Saul was personally chosen by God himself to rule as king over Israel. He later rejected Saul and chose David. But we all know the story of David and Bathsheba; though once described as a man after God’s own heart, David committed adultery, engaged in a government orchestrated cover-up, and eventually resorted to murder. So why was Saul rejected but David restored? I suggest it all has to do with repentance. Continue reading
Saul of Tarsus developed quite a reputation in the world of the early Christian church, zealously hunting down those who taught and preached in the name of Christ. He was on his way to Damascus, with arrest letters from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin in hand, when he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul he became one of the most prolific church planters and writers of the first century; 14 of the 26 New Testament books are his letters (epistles) to various individuals and churches.
But here’s the rub: Do we today make too much of Paul? Does our attention become Paul-centered rather than Christ centered? Just because he wrote many epistles that become a major component of the New Testament, is everything Paul wrote the Word of God? Which is why I propose a defense of Paul to consider and respond to these criticisms. Continue reading
Moses was born during the time the Hebrews were enslaved to Egypt, and male children were being thrown into the Nile. Because Pharaoh’s daughter had found Moses floating in a basket and raised him as her own, he grew up in the house of Pharaoh. Moses became the product of two cultures; his adoptive mother immediately identified him as Hebrew and found a Hebrew women to nurse him. (Which just happened to be, if you believe in that sort of thing, his real mother.) But he was raised as a prince of Egypt. He had a crisis of identity when he saw a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, one of his own people (Ex 2:11) and he struck and killed the Egyptian. The very next day he tried to resolve a conflict between two Hebrews and was asked who appointed him as judge. “Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” The Hebrews rejected his leadership because they identified him as a member of Pharaoh’s house, and after learning of the Egyptian’s death at his hand Pharaoh sought to kill him. This is when he fled Egypt for Midian, where he laid low for the next 40 years. Continue reading
I like to build to a point, but I’m going to come right to it. Through the Bible God calls people into his service that are, for lack of a better term, screwed up. No one used by God in some great way has their act together. Consider a few examples; there are many others.
In Genesis 15:6 Abraham becomes the first person of faith. He believed God, and God counted it to him as righteousness. He is lauded in Hebrews 11 for having the faith to offer his son Isaac. But before Isaac was born he father Ishmael by the Egyptian servant Hagar. He lied twice about his wife Sarah was his sister. A role model of faithfulness, perhaps not so much for other things. Continue reading
The Old Testament nation of Israel was ruled over by only three kings, after which time 10 of the tribes broke from Judah. Sometimes Judah and Israel were at war with each other, sometimes not, and each had a long line of kings that forgot God most of the time. But for a brief period Israel expanded its borders, defeated its enemies, and had a king on the throne like all the other nations. They thought they were winners. Continue reading