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omharris

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About omharris

  • Birthday 11/30/1953

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    So California
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    Bible Study, Teaching God's word.
  1. What is it that makes us decide to trust and believe, not just God, but people? Everything we do as followers of Christ is wrapped around faith, the essence of trust and belief. However, there is added disincentive in the story of Rahab in that these two men who may have entered her house under false pretenses, have now enlightened her that they are spies; that her life is now in danger from the spies and the guards of Jericho. They point out that her only reasonable choice is to hide them, and she does. For us, there is a sudden awareness that her faith in this unknown god and her desire to be rescued by Him has become challenged. What does this added incentive do to your belief system? Ponder once again what Rahab tells the two Israeli spies. Joshua 2:9-10 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. At first, it is deeply personal as she says, “ I know that the LORD has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us,” This paragraph has belief and fear written all over it. While I, Rahab, know that the Almighty has his hand on you, there is a profound and genuine concern on the part of the entire city for their safety, lives, and mine as well. Joshua 2:11 NASB "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Does fear promote belief? I know it does not work for me. I may, under duress, comply out of concern for the safety of my family and myself, but I will never come to admire and possibly love you, as Rahab did. The reality is that God's most significant impact on our faith is through signs. The idea that God is okay with that, comes from the verse where she recaps the two notable stories of which the people Jericho were aware. “We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.” It is rapidly becoming evident that Rahab is a smart woman. You don't last long in such a business without the skills of a spy yourself, and she, therefore, strikes a bargain. Joshua 2:12-13 NASB "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." The men hear her out and respond with the words she needs to hear. Joshua 2:14 NASB So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you." Having received a promise of protection, and trusting their word, she provides them with a way of escape. I am going to do something peculiar here, and verse 15 last because I cannot see any practicality to her shouting additional instructions to the men as they rappel down the wall from her window. Joshua 2:15-21 NASB 16) She said to them, "Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way." 17) The men said to her, "We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household. 19) "It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20) "But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear." 15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall so that she was living on the wall. 21) She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed, and she tied the scarlet cord in the window. The bargaining is completed. Rahab lets them out through a window and uses the same scarlet cord to signal Israel's troops that hers is a safe house. Suddenly it occurs to me. While the scarlet color may have been associated with her profession, it now represented that scarlet blood that saves us all. Few realize what took place. Consider also the tremendous significance, as Jesus was three days and nights in death, so to the scarlet rope hung from that window. Our redemption through Jesus was signaled all throughout this book we call the Bible, and today, I saw it. What would have happened had the townsfolk of Jericho saw that cord suddenly hanging there? With the armed militia out chasing the spies, did the town now feel safe? I doubt it. The city may have gone on lock-down. How did this rope go unnoticed? That can only be God. Did Rahab and her family demonstrate a strong faith in this God of Israel, and were therefore saved? We don't know any of that. Rahab took a chance and pitched her case, knowing full well that they could turn against her. If what she says is true, then the people within Jericho comprehend the threat that Israel poses. Finding out that two Israeli spies have infiltrated the city just raises the threat level exponentially. The result of the increased threat level is that the family, which may have treated her as an outcast, hurriedly gathered survival supplies and joined Rahab in her home. Joshua 2:23-24 NASB Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24) They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us." Safely back at camp, they related all that had happened. What a story. Oh, and by-the-way Joshua, there is one more thing you might find interesting - “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” At least that is what Rahab told us. Melted – is the Hebrew word moog, meaning to melt; literally (to soften, flow down, disappear), or figuratively (to fear, faint). Since this is a character study on Rahab, I am going to bypass much of the detail involved in the attack on Jericho. It is admittedly fascinating to learn how Jericho's walls fell. Having seen pictures of the archaeological digs at Jericho, it becomes apparent that they went straight down into the ground. Except for one spot, that portion that Rahab lived in. Joshua 6:20 The NASB states that the wall fell flat. What does that mean? The Hebrew word is taḥaṯ: A preposition meaning under, beneath; in place of. It indicates a position below or underneath some other reference point.” Word Study Dictionary. While the word flat is indeed an option, how do you explain under, beneath or a position below, especially when the passage goes on to say that every man walked straight ahead? We don't return to Jericho in the book of Joshua until chapter six. In the meantime, circumcisions have been performed, and Israel has passed through the Jordan on dry land, just as they did the Red Sea. This time they placed a large mound of stones to commemorate God's goodness and what a coincidence that a large mound of stones has been located in the Sea of Galilee. I suppose the obvious thing to consider here, is that much time has passed and that scarlet cord is probably still hanging out that window. Joshua 6:21-23 NASB They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man, and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22) Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23) So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. How befitting that the young men who made the agreement should go and gather Rahab and her family. “Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.” Albert Barnes commentary states, “These words literally “made to rest outside the camp of Israel” - indicate that being still in their paganism, they were separated from the camp of the Lord. This was only for a time. They desired, and eventually obtained, admission to the covenant of the chosen people of God.” Another instance where we have no details. We know nothing about paganism, but it is probably safe to assume. Since Rahab seems to have a faith in this God she knows little about, we shall see her come to understanding and acceptance. Joshua 6:25 NASB However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. And everyone lived happily ever after, well, I would hope so. Sadly we live in reality, but there are three other passages I want you to see. In spelling out the Jewish heritage of Jesus, the gospel of Matthew includes Rahab. Matthew 1:5 NASB Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Boaz, if you remember, owned the land in which Ruth had been directed to work by Naomi, her mother in law. Boaz buys the right to marry Ruth, and they produced a child named Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Rahab is found in Hebrews 11 because of her faith. Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace. And lastly, as an example of how faith works, we have the writings of James. James 2:24-25 NASB You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? Understanding the ramifications, Rahab accepted the spies, protected them, and sent them safely on their way. So, Rahab then becomes an example for us, of faith and how it works.
