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end

There’s been so much talk about the end coming – today’s the day right? – that I got to thinking about what the Bible does say about it.

Most of us know what it does not say.  It does not say when Jesus will return or when the end of all things will come.  The Bible actually makes it very clear that no one knows when – not even Jesus.  So no matter how good your prediction sounds, Bible believers know someone is most definitely a false teacher very quickly when one picks a date and tells everyone the end will happen.

The Bible does give us some information concerning signs of the end times.  I am certainly no scholar, but I do want to look at just one verse concerning this issue.  It is Matthew 24:12.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

I woke up with this particular verse repeating in my mind.  As I began to meditate on it and consider what it means, I made some practical connections for us today.

If we start with the idea that God created us to love and that people innately want to love and be loved and then read this verse, the first lesson we find is that unreciprocated love has a dangerous potential to grow cold.

In other words, as the Bible tells us, the greatest gift God gave to His people is love, and, as Jesus said, loving God and one another sums up the whole of God’s law.  Therefore, when people fail to love one another rightly that is the point at which his law is broken. So, lawlessness = lovelessness.

Obviously, lawlessness can manifest in many different ways – lying, stealing, killing, avoiding, hating, bullying, adultery, revenge, jealousy just to name a few –  but the root of all lawlessness finds its origin in lovelessness.  Jesus taught this just two chapters before he began his discourse on the end of all things.

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~Matthew 22:36-40

Paul, the greatest evangelist who ever lived, taught it to the erring, works-trusting, self-sufficient, false gospel believing church of Galatia.

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Galatians 5:14

The root of all lawlessness is lovelessness.  If men do not love God and others, they will care nothing for obeying God or man’s laws because those laws are founded upon and rooted in love for God and one another.

That brings us back to our verse – Matthew 24:12.  Because men do not love enough to obey the laws of God and man, the result of their transgression will be a diminishing of love in those they injure.  If one person is trying to love God and love his neighbors and he is continuously hated, treated poorly, cheated, robbed, slandered, etc., for doing just that, the Bible says his love is bound to begin to decrease and grow cold.  In our day and age we called it being jaded.

Therefore, the love of many will grow cold due to the lack of reciprocated love.

I have been studying the law God gave his people in Exodus in detail for many months now.  It is extensive and strict.  But Jesus comes along and says, “Love.”  All of the law can be summed up in one action: love.

If you love God, you will obey him.  Whether God says work hard at your 9-5 and provide for your family each day or he says sell everything and move to Iraq to preach the gospel, love will obey.  Whether he says pray in front of the church or pray with the stranger in front of you in line, love obeys.  No matter what the command, love obeys.  If you love your neighbor, you will treat him fairly.  Whether your neighbor is kind, hateful, old, young, black, white, successful or disabled, you will love and serve him the same.

Jesus told the most religious men of his day – the ones in charge of the synagogues and teaching the people about God – he told them this:

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. ~John 8:42

If God were your father, you would love me.  It really is that simple, folks.  Stop worrying about the end times.  STOP!  Start worrying about love.  And I do not mean love that ignores sin and fails to rebuke and admonish others.  I mean real love.  Love that is willing to be hated for the sake of justice and truth.  Love that obeys God no matter how difficult and personally dangerous it is.  Love that does not have to make excuses for why it cannot forgive and be reconciled.  Love that covers a multitude of sin.  Love that lives.  Love as the Bible defines it.

Then we will be a people whose love grows rather than a people whose love grows cold in the darkest last days of this world – whenever they may be. AMEN.

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leadership

After God promises his people the promise land and gives them the instructions on how to get there, Moses, their leader, is called back up to the mountain by God.

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” ~Exodus 24:1-11

Moses and his leaders were called up to worship the Lord.  They were instructed not to get too close to the mountain, where God’s presence was.  Their staying back speaks of the great reverence and holy fear all men are to have for God.  Moses alone was to come close to the Lord.

Moses hears from the Lord.  Moses obeys the Lord.  When we hear from the Lord, especially in an instruction, the very next action should always be to obey the Lord.

