Seven Things God Detests

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Proverbs 6: 16-19 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Read: Genesis Chapter 39  This is the story of Potiphar’s wicked wife who pretty much did all of these things which God detests.  Although she did not shed Joseph’s blood she did cause him to go to prison, which could have resulted in the shedding of his blood for sure…yet, he was innocent of all the things she had charged him with.  She is not a person of good character.  Despite her actions, and the harm 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  Joseph being imprisoned…Joseph did not sin.  He did not say, “Well, whatever, everyone in the world is against me, so I might as well be the person that they have decided that I am!”  He did not engage in a self-pity party.  He decided to stick with God and just make the best of his circumstances.  In the end, his attitude of doing his best despite his circumstances turned out very well for him.  God blessed him for his determination to follow the Lord’s will with his character.

Now, although this is not a popular view in the eyes of the world…let’s consider Potiphar’s wife for a moment…she did all of these bad things.  The Bible clearly tells us that God hates these things….so can it be inferred that God hated Potiphar’s wife?  Absolutely not, God has a hatred of the things that she did, but not of the person of Potiphar’s wife.  She was still a person who was a well loved creation of God.

Most of us, as we go through life,  meet at least one or two people who have done the things that God hates.  It may even be ourselves at one time or another who have done these things…though we like to think not.

Yet look at these things one by one:

captionshesgotbettedaviseyes1.) Haughty eyes….this is someone who thinks too much of themselves, they think they are above others, and that the same tules don’t apply to them as to the “other folk”…that is the sin of PRIDE!  I believe that it can be said that we all at some point in our lives suffer from this sin.  If you have ever judged another person in a condemning way, then you have been prideful. That may seem harsh, but think about it…God did not make you the judge…Jesus Christ is the judge….

Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.

34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. 36 I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then the people who have God’s approval will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.’

41 “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’

44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.’

46 “These people will go away into eternal punishment, but those with God’s approval will go into eternal life.”

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

snake_tongue2.) Lying Tongue…well we don’t need an explanation of this do we?  We have all done this….told a lie when the truth would do…sometimes, the lie is as simple as answering, “NOT ME!” when asked if you know who did something. (This particular answer is prevalent in all households with children…in fact, I was once cleaning one of my customer’s houses and one of the children had written it on the wall…I thought, “Oh, so “Not Me” lives here too!”)

3.) hands that shed innocent blood….now it is hoped that we are not guilty of this for sure…though..if it were applied to the blood of an innocent animal instead of a person..it would probably be more than likely that again a vast majority of us would be guilty.  After all, if you drive a vehicle then at some point you are going to probably hit one of those “Kamekaze Squirrels” (or some other animal) that runs out in front of you when they are already across the street…they turn back and go and run under your car’s wheels!

I do not know if God would apply that thought to animals, and I will leave it up to you to decide it.  I, personally, feel mighty upset when I know an animal is killed, though it doesn’t stop me from eating meat.  Scripturally, there is a basis for the idea of the animal’s blood being innocent blood as the sacrificial system of Judaism used animals to represent atoning sacrifice.  Though it was also understood that animal blood did not actually clean away anyone’s sin…it was a representation of the act of how bad sin was to God that blood had to be shed to atone for it. It was also a means to see to the feeding of the priests and their families.  Anyway, I will leave that to each person to decide whether this applies to the blood of animals or only humans.

4.)  A heart that devises wicked schemes…Wow! This is another doozy!  Have you ever decided to do something that you knew was wrong?  Well, here it is…a simple version of the heart that devises wicked schemes.  A wicked scheme is a plot to do something wrong…either to yourself or to someone else….it is a plotting out of a sin before hand.  For instance:  You decide that you want to go into an adult book store after work.  There you have it….you are at work, and you have decided to go and do something later that God would not approve of your doing!  That is a simple example of devising a wicked scheme!  In the world’s eyes there is nothing wrong with that action, but as a Christian you have to look at things from God’s perspective, and he tells us to avoid sexual immorality.  Our culture is full of it….and it is very popular…the television shows are full of all of these issues.

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel-1000x6665.)  Feet that are quick to rush into evil… This is talking about a person who hears an idea that is to do something wrong, but jumps right into doing it anyway…not taking time to consider how that wrong will affect themselves or those around them.

It could be as simple as deciding to temporarily “borrow” something that is not yours without asking first even with the intention to return it.

There are many ways to be “quick to rush into evil” but the main thing is that we need to be alert to what God considers to be evil..even things that seem at first to not be evil can become so at times.  Gossip is a prime example of a way to be quick to rush into evil.

Gossip…is a very common weakness…a person or group of people can start discussing someone in what seems and has the intention to be a caring manner and it end up being a gossip festival instead.  Whenever, it goes from how is someone doing? into “he said,” “she said,” or “they said” or “I heard”…then it pays to be alert this may be turning into a gossip festival…instead of a caring conversation….gossip harms people because it is not the truth…it is a bunch of speculation…yet many times people don’t give it a thought and rush right into it instead of stopping and thinking first.

