trying to win people to kinder, gentler, fuzzier god… that is NOT the God who created the universe. Once you start changing God so that He better fits our contemporary ideas of what a god should be, you are headed down the slippery slope of preaching what the Apostle Paul calls “another gospel”.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth. So help me God.

Job 12-14 | 022/365

Don’t Do God’s Job

God made two promises to Abraham. The first, that his descendants would out number the stars in the sky. The second, that he would be given the land of the Canaanites to possess. Abraham and Sarah wanted a son so badly they could almost taste it. So when God promised them that they would get a son, they took things into their own hands to see how they could “help“ God achieve this goal. Their attempt to aid God led to problems in their marriage, problems in their household, and strife between the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac. No such attempt was made to prematurely take the land of Canaan by Abraham and Sarah.

If we believe God is leading us into something that we already want, the temptation is significant to try and “make it happen”, but this is more likely to mess things up than bring them into fruition. If we want to see God work, we should let God work. We don’t step in and say “thanks God, I’ll take it from here”. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul says, “What do you have that you did not receive?”, he recognizes that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father (James 1:7, paraphrased).

Don’t do God’s job. You’ll be bad at it.

Genesis 15-17 | 005/365