Exodus 3.6 - The God of who?

Exodus 3.6 - The God of who?!!

It can be startling to realize that people in the Bible are real. Sometimes too real! A friend of mine had lunch with Billy Graham when we were college students and he returned shocked that he picked his nose. Hey! Sometimes it needs it! It’s astounding that God can describe Himself by saying, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3.6). The God of chumps? Scoundrels? Hypocrites? Yes! All of that and a bunch of other unflattering descriptions too. Bible people are just like us – lost without a huge portion of mercy and grace from our faithful Covenant God.  Paul described our faith family, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15.4)

Numbers 32.23 - What happens in Sodom…

Numbers 32.23 - What happens in Sodom…

People who want their dark deeds to stay safely hidden are lured by advertisements promising, “What happens in…, stays in…” “Sin Cities” reap fame and fortune welcoming all who come to purchase their pleasures – from Sodom to Babylon to Pattaya to Las Vegas. Like a moth to the flame, we are drawn ever closer, just ask Lot. But everyone’s phone has a camera, just ask Prince Harry. Much as we try to hold sin’s secrets, they often pop out at just the wrong times. We face them on “Facebook!”  We think we’ve rigged all the pipes and drains in proper array, but then the pipe breaks…yuck! Or, even if you manage to get through life keeping it all locked safe in the closet, your survivors will find the key and feel the shame. Truth is what happens in Sodom – like all sin – will find you out.

Deuteronomy 29.29 - “I don’t know”

Deuteronomy 29.29 - “I don’t know”

When I came to faith in Jesus as a high school student I found a church that taught the Bible faithfully. Our pastor preached Scripture and encouraged us to read, study, and share. I often heard stories about his seminary. Soon I was reading impressive books by insightful professors from there. Then I went to a Christian college where several of my favorite professors were graduates of ‘that seminary.’ As I graduated and wanted to study for ministry, it was not hard to decide which seminary. And there I was, in that storied place that shaped so many who shaped me. Surely this was the place to get answers to all my questions! I can still remember the answer I heard most often by those godly scholars almost 40 years ago, “I don’t know.” Many vital truths are crystal clear in the Bible, many more are not!

Deuteronomy 32.35 - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Deuteronomy 32.35 - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

#scarrybibleverses #areyouserious? #yes!

On Sunday, July 8, 1741 a pastor from Massachusetts preached in Enfield, Connecticut. 500 were saved that day; cries to God were heard in almost every house. The "first great awakening" was sparked; of New England’s 300,000, 60,000 were saved in150 towns. Revival fires blazed for 20 years, birthing 120 churches! The preacher, still considered America’s greatest theologian, was no dynamic orator, “Jonathan Edwards used no gestures but stood motionless. His left elbow leaned on the pulpit, and his left hand held his notes.” Yet as he preached from Deuteronomy 32:35: “Their foot shall slide in due time, their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them" strong men held onto their seats, feeling they were sliding into hell! Some stood, others rolled on the floor, cries nearly drowned out the message; not popular or pleasant, but still true today, without Jesus Christ we are “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

Joshua 5.13 - “With God on our Side”

Joshua 5.13 - “With God on our Side”?

Back in the 1960’s Bob Dylan wrote a song that surveys the military history of one nation, but it speaks to all nations. He could have been singing about God’s Israel as recorded in Judges. In our text today we see Israel brazenly flaunt God’s Laws in His Name! Today God does not have a political state. Rather, His children inhabit every nation on earth. And, sadly, many of our nations and tribes still proudly believe God will unquestioningly side with them and oppose those with whom they disagree, thus leaving unquestioned the morality of their wars and atrocities. During the heat of the US Civil War, the President was asked whether God was on their side. He replied, “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” Abraham Lincoln.

Ruth 1.16,17 - Crazy Conversion!

Ruth 1.16,17 - Crazy Conversion!?

Orpah (not to be confused with modern Oprah!) was always sensible. Sure a lot of bad things happened to her – and her sister-in-law Ruth – but they were beyond her control. It seems she married into a “bad luck” family! They brought famine to Moab with them! Then the old man dies, then her brother-in-law, and then worst of all her husband! Time to look for greener pastures – pay respects to kind Naomi and move on! The future lays here in Moab, food, provisions, perhaps even a new husband and family! Ruth?! Well, not sure what got into her, hitching her wagon to Naomi, her people, and even her god??! ---- Conversion – ancient and modern – looks crazy! It is not safe or smart – a reckless risk! – trusting all to an unseen God! Ruth is the greatest conversion story in the Old Testament – and she looks crazy as a loon!

2 Chronicles 7.14 - The Brakes Still Work

2 Chronicles 7.14 - The Brakes Still Work!!

We hurtle further downward on the out-of-control train of “Judges”! Surely this cannot end well! There is no hope in men – Levites to laity, Judges to just ordinary people – all have fallen hopelessly short. Perhaps your own life is on such a crash course – gripped by an addiction, stuck in a wrong relationship, bound by fears and despair – there is “No King” for you either. Mercifully, Judges is just one chapter in the Book of God – our Covenant God of power and pardon. He is the unseen and ignored person in every chapter of Judges and every moment of your life! He says, “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7.14).