RSS

Category Archives: Life

A Sweet Savour

pink flowersGod created us, and he gave us at least five senses to be able to get to know Him through His creation. He gave us abilities to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. And God gave His people work to do, primarily to obey Him and reflect His character.

For the sense of sight, he wants us to be light – like He was in the world. His light can be revealed in us. Light is something that exposes darkness, and causes growth – as in the process of photosynthesis.

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” –John 9:5

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” –John 8:12

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” –Matthew 5:14

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. –Ephesians 5:9-11

For the sense of hearing, God wants us to give the good news of the gospel with a humble heart and pure speech; and to offer praise and thankfulness to God.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” –Colossians 3:16

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” –I Peter 2:1, ESV

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” –II Timothy 4:2

For the sense of touch, God wants us to offer compassion like He did when He healed people. But God separates compassion from taking part with evil or endorsing it.

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” –Luke 10:33-37

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” –II Corinthians 6:17

For the sense of taste, God want us to offer flavor into the world, as He did. Salt, in particular, offers health benefits for the thirsty, intensifies flavor, and is a preservative. It is analogous to wisdom, where a little can go a long way.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” –Matthew 5:13

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” –Colossians 4:6

There is one more sense to be discussed, and that is the sense of smell. And I’m also including a childbirth story.

How important is the sense of smell? Smells can be powerful as well. They can trigger early and powerful memories and emotions. And smell is an important sense for God. God’s sense of smell seems related to His people’s heart condition. When His people commit evil or harbor hate, self-righteous pride and hypocrisy – he smells a bad smell. When His people are humble and obedient and walk in love, he smells a sweet smell, the fragrance of Christ.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” –Genesis 8:20-21

“For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.” –Ezekiel 20:40-41

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” –Ephesians 5:1-2

Like my mother and billions of women who lived before me, I wanted to have a natural childbirth. Natural childbirth typically takes good preparation during pregnancy, like rest, nutrition, appropriate exercise, practicing of breathing techniques, and having appropriate medical and practical help available and good moral support. One thing that was also encouraged was visualization to take your mind off of the physical intensity and pangs of labor and the pain of delivery. We are encouraged to have a “happy place” to take our mind elsewhere during the hardest parts.

I had tried having a visual “happy place” in my mind for the labor process but it was hard to come up with anything.

I experienced natural childbirth except for a couple tweaks at the beginning and end of labor. My labor had to be artificially induced but when it started, it was incredibly intense. We had family that we intended to notify when labor started but with the intensity experienced – this never happened. For eight hours I required the constant aid and support of my husband and my patient and level-headed mother who was a retired nurse.

When my daughter was about to make her appearance, there was another challenge. My doctor said something was preventing her and advised the aid of a suction cup for the head. I was in no mood to say anything, except, “Go ahead, Doc!”. After the worse moments of pain in my life, my daughter arrived with the first light of the morning. I was filled with joy and love for the new baby immediately placed on my belly. The doctor announced at that moment “It’s a girl!” and I could visually confirm the fact while he said it. She was healthy and vital and in that raw moment, all I could say was to repeat: “She’s so beautiful!” The doctor told us that after delivery that one on my daughter’s hand’s had been flush against her head in delivery, greatly increasing the “ouch factor” of delivery.

So in the preceding chapter of my life, it was hard to immerse myself in a “happy place”, separate from the arduous, intense, sleep-deprived labor and the painful delivery.

But I did have a happy place. In my mind, I was drinking in the smell of my favorite nature park trail where I had spent many hours traversing before and during pregnancy. The unique smell of the wetland trail was a combination of the flora and fauna, the sweet smells of pollinated flowers and forest woods and some not so pleasant smells.  That fragrance was strong and distinct in spring and summer, created and forged after a hard winter with the killing powers of frost and lack of light. New and transformed life came out of the crushed old life. The fragrance of the trail was the fragrance of new life. And it was powerful and sweet.

When Christ became crushed for and crucified for us and rose again in new life, the church really began. The fragrance of Christ’s extreme and unfathomable suffering and death was dramatic and the total message of his life on earth was complete and sealed. Likewise the martyrdom of the apostles and saints was like gasoline to add to the fire of the spread of true Christianity. The apostles and saints weren’t perfect, but their sacrifice after Christ’s example was perfect.

