protection

God reigns above and beyond the kingdoms of this world.

God reigns above and beyond the kingdoms of this world.

1 Chronicles 9

This was one of those days when I didn’t get much beyond the first verse of the chapter (even though I kept reading until the end). "All Israel was listed in the genealogies recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. They were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness." (vs 1)

God gives us all the right things.

God gives us all the right things.

1 Chronicles 4

About 20 years ago, author Bruce Wilkinson made two verses of 1 Chronicles 4 famous with his book, The Prayer of Jabez. Who knew that a genealogical chapter of the Bible could produce something so lucrative? I remember the book well. Though I never actually read it, I remember the firestorm it caused in the Christian church. Many people were excited about it—going to their weekly group study about Jabez to learn how to garner some extra wealth from God. And an equal number of people were extremely opposed to it, shocked that any Christian should ask God for more.

God is a rock.

God is a rock.

1 SAMUEL 21

I have an old choir song rumbling through my head this morning: ♫♪ My God is a rock in a weary land ♪♫ A shelter in the time of storm ♪♫ Incidentally, these images of God were penned often by David. (One example is found in Psalm 18:2.) How well David must have known and trusted the refuge he found in God, particularly when he was on the run from Saul!

Sometimes God says no.

Sometimes God says no.

JUDGES 10

So, the Israelites are at it again... idolatry, that is. After the Abimelek fiasco, Israel enjoyed 45 years of peace—during which time, apparently, the Israelites began to feast at the buffet of Canaan’s gods. Finally, God gave up the Israelites once again to their idols, and they found themselves oppressed by the Philistines and the Ammonites.

Perchance to Dream {gn40}

Photo © Unsplash/Johannes Plenio

Photo © Unsplash/Johannes Plenio

If Potiphar
had believed his wife
Joseph would have been put
in the ground

not in the prison
    /which was Potiphar's prison/
    /probably below his house/

which he was then put in charge of
    /because Potiphar wasn't going to let/
    /a false rape allegation/
    /deprive him of his best help/

Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent
but was content to let him languish
    /God knew Potiphar was spineless/
    /but wasn't content to let him starve/

Sometimes
the concessions of weak men
may be all the justice
we can procure
but the God of our fathers
keeps sending dreams

 

God is on everybody's side.

God is on everybody's side.

JOSHUA 5

Ah, I just love it when the Bible hits me upside the head like a 2×4. How is it that I know I’ve read these things before, yet when I read these verses, it was as if I was reading for the first time? "Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our enemies?' 'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?' The commander of the Lord’s army replied, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so." (vs 13-15)

Minimum Wage {gn31:4-9}

Photo © Unsplash/Rod Long

Photo © Unsplash/Rod Long

Now Jacob undoubtedly was a wise guy
who'd certainly crafted a few clever crimes,
yet Laban still planned to leave him high and dry,
proceeding to alter his earnings ten times.

But there was a Witness who saw all these things,
and He had a masterful plan up his sleeve—
to stealthily, secretly pull a few strings
and give Jacob more wealth than he could believe.

Poor Laban was waging an ill-fated war:
Whatever he gained, Jacob always had more.

 

He Saw {gn29:31}

genesis-gods-love-he-saw-poem.png

The much-invisible and
       quickly-forgotten
Lord of heaven and earth
       is often like a Mama
       Bear who
saw her cubs being
       mistreated and went
       to war. The fierceness
       of the pain
that pierced God's heart
       when he saw his
       precious
Leah discarded, unwanted,
was surpassed only by
       his resolve to
not let abandonment be
       her habitat, to prove
       that there was Someone
       who
loved her more than life itself.

 

God is a refuge!

God is a refuge!

NUMBERS 35

There is a beautiful analogy about God in this chapter of Numbers. If a person had unintentionally killed another person, the cities of refuge provided a place for them to flee when they were being pursued by the "avenger." If the "avenger" found them outside the city, they could be killed, thus "avenging" the death. But if the person made it to the city of refuge, they could request a trial. If found innocent, they would be allowed to stay in the city. If they were found guilty, however, they would be turned away from the city.

God is the only Savior.

God is the only Savior.

NUMBERS 21

There’s no way to write a blog about Numbers 21 without talking about the poisonous snakes. Oh, the snakes. Here’s how the story reads: "Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, 'We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.' So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, 'Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.' So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived." (vs 6-9)

God holds all the blessings.

God holds all the blessings.

LEVITICUS 24

This is a very strange chapter, in the way it’s divided. The first part is about the oil and bread to be laid out before the Lord in the sanctuary. The middle part is about a blasphemer who was stoned to death. And the last part is the famous "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" passage. At first, I was going to try to find something inspiring to say about oil and bread (I like them as appetizers at Italian restaurants), but then I decided that would be a big, fat cop-out.

God's boundaries draw us in.

God's boundaries draw us in.

LEVITICUS 15

I must admit that, as I began to read Leviticus 15, it all seemed a bit ridiculous to me. I mean, really, if the rule is that "when a man has an emission of semen... he will be unclean till evening" (vs 16), an Israelite man must not have spent many days being "clean." Furthermore, in addition to the rule for men was the law that said menstruating women were also unclean. After this type of ceremonial uncleanness, the men and women were required to bring a sacrifice to the sanctuary in order to "make atonement before the Lord." (vs 15)

God is a peacemonger.

God is a peacemonger.

GENESIS 15

Genesis 15 begins with the word of the Lord coming to Abram, and the first thing God says is, "Do not be afraid."

If there was a way to sum up in one, short sentence the overarching message of God to humankind in the Bible, it would have to be this: Do not be afraid. It appears over and over and over again in the Scriptures. It is often, quite literally, the first thing out of the mouth of God or His heavenly messengers when they encounter human beings.

God is a keeper.

God is a keeper.

GENESIS 4

In Genesis 4:9, Cain asks God the famous question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" It’s startling to see this attitude so near the beginning of the Bible, because it’s an attitude that still pervades the selfish, sin-riddled human heart. Sometimes, I don’t want to be bothered with anyone or anything else. I've got my own plans for my life, and I want other people to just stay out of my way.