  2. This was part of a series of character studies that I recently posted online. My interest in Rahab started long ago, as I heard the stories, but rarely ever read the story for myself. If you follow my posts, then you would know that I have gone through some dark times. I suspect that the sentence, "train up a child in the way that they should go" played a role in this freedom and understanding that I now have, for I knew that I needed to plant my heart and mind firmly in God's word. Sadly, when I started doing that, I found myself bored and confused; it was difficult to focus, and I kept hearing this voice in my head, saying, I have read this before. Anguished by this lack of motivation I talked bluntly and plainly to God about the situation, and I asked Him to make Himself real to me. I don't remember when my attitude changed, but it was shortly after that prayer. Soon after, I found myself seeing these Bible characters as real, with flesh and blood. Things quickly changed and I could see them struggle just you and I do. Rahab was one of those characters. It has been several years since I last looked at Rahab, but my interest resurfaced recently as our men's group watched and listened to Francis Chan teach on the book of James, a book that references Rahab and her faith. Look at what James had to say about the dear lady. James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? As typical with men, there is the subtle laughter as they try to adjust their thinking to accept the fact God would use someone like a whore. I cannot remember the question asked, but I immediately began talking about this amazing woman and what she did. I then asked, how would I know any of those things, because I read through the Bible; that, and I have studied these characters multiple times as they are integrated into our lives as believers, at every turn. This story of Rahab, like most everything else in scripture, has a background, and for us, that background comes primarily from the camp of Israel. So let's quickly look at that. Moses has died, and the leadership role is now being passed to Joshua. The entire first chapter of Joshua is essentially a directive to be strong, but there is an astounding statement that seems to make them invincible. Joshua 1:3 CJB I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe (Moses). The connotation is, in battle. Consider how they, through the ten spies, step on the land of Canaan. Did they completely take the land God spoke of? No, and yet, in the long run, God's word is still valid, for the ground has been given to Israel. (Still today, there is bitter disagreement and fighting over this.) Chapter one ends with a uniform agreement on the part of Israel's fighting forces. Joshua 1:17-18 NASB "Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18) "Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous." I am not sure how to perceive this. Would the fighting men kill anyone that resisted one of Joshua's directives? The next plan we see is this, Joshua 1:10-11 NASB Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11) "Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'" I always assumed that Jericho was one of the first cities Israel conquered, however, when you look at a map which indicates the traditional path that Israel took into the promise land. The chart shows them traversing north along the Eastern side of the Jordan and then crossing above the Sea of Galilee and then dropping down south on the Western side of the Jordan, into Jericho. As a visual learner, I now have the placement of Jericho square in my thinking, and it is the next stop. Joshua 2:1 NASB Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there. This ugly tale is where we first meet Rahab. Without a doubt, our introduction leaves something to be desired, as she is a harlot. What are the problems with this introduction? We immediately start assigning personality traits, personal habits, and a lack of intelligence and integrity; all of which are things we cannot discern as yet. Let's start dissecting this. “then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” Jericho was not the only thing on their list. The more they moved through the land, the greater their chances of being seen. The idea that Jericho was the top of Joshua's list was evident. Secretly is the Hebrew word cheresh, and can also mean silently. Webster's dictionary tells us that secretly is defined as: Privately; privily; not openly; without the knowledge of others. “So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab,” You are a stranger, in a strange land, and, you may not speak or read the same language, yet, you come into the house of a harlot. Think about that for a moment. I brought this up before the men that morning. A short time later, one of the men pushed his electronic pad at me. On it, was an etching found in stone, in front of a building that had been dug out of the ashes of Pompeii. It was overtly sexual and easily identifiable. It required no additional explanation, and the implications could easily mean a house of whoredoms. Working from the premise that we have no other information to build this story on, there is NOTHING in scripture that defines how the spies would have known this. If we lack documented, historical information, then all we have is conjecture, and sadly, inference opens the door to Rahab pandering these new men in town. Taking this debauchery one step further; what is there that explains why the two spies were going into her house? I want to believe that they were above self-indulgence, but it cannot be ruled out. You should be thinking along the same lines as I am, about now. While finding a friendly voice in a strange place might be considered a Godsend, the spies still need to investigate, and this would allow them to move about freely for a short time. Quickly, they explained the grave nature of their business and how quickly they could kill her. But then, they are trying to gain an ally and temporary safety. “and lodged there.” Lodge is Hebrew word shâkab and means to lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease or any other purpose.) The intent is not to pass on more twisted thinking, but to make a point. We have sterilized God's word to the point that we cannot see that these were people, with frailties, just as we all have. If you follow the scriptural text, you will not see judgment coming from God about their actions. However far this went is none of our business, but in our quick judgments and condemnations, we dispatch people, like Judas Iscariot, to hell, while condoning the actions of these men. After all, it was war. Joshua 2:2 MKJV And the king of Jericho was told about it, saying, Behold, men from the sons of Israel came in here tonight, to search out the country. Apparently, someone had seen them and knew where they came from. What was even worse, is that the Israelis had been seen going into Rahab's house on the wall. Joshua 2:3 MKJV And the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men that have come to you, those who have entered into your house. For they have come to search out all the country. The king has sent messengers, probably armed guards, willing to kill. The demand is to bring out the men that come to you. Okay, here is where things get a little confused. Joshua 2:4 CJB However, the woman, after taking the two men and hiding them, replied, "Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn't know where they had come from. Think about what just happened. Messengers, capable of killing you, demand that you bring out the men that came into the home. You want me to believe that the guards just stood outside and waited for her to return? But what if she was aware that this entourage was coming, would she hide them before they started knocking? So, she, knowing that they want these men, hides them and lies about where they are. Her statement, “ Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn't know where they had come from.” To some degree this statement was right It wasn't long before they revealed their mission to her. Consider how she with minimal information, made a life-changing decision to believe the Israeli spies. She continues the deception. Joshua 2:5 CJB “The men left around the time when they shut the gate, when it was dark. Where they went I don't know; but if you chase after them quickly, you will overtake them.” The Israelis were still in the house. Joshua 2:6 CJB Actually she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax she had spread out there. Does it make sense that they would merely take her word, No, or why else would she hide them under the flax? Joshua 2:7 CJB The men pursued them all the way to the fords at the Yarden; as soon as the pursuit party had left, the gate was shut. Not finding them, the king's messengers go in pursuit. Joshua 2:8 CJB The two men had not yet lain down when she returned to the roof. As we wandered through the book section at our local warehouse store, I looked at a devotional journal that focused on women of the Bible. Rahab was listed, as she should be, but the author's version of the story was what we come to expect when tradition rules our thinking; as it conflicted with what the Bible says. How easy it is to twist a story. Joshua 2:9-11 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11) "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Without this information, we could never adequately understand what transpired that made her heart turn toward the God of Israel. What did she tell us? I know that the LORD has given you the land. This statement is a verbal demonstration of her acceptance. That the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. We see terminology like this all throughout the Bible. And yet, when you read the biblical stories, you come to find that in reality it means quite a few. The number is significant enough to be on the alert for spies. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt. Consider how many, choose to dispute or deny, the Red Sea crossing. Here is this woman, whom many would disregard, spelling out a common understanding and belief about Israel's passage through the Red Sea, on dry land. What you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, Sihon, and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And lastly, the most impactful statement of all of them. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. When it comes to making a confession of who God is in your life, this would be it. Having written recently about Jonah, one of the things we learn of, is that Jonah was a sign. Can you see that God's guidance and actions have been signs? Many of you are aware of Rahab already. You may also be mindful that she becomes an integral aspect of the lineage of Jesus, our King. In spite of ugly titles or your bad reputation, the God who knows the beginning from the end will find a way to draw you into the kingdom. You could not convince me that this woman did not have a changed heart; a change we like to call salvation. Soon, the action will get more intense as Israel, following God's directions, marches around the wall. This amazing woman will continue to play a miraculous role.
  3. First off, let me say I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. As the 90-year-old leader of the men's study, who is often spoken of as the expert on end times, would say, I disagree with some aspects of your assessment, and here is why. "Adam was of the earth, " So, we have the account in Genesis 1 to begin our saga. Genesis 1:26-31 NASB Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28) God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29) Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30) and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. 31) God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. In verse 27 we have this: "God created man in His own image." Since God is a spirit, then the man was a spirit. I see no way of getting around this. I might even say, this is a chronology and be correct in my declaration. "earthy" My assumption is that the earth, in your perception, makes this God creation now dirty. I might even think that the association with earth was meant to demonstrate how the "sin" then became a part of who Adam was. When what we see is that God merely saw fit to put a body on this spiritual creation He had made. That body, when teamed together with its female counterpart, was an expression of God's magnificent glory, far surpassing anything I have witnessed on this earth. And, there was nothing about them that said this is only God's second best. Man, both male, and female walked this earth taking dominion over the creation, and, it was GOOD. "not spiritual" It was Jesus who said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24 NASB. I personally feel that anything created in the direct and exacting image of the Father would, therefore, be spirit. If, there was one thing distinguished between God and the man was that the man, it appears, had NO knowledge of evil. There were no constraints or evil intentions in the man. Isaiah 14 describes Lucifer, who without the aid of a tree of knowledge saw fit to try to rise against God. Without evil driving the man, created in the exacting image of the Father, can you imagine what Adam must have been like? Everything that God is, was a description of who Adam was. So for me, the possibility of Adam being anything less than spiritual does not and cannot work for me. "not spiritual like the second Adam" Since most of us are believers who have followed Jesus for years now, and, avidly read His word, we immediately understand that the second Adam you speak of is Jesus Christ, the once dead but now risen Messiah, that is only moments away from gathering those who look for Him. Since God brought Jesus into the earth, with a specific purpose of bringing about the forgiveness and redemption of humankind, then was Jesus born into this earthy/fleshly environment? Yes, and No. Yes, the body, like Adam's, was flesh, earthly. That means it was subject to colds, cuts, and death, just like every other human. But, because God circumvented ancestral lineage and chose to artificially inseminate an egg into Mary, He bypassed the sin that seems to be passed along through DNA. So, in trying to define who or what Jesus was at birth, there will be nothing but argument. Some, suggest that He glowed from birth merely because of God being His Father. While that would be a fascinating and fun concept, it sort of takes away from the idea, that Jesus had to be like us in order to pay the price for redemption. Hebrews 2:17-18 NASB Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18) For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16) Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Now Adam was made sin free, however, he, like Jesus who too was born of flesh, had the choice to exert his own will. Adam did just that; Jesus did not, and He told us so. I suppose my point here is, Jesus was spiritual because of His parentage (not so dissimilar from Adam,) and He chose not to fall before Satan and worship him. "and only pronounced "good" and "very good" by God........not perfect" Genesis 1:31 NASB God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. At this point, man, both male and female, have been created in God's image. No bodies have been given them, potentially diminishing the man. So, what we have is a mirror image of the Father. Is God anything less than perfect? The answer is NO. Therefore, the proclamation we see in Genesis 1:31 has no indication of a proclamation as though something needed to be restored. God is nothing less than perfect; many would argue that point as they struggle through life. Would I dare make such a statement about humans? Not a chance, although, we are fortunate that God sees us through the eyes of grace and Jesus blood, the one man who was perfect. "Perfect has to do with being spiritual, being born of the spirit and being matured in the spirit." I need you to know that saw and understood that you answered, to some degree, your question. If I apply your statement to the life of Jesus, is it true? And, I would have to say yes. He certainly accomplished every aspect, as He was born of the spirit, an acknowledgment we were shown when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove and the Father spoke from the heavens saying, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And, Jesus matured. We saw a piece of that maturity played out at age 12 as he discussed the Law with the elders. Occasionally, we humans come close to maturity; while others make good posers. Truth is, we will never reach perfection while here on earth. The only one that came close is Enoch, and he left us to join the Father, bypassing death. Hmmm. I am going to end this as I have addressed the concepts I struggled with in your response. Please don't take these things personally, they are not. As I attend church, bible studies, church camps, and simple conversations at places like McDonald's, people express ideas that are heavily infused with tradition and misguided teaching. We cannot let those things guide our journey into and through the Word of God as they do not always convey or represent the character and nature of God appropriately. I will give you an example: At a recent church camp, my pastor, in explaining for the umpteenth time, the communion. Verbalized a word picture in which He said, Jesus, in expressing His emotion at the last communion and in the garden, did not want to die for you. He was looking for a way out. I was nothing short of shocked to hear those words come out of my pastor's mouth. Is this statement, Jesus did not want to die for me, true? Not even remotely. Do I think my pastor merely miscommunicated? Perhaps, and perhaps I am called to show him grace, as I am capable of stumbling with and over words. But there comes a point at which, as watchmen upon the wall, we have to blow the trumpet and hopefully awaken people to the truth that is there before us in God's Word. I long to see the body of Christ rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
  4. Who are you? Really?