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6.)  A False Witness – who pours out lies….Well, when I picture a person who does this…it is a very untrustworthy person.  After all, a person who lies once is hard enough to deal with, but picture how hard it is to deal with a person who lies so easily that the lies just run out of their mouth like water in a river.  This is a person who not only lies, but they lie in order to ruin someone’s character….they are uncaring about other people altogether. The thing is that one lie leads to another in order to cover up the first lie…after a while it is hard to keep up with all the lies that have been told.  At some point, the lie used to protect oneself can end up being a lie that hurts another person.

Have you ever worked for a company and had the managers tell you to  “tell this person or that person…that I am not here right now!”  whenever a person they didn’t wish to take time to speak with would call.  Now, I am sorry, but no matter how you look at it, this is telling someone to lie and that is not right behavior for a Christian at all.  We are not to lead others into sin.  The thing is when you look at this particular lie…it is an easy one to do…many people don’t think about it….it rolls right off the tongue as it seems harmless, doesn’t it?  Funny thing is that this kind of a lie can be altogether avoided and the situation taken care of very kindly by telling the person on the phone, “I’m sorry, that person isn’t available right now.  May I take a message?”  See, there is an absolutely truthful way to handle the same situation that doesn’t require anyone to do something that God hates.  There are always very truthful ways to handle things that people might lie about, and not even make the person feel bad.

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I once heard someone suggest that it is hard to tell a friend that their dress is very ugly when they are of the opinion that it is because they don’t wish to hurt their feelings.  The thing is a person either likes an outfit, or they don’t.  You can always say that you are sure it will look good in the right setting, or that you don’t think it is quite their style.  Again, no lie needed, right?  You can be truthful without being as blunt as a rock with people.  The thing is to be considerate of other folks and make sure you protect their character and feelings as much as possible without lying.  That is just a way of loving someone.

Notice, that God mentions lying as two of the seven things that he doesn’t like?!!  That is because God is a God of Truth…so of course he hates lies of any kind!

IMG_45817.)  A man who stirs up dissension among his brothers…(now this applies to women who stir it up amongst their sisters also)…Dissension is discontent, and disharmony, disunity, and disagreement…God does not like people who sow those seeds amongst others.  This is another situation you see quite often.  There is another way to say this…one bad apple ruins the barrel.  This is to say that you can have a group of people who are really in unity and they are working together with a common goal and a common loving spirit and in comes one person who doesn’t like something or someone.

Let’s use a clear example:  You have a club and they all have a common goal…to enjoy a certain activity together.  Each year you get people in the club who volunteer to be the officers.  One year you get a person who volunteers for one of the offices, and really seems very nice, and helpful and then one day they blow a gasket in the middle of a club activity.  What happened was that they had overloaded themselves, but didn’t gracefully know a way to back out of all they had volunteered to do and it was too much for them.  So after blowing a gasket and quitting in a very public way that person goes home and then sends out email, or gets on the phone and starts calling all the other members to bad mouth everyone else that they were working with in their club….pretty soon…everyone in the club is very upset…especially those who have been unfairly bad mouthed…then a lot of the club members quit…others have hard feelings…it takes years for that club to recover.

The person who blew a gasket was not causing dissension up until they started calling and emailing the other members and bad mouthing others…then they were stirring up dissension.  They were actively, purposefully, working at making others to be discontented within a group.

A person who goes about stirring up dissension is like a poison to a group of people.  It is an active wrecking of the peace which God is wanting us to have with each other.

There are certainly times when we disagree with each other, but there are correct ways to handle that situation.  Going behind a person’s back that you are in disagreement with and talking badly about them is not the correct way to deal with that.

Proverbs 16:28

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

The thing about making peace with someone is that you cannot do that behind their back…the only way to make peace with a person is in front of their face and talking to them.

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To see how God promises to care for you when you have a right attitude, an attitude and behavior that glorifies him….read Matthew 5:1-16

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Now, if we are to be the light of the world, then we cannot do things that are done in darkness….otherwise, the light goes out!  All these things that God hates…they are things of darkness that are not done on the up and up with a good attitude…they are all done with the attitude of pride and hatred…not with humbleness and love of our fellow man.  Yet at any one time, we have all been guilty of at least some of these actions…haven’t we?!!  God still loves us, even then.  Just as he loved Potiphar’s wife, yet hated her actions.  So what can we do when we are guilty of these things?

Well, the answer is listed for us in the Bible, over and over…”repent and turn back toward God.”

Acts 3:19 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Honest Prayer

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Psalm 99:5 Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.

Read Matthew 23 

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

Matthew Chapter 23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 23:5 That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm
  2. Matthew 23:14 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.
  3. Matthew 23:39 Psalm 118:26

(From Bible Gateway.com… the NIV)

 

In Matthew 23 we find that Jesus is very condemning of the actions of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees.  He tells his Disciples to learn from them by following what they say because they know the law well..(they are sitting in the seat of Moses).  However, Jesus warns his Disciples not to act the way these men act.  These particular Pharisees and teachers of the law whom Jesus was talking about (Jesus and Paul the Apostle were both Pharisees by the way)  were men who failed in their responsibility to God.  They were supposed to be teaching the people about who God was, that he was a God of Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness.  