God has respect for the crushed, the persecuted and those under tribulation – and in it, He smells the pure fragrance of Christ.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” –Matthew 12:20

Through Stephen’s vision, we know Christ stood when Stephen was stoned and martyred. And Christ will again stand during his people’s tribulation.

“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” –Acts 7:54-60

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” –Daniel 12:1

Christ in all things has given us an example. In our lives we are to take up our crosses and follow Him.

 “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” –II Corinthians 2:14-17, KJV

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Faith, Life, The Bible

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Chris Tomlin – Lay Me Down

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Christian music, Faith, Life

 

Tags: , , , ,

Chris Tomlin – Awake My Soul (with Lecrae)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Christian music, Faith, Life

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Tortoise and the Hare

It is better to be a focused tortoise than a distracted hare.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Career, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Video

Matt Maher – Your Grace is Enough

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. — II Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

 
 

Tags: , , ,

The Middle Path between Strength and Weakness – Following Christ

Image

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” —II Corinthians 4:7-8

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” —Philippians 4:13

Spiritual Walk

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

—II Corinthians 12:9-10 (emphasis added)

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. —I Corinthians 1:26-29

“He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.” —Isaiah 40:29 (NASB)

“You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” —Psalm 68:35 (NIV)

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” –Philippians 2:13

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” —I Thessalonians 1:5

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” —Isaiah 41:13

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” —I Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” — I Corinthians 4:20

Spiritual Warfare

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” —Ephesians 6:12

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” —II Kings 6:16 (NIV)

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” —Luke 18:1

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: —Ephesians 6:10-17

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” —Ephesians 6:18-20

The Overcoming Bride of Christ

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

—Revelation 3:7-8 (emphasis added)

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” —I John 4:4

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” —Romans 8:31

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” —Matthew 24:13

“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” —Luke 8:15

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” —Revelation 14:12

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” —Psalm 119:114

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” —I Timothy 6:12

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” —Revelation 3:21

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” —Isaiah 40:31

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” —Proverbs 30:5

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” —II Timothy 4:7

“In your patience possess ye your souls.” —Luke 21:19

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” —Psalm 91:1

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” —Revelation 12:11

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Faith, Life, The Bible, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tips for Maintaining Your Health during Periods of Stress

We all go through periods of stress and it can affect us differently. Stress can cause an elevated heartbeat, headaches, stiff neck and tight shoulders, back pain, sweating and upset stomach. Over time, stress can affect the immune system, muscles, and the heart and other organs of your body. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-effects-of-stress

Stress often involves change. Some of the most stressful life events include: spouse death, divorce, marriage separation, jail term, death of a loved one, injury or illness, marriage, job loss, pregnancy, and retirement/change of financial status. It is interesting that even events we look forward to like marriage and retirement can be severe stressors.

A stressful life event that I experienced was in taking on a challenging job after being away from the work force for two years. The new job involved a lot of responsibility and a lot of new things that I would have to learn. Although not on the above list, a lot of people develop chronic stress from work. And chances are that if your boss does not handle stress well, that it can also affect you. I did not exactly handle my stressful situation the best. I was drinking tons of coffee, not sleeping well, not making time for exercise, and ended up gaining about 20 pounds. I probably knew better, but you can get on a cycle where you don’t know what else to do. So this article stems from lessons learned.

One other consideration involves the effect of hormones on the body. While there are a few hormones like testosterone in men and women that can aid weight loss, elevated levels of certain hormones like cortisol can cause detrimental effects on the body, including weight gain. http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

This article is not medical advice. It is about relating my own lessons learned. Here are some of my own tips for not letting stress take its toll.

