The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Bible Lessons for Prophets

Understanding 1 Kings 13: Why Yahweh Fed His Prophet to a Lion

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If you record the phrase, “Always check with God before you accept a message as being from Him,” and then play that recording out loud on a continual loop, you’ll get a good sense of what we teach you in our material.  God is the Supreme Authority.  God is the One you’re supposed to be serving, obeying, and following, not humans. Humans lie—both intentionally and unintentionally. Humans don’t begin to have a complete grasp of truth.  Humans are very limited, foolish creatures who possess no spiritual wisdom of their own.  This means that when a human says to you “I have a message from God for you,” your immediate response should be to say to God in the privacy of your own soul, “Hey, God, this person is claiming to have a message from You.  Are they legit or not?”  You always need to ask God.  Always, always, always.  It doesn’t matter if the person talking has given you 1,000 messages before that were all legitimate.  For all you know, their next message could be pure hooey.  Humans will never be reliable sources of truth, which is why giving them your blind trust is guaranteed to lead you spiritually astray.  So no matter who is talking, no matter what titles they’re using, what degrees they’re waving, or how nice their website looks, you must check with God.  Read more of this post

A Mouthy Messiah: Why the Jews in Nazareth Tried to Kill Jesus

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In Luke 4, we find an interesting sequence of events. Jesus stands up in a synagogue, reads a portion of Isaiah 61, and when He sits down, everyone’s staring at Him like He just said something shocking.  What’s that about?

Well, first realize that there wasn’t an “Isaiah 61” to the Jews because their Scriptures weren’t divided into chapters.  Isaiah’s entire book would have been one long scroll for them.  Chapters were not added to the Bible until the 13th century A.D., and verses were then added in the mid-16th century.  All of the stuff you read about in the New Testament happened during the 1st century.

Now even though there weren’t chapters, Isaiah’s book is a series of visions and speeches which are stand alone thoughts.  To understand the context of a single verse, you need to find the start of the speech that it’s a part of, and read the whole speech.  Chapter headings can actually get in the way because they make you feel like a new speech is starting when sometimes the chapter break happens in the middle of the speech.  Either way, in the case of Jesus, He didn’t come anywhere close to reading a whole speech.  He just read a few lines from the middle of a long speech.  He really wasn’t modeling a good use of context—but then again, that wasn’t His purpose.  Read more of this post

Ezekiel 13-14: Yahweh Condemns False Prophets

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In Ezekiel 13-14 we find a very intense speech from Yahweh which gives us some fabulous insights into how He views false prophets.  Since most of the prophets you come across in the Church today are complete phonies, this passage of Scripture is very relevant to you.  It’s very dangerous business to go around speaking messages for God which He hasn’t authorized you to speak.  Even when you’re spreading sunshine and cheer by promising everyone that brighter days are coming, you are personally heading towards some very dark days if you’re speaking without God’s Authorization.  God’s Name isn’t some toy that we get to play with.  When referring to Him is just some clever marketing strategy we’re using in order to boost sales and gather customers, we’re getting in line for some very nasty discipline.  When you’re messing with God, you’re messing with the Originator of concepts like vengeance and wrath.  You’re dealing with the Creator of both Heaven and Hell—a Being who has no qualms about torturing you forever if you get too attitudinal with Him.  Given the fact that God controls your quality of life, your location, and your capacity for suffering, how stupid is it for you to intentionally provoke Him?  You can’t war against God and win.  Read more of this post

Amos 2-4: Yahweh’s Wrath in Context

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The prophet Amos lived and preached during the lifetimes of the prophets Hosea and Isaiah.  While Isaiah was hanging out in the southern part of Israel (aka Judah), Amos and Hosea were in the north.  Amos was a shepherd, and in his short little book Yahweh prophesies disaster for eight different nations: Israel, Judah, and their surrounding neighbors.  It’s bad news in the book of Amos, and in Chapter 2, Yahweh stops talking about neighboring kingdoms and focuses in on His chosen people.  As usual, they’re wallowing in spiritual rebellion. Read more of this post

The Prophetic Books of the Bible: Who’s Talking?

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When you’re taught to view every word in the Bible as falling from the lips of God, you don’t notice that a vast amount of verbiage in the Bible isn’t being spoken by God at all, but rather by human beings.  Speaking for God is an entirely different thing than speaking about God.  Once God Himself confirms to your soul that a prophet has spoken directly for Him, then you need to treat what was said as a direct message from God, because that’s what it was.  But if a prophet is only speaking about God, or interjecting his own thoughts in the middle of messages from God, well, that needs to be handled quite differently. Read more of this post

Understanding Yahweh: Why Moses & Aaron Were Banned From The Promised Land

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We have three glorious Gods and everything about Them is endlessly fascinating. The more we know about Them, the more we want to know. But it’s also easy to feel totally overwhelmed by Them. They are so vast, so infinitely complex. When it comes to getting even the most basic understanding of who They are, where do we start? Surely there must be some facts about Themselves that They want us to learn about sooner rather than later. If only They would give us a short list of a few characteristics which They consider to be particularly important, that would give us a great place to begin. Happily, the magnificent Yahweh does exactly this for us in the Old Testament. Read more of this post

Elijah & Ahaziah: Death from Heaven

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Whenever someone dies, we usually say things like, “He died in a car wreck last year. He was shot last month. He died of leukemia yesterday.” Yet no matter what the earthly circumstances are, there’s one succinct description that always applies: “God killed him.” At some point, God will kill every one of us. How He kills us isn’t important. What matters is why. God will either kill us because He is pleased with our service on earth and eager to bring us to a better place, or He will strike us down in anger because He is fed up. We really want to go out the first way, but most people do not. King Ahaziah of Israel was an example of God striking someone dead in anger. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 41: Meaningless Vows

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At this point, we’ve only got about 58 years left before the end of the Old Testament. Daniel has been dead for about 70 years—he died in Babylon around 92 years old before the Temple was rebuilt. It’s about 458 BC and seven years ago, King Xerxes I of Persia was assassinated by Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard. (Just when you think you can trust someone.) Artabanus then blamed crown prince Darius for killing his father, and his accusation stuck. Darius was killed, and his younger brother Artaxerxes I was put on the throne.  Artabanus then began making plans to kill Artaxerxes, but the new king was warned and he took on Artabanus in hand-to-hand combat and won. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 39: The Great Divorce

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It’s been eighteen years since 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their homeland. They were released back home by Cyrus the Great—the God-fearing king of the biggest empire the world has ever seen: the Persian Empire. Cyrus spread word throughout his entire empire that Yahweh had specifically told him to send the Jews back so they could rebuild Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus was all for the idea, and he even gave the Jews all the items that had once belonged in Yahweh’s Temple—items which were worth a lot of wealth—so that Yahweh could have His things back. Read more of this post

Jonah

Jonah

Here’s one of those characters in the Bible that models for us what NOT to do. First of all, when God calls Jonah to go and speak one simple message, he takes off in the opposite direction. Don’t miss the blatancy of his defiance. Jonah could have just sat in his house, crossed his arms and said “no.” But instead he up and leaves. He runs off to another city and hops a boat to one of the most remote places he can think of. What exactly was the point of this ridiculous behavior? Apparently Jonah thinks God will get tuckered out trying to chase him that far. Or maybe he’s hoping to get lost in the crowd. Read more of this post