Archive for the ‘Bible study’ Category

Choices 2   Leave a comment

“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” “When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.” Judges 11:30-31, 34 (NIV)

Jephthah was a judge of Israel. He was the son of Gilead by a prostitute. Later his half-brothers left him out of the inheritance that the sons would receive after Gilead’s death because he was an illegitimate son.

Because of this mistreatment by his brothers he left and went to the land of Tob. There Jephthah became a commander of a group of adventurers. Judges 11:1 says that Jephthah became a mighty warrior. His stature as a warrior must have been known to his kinsmen and very respected because Judges 11:5,6 says “the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites” (NIV)

This is another place that Lot’s choice has come back to haunt Israel. These are the son’s of Lot and his younger daughter. God gave both the Moabites and Ammonites territory while the Israelites were in Egypt.

After the people of Gilead and Jephthah came to an agreement on the fact that if Jephthah delivered them from the Ammonites he would be there leader, Jephthah sends messengers to the king of Ammon asking why he is attacking Gilead.

The king of Ammon replies that Israel took land that belonged to the Ammonites and that he wants the land back. Jephthah responds with an accurate account of what happened when the Israelites left Egypt. How every nation that was on the way to the promised land was afraid of them and would not allow Israel to pass on their way to Canaan. And one king, Sihon king of the Amorites, even came out to battle the Israelites. “Then the LORD the God of Israel gave Sihon and all his men into Israel’s hands” and “took over the land of the Amorites… from Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan” (which was the disputed territory) (Judges 11:21,22 NIV).

But the King of Ammon didn’t listen so the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah and on his way to subduing the Ammonites Jephthah made his first bad choice. He told God that whatever came out of the door of his house when he returned he would sacrifice as a burnt offering. He then went on to victory and came home, but the first thing out of his house was his daughter, his only child. Jephthah does what he promised God he would do, which shows a great fear of God on his part, but Jephthah probably would have been better off not to make a vow like that to God.

How often do we make “deals” with God? “God if you do this I’ll do this” or “God if you give me this, I’ll do this”. Rarely do we hold up our end of the bargain, but more importantly what kind of deals are these? God want’s to bless us and give us the desires of our hearts, if only we would ask. And second we shouldn’t require God to do something for us or give us something in order to do what we promise, which is usually something like “I’ll pray everyday” or “I’ll read my bible” or “I’ll tithe”.

After this Jephthah makes another bad decision. This one costs the lives of 42,000 people. The Ephraimites then came to Jephthah asking why they weren’t asked to go with him to defeat the Ammonites. Jephthah responded by saying “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me our of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?” (Judges 12:2,3 NIV).

This wasn’t the first time the Ephraimites had been offended by a Judge defeating a foreign group. They had felt the same slight after Gideon had defeated the Midianites but Gideon responded with much more gentleness than Jephthah. “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave you Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” (Judges 8:2,3 NIV)

Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (NIV) Both answers came with a question at the end. One exhorted the Ephraimites and the other one challenged them. Gideon’s answer turned away wrath, while Jephthah’s answer led to 42,000 Ephraimites being killed.

Jephthah’s first choice, to make a rash promise to God, resulted in the death of his daughter, and his second choice, to answer harshly to the Ephraimites, resulted in the death of 42,000 Ephraimites.

Posted June 9, 2012 by mattiev9287 in Bible study, Judges

Choices 1   Leave a comment

“Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. [Abraham and Lot] parted company; Abraham lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD” Genesis 13:10-13 (NIV)

“And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD ‘If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” “When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.” Judges 11:30-31, 34 (NIV)

“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.” 2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped in beyond the River (Mesopotamia) and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:14-15

Four different instances lie before us. Three different men make three decisions that weren’t wise to begin with and we learn in two instance very soon the problems that creates and in the other it takes a while longer  for the full problem to arise. The last choice has to do with an entire people who we will see aren’t able to live up to the choice they make completely.

Today we will look at Lot’s case we see a man who has decided to pitch his tent toward the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  We know that these cities were evil and that God destroyed these cities as recounted in Genesis 19.

What we sometimes miss is how Lot and his family act toward the warning s of God.

