Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4)

Last week we learned what Jesus meant when He said that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, and that “whoever believes in Him is not condemned” and in fact would have eternal life (John 3:16-18). This week in John Chapter 4, we see Jesus put those words into practice in a way that you and I can understand and even act on in our own lives.

John 4
1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John
2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples),
3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

David Guzik:
“Although the road through Samaria was the shortest route to Galilee, pious Jews avoided it. They avoided it because there was a deep distrust and dislike between Jews and Samaritans.

When the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians, they took almost every captive, exiling them to the Babylonian Empire. All they left behind were the lowest classes of society, because they didn’t want “that type” in Babylonia. These that were left behind intermarried with other peoples who slowly came into the region, and the Samaritans emerged as an ethnic and religious group.

Because the Samaritans had a historical connection to the people of Israel, their faith was a combination of law and ritual from the Law of Moses, and various superstitions. Most Jews in Jesus’ time despised the Samaritans, even more than Gentiles.

Why must Jesus go through Samaria? Because there were people there who needed to hear Him.”

What people are there in our world that we find really difficult to love, much less have a normal conversation with? Every time I read this chapter I am convicted by the story. For Jesus to have a simple conversation with this woman was a remarkable thing. Incredibly, we will see that He took things a step further and explained to her the way of eternal life. How is God calling you and I to act today?

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
12 “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The idea of God being the “Living Water” was not new, as a matter of fact it was an old statement made by the Lord God about Himself:

For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
~ Jeremiah 2:13

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
~ Zechariah 13:1

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
~ Isaiah 12:3

We all need water to live. The human body is 65% water. Your body can only survive so long without drinking water; some say 3 days, others say as long as 10 days. Jesus is making the bold offer of water that gives eternal life.

Jeremiah calls God a fountain of living water. Zechariah says it’s a fountain-like shower that can wash us from our sins. Isaiah tells us it’s like a deep well where we can pull out water that gives us eternal life. Jesus Christ is that living water for each of us.

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’
18 “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Here, Jesus knows exactly what this woman needs to hear to cause her to understand that He is God in the flesh. She initially believes that He is simply a prophet, but as they continue their conversation, she realizes He is the Messiah.

There are so many examples throughout God’s word of wise prophets from God revealing truth to the unbeliever – Daniel and Joseph come to mind. But Jesus is different from all the rest in that He makes the claim to be God. He was clearly not simply a prophet as other religions suggest. No other man in the Bible claimed to be the Son of God and performed such miracles to prove His authority.

C.S. Lewis made the point that Jesus was either a complete liar, or He was a crazy lunatic, or He was in fact Lord God in the flesh. Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. He couldn’t be anything else.

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Jesus points her to the way of salvation. He says: “Believe me.” He tells her to “worship the Father in spirit and truth”. She firmly believes that the Messiah is coming, and he says “I am He”.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”
28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,
29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”

This woman believed and very quickly went out to tell others. She immediately acts on her new belief. Without knowing it, she is following God’s call to each of us to proclaim the Gospel.

In Mark and Luke, we see that Jesus instructed the man who had been relieved of demons was told to go tell others what Christ had done for him:

And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” ~ Mark 5:19

Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
~ Luke 8:39

This Samaritan woman is simply responding to what God has done in her life. In this short conversation, Jesus showed this woman more love, kindness, and compassion than probably any man had ever shown her. Consistently throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus reached out to those who were difficult to love.

Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” ~ Matthew 9:10-13

I love this: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Jesus is calling each of us to help “those who are sick”. To show them “mercy and not sacrifice”. That’s exactly what Jesus did with this Samaritan woman in a Samaritan town, and in doing so, He changes the whole city!

30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
36 “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
37 “For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’
38 “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”
40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

The love, kindness, compassion, and mercy Jesus showed to one woman changed this entire town! “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” Each of us is called to “look up” right now, right where we are. If you are in Spokane, Minneapolis, Decatur, Berlin, Tokyo, or Seattle – we are each called to show Christlike mercy to those around us who are among the most difficult to love.

Verses 36-38 show us that sometimes we are called simply to plant the seeds of faith – to “sow” by sharing Christ by reflecting love and mercy, or by telling our own testimony. Other times, folks before us have done the seed-planting and we are there to reap the harvest by praying with someone as they believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation.

43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.
44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.
46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.
47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”
50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

This man simply man “believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way”. Jesus made the way to salvation very easy so even the simplest mind can have eternal life. He is the living water, all I need to do is to accept that he died for me so that I can have eternal life with Him in heaven.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 6:23

Why Do We Need a Kinsman Redeemer? (Ruth 3)

Remember what has happened in Ruth so far:
Naomi was a wife and mother of two sons. Her husband and two sons all passed away leaving her a widow with two daughters-in-law. One daughter-in-law left and the other, Ruth, stayed with Naomi. They returned to Naomi’s homeland, Israel, where Ruth promises to take Naomi’s God and people as her own.

Ruth and Naomi are destitute in Israel and so Ruth takes on a role as provider of food for the household. She leaves the house every day to glean food from a local farmer named Boaz. The wheat farmer shows incredible kindness to Ruth. He not only allows her to glean but he also provides her meals and protection while she is working in the field.

Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi, and in doing so he allows God to use him. The love and concern Boaz offers is an example of God’s own love for each of us. His love isn’t something we earn or we deserve. He gives it to us out of His own goodness. In chapters 3 and 4 we will see God provide a redeemer for Ruth and how Jesus’ sacrifice for us is His act as a redeemer for you and I.

    1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
    2 “Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. ~ Ruth 3:1-2

Naomi would love nothing more than to provide a long-term solution for Ruth’s well-being. Not only does Ruth NOT have a husband to provide for her financially, but she and Naomi also have no way of continuing the family-line of Elimilech. There is no husband for either of them with which to have a son. I think of Abram who was promised a son and believed God’s promise.

    For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
    And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
    ~ Genesis 13:15-16

The Lord had promised to Abram in (Genesis 13) that He would not only give him a son, but make the number of his descendants so vast they couldn’t be counted.

    After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
    But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
    Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” ~ Genesis 15:1-3

Even in spite of the earlier promise, and having heard it directly from the mouth of God, Abram had doubt. Don’t we all?

I love this story from Mark, and I have prayed this prayer so often in my own life:

    Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
    Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:23-24

David Guzik says it so well:
“There is a difference between a doubt that denies God’s promise and a doubt which desires God’s promise. Abram wants to believe and is looking to God to strengthen his faith.”

Naomi knew the Word of God that tells us that He cares for His people, and she believed God’s promise and is looking here for God to somehow fulfill that promise.

