A Love Poem to the Torah

Psalm 119 (verses 81-120)

In both Monday’s and Tuesday’s devotion, I threw out a word that I did not explain that is really the centerpiece of the entire Psalm. The very first verse of Psalm 119 tells us how a person can be blessed. “Blessed are those who are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.” Those last five words are the focus of Psalm 119. “The law of the Lord.” Transliterated from the Hebrew as “the Torah of YHWH.” (That last word is pronounced yah-way, and is the name of God anytime we see LORD in the Old Testament.)

What is torah? Torah comes from another Hebrew word, yarah. Biblical Hebrew has fewer words than Greek or English, so each word has a range of meanings that depend on the context, but one of the ways to translate yarah would be “to direct, teach, instruct.” When that word nominified is “Torah”. That means the word is something along the lines of “direction, teaching, instructions.” While the word law isn’t wrong, it may not be the best description of what Torah conveys. Instructions, the words of a loving God speaking to his beloved people, are instructions on how to live the best life.

“Blessed are those who are blameless, who walk according to the instructions of YHWH.”

But while that defines Torah, that really doesn’t tell us where to find it. The “Torah” understood as one thing, is the first five books of the Bible, Genesis -Deuteronomy. These books tell us how the Jews became God’s people, how they were rescued from Egypt, and how they were to live in response to that salvation from God. God gave these beginnings of these books to Moses in 1400 BC and had Moses and others edit and change bits and pieces all the way up to about the rule of King Josiah, in 600s BC. These inspired, authoritative, and true books tell us what God likes, dislikes, commands, demands, and desires from his people. 

In the Hebraic culture, the way one went about their day, from caring for their sheep, to planting or harvesting their crops, to going up to Jerusalem for a feast, one had to walk. In both the times of Jesus and the times of Moses, to “walk” in a way was to live that way out. You can begin to see the key ideas around verse one take shape. 

“Blessed are those who live according the the instructions that tell us the commands, demands, and desires of YHWH.”

Throughout Psalm 119, you aren’t always going to read “law”, but the words judgements, precepts, testimonies, and the rest are all words that are speaking about the same Torah. And the Psalmist recognizes their worth. Just today the psalmist’s “eyes fail with longing for your word” (82). The law is his delight (92). He loves both the law and the testimonies of God. (113, 119) These laws are not burdensome and followed begrudgingly. They are the source of life and salvation for the Psalmist. “Sustain me according to your word!” (116) “I am yours, save me; for I have sought your precepts.” (94)

“Blessed are those who live according to the saving, life-giving instructions and commands that YHWH has blessed his people with so we may know him more.”

The Torah commands a lamb to be sacrificed. 

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The Torah commands us to love God. 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…”

The Torah commands us to love our neighbor like ourselves. 

“and the second is like is love your neighbor like yourself. These sum up the law and the prophets.”

The Torah shows us the mind, heart, soul, and desire of God for his people. 

Christ shows us the perfected way of following God. 

While things change, and we are not commanded to keep the Torah in the way Christ kept it perfectly, can we speak with the same kind of love for the first five books the way the Psalmist loved them, the way JESUS loved them? Are we able to speak about the commands of scripture in the same way as the Psalmist, that every command comes to bring life and salvation? 

Jesus saves us through faith before we ever act, and no amount of work on our part could earn salvation. BUT, the commands of scripture are given to show us the best way to live, and the commands of the Old Testament show us the way the Jews were commanded to live and show us insight into the mind of our beloved Father. 

Let us love God’s word the way the Psalmist did 

and may we all be blessed today. 

“Blessed are those who are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.”

-Jake Ballard

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 29-30 and Psalm 119:81-120

Oh that God would Reveal Himself

Psalm 119 Part 2 (verses 41-80)

Do you ever think about just how amazing this blog is?

First, humans have languages all across the world. Then, in some places, human societies developed in such a way that business transactions needed to be written down. Then, they decided they could write about more than business transactions and began to codify spoken word into written words, then those words develop for centuries. New technologies like the printing press and then the internet allow those words that express the concepts of all language to reach wider and then near global audiences. The reason human society was able to be where it is now is not just because humans are smart, but because we are able to take the best of the best ideas and pass them on in written format. That’s what allows our massive growth of collective knowledge to be used by and benefit future generations. 