We see quite clearly that Abraham knows that God is not joking around when He visits him. Abraham even found out that for just 10 righteous people, God would not destroy the city. But it would seem that only Lot and his family of 4 were found to be righteous.

So the men come to Lot and tell him to tell his WHOLE family including his sons-in-law to leave town because they are going to destroy the town. “But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.” [Genesis 19:14 (NIV)] For whatever reason Lot’s sons-in-law didn’t believe him. Maybe they hadn’t seen anything miraculous, maybe they didn’t think it could be done, or possibly they didn’t even believe in God, but no matter the reason they stayed in the city and presumably died that next morning.

Then it was Lot’s time to leave

“With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters  who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished’
“When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand… and led them safely out of the city for the LORD was merciful to them… one of them said ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back…” Genesis 19:16,17 (NIV)

Even though Lot had already told his sons-in-law that God was going to destroy the city he STILL hesitated before he left. Lot has his heart set on Sodom from the moment of his choice of the Jordan Valley. It seems that Lot started with a tent pitched, towards the city, moved into the city, and eventually became an influential man in the city as evidenced by his sitting at the gateway of the city when the angels came into the town. For some reason Lot didn’t want to leave; something was drawing him to the evil city, but God was merciful and still got him out of the city

“By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities–and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:23-26

The story is sad enough already, but sadly it gets worse. This time Lot didn’t stay in the city, but he moved a cave in the mountains. “One day the older daughter said to the younger ‘Our father is getting old, and there’s not a man left in the country by whom we can get pregnant. Let’s get our father drunk with wine and lie with him. We’ll get children through our father- it’s our only chance to keep our family alive.'” Genesis 19:31-32

So Lot’s daughters have to children by their father one is named Moab, the father of the Moabites, and the other Ben-Ammi, the father of the Ammonites. These two nations cause trouble for Israel for many years to come, and it all started with one man’s choice to choose the fertile valley near sin.

Posted June 5, 2012 by mattiev9287 in Bible study, Genesis

more lessons from jeremiah   Leave a comment

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. 13-14“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—”bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (The Message)

i’ve been beating myself up recently. but that’s getting ahead of the story.

all my life has been like any other life. it’s had it’s ups and downs. times where the world was mine and times where the world had beaten me down. no matter what i knew that God was with me, but i didn’t seem to seek him unless i was down or at camp lol. and it always seemed like i was using God when i was down, which bothered me, but not enough to do anything about it. but this year has been different. i’ve been away from my family for almost a year now (1 week away) i’ve been through basic training, AIT and half a deployment.

through basic i really started to get back to God. it was one of those down times that i knew that i needed to get closer to Him or else i wasn’t going to make it. but it was the start of a personal revival that has taken place over the past year and has sort of culminated tonight. i made good christian friends in my platoon, people that i can still look to spiritually. i also read throuh the new testament in those  9 weeks.

AIT i strayed away a bit, i still read my bible and prayed, but not like i did in basic, then i graduated and moved to fort bliss and figured out i was leaving to go overseas. i was so shocked i didn’t know what to think. i was upset that i was being taken away from my family, but glad that my unescapable deployment was going to be out of the way, knowing that i would have a little more money to pay off some things that i knew that i needed to. but life threw me some curveballs that i had to read and deal with accordingly, but with God’s help i made it through in tact.

So i’m on the top of the world, at one of those times that i would normally not turn to God for help, but thank God that i’m not there. i’m at a place where even though everything seems all figured out i want to search for God. if you read my post Hunger you know that i have that desire to search for Him. but the desire hasn’t been a want. i know that sounds crazy but they seem to be two different things in my life.

today though i talked to someone about all this, a friend of mine here. and tonight my desire has turned into a want. then i came accross this post from the other day and i reread jeremiah 29:10-14 and was elated with what i read. we all look at jeremiah 29:11 as the pivotal verse “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” but the verses that followed popped out more tonight.

“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—”bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (The Message)

what a beautiful message to the israelites, yet it still took them 70 years to finally get it. hopefully it won’t take us as long, and we’ll recognize that God has our future planned and it’s a good one. and when we are serious about finding Him we will not be disappointed. a message then and still a message now.