    3 “Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
    4 “Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
    5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”
    ~ Ruth 3:3-5

This Hebrew God is all new to Ruth. She may be thinking that her mother-in-law is crazy, but nonetheless she trusts and obeys her. God loves to bring us to those places of putting our trust in Him! Those times become opportunities where God builds our faith. This is a chance for Ruth to see the God of the Hebrews fulfill His promises.

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    ~ Psalm 37:4

Ruth was learning and growing in faith just as we do today when we trust God to work in our lives.

    6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.
    7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
    ~ Ruth 3:6-7

The threshing would be done at night after the long days’ work. Threshing required the thresher to use the wind to separate the grain from the chaff by throwing it up into the air over and over again, sifting out the junk and letting the grain fall onto the threshing floor. Boaz would have been exhausted from the days work, and then still worked into the evening to get the threshing done.

After this long day, Boaz collapses in sleep. He is so sound asleep that he never notices Ruth sneak in, uncover his feet, and laying down over his feet.

(We have a cat that comes into our bedroom at night and often lays at my feet and I don’t even notice. I’d like to think that if a strange woman came in and laid on my feet, I would notice. That’s how tired Boaz is!)

This would have been an incredibly submissive act on the part of Ruth and certainly one that required much faith. In this moment, she was completely putting her life into the hands of Boaz, and trusting that the advice of Naomi would not bring her harm or embarrassment.

    8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet.
    9 And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”
    ~ Ruth 3:8-9

We talked a little bit last week about the Hebrew law regarding strangers and how Boaz in showing kindness to Ruth was obeying the law. There was another Hebrew law given by God to Moses which allowed a close relative to ‘redeem’ another out of slavery or poverty.

    Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him; or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself.
    ~ Leviticus 25:47-49

We also find yet another Hebrew law which dictates how property is to be inherited within the family. Many of the inheritance laws that we use in the United States today that prescribe how property is passed down within a family were written based on this very Mosaic law.

    And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter.
    If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.
    If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.
    And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it.’
    And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
    ~ Number 27:8-11

When a man dies, his estate passes first to his children, sons first and if no son, to the daughters.
No daughters then to his brothers.
No brothers, then to his uncles.
No uncles, then to the nearest relative in the family.

David Guzik:
“This amounts to a marriage proposal from Ruth. This shows that this was not an inappropriate thing for Ruth to do towards Boaz. It was bold, but not inappropriate. Ruth understood this as she identified Boaz as her close relative (literally, you are a goel, a kinsman-redeemer).

Though deceased, Elimelech had the right to have his family name carried on and as goel, Boaz had the responsibility to do this for Elimelech. This could only happen through Boaz marrying Ruth, and providing children to carry on the name of Elimelech. Ruth boldly, yet humbly and properly, sought her rights.

Don’t lose sight of the larger picture: Ruth came to claim a right. Boaz was her goel, her kinsman-redeemer, and she had the right to expect him to marry her and raise up a family to perpetuate the name of Elimelech. But Naomi wisely counseled Ruth to not come as a victim demanding her rights, but as a humble servant, trusting in the goodness of her kinsman-redeemer. She said to Boaz, ‘I respect you, I trust you, and I put my fate in your hand.’ ”

    10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.
    11 “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    12 “Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    13 “Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.”
    ~ Ruth 3:10-13

Naomi and Ruth have recognized in Boaz a man who is honorable, loving, charitable, and kind. This kind of act was probably not something Ruth could have taken with other men in Bethlehem as Boaz even warned Ruth about them earlier in Ruth 2:8-9.

Boaz is honored that Ruth would choose him, an older man, out of all the men in the area. He recognizes that she is an honorable woman and is doing this out of respect and not out of greed or dishonor. Even so, Boaz also knows that there is another man, another heir to Elimilech, that is closer to his family line than he is. We know that Elimilech’s sons died, so this other heir may be a brother, uncle, or cousin. He honors that man’s right to claim Ruth first and in doing so he is trusting the Lord.

    14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”
    15 Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.
    16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her.
    17 And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’ ”
    18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
    ~ Ruth 3:14-18

Even though Boaz and Ruth don’t do anything inappropriate that night, he doesn’t want Ruth to suffer in her reputation as honorable. He is sending her away while it is still dark out. In her return to Naomi, Boaz wants to show them both how much he cares for them. He does that by sending her away with lots of grain for them to share.

Naomi receives Ruth and recognizes the kindness show by Boaz toward both them. We recognize in this story the incredible picture of Jesus as our own redeemer. Check it out:

Jesus is our relative in that He was born as a son of Adam, of human flesh. (Hebrews 2:14)
Jesus calls us, the Church, His Bride. (Ephesians 5:25)
Jesus is wealthy as God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10)
Jesus offers to take us under his wing as our protector. (Ruth 2:12 and Psalm 36:7)
Jesus provides us with every good thing including our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 and James 1:17)
We are in poverty and in desperate need of a wealthy redeemer. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Boaz becomes the great-grandfather of Kind David. Jesus was born in the family line of King David (of the tribe of Judah) to fulfill prophecy and to further reveal to us that he is God’s ‘kinsman-redeemer’ for each of us. What an incredible Savior we have!

Adversity, Trials, and Trouble (1 Peter 4)

The first letter of the Apostle Peter is so encouraging in times of trouble!

    12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
    13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
    14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
    15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
    16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
    17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
    18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
    19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
    ~ 1 Peter 4:12-19

In the first of two letters written by Peter, this disciple of Jesus addresses the subject of trials and suffering. In 8 simple verses, God writes directly to you and I about how we should receive trials in our life, why they come to us, and how we should respond.

    Verse 12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

God is saying “Don’t be shocked. It’s going to happen.” Keep in mind too that it’s not just you or me that is going through that horrible circumstance. There is almost nothing that we go through that is unique to you or I.

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
    ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

David Guzik: “Instead of thinking of trials (even fiery trials) as strange occurrences, we see them as ways to partake of Christ’s sufferings. And if we partake of His sufferings, we will also partake of His glory and joy. Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross.”

    And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
    And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
    But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
    ~ Mark 8:31-33

“Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else.” (Meyer)

    Vs 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

God tells us in verse 14 that if we are insulted or reprimanded (reproached) because of our faith in Jesus, we are blessed! And while the world abuses the name of God (blasphemes) when the storms of life hit, we are called to praise Him even in the foul weather.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:10

    Vs 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.

“Suffering as an evildoer is deserved and brings shame to the name of Jesus. Peter recognizes that not all suffering that Christians experience is suffering in the name of Jesus.”
~ Guzik

We have all seen or heard about a Christian pastor that is popular or famous that has fallen because of his own sin. They get caught in their sin and suffer as a result. Peter warns us against that. Don’t let it happen!

