The Conclusion of the Matter

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My Musings – Fear God? “The ‘fear of the Lord‘ is that attitude of reverence and awe that His people show to Him because they love Him and respect His power and His greatness.” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).

Keep His commandments?  Not out of the fear, as we understand fear.  But, as explained above, out of reverence, awe, and respect.  Why wouldn’t we?  Think of it this way.  When we were little children, we obeyed our parents out of the fear we understand.  Fear of the consequences if we did not.  As we grew older and became adults we continued to do the things we were told when we were young, because we revere and respect them, and want to please them. We want to show our gratitude.

The duty of man?  Not because it is compulsory, but because we are obliged (do as someone asks or desires in order to help or please them).

My Advice – Do your “duty.”

The Outer Limits?

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My Musings – This verse is not meant to be taken as hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally).  Just the opposite, and more.  How does one explain the infinite love and forgiveness of God?  There is nothing literal that can adequately capture it.  So you go beyond the literal, pushing on to the outer “limits”

“To infinity and beyond!” (Buzz Lightyear).  To those who had not yet experienced flight, much less space travel, the heavens were something beyond the grasp of early man.  Today, having actually reached out into space, and seen into deep space with instruments like the Hubble telescope, the depths of the heavens are still far beyond our grasp.  If all space, time and matter came into being at the Big Bang (“And God Said…and it was so.”), and the “universe” is ever-expanding, does this mean there is an outer-edge to it?  If so, then you would have reached infinity, and the limits of God’s love still reaches beyond.  “Whoa, this is heavy!” (Marty McFly).

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” (Rudyard Kipling).  This one, early man could possibly grasp.    If you travel West (or East), you can travel on forever and never reach the East (or West).  The twain will never meet.  You may turn around, and there it is, but that is called repentance (if turning away from sin) or backsliding (if turning back to sin).  But forgiveness means never being under sin’s penalty ever again. The Psalmist did not say as far as the north is from the south.  If you travel North (or South), eventually you reach a point where your direction changes and you begin to travel South (or North), without ever turning around.  This would have never captured the magnitude of God’s forgiveness. “Heavy!”

My Advice – If you have not already done so, “Go West, young man!” (John B. L. Soule). Take a trip “to infinity and beyond.”  How’s that for mixing metaphors?

If have already done so, do not turn around, do not even look back. “We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.” (George Washington).  Keep heading to the outer limits (situated farther out).  Because when you think you have reached the limits of God’s love and forgiveness, there is even more “situated farther out.”

A Mind Full

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My Musings – Carl Sagan wrote, “There is nothing unusual about the earth. It’s an average, unassuming rock that’s spinning mindlessly around an unremarkable star in a run-of-the-mill galaxy – ‘a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.'”  Yet on this “unassuming rock” in this “great enveloping cosmic dark” God placed the crown-jewel of His creation – Man.  We know (Carl Sagan notwithstanding) this, because of all His creation only man was made in His image.

All of the other “work[s] of [His] fingers” are beyond our comprehension, because our finite minds cannot comprehend the infinite.  And yet “these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14, NIV 1984).  Who indeed?  Incomprehensible to us, yet still “how faint the whisper we hear of Him!”  The infinite is still merely the “outer fringe of His works.”  Try and wrap your head around that!

Which brings us back to the Psalm above, which is attributed to King David.  In the midst of all that has just been so inadequately described, “what is man that [He] is mindful (Attentive; regarding with care; bearing in mind; heedful; observant) of Him?”  That my friend, is a mind full indeed!

My Advice – “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12, NIV 1984).

If Only There Were Someone

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My Musings – Arbitrate: to settle (a dispute between two people or groups) after hearing the arguments and opinions of both.

Some say that Job is the oldest book in the Bible, in which case Job is “unwittingly” making the earliest prophecy about the coming Messiah.

If you browse the internet, you’ll find various opinions on what makes a good arbitrator.  Among them are competence, character, courage, commitment, compassion.  I would add at least one more: an intimate knowledge of both parties in the dispute.  Ever wonder why God became man though His Son Jesus Christ?  While this is undoubtedly a multi-dimensional question, perhaps this was one of the reasons.

Christ already had the divine perspective.  For He “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3, NIV 1984).”  When He became man, He acquired the human perspective.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15, NIV 1984).”

My Advice – In the most important “dispute” of our lives, one with eternal consequences, we want more than a good arbitrator. We want the best.  Jesus is the best.  As a matter of fact, He is the only arbitrator that is able to “remove God’s rod from [us].

 

Choose Wisely

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1 Chronicles 16:34Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. (NIV 1978)

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”.  “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

My Musings – What is good?  We all have a general idea what it means to be good, and we usually contrast it with bad or evil.  But when it comes to man, in his fallen state, good is a relative term.  Relative to one another, but not to God.  In fact, the Bible states that “[t]here is no one righteous [good], not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10–12, NIV 1984).  Only God is good.

Before the fall, mankind desired the knowledge of good and evil more than life.  You might recall that there were two trees in the center of the garden – “In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9, NIV 1984).

But only one was forbidden – “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16–17, NIV 1984).  And that is the one they desired.

When it came to choices, mankind chose what was forbidden and forfeited what they already had – goodness and innocence.  It was a “fool’s choice,” for who needs to know the difference (good versus evil) when all they have and all they are is good and innocent?  In making the “fool’s choice” mankind also gave up the opportunity to live forever in that state (good and innocent).

As a consequence of that choice, God was no longer “safe,” for mankind.  But He was still good.  “He’s the King, I tell you.”  And His love “endures forever,” even in the wake of mankind’s bad choices.  Because of His goodness and love, He was compelled to provide a way back to the paradise lost, through the death and resurrection of the only man to ever be good (“the exact representation of His being“) relative to God – the second Adam, God’s only Son Jesus.  By accepting Christ, that goodness is imputed to man.  It all boils down to another choice.  This time will we choose the “tree of life” or will we continue to think that our ill-gotten knowledge is “better?”

My Advice – Choose wisely, choose life.

No Authority Except

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Romans 13:1-2 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  (NIV 1984)

Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

George Washington – “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”

Abraham Lincoln – “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

John F. Kennedy – “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

Ronald Reagan – “America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”

My Musings – Our country is not perfect.  These men, who rose to become its leaders, were not without their flaws.  But I would like to think that our nation was established and has been favored by God because of its ideals and the shared sentiments of men like these and the citizens they led.  My hope is that it would grow even stronger in these convictions.  My fear is that they are rapidly crumbling.

My Advice – Acknowledge God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Knee and Every Tongue

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1 Kings 18:39The Lord – He is God! The Lord – He is God! (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The context of this verse is the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  Having seen the utter failure of a non-existent god, and the awesome display of God’s mighty power, the people could do nothing but exclaim “The Lord – He is God!

Today, people worship all kinds of “gods,” fame, fortune, pleasure, and science, for example, not to mention a plethora of false religions all claiming that they are the true or an alternative path to God.  Then there are those who claim that there is no God at all.

That’s today.  A time is coming, perhaps very soon, when this will change and “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10–11, NIV 1984).

My Advice – For those who have confessed Jesus Christ is Lord beforehand, this will be praise indeed.  For those who have not, it will be too late.  Why not now? “The Lord – He is God!”