Instead they were teaching people the letter of the law, but not the Spirit of the Law.  The Spirit of the Law is supposed to bring you closer to God.  Following the Spirit of the Law also brings you closer to your fellow man.  Just look at the characteristics of God given by Jesus, Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness.  If we use those characteristics in dealing with each other we also draw closer to each other in love.  It is nearly impossible to understand Justice, Mercy or Faithfulness without having love involved also.  I am not talking romantic love here, but the love of your fellow humans..compassion.  I mean who doesn’t want to be around and spend time with someone who is compassionate and gentle, merciful and forgiving, and fair?  That is God and those are God’s character traits…we are told to be like that to each other.

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(Now there are some people who want to judge God and say that God is not always fair…but for those people ask yourself…are you really qualified to judge God?…if you are…then doesn’t that mean that you are taking on the position of God?  Just think about that a bit…it is a hard thing to wrap your mind around…but either Jesus is the Lord of your life….or he’s not..if he’s not, then that means you are trying to be the Lord of your own life…that never actually works out well. -Just refer back to the story of Adam and Eve and see how it worked out for them)

Jesus wanted his Disciples to follow both the letter and the spirit.  He wanted his Disciples to know that the law was not just something to be talked about and taught to others.  It was to be followed by his Disciples too.

The Pharisees were telling everyone else to follow the law, and making it so hard on the average Jew that they were having trouble following them all! However, they, the Pharisees themselves, were not following all of the laws that they were putting upon others.  They were sinning themselves, the sins of pride, and self indulgence, and hypocrisy.  Yet they were busy bodies who were constantly telling other people how they should live, and criticizing what others do.

Jesus tells them that they are all shine, and no substance…they look nice on the outside, but the inside is rotten.  (I think we have probably all met people like this.)  I really love the phrase used about the white washed tomb filled with the bones of rotting corpses (unclean things)…slight paraphrase there, but the meaning is very clear.

The Pharisees in question were clearly hypocrites (aka actors) they were putting on a constant show of “whoo, my poop don’t stink because I am so very Godly..it wouldn’t dare stink….I always look and smell like roses!”  That is what is meant when Jesus says talks about their garments and phylacteries….he is saying that they are making them larger and longer to make them seem like they are more important to them and make themselves seem more holy.  Kind of like if you see someone who is carrying around a Bible and quoting scripture  all the time, but then you hear them tell a whopping lie to someone.  That would probably be the equivalent situation in our time.

If you think about it there are a lot of people who are running all over telling everyone how Christian they are, but then they just don’t act like they know God at all when dealing in their day to day life.  They are just giving God the nod of their head on Sunday and the rest of the week doing whatever they want.  In other words they are not taking God seriously, are they?

Jesus gets on them about the importance they place on the gold in the temple instead of the sacredness of temple itself, and why the temple is sacred.  Now that happens a lot even now.  People put more emphasis on the building they are worshipping in than they do God whom the building is for, or God’s people who are in the building.  That is a sad situation for sure….if a person takes their focus off of God for a second or two, then it is easy to end up with your focus on the wrong thing.  People get panicky whenever they are trying to hold onto something that they perceive that they may lose….at times like that it is easy to get side tracked from God.

This idea of “swearing on the gold in the temple” has carried over into more modern days, and is still around now.  Back in the time of Martin Luther the monk (not Martin Luther King Jr.) the church sold “penance” to people.  Martin Luther did not agree with this and was verbal about it. The church allowed people to buy forgiveness and many rich men took advantage of this to use their money to get away with doing whatever they wanted. 

Today, there are still many Christians who have wealth and believe that as long as they tithe enough money or spend enough on charities they are excused from their actions. 

Jesus did not agree with this and he condemned people who where praying or acting holy  for the sake of pretending to be Holy, while having the education about God to know that this is wrong. They are ignoring what they know in pursuit of themselves and their own glorification on earth. 

Jesus states that these Pharisees are greatly damned for their actions. In other words, the more they know, the more they are expected to represent God to the people, so the greater their damnation when they misuse what they know for their own gain.   It is really important to be honest in your dealings with God and with others. 

Keep in mind that God knows what you think and what you are doing, what your real motivations are.  The only person you are fooling with your behavior is yourself.  The Pharisees fooled themselves.

Faithfulness and Integrity of Heart-God’s response to Solomon

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Read 1Kings 9:3-9: The Lord said to him:“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.“As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’“But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” (NIV)

This is God’s answer to Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication. The guidelines that God gave to Solomon are pretty simple aren’t they?  God tells Solomon in these verses to have “integrity of the heart and uprightness” like his father David did.  What do you think God means by integrity of the heart?  I mean we know that David was someone who sinned….he was an adulterer, and a murderer he had Bathsheba’s husband killed by ordering him placed at the front of the battle and having the troupes than back away from him…in order to hide his adultery because Bathsheba came up pregnant and he couldn’t get Uriah to sleep with his wife after he ordered him home from the battle.  When I think of David, I certainly it certainly doesn’t seem like he had integrity of the heart and uprightness.  He was a sinner plain and simple…but in God’s eyes after David had passed away and the throne of David was given to his son, Solomon, God still saw David as someone who had integrity of the heart and uprightness.  How can this be?

In Acts 13:22 we are told that God had found David, a man after God’s own heart to replace Saul as King.  So how can a person who is a sinner be someone who is after God’s own heart.  Someone who is an adulterer and a murderer be someone who has “integrity of the heart and uprightness?”