  1. Take a walk. Go for one or more short, brisk walks throughout the day for stress reduction and health benefits. http://walking.about.com/od/hearthealth/a/hypertension906.htm   A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found short walks to have enormous positive benefits. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901153352.htm
  2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. When we are stressed we often tend to drink anything but water, but water is exactly what is needed. http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-drinking-water/ 
  3. Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is a common culprit in most disease from cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Anti-inflammatory foods can include anything from organic fruits and vegetables to fish and fish oil, olive oil, to a glass of red wine. Even though salad can be healthy, most store-bought salad dressings actually increase inflammation. A great simple anti-inflammatory salad dressing is one part rice vinegar, two parts olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. A good book on this topic is The Inflammation Syndrome by Jack Challem. 
  4. Multi-task. It might sound counter-intuitive, but you can reduce stress by keeping busy. You might catch up with a favorite show on Netflix or listen to a book on tape while doing housework. If you sit watching NFL football doing nothing but consuming beer and fatty foods, this can add stress. However if you also fold a couple loads of laundry, change the cat litter and take out the trash in the same period, this time multi-tasking will probably not add to your stress level, even if your team loses. 
  5. Pray. You don’t have to handle your stress alone.
  6. Socialize with supportive friends. Individuals with a support system always fare better than their isolated counterparts.
  7. Exercise. It is a great way to distract us in a productive way, remove tension from our bodies and help us sleep better. Also, if done outside, you can be invigorated with fresh air.
  8. Get restful sleep and a nap when you can. I put this one last because the chances are that if you do the preceding (including the exercise and drinking water) that you will be able to sleep.

Take charge of your own health and take care of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Career, Culture, Health, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Video

tobyMac – Speak Life

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

The Son of Man – a Lineage of Sorrow and Grace (Part 2 of 3)

This is part 2 of a series exploring the lineage of Jesus Christ. The first part covered from creation up until David. See here for part 1. Part 2 will cover David’s time period and the time in which line of Joseph and Mary diverged.

David

The book of Ruth immediately precedes the book of I Samuel, in which David is introduced – who would also be the pivotal ancestor of both Joseph and Mary. David is a very interesting man of God, and there is no one else of that name in the Bible. The meaning of his name is “beloved”. The story begins when Samuel the priest is led by God to anoint David when he is still young to be a future king of Israel. When Samuel anointed David with oil in from of his brothers, and the passage says “and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward”.  In the Old Testament prior to the Pentecost event in Acts, the spirit seems to be a rare commodity, only being bestowed upon certain rare individuals. David is described in the same chapter to King Saul as “a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.” He first came into contact with King Saul as a result of his musical skills, and David had an opportunity to play his harp for him. Although we don’t have the music, David’s heart is poured out in musical verse in the Psalms.

The attributes that we first see in David is courage and zeal for God. The story of David and Goliath is one of the most famous Bible stories told to children. David defeated the Philistine giant Goliath for both his God and his people. His inspiring response to Goliath before the match was in I Samuel 17:45-47. With his slingshot, David destroyed the giant, and won the battle for Israel and Israel’s God.

David never seemed to have an easy road throughout his life. As a youth he was a shepherd who physically protected his father’s sheep against predators including a bear and lion. As the youth and the youngest of his father’s eight sons however, he was disregarded and thought to be an upstart. He was a fugitive for years during of Saul’s reign when Saul was mentally disturbed and felt threatened by his rising stardom. David lost his beloved friend and potential heir to the throne Jonathan at the same time Saul was killed. David did not seem to covet power as many do and he gave honor even to his enemies. However because of some of David’s failings to be described below, David’s family would have a lot of friction, to say the least. There would be dramatic rebellion of one of his sons and other sons would deceitfully try to grab the throne without David’s blessing or input. However in spite of his failings David is regarded as by far the most significant King of Israel with an everlasting role in God’s plans. David became king of Judah at the age of 30 and had a 40-year reign in total (II Samuel 5:4). “In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.” II Samuel 5:5.

David’s Sins and Repentance before God

It seems like the moment David set eyes on the bathing Bathsheba that his life began to spin out of control, which his life clearly did. But that would be only a superficial interpretation. In Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, in verse six it says: “And Jesse begat David the king: and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias”. The Bible seems to be clearly indicating that this was not a “condoned” marriage. And yet, there is still more to the story.

In David’s forty-year reign over Judah and then all of Israel, we can see that he made two grave errors.

