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Jonah — Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 3)

As an historical person,  Jonah receives a clear, definitive call from the Lord to go on a short-term missions trip.  God’s message was straightforward:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

There is a world of difference between “preaching to” and “preaching against.”  Preaching to implies communication, perhaps discussion, maybe even rational conversation.  Preaching against suggests condemnation, judgment, delivering a verdict.  The one kind of preaching might produce friends; the other kind certainly suggests opposition.

God is thoroughly aware of man’s wickedness.  He pays attention to His creation.  He is grieved by man-made-in-His-image violating His standards.  To “preach against” Nineveh’s wickedness seems one step shy of full judgment and annihilation.  Although Jonah’s message was only a few words, the fact that God is talking to them instead of simply wiping them out suggests the possibility of escape from His holy wrath.

Where might we “preach against” our culture today?  How do we become “a friend of sinners” like Jesus was and yet communicate His wrath against man’s wickedness? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 106)

Psalm 106

Praise the Lord.screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-7-28-50-am

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
    or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
    who always do what is right.

Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people,
    come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may share in the joy of your nation
    and join your inheritance in giving praise.

We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
    we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
When our ancestors were in Egypt,
    they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
    and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
    to make his mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
    he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
    from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
    and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
    in the wilderness they put God to the test.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
    but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
    and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
    it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed among their followers;
    a flame consumed the wicked.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
    and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
    for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
    to keep his wrath from destroying them.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
    they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
    and did not obey the Lord.
26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 make their descendants fall among the nations
    and scatter them throughout the lands.

28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
    and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was checked.
31 This was credited to him as righteousness
    for endless generations to come.
32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord,
    and trouble came to Moses because of them;
33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
    and rash words came from Moses’ lips.

34 They did not destroy the peoples
    as the Lord had commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
    and adopted their customs.
36 They worshiped their idols,
    which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
    and their daughters to false gods.
38 They shed innocent blood,
    the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
    and the land was desecrated by their blood.
39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
    by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

40 Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
    and abhorred his inheritance.
41 He gave them into the hands of the nations,
    and their foes ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them
    and subjected them to their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
    and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
    when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
    and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
    to show them mercy.

47 Save us, Lord our God,
    and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.

48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the Lord.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in God's anger, sin

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 53)

Psalm 53

For the director of music. According to mahalath. A maskil of David.

1 The fool says in his heart,Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 7.12.08 AM
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in atheism

 

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The Joy of Unit-Reading #49 (the Book of Hosea)

There is so much in the Word of God that I don’t understand.  In unit-reading through Hosea, I am deeply impressed with God’s love for His people — but also with His hatred of their sins and idolatry.  Here are my notes:

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.11.07 AM

My takeaway from this reading: The Lord is One who can tear His people to pieces that they might return to Him. I dare not ignore His power to do what He needs to do to bring me back to Himself!

My prayer: “Lord, there is much I don’t understand about this book of Hosea. But thank You for Your abiding love — and the discipline You use in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in unit-reading

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 88)

Psalm 88

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 5.25.30 AMthe director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.[b] A maskil[c] of Heman the Ezrahite.

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
    day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
    turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
    and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
    who are cut off from your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
    you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d]
You have taken from me my closest friends
    and have made me repulsive to them.Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 5.27.28 AM
I am confined and cannot escape;
    my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, Lord, every day;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
    Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
    your faithfulness in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
    or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help, Lord;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, Lord, do you reject me
    and hide your face from me?

15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
    I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
    they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 76)

Psalm 76

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.19.56 AMA psalm of Asaph. A song.

God is renowned in Judah;
    in Israel his name is great.
His tent is in Salem,
    his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
    the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.[b]

You are radiant with light,
    more majestic than mountains rich with game.
The valiant lie plundered,
    they sleep their last sleep;
not one of the warriors
    can lift his hands.
At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
    both horse and chariot lie still.

It is you alone who are to be feared.
    Who can stand before you when you are angry?
From heaven you pronounced judgment,
    and the land feared and was quiet—
when you, God, rose up to judge,
    to save all the afflicted of the land.

This is the fear the wicked ought to have before God!

This is the fear the wicked ought to have before God!

10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise,
    and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.[c]

11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them;
    let all the neighboring lands
    bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
    he is feared by the kings of the earth.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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