David did not recognize his own sinfulness.  He fell into the trap of thinking that because he was King he was above everyone who recognized him as their King.

After all, it isn’t like Bathsheba had a choice in the matter…she was taking a bath, and David saw her, and wanted her.  So, as her King, he sent for her, and probably pretty much took what he wanted from her, or coerced her in some way.  It is highly unlikely that she was allowed to say no to him.  Women in David’s time did not have a lot of rights, and a woman who was called for by the King would have even less rights than usual.

Yet, she could have been stoned for being an adulterer and so could King David.  How desperate might she have become when she found she was pregnant and her husband had not been around in time to get her that way.  I am not saying that Bathsheba was innocent, just that her choice to say no might have been a hard one to make.  She might have considered that if she had said no, then her outcome would have been bad that way also.  I don’t believe that fairy tale that we are told as kids in the sanitized children’s version of the story of this great love….after all, David did have other wives besides Bathsheba…around 8 of them at least that are named, and he had children with most of them.  (2Samuel 3:1-5, 1Chronicles 3:1-3, 2Samuel 5:13, 1Samuel 18-19:24, 1Samuel 25)  

At any rate, the fact that David sinned is well documented in the story of him and Bathsheba.  In fact, we are made aware of how far David had fallen from grace in that instead of allowing Bathsheba’s pregnancy to wake him up to his sin, he just committed more sins to try and hide it.

He had so far forgotten that his role as a King was to serve his people and he reversed it that they were there to serve him…that God had to send him a reprimand in the form of Nathan the prophet.  2Samuel 12:1-13 tells us that Nathan delivered a parable to David which made David wake up to his own sins.   God dictated the penalty of David’s actions, which were dire indeed.

Finally, David repented. Then God forgave.  God is faithful to forgive.  I think that what it means to have “integrity of the heart” is that even while he was in sin, and separated from God by that sin, David was still very aware of who God was, and it was not his desire to ever be separated from God.    David still had faith in God, and understood that God was the supreme King of his own life.  So the minute that he was confronted with the reality that God knew what his sin was and that he might be able to hide it from people, but never from God…he repented…because his faith and his relationship with God was the most important thing in his life.

This is also the reason that God calls David a man after his own heart.  David loved God with all his being and he was truly committed to following God and doing what God wanted him to do.  There were still repercussions for David’s act of sin, that is the thing about sin, it hurts us and it hurts those around us, so there is always fall out from it.  God forgives us but we still have consequences with the people and society we live in.

We know that God’s forgiveness was complete because when he responded to Solomon’s prayer of dedication, God told Solomon to be like his father, and describes David in verse 4 as “walking faithfully before Him with integrity of heart and uprightness.”  God doesn’t want us to fall into sin. If we belong to him and we do so, then he will continually try to get our attention through various means to make us to understand what our sin is and get us to choose to repent of it, and put our eyes back on him.  David fell into sin when he took his eyes off of God for just long enough to stare at a bathing Bathsheba. Yet, David had the integrity and humbleness to apologize to God and ask for forgiveness for straying so far from what God deemed was upright.  God is looking for people who love him with all their hearts, minds and souls and will keep their eyes on Him for eternity.  God isn’t looking for perfect people, but willing, loving and faithful people who are humble enough to recognize that God is sovereign over them and that God knows what is right and best for us.

That is what we can learn from God’s response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple and from the story of David and Bathsheba.

A Star of Jacob – Blessed are those who obey

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The Prophet Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1626.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves it is a gift of God.

Read Ephesians 1:6-7, 2:5-9 We are accepted through God’s grace.  You are saved through grace and not by any work that you may do.  If you were saved by something that you did, then you could boast about it, and would not be glorifying God.  So God used his grace as the only means of your being saved, so that you would recognize who your savior is, and give God the glory.

Read Numbers Chapter 22 thru Chapter 24 The story of Balaam.  Take note of the fact that Balaam is not an Israelite/Hebrew.  Balaam is a Sorcerer/Enchanter/Diviner who acknowledges that all of his gifts come from God, and tries to serve God, but doesn’t have a complete knowledge of God.  He completely doesn’t understand God’s grace.

When Balak, King of the Moabites saw the Israelites who came out of the Egypt camping near his borders he felt panicked, and decided to call on the local Sorcerer (Balaam) to come and put a curse on the Israelites. 

The first time Balak sends a group of men to get Balaam, Balaam sends them home after consulting with God. He tells them to tell Balak that  he could only say what God would have him say, even if Balak offered his house full of silver. 

Balak doesn’t take no for answer, and sends a more impressive group to see Balaam with an offer of great honor if he will just come and curse the Israelites.  God tells Balaam he can go with this group to see Balak, but he must ONLY SAY WHAT GOD SAYS FOR HIM TO SAY AND NOTHING ELSE, so they sleep on it.

The next day Balaam sets out with the group.  God knows what is in Balaam’s mind, that the Israelites will be cursed so he sends an angel to stop him from going.  That is when Balaam beats his donkey three times, because the donkey keeps moving away as it sees an angel and Balaam doesn’t see it.  The angel eventually shows up to where Balaam can see him. He tells Balaam that his donkey saved his life, that if the donkey had not turned aside, then he would have slain Balaam.  So Balaam offers to go back home because he still doesn’t understand what he did wrong (which was to plan for what to say, as opposed to waiting for God’s words.) 

