How should we question authority? Should we at all?

Have you ever been in a situation where someone told you to do something, but you didn’t feel right about it? Maybe it was your boss, or teacher at school, a military commander, or parent. We all have those moments when we aren’t too comfortable following a command.

This was the situation Obadiah found himself in when he met Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Obadiah was a Godly man who found himself in the service of King Ahab, evil king. He meets Elijah, who is a prophet of God and a wanted man. Elijah tells him to tell Ahab, that he is there.

Obadiah immediately is afraid for his life. Ahab is an angry and unpredictable man. Obadiah knew this.

But instead of talking back to Elijah, or telling him to tell the king that he’s there himself. He explains his fear. He presents his concerns in a respectful and reasonable way.

There is no rebuke here for Obadiah. Elijah reassures him that it will all be right, and Obadiah will not be in danger.

This is exactly how we should interact with authority. We should not argue. We should not get angry. We should not answer with pride or disrespect.

We should speak humbly. Present our concerns respectfully. And give every impression that we desire to obey.

Next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, remember Obadiah. Remember his respect, and openness. Just because you disagree with authority, doesn’t mean you must have a falling out with them. Sometimes communication and respect is all that is needed to keep good relations!

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:17

 

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What if God is waiting for you?

If you gave most people a chance to be rich, they would take you up on it. I mean, who doesn’t want money? Money gives you power, choices, and most likely a better level of comfort. Who doesn’t want respect or honor? Most people like to be respected. And almost everyone prefers life instead of death. The Bible gives us two things to incorporate into our lives to find riches, honor and life.

It’s quite simple, Proverbs 22:4 tells us, “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” That’s it. One verse, and if you’re not careful, it is easy to overlook. No more comment is made on the subject. Since we know that the Word of God is true and valuable, we can recognize the value of this one verse.

If you think about the world, they run after riches constantly. The constantly scramble on top of one another trying to get to the top so they can have  brief moment of fame and the idea of respect. Lastly, most worldly people are trying to find meaning in life, and trying to prolong it without every quite enjoying it as much as a servant of God can.

Sadly, many Christians join in on these pursuits without realizing that God has called them to a higher purpose. Yes, riches, honor, and life are all desirable things, but God has designed us to seek after more. We are not called to run after the things that the world clamors for. God wants us to run after Him. He tells us to take action. The action is in two parts, but those elements are related.

He wants us to humble ourselves, and fear Him. Those things aren’t difficult or complicated to do, they’re just not what humans usually want. Humans want glory and honor. But God calls us to honor Him. Humans desire that others be lowered, but God calls us to lower ourselves.

When we decide to willingly surrender our “honor,” and recognize God’s power, and conform our life, then God tells us that He will reward us with honor, and money [power], and life.

There are some that claim that it is not God’s will for every Christian to be rich. Well, I’m sure it is possible, but you cannot deny that God has rewarded many of His servants with riches.  And whether or not the previous claim is true, I honestly believe that a there is a large amount of Christians who do not have riches, honor, and life because they have failed to humble themselves and fear the Lord.

Can you not see our God, ready to bless His servants with abundance, but holding back because He knows that their heart is not right, and such a blessing would turn them away from Him. Or He waits because He knows that such a person would not glorify Him with the riches He would give, but would only attempt to satisfy their own lusts.

What if God is waiting for you? What if His heart is breaking because He desires a deeper relationship with you, but you are holding back? What if He longs to bless you materially as wells as spiritually so that others might see His goodness and glorify Him with you, but He holds back because you have not obeyed.

We may never know what God might have given us if we had obeyed sooner, but we can decide to obey now. We can choose to humble ourselves and fear the Lord. Such a choice will not only bring a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God, but will also bring His blessings of riches, honor, and life.

Then one day, it could be said of us, as it was said of David: And ______  “died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour”

But the verse doesn’t end there-

It continues with: “and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.”- 1 Chronicles 29:28

David feared the Lord, and was rewarded. But David left a legacy. Solomon, his son, took the throne after him. And Solomon followed his father’s footsteps in fearing the Lord. The Lord rewarded Solomon with greater— well, I’m sure you know the story.

“Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:12

Who reads Leviticus?

When was the last time you were reading through Leviticus and you got passionate about God? Or Deuteronomy? Do you spend all your time thinking about the burnt offerings or the sacrifices that Israel had to make? Maybe you do, but if you are like most Christians I know, you’re probably thinking, Are you kidding me? Those are the boring books. Who does their devotions in Leviticus?

Honestly, that’s been my attitude for the majority of my life. And I’m ashamed of how I’ve despised the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that, all scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; that every part of the Bible is useful for the maturing of the man of God. But, most of us would have to admit that our actions and attitudes toward some parts of the Bible declare our scorn for God’s Word.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He pursued God. He loved God. He wanted to serve Him. In the Psalms, David wrote, O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97

You might object that he liked it because He was under the law and we aren’t. But realize, David understood that the law was only a shadow. In Psalm 51 he wrote, For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. David knew that the law was not an end in of itself. He understood that the heart of God was more than regulations, yet he loved God’s regulations just the same.

One more thought, if we think that some parts of the Bible are boring, do we meditate on the parts of the Bible we think are more interesting? I know I don’t. I fail every day.

Do you spend time meditating on the Word of God? Do you love the Word of God? Do you spend time in the Old Testament? God tells us that the people in the Old Testament were recorded so that we could learn from them. I challenge you, as I challenge myself, take the time to meditate on Scripture today. Maybe even flip back to the Pentatuch or one of those weirdly named prophets. Take a chance, read through an Old Testament book. Ask God to teach you something through His Word. Ask God to help you love His Word more.