In verse 3, Moses comes back down to the people and tells them everything God had said.  Moses was up front about the requirements God gave to him and to them.  He gave the people the requirements of God before asking whether they were willing to commit to and obey them.  This is a practice many wanna be preachers seem to forget today.

Not only is Moses clear about God’s expectations before asking the people to commit, he himself is prepared before he ever speaks to the people at all.  A good leader must always hear from God, obey him, spend time in worship, and spend time alone with God before they would go to others to share God’s word with them.

In verses 3 and 8 we see the people of God agreeing wholeheartedly and unanimously to the terms of God’s agreement.  If they would but obey his rules and laws, he would bless their food, water, take away sickness, barrenness, give them long life, and annihilate all of their enemies.  Sounds like a great deal for God’s people right?!  Who wouldn’t agree to that?

After they were fully informed and wholeheartedly agreed, Moses wrote down all of the laws and rules.  This way, no changes could made, less error could occur, and everyone would be clear about what they had agreed to abide by and what the requirements actually were.

Good leaders make sure there is clarity even after speaking truth.  Writing down an agreement between parties is always a good practice when the terms are greatly important.  Much less room for error and dispute can be had once things are in writing.  Little wonder why God gave us a written Word to follow.

After Moses writes everything down, the text says he gets up early in the morning and builds an altar.  He sends men to make sacrifice on the altar and he puts half the blood on the altar and saves half in a basin.

Getting up early and giving the Lord the firstfruits of our day is a practice good leaders ought to get used to.  If God is not first for us each and every day, it is likely He will not be first any day.

After the sacrifices are made, Moses picked up the Book of the Covenant where he had just written down all of God’s expectations and he read it to the people.  He told them what God expected, he wrote it down, and then he read it to them word for word once again.  Again, they agreed (verse 7).  Finally, Moses threw the blood he had saved on all of them.  This was to remind them of their need for a sacrifice, and that they were to be living sacrifices for God as they had promised to be.  The blood covering them ratified the covenant God had made with them.

Clarity, clarity, clarity.  Good leaders always, always, always make certain that terms are clear when expectations are given and before the deal is sealed.  The blood points us to our need for Christ to be sacrificed for us, our duty to be living sacrifices, and that He himself, through his death on the cross and our being covered by His own blood ratifies the covenant God has made with us.

Lastly, after the Covenant is confirmed between God and his people, in verses 9-11, God shows up.  God reveals his presence to the leaders.  Let the same be true for us.

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wilderness1

In Exodus 23:20-33, God gives Moses and His people instructions and promises about how to obtain the land to which he was taking them.  They had already been in the wilderness for some time.  Here, they are promised a home and great blessings.  They are given a guide and a few contingencies at the front of their conquest.  Let’s consider this.

In verse 20, God promises to send a guide to go before His people.  The guide is described as an angel and his job was to bring them to the place God had prepared for them to go and to live.  Some believe this angel was the preincarnate Christ.  Regardless, they were commanded three things pertaining to this angel guide.  They were told to pay careful attention, obey his voice, and to not rebel against him.  Their failure to do these three essential things in their attitude and behavior toward this guide would result in his failure to forgive them for it.  The reason given was that God’s name was “in him.”

The promises for obedience were guidance (23:20), possession of a good land in which to live (23:23-24), blessed food, water, healing of sickness, fruitful wombs, long life (23:25-26), and victory over many kinds of different, powerful, strong enemies (23:22, 27-28).  The victory was to be a slower, more gradual take over rather than an all at once overcoming of their many enemies.  The text says, “little by little,” as they were growing in number and moving into the new land, God would drive their enemies out.

Finally, in verses 32-33, they are given one final warning against idolatry.

Here, we find not only the instructions for the success of the people searching for the promise land, but also the skeleton outline for the life of every successful Christian.

When we are called out of the wilderness and into the promised place God is preparing for us, we are given a guide.  His name is Jesus Christ and we are called to pay careful attention to Him (and Him alone), obey His voice (His sheep know His voice), and to not rebel against him.  If we fail to pay attention to Him, disobey Him, and rebel against Him those actions are indicative of refusing Christ as Our Lord.  If we refuse Christ, we forfeit the forgiveness and grace he offers and will not be pardoned for our sin. Because he is the Way as well as our guide, to refuse Him is to forfeit all of the blessings that following offers.

