In Judges 17, we come across a young man named Micah. Micah’s name means, “Who is like God”. But Micah isn’t much like God. He steals silver from his mother and then when he ‘fesses up, his mother dedicates some of the silver for Micah to make into two idols. Micah hires out a Levite to be a father-figure and priest for his private shrine. He is convinced that God is pleased and will prosper him for having a Levite for a priest.
But is it?
Two things emerge as noteworthy.
1. A “man of God” allows himself to be bought to aid in someone’s sin.
2. A “believer” feels that God will bless him in his sin because he has a good luck charm in having a “man of God” assisting him.
A few questions:
What would cause a “man of God” to compromise his integrity and his calling? Perhaps he was burned out from the work of ministry. Perhaps he had been terminated from his previous position. Regardless, here was a man who needed work and Micah offered him a regular paycheck.
How could someone knowingly run headlong into sin, expecting God’s blessing?
In answering both of these questions, let me just say that it happens every day in the Twenty-first Century for the same reasons. As Solomon wisely said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
People see their vocation simply as an occupation rather than a calling. Since it’s merely a means to the end of putting food on the table, they don’t see anything wrong with using their God-given abilities to make a quick buck. The sad thing is that it is worse when the vocation is “ministry”.
As a case in point, in my lifetime we have seen an agenda emerge from a minority group in our society. We were told that 10% of our population is “gay”. Because we bought this lie, we were told that we needed to tolerate their existence. Next we were told that we needed to accept their lifestyle as normative. Currently, we are being told that we need to endorse homosexual unions by changing the centuries-held definition of marriage and promote adoption of children by these “loving couples”. After all, we are told, orphans are better off being raised by a loving homosexual couple than a dysfunctional heterosexual couple. The implication is that there are few non-dysfunctional heterosexual couples, and that because they have had to overcome society’s intolerances, homosexual couples are more committed in their love for each other. Some of the most outspoken supporters of “gay marriage” are members of the clergy in mainline denominations like the United Methodists and Episcopalians. These denominations have been rocked by division as they have begun ordaining/endorsing clergy who live openly as homosexuals. Somehow, homosexuals expect God’s blessing by having members of the clergy assisting in their pursuits toward legitimacy of sin. Like I said, Solomon was right: nothing is new. We just change the words.
People try to manipulate God all the time in an attempt to get His blessing. They would probably deny it, but people frequently try to make deals with God. “God, I’ll go to church, read my Bible, go to the mission field, etc. if You will bail me out, answer my prayer, etc.” And how much of this deal-making actually involves an expectation of God’s blessing of sin?
According to Joshua 1:9-11, God’s blessing comes through obedience to His written Word. So how can people expect God blessing when they actively oppose what is clearly taught in the Bible?
Application: In what areas are you compromising your integrity and calling? What lies have you believed? In what ways are you attempting to make deals with God?
There is grace, forgiveness, and blessing as we submit ourselves in obedience to God. And having experienced God’s grace, forgiveness and blessing, we can — and should — extend grace and forgiveness to others who live in disobedience, helping them to line up their lives with God’s plumb line.
Did the Pentagon really order burning copies of the Bible in 2009? Why was this not major headlines in the major US media?
Here’s a great blog article that should provoke conversation about the Gainsville, FL church that plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, 9/11/10. It also links to the report about burning Bibles in Afghanistan.
I have two questions:
1) Is it possible to further enrage someone who already wants to kill you?
2) At what point will we cease to back down when we are threatened by our enemies?
Perhaps the best way to stop bullying is for someone to stand up to the bully. Unfortunately, it appears that the “someones” are either unwilling or unable to get off their hindquarters and stand up to the Muslim extremists … and to those within our own country that aid and abet our enemies with either their silence or concerns of “tolerance”. Granted, sometimes standing up to a bully will give you a black eye. But the black eye is worth protecting those who are being bullied.
Muslim extremists want to destroy our culture and replace it with their own. Their way of life (Shariah Law) and our Constitution are incompatible. They have no interest in negotiating and being “tolerant”. They believe they are right and everyone else is wrong — and everyone who is wrong is to be eliminated. I venture to say that these are not “extreme” views in Islam — they are clear teachings in the Koran. The “moderate” Muslims are the ones who are out of step with mainline Islam.
For too long, we have walked a line of not wanting to “offend” people. When will we (US and Christians) stand up and say, “We have had enough of this! We’re not going to take it anymore!” It’s time for someone to draw a line in the sand.
Now, where’s my stick?
US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) did a tremendous service to the conservative cause when she compared a woman’s right to an abortion with a man’s right to purchase Viagra. “Why are women being singled out here? It’s so unfair… We don’t tell men that if they want to … buy insurance coverage through their pharmaceutical plan for Viagra that they can’t do it.”
Senator Boxer sent a much-needed reminder to all of us that value life that, in the abortion debate, we’re not talking about the same thing. She clearly revealed that to the democrats, abortion is simply a “reproductive rights” issue. She revealed it perhaps more clearly than many in the conservative movement often do.