    Water: I like water that is moving just slowly enough to still reflect the surroundings and yet create the most delicate of sounds as it falls gently from rock to pond. Animal: I thought I would have a clear answer but my mind keeps racing through images, ranging from Cougars, bears, African Lions, and Eagles. All of them are a fascination to me, primarily because of the freedoms I think they have. Isn't that odd how little freedoms these animals still have. Place: Because my wife came from there, I would like to see Rhode Island and vicinity. Why? Because I would have a built-in tour guide. Holiday: I am going to choose Thanksgiving, primarily because of its placement in the fall season. Here in So Cal Thanksgiving used to be filled with cool air, a change of leaf colors, a time of warm exchanges with family, and our annual trip up to the Apple Orchards and the possibility of some snow. Sadly, we no longer seem to have seasons here in So Cal and the weather stays exhaustingly warm most of the time. Family attitudes have changed and the biggest drain has much to do with dad's inability to walk. Awesomeness: How do I limit this to one thing? I have watched my daughter being born; I have seen Bryce Canyon Utah with all its color and shapes, and I have seen God respond with several miracles before my eyes. I must say that all these things were in some way miracles. All of them have shown me a God much bigger than I ever thought possible.
  5. I was asked by a friend about the Book of Enoch that I was recently reading. I acquired it several months ago but have never taken the time to read the book. Having recently decided to pursue its contents, I find it requires my full concentration. Waiting for this friend to get out of his medical appointment, I had a few minutes to spare, and so I began rereading pages of the book I had already read. This time I had determined to make notes as I went because I wanted to build some word pictures in my head (it's how I learn best.) Waiting for some paperwork from the front desk, we still had a couple of minutes and so I started talking to him about what I had learned so far. I mentioned that the Book of Enoch had been an integral part of the early Church, and had been read aloud among the body for 700 years. (Consider that the early church would have had little in the way of documentation aside from expensive, hand-copied scrolls of the Talmud and Tanach. So, if they were to have a copy of Enoch's rare and prophetic book, then, yes, someone would have read it aloud.) It is said that Early Church fathers, such as Clement, Barnabas, and Irenaeus referenced and quoted from the Book of Enoch. Th D. JR Church made this statement in the book he published, “Enoch, The First Book Ever Written.” The late JR Church did a running commentary on it as he explains and defines what Enoch said. I have come to realize that verifiable evidence is not enough to convince some people of the necessity nor the authenticity of information that gives us more insight into Biblical events that are otherwise perpetually obscured. I am a strong believer that the answers are there, in scripture, and, if not they might be obtained through some other source, like the Book of Enoch. Keep this in mind as you read. Jude, the author of his own book, quotes a prophecy from Enoch that is not in our Bibles and can only be found in the Book of Enoch. The writer of Hebrews places Enoch in the hall of fame for his great faith, by which he walked off this earth and into God's arms, never to see death (Hebrews 11:5). And we find the name of Enoch in Luke 3:37, where he is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ. I can't remember how we got there, but my friend said, then what do you do with Genesis 6:7 where God said, I am sorry that I made man? Perhaps I had attempted to point out how the fallen angels had, as Jude tells us, cohabited with the daughters of men, with the express purpose of circumventing God's plan of redemption. How can I make that statement? You have to go back to the garden where God is addressing Eve about her actions. She is cursed, but there is some good news, as one from her seed will bring about the redemption of the world. (Okay, I did not use the exact wording, but you should get a general idea.) Genesis 3:13-15 NASB Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14) The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." Satan's evil plan almost worked prior to the flood. Consider what was happening at this time. God, seeing that the earth was FILLED with violence and that the thoughts of “men” were only evil. The fallen angels, by taking whomever they wanted among women, had filled the earth with hybrids. The International Standard Bible says it best. Genesis 6:4 ISV The Nephilim were on the earth at that time (and also immediately afterward), when those divine beings were having sexual relations with those human women, who gave birth to children for them. These children became the heroes and legendary figures of ancient times. These titans became the foundations of mythology. Question, does the word all indeed mean all? No, because there was at that time a handful; specifically the close lineage that produced Noah. This family line was, as yet, untouched by the genetic corruption that these fallen angels were introducing. So far I haven't focused on any passages that touch on the word all, but the question was asked, “didn't God say that he was sorry he created man on the earth?” Doesn't that phrase imply that God was offended by all, including Noah? There is nothing about this question or the verse, that paints a correct picture of God or His character. If He was disgusted with all, then why waste any time communing with Enoch. The disjointed logic we use when we focus on one verse out of context makes no sense and is incorrect. So let's rethink the generalized question, wasn't God sorry He created man. Genesis 6:6-7 NASB The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7) The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." While it is true that the Bible translations range from sorry to regret, and grieved; but remember, God, put the man on earth so that He could share His life with and talk to the man. [Right here is where the understanding that God was not caught off guard by Satan's/Lucifer's actions, and the plan of salvation – that is the securing of the creation, including God's finest creation, man, was initiated. All of our confusion and misunderstandings stem from how we perceive these first few moments of time. God knew full well what would happen and adapted to the perverted twists. The day will come when our relationship with the Father will once again be restored to the condition it was prior to Adam's fall in the garden.] When you understand God's nature and character, the emotion of being sorry doesn't seem to accurately convey His heart toward men like Enoch, Methuselah or Noah, and they should be excluded from such a generalized statement. Therefore, it must mean something more specific. To merely quote this verse is to ignore the context in which it is said. The context begins in verse two, where fallen angels are taking human women, having intercourse with them, and filling the earth with their own version of hybrids. Not only that, but these hybrids are not just tall, they are massive, and they are violent hunters of humankind. Genesis 6:2-5 CJB the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3) Adonai said, "My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore their lifespan is to be 120 years." 