    Vs 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

The suffering of us as Christian believers is sometimes difficult to understand and we ask “why is this happening God?” or “why me?”

There are times when adversity is simply the Lord allowing difficult things in our life to smooth out our rough spots or to prompt us to change. In these times, perhaps He is teaching us patience, or to be more cautious, or to be more loving, or He is prompting us to learn to show kindness or generosity to others. There are many ways God uses adversity to challenge us to do things differently or to turn from sin.

    And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
    And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
    ~ Isaiah 30:20-21

God cares way too much about you and I to leave us the way we are! I’m so thankful for that. I can picture Him standing behind me saying “This is the way, walk in it,” when I “turn to the right” or when I “turn to the left”.

At other times, God will allow adversity so that He can be glorified in us and through us. As difficult as they are, in these trials we must remember to glorify God in all things.

    To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
    so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

When we are listening to the Holy Spirit by spending time in prayer and daily reading God’s word, He will speak to us. At times it’s very quiet, and it may simply be so that in that awfully difficult moment we choose to praise Him and glorify Him.

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
    For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
    Vs 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Guzik: “Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. God uses suffering as a judgment (in a positive, purifying sense) for Christians (the house of God) now. It is right for judgment to begin at the house of God.”

“There is equity in it; for Christians profess to be better than others, and so they ought to be. They say they are regenerate, so they ought to be regenerate. They say that they are a holy people, separated unto Christ; so they ought to be holy, and separate from sinners, as he was.” (Spurgeon)

Guzik: “Now is our time of fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12); the ungodly will have their fire later. The fire we endure now purifies us; the fire the ungodly will endure will punish them. Yet we always remember that there is never any punishment from God for us in our sufferings, only purification. For the Christian, the issue of punishment was settled once and for all at the cross, where Jesus endured all the punishment the Christian could ever face from God.

The same fire that consumes straw will purify gold. The fire is the same, but its purpose in application is different, and its effect is different upon the straw and the gold. Even so, Christians do suffer some of the same things the ungodly do, yet the purpose of God is different, and the effect is different.”

This “judgment” (the purifying trials) that we go through can be awful! There is no doubt. It’s an incredible comfort knowing that God is using them in our lives to change us from the inside out. Yet for the unbeliever that dies in unbelief, how much worse will it be for them? “What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

As we glorify God in the midst of our suffering, the non-Christian will see that faith in us. They will recognize our faith as something that is supernatural. When we share our faith in Jesus with them, what a powerful testimony that is!

    Vs 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

My Bible footnotes say: “Scarcely saved does not mean that the righteous just barely receive salvation. “Scarcely” (Greek molis, “with difficulty”) means that the righteous are saved in the midst of suffering; their salvation is not easy and simple”.

And again Peter says in essence “if it’s that hard for the Christian, how much worse will it be for the non-Christian?”

    Vs 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Verse 19 really sums up the message of 1 Peter. Even in our suffering, we are called to love God and hold fast to faith. That can be so tough!

    Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
    ~ 1 Peter 2:23-24

This verse is talking about Jesus who suffered pain beyond our imagination, but still committed Himself to God the Father. He did that so “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness”. He died so that we could live for Him!

I pray that I will forever and in all circumstances “entrust my soul to a faithful Creator while doing good”.

If you’ve not yet believed in Jesus as your Savior, let me tell you how simple it is. All you need to do is to admit that you and I each do wrong things (sin), and that Jesus died for your sin and for mine to take away that punishment, and that God raised Him from the dead so that we’ll live forever with Him.

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
    For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ~ Romans 10:8-10

No one is too far gone down the path of sin. No one! Take a look for yourself and see what the Bible says:

    Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
    ~ Isaiah 1:18

    Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
    ~ Jeremiah 32:37

    For nothing is impossible with God.
    ~ Luke 1:37

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    ~ 1 John 1:9

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
    ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

All is takes is for you to believe it and say it with your mouth. Feel free to message me below if you’ve done that and you don’t know what the next step is.

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts – Daniel 7

Who remembers how many kings Daniel has now served under? Can you name them?

King Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar, and King Darius. One of them had a dream in Daniel 2 about future kingdoms. Do you remember who? Right, King Nebuchadnezzar.

In that dream, the King saw a great statue that was made up of a head of gold, it’s chest and arms were silver, it’s middle and thighs were bronze, and it had legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay. A stone struck the statue at it’s feet and broke up the feet into pieces. Then the entire statue was broken into pieces. This stone then became a mountain over the entire earth.

The interpretation of that dream was this: Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom were the head of gold. There would be a less great kingdom after him, that was the silver and it represented the Medo-Persian empire ruled by Darius. Then a third and lesser kingdom would rise that was the bronze belly and thighs of the statue, which was the Greek empire. After that would come a kingdom of iron (the legs) because iron breaks up all things, and it would be founded on feet of iron mixed with clay as the feet. This fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire.

After the four kingdoms, the interpretation of the dream showed the stone (not made by humans) that breaks up all the kingdoms and setup a king that would rule forever. This is God’s eternal kingdom. Remember, all of this was from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 of Daniel. Now let’s look at chapter 7 where Daniel has a completely different dream, but it has a very similar interpretation that reveals the same four kingdoms and then God’s eternal reign. In this dream, the kingdoms are represented by animals rather than a big statue.

Where else in the Bible have we seen God reveal the same future events in two very different dreams?

In Genesis 37, Joseph had two dreams. In one dream, his own sheaf of grain stood up in the field, and the sheaves of grain of his father and brothers each bowed down to him. Then in another dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars were all bowing down to him. Each dream foretold the same future when his entire family would bow down to him as the ruler in Egypt.

Later in Genesis 41, Pharaoh has two dreams. In one vision, the seven skinny and ugly cows eat up the seven fat cows. In another vision, the seven thin and ugly ears of corn eat and swallow up the seven plump and juicy ears of corn. Both dreams showed Joseph and Pharaoh that they would have seven years of great and bountiful harvest followed by seven years of horrendous drought and starvation.

This seems to be the Lord’s way of reinforcing or restating to the interpreter (Joseph in the book of Genesis and Daniel here in the book of Daniel) that the interpretation is correct, true, and certain.

Daniel 7 takes us back in time to when Daniel served under King Belshazzar. If you remember, Belshazzar was the ruler back in chapter 5 when the hand wrote on the wall, and then his kingdom was taken over in the night by Darius of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel’s Dream

    1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.

(It sounds like Daniel kept a notebook by his bedside like I do. When I think of important things in the middle of the night, I write them down so I can remember them later.)