In around 1400 BC, a community of slaves, leaving behind literate, powerful, imperial Egypt, write down, in words and letters, their story of the beginning of all things, how they got out of the mess their people were in, and what they were going to do about it. These people write “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It was at this point that the Jewish people, an enslaved community, became a community focused around words. They were not just focusing on what their hands could produce, but on what these words said. Because the words were not simply words. 

How can we know the mind of another person? 

We can know their actions, know what they say. In legal proceedings, the prosecution and defense will try and show both the action a person took but also the state of mind behind the action. But we can’t know, we can only deduce and guess. 

Unless, we can trust someone and they tell us exactly what they were thinking. 

I don’t trust people to guess the mind of God. Too many people through the years have said “God wants it to be this way” to me in the midst of pain, and their words rang hollow. Too many people said “This is the judgement of God” and their words feel cruel. 

I only trust what is going on in the mind of God if God tells me. 

THAT is the beauty of the words of the Torah. A bunch of slaves leave Egypt, taking the money, the power, the labor force that made Egypt a superpower of it’s day. Moses writes about the experience in the Torah, and the Jews believed and believe that it is the word of God given to know his mind, his heart, who God is. 

Reason shows that God is probable. 

Intuitions about justice and beauty shows God makes sense. 

History shows that God is powerful. 

But the Torah gave the Jews something beyond general truths about God. It showed the Jews the best way to live. The way to live in accord with the God of the universe, to keep themselves pure and holy. All in words written down on a page so that generations upon generations could read them. 

We will talk more about the way that the author of psalm 119 writes about the Torah tomorrow, but I want you to realize that God did not have to reveal Godself. God reveals his desires as one trustworthy and tells us exactly what he means. We don’t have to guess, because we wouldn’t get him right. The Jews experienced the fire of God on the mountain, and trusted that what Moses received was the word of God. David believed that, as did the prophets, as did John the Baptist, as did Jesus. 

As amazing as this blog is, isn’t it even more amazing that God in his goodness and grace would reveal himself to humans. What a gracious gift to know the mind of the Lord. May we continually remember that as we read Psalm 119 this week.

-Jake Ballard

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 27-28 and Psalm 119:41-80

Don’t Miss the Artistry

Psalm 119 – part 1

For the weekdays of this week, I do encourage you to continue to read through Ezekiel. In Saturday’s devotion, we will catch the highlights of those verses. However, our focus for the next few days will be Psalm 119. The longest chapter in the Bible, by both verse and words, Psalm 119 is worth the time we are going to spend with it. Rather than going through verse by verse (we will do a bit of that on Wednesday and Thursday), I’d like to talk about the themes that come out of reading Psalm 119. We’ll talk about God’s self-revelation, in both the Torah and the whole Bible, and we’ll discuss some ways that we can honor God’s word by keeping it close to us. 

But today, I want to talk about Psalms in general, and this Psalm in particular. The Bible is a dense book. Often we can treat it like a study guide, a how-to manual, a game plan for life. And, these are not incorrect. But that is NOT ALL the Bible is. It is not simply an owner’s manual for our life, but it is a vast collection of biographies, histories, letters, and poems that are inspired by God’s Words, authoritative about our lives, and true in everything it affirms. 

The Psalms in general help disabuse us of our study guide/owner’s manual/game plan approach to the Bible, because they are not always God’s words to people, but people’s words BACK TO GOD. In the Psalms there is rage, despair, longing, frustration, ecstasy, devastation, joy, sorrow, wrath, contentment, love. The whole gamut of the human experience is on display. But more than just these emotions, they are the human experience, recreated and retold in beauty.

Think about your favorite song. Do you hear the twang of a steel guitar? Do you feel the rumble of the bass from the hook? Does the distortion make you want to turn up the speakers to 11? What do the lyrics mean? What do the lyrics SAY? Are those two the same, or is the meaning conveyed not in words but in how they are sung or how the music crescendos at the same time they are singing of silence? Let me venture a guess; you like your favorite song. This genius insight of mine is because we all think our song has a certain beauty. I like metal and the screams of the vocalists and the distortion of their guitars are just wonderful and gorgeous. But more often than not, in metal and rock, the music and the lyrics work in tandem to make the pain, betrayal, loss, anger, and even love of the musicians real and visceral. There is beauty in my favorite songs, and in yours, even if you like country. 