If, on the other hand, we do pay attention, obey, and not rebel, we are promised victory, protection, the bread and water of life, healing, fruitfulness in regeneration, and life everlasting.  Our victory, like theirs, is little by little.  All throughout this life through many toils and snares, we are moving toward the promised land of eternal life; the place He has prepared for us.  We are growing and our enemies are being eradicated little by little by God Himself on our behalf as we become sanctified thus gaining victory over sin in our own lives.   No other gods are permitted during any part of this journey.

How gracious a God we serve to give such tender care and guidance to us as we walk home through this worldly wilderness!  We are his children and he will fight for us if we but pay attention, obey him, and stop rebelling against him with our sin.  What a beautiful picture of Our Father’s mercy we have in Exodus 23.

 

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return

In Exodus 23:10-19 we find the instructions for rest and return pertaining to crops and giving back to God out of our abundance.  These laws were given to the Jews in wilderness as they waited for the promised land.  They had great significance and we are able to draw more than a few parallels today in our own experience regarding how we ought to rest and what we ought to give back to the Lord.

In verses 10-11 we find the principle of a Sabbatical year for growing.  For six years the people of God were to sow their fields, but in the seventh year they were to let the ground lay fallow.  They were not to plant, reap, or keep anything that the ground produced on its own for themselves.  They were to store up in the sixth year for two years and allow the poor and the animals eat from the field in the seventh year.

Here we have the fundamental teaching God gave from the very beginning of working six days and resting the seventh.  Verse 12 reminds us of God’s order created in Genesis 1.  The main idea that we ought to take away is that rest and refreshment is not only necessary, but commanded for all living things.  The reason for the rest is not just rest in and of itself, but the underlying idea is trust in God.  Taking one day every week and one year every seven away from our work to simply rest and trust in the provision of God is a constant reminder that our strength, our portion, our needs are never met by our actions alone.  God is the giver of all things including food, shelter, clothing, and even the ability to work to obtain those things in this life.

“Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.” ~Exodus 23:13

In verse 13 we have a command to “Pay attention.”  It is not every passage that we have the Lord stopping in the middle of his instructions and law-giving to refocus his hearers and make sure they are listening.  Therefore, what is being said here must be of utmost importance.

The imperative here is not just to pay attention, but to pay attention to God’s words.  Oh, if every believer today would heed this instruction!  Pay attention to God’s Word!  Hear him!  Listen!  And the idea to which he was pointing was not only to pay attention to His words, but to ignore and avoid all other gods.  The people of God were not even permitted to speak of the ways and wants of foreign gods.  So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.  Consider that.  I will say it again so it sinks in for us all.

 So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.

Why does God do this?  It is because other gods – idols – be they material, relational, or otherwise, are exactly what are going to cause these guys, you, and I to disobey God in these instructions on rest and return.  Instead of resting as God commands here (and elsewhere) and being content with his provision, idols will cause us to work nonstop, keep all we produce for ourselves, never rest, never let our workers or animals rest, never let our fields rest, not give to the poor, and not give back or to the God who gave us all these things to us in the first place.  It is the driving ambition to serve other gods and make idols out of what our hands have made that prevent the rest and peace that God commands here.  Little wonder why he tells His people to pay attention to this.

In verses 14-17, God commands a return three times a year.  The men were to come before him and bring a portion back to Him.  Three times were set aside in the calendar year for feasts.  One was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the Feast of Harvest/Feast of Weeks, and the last was the Feast of Ingathering/Feast of Tabernacles.  The significance of these festivals is worthy of noting.

With the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the people of God were to remember their deliverance out of Egypt.  It was celebrated in the month of Abib – when they came out of slavery by God’s mighty hand and the unleavened bread pointed to the provision of bread which rained down from heaven for them.