    2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.
    3 “And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

The four winds of heaven stir up the sea, and four beasts rise up out of the ocean. We know that only God controls the weather. It is safe to say that God is in control here, and that God allows the entire world’s political circumstances to be such that each of these kingdoms rises up and takes control. But only because God allows them to do so.

    For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. ~ Psalm 22:28 (ESV)

You see, God is in control of every single political situation in the world. He always has been and He always will be. Every king, every president, every country, every election, every government – they are all subject to God, and exist by God’s divine appointment and allowance.

    4 “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

Similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue with a gold head, this first beast is the kingdom of Babylon again. It was a lion with eagles wings. He had the strength and royal glory of a lion, coupled with the speed and power of an eagle. Daniel may have recognized that the first beast/kingdom was that of Babylon/Belshazzar, and that he would soon lose his throne.

    5 “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’

This second beast was a bear and it was “raised up on one side”. So it had an unequal power to it, where one side was stronger than the other. Remember, this kingdom was the Medes and the Persians combined in the Medo-Persian Empire. One of those kingdoms was the stronger of the two. The three ribs in it’s mouth could signify the three kingdoms it conquered – Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia. On the statue, this was the silver chest and arms meaning this kingdom was not as strong or great as Babylon was.

    6 “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

Beast number three is a depiction of the kingdom of Alexander the Great of Greece. Leopards are incredibly quick, and this one would have been even more so with four wings. That fact lines up well with the fact that Alexander took over the world quickly and at a very young age. After Alexander died, his kingdom was divided among four of his generals which are shown by the four heads of the leopard. On the statue, this kingdom was the bronze belly and thighs. Again, it’s a lesser metal that portrays a lesser kingdom.

    7 “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

This kingdom was that of the Roman Empire. It is so dreadful and terrifying that it cannot be described by any animals we know of. The Roman Empire lasted much longer than any of the others and it was more ruthless and powerful than the others. The 10 horns may represent the 10 successive strong kings that ruled the Roman Empire.

    8 “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

This little horn starts out small but becomes the most powerful. It overtakes three of the other horns. This little horn may signify the anti-christ.

“The angel seems more concerned to drive home his earlier words about the judgment to come and the triumph of the saints than to identify the little horn. The central point of the vision is that the time when the beastly kingdoms of the earth will oppress the saints is limited by God, and beyond it lies the scene of the heavenly court, where the beasts will finally be tamed and destroyed.” ~ (The ESV Study Bible, Copyright 2008 by Crossway Bibles)

    Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
    He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
    And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
    The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
    ~ Revelation 20:1-4, 10

Satan, the anti-christ, and these kingdoms are only allowed to do what they will do by the God of the universe. They have NO POWER outside of what God allows. My point: God is in control, He is on the throne, and He watches over his people.

    More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)

    And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
    ~ 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

Christ is Coming!

    9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
    10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
    11 “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
    12 “As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

We can see from these verses (9-12) that Jesus Christ is in control and judgment is coming.

    13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
    14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
    15 “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
    16 “I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:
    17 ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.
    18 ‘But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
    19 “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;
    20 “and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
    21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,
    22 “until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

As believers at the end of all things, we will live and rule with Christ over the whole of his kingdom!

    23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.
    24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.
    25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
    26 ‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever.
    27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’
    28 “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”

Jesus is called the “Ancient of Days” in this passage. That name for Jesus reminds me that He is on the throne and in control and He always has been! He is in control even when the rest of the world seems to be spinning out of control.

    I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33 (ESV)

    That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. ~ Isaiah 45:6-7 (ESV)

    For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
    And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. ~ Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV)

He is on the throne, and He is in control. I am so encouraged by that!

The Handwriting is on the Wall – Daniel Chapter 5

Have you ever heard the expression “the handwriting is on the wall” (also said sometimes as simply “the writing is on the wall” or “the writing is already on the wall”. It means that we can see what’s going to happen almost as if it’s been prophesied. The story has already been written and now all we can do is to just wait and watch it happen. Wikipedia says this is an expression intended to say “for ‘the future is predetermined’, and is generally implied that a bad event is imminent.” An example of it’s use today might be a situation where every time a particular team was behind at half time all season, they ended up losing the game. Now we are watching a game where they are behind at halftime. You might say the “handwriting is on the wall”.

Today we’re going to study the chapter of Daniel where that expression came from.

We left off last week with King Nebuchadnezzar and his realization that the God of Daniel was the One True God.

    At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
    Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
    ~ Daniel 4:36-37

King Nebuchadnezzar has passed away, and now we see Daniel serving a new king in Babylon – King Belshazzar. Our story begins….

    1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.
    2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. ~ Daniel 5:1-2

Belshazzar is probably the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar, though the Bible calls King Nebuchadnezzar his father meaning “his ancestor”. When Jerusalem was overtaken and conquered, King Nebuchadnezzar brought back with him all of the treasures of the Jewish temple of Solomon. From earlier in Daniel we see:

    In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
    And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. ~ Daniel 1:1-2

So King Belshazzar brings out the gold and silver pieces that his grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had looted from the Temple in Jerusalem. Exactly what were these “vessels”? The book of 2 Kings gives us a clue:

    The bronze pillars that were in the house of the LORD, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried their bronze to Babylon.
    They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered.
    The firepans and the basins, the things of solid gold and solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. ~ 2 Kings 25:13-15

Everything that was too big to easily handle they had broken up into pieces to carry away. What was left from the Temple treasury were the gold and silver utensils, pots, basins, and so forth.

    3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.
    4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. ~ Daniel 5:3-4

The vessels were intended by God to be used in His Holy Temple. Anything unholy could not enter into The Temple of God. Even a priest, if he were not properly washed and dressed, could not enter God’s Holy Temple. Now we see these Babylonians, or unholy Gentiles, not only getting drunk from the Temple treasures and defiling them that way, but even going so far as to worship other gods while drinking. God decides enough is enough.

The same is still true today in that God will not allow any man or woman to enter heaven who is not made clean, pure, righteous, and holy. God loves you and me so much that He wants to be with us forever. The only way to purify and clean the priest at the Temple and us is for a blood sacrifice to be made. God loves us so very much, that He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and for me so that we could dwell in His Holy Temple of heaven with Him someday.

God also dwells in each believer by His Holy Spirit. So we become His temple on earth when we choose Jesus as our sacrifice.

    And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:16

When we begin to think of ourselves as God’s Temple, a place where God lives, it changes our thinking.

    Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
    For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
    ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So what defiles our body – God’s Temple? If you are out camping and you drink from a soda can with sand and dirt all over it, are you now defiled? Jesus tells us exactly what defiles us:

    So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,
    because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”
    And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
    thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
    All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” ~ Mark 7:18-23

What defiles us is our own sinful hearts. We see in King Belshazzar that not only does he defile the Temple vessels by drinking from them, but his heart is defiled in that he worships other gods. God wants a pure heart. The only way you and I can have that is if Jesus purifies it for us when we accept Him as our Savior.

    5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
    6 Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. ~ Daniel 5:5-6

It is true that sometimes when faced with incredible fear, some people will get “knock knees”. Or the get sweaty palms. Personally, when faced with fear or stress, I get the shivers. It looks like King Belshazzar was barely able to stand up! I guess seeing a giant hand appear out of nowhere and writing on the wall in front of you would do that to a guy. 🙂

    7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
    8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation.
    9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.
    10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change.
    11 “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.
    12 “Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
    ~ Daniel 5:7-12

The queen is probably the “queen mother” or the mother of the King (as opposed to his wife). She may even be the grandmother of the King. The queen remembers well the times that Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. She knows that Daniel knows God and has interpreted messages (visions and dreams) from God before.

When you and I live our lives in such a way that others see Jesus working in us and living through us, they will call on us for help when they need it.

My mom had come to Christ when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Her testimony prompted me to accept Jesus as my savior when I was about 13. My brother and I were kids and were out camping with a small group in the Montana wilderness. This was a pretty remote area that we had to backpack about 7 or 8 miles into, and it was known for some recent bear activity. My brother Jim and I were alone in our own tent, quietly talking before falling asleep. After a quiet pause, Jim said: “Hey Anth”. “Yeah?” “You know how Mom sometimes prays for protection over stuff?” “Yeah.” “Would you pray for protection over us now?”

Jim was understandably a little fearful, and he knew that I knew Jesus. He wanted the protection that God can give us, but he didn’t know how to ask for it. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. We are called by Jesus to let people see Him in us, to let Him shine!

    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:16

Here the queen remembers God working in Daniel, she sees this as the hand of God, and she knows that God can reveal the message through Daniel. How awesome is that!

    13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?
    14 “I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.
    15 “Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing.
    16 “And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” ~ Daniel 5:13-16

This account is so incredibly similar to the other situations where Daniel was called upon to interpret dreams:

The vision was revealed to the king
The king called his own advisors
They failed to help at all
Then the king calls upon Daniel
Daniel interprets the message

Many times in the Bible and in our lives, God will use a recurring pattern to remind us that it is Him at work. Like Moses at the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and Joshua at the parting of the Jordan River in Joshua 3. The same miracle was repeated so that the Hebrews could know that Joshua was appointed by God.

    17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
    18 “O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor.
    19 “And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.
    20 “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.
    21 “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.
    22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.
    23 “And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.
    24 “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
    25 “And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
    26 “This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;
    27 “TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;
    28 “PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” ~ Daniel 5:17-28

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Peres
Numbered, numbered, weighed, and divided

    The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.
    ~ Psalm 33:11

    You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. ~ Job 22:28

God has decided what needs to happen to Belshazzar and his kingdom. It’s decided. We could say it is as good as done, or “the handwriting is already on the wall.”

    29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
    30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.
    31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.~ Daniel 5:29-31

Fortunately for you and for me, God offers us much grace through Jesus. We can accept Jesus as our savior and He will dwell in us by His Holy Spirit. We can become His Holy Temple, and He will purify us inside and out to make us acceptable to go to his heavenly temple. As He lives in me, He is constantly working in me and through me. You and I can each be washed clean in Jesus and given a new robe, pure and undefiled!

    I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
    ~ Isaiah 61:10

    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ~ Romans 10:9

The LORD Speaks to Job out of the Whirlwind – Job 38-41

Our friend Job has had 2 chapters of trouble and 35 following chapters of dialogue with no reply from from God. God finally responds.

    1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
    2 “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
    3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
    ~ Job 38:1-3

“Over the previous 35 chapters (since Job 2), God has been directly absent from the account. We read nothing of God’s direct role in comforting, speaking to, or sustaining Job in the midst of his crisis. Over that time, Job has ached repeatedly for a word from God.” ~ David Guzik

God hasn’t spoken a single word of comfort to Job from the very beginning of his trials to this day. Wow, doesn’t that seem callous and harsh? Do we serve a God that doesn’t care?

On the contrary, much like a parent will allow their children to go through difficult things in order to learn and grow, God is simply doing what needs to be done. What parent teaches their child to walk without allowing them to fall down a few times? Or to ride a bicycle without letting them get into accidents once in a while? (Personally, I initially didn’t learn how to stop the bicycle. My method was to literally stop against a neighborhood car.) The difficult things that we go through are exactly what God allows in our lives in order to make us more reliant upon Him and to make us more like Him.

    And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
    Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

    My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:2-4

If God had been coddling Job all through these trials, Job would not have learned the lessons that Job needed. And we would not have received 35 chapters of dialogue about God’s providence and His provision. All those lessons would never have occurred. And in the end we can see that God brought Job through it. He delivered Job and He set things right (we’ll see that at the end of the book of Job.) We discussed this in an entire lesson a few weeks ago in “Why Does God Allow the Righteous to Suffer?

    And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
    ~ Revelation 21:4

When our kids were younger we were planning a big move from Spokane, WA to Corvallis, OR. In order to help the kids address any concerns they had about the Big Move, we created what we called “God’s Worry Jar”. Next to it was laid a pen and stack of scratch paper. Every time one of the kids had a worry or concern, they would write it down on a piece of paper, pray about it, and put it in the jar. Thus, these worries became God’s to deal with and not our own.

    Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
    ~ 1 Peter 5:7

We were amazed at how much the kids used the jar! And if you were to read these prayer requests today, you would see that every one of our children’s worries was answered by God. The math test that was a struggle to study for, the friendship that became difficult, the worry about our move to Oregon – every single request was answered by God in His time. Was every situation without pain? No, of course not. But God was and is faithful!

The Whirlwind Itself
Notice also that God replies to Job out of what seems to be a tornado or swirling tempest of some kind.

“Repeatedly in the whirlwind is associated with the divine presence. It speaks to us of the powerful, unmanageable nature of God; that He is like a tornado that cannot be controlled or opposed.
– God brought Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-11)
God’s presence is in the whirlwind (Psalm 77:18; Nahum 1:3)
God’s coming is like a whirlwind (Isaiah 66:15; Jeremiah 4:13 and 23:19)
God appeared to Ezekiel in a whirlwind (Ezekiel 1:4)

What an awesome God we serve, and what an incredible reminder of God’s power.

Who Laid the Foundations?

