Tag Archives: Bible study

‘Does God Care What I Think?’ (2017)

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One of the purposes of writing anything down is so that it’s the same for everybody. That’s why God caused His word to be written down.

Does God Care What I Think?

St. Peter warns us against “private interpretation” of the scriptures. It would be hard to think of a warning that’s been less heeded.

And anyway, look how hard it is to convince anybody of anything. How often does anything we say actually change anybody’s mind?

Well, we try. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you” is a motto for this age.


Your Calling

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Your calling might be anything. It all counts with God.

My Bible-reading this morning brought me to 1 Corinthians 7:20: “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”

Did you ever get the impression, maybe back in Sunday school, that you really ought to be doing something special for God, like being a missionary, or a street preacher? Your day job didn’t count.

But as Chalcedon board member Ford Schwartz once said to me, “If you have a calling, it’s your calling. Wherever you are, whatever you do, you have a calling to carry out your business in a righteous way.”

And as St. Paul explained it, if you’re called by God while you’re a slave, you are now God’s freeman; and if called while free, you are now God’s servant. Remember, Paul wrote during the height of the Roman Empire, when a fair-sized portion of the human race was bound in slavery. But in God’s sight everyone is equal.

In truth, your day job does count, and God wants us to carry out our regular duties bearing in mind that we all work for Him, we are His servants–so we work honestly, righteously, and as best we can. Heck, some of us are called to write fantasy novels.

And Paul adds that if you’re a slave and you do receive your freedom–use it for God’s glory. If you get a promotion, or a better job, use it.

For God has called you to it.


Where was Ophir?

Psalm 45:9 Kings' daughters were among your honorable women: on ...

Once upon a time, King Solomon sent an expedition to a place called Ophir, which brought him back 450 talents in gold (2 Chronicles 8:18). In 9 Chronicles 13, we are told the king’s total revenue amounted to 666 talents. Solomon was the richest king of his time, and that one trip to Ophir netted him about two-thirds of a year’s revenue.

But where was Ophir?

We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us–probably because, at the time it was written, people knew where Ophir was and didn’t have to be told. And it was famous for its gold. Psalm 45 speaks of “the queen in gold of Ophir.”

There is no mention of Ophir in the New Testament. Was that because the name had changed? Or maybe Ophir’s civilization had collapsed.

Where was it?

Speculation as to the location of Ophir takes Solomon’s ships as far afield as the coast of America, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Central Africa. There’s no archaeological evidence to support any of those theories.

But we do know–and have evidence for it–that the ancient Indus Valley civilization sent trading ships up the Persian Gulf to Arabia and Mesopotamia. Probably Mesopotamia sent ships to the Indus. Personally, that’s where I think Ophir was. It’s a long way from the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, where Solomon’s ports were. But Alexander the Great was able to send ships from the Indus back to the Persian Gulf; they surely could have continued around Arabia and up the Red Sea. There were plenty of ports along the way, for rest and re-supply.

If Solomon flourished around 900 B.C., the Indus Valley civilization was already out of business by then; but other civilized people now lived there.

We do tend to sell the ancients short, and think they couldn’t possibly have done things that no one else did till modern times. Thor Heyerdahl made a pretty good career out of poking holes in this doctrine. Of course, nobody believes anymore in any of the things he said or wrote; but no one can deny that he built accurate re-creations of several kinds of ancient vessels and successfully sailed them on long voyages. If he could cross the Atlantic on a boat made of reeds, then at least it was possible for someone in the ancient world to do it.

But we still don’t know where Ophir was.

 


The Spirit of Caleb

Tiny grasshoppers on the top of a morning glory leaf at first ...

Are we really just grasshoppers?

You’ll remember from the Bible how the children of Israel, having reached the border of the Promised Land, sent spies to find out what it was like (Numbers, Chapter 13).

The spies came back loaded with fruit and other good things. It’s a land flowing with milk and honey, all right, they reported–but just forget about taking it! (Verses 28-32) Because it’s just chuck full of bad guys, and giants, and impregnable walled cities, and the Amalekites are waiting to crush us… What was God thinking of, to send us here? Like, man, we are just grasshoppers, compared to those people! (v. 33)

But one of those spies was Caleb. “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (v. 30).

Caleb trusted in God, and in God’s promises. God had promised to give the land to Israel. Caleb believed Him. He wasn’t scared of walled cities, giants, or Amalekites. To Caleb they were already slated for destruction: for the Lord had said so.

Do we need some of Caleb’s spirit shot into our veins, or what? We see Far Left Crazy running wild in the streets, and alleged polls showing Dozy Joe up 15 points–but are we supposed to lose heart? Give up? I surrender, BLM–please eat me last!

It’s not too late to put our trust in God and get to work like we mean it. Repent our sins and get busy!


Psalm 46

I have to hurry up and post this, because any moment I’m liable to lose my internet connection.

So, let’s go–Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and our strength,” and do we ever need Him!


Psalm 37

This was the psalm, Psalm 37, that came up for me in today’s daily Bible reading: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers.” Did that psalm speak to me? Oh, yeah–loud and clear.

The ungodly just now are running wild, having a grand time as they pursue the destruction of our country.

Their end is destruction in this world–anybody seen the Soviet Union around lately?–and judgment in the next.

Never, never, never, never give in.


‘Are the Powers That Be Really Ordained by God?’ (2015)

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Nero… who murdered Christians

There are always Christians who insist Romans 13:1 means that whoever happens to be in power at the moment, even if it’s a bloodthirsty monster who murdered his way to the top, has to be honored and obeyed–because God put him there.

Are the Powers That Be Really Ordained by God?

But Romans 13 goes on to describe what it is that God “ordains” the civil power to do. So when that power rewards evildoers and makes itself a terror to the innocent–sound familiar? or don’t you live in a Democrat city?–and actively makes war on God’s word and on God’s people… it’s a righteous thing to oppose that power. As the various Judges did, and David, and Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Ah! But Jesus didn’t rebel against the power, did He?

No, because He came here as a sacrifice. But when He comes again, watch out.


Going into Debt–in 664 B.C.

Assyrians came, conquered, and kicked everyone out: Tablets reveal ...

(Source: Biblical Archaeology Review, Summer 2020)

You think you’ve got troubles with the finance company? Hah!

The clay tablet in the picture is a legal document from 664 B.C., discovered at Tel Hadid in central Israel, which was then under Assyrian rule. The document is the record of a loan in which the borrower agreed to pay 33% interest if his bill was overdue… and he had to put up his wife and sister as collateral! “Rocky” would come and take them away if the loan was not repaid on time. (Does this shed any light on the Bibles consistent condemnation of usury?)

Those seem like pretty harsh terms to me. You’re better off with Household Finance.

The document doesn’t say what the borrower needed the loan for. Probably not smart pills. Obviously they weren’t making them back then.

 


‘Embracing the God Who Shakes Our World’

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.    Hebrews 12: 26-27

This essay by Martin Selbrede will do for a sermon.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/embracing-the-god-who-shakes-our-world

God shakes the earth. We see that as a hardship, a rough ride; but it’s also God’s promise. As for the shaking, “It is how God fulfills His promise to His people that they will inherit the earth while His government increases without end.”

You can read the whole essay for yourselves. I just want to add one more thought to it.

What if God didn’t shake the earth? What if He didn’t remove those things that oppose Christ’s Kingdom?

That should scare you worse than the shaking.

Remember the seed that was sown among thorns.


Internal Evidence for the Gospels of Matthew and Mark

From the Christian Apologist blog… Yes, the Bible is a reliable and authoritative source.  –LD


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