Posted August 10, 2010 by mattiev9287 in about me, Bible study, jeremiah

Temptation   1 comment

what is it about being man that makes us so depraved? at what point do we have the fortitude to overcome temptation? why do we so easily fall into the trap that we know sits right in front of us? even Christ told his disciples to “pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” (Matthew 26:41 NIV) and when telling them how to pray He says to pray that they are not led into temptation. but temptation doesn’t present itself every minute of every day. it seems to strictly present itself when we begin to feel as if we are figuring it all out. why is it that when we think that we are becoming strong that temptation rears its ugly head? is it because we are proud or are we just not near what we thought we were? but this is not an either/or question because these two thoughts are the same thing.
 
paul when writing to the church in corinth says of the forefathers that
2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. (1 Cor 10:2-5)
paul goes on to say that what followed was to be an example to keeps us from doing as they did. verses seven through ten tell of what was done to the forefathers and then paul says in verse 12 the most pivotal verse. “So, if you think you are standing firm be careful that you don’t fall!” so there can be no doubt that temptation is a result of our own pride.
 
so if we know how to avoid temptation for the most part, how can we remove ourselves from the temptation once we are in the midst of it? paul proceeds to say “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” (1 Cor 10:13a NIV) but we still let this temptation seem sometimes to go beyond what we can bear, even though we know full well that it is not above what others have faced. and we know that God has not put the temptation at a level that we cannot get away from, or as paul says we can bear. yet we make the grave mistake to succumb to temptation. why do we not call on God for help? and more importantly why do we feel that if we can rationalize what we are doing it is ok? we should know that God will take care of us, but we are too weak and, sometimes, going back to pride, to proud to admit that we need help.
 
but if we are able to be humbled, the second part of verse 13 is where we can thank God for all that He has done for us. “But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” how beautiful the words truly are that our God will give us a way to “stand up under” this temptation. paul is clear to say that the temptation will not be taken away, but rather that God will provide a way for one to “stand up under it.”
 
but may we not make the same mistake that got us into temptation in the first place. let us not think that this being able to stand has anything to do with what we have done for this being able to stand is all in the realm of the heavenly.

Posted July 26, 2010 by mattiev9287 in 1 corinthians, Bible study

BUSY   2 comments

“No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing” 2 Samuel 24:24 (NASB)

for the previous discussion on this verse go back a few blogs to “let’s continue our discussion” but i wanted to share an experience that i’ve had recently that reaffirms what this verse says.

recently it’s been easier for me to do my Bible study and such because i’ve had a little free time and i most definitely had the dedication to make sure that it got done. but this week has been crazy, thus the half post on tuesday. i was casually talking to God about the inability to really get into the Bible recently and He made sure to let me know about this verse.

so what does it mean if i’m “too busy” to get into the word. i honestly think that sometimes not reading the Bible everyday “religiously” is ok. if it’s not a labor of love, i don’t think that you’ll get much out of it. but when the labor of love is done as a sacrifice to other activities i have to think that He is more pleased. then the sacrifice costs you something and He knows it.

so what have you been sacrificing to continually read your bible? have you been doing so with regularity? have you been making sacrifices to make sure that God gets what He deserves from you?

next time you feel “too busy” to do what God has asked you to do remember to make the sacrifice that costs you something, and know that God will see it and it will please him.

Posted July 15, 2010 by mattiev9287 in 2 samuel, about me, Bible study

Let’s continue our discussion   1 comment

“No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing”
2 Samuel 24:24 (NASB)

the tory to this passage starts with king david taking a census that God had not told him to to take. so due to his disobedience the king had a choice. he could choose between 7 years of famine (1 chronicles says 3 years), 3 months of fleeing before his foes, or 3 days of pestilence. the king chose 3 days of pestilence and in those three days 70,000 people died. king david then feels sorrow for his nation being punished for his sin.  then God’s prophet, gad, told him to go build an altar on the threshing floor of araunah the jebusite. when david tells araunah that he needs to buy the threshing floor, araunah offers to give him the land, and the animals for the sacrifice. but david insists that he can not sacrifice something that doesn’t cost him anything. if that happens it ceases to be a real sacrifice.

