truth

God tells the whole truth.

God tells the whole truth.

2 Kings 15

Well, what can you say about a chapter like 2 Kings 15? It’s nothing but a discouraging report of a succession of evil kings—each one seemingly worse than the last! Plus, it seemed to be the same story over and over again: A king comes to the throne, is evil, and doesn’t reign very long until he is assassinated. Then, the person who assassinated the previous king comes to the throne, is evil, and doesn’t reign very long until he is assassinated. Over and over again.

When the Heart Becomes a Black Hole {ex11}

Photo © Unsplash/Ed Robertson

Photo © Unsplash/Ed Robertson

by the time
God announced
the plague
on the firstborn
for the /second/ time
didn't Pharaoh know
God could and
would
do exactly
what He said

after the
blood
frogs
gnats
flies
dead livestock
boils
hail
locusts and
darkness
was there anything left
more dark
than Pharaoh's heart

how dark does it have to get
to not understand
that your opponent
controls
the very elements

-all of them-

didn't Pharaoh know
that if God said
his son was going to die
he would /in fact/
be planning a funeral
if he didn't
change course

why wouldn't you change course

in ancient egypt
the only person more important
than the firstborn son of the Pharaoh
was Pharaoh himself

why wouldn't you change course

is there anything
in this world
more powerful
than the human heart

is there anything
more capable
of being more implacable
than the heart
bent on rebellion

is there anything
more wild and dangerous
than the freedom to choose
and the power
it imparts

the power to
so harden ourselves
to truth
that /in the end/
we could sacrifice
what is most important
to us

and be ourselves
swallowed up by
allconsuming
darkness

 

God is not blind.

1 Kings 14

This was one of those Bible stories that I hadn’t remembered reading before. King Jeroboam wanted to know what was going to happen to his son (who was ill). So, he immediately thought of Ahijah, the prophet who had prophesied that he would become king of Israel. (It’s interesting, isn’t it? After years of worshiping false gods, it’s pretty clear that Jeroboam still knew who to go to when he wanted some real answers.)

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

But, just in case he had angered the prophet with all his heathen worship, Jeroboam decided to send his wife in disguise. You see, by this time, the prophet was blind, and Jeroboam thought he could pull a fast one on him. However, all that time Jeroboam had spent away from the one true God must have made him forget that God could see just fine: "Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the Lord had told Ahijah, 'Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.'" (vs 4-5)

So, the gig was up before it had even begun. Ahijah delivered bad news to Jeroboam’s wife, and shortly after, Jeroboam’s son died. The salient point in all of this? God is not blind. In this particular instance, God’s prophet was blind, but God told him who was coming. He was not fooled by the queen’s disguise.

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

God is not blind. He knows the truth about you. We might pretend to be someone other than we are, put on a "disguise" for those around us, but God knows the real story. We might even fool a few people, but we’re not fooling God. He knows the truth about us. And if it frightens you that He knows the truth about you, all you need to do is learn the truth about Him!

God knows what He's talking about.

God knows what He's talking about.

1 Kings 11

So, God had given Solomon incredible wisdom, massive amounts of wealth, and great fame. What He hadn’t given Solomon was a thousand marriage licenses. In fact, In Deuteronomy 17, God (in prophesying the fact that Israel would, in the future, demand a king to rule over them) specifically commanded that the king was not to take multiple wives. If he did, God said, his heart would be led astray.

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 is not afraid to say the hard things.

God is not afraid to say the hard things.

2 SAMUEL 13

What a sad, sordid chapter. It’s hard to know where to begin. Amnon, eldest son of David, somehow got it in his head that he wanted to have sex with his half-sister, Tamar. Once she became aware of his desire, she begged him to make her his wife instead of just using her and throwing her away like a piece of trash. But he wouldn’t listen. He went ahead with his disgusting plan to rape her, and in the end, he "hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her." (vs 15)

God is visible.

God is visible.

1 SAMUEL 29

Here’s what I liked about this chapter: Just because we screw it up doesn’t mean that God’s plans have failed. I believe David was in the wrong place doing the wrong things in the events that led up to this chapter. It would seem that he hadn’t consulted the Lord about fleeing to the land of the Philistines and that he was living there out of fear, not because he knew that was part of God’s plan for his life.

God is an effective communicator.

God is an effective communicator.

1 SAMUEL 6

Well, just when you thought nobody was paying attention to God... along comes 1 Samuel 6. Up to this point, God has had more failure with Israel than success (or so it seems). Here and there, He has a person who appears willing to listen, but those people are few and far between. It could almost make you think that God isn’t very good at getting His point across.

God has the answers.

God has the answers.

JUDGES 21

You might think that’s a funny title to describe a chapter of the Bible in which God never speaks. But, for me, that’s precisely the point, so I thought we’d get right to the point today. Did you notice God’s lack of participation in the dialogue of this chapter? The Israelites were asking a lot of questions, but they never received an answer.

God wants you strong.

God wants you strong.

JOSHUA 1

Here’s one of my favorite Bible passages (from The Message paraphrase): "God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels." (Eph 6:10-12)

God believes in full disclosure.

God believes in full disclosure.

DEUTERONOMY 28

So, here we have a mega-extension of yesterday’s chapter and lesson about God—that He warns us of impending danger. I know I’ve read this chapter of Deuteronomy several times as I’ve made my way through the Bible in the past, but never have I been so struck by the description of what life is like when we disregard God’s law of love. It is bleak.

God reveres honesty.

God reveres honesty.

DEUTERONOMY 25

God is a master of relationships, and the first key to any relationship is honesty. When you think about it, the whole world — even the universe — is in the mess it’s in because one of God’s creatures decided to be dishonest instead of honest. Up in heaven, Lucifer began spreading lies about God, and when Adam and Eve bought into his lies in the Garden of Eden, our planet began to descend into chaos.

God speaks sign language.

God speaks sign language.

NUMBERS 17

This chapter contains one of my favorite Bible verses. But I doubt it’s one that makes the usual "Top Ten" list of most-quoted Scripture: "The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds." (vs 8)

God doesn't change.

God doesn't change.

LEVITICUS 19

I have recently been thinking quite a bit about the "God of the Old Testament" versus the "God of the New Testament." I have seen some debates on TV where prominent Christians have basically advocated for "throwing out" the Old Testament in favor of Jesus and the New Testament. I have read blogs and forum postings from confused Christians, wondering how we can possibly "defend" the Bible when things (many of them things God supposedly said!) in the Old Testament look so awful.