Friday, September 22, 2017


"....Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him." (1 Kings 3:16)
Some of the most popular everyday sayings around the world came directly from the Bible - believe it or not! Here are just a very few examples out of many:
1. At my "wits end" (from Psalm 107:27)
2. "Drop in the bucket" (from Isaiah 40:15)
3. "Eat, drink and be merry" (from Ecclesiastes 8:15)
4. "Give up the ghost" (from Luke 23:46)
5. "Labor of Love" (from 1 Thessalonians 1:3)
6. "Out of the mouths of babes" (from Psalm 8:2)
7. "Salt of the earth" (from Matthew 5:13)

These are just a few of over thirty well known and universally used phrases and words. The one we are about to take a look at - 1 Kings 3:16 - gave us another popular phrase "split the baby" or if that truth is too stark, then how about "split the difference"?

Here is the story from 1 Kings 3:16-28: two prostitutes appeared before King Solomon, the wisest man in the world to have a matter judged. Both of them lived in the same house and both had a son within three days of each other. For some reason, the son of one of the women died unexpectedly.  Not wanting to accept the unfortunate, untimely death of the poor child, both women claimed the only living son now as their own. The argument went on and the matter ended up before the wise King of Israel to be resolved.

Using Godly wisdom, King Solomon came up with a plan to basically, smoke out the true mother of the only living son. He called for an attendant to get a sword and divide the baby in two and thus, "share the child"! From here, the Bible picks up the account: "26 Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” 27 Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” 

Solomon discovered many powerful truths here which are still applicable to use today, almost 3000 years later: 
1. Wisdom to discern and make proper judgment can only come from God. (Read earlier in the chapter 3)
2. Always pray (as Solomon did earlier in the chapter) for Godly direction in our lives.
3. Even in a dark, corrupt and greedy world, natural law kicks which allow the instincts of a person seeking truth, to always do the right thing.
4. A parent would sacrifice anything to protect the life of his or her child...including give up the child. We see this in many who choose to carry a child through pregnancy and give that child up through adoption rather than commit abortion.

This is an amazing account and example for us to pick up on being able to make good and wise decisions in life. Let us always strive to attain such wisdom.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


2 Samuel 3:6 "But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned."
The Bible is full of difficult verses to comprehend, even when taken in context. Sometimes we have to go back to another passage or number of chapters to find the true meaning and background behind a statement, which the Holy Spirit put in there for us to behold.

In order to understand what a great Hebrew general named  Abner meant, when he told a man named Palti to “go back home”, it is necessary to read the entire chapter of 2 Samuel 3. It is a stark reminder of the width and depth of the depravity of human sinfulness.

There are some incredible charges, counter-charges, sinful talk, double-crossing and more….in just twenty verses (2 Samuel 3:6-26 and beyond).  God had already taken away the kingdom from the disobedient King Saul and handed it to David.  In the process, Saul had promised his daughter Michal to David if he killed and did some despicable things to Philistine men, which David did. Then jealousy got the best of Saul and he tried for 13 years to kill the Lord’s next appointed King – David, who was now on the run all across the land of Israel.

In the meantime, Saul’s daughter becomes a bigamist and marries another man named Palti. This was too much for Abner a great warrior general, who, while loyal to Saul as King, was also tuned in to the fact that the real Commander in Chief – God – had deposed Saul and replaced him with David. Except Saul would not cooperate.  To get back at Abner, one of Saul’s wicked sons Ishbosheth accused Abner of sleeping with one of Saul’s many women (outside of his marriage) also known as his concubines. 

The honorable general Abner was rightly outraged and vowed then and there to help David ascend to his rightful place on the Throne of Israel, as ordained by God. His loyalty to Saul was betrayed by Saul’s son so Abner reached out to David, who then said he will deal with Abner only if Abner brings Michal, his (David’s) wife to him. This was agreed to and Abner was on the way to David with the latter’s wife, while her current husband Palti, followed crying over the loss of Michal!

The bigamist story, involving Michal, had a sad end for this unfortunate young man – Palti, as General Abner instructed him, to go back to his house. In a no win situation, we read in 2 Samuel 3:16, that Palti complied.