Now God continues His response to Job in a way that reveals His kingship over the entire planet:

    “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
    5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
    6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,
    7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
    9 When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band;
    10 When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors;
    11 When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’
    12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place,
    13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?

I love how Job so often recounts God’s sovereignty over all of creation! If God created the entire universe starting with nothing but His imagination, do you think He can overcome that hurdle you’re facing?

    He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.
    He binds up the water in His thick clouds, Yet the clouds are not broken under it.
    He covers the face of His throne, And spreads His cloud over it.
    He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness.
    The pillars of heaven tremble, And are astonished at His rebuke.
    He stirs up the sea with His power, And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.
    By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
    ~ Job 26:7-13

(I cannot say with certainty, but I would guess that the book of Job may be the Book of the Bible that most often talks about God’s creation and with the most detail – aside from the actual creation account given in Genesis 1-3. Psalms and Proverbs also offer plenty of detail on God’s creation so I could be wrong.)

God created it all, and God is in complete and absolute control of it all.

    By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. ~ Hebrews 11:3

    For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. ~ Colossians 1:16

    14 It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment.
    15 From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken.
    16 “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?
    17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
    18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.
    19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place,
    20 That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home?
    21 Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great?
    22 “Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
    23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war?
    24 By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth?
    25 “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt,
    26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man;
    27 To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
    28 Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
    29 From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
    30 The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen.
    31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?
    32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
    33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?
    34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you?
    35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?
    36 Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?
    37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
    38 When the dust hardens in clumps, And the clods cling together?
    39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
    40 When they crouch in their dens, Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?
    41 Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?

God is over it all! God is in complete control, and there is so much comfort in knowing that. When I was a little boy, I was afraid of my dark room and whatever was hiding under my bed (I couldn’t let my feet touch the floor at night!) I remember my dad, who I thought was the strongest man on the planet, saying “I won’t let anything happen to you.” That brought me so much comfort! While you may or may not have a dad that says that to you, regardless we have a Heavenly Father who says to us that as long as we stay under His protection, He will take care of us.

That doesn’t mean we won’t ever have trouble, or be injured, or get sick, or go through painful family situations, or see the death of a loved one. It means God is King. He is in control, and He will care for us through the situation.

    Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22

    And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
    ~ Philippians 4:19

As a loving father, of course God wants to help save you and I from harm. He chose to save us from the ultimate and eternal harm – death – by offering up His Son Jesus to die in our place so that we can have the ultimate and eternal reward – life with Him.

    That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
    For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ~ Romans 10:9-10

Years ago, Billy Graham’s organization found that folks wanted actual steps to follow to become Christians. It’s so much easier than you may think, and while the Bible doesn’t offer steps 1, 2, and 3, Billy Graham’s team spelled it out simply in “How to Know Jesus”.

Now we see Job reply to God in complete humility:

    Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.
    Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.
    ~ Job 40:3-4

    Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
    Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, And array yourself with glory and beauty.
    ~ Job 40:8-10

    Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you.
    ~ Job 40:14

God loves humility, and He works situations around us so that we would learn humility.

    And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
    So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
    ~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3

    If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
    ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

    For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
    ~ Psalm 149:4

Why would God want us to learn humility? Why would that be important to Him?

God wants us to rely on Him and on Him alone for our needs. He created us to love Him and worship Him. He is all-powerful, and He is worthy of our adoration.

    You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.
    ~ Revelation 4:11

    I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
    Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
    Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
    One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
    I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.[fn]
    Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.
    They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.
    The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
    The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
    All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You.
    They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,
    To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
    ~ Psalm 145:1-12

Why Does God Allow the Righteous to Suffer?

As we continue our study through the book of Job, this week we’ll travel over several chapters in Job to learn this one lesson: Why do the righteous suffer? Why couldn’t God allow only the evil to suffer and reward the righteous with a pain-free life?

In answer to the problems of life, it’s best to always look and see what the Word of God tells us. Now, the Bible isn’t going to tell you how to fix the refrigerator. But the Bible does address you about how you should deal with the broken fridge from within your own heart.

For example: “those who wait on The Lord will gain strength” and that we should “exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance”. (Isaiah 40:31 and Romans 5:3)

Also consider: “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. (Phil 4:6)

So the Bible often doesn’t deal with your situation directly (“How to fix the Fridge” isn’t found in the Bible), rather the Holy Spirit through the Bible gives us instruction to change our hearts as we deal with the situation.

Let’s look and see what God says about suffering and the righteous.

Job suffers and mourns his suffering

    Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.
    And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven.
    So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. ~ Job 2:11-13

    After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. ~ Job 3:1

Job has suffered some horrendous tragedy, worse tragedy in such a short time than anyone I know. He’s lost all of his possessions, his servants, and his family (save his wife) in the same few moments of time. He is now incredibly sick and afflicted with a disease that results in horrible boils all over his body.

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

Job’s friend Eliphaz now accuses Job of some sort of wrongdoing or sin.

    Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?
    Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.
    ~ Job 4:7-8

Eliphaz is one of the three friends that have come to comfort Job. After some time of watching his friend suffer, Eliphaz comes to a conclusion: That Job must have done something wrong to be punished by God like this. He says “who ever perished being innocent” as if the only folks that die or are killed are those that are guilty. His other question, “were the upright ever cut off?” suggests that God wouldn’t abandon someone who was righteous and certainly God seems to have abandoned Job, Therefore Job must have done something wrong.

Eliphaz then asserts that in his experience (“even as I have seen”), you reap what you sow. This is a general principal that, while true, isn’t a rule. Jesus sheds some light on this in Matthew.

    For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ~ Matthew 5:45

Sometimes the shining sun is a blessing as it helps crops to grow, but there are other times it is a curse as when there is drought and starvation in the land. Often the rain is a gift from heaven as it waters the soil and provides for a community, other times it floods an entire town and destroys homes and businesses.

Often, life simply doesn’t seem fair. We see a worldly and evil person succeed in life and a beautiful and God-loving person die a tragic death. The lesson God wants us to learn from suffering is not one of evil and good, but rather a lesson for our own hearts and how we respond to suffering.

The Bible tells us that even though he’s suffering, Job’s heart remains right before God:

    In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. ~ Job 1:22

David Guzik offers some insight on this spiritual battle of suffering that Job goes through:

In this first round of spiritual warfare Satan was singularly unsuccessful in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul: that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).
– Job made his stand against fear and did not give into panic.
– Job made his stand against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.
– Job made his stand against pride and humbled himself before God.
– Job made his stand against self and decided to worship God.
– Job made his stand against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.
– Job made his stand against unbelief and did not give into vain questionings of God.
– Job made his stand against despair and saw the hand of God even in catastrophe.
– Job made his stand against anger and did not blame God.

