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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Consecration before Conquerring

As I prepare for service on Sunday I remind us of the great promises God has made to Israel regarding the promised land. We have looked back into Genesis at several of the texts describing the land and speaking as though it is already the nation of Israels. We know that generation one was fearful and was punished to 40 years of wandering. We also know that generation two was faithful and trusted God. We can contrast the difference in many ways but in chapter three and four we see a three fold breakdown. I phrase it like this, faith in word, faith in action, and faith in witness. These three things go hand in hand and as scripture says faith without deeds is like a body without a soul, dead. Take some time and look over these two chapters before service and it'll make even more sense.
Oh yeah and if you study out the Jordan you may be disappointed in the pictures you see. It is estimated that it flows at only 2% of its original volume. There has been a considerable amount of diverting for domestic and agricultural needs that leaves the water running low. In fact the dead sea, its end destination, has lost 1/3 of its historic area, and loses about a meter a year. In Joshua's day it would have been around 100 feet wide around Jericho, and as it mentions it was in flood stage leaving Israel with about a mile width to cross the Jordan. Happy studying and see some of you on Sunday. For those that read and don't attend watch for sermons online coming soon. thanks

Monday, January 23, 2012

How strong is your faith?

It's been a while since I have posted and have many changes coming. As we get settled in we are teaching through the book of Joshua. We will begin to put extra info for deeper study on this blog from our morning worship services.
We will also have a forum for questions that you would like to see answered and common questions I get. Should be fun, so submit your questions and maybe we'll see yours here!

We are in the second chapter of Joshua and just want to make a couple of points. Rahab is mentioned three times in the N.T. and one of those times is found in the genealogy in Matthew chapter one. She meets the spies sent secretly by Joshua, although they were found out, and negotiates here safety with them when they return. She acknowledges the God of Israel and in Hebrews her faith is accounted as righteousness. Here are a few of the questions that would be well worth your additional study.
  1. Is it ok to lie if it is for a good reason, like saving two spies lives?
  2. We know that Rahab faced the same consequences as all Jericho, so why did God choose her?
  3. When Rahab was questioned by the guards, she responded, "yes, the men came to me," which indited her to knowing these men and confirmed that the kings report was accurate and precise. Why is this significant?
  4. When the spies tell Rahab to hang a scarlet cord, thread, in her window what similarities do we see from the death angel in Egypt during passover? Also the parting of the sea and the parting of the Jordan coming up in the next couple chapters. 
That should be enough for now, and I will help you out with the first one. Deceit and lying is an abomination to the Lord. there are no "qualifiers" or "exceptions" we see in scripture. (proverbs is full of supporting scripture.) We are also in the process of becoming more Christ like and in order to do that we are to take on His characteristics. According to Titus 1:2 God cannot lie and therefore we shouldn't either. Do you believe God is sovern and can control the outcome regardless of our actions? I do to and for that reason Rahabs deceit and lies are sinful. The focus and reason she is mentioned in Hebrews 11 is for her faith. Part of that reason is because there was a law code of Hammurabi that specifically addressed a harlot hiding people without reporting them to the palace. They were to be put to death. Also look at all the examples of those in scripture who have lied or deceived. We may be able to understand why someone would lie to save these two lives, but that does not make it acceptable before a Holy God who is already in control. Keep digging and you'll find out even more. In the mean time lets trust God to move us through each day and rely on Him not on our own devices.
Catch ya soon.