What is the message here for us in the 21st century? This ancient tale has a horrible ending with Abner who just executed the Will of the Lord, being killed by Joab, who had a personal grudge extending far beyond official duties. A few things are obvious: 
-      You can’t make some of this up, even in on Hollywood screenwriter’s desk! All this intrigue stemmed from one man’s disobey and sinning constantly against the Lord.  Because of Saul’s sin, his daughter committed bigamy. His son accused a loyal general of sexual misconduct. Bickering and slander ensured and hearts were broken (Palti).

-     Sin will find you out and there will be a price to pay. Saul was told by the great prophet Samuel that God had taken away his kingdom and given it to the shepherd boy/harpist and poet David. Yet he refused to step down, allowing his pride and arrogance to eventually cost him his life.  The  price sin exacts is not worth the temporary rush of self-satisfaction.

-     Partnering with sin will bring humiliation. While Palti is to be pitied here in 2 Samuel 3:16 for having to following a mighty general in Abner, who was simply following God’s will in getting David to the Throne of Israel which was rightfully his, he (Palti) knew what he got into! Here, as we learn in this verse, was Abner returning David’s rightful wife to him and here was this woman’s second husband hanging on like a puppy dog after something he had no chance of winning. When he “married” Michal, he was completely aware that she was married to David. There was no divorce according to the Law of Moses, in force then nor was there a death of a spouse, which would have enabled Michal to remarry. These were the only two grounds for Palti to legally claim Michal as his wife.  The lesson here is this – we lose EVERYTHING when we put our heads in the sand and pretend God sees nothing, knows nothing and will say nothing.  He – God – always has the final word, and if we line up on the wrong side of Him, we too will pay a heavy price.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Then Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." And he said, "Here I am." (1 Samuel 3:16)


I'm travelin' down the road
I'm flirtin' with disaster
I've got the pedal to the floor,
My life is running faster
I'm out of money, I'm out of hope,
It looks like self destruction
Well how much more can we take,
With all of this corruption

We're flirtin' with disaster,
Ya'll know what I mean
And the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me
I don't know about yourself or what you want to be, yeah
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny
 (Molly Hatchet 1979 Writers: Brown, Hlubek)
It is a terrible thing to try the patience of the Lord. We humans do it all the time, including those of us who not only know better, but serve Him in a mighty way.  This propensity to sin, with which we were born, will always with us until we pass on to Glory at the end of our natural life on earth.

That being said, there comes a point in our spiritual maturity when we do not do the things we used to do….just because. How many times have we made a deal with God that “if You get me out of this one, I will never…..(fill in the blanks)”.  Those kinds of promises are extremely impossible to keep. That is why the bible tells us to NOT make oaths like these.

For the normal person, God’s grace is sufficient. He forgives our sins and removes them from us, as far as the east is from the west. For a church leader, pastor or priest, the standard is ten times higher!!  There is not just a higher level of conduct expected but a ministry leader’s respect and reverence for God has to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

There is something in the background story behind 1 Samuel 3:16 which should give us pause, especially with anyone who thinks “flirtin with disaster “makes life more interesting.  Eli was the priest of the nation Israel and had a tremendous spiritual mantle/burden/responsibility to carry.  Samuel was still a boy, yet because the Lord had pre-ordained him, he became Eli’s understudy.

Eli had two sons – Hophni and Phinehas, who were also priests in the Lord’s Tabernacle and were supposed to conduct themselves, according to the requirements of their office. But they were both evil and corrupt men who not just violated God’s laws openly but flaunted their corruption.

Under Jewish law, all priests serving  in the temple were provided for by God. They were fed, clothed and supplied by the tithes and offerings of Almighty God. The Lord was their Provider. But Hophni and Phinehas, instead of allowing the sacrifice to be offered to the Lord first – as any sane person knows, had their henchmen accost those approaching the altar with their sacrifice. The priestly hoodlums, I mean helpers, would then grab more than their share of the choicest portion of the Sacrificial Animals BEFORE it was offered to God! They cut off the prime cuts first and gave the meat to Eli’s sons.

These men not only stole the prime cuts of meat for their own families but these two “priests” had illicit and immoral relations with young women in the temple, in broad daylight, right in the open…. IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD! God Himself warned His high priest Eli about his sons’ conduct, but Eli refused to do anything about it.  Not just that but it appears that Eli himself was eating ill-gotten meat because the bible says when he fell over and died in his 90’s he was a very fat man! In those days, not many people were fat, far less a minister of God. Potlucks were not invented in church  yet. 