4) The N'filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown. 5) Adonai saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. The attention grabber in this paragraph above is verse 5, where it says, “Adonai saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only.” Evidently, the Satanic scheme to hijack the redemption of the earth was so efficient that it had reduced the unpolluted lineage from Adam to the close relatives of Noah. Now, if the earth had been infiltrated to the point there were only a handful of undamaged humans left, wouldn't God be justifiably disgusted to the point where he was not only willing but needed to remove this malignancy from the earth? Genesis 6:6-7 NASB The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7) The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." Sorry, the word used in the NASB is the Hebrew word nâcham and means to sigh that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry. For me, an implication is not a translation, nor is it definitive. It is, however, something that may explain or add clarity. The words sigh and breathe strongly are words that I can understand, as I do it frequently. I sigh when I am angry, frustrated, and have enough. In this case, God had enough. The phrase “he had made,” is the Hebrew word ‛āśāh: A verb meaning to do, to make, to accomplish, to complete. This frequently used Hebrew verb conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view (cf. Gen_11:6). I could just as comfortably read Genesis 6:6 as The Lord was extremely frustrated that His good intentions had come to this. Isaiah tells the reader that the earth was habitable in the day that it was formed, and yet, something transpired because there was most certainly some imperfection taking place. Isaiah 45:18 NASB For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else. Likewise, man was perfect on the day he was made as well. Genesis 1:27-31 NASB God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28) God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29) Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30) and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. 31) God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. What is there about this paragraph above for God to be disgusted with? Nothing. How about here in Genesis 2:7-9? Genesis 2:7-9 NASB Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. 8) The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9) Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Still good. But things are about to change. I am cutting it short for space sake. Genesis 3:7-10 NASB Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8) They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9) Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10) He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." Eve was deceived, but Adam was wide awake and chose to trash his relationship with God. The passage also demonstrates an event that may have happened on a daily basis, God communing with the man and his wife. The tragedy here is that the connectedness and ease of communication with God were now broken. I pointed out earlier, how in talking with the serpent, God said, “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Not too long after this, is when Satan's plan to stop this seed, gets put into action. Ask yourself a question. Through intercourse and a maintained level of violence, how long would it take you to redirect the global order of things? Now, consider the added benefit these hybrids had in their completion of Satan's ugly plan. Can you now see why the history of man on earth, has been riddled with holocausts?
  6. We all have versions of the David and Goliath story in our heads. In our men's group, we were reading Max Lucado's book Overcoming your Giants. In the first chapter the author talks in odd descriptives about a young David, but the focus centers on how long we have been fighting our own giants. Max Lucado, at one point, details what some of those “giants” might be. Things, such as pornography, loss of income, whiskey, anger, drugs; you should be getting a general idea. I, like several others in the group, found myself focusing on the physical aspects of the David story. For example, Max Lucado speaks of young David bending over the stream to collect throwing stones. He continued by saying, if the water had been calm he could have looked longingly at his youthful, handsome face. Instead, David quickly gathered five, smooth, flat stones for his belt bag. Max. Lucado embraced his ridiculous reasons for picking flat rocks. This idea of collecting flat stones was one of the places where I stopped and said, WHAT?, as I found myself thinking, this guy has never shot a slingshot because you want the smoothest and roundest stones you can get. There is a practical reason for this, as anything else will do strange things, like curving away from the target when you sling them. This factor alone would have meant death for David, as he might not get a second shot. I am also aware, from video shot in Israel, that the Palestinians still have people who can accurately launch larger stones from long, leather slings, which is what David used. One of the men in the group asked the question, how big do you think David was? I immediately answered, 6 foot 4 inches. As you can imagine, that response got met with hostility and rebuttal. The person that asked the question, then said that is impossible since David, having had the armor placed on him, could not even pick himself up off the floor. Responses like this one about David, make me wonder where we get the garbage we are willing to spew out of our mouths as Biblical literacy. It also proves that the individual making the statement is unwilling to read the Bible for themselves. Sadly, all this unbridled talk was meant to educate and impress the fellow sitting next to me, a man who had only been a “Christian” for three weeks. I have shared my understanding of David, the young man who killed a bear and a lion, and how and why I think that he was a tall, well built young man with a handful of people. But, because our traditions are so deeply ingrained, I am typically met with resistance. A friend of mine asked, where do you get this information. I will tell you, but you must know, it is not all in one place, and, you have to apply some logic and put flesh and blood on these Biblical people; after all, we are not reading fairy tales, now are we. When we first meet Saul, the man that was to become the king Israel demanded, he was looking for the donkeys of his father, Kish. 1 Samuel 9:3-6 Saul, aware that there was a man of God living in Zuph, opted, along with his servant, to go this man for “all that he says surely comes true,” and they were going to ask him about the donkeys. That man was Samuel, the prophet. What they did not know, was that God had a plan, and had already been talking to Samuel about Saul. 1 Samuel 9:1-2 NASB Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice, and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. God, always has a plan, and these donkeys played a role. 1 Samuel 9:15-16 NASB Now a day before Saul's coming, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel saying, 16) "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel ; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people because their cry has come to Me." So, now you understand, to some degree, how and why Saul was anointed the king of Israel. What I left off, because, at the moment it had nothing to do with Saul becoming king, is his overall appearance. 1 Samuel 9:1-2 NASB Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice, and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. The message translation tells us, “he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd!” So, there you have it. You cannot merely assume that the tallest man in Israel was only three and a half feet tall. There had to be large men, like myself, who stood six foot four inches tall. Therefore the probability of King Saul being seven foot tall or taller is reasonable. How tall was David? We are not given that information, so what do we know about David, the son of Jesse? When we first meet David, Samuel has been sent to anoint another man king over Israel. While there was a time when Samuel could boldly speak into King Saul's life, that time had passed. Saul was wallowing in a bipolar depression on a frequent basis and was no longer fit to be king. In Samuel 16 we see Samuel having a conversation about the task God has asked him to perform. 