The angel then warns Balaam to continue, but that he is only to say the words that God gives him to say.  (Now this is where this story really starts to get pretty humorous as if it wasn’t enough to have the situation with the donkey.) 

So Balaam meets Balak, and they sacrifice 7 Bullocks and Rams on 7 fires.  Then Balaam consults with God, and returns to stand by Balak, then proceeds to attempt to curse Israel, but God changes the words into blessings for Israel. 

Balak is mad of course, and says lets go someplace else and try this again.  The 7 sacrifices happen two more times in two different places, and each time Balaam utters blessings as God tells him.  Balak is extremely angry and tells Balaam that he blew it, that God took away the honors he was going to give him because he wouldn’t curse Israel.  Balaam reminded Balak that he had told him he couldn’t say anything that God didn’t put in his mouth, even for a house full of silver.  Then Balak told Balaam to go home.  

Can’t you just picture the frustration of Balak?  I can picture him stomping around and saying, “Wait just a minute!  Why did you bless them!  I’m going to go and get 7 more bulls and rams, and set up 7 more altars and this time you better get it right!!!”  He was probably jumping up and down wanting to run Balaam through with the sword by the time he had done that the 3rd time!  Balaam is totally between a rock and a hard place…his trust is in God because he knows that God will definitely kill him if he doesn’t say what God gives him to say, and he knows that Balak may decide to do kill him too.  Ultimately Balaam recognizes God’s higher authority (being a seer) and subconsciously trusts that God will not let him be hurt by Balak.

There are several noteworthy things about this story: 

1) Balaam was not Hebrew, he was a sorcerer/diviner/enchanter who acknowledged God for his gifts, and tried to serve God, but was doing so without understanding.

2)  God used Balaam to bless Israel even though he was a heathen, and also used Balaam to prophesy the coming of Jesus in the phrase “A Star will come out of Jacob, a sceptre will rise out of Israel, he will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth….”

3)  Balaam did not understand God’s grace even though it was active in his own life.  He thought that he when God gave him permission to go to Balak that he was going to do as Balak asked.  He was expecting that God would curse Israel.  However, he received a lesson in God’s grace with his donkey and the angel, and again with the blessing of Israel. 

4) Balaam acknowledged that God was supreme over any enchantment or divination that he himself could do. God was his acknowledged supreme power of the universe.

5) Balaam does not have a good end, despite having had this opportunity to draw closer to God he later chose to go up against God in a sneaky way.  You can read about him being killed because he thought to circumvent God by trying to make God take his blessing away from Israel by sending Moabite women in to tempt the Hebrew men into fornication and idolatry. (Numbers 31:16 and Joshua 13:22 and Revelation 2:14)  This teaches us about trying to go in through the back door to accomplish a goal that God has told you not to do.  Balaam was clearly made to understand that God was blessing Israel, but he decided that maybe he could make God “unbless” Israel if he could just tempt them to do ungodly things! That was his downfall.

God promised Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 12:3 that he would bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him.  That was part of God’s covenant with Abraham about him and his descendants.  We as Christians are adopted in to this same blessing.  That is what it means to be grafted onto the Vine.  The Vine being Israel, and us Gentiles are those who are grafted. (Romans 11:11-31)

To put it more simply Luke 11:28 says: But He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Balaam heard directly from God and did not in the end obey.

Strengthened by Grace

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This is the archway going into the ancient Olympic Stadium in Greece  It was built around 776 BC and Samson lived hundreds of years before this during the time of the Judges from 1200-1000 BC.  

1Cor 1:8 He will keep you strong til the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Cor 1:4-9 I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus for in Him you have been enriched in every way.  In all your speaking and in all your knowledge because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for your Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong til the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God who has called you into fellowship with His son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Read 2Corinthians 12:9-10, Ephesians 3:7,Hebrews 4:16  This says that we are to glory in our weaknesses, because when we are weak, God’s able to use us to demonstrate his power and glory through grace, by strengthening us.  For example, if you are afraid of something, this is a weakness, and if everyone knows you are afraid, but then you face your weakness in spite of your fear, and overcome it, then everyone will know that God is with you and has strengthened you.  You are responsible to give God the  glory when this type of strengthening occurs in your life. 

Read Judges Chapter 16 The story of Samson and Delilah.  Samson is a very interesting person.  He is a bit tricky. (The full story of Samson actually starts in Chapter 13 and is certainly worth reading, as he is a very interesting person…reading the rest of the story will tell you why the Philistines hated Samson so much, but for the purpose of this lesson I focused on the part of his story about Samson and Delilah.)

Okay, so there are some things about the story of Samson and Delilah that really catch your attention.  They each treat the other as if they were a fool, and they both actually act toward the other in a foolish manner.  Delilah is relying on Samson’s infatuation with him to try and make some money on the side…that tells us that she really doesn’t love Samson at all…she is trying to make use of him.