so we go back to the last post and how some people try to use luke 6:38 to try to let us think that if we give to God, He will give back to us more than we will ever expect. as discussed yesterday it would seem that the passage from yesterday is talking about judgment and not money. so with that let’s look at luke 6:38 combined with 2 samuel 24:24

if we know that anything we give to God will be returned to us and that we don’t have to worry about anything, where does faith and sacrifice come in. and a sacrifice doesn’t mean that you will definitely get back what you sacrificed. it means never expecting to see it again.

so let’s learn to sacrifice when God tells us to give and to give without expecting anything in return

now all that being said we don’t have a reason to think that God doesn’t bless those who are faithful to Him and to are willing to do what He says, but that shouldn’t be our motivation for giving and obeying, we should do it cause we love God and want to please Him.

Posted July 9, 2010 by mattiev9287 in 2 samuel, Bible study, luke

What Did They Say?   1 comment

maybe i can make this an everyday thing?

anyways today’s post will be multifaceted. it will begin with this pre-post and more on to a more fuller post that i have come to expect from myself based on Luke 6:38 but first i would like to take a minute to tell you about my wonderful wife

Amanda has basically been a single mother to our now 17 month old daughter for the past 11 months and will continue to do so for the next 7-8 months while i’m “away” and she has done an AMAZING job. yes it does help that we each gave Hadley awesome genes, but Amanda has done some incredible things and for that i am very grateful. and for those of you who know me well she puts up with me and just for that she should earn a GOLD star, but she has also raised a magnificently well adjusted 17 month old without an instruction manual… and that’s just awesome to me.  so to Amanda: thank you for all you have done and know that i love you with all my heart and i’m increasingly proud of the sacrifice that you make for our family!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

if you have ever heard me rant on christians misusing scriptures then you have for sure heard my chief complaint which is this scripture… my complaint is two fold so we’ll explore one today and one tomorrow… or whenever I can post next… lol

the thing that has always bugged me is you hear this coming right before someone is getting ready to take up an offering telling the congregation that obviously if you give now God will bless you later… great thoughts but there are two things wrong with this. 1. Jesus wasn’t talking about money here… He was talking about judgement. my bible says do not judge as the title to this passage. 2. we should be cheerful givers not looking to get back what we put in. we should give because we love God and want to please Him not because He will bless us… that’s just a plus.

to the first point  the message translation does a much better job showing the don’t judge point of the passage.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:37,38 (The Message)

mr. peterson really captured the meaning of this passage and thank goodness that someone finally has. so now to the point of what can take from this verse?

it seems important to note that this passage is from the Sermon on the Mount and is listed right after the Beatitudes in Luke (for a further discussion of why they are not in Matthew just email me or facebook it and i’ll give you my thoughts) so these are things that Jesus was teaching to the masses and He found rather important. and right before this passage Jesus is talking about loving your enemies.

so why shouldn’t we judge others? what is the big deal? well going back to our passage we see that if we judge we will be judged. how hard would it be for us not to judge? how hard could it be to get the log our of our eye before we took the speck out of our brothers?

well in all honestly we as Christ followers seem to have quite a problem not judging people. it’s what we do best. we’re not as bad as previous generations but we have our moments. we judge gays, we judge people who get abortions, we judge those who condone these actions, we judge the poor sometimes, we judge each other for judging others… we become the problem and not the solution.

think bout it, if Christ were here today who would he hang out with? the outcast? the sexually immoral? the poor? the answers to these is of course YES those are the ones that He hung out with when He was here the first time. he died for them! so who are we to judge.

it’s a problem that many atheist and agnostics have with the church today, we judge people too easy, trust me i know. i’ve talked to them and many of them have been hurt by a church that judged and they said “if this is Christ i want no part of it”

so what do we do about this? how can we change the culture? well it starts with each one of us! it starts with you and it starts with me. that coworker that you have that is a gay, befriend them, be their FRIEND. if Jesus was a friend of sinners you too can be. if there’s someone that never includes themselves in your activities at church, don’t judge them as being off help them out. and there is always that one family in a church that is just a little bit “off” so instead of laughing at them with your friends, make an effort to help them out. quit being an “insiders only” group do what we all know the church should do already.

Posted July 7, 2010 by mattiev9287 in Bible study, family, luke