Grave error # 1: Adultery with Bathsheba and the Murder of Uriah

II Samuel 11 & 12 gives the dramatic story of David falling for the lust of the eyes and of the flesh. Many would put more blame on Bathsheba for appearing to deliberately tempt him but it wasn’t as though David was helpless. He should have been out to war at the time with his men. In that society and time polygamy was accepted, especially for kings, and David already had several wives. He could have probably picked any unmarried woman in the country and not have incurred God’s wrath. But instead, he coveted the wife of one of his 37 original “mighty men” (II Samuel 23:8-39). Uriah was one of a band of brothers who had been together for many years, any of whom would give their life for David’s sake. But he couldn’t have imagined the manner of David’s betrayal. David got Bathsheba pregnant in adultery, and this led to the murder of Uriah as a matter of convenience. He would go on to marry Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:26-27). I Chronicles 20 offers the parallel chronology, but omits the juicy details provided in II Samuel.

Grave error # 2: The Prideful Numbering of Israel

II Samuel 24 gives the story of how David wanted to know the number of Israel, including the number of fighting men. His sin, in doing so, was that he did this as a point of pride, not for the glory of God. God had greatly multiplied Israel, but David was in effect taking the glory to himself. I Chronicles 21 gives the parallel account.

These grave errors above set a course of destruction and carnage. In the case of the sin involving adultery and murder, the prophet Nathan announced a “fourfold” sentence in paying for his sin (I Samuel 12:6). Henry Morris in The Defender’s Study Bible sees this fourfold sentence to be 1.) The death of the child that was conceived, 2.) The rape of his virgin daughter Tamar by her half-brother Amnon 3.)The vengeful killing of Amnon by David’s son Absalom as retribution for raping his sister and 4.) The treason and death of Absalom. Nathan the prophet pronounced God’s sentence in II Samuel 12:10: “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou has despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” The sin of the prideful numbering of Israel involved the punishment upon Israel of a pestilence that killed 70,000 men. This history is given in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21.

However there is redemption in the story of David and Bathsheba. God had clearly let them know (and the story is very much an example for all that would come after) that they would not get away with this. They would suffer greatly. God regarded David in the category of ‘He should have known better’ because of his special relationship with God. The record David’s repentance and also God’s forgiveness is shown in II Samuel 12:13-14 and Psalms 51.

Bathsheba, Solomon and Nathan

After the initial episode of David and Bathsheba and the beginning of its destructive aftermath, there began to be a change for the better. “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake” – II Samuel 12:24-25, NAS version. Again the names here are significant. The name of the new son of David and Bathsheba was Solomon, which meant “peaceable”. Nathan the prophet seems to call him Jedidiah, meaning “beloved of Jah”, or “Beloved of the Lord” – a similar meaning to that of the name David. As an adult, Solomon would also attach another name to himself in Proverbs 31, which is given the introduction: “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). Easton’s Bible Dictionary expounds upon the definition and significance of the king named Lemuel: “Dedicated to God, a king whom his mother instructed (Prov. 31:1-9). Nothing is certainly known concerning him. The rabbis identified him with Solomon.”

What became of Bathsheba? She was certainly a partaker of David’s punishment and pain. But God’s grace also prevailed. The woman who seems to be a scandalous footnote in history and in Jesus’ genealogy was also the mother of four of David’s sons – I Chronicles 3:5. None of David’s additional wives were listed as having more than one son, and his wife Michal who was Saul’s daughter had no child (II Samuel 6:23). If Bathsheba received fulfillment and redemption, it was clearly in her role as a mother. I Timothy 2:15 is scripture that seems to have a dual meaning of needing to be saved by Christ and the blessing of childbearing, and this seems clearly applicable to Bathsheba. We only seem to have a few clues here and there about Bathsheba. If Bathsheba was the one who taught Solomon – as Lemuel -the Proverbs 31 prophecy, then she was clearly a wise teacher of God’s way. The Proverbs 31 celebration of the “virtuous woman” may have been a composite of all the virtuous women in the line of Jesus – from Sarah to Ruth and others. It appears that Bathsheba would have been both an instructive and loving mother. Solomon repeats the same theme repeatedly “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” – Proverbs 1:8 and “My son, keep they father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” – Proverbs 6:20. Proverbs 4:3 states: ”For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.”

Like his father David who composed much of the book of Psalms, Solomon would write a good portion of the Bible, including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.  Solomon, who would inherit David’s throne and usher in a period of peace (I Chronicles 22:9) was not without his own failings. Solomon would be the ancestor of Joseph, the non-biological parent of Jesus. It was through Solomon and Joseph that Jesus would inherit a kingly right to the throne of Israel. Nathan, another of Bathsheba’s sons, interestingly bore the same name of the prophet who brought David’s sin and punishment before David. Through Nathan would come the line of Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother.

