I love studying the Old Testament because we see real life situation and we discover quickly that human nature has not changed one bit over the millennia. In our walk through the entire Bible at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we have are in the Old Testament book written by the prophet Ezra. In a previous lesson we looked at Ezra 1, where the pagan king Cyrus surrendered to the will of God. King Cyrus was greatly influenced by the prophet Daniel. Upon reading the prophet Jeremiah, a scroll that Daniel had brought to Babylon when taken captive, king Cyrus surrendered to the will of God and decided to send the Jews back to Jerusalem. King Cyrus also promised to support the rebuilding of the Temple and sent the articles from the Temple back to Israel. This is a miracle. The children of Israel who were taken in Babylonian captivity finally get to go home. The Jews who were left in Jerusalem should have been excited that the city was going to be restored and the Temple rebuilt. On top of all of that, the local Jews were going to be reunited with their exiled brethren. Anyone who has ever tried to live out the will of God in their daily lives knows that there is always going to be opposition to that decision, often times, from family. It’s still shocking to experience. These exiled Jews are about to experience that opposition as they enter Jerusalem to rebuild. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Israel
God’s Righteous Judgments
Once again, I sit here in front of my monitor writing down my thoughts on this next Bible lesson that we are teaching in our Connect Groups at Southern Calvert Baptist Church. This week, we are going to dive down in the book of the prophet Nahum. The Bible presents the nature of God, in other words, the character of God to humanity. The main character trait that people remember about God is that He is love. Some people ignore all of the other character traits of the Lord and simply focus in on one aspect, love. God definitely is love. He is also righteous and just. He punishes sin. He protects victims. He takes revenge for those who cannot defend themselves. When we examine God, we need the full picture of who He is. The book of Nahum presents God as being wrathful. Nahum explains to the readers WHY God judges people and nations. The focus of this week’s lesson is the righteous judgments of God. Continue reading
The vanity of happiness
“But God wants me to be happy, doesn’t He“? I have heard people declare this many times, in the form of a question of course, even though their minds are already made up. Mantras like “YOLO” were popular at one time. “If it feels good, do it” was another popular saying for a time. If you do not know, YOLO means “you only live once” which implies, have fun at all costs because you only get one time around. Each older generation declares that the younger generations are selfish, unlike themselves, when they were younger. I want to look at a passage of Scripture that speaks of people about 3,000 years ago. According to our modern way of thinking, the people 3,000 years ago should have been much less selfish than we are today because each generation claims that the next generation is much more selfish. Let’s take a practical look at the people of Israel, almost 3,000 years ago. Continue reading
Balaam: A Prophet seeking a Profit
Balak was a pagan king who took preventative measures (in his own mind) by trying to harm the children of Israel. God had done some amazing things in the lives of the children of Israel. His Name became famous among the pagan nations of the Near East. Egypt, the world powerhouse of the time was brought to its knees by the power of God. They never made a recovery. The pagan nations of the Near East were afraid of the Lord because of His power and might. They also hated the Jewish people because they were sided with the eternal enemy of God, since they were pagans and idol worshipers and God had promised to bring mankind’s Rescuer through the Jewish nation. The people of Moab were terrified because they assumed that the children of Israel would attack them. They stirred up their king, Balak, to take preventative Continue reading
God’s Provision for Salvation
In our previous lesson, we looked at Numbers 13-14, specifically at the contrast between the children of Israel and Caleb and Joshua. The people had the chance to enter the Promised Land and, as a result of their unbelief, they are cursed to wander in the wilderness until they perish. Now, we get to Numbers 21. God is still faithful yet, the people have not changed. Some of our previous lessons are: Continue reading
Idolatry: Are you not entertained?
If you saw Russel Crowe in Gladiator back in the year 2000, you remember that line that the title of this article is from. The Romans loved to be entertained. That is our human nature. That is our sin nature. The children of Israel were no different. We are also no different today. We have a way of justifying our idols today, similarly to the way that the children of Israel justified their idols. Continue reading
Joshua: Soldier, Servant, Leader
As we celebrate Memorial Day, I would like to write about a soldier who impacted the future of a country and ultimately the world. We celebrate the brave men and women who gave up their lives to protect our freedoms and offer us a better future. Although Joshua did not give up his life on the battlefield, he did invest his life in the people of his nation, a nation that has become a blessing to the entire world. I am very appreciative to all of the people in my own family who served our great country in the military. I am grateful for my friends who currently serve in the military. The Gospel teaches us to be servants in all that we do, serving the good of the people around us and that is exactly what the men and women who serve in the military do. God bless you for your service. I salute you. I respect you because your service is similar to a hero of mine, Joshua. I would like to share some principles of his life and service, a service which brought about my freedom, many thousands of years later. Continue reading
What happens to a nation that forgets God?
We live during days that are very similar days to the days of the prophet Joel, even though many centuries separate us, our cultures are very similar. At one time during the history of the USA, there was a very healthy fear of the Lord. Children used to pray at school even if they did not come from families that were faithful to God. Many children learned how to read using the Bible as their guide. Bible stories were once the bedtime stories that children heard from their parents. Somewhere along the way, people stopped seeking fellowship with God. It did not happen overnight. It happened little by little until social/secular life became separate from spiritual life and many just completely moved away from spirituality. This discretion is a mirror image of what happened in Israel during the life of the prophet Joel. Society was falling apart then as it seems to be doing now. I would like to examine the root of the problem and see what solution God offers to right was has been made wrong by us, the people. Continue reading
Finding rest for your soul
Last night, I had the privilege of leading our youth meeting. As the young men of the youth group, we organized a special event for the girls in honor of the 8th of March, International Women’s Day. It was a fun night. One of the guys composed a poem to honor mothers. One of the praise and worship team members played a few “romantic” solos on his saxophone. The girls were surprised to receive flowers on behalf of the men of the youth group. Our special guest speaker was the Senior pastor of Good News church, Vasile Filat.
Love or Lust, does it really matter?
I went to teach two eighth grade classes today at our local public high school. I really enjoy teaching these two classes, even though it is very difficult to keep them focused. I teach them once a week during their civics class. Part of the class involves human sexuality so I was invited to teach about the Bible and human sexuality. Today, we covered the story of Amnan and Tamar. Continue reading