The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Maturity in the Bible: Heroes & Zeroes

Putting Zion in Perspective: Dirt Is Not Divine

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

As a Christian, you might have noticed that there are a lot of Christian ministries, churches, and individuals who are associating themselves with the name Zion. You might also have noticed that a lot of modern day Christians are referring to Yahweh as the Light of Zion or the God of Zion or the something else of Zion.  So what’s with all the talk about Zion?  What exactly is Zion anyway?  Most importantly, is God a fan of our ongoing obsession with this term?  Or is this just one more misguided Christian tradition that we need to move past?  The purpose of this post is to help you get Zion in proper perspective. Read more of this post

Romans 10: Paul’s Racism, His Pride & His Beautiful Feet

113

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

The apostle Paul was an ethnic Jew.  In his day, ethnic Jews—especially Jewish men—were taught from the cradle to believe that they were far superior to everyone else.  Jews referred to non-Jews as Gentiles, and being called a Gentile was not a complimentJews liked to refer to Gentiles as uncircumcised dogs which, in their cultural context, was like a white man calling a black man a nigger today.  It’s critical that you appreciate how deeply racist the Jews in Bible times were.  You need to understand that these folks had completely blown off Yahweh’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Read more of this post

Learning from David: The Anointed Life

110

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

David was some grubby little shepherd boy and God made him the king over a prosperous kingdom.  Now there’s a nice “rags to riches” story.  No wonder we like the story of David…well, parts of it, anyhow.  What we actually know about it…which really isn’t much.  We know he wrote Psalm 23.  We know he killed Goliath [gō-LĪ-ŭth].  Some of us have a vague idea that David’s transition to king was a bit rocky, but most of us fluff that off and focus on the fact that David did finally make it to glory in the end.  After David was king, there was the whole Bathsheba [băth-SHĒ-bŭh] mess—but that got cleared up.  So David had a pretty sweet life on earth, right?  It must be nice to be one of God’s favorites.  This is what many Christians think about David, and the rumors of David’s overall cheery life persist today because we are taught to avoid reading the Old Testament for ourselves.  Once we’re not reading for ourselves, we have no way of knowing how consistently our preachers and teachers are avoiding certain passages—passages which would totally shatter the many happy rumors which surround Christendom’s favorite heroes. Read more of this post

Psalm 74: Asaph Flaunts His Contempt for Yahweh

109

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 different songs which don’t come anywhere close to being in chronological order.  Instead, as we read through the book, we find ourselves leaping forward and back by centuries between various psalms.  The collection begins with entries by David.  But when we reach Psalm 90, we find that it was written by Moses who lived and died long before David was even born.  But between David and Moses, we have Psalm 74—a psalm that was penned after the fall of Jerusalem, which occurred many centuries after David’s lifetime.  So when you’re in the book of Psalms, you need to stay sharp and be on the lookout for clues as to when the specific psalm you are reading was written.

As we’re going to learn in this post, historical context plays a huge role in determining whether a psalm writer was honoring God with his sentiments, or being a mouthy little twerp.  Today the Church teaches you that the entire book of Psalms is Divinely inspired.  In doing this, she is encouraging you to embrace soul attitudes which God says He hates and celebrate those attitudes as God-honoring.  But wait—aren’t we being a bit extreme?  Do the psalms really go so far as to model attitudes which God hates?  Yes, they certainly do, and that’s not something we should be fluffing off as no big deal.    Read more of this post

Psalm 35: Bratty David Bosses Yahweh

106

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”  This is a very important question, and how you personally answer it will greatly affect how you respond to the hardships in your life.  There are right and wrong ways to respond to trials.  The right ways will help you mature and grow closer to God.  The wrong ways will cause you to stagnate and regress.  So it becomes very important to respond the right ways, but to do that, you first need to understand what is the right answer to that famous question. Read more of this post

