Spiritual Rants: April 17 “Old Age Is Only A Number” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Joshua 15:1-63 Luke 18:18-43 Psalm 86:1-17 Proverbs 13:9-10

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Old Testament: Joshua 15:1-63

Celeb may have been old but also incredibly bold.

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Joshua 15:1-63  Old Age Is Only A Number

The big news in this section is Caleb.  Remember he was one of only two scouts, along with Joshua, to give a good report on the land to Moses.  He believed the land could be taken.  So only he and Joshua were allowed to go into the new land.  Not even Moses was allowed to enter.

Caleb was over 85 years old but chose to live in Hebron where he had to clear out more giants (v. 13-15).  Despite his age, he cleared out the giants that all the other scouts, other than Joshua, were afraid of.

Caleb also passed his faith down to his family.  His daughter had two guts to ask Joshua for a land with water (v. 16-1).  We find out later that one of the great judges was Othniel, Caleb’s son-in-law (Judg. 3:7-11).

Caleb is a great example to those of us who are losing hair off our heads but have it growing down our backs.  The Scripture says if it’s “white hair,” then it’s an honor! (Prov. 16:31, “The hoary [white or gray] head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” KJV).

If we have air to breathe, our lives are never over if we are serving the Lord.

New Testament: Luke 18:18-43

It’s easier for camel to go through a needle despite than anything for a rich man creedal.

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Luke 18:18-34  Rich Punk From The ‘Burbs

This story is also found in Matt. 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-31.

Hey, I’ve already written about this guy.  You can find it here:  Take ‘Awl’ Of Me. (If you don’t like that one, I wrote about the account in Matthew here:  You Must Be Kid-ding).

As already pointed out Matthew has a distinctly Jewish tint.  He was writing his gospel for the Jews.  Mark was writing to show the Gentiles Jesus’ power.  Luke is showing Jesus’ identification with mankind.  So in Matthew, the Jesus emphasizes there is only One who is good, meaning God.  This connotes the Hebrew OT Shema, that the Lord God is One.  In Mark, the man calls Jesus good and so Jesus points to Himself as God.  There are only slight differences in the storytelling to sure up the purposes of each author.  The essential story is the same in each gospel.

Luke 18:35-43  Blind Bart

This story is also found in Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52.

I’ve already written about Blind Bart here: Blind Bart

Matthew mentions two blind men.  Mark and Luke only mention one.  Where there are two blind men, there is also one.  Simple math.  The prominent blind man is named in Mark.  He is Bartemaeus, the same man Luke of whom Luke gives an account.  While Matthew mentions that Jesus was leaving Jericho and Luke and Mark mention that Jesus is entering Jericho can be explained by the fact that there were two Jerichos, an old and a new.  The event probably took place between the two towns as Jesus was leaving old Jericho and entering new Jericho.

Psalm 86:1-17   A Lament By David

Of your favor give a sign so others will see that I don’t quaver.

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Psalm 86:1-17   Asking God To A-C-T-S

Psalm 86 is the only psalm written by David in Book III.  Psalms is broken into five sections or books.  Now you know.

This is another lament written for the worship leaders, the sons of Korah.  It may have been written after the Jews were allowed to return to Israel after the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (cf. Jer. 29).  More likely, the emphasis is on the hope of Israel, the Thousand-Year Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah in the future.  It is then that all of the prophetic elements of this psalm will be fulfilled.

Does David really think Yahweh might not answer him?  He implores God again (v. 1).  Actually, he is showing earnestness in prayer.  God likes that.  “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!  Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:17-18).

David appeals to his servanthood as a reason for God to answer his prayer (v. 2).  Are you a faithful servant of God?  Jesus said that those who stay in His Word would receive answers to prayer (cf. John 15:7).

David also appeals to God’s grace as a reason He might be inclined to answer his prayer (v. 3).  He appeals to God’s generosity and desire to make others happy (v. 4).  Jesus said it was more blessed to give than receive (cf. Acts 20:35).  He knew God was eager to forgive sins and was bound to be loving and kind (hesed) to those who trust Him (v. 5, 13, cf. Ps. 103:10; Rom. 8:32).

David knows that God is the type of God that answers the prayers of those in trouble (vv. 6-8). During the rule of the Messiah, the Millennium, all the nations will gather and worship Yahweh, aka Jesus (v. 9).

