The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Tag Archives: INTRO Difficult Bible Passages

Understanding Jesus: Take Up Your Cross

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Sadism is a dysfunctional mindset in which a person takes delight in inflicting suffering on others.  We are all born with the necessary components to turn into vicious little sadists.  When someone wrongs you, and you secretly delight in seeing them suffer later on, you feel like your joy is justified because they wronged you first.  Among humans, it’s very common to pretend that sadism is not sadism as long as we’re calling it by the labels of revenge or justice.  But justice is supposed to be about keeping morals alive in your society so that order can be preserved.  The point of executing certain criminals is to protect society from their poisonous influence.  There are many ways of quickly executing a man so that he ceases to be a threat to others.  And yet in real life, human societies often refuse to use the most efficient methods of exterminating threats to social order.  Instead, we seem to take delight in coming up with ways to prolong the suffering of our victims as long as possible.  We also like to turn executions into public shows that everyone can watch.  In America, the absurdly complicated electric chair is just one big sadism fest.  Instead of instantly killing a man with a bullet to the brain, we film him being electrocuted to death and then we invite others to watch the whole thing live.  Or we go for lethal injection, in which we use toxic chemicals to make a body shutdown in stages.  We could just use one drug that works instantaneously, but instead we put together a ridiculously complicated cocktail of hard to get chemicals just to drag the whole show out longer. It’s sadistic, and sadism is sick.  Promoting sadism also has a very detrimental effect on human societies by encouraging citizens to celebrate and wallow in their basest instincts.  Read more of this post

Psalm 109: Learning from David’s Hatefest

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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

2 Chronicles 6-7: Why We Shouldn’t Ask God to Heal Our Land

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“…if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

Sound familiar?  This little gem could win an award for how often it is quoted in Christian circles.  Whenever the American economy takes a dip, or when our news media starts cranking out pictures of crops withering from a lack of rain, out comes good old 2 Chronicles 7:14, and a bunch of Christians start preaching that chanting these words is a surefire way to get God to give us what we want.  But is it?  Is God really talking to Americans in this passage?  Of course He’s not.  And as long as we’re pretending to care oh so much about seeking God, it would be nice if we actually listened to everything He says in this speech instead of just ripping out the one line that we find personally appealing.  Read more of this post

Understanding Moses: Identifying Soul Attitudes in Deuteronomy 8

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After leading a mob of spiritual rebels around in a barren wilderness for forty years, a very elderly Moses gives a very long speech to them shortly before he dies.  That speech is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, and in it Moses summarizes the wilderness experience, reviews Yahweh’s commands, adds some new commands, and passes on prophetic words from God that the whole nation of Israel is going to keep on wallowing in rebellion until God finally trashes her.  Deuteronomy isn’t a cheery book, but it is very educational and filled with many useful spiritual lessons.  Read more of this post

Trapping Jesus – Part 2: The Sadducees Ask About Resurrection

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This is a continuation of Trapping Jesus – Part 1: The Pharisees Ask About Taxes.

After their frienemies, the Pharisees, failed to trap Jesus with a political question about Jews paying Roman taxes, the Sadducees decide to take a more sophisticated approach.  Quite confident that they can outperform the bungling Pharisees, the Sadducees sidle up to Jesus a short while later with a perfect theological stumper.  As was typical for Jewish commoners, Jesus has bought into the Pharisees’ ridiculous notion of a resurrection.  What kind of dingdong believes in an afterlife?  The Sadducees are quite convinced that there is nothing beyond death.  After all, they pride themselves in being experts on the Torah—which they say are the only valid Scriptures—and the Torah certainly doesn’t support any guff about rising from the dead.  So since Jesus has so foolishly allowed His theology to become corrupted by those ridiculous Pharisees, He’s sure to find Himself embarrassingly stumped by the “what if” scenario the Sadducees have cooked up.  Read more of this post