The Lord finally had enough and determined to not only take Hophni and Phinehas out of the picture, but not just these two evil men who called were literal Levite priests. God also decided to remove their father Eli from the land of the living. 

Here is where we come to 1 Samuel 3:16 where the message for the young boy, who would become the greatest prophet/Judge of Israel – came loud and clear from God.  The Lord had given Eli endless warnings and upbraiding about his wicked sons, but he ignored God on purpose and never listened to the Lord. 

This is the direct message from God Himself for the young Samuel from 1 Samuel 3: "11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

There are several things God’s people should learn from this and it is IMPERATIVE you and I take this to heart:
-  When God speaks, we had better listen. He still speaks audibly to the hearts and souls of His people through His Spirit. For the most part, He speaks through His Word.

-  When God speaks and warns us of sin of both omission and commission, we will be wise to address that sin as soon as possible. Many maturing Christians know it is better to keep short accounts both with God and man. This means we do not let the sun go down on our sin or the devil will magnify it until we are sunk in the mire and wallowing in dirt and despair. Do not be like the rest of the world and modern western “Christianity”.

-  God will not put up with continuing blatant sin from those who claim to work for Him. This sin which flaunts its perversion and causes others to disparage God will be judged and judged harshly. His Holy Name is more than important to Him because He is the Holy One of Israel. The task for us today is to be constantly aware we carry His Cross on more than our sleeves. He bear His Mark to a lost and dying world. If we are the only Bible that people read, we had better make sure our character is not related to the official misconduct of some of our great Bible heroes. There are enough fallen preachers in the world today, who have caused the name and ministry of Christ to be scoffed at by the world. Let us not be the ones, who are indulge in – Flirtin’ with Disaster

Monday, September 4, 2017


14 So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 

16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "How did it go, my daughter?” And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 She said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.” (Ruth 3:14-17).

The 3:16 verse here is almost like an illustrated precursor of what Jesus the God-Man ended up doing for all mankind! The man spoken of here in Ruth 3:16 is Boaz, the great son of an even more amazing woman - Rahab! Rahab is known throughout all history as the former prostitute of Jericho who rescued the Hebrew spies sent by Joshua and was given a large measure of Faith in the one True God - Yahweh. Rahab went on into the Promised Land with the conquering Jews and eventually married a man named Salmon, the Father of Boaz. Boaz was the grandfather of King David...of whose lineage we have the Lord Jesus Christ (via Mary).

So Boaz was no ordinary man. He was also Ruth's Kinsman Redeemer. Under this strictest reading of God-given Torah, a kinsman redeemer was a rich benefactor, or person who frees the debt holder by paying the debt or "redeemed" cost owed. The book of Leviticus 25:25 says "If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold" . Boaz was Ruth's closest male relative and was financially sound to accomplish this task. Boaz was related to Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi.

Now, let us get this again, more clearly. Leviticus 25:25 says the following in essence: 
- A poor person has nothing because he/she has to sell everything for whatever reason.
- The closest family member comes and buys back, or retrieves and restores, that which was taken.

Is this any different from what Jesus, the Son of God and the God of Heaven Who became Man, did? Of course not! He is Our Redeemer! And I know MY REDEEMER LIVES! Again going off Leviticus 25:25 and now looking at our own poor situation through God's Eyes:
- We are poor and worthless and destined for destruction because of our sin!
- We have nothing with which to redeem ourselves and in any case, a finite person literally cannot make ourselves right before an Infinite God.
- Our closest Family member is again, literally, God our Father.
- He used His own given Law to set the redemption process (the Great Buy-Back) in process and then God the Son stepped off the Throne to give His Life as a Ransom for many!
- Wow! Jesus did not consider equality with GOD a thing to be grasped and paid the Highest Price on the Cross for the Salvation of all the world for all time. He redeemed the Lost and called us His Kin- His Children - if we repent and put our faith fully in Him as Lord and Savior!
- Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer - the Ultimate Kinsman Redeemer!

So now, can you and I testify about all THIS MAN - God Who became Man - Jesus, has done for us? Let's pray the answer is YES! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. As for all Scripture - well, it's all about Jesus- from cover to cover!