Psalm 119 is also beautiful, a labor of love that took the artist hours of labor spent crafting the art to perfection. Just because God guided the Psalmist doesn’t mean the Psalmist didn’t put his blood sweat and tears into crafting a beautiful poem in honor of God and his word. What I want you to notice today is the beauty. Read all of Psalm 119. Read it from start to finish, top to bottom. But DON’T MISS THE ARTISTRY. Think about why the Psalmist used this word in this place. Why? Does one line jump out at you? Why is that? Does one line not sit well with you? Why do you not connect with that line? 

Moreover, think about the breakdown of the Psalm. There are 22 sections of 8 verses of Psalm 119. In your Bibles, there may even be a strange mark and word. For many this would be something that looks like an X and the word “Aleph” or “Alef”. The translators are helping you see that this poem is an acrostic. The first letter of each verse is aleph. Eight times over. Then the same with beth, then gimmel, so on and so forth. The artist had to be intentional to work out each line to build off the previous one, but also each verse needed a new word. That takes time, commitment, dedication. Artistry. 

Don’t miss the artistry. 

Don’t miss the passion or the beauty of this psalm. That is why when you saw””Read all of Psalm 119” and you skipped that and kept reading the devotion, you really should go read the entire Psalm today. The beauty the artist wanted to display for God is in the text, and I don’t want you to miss it. 

Don’t miss the artistry. 

-Jake Ballard

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 25-26 and Psalm 119:1-40

Grace and Discipline

Psalm 117 & 118 and Ezekiel 23 & 24

Read Psalm 118, or read it again. What is this Psalm all about? What is the refrain? “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” God’s people look back on what has happened in their past and speak of God’s grace goodness and love. The Psalmist says that “he” (we don’t know the psalmist, but we will use he as the pronoun) speaks from his own perspective. The people from all nations were against him, but GOD is for him. In verse 6 he asks the great question, “What can humans do to me?” If God is for us, then who or what could ever stop us? God will save and send protection and salvation. The author says that this does not only hold true for him but it’s true for ALL of God’s people. The community asks God to save. “O LORD, do save, we ask you!” And when God answers, salvation, grace, and protection are for both the individual and the community. Upon his people he gives light (v.27) and to the individual he has become his strength, his song, and his salvation. (V. 14)

Now, compare that with Ezekiel 24:15-27 (go read it). All the words God has said in Psalm 118 don’t seem to make sense in light of Ezekiel 24. Ezekiel is God’s servant. He is a “good man” speaking to the “bad people” of Jerusalem. So what does God do? 

God kills Ezekiel’s wife. 

You may say “Jake, that’s extreme. God doesn’t kill people. He just allows her to die.” I could agree with you, maybe, if all we had was Ezekiel 24:18. Ezekiel reports the fact that his wife dies and he wasn’t allowed to mourn. But just two verses earlier, God explains that HE is taking  Ezekiel’s desire with a blow. God killed her. An innocent wife of a good man, to teach bad and rebellious men. 

Does Ezekiel say, “His love endures forever?”

Do we expect him to?

How do we reconcile this?

First, let me start with the fact that Ezekiel, his wife, and all the prophets recognized that their life was totally forfeit to the God who had power over life and death. I don’t think we should think of Ezekiel’s wife as an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire, no matter how much her story may suggest it. Ezekiel knew that everything he owned and everyone he loved was ultimately owned by God and loved by him more. 

Second, YES love. The love of God is the most fundamental element of his being. “God is love.” “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son.” “What great love the father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God!”

“His love endures forever!” 

So, the primary text is not Ezekiel but the Psalm. The Psalm prescribes who God is in love. And even there, we get our answer for Ezekiel. 

“The Lord has disciplined me severely.” 

