Tuesday, October 30, 2007

 

The faithfulness of God

I think sometimes that I have believed a lie. Yes, I think sometimes that I have bought into something that isn’t true. For example, the idea that somehow my sin is too great for God to forgive, or that he may forgive me but never help me get beyond it. Or how about this one—habitual sin causes God to leave me. Or here is another one--God must hate me because of the bad things that are happening in my life.

In Leviticus 26, God is describing to the Jews how he will discipline them if they disobey his law, and the punishments listed there are hard and terrible to me. Yet, at the end of all this discussion of exile and desolation, God says, “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.”

Note the faithfulness and love of God in these verses. He will not forsake his people, no matter how horrible their disobedience or failure or sin. He will keep his covenant because it is what he does. He is the LORD, he is Yahweh, and it is his essential nature to keep his covenant. He will “remember” the promises, the covenant, he has made with us, and more importantly, he will not break that covenant.

Yes, God disciplines his children, and yes, no amount of discipline is looked on with joy (usually! see Hebrews 12:3-10). Even God's discipline, though, is only for a season. Think about any athlete you may know. Most of them practice almost fanatically while complaining about the practice itself, yet most of them still make the time to do it. Why? Practice, like any discipline, works into us habits that will (hopefully) enhance our performance under stress. The athlete who has trained (disciplined) himself well will perform well. So also the follower of Christ who has received God's discipline and instruction will exhibit the qualities of Jesus in life. It is simply true.

As Romans 10 says, “The kingdom and word of God is near you, even in your heart.” We know in our hearts that God will not abandon us, yet we cover over our sins as though somehow we may be that one exception to the rule. Proverbs 28:13 warns us against concealing our transgression, and yet that is exactly what we all try to do when conviction first hits our hearts. Why do we do that?

Thank God he is faithful and merciful! As 2 Timothy 2 reminds us--even when we are faithless, he is faithful. As Paul records elsewhere--God is faithful to complete the work he has begun.

Thank God today for how he has been faithful to you.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 12, 2007

 

What the? Genesis 6 and the "sons" of God

Recently I engaged in a conversation with some graduate students on the subject of Genesis 6:1-12. The main question revolved around the identity of the "sons" of God in the passage who evidently engaged in illicit relations with humans with disastrous results. Jewish tradition (and Christian, too) tends to view these "sons" of God as angelic beings, but the context of the passage doesn't give a clear indication. The discussion still rages in the office.

That being said, I discovered a document the other day that appears to come from one of my colleagues. It is a collection of student responses to the query above. I thought I'd share them as they are quite funny.

1. In Genesis 6:1-4 one is introduced to the "sons of God"; who went on to inhabit the daughters of men.

2. Concerning the identification of the "sons of God," one student states, "The popular views have strong weaknesses." (I guess that is better than weak strengths, huh?)

3. Still another student opines, "The offspring mentioned in Genesis 6 can still be considered men; there is no evidence that they held great supernatural powers or were half-breads." (I guess they were multigrains instead of whole wheat!)

4. Another student wrote, "The 'sons of God' were great men of God who were caught up in the daughters of men." (I'm tangled, and I can't get loose?)

5. One student asked, "Can angles take a human form?" (I'm not sure, but I thought I saw a human triangle once)

6. Another student affirmed, "Angles can not marrie or be married to." (I guess there are only single angles)

7. And last, but by far a favorite, "The second view is that the sons of God were fallen angels of some kink . . ." (No comment!)

Well, there you have it--mystery settled! I hope these made you smile, they did it for me!

Thanks for reading!

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