1 Samuel 16:1-13 NASB Now the LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons." 2) But Samuel said, "How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the LORD said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' 3) "You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you." Stop here for a minute. Samuel knows that he is a dead man if Saul finds out what he is about to do. His instructions so far are clear, but there is no indication, other than being a son of Jesse's, who this young man is. 4) So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, "Do you come in peace?" 5) He said, "In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." I am interrupting here, to point something out. Note the reaction of the city elders, they came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” Assuming this is all you know about Samuel, what reason would they have to fear the God-man? However, they still remembered when Samuel hacked up king Agag, whom Saul, had taken captive, in direct opposition to God's orders. He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. Jesse, having been given instructions by Samuel off stage, brings in the oldest son first, (his age is not known to us,) to present before Samuel. Jesse, by-the-way, has no idea what is about to happen, he merely assumes that it will be good for one of them, preferably the firstborn. And, Samuel may not know Jesse, nor how many sons Jesse has. 6) When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him." 7) But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 8) Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." 9) Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." 10) Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. Jesse brought them in, one at a time, from oldest to youngest, but he did not bring David. Why? Could I presumptuously say, it was because David was just a little boy, too young to serve, nor understand what would be asked of him? No, we don't have enough information to make that kind of decision. What we should realize is that there was a birthright order to be followed, and the firstborn son always got the most significant and best share; at this point, Jesse is merely following Jewish guidelines. In Jesse's mind, Samuel should have been done with the first son. Perhaps this gives you a little more insight into the hostility David received from his brothers when, under orders from his father, entered the battle zone. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." 11) And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." You still have nothing that tells you his size, or age. All we know is that he had been tending sheep. 11 cont.) Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." 12) So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. Let's look at the words used to describe David: Ruddy – Hebrew word ’aḏmôniy: An adjective meaning red, ruddy. At best, with this information, we can assume he was a redhead with freckles. He had beautiful eyes: The Word Study Dictionary indicates that the Hebrew word yāp̱eh: Is “an adjective meaning lovely, beautiful. It is used in many settings to describe the beauty of various things and persons: of women (Gen_12:11, Gen_12:14; 2Sa_13:1; Est_2:7). It is used to indicate a healthy appearance (Gen_41:2). It may be used to mean good-looking, handsome of young men or adult males (2Sa_14:25).” Or, he had a beautiful Countenance, as some translations state. The Hebrew word ‛ayin is the word for eyes. So his eyes played a role in his attractiveness. And goodly to look at – The Hebrew word is ṭôb and means pleasant and agreeable to look at. Nothing here gives us a description that assigns age or stature. So, I have nothing with which to determine an age yet. Again, nothing that gives away his age. One more thing. We, love to speak of God holding no one accountable until the “age of maturity.” It's not a bad standard, and it sure let's many ten-year-old children off the hook for their role in gang murders. However, you will not find that concept in the Bible. It is purely a Jewish tradition. If I could apply it to God's acceptance of David, then the young boy would have been older than twelve. Your problem when attempting to use that logic is that God is not the least bit concerned with the traditions of men. Besides that, if we are using only the word of God for our argument, you will find that God did not use this tradition to make His decision. Let's finish off the selection 1Samuel 16:1-13. 12 cont.)And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." 13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. After this, Samuel fled for his life; now, wherein these passages did you find the description of a child of 12? You didn't, did you? Our next piece of testimony, for the defense, also comes from 1Samuel. 1 Samuel 16:14-18 NASB Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. 15 Saul's servants then said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 "Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well." 17 So Saul said to his servants, "Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me." 18 Then one of the young men said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him." What can I gather from this? First, there is nothing to indicate how much time has passed since Samuel anointed David. Secondly, Saul's servants went out seeking a MAN who is skillful at playing the harp. Thirdly, without looking, one servant volunteers some information about David, whom he has seen. So, we have eyewitness testimony. Fourth, note how this man describes David: A mighty man of valor; a warrior; one prudent in speech; a handsome man, and, as a bonus, the Lord is with him. At this recommendation, David is hired. What do we see next? 1 Samuel 16:19-23 NASB So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, "Send me your son David who is with the flock." 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat and sent them to Saul by David, his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight." 23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand, and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. Verse 21 tells us that David came to Saul and attended him. Saul loved him greatly And, David became Saul's armor-bearer. Once again we have conclusive evidence that shows: David was not a little boy; that Saul knew David well, and that David was very acquainted with Saul's armor. The word familiar, as used in this context, would imply that David knew how much it weighed, how it went on, and what to look for as he concerned himself with damage. He not only carried it but polished it as well. There can be little doubt that Saul knew full well who David was when he returned that day to fight Goliath. Considering how close Saul and David had become, and what his job was, causes me to have even more questions about his brother's reactions to him. I cannot see what they said as anything less than jealousy. Again, some time has passed, but we do not know what the length of time was. We are now looking a 1Samuel 17 where we are introduced to Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:1-7 MSG The Philistines drew up their troops for battle. They deployed them at Socoh in Judah and set up camp between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes Dammim. 2) Saul and the Israelites came together, camped at Oak Valley, and spread out their troops in battle readiness for the Philistines. 3) The Philistines were on one hill, the Israelites on the opposing hill, with the valley between them. 4) A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. 5) He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor--126 pounds of it! 6) He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. 7) His spear was like a fence rail--the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him. As you read through commentaries, you find statements such as no one in Israel wanted to commit suicide by facing this guy. Goliath, knowing full well the fear he imposed upon Israel and their now weak-kneed king, was devastating. 