Trapping Jesus – Part 1: The Pharisees Ask About Taxes

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From the perspective of Israel’s leaders, that miracle working Bum from Galilee is a royal pain in the neck.  Jesus is His Name, and when He’s not winning more fans with His miraculous feats, He’s telling snarky parables which are so obviously meant to rip all over Israel’s spiritual leaders.  Where is His respect?  He clearly doesn’t have any.  Unlike the poor folk who accept their place as spiritually inferior to the pompous Pharisees, Jesus seems to think that He—the uneducated son of a carpenter—is more qualified to teach about Yahweh then the men who have been extensively trained in the sacred Scriptures.  How very galling.  The Pharisees are fed up with hearing Jesus constantly exalt Himself as having some special calling from Yahweh.  If Jesus really thinks He qualifies as Israel’s Messiah, He has apples for brains. When it comes time to throw off the shackles of Rome, the Pharisees want a Messiah who will dance to their tune—not some unpredictable Know-It-All who might drive them out of their current positions of power. Read more of this post

Psalm 137: Dashing Infants & Disparaging Yahweh

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Short, disturbing, and highly prized by God haters, Psalm 137 should be considered a must read for serious Christians.  Why?  Because it will force you to rethink this ridiculous theory that God is the One doing the talking in the book of Psalms as well as the absurd notion that the Bible is “inerrant, infallible and Divinely inspired.”  If we’re going to say that God is the One inspiring Psalm 137, then we’d be forced to conclude that God is commanding us to care more about the earthly city of Jerusalem than we do about Him.  Does this sound right to you?  Hopefully not.

Hopefully you know better than to think that God wants you to partake in this idolatrous obsession with some political nation.  But with the Church obsessing over all things Jewish, it can be easy to start losing your grip on the fact that God doesn’t give a hoot what ethnicity our earthsuits are.  It’s our souls that God cares about—and it’s our soul response to Him that we are judged by.  Is Psalm 137 going to help you embrace spiritual priorities and attitudes that are pleasing to God?  Not hardly.  God says we ought to treat others as we want to be treated.  God says we ought to be generous with the mercy and stay away from trying to get revenge.  Well, the fellow who wrote Psalm 137 has no use for what God wants.  Instead, he’s all about wallowing in hate and an idolatrous obsession with some irrelevant patch of dirt.  Such is the way with the biblical authors—immaturity abounds (see Spiritual Maturity in the Bible: Where is it?). Read more of this post

Romans 6: Paul Baptizes Christians Into Despair

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The New Testament epistle of Romans was written by the apostle Paul to believers in Rome.  The audience he’s talking to is a mix of Jews and Gentiles, and he rotates which group he’s speaking to as he moves through this letter. Sometimes he speaks of general concepts which both Jews and Gentiles would grasp, but most of the time he speaks of concepts which only followers of Judaism would understand, such as all of his talk about sin coming through Adam that we dealt with in our study of Romans 5 (see Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh).  Realize that the whole Adam and Eve thing originated from the Torah.  It was a part of Judaism, and Judaism is just one of many religions that are being adhered to in the Roman Empire of Paul’s day.  Every religion has its own explanation of how the world came to be, and such creation accounts vary widely.  This means that a Gentile who comes to Christianity with no background in Judaism isn’t going to know the Jewish Scriptures, nor will he be familiar with the many quotations from those Scriptures that Paul peppers his letters with. So whenever you find Paul quoting Scripture or referring to Old Testament characters like Noah, Abraham, and Adam, realize that in his mind, he’s addressing folks who are familiar with Judaism.  And because Paul believes that his own ethnic group is far superior to all others (see Romans 11), often it is only ethnic Jews who he’s talking to, and we can tell that by how exclusive his language becomes.  Read more of this post

Applying the Ten Commandments: Guidance for Christians

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Christians have a bizarre tradition of clinging to the Ten Commandments as if they are the only commandments Yahweh ever gave.  Then we pretend that God was talking to us when He gave these commands—which He wasn’t—and we go on to preach that God is still demanding that Christians obey all of these commands today.  Well, this is an epic misunderstanding, for do you know what would happen to you if you really put heart and soul into obeying the Ten Commandments to the letter?  You’d end up in Hell.  Why?  Because you’d refuse to worship Jesus or the Holy Spirit as the Almighty Gods that They are.  Do you want to end up in Hell?  Of course you don’t, and that means it’s time to take off the blinders and give some serious thought as to which of these commands are still applicable under the New Covenant. 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