life

God brings life to dead places.

God brings life to dead places.

2 Kings 2

God is life. No matter how barren a place, no matter how dead, His Spirit can bring new life. At least, that’s what we see happening in this chapter of 2 Kings: "The people of [Jericho] said to Elisha, 'Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.' 'Bring me a new bowl,' he said, 'and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, 'This is what the Lord says: "I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive."' And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken." (vs 19-22)

God's ways are everlasting.

God's ways are everlasting.

1 Kings 12

What a beautiful little nugget there is tucked away in this chapter of 1 Kings. Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam has taken over the throne in Israel. The people—who had endured hard labor under Solomon—came to Rehoboam and asked him to ease up on them a bit. After asking for some time to think it over, Rehoboam consulted his father’s advisers. This is the advice they gave him: "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." (vs 7)

God wants a moment with you.

God wants a moment with you.

2 SAMUEL 23

Friends, applaud. The comedy is finished. —Ludwig van Beethoven

Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight. —Lord George Byron

Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal? —King Louis XIV

I’m bored with it all. —Winston Churchill

I have tried so hard to do the right. —President Grover Cleveland

All my possessions for a moment of time. —Queen Elizabeth I

Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we will all meet in heaven. —President Andrew Jackson

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do. —Oscar Wilde

These statements are all the famous last words of the person who uttered them. You might find some of them surprising. I certainly did. I thought Queen Elizabeth’s utterance was especially insightful. When you come right down to it, you can’t take anything with you. And depending on how you’ve lived and where you’re at in life, you might give everything you have for more time.

God is a tenderhearted father.

God is a tenderhearted father.

2 SAMUEL 18

Outside of Jesus’s cry of abandonment on the cross, this chapter contains, perhaps, the most heart-wrenching cry in the Bible: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!" (vs 33) Sure, at first you might think any father would be devastated over the loss of a child. But this wasn’t your average child. Absalom wasn’t a good boy. In fact, when he was killed, he had one goal in mind: to murder his father.

God looks at life and death differently than we do.

God looks at life and death differently than we do.

2 SAMUEL 14

I loved verse 14 in this chapter. Let me quote it here from the New Living Translation: "All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him."

God is not prejudiced.

God is not prejudiced.

2 SAMUEL 11

Sometimes, Bible chapters seem scant on the information they provide about God. However, there is a very clear statement about God at the end of 2 Samuel 11. After David’s affair with Bathsheba and the ensuing cover-up (which included the premeditated murder of Uriah), the chapter ends with this declaration: "The thing David had done displeased the Lord." (vs 27)

God is life.

God is life.

1 SAMUEL 20

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. I know several dear people who are struggling with illness, and I have several friends who have just lost someone they loved. And the ten-year anniversary of my own father’s death is coming up in a few months. I will never forget the final moments of his life—sitting beside him, rubbing his feet and legs while he took his last breaths.

True Famine {gn43}

Photo © Unsplash/Patrick Hendry

Photo © Unsplash/Patrick Hendry

There was no food to be found
growing in the land
but there was
a bumper crop of fear.

Jacob was afraid
he was going to starve to death
or lose Benjamin
trying not to.

Jacob's sons were afraid
of being overpowered
captured
and forced into slavery
     in other words
     exactly what
     they had done
     to Joseph.

Fear, fear everywhere
as if there was
no God of our fathers
no Yahweh-Elohim
no Jehovah-Jireh.

What would it have mattered
if Israel had no shortage of food
when there was such a
famine of faith?

 

God values human life.

God values human life.

DEUTERONOMY 21

At first blush, this may seem like a strange chapter on which to affix a title like God values human life. After all, it references things such as murder, stoning, hanging, and captivity. Yet, beneath the discussion — like a strong undercurrent — I see a God who is trying to instill in His people a fundamental respect for life. Let’s take a quick peek at each section:

God is not an employer.

God is not an employer.

DEUTERONOMY 6

One of my favorite Bible texts is in this chapter, but it might not be the one you think. Yes, there is the famous "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (vs 4) And there’s also the one Jesus quoted: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (vs 5) And both of those are nice, but neither is the one I’m thinking of.

God lets us choose.

God lets us choose.

NUMBERS 3

Here’s what struck me from this chapter: "The Lord also said to Moses, 'I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine.'" (vs 11-13)

God knows the way of life.

God knows the way of life.

GENESIS 7

Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up in the age of blockbuster movies, with end-of-the-world flicks such as Independence Day, Armageddon, and The Day After Tomorrow, but I got a little bit of that ominous, impending-doom feeling as I read this chapter again. I guess that’s because the Bible’s account of the Flood sounds like a scene from a movie: "In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day, all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened." (vs 11)

God is the root.

God is the root.

GENESIS 5

Genesis 5 is the first of many genealogies in the Bible. I have, no doubt, read this before, but I saw it in a new way today. In recent years, my mother has gotten heavy into genealogy, and as she continues to discover more about our family origins, we have been regaled time and time again with stories of our great (and some not-so-great) ancestors. It’s interesting to find out where we came from, to trace back through the generations and discover more about those who came before us.