1 Samuel 17:9 NASB "If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us." Other translations use the word slave. It is not difficult to imagine the fate awaiting Israel. Israel, on the other hand, had standards for keeping slaves and servants, and abuse was not allowed. The word slave is the Hebrew word ‛ebed. The Word Study Dictionary defines ‛ebed in this way: A masculine noun meaning a servant, a slave. Although the most basic concept of this term is that of a slave, slavery in the Bible was not the same as the slavery of modern times. The period of slavery was limited to six years (Exo_21:2). Slaves had rights and protection under the Law (Exo_21:20). It was also possible for slaves to attain positions of power and honor (Gen_24:2; Gen_41:12). There was nothing to indicate that the Philistines would abide by Israel's standards. Although the Philistines would come forward on a daily basis, shouting taunts, it seems the entire verbal exchange was between David and Goliath that day. However, there is this: 1 Samuel 17:16 NASB The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand. I had wondered why Saul acted like he did not know David that day when in reality Saul loved David, and as his armor-bearer saw David frequently. Scripture tells us that David went back and forth between his father's sheep and Saul. 1 Samuel 17:15 NASB but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's flock at Bethlehem. David had returned that day at his father's direction. 1 Samuel 17:17-20 NASB Then Jesse said to David his son, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18) "Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19) "For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines." 20) So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. I have never had a clear image of how and why David's brothers had such a caustic interaction with him. Perhaps this verse explains that. 1 Samuel 17:22 NASB Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. He entered the battle zone. Since he is on a mission from dad, then, with his brothers gathered in one place, he may have been asking what they perceived as obvious and foolish questions. 1 Samuel 17:23 NASB As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. Suddenly everything changed. 1 Samuel 17:24-25 NASB When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25) The men of Israel said, "Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel." It is safe to assume that David heard what they said, but he had to ask once again, perhaps for verification. 1 Samuel 17:26-27 NASB Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" 27) The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, "Thus it will be done for the man who kills him." David asked, “what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?” I can perceive this two ways: 1. He is referring to one of the troops, or, 2. He includes himself among the men that day. When we were going over chapter one in Max Lucado's book, Facing Your Giants, the point was made that David said this phrase “the armies of the living God” or something similar, at least eight times. My take away, was that our focus in the midst of facing our giants is to give God and his power, the emphasis, instead of emphasizing the problem. 1 Samuel 17:31-33 NASB When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32) David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." 33) Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." There is a noticeable age difference, but there is nothing about this statement that turns David into a whining pre-teen. When the job came open to play the harp, they were looking for a man; they found David. When David was presented as the perfect candidate, he was pitched as a man, a mighty warrior, and a valiant man. What changed? The reality that all of Israel's life was at stake here. If David loses, they all become slaves to the Philistines. Since Saul now refers to him as a youth let's see what the Hebrew word means. nâ‛ûr The Word Study dictionary states: It refers to the early stages and years of a person's life and the experiences and characteristics of that time: every person, all humankind experiences this time of life (Gen_8:21). It is a time when skills are best learned (Gen_46:34); a time of dependence on parents (Lev_22:13; Num_30:3 [4], Num_30:16 [17]) Therefore, considering David too immature is only a presumption on our parts. Why would I say that? Because the man giving the references for David says, tells us he is, “one prudent in speech.” Webster's dictionary defines prudence in this manner: “Prudence implies caution in deliberating and consulting on the most suitable means to accomplish valuable purposes, and the exercise of sagacity in discerning and selecting them. Prudence differs from wisdom in this, that prudence implies more caution and reserve than wisdom, or is exercised more in foreseeing and avoiding evil, than in devising and executing that which is good.” Rare is the child who demonstrates prudence. Having fought off a bear and a lion, I would say that David was skillful at combat, but men are slightly different from animals, as they can carry spears and slings as well. So, David expounds upon his resume by giving Saul the details. 1 Samuel 17:34-37 NASB But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35) I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36) "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them since he has taunted the armies of the living God." 37) And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you." At hearing this, Saul says, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” If there was an implication of David a small boy, putting Israel's life into the hands of a giant, it just went out the window.
  7. Several weeks ago the Monday morning study leader announced that the following week we would be starting a study on vengeance. To show that the carnal side of me still exists, I wrote this on my notepad, Coming up next week, Vengeance!, Yeah baby! I was messing around, as the first reaction I had, was to moan because every study is a fitful barrage of legalism. When that particular “study” ended, I turned to my friend and said, that wasn't all bad. The leader was giving an introduction, but he had already lost me, as I was looking up passages on vengeance. The first thing I came to was a passage in Leviticus. Leviticus 19:18 ISV "You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." The first thing I realized is that this is “the law,” and we, are not under the law; or, are we? If we are not under the law, then what do I do with this statement from the Apostle Paul? Romans 12:16-19 ISV Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are. 17) Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people. 18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord." Wait a minute, Paul, the reformed Pharisee, and one of the most prominent advocates of grace; tells his audience of Jewish converts, and us, do not put yourself back under the bondage of the law. And yet, here it is. Nahum 1:2-3 AMPC The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges, and He is full of wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies. [Exodus 20:5] 3) The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. [Exodus 34:6-7] There are many scriptural illustrations that Paul could have pulled from, but Nahum conveys the idea of vengeance well. If Paul could be comfortable drawing examples from the “law” while speaking of those same laws as a return to bondage, then your spirit should be telling you that there is something more involved in this idea of bondage than mere constraints put on us by God. The “laws,” such as, love your neighbor as yourselves, are, at the very least, a better way of living; And, they are the very thing that keeps us out of God's way, as we focus on the positive rather than our hidden agenda of supplanting God by dishing out vengeance and judgment. So then, even the New Testament conveys constraints that parallel the law. I have mentioned, many times, how we live under the perfect law of liberty. James 2:10-12 NASB For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11) For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. James is also the one who