Bildad Tells Job to Repent and He’ll answer you

    If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty,
    If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. ~ Job 8:5-6

Now joining Eliphaz in accusing Job of some kind of sin is Job’s friend Bildad. Have you ever asked “what have I done to deserve this?” You’re not alone. It’s a question that’s been asked by countless people over thousands and thousands of years.

(Don’t misunderstand me here. There are absolutely times when God allows suffering because of what a person DID sow, and they are now reaping the consequences. The person that commits the crime does the time, so to speak. Again, God wants us to seek His heart and His Word in everything. If we seek God and we read and study the Bible, God will provide comfort, He may provide answers, and He will give reassurance to our questioning souls.

    For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:12

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13)

Job agrees?

Now it seems that Job agrees that God blesses the righteous, but asks “how can a man be righteous?

    Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? ~ Job 9:2

Of course, Job’s friend Zophar has a response and says if you try hard enough you can do it!

    If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, and would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then surely you could lift up your face without spot; yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear.
    ~ Job 11:14-15

Zophar says you need to get away from that sin in your life (“If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, and would not let wickedness dwell in your tents”). In Zophars mind, that should do the trick! Just get rid of the sin, you’ll then be righteous (without spot), and then God will bless you.

Is Zophar right? What does God say in the Bible about our righteousness?

    But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. ~ Isaiah 64:6

    For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matt 5:20

Our righteousness is worthless compared to God’s righteousness. We have nothing of worth to offer God as we were all born with a sin nature. Zophar is wrong. The Bible tells us: “There is none righteous, no, not one” in Acts 4:10.

The only way we can be righteous is by believing and trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross to take away our unrighteousness.

    And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
    Genesis 15:6

    So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

There is one way to righteousness, and it’s not the way of Jobs friends. We cannot be sorry enough, we can’t do enough right, we can’t make up for our wrongs. The only way to become “without spot” is in Jesus Christ.

Again, we come back to the Bible and the heart of God is to save us and also to change us. God uses trouble and suffering in our lives to change our hearts. At times, he even uses the pain and suffering of others to change what is in our own hearts. There is no other book like the Bible that can work in our hearts and create change in us.

Love God and trust Him that He is in control and on the throne. I know it sounds too simple for a heart that is hurting and seeking answers. God intentionally keeps things simple so that we can understand. The Creator of the universe cares about everything you’re going through, and you can trust Him with every part of your life.

    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

It’s Resurrection Sunday – Hallelujah, He is Risen!

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, the day Jesus was raised from the dead three days after being killed as a criminal, also in fulfillment of the prophecies about Him. I love the account we read from Luke chapter 24.

Last week we talked about Palm Sunday. Jesus came riding into Jerusalem humbly, on a young colt, not as the victorious King the Jews expected. Yet they praised and worshipped Him in fulfillment of the prophecies.

    1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
    2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
    3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
    4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
    5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
    6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
    7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
    8 And they remembered his words,
    9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

Jesus knew what was coming for Him, He even told the Apostles about it ahead of time.

    And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” ~ Luke 9:21-22

    “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” ~ Luke 9:44

These angels are here to remind the disciples of Jesus’ words and to testify that it had happened just as Jesus said it would. If you are a believer in Jesus, you also have that testimony!

The New Testament teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…. He will glorify me” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit …. opens our eyes to see the self-authenticating glory of Christ in the narrative of his life and death and resurrection. He enables us to see Jesus as he really was, so that he is irresistibly true and beautiful. The apostle stated the problem of our blindness and the solution like this: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). ~ Pastor John Piper

Even King David believed and foretold Jesus’ resurrection, and the Apostle Paul saw Jesus after His resurrection, he believed, and then he spoke in his testimony about it:

    22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
    23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
    24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
    29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
    30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,
    31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
    32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
    ~ Acts 2:22-24, 29-32

Others will also testify of His resurrection

    10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
    11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
    12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
    13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
    14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
    15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
    16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
    17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
    18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
    19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
    20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
    21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
    22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
    23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
    24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
    25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
    26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
    27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
    28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
    29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
    30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
    31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

These disciples don’t recognize Jesus at first. Though they’ve been told that He has been raised from the dead, somehow they can’t see the miracle of Him standing right in front of them! Luke tells us “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself”. The whole of the Bible points us to Jesus as the Savior of the world. Here we see that Jesus is able to show them the Old Testament scriptures that point to Him. Yet, even as He is doing so, they are still unable to see the risen Savior. It reminds me of how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of those around us, and yet they can’t recognize Him. He is doing miracles in their lives, for their good and His glory. Yet they don’t seem to see or understand that it is God working.

Suddenly, we see a transformation that happens when “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”! What a beautiful thing it is when that happens today! It brings joy to my heart when a unbeliever is beautifully transformed as the light of Christ dawns on their dark heart, and they choose to believe on Jesus to be saved. Or a believer that has strayed far from God has suddenly had his or her eyes opened to see and remember of who Christ is. These disciples remind us that God does these miracles, He opens minds and hearts to reveal Himself.

As we read the Bible, learn the Scriptures, and testify of what God has done in our lives, God uses what we’ve learned and our testimony to reveal Himself to others around us.

    32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
    33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
    34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
    35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
    36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
    37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
    38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Sometimes the work of God can be frightening or startling. That’s our human flesh, our doubt, our lack of faith. That is simply human. Jesus responds to their fear with “why?”

God has done miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle in my life. I have no reason to fear. I’m still afraid.

I’m afraid of the future. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid for my family. I’m afraid of evil. I’m afraid of crime. I’m afraid of my bank account. I’m afraid of what others think. I’m afraid I’m dumb, boring, ignorant, pompous, self-righteous, angry, abrasive, and sinful.

Yet Jesus assures me. He shows me how powerful He is just as He assures the discipes.

    39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
    40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

He shows us in the Bible that He has risen from the dead. We have many eyewitness accounts of His resurrection. Why should I be afraid? I have a Savior God that does miraculous and wonderful things!

Jesus Eats with the Disciples

    41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
    42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
    43 and he took it and ate before them.
    44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
    45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
    46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
    47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
    48 You are witnesses of these things.
    49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Here we see Jesus remind them with His words that He was to suffer, die, and rise again “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations”. He explains the Scriptures to them and in doing so, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. As we read God’s word, the Bible, God does the same for us. It’s important to read and study both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both of them point to God’s eternal plan for us and they point to Jesus Christ. If we read only one of the other, we don’t see the whole picture that God has given us. Jesus gives us that example, right here in Luke 24 and also throughout the New Testament, as He uses the Old Testament in His teaching.