This will be concluded in a future post.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Faith, Life, The Bible, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Son of Man – a Lineage of Sorrow and Grace

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10

Very few of us would know our own lineage back more than a few generations, and knowing 10 or 12 generations of ancestors would be a lot. In spite of the relatively low technology of New Testament times, Jesus’ parents had the records of their lineage available all the way back to Adam. In the case of Joseph, His non-biological father, he was 59th from Adam, and His mother Mary was 74th from Adam. This represents about 4,000 years of human history. And the evidence supports the Biblical statements that in the beginning, mankind lived a lot longer. And very tellingly, there is a thread of sorrow and grace throughout.

Creation to the Flood

There were ten generations from Adam through Noah which concluded in the cataclysmic event of the Great Flood. As name meanings were especially important during ancient times, people have examined their meanings more closely. Biblical scholar Chuck Missler, examining the “original roots” of the words, comes up with a very interesting prophecy. An example Missler gives of examining the roots is shown below.

“Methuselah comes from muth, a root that means “death”; and from shalach, which means to bring, or to send forth. The name Methuselah means, “his death shall bring”.”

The roots of the name meanings give us: Adam/Man, Seth/Appointed, Enos/Mortal, Cainan/Sorrow, Mahalalel/The Blessed God, Jared/ Shall come down, Enoch/ Teaching, Methuselah/His death shall bring, Lamech/the despairing, Noah/Rest, or comfort.

Taken together:

“Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.”

The 1996 article by Chuck Missler is available at http://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/44/

Because people lived much longer at that time, from the time of Creation to the Flood is estimated to be about 1656 years – from 4004 BC to 2348 BC – coinciding with the ten generations from Adam to Noah. And apparently humanity had gone very wrong during those ten long generations. Starting with the family of Adam and Eve, in which the firstborn Cain murdered his brother Abel, and culminating to the point where God believed it was best to start over with the family of Noah. The clues to why humanity had become so evil are found in Genesis 6:1-8. But first we must realize that God’s plan of salvation had been to have the ‘Seed of the woman’ whom is Jesus (as he would be Mary’s blood relation, not Joseph’s) to permanently defeat the serpent, or Satan (Genesis 3:15). The Savior had to come through a human line. But in Genesis 6 it appears that among evil works, the ‘sons of God’, interpreted as God’s created angels who had rebelled with Lucifer, had taken human wives and produced offspring with them. This also coincided with there being “giants in the earth in those days”. The offspring appear to be powerful and like demigods. Popular mythology would seem to lend credence to this. Aside from perverting the human line and angels producing offspring that God never intended them to, these powerful demigod-like offspring could have threatened human life. It is interesting, after reporting this phenomenon in Genesis 6:2, that it is in Genesis 6:3 that God pronounces judgment of 120 remaining years before the Great Flood would occur. During these years, Noah would have sons, who would in turn marry, and this family would obey God’s command to construct the ark.

Abraham

Another important genealogical sequence is from Noah to Abraham, which adds another ten generations. Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah and Abraham. Abraham’s life is a portrait of faith and grace.

God called Abraham (then Abram) to leave everything he knew and follow God. God promised to make Abraham’s descendants a great nation but Abraham and Sarah were very old before this promise seemed plausible. Abraham became quite prosperous but he had a host of challenges as well. But his amazing faith endured throughout.

The passage involving Hagar is an amazing story showing God’s grace. Facing the pressure of infertility and advanced age, it was Sarah’s idea to have Abraham try to conceive through her Egyptian servant Hagar. Hagar did indeed get pregnant when Abraham was 86 years old but Sarah did not like Hagar’s attitude after that. Sarah in turn began to treat her harshly. Pregnant and overwhelmed by this new treatment, Hagar ran away.

In Genesis 16:7 and 8, “the angel of the Lord” – usually interpreted as God or Jesus – encountered her in the wilderness and spoke with her. He prophesied of her son who would be born, and told her to return to her mistress Sarah and submit to her. He told her to call his name Ishmael, which interestingly means “God has hearkened” or “the Lord listens”.

