Israel committed a great sin. They knew better. They were God's chosen, covenant people. They had seen his power demonstrated time and time again. They saw the Red Sea parted as they passed through, and they saw it close on the pursuing Egyptian army. They saw manna provided every morning. They saw God's fire by night and His cloud by day. They saw miracle after miracle. They made a promise to obey God on three separate occasions. Much had been given to Israel, and much was expected from Israel.
Are some sins greater, or worse, than others? Our knee-jerk reaction might be that all sin is the same. But actually that is not true. All sin is not the same. According to the Scriptures, some sins are more offensive to God than other sins are.
Maybe you have had some serious setbacks in life. As a child, you were mistreated, neglected, abused, or even forgotten. You, like so many kids today, were just left to yourself. Maybe people haven't given you much hope; you've been written off by your parents and teachers.
A jeweler will display a ring or a fine piece of jewelry against a dark backdrop so that our eyes are automatically drawn to it. And that is what Noah was like against the dark backdrop of wickedness in his day. He was a rare jewel, a radiant light in a very dark place. The Bible tells us that "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8), which means that God extended grace toward him.
Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (Jude 1:11)
A number of years ago I read an interesting book called Death in the Long Grass. Its author, a big-game hunter, recounts stories of not only hunting lions, but also of lions hunting people.
The film Les Misérables, adapted from Victor Hugo's book by the same name, is the story of Jean Valjean, who was sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family.
There is so much stealing in our culture today that we have almost become accustomed to it. In fact, I read about a study that was done on stealing in which people were asked why they didn't steal. The number one reason given by those polled was the fear of getting caught. The next most common reason was concern that the other person might try to get even. The third most-cited reason was that the item might not be needed. What apparently didn't occur to anyone was the fact that stealing is a sin.
Many of us would never murder a person, but we may wish someone were dead. Have you ever hated anyone? Let me rephrase the question: Have you ever driven on a freeway anywhere in Southern California?
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political thinker and historian wrote a book entitled Democracy in America. This book was published after his extensive travels in our country when it was still young.
As children are growing up, they will hear their parents say things they don't like, such as when Mom or Dad says, "Do you think that I have a money tree somewhere?" or "You don't know the sacrifices I had to make when I was your age!" Then there is my favorite parental saying: "Because I said so!"
The Ten Commandments were not given to make us holy; they were given to show us that we are not holy. The commandments were given to show us that we need Jesus. The Bible says they are like a schoolmaster (kind of an old King James word). The idea is that of a disciplinarian. The commandments were given to say, in essence, "You can't do this on your own."
Of the Ten Commandments, there is probably more confusion about this one than about any other: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). So let's understand what it is and what it isn't.
One day, Cathe was driving with our youngest son, Jonathan, who was then age 3. She was talking about the Rapture and how we would be caught up to heaven. The more she talked, the quieter Jonathan got. Finally, he blurted out, "Mom, I don't want to go to heaven! I don't want to leave this beautiful world that God made!" It's hard for a 3-year-old to wrap his mind around heaven.
Where is one of the easiest places to get a hardened heart? Any place where God's people gather. It isn't in a bar or around a bunch of people who are doing wicked things. No, the easiest place to get a hardened heart is where you hear the Word of God being taught. Knowledge brings responsibility. And the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. The same message that transforms one life can cause another to say, "I don't believe."
Christians should be aware that the Devil is an imitator. When he cannot stop a work of God, he will offer his cheap imitation. That way he minimizes the power and glory of God.
Happy Father's Day! For Dad (or Mom), here is a prayer list you can use to pray for your kids!
It has been said that conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. It is true. When you believe in Jesus Christ, a battle begins in your heart. It is a battle between God and Satan. When you take that step and make a commitment to Lord, the Devil will want to pull you away from the commitment you have made.
As far as we know, Moses hadn't heard from God for 40 years. Then God spoke to him and called him. And how did He do it? Through a burning bush. It was not uncommon for a bush to catch fire. A bolt of lightning could have caused that. But Moses had never seen a bush that perpetually burned. God was doing something out of the ordinary that got Moses' attention. And then He spoke.
My granddaughter Allie is a little homebody. She will come to visit Cathe and me, and will be so excited (we have lots of toys and fun things for the grandkids to do), but without warning, Allie will just say "home" and walk out the door!
Underneath Moses' robes of royalty beat the heart of an Israelite. He believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses saw how his people were being mistreated as slaves. He could have said, "That is tough for them, but I have it made in the shade right now. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my position."
When we think of Moses, a lot of things come to mind. We might think of Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses in The Ten Commandments. We may think of Moses as the great lawgiver or as the man whose personal integrity and godliness kept three million-plus people from full-tilt idolatry. But probably the best thing we could say about him is that he was Moses, the man of God.
The same goes for you. Your "value" in God's eyes has nothing to do with your own merit, or talents, or resources. Your worth comes from the fact that Jesus Christ is living inside you, which makes you infinitely more valuable than an Aston Martin!
Aren't you glad the word oops is not in God's vocabulary? God is sovereign, which simply means that God is in control. He doesn't make mistakes. He does what He wants when He wants with whom He wants in any way He wants.