    50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
    51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
    52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
    53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
    ~ Luke 24:1-53

The Gospel of Luke begins it’s story in the Temple in Luke 1, and Luke also ends his gospel account in the Temple here in Chapter 24. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Temple. God shows us again and again throughout His Word that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah – and the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan.

    18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
    19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
    20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
    21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
    22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
    John 2:18-22

The temple was designed by specifications given from God early in the Old Testament. God uses His entire Word to testify of Himself. We have that testimony as well! We can be witnesses, just as the disciples were, of a risen Savior.

Hallelujah, He is risen! He is risen indeed!

The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sins of the World

Last week we discussed how Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

This week we want to take some time to look at the many way God shows us that Jesus is the Passover Lamb. He is the Lamb of God that was offered as a sacrifice for our sins. Much of the below was taken from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Exodus 12:1-20. Matthew Henry’s words are in italics:

(For a primer on the verses from Exodus 12 click here.)

The (Passover) lamb was typical (or a ‘picture’) of Jesus

Christ is our passover

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7

Christ is the Lamb of God

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb.

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Rev 13:18

The Lamb was to be in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not when a babe at Bethlehem. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot: the judge who condemned Christ declared him innocent.

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Exodus 12:5

It was to be set apart four days before, (from vs 3 and verse 6 – the 10th and 14th of the month) denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Savior, both in the purpose and in the promise. (Jesus was “preferred” or chosen and set apart).

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ~ John 1:29-30

It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, (vs 6 and 8) denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ~ John 3:36

Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ, denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
~ John 19:33

The sprinkling of the blood was typical (or a ‘picture’) of Jesus

The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ’s death to our souls; we must receive that atonement.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
~ Romans 5:10-11

Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves.

These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
~ 1 Peter 1:7

It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ.

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. ~ Matthew 10:32

It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us.

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
~ Hebrews 10:29

The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer’s protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1

The solemn eating of the lamb was typical (or a ‘picture’) of our gospel duty to Christ

The passover lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”
~ John 6:53-55

It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death.

For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of The Lord.
~ Acts 3:19

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

It was to be eaten standing, with their staves in their hands, as being ready to depart. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain.

The Hebrews were called to be ready to leave everything behind them. This world offers nothing for us that we can take into eternity.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. ~ Hebrews 13:12-14

The feast of unleavened bread was typical (or a ‘picture’) of the Christian life

Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Christ Jesus. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy. The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:7-8

Jesus – He truly is our Passover Lamb.

See also “No Roof Over Your Head” for a great blog on how God covers us.

Satan, God, and Fear – More of the Basics

Many times as a young or new believer I read something in the Bible about Satan, the devil, demons, or hell, and it genuinely scared me.  

So first, let’s establish a few things:

Satan is Real and Powerful

It’s true, and demons are also very real and powerful, and hell is a real place.  Satan hates God, and he hates man because we were made in the likeness of God and God loves us.  We know all of that from God’s word.  

    How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
    For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
    Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
    ~ Isaiah 14:12-15

    Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
    And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
    Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
    Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
    ~ Luke 10:17-20

Here’s a verse that scares people:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

It’s true.  Satan is looking for ways to trip us up and to cause us to stumble in our faith.  He’d love to destroy our faith if he can.  But take a look at the verses immediately before and after verse 8, they are so encouraging!

    5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
    7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
    8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
    9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  
    ~ 1 Peter 5:5-9

First, he addresses this to “younger people”. That could mean young in age, or maybe newer in the faith.  If you’ve been a believer for a short time, this verse was written especially for you!

Notice God “gives grace to the humble”.  Stay humble and He will favor you with His grace.  And then verse 6 tells us He will exalt or lift up the humble. 

Verse 7 reminds us to rest on God and give Him all our worries and that God cares for me and He cares for you!

Verse 8 tells us that Satan is looking to destroy our faith and we are called to “be sober, be vigilant”.  He’s saying “watch out!”  Be aware!

God encourages us in verse 9 by reminding us that EVERYONE goes through this stuff.  We all have struggles, not the same struggles, but struggles nonetheless.  We all get attacked by the demonic realm, not in the same ways, but attacked regardless.

We Have a Rescuer in Jesus Christ

    Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
    ~  Galatians 1:3-4

In Jesus Christ and in His power and strength, we can resist the evil of this world and we can fight the devil. 

    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
    ~ Ephesians 6:10-13

No Where in the Bible Does God Tell Us to Be Afraid

It’s true.  We are called to be brave and have courage, and to know that we have a savior and rescuer.

    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
    ~ Joshua 1:9

    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
    Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.
    And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” 
    ~ Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Now look at again at 1 Peter 5:8-
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

God isn’t telling us to be afraid of Satan.  God is giving us a warning to be aware.  When He says “be sober”, He’s telling us that it’s not a joke, it’s not a matter to scoff at.  Satan and demons are very real, and so we need to be vigilant.  Be on the lookout.

When I was in Houston, TX a few years ago, the office building I was visiting was on a very busy street.  The crosswalk lights were not nearby, and my hotel was right across the street.  I could walk a considerable distance to the crosswalk, or I could risk cutting across traffic where there was no light or crosswalk if I was in a hurry (yes that’s called “jaywalking”. I’m not proud.)

I was given a warning at the beginning of our meetings for those of us new to town.  In Houston (or perhaps all of Texas?) pedestrians do not always have the right of way when crossing the street.  So cars tend to not slow down as much as they would in most other places in America.  You increase your odds of getting hit if you try to run across traffic there.

My friends had kindly gave me a warning.  Advice to me to make me aware.  To be vigilant.  Was I afraid?  No.  Was I more careful than I normally am?  You bet I was!

Satan Tricked the First Man and Woman on Earth

    Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
    And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
    Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
    ~ Genesis 3:1-6

You see, it seems Adam and Eve forgot to be vigilant.  They didn’t forget that eating the fruit was wrong.  As a matter of fact, Eve even told Satan that God told her not to eat the fruit from that one tree.  What Eve didn’t realize was that Satan was trying to trick her and to fool her into going against God’s word (sin).  She knew it was wrong, but she forgot to be careful and to watch for trickery.  It has continued to happen all throughout the history of mankind, and it happens to all of us today.

Satan is cunning and smart, but we don’t need to fear him.  We just need to be aware.

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
~ 1 Corinthians 16:13

{As a side note, for those of you that DO NOT believe that Satan or hell is real: Let’s say you’re right, and you die tomorrow. Nothing bad happens to you. But imagine if the Bible is 100% true (and I assure you it is), and you die tomorrow. Your risk it eternal. It’s worth considering.}