Fourteen years after Ishmael’s birth, Isaac was born when Abraham was 100. Isaac, his name meaning “laughter”, would be the one whom through God would fulfil his promise to Abraham. When Isaac was weaned, Abraham threw a big celebration, and there was additional tension when Sarah observed Ishmael mocking. At this time, Sarah wanted Hagar and Ishmael to leave the household.

With great sadness, Abraham did send them away. Ishmael would have been about 17 about this time, nearly an adult. It is apparent that God had wanted Ishmael to be raised with his father during these years. The passage of Genesis 21:14-21 show God provided comfort and direction again to Hagar and to Ishmael that would prepare them for life on their own.

Abraham continued to walk with God and lead his family. Abraham and Sarah are both recounted in the Hebrews 11 chapter of faith, for their lifelong obedience and faith in God’s promises.

Tamar, Rahab and Ruth

David is a pivotal figure in God’s revealed plans, and in the genealogy of Jesus. From Adam to David, Mary and Joseph shared the same lineage, and their ancestors diverged after that. There are 13 generations from Abraham to David: Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Pharas, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naason, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David. But before we get to David, we should discuss the unusual women mentioned specifically in Jesus’ lineage.  These women – Tamar, Rahab and Ruth are all named in the genealogy in Matthew 1. There are going to be some spelling variations between the Old and New Testament.

Abraham’s great-grandson Judah produced twins “Phares and Zara of Thamar”. Who was Thamar (Tamar)?  Genesis 38 recounts the story. Judah had three sons with a Canaanite woman, and none of them appeared to be godly standouts but rather quite the opposite. Tamar became married to the first of the sons. The Biblically established custom or ordinance was for a brother to marry and conceive children with his former sister in law in the event that his brother died without offspring in order to preserve his brother’s line. In the course of events Tamar’s husband and his brother were killed by God for evil works and disobedience. Judah was to give Tamar to the 3rd son in marriage and she observed that he did not do that. When this did not see that happen, she disguised herself and somehow induced Judah, “played the harlot” and this one time event produced twins. Tamar was thought to be a Canaanite, not an Israelite woman, but in a strange way displayed a respect for God’s law. This odd sequence of events became part of the line of Jesus.

Matthew 1:5 states “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab: and Booz begat Obed of Ruth: and Obed begat Jesse.” Therefore Ruth was David’s great-grandmother, and Rachab (Rahab) his great-great-grandmother. Both of these women are lauded for their actions.

Rahab was a Canaanite woman who saved the spies Joshua dispatched Jericho to overthrow it.  Jericho was a strategic location at the entrance to Canaan, the promised land. Rahab, described as a harlot, had put them up originally in the city. She would then hide the spies after the king had somehow learned of their mission had sent an inquest for them. She told those looking for them that they had already left. This is described in Joshua 2. After saving the two spies from discovery, she pleaded for her life and that of her family, saying that she believed in their God (Joshua 2:9-11). They instructed her to display a “line of scarlet thread” in her window and keep her whole family in her house. When the walls of Jericho were miraculously brought down in Joshua 6, literally they “fell down flat”, Rahab’s dwelling alone was standing and those within were saved. Joshua 7:25 states,  ”And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had, and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”

The story of Ruth began when the family of Elimelech, a man from Bethlehem-judah, lived for a period of ten years in the land of Moab, traditionally an enemy of the Israelite people. Elimelech and Naomi’s sons married Moabite women Orpah and Ruth. But then Elimelech and his two sons all died, leaving only Naomi and her daughters in law, all left widowed.  In this time, for an old widow like Naomi to be left without any male offspring was a haunting prospect from an economic perspective.  Naomi started to return to Judah with her two daughters in law. However she then stopped and told them twice to return to their mothers’ houses with the prospect of remarrying. Naomi truly believed that “the hand of the Lord is gone out against me” and she was trying to look out for her daughter in laws’ best interests. Ruth 1:14 beautifully states: “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.” The story of Ruth is a beautiful one. Ruth stayed with Naomi during their shared time of grief and fully took on Naomi’s God and religion.  Not only providing her a necessary line of emotional support to Naomi, Ruth labored to provide their living, and gave Naomi the blessings of family. Ruth would marry Boaz, a relative of Elimelech’s family, producing a son Obed, grandfather to David.

This will be continued in a future post.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Faith, Life, The Bible, Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,