Psalm 90: Moses Gripes at Yahweh

100

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When you think of the psalms of the Bible, think “Jewish song lyrics,” because that is what they are.  The psalms were meant to be sung out loud, which is why you’ll find the occasional bit of musical instruction thrown in.  The ancient Jews were a very theatrical people who valued the public sharing of personal emotions.  So while you might have a hard time picturing why a guy like David would want to broadcast his personal cry for Yahweh to give him a clean heart after his rebellious stint with Bathsheba, realize that Psalm 51 wouldn’t be in the Bible today unless David chose to share that private prayer with his royal staff.  Read more of this post

Psalm 109: Learning from David’s Hatefest

99

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Psalm 109 was written by David when David was in a very angry, very hateful mood.  This is the carnal ranting of a hypocritical grudge holder.  As is typical for those wallowing in a victim mentality, David considers himself to be morally superior to the fellow who has stuck it to him.  Not only does he expect Yahweh to take his side in this matter, but he has already decided how God should handle this situation.  In this psalm, David is basically throwing a bratty tantrum and peppering Yahweh with a long list of demands.  David isn’t content to just see his enemy suffer—he is so consumed with hate that he wants to see the man’s relatives and descendants suffer as well.  Psalm 109 is a fabulous example of carnality run amuck, and to call such garbage “God breathed” is utterly absurd.  David was certainly not passing on the words of God when he wrote this hatefest.  Instead, he is grossly exaggerating his own importance by talking as if anyone who opposes him is deserving of unending suffering.  Well, no, the universe really doesn’t revolve around David, and David is totally out of line to boss Yahweh around like this.  Let’s now go through this psalm line by line and see what positive lessons we can learn from David’s terrible example. Read more of this post

Psalm 82: Asaph Wants Yahweh to Judge the Wicked

958

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

The author of Psalm 82 was Asaph, a man who also wrote Psalm 50 and Psalms 73-83.

Asaph was a Kohathite Levite who King David appointed to direct choral music in Yahweh’s House. In David’s day, the tent Tabernacle was still in use—the Temple wouldn’t be constructed until after David’s death. Asaph served under both David and David’s son King Solomon. David wanted Yahweh to have plenty of worship music, so the job of Asaph and his relatives was to compose original music and maintain a choir that would sing the songs that they wrote.

It’s important to note that all of the Psalms were written by men. Even when Yahweh is being quoted, the Psalms should not be viewed as prophetic messages from God. This is men putting words in God’s mouth, not God speaking through men, and there’s a vast difference between these two concepts. In the Psalms we find God being quoted as saying things that He simply wouldn’t say because the psalm writers get a bit too caught up in wishful thinking. Read more of this post

Judges 17-21: Anarchy in Israel

61

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

The book of Judges is jam-packed with violence and drama. It is a very dark book which emphasizes the moral depravity and social anarchy that the thirteen tribes of Israel sink into after the death of Joshua. Historically, Judges comes after the book of Joshua, which describes how Moses’ successor led Israel into the Promised Land and began the monumental task of exterminating its current residents one battle at a time. After Judges, there’s a short interruption for the novella of Ruth, and then we get into 1 Samuel in which the Israelites, tired of chaos and corruption, demand a king.

The book of Judges is named after the many judges—or, brief heroes—who rise up as temporary leaders in Israel. Gideon and Samson are two of the better known examples, and Samson is the last judge we hear about. After Samson there are five very disturbing chapters before we reach the end of the book, feeling like we need to go cleanse our minds of sordid imagery. Nonetheless, God has preserved these accounts for our edification, and we mustn’t avoid the grisly sections just because they make us uncomfortable. Read more of this post

Spiritual Maturity in the Bible: Where is it?

321

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

We shouldn’t be trying to tell God what to do. We shouldn’t be bossing Him around. We shouldn’t be instructing Him about how to run His own universe, telling Him when to forgive and help others, or trying to manipulate Him with a bunch of insincere worship. But we all do—especially when we are spiritually young, or in a state of spiritual rebellion. Read more of this post