No one was to come to this feast empty-handed.  This feast began the day after Pentecost, or Shavuot. Christians know Pentecost where the Spirit was given but in the Old Testament the Jews knew this holiday as the Feast of Weeks – a time of harvest and firstfruits. There is an unmistakable correlation between these Old Testament practices and the New Testament spiritual realities.  If Jesus death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s subsequent work at Pentecost was the first fruits, we would expect what follows to be something that would point back to the deliverance that made those things possible.  That something is the preaching of the gospel.  The preaching of the gospel is what followed the first fruits of Pentecost.  The preaching of the gospel points us always and ever back to the cross – our deliverance out of slavery and bondage to sin.  And, just as no one could come to the Feast of Unleavened Bread empty-handed, no one can come to the true bread from heaven – Jesus Christ – without giving their very life to Him.

Secondly, God instituted the Feast of Weeks.  This was the feast at harvest time.  This was when they brought the first fruits of what they had sown to the House of God.  Just as they were to bring the first and the best of what they obtained from the earth and of their labor, we are to do the same.  God never allowed his people to keep all they had for themselves.  We are to rest, give back to Him and to others, and, in so doing we ought to remember who the Giver is and be thankful.

Lastly, the people were to gather at what was called the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Booths, or, here the Feast of Ingathering.  This gathering was at the year’s end and they were commanded to live in temporary structures during this week’s time.  It was to remind them that though they produced much and were at the end of the abundance for the year, everything given to them here on earth is temporary.  The idea was that they were not to keep back the last portion all for themselves out of fear or worry about the months ahead with no return, and that what was given could not be held forever.  God himself is the sustainer of all things including us and our very lives.  This was also a time of the reading of the law.  It is when we are most blessed that we are most likely to forget God and his requirements.

Lastly, the people of God were instructed once again on the kind of bread and the kind of sacrifice they were to offer.  This reminds us that we cannot worship God any way we want.  There was a specific kind of bread and a specific way to offer their sacrifice.  It is Jesus Christ alone whom we must bring to the altar with us and we must offer ourselves in the way in which he commands.

The very last instruction here is found in verse 19.  The people were told not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.  This was a superstition from a pagan religion of the day that said if one did this and sprinkled the milk over the fields, they would produce a better harvest the following year.  God’s people were to have nothing to do with superstition, false religion, idol worship, or pagan practices.  The principle is still true for us today.

Pay attention to these things.  Rest, remember God, and return the best of what he has given you.  Amen.

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socialjustice

In Exodus 22 and 23 we find God’s words about what social justice looks like.  He adds detail to many of the 10 commandments here.  We begin in Exodus 22:16.

Verses 16-17 pertain to the fifth and seventh commands.  God’s law states here that any man who seduces a woman had better be ready to take that woman for his wife.  He was required to pay bride price to her father and marry her if he did such a thing.  If the father forbid the marriage, he was still required to pay the bride price without receiving her.

This law indicates several things.  Firstly, we find that the Lord is concerned with men who take advantage of young, vulnerable girls.  There was never, ever a time in history where God approved of a man coercing a young girl to have sex, using her for his pleasure, and discarding her.

Secondly, we find that it must always remain up to the parents to give the blessing for marriage to their children.  Even in such a poor circumstance where a girl has been exploited for her naivety or the marriage has been prematurely consummated and a man must pay for his lustful actions with her, it is still ultimately up to her Daddy to approve of and allow the marriage.

In verse 18 the Lord warns of the acts related to sorcery.  Sorcery includes fortune telling, spirit calling, and any other occult practices.  God attaches the death penalty to any such practices.  Therefore, we would do well to consider how serious an offense and how dangerous a practice these things are for God’s people.  Matthew Henry writes of his day: “By our law, consulting, covenanting with, invocating, or employing, any evil spirit, to any intent whatsoever, and exercising any enchantment, charm, or sorcery, whereby hurt shall be done to any person whatsoever, is made felony, without benefit of clergy; also pretending to tell where good lost or stolen may be found, or the like, is an iniquity punishable by the judge, and the second offense with death.  The justice of our law herein is supported by the law of God recorded here.” 

Verse 19 speaks to the sexual practice of beastiality.  The penalty for such an actor was death.

Verse 20 is regarding sacrificial practices to other gods.  This is a breach of the 2nd command and is idolatry.  The penalty was death.