God loves to receive our worship.  David declares God’s greatness, that He has performed wonderful feats, and He is, in fact, the Only God (v. 10).  One way we know that Christ is God is that He received worship.  Angels don’t allow anyone to worship them.  Peter fell at Jesus’ feet after a great haul of fish and Jesus didn’t forbid him (cf. Luke 5:8).

David would have made a great disciple.  He wanted God to teach him (v. 11).  True disciples are learners.  The word in Greek for disciple is mathetes.  It literally means “learner.” We are told that the way to grow as a Christian is to learn God’s Word.  ” . . . Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

One of the best ways to pray is to follow the pattern of A-Adoration, C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, and S-Supplication.  (That spells ACTS, incidentally).  Verse 10 is praise.  Verse 5 implies that David has confessed his sins.  Verse 12 shows that he thanked God on a regular basis.  In verse 16, he makes supplication, asking to be delivered from his enemies.  A-C-T-S.  It’s all in this psalm.

David appealed to God’s graciousness already in verse 3 and again appeals to His graciousness in verse 15, along with His mercy.  Does He think God has forgotten Who He is?  When we mention God’s attributes back to Him in prayer, we are reminding ourselves Who He is.  He, again, mentions Yahweh’s hesed in verse 15 as he did in verse 5 and 13.  He is reminding himself that Almighty God is bound to him in love.

David knew he had been saved from Sheol (v. 13), the holding tank of the dead until released to Paradise after Christ ascended or Hell at the culmination of time (cf. Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).  He also pleads with God to rescue him from his enemies (vv. 14, 16).  This may have been during the time he was being chased by his own son, Absalom, during the rebellion (cf. 2 Sam. 17).  Interesting that David would appeal to God on the basis of his sonship while his own son was pursuing him.

It’s not usually good to ask God for a sign.  It is usually a sign of immaturity.  But David asks for a sign, not for himself as did Gideon (cf. Judg. 6, particularly verse 6:17) but for others to see and glorify God (v. 17).  He wants to teach others to trust in God so that they, too, will trust Him.  To some God’s deliverance will cause hatred of God and humiliation (v. 17b).  To others the sign will indicate God is merciful and loving, one who rescues and delivers (v. 17a, c).

Proverbs 13:9-10    Dancing In The Dark?

Better to have light and be humble then later in life you won’t crumble.

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When I was first saved I memorized, “ . . . he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21).  I thought I came to the light because I wanted to.  Ha.  Well, I did want to but God also drew me to Himself (cf. John 6:44).

Those who walk in the light will rejoice in the light (v. 9a).  They will want to be around others who are in the light (cf. 1 John 1:7; 2:10).  They will want to get advice from others who are walking in the light (v. 10b).

On the other hand, those who don’t trust God are dancing in the dark (v. 9b).  They are arrogant because they are not submitting to God and end up in fights.  This goes for even seminary professors.  No one is safe from arrogance.

But understand that sometimes when Christians are humble, their humility and stand for God make them appear to the world that they are arrogant.  The world just doesn’t understand someone holding to God’s standards.

We live in a world where there is only one commandment:  Be tolerant.  It means everyone should be tolerant of sin.  They are not tolerant of those who are submitting to God.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  (I didn’t make up that expression.)

Choose Life: Scripture:   Luke  18:27  NASB    “Your Own Stars”

“But He said, ‘The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.’”   Luke 18:27

I wrote to a TV star years ago because I thought she had a special sparkle.  I asked for an autographed picture.  I got one.  The star signed it and wrote the Scripture verse from today under her autograph.  No wonder she had a sheen.  Turns out she was a Christian, had gone to a Bible college and was even pre-trib and pre-mil!  (Pre-trib and pre-mil are  her beliefs on end-times.)  She didn’t believe God could be limited in what He could do.

I doubt she believes that God could make a building so large He couldn’t lift it.  But He can do anything that’s realistic and not non-sensical.  In other words, she believed God was acting in her behalf and her best interests (cf. 56:9).  Moreover, I’ll bet that she believed that God would also act in His own best interests (cf. John 17:5).

Do you believe God is acting in your best interests?  Are you living to glorify Him?

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

Fun Application:   

I have a series of signed photographs of those I look up to and have helped me become who I am.  I attained photographs of all of them and asked them to sign them to me.  It is an inspiration to me.  They remind me that God has been working in my best interest over the years.  Consider doing the same project and obtaining signed photographs of those who have inspired you in your Christian life.

The purpose of the “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:   Age Is Only A Number

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