The incredible thing about this is that Samson seems at first to realize it and plays with her by continually giving her misinformation about the source of his physical strength.  Each time she fails to guard the information he gives her and tries to use it against him in order to get the Philistine’s money….incredibly he keeps playing, then his pride makes him give in to the temptation at first to give her a little bit of the truth….he tells her that if she weaves his hair into the loom and puts a pin in it that he will lose his strength.  He is telling her that it is his hair, but not giving the whole story, and then even after she betrays him time after time he still ends up telling her the real truth  because of her nagging day after day.  The thing is that he really was very prideful, he was proud of his ability to trick her time after time, and so he gave him due to his pride, and he never actually gave God the credit for his strength.  His relationship with God was the true source of his strength, this caused God to give Samson over to his own foolish pride.

When we take a look at the Philistines after they have captured him, they also suffered from pride…and if they knew that the source of his strength was his hair they were foolish to let it grow back.  They thought that since his eyes were gouged out and he was tied up and had become their prisoner that they could just display him without a worry because he was weak. They were guilty of underestimating their enemy, Samson.

In the end, Samson is humbled after being the Philistine’s prisoner, and wants to get justice for the loss of his eyes.  Samson is a person who was vengeful and very definitely believed in meeting out his own version of justice on those who wronged him.  Looking at the other chapters about his actions we can see that.  However, in the end, when Samson is up there being displayed by the Philistines he prays to God that he can get justice on them for the injustice they perpetrated against him!  The Philistine’s pride in disregarding Samson because he was their prisoner became the source of their undoing.  When he asked to be lead to lean against the pillars that held the roof of the building someone led the poor blind man over there and then Samson said his prayer to God for strength “one last time” in humbleness, and requested to die with the Philistines.  God was gracious and granted Samson the strength to push those pillars apart and cause the roof to collapse and kill them all.

It wasn’t until Samson was too physically weak to take care of it all on his own that he became humble enough to rely on and acknowledge that his strength came from God.  At that point God was gracious to Samson and demonstrated his love for him by giving him enough physical strength to mete justice out on the Philistines.

God hates the prideful and will humble them, but loves the humble and will strengthen them.  There are over 100 verses in the Bible that mention the words Pride, Proud or Haughty and they are all mentioned in the context of it being a sin.  Pride is one of the easiest sins to fall into also because there is a fine line between being satisfied with a job well done, or a talent well used, and starting to think that you, yourself, are the author and maker of those talents.  So we have to be ever on our guard against it, because pride is a very sneaky sin…you can have it before you even realize it!  We need to always be careful to acknowledge as the song “Jesus Love Me” tells us, “We are weak, but he is strong, Yes, Jesus, Loves me!” We need to acknowledge our weakness and glory in it because God uses the weak to show his strength.

The Burden of the Law

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This is a pic of the statue of the lady of justice.  The statue is blind folded because Justice doesn’t care who you are or what they see.  It is only the weight of the evidence that they care about.  The sword in the other hand depicts the punishment that is forthcoming if the person on trial is found guilty.  God is not blindfolded, he knows exactly who you are, and he is a God of justice and grace.  Thank God that we don’t have to “get what we deserve” that he provided his grace for us.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Romans 7:21-23  So I find this law at work, when I want to do good, evil is right there with me, for in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

Read Acts 15:1-12, Philippians 1:7  This passage fills in the gap between the old testament and the new testament.  It states that the law was too big of a burden to bear, that the disciples Paul and Barnabas believe that since God settled the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles, through their faith, those who were not circumcised, that it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as the gentiles were saved, that there is no longer a difference between the gentiles and the jews in terms of how they are saved by grace.  Grace is for everyone.  If you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God, then you will be saved. God’s grace is limitless.  

Read Genesis 20:1-7  The story of Abraham being deceptive about Sarah’s status as his wife.  Sarah was his half sister also, but in that time period rules about blood relationships and marriage were different, but rules about adultery were not different from today.  They may have been different because of the lack of understanding of genetic diseases, or it may be that there were not the number of genetic diseases back then that there are today.  Primarily because mankind was closer to the genetic perfection of the Garden of Eden, but that is just a supposition on my part.  They would certainly have known something about animal husbandry and diseases being passed down to the next generation.   Anyway, back to the point at hand….

Abraham lied to protect his own skin, and nearly caused Sarah to commit adultery.  He definitely wasn’t consulting God about his fears.  God visited Abimelech in a dream to tell him not to take Sarah as his wife because she was already married to Abraham.

God forgave Abraham for his deception and protected his marriage in spite of his lies. This is an example of the burden of law being too much for Abraham to deal with because of his fear for his life.  The law said that adultery was punishable by death.  Abraham couldn’t keep the law because he let his fear for his life overwhelm his sense of what was morally right and what was morally wrong.   God recognizes our inability to be perfect under the law, so he gave us his grace through Jesus Christ.

People generally have a view of God where they say, “Yeah, but if we just do more good things than bad things then when we die and go to heaven we should be let in because we are more good than bad.”  I once read something that really gives a wonderful illustration for the “more good than bad idea” and so I will share it with you.  I cannot tell you where it came from, or I would certainly credit the person as this is a great example.