tells us that we are blessed when we walk in this law. James 1:25 NASB But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. We then, do not have the freedom to seek vengeance, nor are we entirely free from the God's law. As the morning's study progressed a brash statement was made, when we get to heaven, you will not find a Pharisee there as they will all be in hell. A quick inventory in my head put me in remembrance of Nicodemus, Simon of Arimathea, and the Apostle Paul, all of which, were prominent Pharisees who displayed a love of Jesus Christ. Several minutes passed and I raised my hand. When the leader finally acknowledged me, I said, as a recovering Pharisee who struggles with judgment I want to share a story with you. At this point, I told them about a stepson who had inappropriately taken one of my handguns into the backyard to show a friend of his. You need to understand that there had been a series of events that ended with a stolen bicycle, and this young man in my backyard had played a role in that. I that moment, with them fondling my revolver, I merely held out a hand, and my stepson placed the gun in my hand. I simply said, had you asked me I would have taken you to the range and taught you how to respect the weapon and shoot it, but since you chose to go behind my back you have lost that opportunity. I began that day to pray that God would remove bad influences from my stepson's life. Two weeks later, the other boy shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette. The important thing was I merely asked God to intervene, but I did not try to tell Him what to do about it. I remind you of Romans 12:19 which says, 19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord." I don't know how I did it because I was angry in the days that preceded that young mans death. I was the one who walked my son into the police station and made him “return” this obviously stolen bicycle, and this entire process was laden with humiliation and fear for both of us, but it worked out, as they apparently realized that my actions had ingrained a serious lesson in my son. Once again look at what James has to say. James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. Pay close attention to verse 13 where it says, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy.” I my story above I feel like I did it right. I feel no blame for the young man, but I grieved with his father who explained how they had seen unusual patterns beginning to develop. I can assure you that there were multiple times that I did not get this right, and here is one. Having been raised in the church, I was severely wounded by a few sarcastic church elders. I carried their wounds most of my life. Did they always occupy my mind? No, but a string of events that I can relate to codependency, seemed to bring their brutal tongues to the forefront of my thinking. The bottom line here is that in my mind I hated them and wanted them to suffer slow, prolonged, and painful torture, for what they did. When you think about the logic in all this, you can see that this pain I believed I inflicted upon them, and the chains I held them in, was all in my head. That means I gave them too much free space in my head. And never, were they aware of this bondage I held them in. During the time involved, I had to maintain the chains, keeping the rust off those chains by oiling them. All this maintenance cost me a tremendous amount of time and energy. Sadly, I felt justified in all this. Primarily I learned I needed to forgive them. Yes, I needed to forgive; the problem is, I had no idea of what to do. Oh sure, mother had her designs, which amounted to letting people continue to slap you until you are spinning, but that was not going to work for me either (anymore.) Thankfully there was a day when a prophetic woman stopped me and said, you have to forgive those men who hurt you! I responded with, alright, but how? She said, it's simple, you merely release them from the debts you think they owe you. To be honest, it only took me a couple of days to realize that I was having no impact on them and that my efforts were simply me, judging them. After, what seemed like a lifetime I released them from the bondage that I felt they owed me. Quickly, I began doing that with ex-wives and others that had offended me. I have, over time, told these truths to others, only to have them say its hard to forgive! I responded briskly with, no, it's not. The only difficult part is you letting go of the imaginary control you think you have. You see, when we set ourselves up as judges and put people into the prison of our minds, we have set ourselves up as God. We have supplanted God and tried to take over His job. In doing this, we have set up our own fates, which James spells out. James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. Since we are not under the law, and yet have an almost identical command in the New Testament, then let's try one more and see if we can find the freedom in it. Deuteronomy 32:35 CJB Vengeance and payback are mine for the time when their foot slips; for the day of their calamity is coming soon, their doom is rushing upon them.' On one hand, this tells us that all vengeance belongs to God, while on the other hand it speaks to payback, which is His also. Their day will come, whether they be religious or ungodly. I will show you Romans 12:19 once again. Romans 12:19 ISV Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord." By taking yourselves out of the judgment seat, you are putting these people back into God's hand. As the ISV translation says, leave room for God's wrath. Alright, there is time for just one more story. On a particular day, I was put in charge of the office where I was outnumbered by women who had taught us men, how to install and repair pay phones. A particular lady, who had a horrific case plantar fasciitis, whined incessantly about how she could not do the job. I suspect that I misread her that day, and thought that she was saying that she could not do the added dimension of installing the wiring. I asked her to stay in the office for a moment and proceeded to tell her, in my most Pharisaical tone, that as a Christian I was ashamed of her because, we, as believers, can do all things through Christ. The short of it, within about six months my judgment came back on me, and I found myself ashamed of my actions. I don't know what became of her, but I lost everything dear to me. So, I understand how this works, and you don't want to get into the judgment game. As an addendum: 4/16/18 Monday morning's Men's study Opened with, "Vengeance, we are not to even have the thought!" Is this possible? Paul, in his letter to Timothy, wrote (2Timothy 4:14,15) 2 Timothy 4:14-15 AMPC Alexander the coppersmith did me great wrongs. The Lord will pay him back for his actions. 15) Beware of him yourself, for he opposed and resisted our message very strongly and exceedingly. 2 Timothy 4:15 GNB Be on your guard against him yourself, because he was violently opposed to our message. 2 Timothy 4:15 MSG Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he's got coming.
  8. Greetings, I took the liberty of putting a post on my status. I see that there appears the ability to post blogs, something I do frequently; however, I don't see how to do that here. What are the qualifications to post? Osmer
  9. Just came on board and decided, since the opportunity seems to be here, that I would share a recent blog post that I made on my site.  The title of the post could easily take one of two titles: What's up with Genesis 6:7? or God was sorry he made man on earth. Really, is that even possible? 

    I have moved the post portion of this status update to a main topic board on the advice of another.

    1. Chi

      Chi

      Wow! Please can you create a topic which this post specifically where people could speak about this and respond accordingly to your post? 

    2. omharris

      omharris

      I would love to, as soon as I learn how. 

    3. Chi

      Chi

      I think you need to make a couple of posts to gain access everywhere. 

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