Exodus 22:21-24 and 23:9 pertain to foreigners, widows, and orphans.  If God’s people mistreated anyone in these groups, it came at the cost of a curse upon they and their own family.  Mistreatment for the poor and oppressed was punished by God himself who promised to destroy the men who would do such a thing, make their wives widows and their children fatherless.

In 22:25-27 is God’s law against extortion.  We find fairness and sympathy in lending as God’s rule.  We are called to return whatever we borrow quickly, always thinking of the lender’s generosity and need above our own.

In 22:28 we are taught not to criticize God or any governmental leaders in an angry or abusive manner.  God is sovereign over all men and therefore we must trust him rather than hating the government and blaming God for their actions whether they be wrong or right.

Exodus 22:29-30 is concerning our giving to God.  We are to give the best of everything to God first.  The firstfruits of our labor, our harvest, our children, and our possessions all belong rightfully to God.  For the people in the time of Exodus this meant the first of their crops, the firstborn child, and the best animals were to be given to God first – without delay.  This passage is particularly convicting because it reveals how little we actually give back to God.  Do I give the best of my time, my money, my children – all that I have been given – back to God?  That’s a great consideration to make in our day and age (as all of these Old Testament laws are.)  Let us not delay or hold our best back from the Giver of all.  Matthew Henry says this: “Let not young people delay to offer to God the firstfruits of their time and strength, lest their delays come, at last, to be denials, through the deceitfulness of sin, and the more convenient season they promise themselves never arrive.”

Verse 31 of chapter 22 pertains to meat that still had the life blood in it.  Jews were not permitted to eat such meat.

Exodus 23:1-3 and 6-8 speak of justice toward our neighbor.  If everyone is agreeing about a person whom we know we must stand against the majority and speak rightly.  Condemning or darkening an innocent man when we know the truth is an affront to God.  Likewise, failing to do justice to a guilty man on the basis of his poverty is just as bad.  No one is to take a bribe.  Bribes corrupt justice from the inside out.

“Bearing false witness against a man, in a matter that touches his life, has in it all the guilt of lying, perjury, malice, theft, murder, with the additional stains of coloring all with a pretense of justice and involving many others in the same guilt.  There is scarcely one act of wickedness that a man can possibly be guilty of which has in it a greater complication of villainies than this has.  Yet the former part of this caution is to be extended, not only to judicial proceedings, but to common conversation; so that slandering and backbiting are a species of false witness-bearing…he who raises, or knowingly spreads a false report against his neighbor, especially if the report be made to wise and good men whose esteem one would desire to enjoy, sins as much against the laws of truth, justice, and charity, as a false witness does – with this further mischief, that he leaves it not in the power of the person injured to obtain redress.” Matthew Henry

Finally, in 23:4-5 we find that we must show mercy even to those who hate and abuse us and help them if they are found in need.

“If we bring back our neighbor’s cattle when they go astray, much more must we endeavour, by prudent admonitions and instruction, to bring back our neighbor’s themselves, when they go astray in any sinful path.  And if we must endeavour to help up a fallen ass, much more should we endeavour by comforts and encouragements, to help up a sinking spirit, saying to those that are of a fearful heart, be strong.  We must seek the relief and welfare of others as our own.” Matthew Henry

 

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restitution

In Exodus 21:33-22:15 God elaborates on the eighth commandment: You shall not steal.  Most of the laws written here pertain to animals because when they were given, animals were the sum total of a man’s wealth.

In verses 33-36 of chapter 21 and verses 6-15 of chapter 22, the Lord gives instruction on what justice looks like in cases of accidental death of animals belonging to others caused by negligence on your part.  The Lord makes clear that we are always responsible to repay the owner from whom our negligence or carelessness has taken something valuable.  Accidental or not, the owner no longer has his possession and therefore someone must be held responsible for avoidable accidents or injuries.  God is just and he not only cares about our losses, he expects us to care about others’ losses – especially if we are at fault.

In chapter 22:1-5 the Lord deals with overt stealing of another’s property.  Depending on the value of the thing taken, a man was required to pay back two, four, or even five times what the value was.  If he was caught and killed in the act, no punishment was given for the thieve’s life.  Still, if the thief was sought out after the fact and killed later, that murder would be punishable because we are not to avenge ourselves.

