Spiritual Rants: “You Slay Me” January 9, Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 20:1-22:24 Matthew 7:15-29 Psalm 9:1-12 Proverbs 2:16-22

Old Testament:   Genesis 20:1-22:24

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Genesis 20:1-22:24   You Slay Me

Summary:  In chapter 20, Abraham didn’t learn his lesson about lying about his wife being his sister to save his own hide.  He does it again.  But God protects both Abraham and Sarah . . . and Abimelech for that matter.  In chapter 21, God finally fulfills His promise to Abraham to give him a son.  Abe is 100, indicating this is a miracle child.  His new son, Isaac, fights with his other son, Ishmael.  Abe sends Hagar and Ishmael away but God promises to bless Ishmael and make him the father of a great nation.  In chapter 22, God tests Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice his long-awaited son.  Jesus, in a special OT appearance, stops Abraham just in time and provides a ram instead.  Yahweh reassures Abraham that he will have many descendants and possess the land of Canaan.

In Chapter 20, Abraham realizes, on his journey, that his really hot wife could get him killed. What if he bumps into a king who wants her? They agree to tell a white lie to save her that she is his sister. (She is actually his half-sister (v. 12). They had already pulled this trick in Gen. 12:11-13 when God saved Sarah from Pharaoh.) In His grace, God intervenes between Abraham and King Abimelech by tipping off the king in a dream. Check out how Peter uses Sarah as a model of submission in 1 Pet. 3:6.

In Chapter 21, God fulfills His promise to Abraham by giving him a son when he is 100 years-old.  And you think you’ve been waiting on God for a long time? Abraham’s two sons fight so Abraham sends Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, away (v. 14). The mother naturally grieves but God says don’t worry, he will have a gigantic pants company — no, that’s not right  —  he will become a great nation (v. 18).

In Chapter 22, God tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to give up the son.  Abraham had waited over sixty years for Isaac to be born.

Abraham is about to slay his son with a knife and an angel (probably an Old Testament appearance of Jesus, cf. 16:7-14; 21:17-21; 22:11-18; 31:11, 13; Exod. 3:2Judg. 2:1-45:236:11-2413:3-222 Sam. 24:16Zech. 1:123:112:8) stops him. The angel provides a male lamb as a substitute. Does this sound like anything?  It is a pre-figuring of Jesus, God’s Son, being sacrificed for us.  Abraham named the place Yahweh Jireh which means the Lord will provide (v. 14).

In verse 17, Yahweh reiterates His covenant with Abraham (cf. blog Just One Way).  Abraham’s descendants would number more than the number of stars or the sand on the shores (or dust on the earth, cf. 13:16; 15:5).  His descendants will “possess the gate of their enemies,” a reference to Joshua’s victory over Canaan.

New Testament:  Matthew 7:15-29

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Matthew 7:15-29    Rockin’ Out

Summary: We finish up the great Sermon on the Mount today.  Jesus warns against false prophets and teaches his disciples that they need to build their faith on a firm foundation.  Jesus tells the crowd that good fruit comes from a good tree.  If a tree is yielding bad fruit, what does that tell you?  (Change your preacher or teacher?)  Just because someone says, “Jesus is Lord,” doesn’t make it so.  He ends the sermon with an illustration showing that it’s not enough to just hear what He says, you have to act on what He says.  His brother, James later wrote a whole book about this.

In verse 1, Jesus warns the disciples of false teachers that would appear to be good teachers and sheep.  In the end, though, they will end up eating them alive like wolves (v. 15).  The way to know them would be to examine the fruits of their ministries.  Just as good trees bear good fruit, so good teachers will produce disciples with good doctrine (vv. 16-18).  The false prophets will eventually burn for their false teaching.  If they are Christians and their teaching is bad, then their works will be burned at the bema judgment (cf. 1 Cor. 3:15).

Don’t be fooled by teachers who do miraculous signs and wonders (v. 22, cf. 2 Pet. 2:11 John 2:18-19).  Even if they proclaim Christ’s lordship, they could still be teaching heresy (v. 21).  They might not even be saved (cf. 23, Christ doesn’t know them)!   There are those who hold up their Bibles today as if they were going to preach from it but they don’t.  Others emphasize legalistic works to prove salvation without preaching that people are saved by grace alone.  They confuse the three phases of salvation (cf. see Meet The Flockers).

Notice so far there have been two ways (vv. 13-14), two types of profession (vv. 21-23), and now there are two ways to build (vv. 24-29).  A person can build on a solid foundation of good doctrine or can build on false teaching.  If someone has sound doctrine, they will be able to withstand the storms brought by the false prophets: false guilt, lack of assurance, or a broken relationship with God.  Disciples who build on bad doctrine risk their relationship with God and rewards in the future (v. 27).  In short, good doctrine is built on the good doctrine of God’s grace and a sound relationship with the Rock Himself, Christ.

The crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teaching since he spoke with the authority that comes from God.  They had only heard the baloney that the scribes were dishing out (vv. 28-29).

Balancing The Books, Pt. 1  Psalm  9:1-12   A Psalm Of Thanksgiving By David

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Psalm 9:1-12

We’ll be looking over Psalm 9 for the next two days.

I recommend the acrostic A-C-T-S to remember a good way to make sure you cover all your bases when you pray.

A –  Adoration

C- Confession

T – Thanksgiving

S – Supplication (asking for stuff)

There are psalms to cover all these parts of prayer.  Today’s is a good one to teach how to thank God for things.  David does a great job of it!