In the minds of conservatives “reproductive rights” has to do with choosing how many children we want to have, at what intervals, and which (if any) birth control methods we use.
Our camps are labled “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life” for a purpose. No one wants to be labeled as “Anti-Choice” or “Anti-Life”. Pro-Lifers must insist that our position is not to tell a woman how many children she can have (as they do in China). There is wisdom in limiting how many children you have but the State has no right to arbitrarily set the limit for you. So in the debate of “reproductive rights” conservatives stand for a woman’s right to make those reproductive choices.
However, those of us who value life argue that the abortion kills babies. It’s that simple. Perhaps that’s one reason why we don’t like providing legislative loopholes. For instance, an exemption for the “life of the mother” is unnecessary, since every pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk to some extent. If you start with and maintain the premise that abortion kills babies, everything in the abortion debate is affected.
And unless we define the debate accordingly, our tax dollars will be used to kill babies. Thank-you, Senator Boxer for helping us see what the debate is really about.
It’s interesting, the Left is actually admitting that the only reason Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize was because he replaced George W Bush — or at least Joan Walsh does.
I am a product of the public school system. My dad was a public school superintendent. I remember school teachers telling us that grammar is important. We must understand words people use — and the way they’re used — in order to understand what someone is saying. And what they’re not saying.
I received/endured the required English grammar training of our public school system. I also took two years of French in high school and one year in college. I was fortunate to have also studied one year of Classical Greek at UNC Chapel Hill (a secular state university). Studying classical Greek prepared me for one year of New Testament Greek. Finally, I took a year of Hebrew. One of the most fascinating classes I took in seminary combined Greek and Hebrew and looked at The New Testament Interpretation of the Old Testament — but that’s a side issue here.
Bottom line: I think I have a pretty good feel for how language works: nominals, verbals, conjunctions, and prepositions are grouped together and change their forms accordingly to express thought.
The process of breaking down a language in order to understand someone’s thoughts is called exegesis. The exegetical process is objective. Anyone with a handle of a language and its vocabulary can do it. Exegesis involves observation. Observation asks the question, “What is being said?” and as such, is objective. Interpretation on the other hand, is a different issue. When one takes the observation and asks, “What does this mean?” one has stepped outside the realm of observation and into interpretation.
One of the challenges of teaching the Bible is waiting to ask, “What does this mean?” until I have understood, “What does this say?” This is one of the reasons we have so many disagreements between denominations, cults, etc. “Everybody has their own interpretation” — but that’s a side issue here.
When Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the Peace Prize in his will, he said that it would be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
Grammar is apolitical. Properly interpreting words and their use is not affected by one’s worldview. Note, I said properly interpreting.
For a moment, let’s take Obama, Bush, political parties, and worldviews out of our minds; admittedly that may be very difficult for many of us. If we set aside our differences and simply look at Nobel’s own words, the Peace Prize was to be awarded to the person who “shall have done …” Grammatically, this is called a future perfect.
The American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com defines the future perfect as, “A verb tense that expresses action completed by a specified time in the future and that is formed in English by combining will have or shall have with a past participle.” About.com says about the French future perfect, “The French future perfect is most commonly used like the English future perfect: to describe an action that will have happened or will be finished by a specific point in the future.”
I am not a lawyer. I never studied in a law school. But I know that laws are based on the proper use of grammar. The court system issues verdicts based on words, phrases, etc. That is why our laws are so verbose; lawmakers want to make sure there are no (or few) loopholes in the law.
Again, setting aside worldviews, politics and everything else that makes us different, we must all agree that Nobel’s will has been violated. Nobel did not establish the Peace Prize in his will to be awarded to some who provided a promise (or “hope” — sorry, I couldn’t resist) of future action. It was to be awarded to someone who had completed something in the future.
When Obama’s nomination was submitted, he had been the US President for only twelve days. All of us must agree that in his first twelve days of his presidency, President Obama had not, “done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
If Barack Obama is nothing else, he is a smart man. You don’t graduate from Harvard or Yale without a great deal of mental competency. Interesting, George W Bush graduated from Yale — but that is a side issue here.
Grammatically, we must conclude that Barack Hussein Obama should not have been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. He clearly did not deserve it. As a Harvard Law School graduate, Mr. Obama must agree with these conclusions and as such, should have declined the award. That is not to say that he might qualify for it in the future; but that it yet to be seen. If someone were to sue the Nobel Prize Committee for wrongly executing Nobel’s will, they would be successful, according to the clear use of grammar.
Objective conclusion: Barack Obama did not deserve the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
He should give it back.
Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize less than 9 months into his presidency.
BHO’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize was submitted within *12 days* after his inauguration! The Prize committee’s reason: “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei said, “In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself,” He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts.”
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, designated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”
Wow, it looks like throwing your own country (and Israel) under the bus and sucking up to known terrorists qualifies you for being awarded the Prize!
That helps clarify why terrorist leader Yassir Arafat won the award in 1994.
Promise: If I’m ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — and based on my observations above, that will NEVER happen — I will decline accepting it. It’s no longer prestigious; instead, it’s meaningless.