There was once a man whose children wanted to go to see a movie later in the evening with some friends and they requested permission from their father.  While requesting to go it came out that the movie had some violence and a few swear words in it, but as the children explained to their father, “Dad it is only a little bit of violence and just a few bad words.”  Their father said, “well, then, let me have an hour or so to consider this and I will get back with you.”  An hour later he called his children together and asked them if they would like some of the fresh brownies that he had just finished baking.  These brownies looked delicious, so the children were really happy to say yes, but the father said, “there is just one thing about these brownies that you should know before you decide if you want one.”  The children said, “Really, and what’s that, because they look really great!”  The father said, “Well, these brownies have a special ingredient in them…I have added a bit of dog poop into them…but well, there’s only just a little bit of dog poop in them, so you won’t even notice it when you eat them.  Do you still want them?”  Well, it is pretty obvious that no matter how good those brownies looked, no one would want to eat them if they had even a small amount of dog poop in them.  The kids were the same.  So their father made his point quite well, that a little bit of something bad, is as bad as a lot of something bad.

God looks at sin that way too, a little bit of sin in you when you are trying to get into heaven and be close to God is as bad as a lot of sin.  A little bit is too much.  That is why just doing more good than bad things is not enough.  That is why we all need a savior, why we all need Jesus Christ…because by accepting him and his having gone to hell instead as your stand in, you have been wiped clean of guilt in God’s eyes.  (This does not give you a license to keep on sinning and it does not make you a perfect person…if it did then there would be lines of people trying to become Christian so they could be perfect on earth!  What it means is that you have taken full advantage of the grace that God has offered you through his son, Jesus Christ!  You are forgiven, not perfect.  Perfection does not need grace!  All human beings are imperfect, and thus require grace.

The whole idea of good outweighing the bad is a worldly view, not a Godly view of sin.

His Ways are not our Ways

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The Mother (Phylonoe) who is the dead woman for this 4th century B.C. grave stele in Athens, Greece in the National Museum is handing her child over to the woman who will raise her baby.  I found this to be a very sad memorial, but very beautiful.

 

Isaiah 55:8:  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-24  In this story of King David, we find that David who was blessed by God and given great authority over his kingdom misused his authority for his own pleasure.  In his misuse of authority, David gave other people cause to blaspheme God, and this caused God’s penalty to David to be harsher than one would expect of the the crime.  Though the crimes of adultery and murder are extremely bad in and of themselves because of David’s great gifts much more was expected of him than of the average person.  So a harsher penalty was enacted to him because of his betrayal of God.  Please note that once David realized that God’s answer was No, the first thing he did was clean himself up and go to worship God.

Note:  Blasphemy is defined as speaking evil of God, or attributing evil to God, or denying God’s goodness, or God’s good actions, or in a nutshell, doing anything against God.

Luke 12:48 …from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

I know that some of the details of this story are very tough to understand and swallow, but the fact is that God is God and nothing that he doesn’t allow to happen will happen on this earth.  The thing is that God does not see things in the same view that we do.  We have very limited information, and God’s information is limitless.  God knows what choices we are going to make, but we don’t know the choices that we will make…learning what choices we will make in life are part of our journey to knowing ourselves and also to becoming more familiar and closer to God. It is a fact that our sins cost us in very painful and personal ways.  Our sins also cost God…he gave his son for our sins…so God is well aware of how David feels in this instance.  It says a lot for David’s relationship and faith in God that he gets up and goes to worship God, even when the answer that he wanted from God was not the answer he received.   David is described by God as a man who is after his own heart. (Acts 13:22)  Even after David’s sin, God still treated David as a man after his own heart….so much so that King David is included in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  This tells us very truly how much God loves us, and how absolute his forgiveness is for us when we have repented of our sins.

Don’t Rely on Earthly Wealth

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The view from the Bridge of Sorrows in Venice Italy.  This was the last view a condemned prisoner would see as they walked across the bridge from the Doge’s Palace to the Prison.

1 Timothy 6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.  Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers.  Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them.   These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.  He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who along is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.  To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.  Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.  Grace be with you.

**Don’t rely on earthly wealth, you came into the world with nothing, and you leave it with nothing ….(you can’t take it with you!)

Rich people with worldly wealth are easier to tempt than those who have nothing, because they have more resources they are tempted to rely on their wealth instead of God.  (This is one reason why in the Beatitudes – Matthew 5 – in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stated that the  “poor are blessed” – they have no resources and cannot rely on anything else, but God thru prayer to solve their problems.)  Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and can cause you to wander from faith in God.  Look at David, when he was a poor shepherd boy with only a sling shot and stones, he was willing to trust in God to make his stones fly true and kill the evil Goliath for God’s glory so that the world would know that He is Lord of All.  And yet, once David was King and set eyes on Bathsheba, he felt that as King there was no reason he shouldn’t have another man’s wife as his wife.  That after all he, David, was the King.  He was so far from God, and so full of himself and his own power, that he didn’t even think twice about taking advantage of Bathsheba. 

Note:  It is the LOVE of Money that is the sin…NOT the HAVING of Money.

Read Matthew 19:16-30  The story of the rich young man.