David is very thankful!  He is thankful for all His wonders (v. 1b).  I think God is often subtle.  As powerful as He is, He can use that power to be subtle.  Sometimes you can miss it.  Be on the outlook for it.  Remember may of the people of His time missed Him when He came as a man.  He was subtle.

Even though he was a warrior, David loved music and sang praises to God (v. 2).

David was thankful that God used His power to subdue his enemies and the nations around him (vv. 3-6).

David was thankful that God was going to judge the world someday (vv. 7-8).  We can trust Him to straighten everything out eventually (vv. 9-10).  Are you looking forward that?  The next election isn’t going to put things right.  That won’t happen until Christ comes back to rule in the millennium (see Addendum To The End).  Are you looking forward to Christ putting everything in order in the future?

In the meantime, we can trust Christ to protect us and exonerate us (vv. 9-10).

David affirms his trust in God who does not forget those are being afflicted (v. 12).  He even requires blood recompense, capital punishment, for those who are murdered (v. 12, “For He who requires blood remembers them”).   He sings praises to God for all the above (v. 11), that God does wonders, subdues His enemies, judges the world, protects us, proves us right, and doesn’t forget us.

Can you praise God and thank Him for all those things today?

Proverbs 2:16-22   That Woman Is Strange!

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You may like strange women but God doesn’t.  Actually, Hebrew uses a lot of parallelism.  That means the poets say the same thing twice.  That means the poets say the same thing twice.  Like when you have to put your password in on the internet twice.  OK, not really.  They change the second line a little bit.

So in this case, we know that “strange woman” doesn’t just mean a pretty girl with a crooked nose, it means an adulteress.  See the second line repeats the same idea as the first line but uses the word “adulteress”?  The second line also adds information, she woos you with flattery.  So she doesn’t really mean what she says.  She just wants you for your bod.  Another place says she treats you like a piece of bread, meaning she just wants your money (cf. Prov. 6:26 NASB).  Internet porn???

This woman is really strange.  She is willing to leave the guy she married when she was young and break her marriage vow (v. 17).  You can see how Proverbs is a book of advice from a father to a son.

That kind of a woman has a house that’s like an elevator to Hell (v. 18)!  Guys disappear at her place (v. 19).  They are not adding vigor to their lives (v. 19b).  (Remember rebellion against God leads to death, a relationship with God leads to life?)

Instead, guys (and girls!) should stick to being righteous by the Holy Spirit (v. 20).  They are the ones who will really live life (v. 21, cf. John 10:10).   The wicked, who buck God’s rules, will be deported, possibly through death (cf. Num. 16:32, Korah’s rebellion, see Edward G. Robinson Says Goodbye).

So, in summary, stay away from strange women.  Don’t commit adultery with them, don’t have affairs, in fact, I think this means don’t live together!  For your own sakes.  Especially for the woman’s sake!  Have you ever heard of “why buy the cow if the milk is free?”

Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 7:21   NASB    “Lord or lord?”

“’Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter’”  Matthew 7:21

A long, long time ago I had a pastor that was involved heavily in the more sensational gifts of the Spirit.  Matthew 7:21 used to scare him.  He saw all kinds of ministers around him involved in casting out demons, speaking in tongues, and healing (Matt. 7:22-23).  Jesus seemed to be warning that exhibiting these signs and wonders would not ensure an entrance to Heaven.  He is no longer involved in that kind of activity.  These are kind of scary verses.

Notice the warning includes those preachers that call Jesus “Lord” all the time.  Often the ones who refer to Jesus’ Lordship are the same ones doing the signs and wonders!  But is Jesus really Lord of their lives?  There’s even a doctrine called “Lordship Salvation” which is actually heretical since, properly understood, it robs a person of God’s grace in salvation (often in the name of God’s sovereignty!).

The next few verses in Matthew talk about building on the solid rock.  (The Solid Rock is my favorite hymn.  What’s a hymn, you say?  Heavy sigh.)  The firm foundation (did you know there are hymns called The Church’s One Foundation and How Firm A Foundation?) is good doctrine and Jesus Himself.

How can we be sure that we are doing the “will of [Jesus’] Father in Heaven”?  In other words, how can we be sure that Jesus is actually Lord of our lives?

1)  Ask first of all, are my beliefs based on the Bible, interpreted literally (cf. 2 Tim. 3:162 Pet. 1:21)?

2)  Are my beliefs founded in the grace of God (cf. Eph. 2:8-9)?  (If they are, they will be consistent with God’s sovereignty.)

3)  Does what I believe center around the Christ of the Bible or some fraudulent imposter (cf. 2 Pet. 2:11 John 2:18-19)?

4)  Do my beliefs include a personal relationship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit (cf. see Get The Led Out)?

5)  The famous expositor, Warren Wiersbe, once said, “What you believe determines how you behave . . . .”    We need to know our Bibles or we can end up with all kinds of problems in life, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

So how are you doing?  Have you found the “Grace Place“?  Is Christ Lord of your life?

If He is, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

Are you a little uneasy about any of your beliefs?  Maybe the Holy Spirit is tugging on you to check out some of what you believe.

Don’t give up until you know that you have Bible reasons for what you belief.

It took me years to be comfortable with several things that were part of my belief system like baptism in the Spirit (see Hanging Together;  and A Tithy Over Tithing).

Part of the fun of being a Christian is figuring these things out.

Go ahead and start today!

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Rockin’ Out

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