Try it and you won’t regret it, I have no doubt.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:65

Break the snakes

There are many good things in life that God gives us. He gives us certain things for certain times in our lives. Sometimes, the things that God has given us, loose their effectiveness. They were great for a time, but now God wants us to continue on. One example of something that lost its effectiveness was the brazen serpent in the Old testament.

You see, at one time, the Israelites were very disobedient and ungrateful to God. God allowed judgment to come upon them in the form of deadly snakes. When the people repented, God told Moses to make a brass snake. Anyone who looked at it, would be healed as a result of their obedience. (Numbers 21)

Years later, the Israelites still had the brass snake. You might think, Oh, thats nice, they have a piece of their history. But that was not all. They had started to worship the snake. They were burning incense to it, and treating it like a deity. God was not pleased, and when Hezekiah destroyed it because of their worship, God was pleased. (2 Kings 18:4)

Hezekiah looked at it and called it, Nehushtan or a thing of brass. Hezekiah had a proper view of the brass snake. He called it a thing. An item. It had no importance. God had used it in the past, but it was God that was special, not the thing He used.

Perhaps there are some brass serpents in your life. Think for a moment, what has God used greatly in your life? What has he used to help you grow the most? Perhaps it was a book you read, or a speaker you heard? I know in my life, I have often elevated people or tools that have helped me in my walk with God. Some of my attitude was a healthy respect, but there were times when it was in a sense an actual worship.

I would like to challenge you, if you find yourself in need of anything, realize that it is God that you need. When God works through your pastor, dont allow yourself to worship him. Look beyond the creation, and see the Creator who is the true provider. Dont ever ascribe worship or anything like it to Gods creation. God alone is worthy of our worship.

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2

Worth your weight, in gold?

Diligence.
It is not a common trait among people today. Our society demands that everything that we do must be fun. People lack the quality of doing hard things for the sake of accomplishing something other than their own gratification. God promises special privileges and rewards for those who are willing to apply themselves to be diligent.

Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
Proverbs 12:24 says, “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

These verses make it very clear that those who live a diligent life will find both wealth, prosperity, and authority in the world. Diligence isn’t the norm. It’s not something that is often found. It’s hard to find a role model who is attentive to his work. However, if you look hard, you can find them. Study the lives of the most successful people history has ever known, and you will find the history of diligence.

I enjoy looking at the original languages of the Bible. Normally I don’t share, but this time I couldn’t help it. The Hebrew word for diligent means sharp. As if the writers were saying that these people were like a sharp axe when compared to a dull one. When diligent people go to work, they get much more done than when lazy people go to work. When the Hebrew scholars used this word in poetry, it metaphorically meant “gold.” So in a way, diligent people are worth their weight in gold.

If you want to truly succeed in any realm of life, you must be diligent. Yes, your talent may take you far, but only so far. Will you commit yourself to a life of diligence? God promises, wealth, prosperity, honor, and authority to those who will commit themselves to diligence and hard work. Will you be diligent In His service?

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” – Proverbs 22:29

Content to hear the boss praise you?

Believing on God is not always the most sociably acceptable thing to do. It isn’t always “easy” and it often requires certain sacrifices. Or maybe we should call them, “realignment of priorities.” As almost any Christian, we would say, “God is first,” but to we live that way?

In John 12, many Pharisees believed on Jesus, but they didn’t confess. Why? “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43) You see, these men wanted the praise from others. They forgot the person they should have been living to please. They focused on the people around them, and not on God. Their perspective was wrong, their priorities were skewed, and as a result they never experienced God like they should have.

How about you? Are you hesitant to share things about your faith with others because you are wary about what others would say? Do you change your actions, or compromise to please others around you? How about this? When you go to work, are you content to hear the boss tell you that you did a good job when you know you could have done better? Are you striving for the praise of men, rather than the praise of God?

I would challenge you, ask God to show you if you love the approval of men more than you love His approval. If you do, in any way, make a conscious decision to change your attitude. Remind yourself of the person you should really strive to please. Ask God to help you seek for His approval alone. If you live for Him alone, you will never regret it.

“How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” – John 5:44

The secret to living longer

The world has spent much time looking for the fountain of youth. Searching all over the world, for centuries, people have desparately searched for the answer to life. They want more time. They want to live longer. What if I told you there was a way you could live longer. It’s not fancy medicine, strange rituals, or superstition, it’s quite simple. You can live longer by following a simple command in the bible.

Proverbs 3:1-2 says, “My son forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length and long life and peace shall they add to thee.” You may be thinking, “that was just for that man’s son, not for me.” But this is not the only time this promise is mentioned.

Ephesians 6:2-3 tells us, “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” So there you have it, it is a simple promise. These verses make it very clear, you can enjoy a long life by honoring your parents. I am not saying that if someone dies young, then they disrespected their parents. What I am saying is, that if you do honor your parents, as Prov. 3 says, your life will be longer.

So, do you want to live longer? I would like to challenge you, honor your parents. It doesn’t matter how old you are, God commands you to honor them. He promises length of life to those who do. Will you obey God by respecting your parents and reap the reward He has promised to those who do?

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. ” – Exodus 20:12

Nerdy Note: Ephesians does give the command of obedience to children. However, the command applies to all believers with parents, no matter how old they are. The reason is, that the Greek word used for ‘children’ in this verse is τέκνον, which means offspring, not little child. (Eg: John 1:12, 1 Timothy 1:18, Titus 1:4 Philemon 1:10)