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Competing Voices

What should have been an overwhelming victory became a terrible tragedy. God’s command to king Saul was simple—“utterly destroy” the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:1-3)—but he did not heed the voice of the Lord (1 Sam. 15:1; 19-20; 22). Instead, he listened to his own voice (1 Sam. 15:17), and that of the people (1 Sam. 15:24). He left king Agag alive, along with other spoils of war, which he claimed were to be sacrificed to the Lord (1 Sam. 15:8-9;…

Crucify the Flesh!

In Galatians 5:24, Paul wrote, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Have you ever considered the intensity of what he wrote? We are to “crucify” the flesh. Not pound, beat, or smash, but CRUCIFY! Why did Paul use this language? Paul said “crucify” because we must think about the cross. The crucifixion was a strategic effort to silence, discredit and eradicate Jesus. He was nailed to a cross and left to writhe…

Jesus, Our Way to a Better Life

The goal of our generation is to live “the good life.” This dream is not new, it has been the desire of every age and every walk of life. People search all over for what is good, but we must realize that Jesus is the only way to a good life (John 14:6). Jesus Corrects Our Misconceptions: Most people think of the “good life” in terms of material prosperity, physical pleasure, and popularity. They believe that these things will bring…

My Servant will Speak and Save (Isaiah 49:1-13)

It has been well said that Israel left Egypt, but Egypt never left Israel. Perhaps the same could be said regarding Babylon. Though Israel would ultimately leave Babylon and return home to Jerusalem, their real need was to return to the Lord (Isa. 49:22). This need sets the stage generally for Isaiah 49-55 and specifically for the second Servant Song, found in Isaiah 49:1- 13. In two sections Jehovah reveals the cause (1- 6) and result (7-13) of the Servant’s…

The Mysteries of God

In Matthew 13:10-11, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” and He answered, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” The Greek word used for “mysteries” refers to something that was once kept secret, but now is open knowledge (Rom. 16:25-27). Therefore, what are these mysteries that were once hidden, but now have been revealed? The Mystery of…

The Value of a Good Reputation

Solomon said, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Pro. 22:1). We all have a reputation of some kind and everyone has an opinion of us. It is true that we cannot control what people think, but we can control the impression we give them by the way we act. Scripture implores us to recognize the value of a good reputation. We should recognize that our reputation will not…

Following the Lord Fully

In the Old Testament, one of the more well-known accounts of history is the twelve spies of Israel (Num. 13-14). After spending 40 days spying out the land, it was only Joshua and Caleb that had confidence in the Lord (Num. 14:7-9). As a result, they were spared from God’s wrath (Num. 14:38), and the Scripture makes this statement concerning Caleb: “My servant Caleb… he has followed Me fully…” (Num. 14:24). This statement is made time and again about him…

Is My Word Not Like Fire?

Throughout the Old Testament, we learn that God’s people were continually departing from Him, and one of the major reasons were the false prophets. Therefore, God commanded them to preach His word because it is like fire (Jeremiah 23:29). Let us consider the ways in it is like fire, and what it can do in our lives. God’s word is like fire because it gives light. Just as light helps to see in the darkness and gives direction, God’s word…

My Servant will Succeed!

“Comfort, yes comfort My people…’ (Isa. 40:1). In the latter years of his life, the future of Israel surely weighted heavily on Isaiah’s mind. Despite his inspired warnings, the prophet knew that Jerusalem would surely be destroyed and her people taken into Babylon. Yet, he could also see something far better on the horizon. Four Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42-53 which were designed to give hope to Israel. Aspirations of the heathen notwithstanding, Jehovah would raise up His…

Ask for the Old Paths

Even though we are no longer under the Old Testament system, it is filled with many lessons for us (Rom. 15:4). One lesson is found in the time of Jeremiah, which was a time of religious and social turmoil. The nation of Israel was being pulled in many directions, and the Lord wanted to offer them rest for their souls (Jer. 6:16). Using the picture of lost travelers, the Lord called them to “ask for the old paths” (Jer. 6:16).…

Praying for Sodom

We live in a wicked world. Being surrounded by such wickedness is often exhausting and we struggle to know how to react (cf. 1 John 5:19). Sometimes we cry out like Habakkuk, asking God how long He will allow such sinfulness to go on (Hab. 1). Sometimes we search for answers like Asaph, trying to make sense of the battle between good and evil (Ps. 78). There are any number of understandable reactions to the wickedness of this world, but…

The Excuses of Moses

When God appeared to Moses, He called him to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Yet, Moses gave excuses, and God’s responded to them. In a similar way, we have received a special calling to go to the world to deliver those in the bondage of sin (Mk. 16:15; 1 Pet. 2:9). Yet, too often, we behave like Moses, making excuses for what we are called to do. Who am I? (Ex. 3:11-12). Whatever the reason that…