Abraham the Liar

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This is the bud of an apple tree…satan’s lie started it all…God’s revelation started with Abraham

7 Things God hates:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

 

Read Genesis Chapter 12:1-20 and chapter 20

Genesis 12 and 20 tell us that  Abraham was a liar.  Lying is listed as one of the things that God hates, so why did God choose him?  Oh, well, you might say, “he hadn’t lied yet when God chose him!”  or “it was only a little white lie, after all Sarah is his half sister in truth.” (After you get done thinking..ooh, yuck…he married his sister – just remember in Biblical days a half sister was okay for marriage probably because a person’s genetic code was still close to perfect, with no mutations!)  So, now, back to the problem at hand….why did God choose someone like Abraham?  (Oh and yes, I know that Proverbs were written after Genesis happened…still it is a statement of God’s character which is true and God does not change, so even in Abraham’s time God hated the same things, just as he hates lying still today!)

So we are back to, Why? Why? Why would God choose someone like Abraham?  To answer this question we have to back up the story a bit….

Abraham was just a normal guy, living his life in his homeland, and raising his dead brother’s son, Lot, as his inheritor because he and his wife, Sarah, had no children of their own.  One day, God comes to him and says, “Hey, Abram, I want you to pack up your family and go to this land far away and I will give it to you.  Also I will make you a great nation!”  What does Abraham do in the face of this request from God? He simply just goes and does exactly what God tells him he wants him to do….he packs up and goes off to this strange land, that he has never been to before, and doesn’t really even know how to get there, or what is waiting for him there!  He just goes, anyway!  He takes that step of faith when God asks him to do so.

At some point Abraham and Sarah are entering a land that Abraham thinks is a land that does not respect God, so he gives off his famous little white lie.  Not only that, he gets Sarah to lie right along with him.  So in Abraham’s mind, if the land is ungodly, then the people might kill him and take his wife because she is beautiful.  Abraham was more concerned about their survival than about the “sinfulness” of lying…and as I pointed out…the idea of exactly what sin was in God’s eyes had not been defined yet for Abraham…the law had not yet been formally given. So for Abraham, this lie was a survival strategy. He and Sarah are in a new land, an unknown land, where they are landless, and think that they are powerless.  Abraham doesn’t understand God’s power.

I think about the statement that Sarah is beautiful and then look at the age given for her at this time, and boy am I impressed!  She was 65 years old and yet, Abraham was still worried that she was so beautiful to look upon that someone might kill him to get her.  Isn’t that incredible, especially in light of the fact that there were no face lifts back then!  Yes, I know that the desert preserves things, but people don’t hold up as well in the desert as scrolls do!  Usually people get all dried out and ugly looking because the climate is so harsh!  It is hard to picture this, isn’t it?!!! Sarah’s continued beauty is probably also because of the lack of mutations in her genetics.  Genetically she was still close to the created perfection of Adam and Eve.

However, that is the truth told to us in the Bible…Abraham was scared…he felt that in a godless land God couldn’t or wouldn’t protect him….he was able to step forward in faith in a huge way, but then stumbled on his fears!

Abraham did not really understand God at all, did he?!! Abraham apparently viewed God as someone to listen to, and that God was promising him something…but he seemed to think that man could interfere with God’s plan for him.  So…he lied!

Did God abandon Abraham because he lied?  No, God took the situation in hand, and made sure that Abraham’s wife was protected, and that Abraham came away from the situation better off than when he started out.  Despite the fact that Abraham lied to protect his own skin…he was even willing to give up his wife to protect his own skin!

So in the end, God arranged things that Abraham got Sarah back, and continued his journey with God.  Abraham learned something about God…he learned that God would be there for him, even when he did the wrong thing, and even when he was scared.  He learned that God was more powerful than any man that Abraham would meet.  God could take a situation that seems out of control, and not only fix it and get it back on the right track, (which through Abraham’s free will it had gotten sidetracked) but God could also make that situation better than ever.

Why would God do this?  God is a God of promises, he is faithful to keep his promises, and more importantly for us to know:  God knew who Abraham was, inside and out…as it says in Genesis 18:19 (KJV):

1 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

God chose Abraham because he “knows him” not just the outer person, but the inner person.  God knew that Abraham was descended from Shem the first of Noah’s son’s.  That is where we get the term “Semite” as a term synonymous with “Jew”.  Shem was one of the sons who covered his father’s nakedness. (Genesis 9:25-27) God knew that Abraham was “begotten” in the lineage of Noah…the term “begotten” means to be the same as, or sharing all the characteristics of the father you came from.  It is not just a term about who sired you.  It has much more meaning that just who your Dad was…it is a meaning that says, “they are me…they are all the things that I am” whenever, this term is used it is saying in our modern day terms, “they are a chip off the old block!”  God knew that Abraham was just like his father, who was just like his father, who was just like his father, and so on back to Shem who was just like his father, Noah.  God knew Abraham’s lineage, and he knew that Abraham would not only follow God, but he would teach his children to follow God.

God just needed to teach Abraham, who he (God) really was.  Abraham is the beginning of the story for all of us really.  He is the one who God chose to reveal himself to.  He is the one who God decided to use to show us all of his character and all of his plan for the salvation of man.  It all started with this simple man…who stepped out in faith, but then stumbled with a lie.

The point here is that although God despises lies, he is still able to use and develop someone who is faulty and sinful and lies.  Abraham doesn’t continue to lie…he turns from his lying ways, and learns to draw ever closer to God…he keeps stepping out in faith continually…to the point that the Bible calls Abraham who did something that God despises, “a righteous man.”