God's government

God brings us joy through the law.

God brings us joy through the law.

Nehemiah 8

Ah, the law. The one topic that is the time-honored whipping boy of Christianity. Is the law still in effect? Was it nailed to the cross? Done away with? Is there a difference between law and grace? And what does "law" mean? Are we talking about the Ten Commandments? The Mosaic Law? The Law of Love as defined by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40?

God reveals our hearts.

God reveals our hearts.

Ezra 4

I was recently discussing the topic of The Judgment with some friends. I think this is a widely misunderstood concept. I believe that when most people think of The Judgment, they envision some sort of heavenly court where we are each going to stand before God and hear Him pronounce a verdict about us. Are we wicked? Are we righteous? He will make His decision and bang His gavel, and that will be that.

God's love is the foundation of His government.

God's love is the foundation of His government.

Ezra 3

This was a short and sweet chapter, so I thought a short and sweet blog would be in order. Did you catch these verses? "When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.' And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." (vs 10-11)

God is orderly.

God is orderly.

2 Chronicles 35

As a church musician, I have always been intrigued with the somewhat-common idea (amongst musicians especially) that letting the Holy Spirit work means preparing very little (or not at all) ahead of time. Have you ever encountered that attitude? I actually worked with a group of musicians once who steadfastly refused to rehearse in the belief that leaving themselves totally open "in the moment" would allow the Holy Spirit to control and direct all their music.

God is a song.

God is a song.

2 Chronicles 29

As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but notice the emphasis on music. Particularly this verse: "Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel." (vs 27)

God believes in the separation of powers.

God believes in the separation of powers.

2 Chronicles 26

If you were educated as a child in America, one of the first things you learned about our form of government is that it is based on a separation of powers. Divided into three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—each one has independent powers and areas of responsibility so that (in theory) no one branch has more power than the others. Although many have attempted throughout history to use one branch to usurp the authority of the others, the founders of our country envisioned a system where no person or group of people would hold absolute power.

God's gifts can be squandered.

God's gifts can be squandered.

2 Chronicles 10

Today’s chapter reminded me somewhat of the story of the Prodigal Son—you know, the foolish boy who squandered the riches of his father’s estate. And since we looked yesterday at what an outrageous giver God is, I thought it might be prudent to add a P.S. today—that all of God’s gifts come with freedom. That means, if we are foolish enough, we can squander them all. What God gives, He doesn’t force us to keep or use wisely. We are free to do with His gifts what we want.

God exalts others.

God exalts others.

1 Chronicles 29

1 Chronicles 29 recounts the story of David’s "passing the baton" to his son Solomon. In his final speech, he challenged Solomon and the people to remain true to the Lord, and then there was a large celebration with music, feasting, and joy. But tucked away into the description of the festivities was, I thought, a very important lesson about God.

God's kingdom is made up of individuals.

God's kingdom is made up of individuals.

1 Chronicles 12

In this chapter, we are given more details about David’s ascent to the throne and his inaugural celebration. Verses 23-37 provide a list of all the warriors from the twelve tribes of Israel who made their way to Hebron to show their support for David’s anointing and recognize him as their new king.

God rules with service.

God rules with service.

1 Chronicles 11

What is, hires more. Have you ever heard that saying? Basically, it’s one way people comment on their bosses. Sometimes it’s a compliment. If you think you’re a brilliant person, you might say that your boss hired you because he is also brilliant. Or if you’re disappointed with the poor quality of your coworkers, you might say that only a lazy, stupid boss would hire lazy, stupid people. (Of course, you better be careful with that way of thinking if you work there, too.)

God isn't above His own law.

God isn't above His own law.

1 Kings 2

Throughout history, there’s probably been at least one thing that set a king apart from his subjects: He didn’t have to abide by the same rules as his fellow citizens. That’s one of the "perks" of people in power—they tend to be (or at least see themselves as) above the law. They aren’t held to the same standard as everyone else.

God's justice is different than ours.

God's justice is different than ours.

2 SAMUEL 3

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a statement about God from a chapter in the Bible that doesn’t really mention God at all. However, in this particular chapter, one of the small (and often overlooked) events really stood out to me, and I realized it was a great opportunity to draw a contrast between our type of "justice" and God’s justice.

God wants us to choose.

God wants us to choose.

JOSHUA 24

Here we find Joshua’s famous words to the Israelites: "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (vs 14-15)

God is all about the evidence.

God is all about the evidence.

JOSHUA 20

So, the cities of refuge are finally established in Israel—you know, the places a person could flee if they had accidentally caused a person’s death and were on the run from the blood avenger. In the city of refuge, they would find a haven where they would be safe; there, they would be given the opportunity for a hearing on the incident in question.

God is highly efficient.

God is highly efficient.

DEUTERONOMY 26

It seems like we can't go very long in American culture without asking the social questions: How much should the government play a role in the day-to-day lives of American citizens? Should the government provide universal health care? Should the government take more money from the rich and give it to the poor? Should the Federal Reserve print more money to cover our expanding debt?

God believes in choices.

God believes in choices.

DEUTERONOMY 11

What a great verse from today’s chapter: "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse — the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known." (vs 26-28)

God has the best government.

God has the best government.

DEUTERONOMY 10

As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but think about God’s government versus man-made governments. Specifically, three things were mentioned that brought this comparison to mind: citizen burden, corruption and greed, and treatment of the weakest in society. First, citizen burden: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" (vs 12-13)