The whole idea here is that we ought to consider others’ belongings with great respect and make every attempt to protect and avoid damage to them.  If we will not do that, we will make ourselves guilty of breaking the eighth command even if we are not stealing from them intentionally.  Furthermore, if we would break the eighth command and steal from our neighbors, we will be required to pay back many times what we took.

“We should be more careful not to do wrong than not to suffer wrong, because to suffer wrong is only an affliction, but to do wrong is a sin, and sin is always worse than affliction…It will make us very careful of ourselves if we consider that we are accountable, not only for the hurt we do, but for the hurt we occassion though inadvertently.”  ~Matthew Henry

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defend

In Exodus 21:12-32, we have more laws concerning slaves, and, more generally, laws given to authorities in regards to those called to submit under them.

In verses 12-14 and 18-28 we find the Lord elaborating on the sixth commandment that he had just given: You shall not murder.  It is not enough that we might not kill others, but the manner in which death or injury occurs – if it is by our hands – is also a matter of great consideration.  We know this is true even in our court system today.  Trials are set to determine how, why, and in what manner injury or death occurred and punishment is then aptly dealt to the offender.

In verses 12-14 and 20-21 we have a distinction made between getting into a fight and causing death vs. premeditated murder.  Because the first action is considered accidental, that offender was to be given a place of refuge – exile, but refuge.  Because the second action is purposeful and premeditated, that offender was to be executed.  If, however, there is a fight and a man injures another without causing his death, the offender is obligated to take care of the man he injured until he is well by paying all his lost wages.  If the injured party is a slave, in the first case the master is not to be avenged because the loss of his slave is financial punishment enough for the master who injured him.  If, in the second case it was a slave, the master shall be avenged for the murder of his slave.

Verses 26-27 instruct that if a slave loses an eye or a tooth, he shall go free.  God cares about those under authority and he makes provision for them in their distress.

Verses 15-17 make clear that anyone who abused or cursed his own parents was to be put to death.  Death!  God is extremely serious about the respectfulness and obedience  – or lack thereof – of children.  We parents ought to spend time considering this portion of the law as it pertains to us and to the fifth commandment.  Our children’s lives depend greatly upon our instruction and discipline to them as children.

In verse 16, God forbids kidnapping or person stealing of any sort.  Both the kidnapper and the one who buys or receives the stolen person was to be put to death.

Verses 22-25 give instruction on the murder and injury of unborn babies.  Even if the death is accidental, the penalty for killing an unborn child was death.  Or, whatever injury that unborn child sustained was to be done to the offender.  God is serious about injury and death caused to unborn babies and he always has been!  This should make us think very carefully about how precious and special unborn lives are in the eyes of God.  He punishes anyone who would injure unborn children – even accidentally – and whatever a person does to that baby ought to be done to the offender.

This is a law we still see practiced in our day.  Have you ever wondered why it is considered murder to kill an unborn child when a pregnant woman is attacked or injured, but it is considered a choice when she injures or kills that baby herself?  God makes no distinction.  Those who injure and murder unborn babies will be held accountable either in this life or the next.

Finally, in verses 28-32 God gave laws concerning attacks by animals over which men had ownership.  As it is today, the owner is responsible for their own animal and if it attacks a person, that owner will be held responsible.  The first time your animal kills, the animal is to be put to death.  If you fail to put your animal to death and it kills a second time, you and the animal are to be put to death or pay a heavy ransom for your life.

In these details of his overarching law, God imparted wisdom to the very real issues men were sure to face.  By these laws, we are able to recognize the character to f our God, both his justice and his mercy.  God is not partial to the master over the slave.  He is not partial to the man over the unborn baby.  He is not partial to the animal over the human.  God is not partial, period.  God is just in every situation where human beings of any social status, age, or condition are injured or killed.  He is always merciful to the one who is injured and calls always their abuses to account and make restitution.  We would all do well to consider these things.  For in so doing, we learn Our God’s heart, his concern, his compassion, and his wrath when human beings are injured – whether purposefully or accidentally.

 

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