Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seven Does Follow Six

This morning I was studying Isaiah 7, reading about the prophet asking the unbelieving king to find faith and if he lacked faith that God was willing to give him a miraculous sign. For years I have listened to message that I must pull myself up by my own boot straps, that it all depended upon me for success. If I failed, it would be because I did not try hard enough, I did not work enough, that I was a failure. Indeed, I should work hard. Certainly, I should not give a half effort. Surely, I must try, try again. However, I heard the ancient prophet say to Ahaz, and also whisper to me, "If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’” As someone else paraphrased it, "Trust or bust." Ahaz was thinking that he was a clever politician, that he knew what to do. His solution to threats from his northern neighbors was to seek refuge in one of the superpowers of the day. He did not trust so in the end, he was busted. The kingdom was not ripped from his family, but the family and kingdom were ripped from their land. His heirs would be sojourners to the east. His progeny would serve as appointed governors at a foreign king's pleasure. While there were other contributing factors, a lack of faith on Ahaz' part brought the nation of Judah one step closer to exile.

I often find myself lacking faith. I often find myself seeking to solve my problems through my own human effort. God used the words in Isaiah 6 to call me to his service, "Here am I, send me." I do trust his call, not necessarily in my ability to good enough for his call. I, like the prophet, need cleansing from the Lord. Being cleansed, I am ready to serve at his pleasure, whether great or small. Seeing how Isaiah receives his call, he is told that his message would not be believed. That is exactly what happens in Isaiah 7. Ahaz remains in unbelief. The prophet's message of faith was rejected. Chapter seven follows on the heels of chapter six.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is the NIV being discontinued?

I'm not sure.

What I mean by that is that the issue is not cut and dry. It depends what you consider the essence of the NIV to be.

Some helpful links come from the NIV Bible Update website and Zondervan's blog.

These sites explain how they are updating the NIV version of the Bible.

I believe the question comes down to whether the updates will cause the same issues to resurface that the TNIV brought. I am in a wait and see attitude.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Westminster Confession on One God.

1. There is but one only1 living and true God,2 who is infinite in being and perfection,3 a most pure spirit,4 invisible,5 without body, parts,6 or passions;7 immutable,8 immense,9 eternal,10 incomprehensible,11 almighty,12 most wise,13 most holy,14 most free,15 most absolute,16 working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will,17 for His own glory;18 most loving,19 gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,20 the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him;21 and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments;22 hating all sin,23 and who will by no means clear the guilty.24

See also: WLC 7 | WSC 4


1 Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4,6.

2 1 Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10.

3 Job 11:7,8,9; Job 26:14.

4 John 4:24.

5 1 Tim. 1:17.

6 Deut. 4:15,16; John 4:24; Luke 24:39.

7 Acts 14:11,15.

8 James 1:17; Mal. 3:6.

9 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23,24.

10 Ps. 90:2;1 Tim. 1:17.

11 Ps. 145:3.

12 Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8.

13 Rom. 16:27.

14 Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8.

15 Ps. 15:3.

16 Exod. 3:14.

17 Eph. 1:11.

18 Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36.

19 1 John 4:8,16.

20 Exod. 34:6,7.

21 Heb. 11:6.

22 Neh. 9:32,33.

23 Ps. 5:5,6.

24 Nah. 1:2,3; Exod. 34:7.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Strange Punishment in Genesis 4: Mercy Given to the First Murderer

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?"
He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold."
And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
(Genesis 4:8-16 ESV)

No, horticulture is not sinful in and of itself. The Word of God does tell us what ever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) Cain has placed his trust in his own abilities above God's provision. He wanted to call the shots. He was a tiller of the earth and expected that to be his means of coming before God. God did not allow it and rejected his sacrifice. To say how he achieved this would be conjecture but it seemed apparent to Cain. When Cain took vengeance on his brother for having his sacrifice be accepted, God took his source of pride and self-sufficiency from him. This was a mercy towards Cain. Able's sacrifice was not acceptable because his skills were better or because he practiced animal husbandry, but because he offered the sacrifice by faith. Able was faithful to God's command and displayed his faith by obeying. (Hebrews 11:4) If we say we have faith, a component of that faith is that we must not simply do our own will and call it faith. This is essentially what Cain did. He wanted the favor of God. It can be deduced that he expected at least on a certain level that God would accept his sacrifice. The problem is that he did not act in faith. He did not believe God's instructions for an offering. We do not have God's instructions spelled out, but it was given prior to the sacrifice. Cain wanted to do his own thing and have God bless it. This is often the practice of the Christian, including this writer. Obedience does not equate to righteousness, but true faith is followed by obedience.
Later on the punishment for murder is later established to be execution. (Genesis 9:6) Possibly God did not establish capital punishment from the start because the problem had not arisen yet. This line of thinking is plausible, but not proven by any Scripture known to this writer. We do see that Cain is given another punishment without prior warning, so that casts doubt on the theory that God would not give a punishment without a warning. A more likely answer is that God is merciful to Cain which as the Scripture tells us is a call to repentance. (Romans 2:4) Cain did not get what he deserved but he received mercy.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year with the Daily Audio Bible

I make goals for the year, as you may know, I don't really prefer to do resolutions for the New Year. As a part of spiritual growth work out plan, I have made it a goal to listen to the Daily Audio Bible. It is not my intention to listen to it everyday. I think that would be too lofty of a goal since I am going to be reading the Bible for myself too. So if I can get some DAB in two or three times a week, I think that would be great. I encourage you to consider checking out this resource.

Five Reason the DAB is Cool!
1. Brian reads from the heart.
2. You get a new version of the English Bible each week.
3. Hearing it read gives you a different perspective from reading it from the page.
4. It is prayerfully pursued.
5. It really is about being a part of the Christian family.

You can get to DAB via their website, iTunes, and many other ways. Check them out.