Words alone weren’t cutting it with the people. They had heard the voice of the prophets again and again to return to the Lord. In Ezekiel 24, God is done telling them what they will experience, but will show them WHAT he will do. He was going to take his own sanctuary away from the sinning, unfaithful Israelites. He was going to discipline them. But they were not going to mourn even the presence of God being taken from them. Ezekiel showed them that they were going to lose the presence and be totally OK with it. They needed to see it, because it proved that God is the one in control. 

Finally, we need to recognize that too often we are worried too much about this life. Ezekiel’s wife may not have wanted to die, but she trusted in the Lord, as did her husband. Psalm 118 itself reminds those of us who are faithful followers of Christ that this is not the end. The stone that the builders rejected that has become the chief cornerstone. That one is Jesus of Nazareth. This work of God is marvelous in our eyes. God has made our days, our night, our beginning, and our ending. But for the faithful, this life is NOT the end. God has promised that the one who came in the name of the Lord to the shouts of “Hosanna”, or “Save us”, that same Jesus will be the one who comes in power to raise the living and the dead and give the reward to those who love him. 

Life eternal.

Goodness for forever.

Since God’s love endures forever, he promises those he loves will endure forever. 

So, give thanks to the Lord for he is good. 

His love endures forever. 

-Jake Ballard

(P.S. Not part of the main devotional text, but for those who are going through or know someone going through pain, read on. 

This post may have made you uncomfortable. Let me add the following thoughts. 

Quick summary of my points:

  1. Ezekiel’s wife had given God her life
  2. God’s love, not his judgement or anger, defines his divine actions
  3. We limited humans are too worried about the short time here when we have eternity of joy through faith

However, let me be clear :  these are not the words you share with the hurting, nor will these be your first thoughts in pain. Death is an enemy that God will destroy. We are to weep with those who weep. Understanding Ezekiel in light of the Psalm 118 is our ideal, but it may take time. If you are not in a place of pain, do NOT tell the suffering to “just get over it”. Do NOT say that God took someone’s loved one away. If you are in pain, I am not saying God took your loved one or that their life did not matter.

Ezekiel’s wife’s situation is not the way scripture speaks about every death. 

But God loves everyone, and God wishes that none perish; God is a God of life, wholeness, and health. One day, creation will again reflect the life, wholeness and health of it’s Creator, but it’s not there yet. But God may use even his enemies, death, brokenness, sickness, and pain, to bring about a greater goodness in spite of their wickedness. If you are suffering, in need of someone to hear your story, just be with you in your pain, I would encourage you to reach out to a pastor or trusted friend and ask them to listen. If you need someone to listen who doesn’t know you from Adam, but is willing to walk through your pain, please reach out to the author (Jake Ballard) via https://www.facebook.com/jacob.ballard.336. You can also find his contact information at TimberlandBibleChurch.org

May God bless show his love to you in the midst of whatever pain you experience.)

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading plan passages at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 23& 24 and Psalm 117 & 118

Trust in the LORD

Psalm 114-116, especially 115

What do you put your trust in?

Odds are there are many things that you trust. You may trust your phone alarm to wake you up to go to school or work in the morning. You probably trust the light to come on when you flip the switch. You probably trust the furnace to come on when you turn up the thermostat. There are probably even people you trust deeply. It is good to trust in these things, usually. What happens when you flip the switch and the room is still dark? How about when you turn on the heat and it starts blowing cold air? Have you ever been late because your alarm didn’t wake you up (rather the alarm went off or not)? I bet you have even had a trusted friend or family member hurt you. So again I ask, “What do you do when the things or people you trust fall short?”

It is amazing how much it can throw us off when our trust is shaken. We may be tempted to “never trust anyone again.” We may want to throw the phone across the room and drop kick the furnace, but the fact is we knew these would eventually let us down. As we go through life we learn that all things, people included, fall short. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” This sounds like terrible news and in many ways it is, but there is good news as well. There is One that always has been, always will be, and He does NOT fail. Psalm 115 addresses the times we place too much trust in material items, the things of this world, our idols. Here we read a few of the many weaknesses of idols. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, make a sound, and are made by human hands; yet still we place our trust in them. Why do we decide to place our trust in these inanimate objects? 

After reading of the weaknesses of idols we find many times that we are to trust in the LORD. We can trust in Him because He is the opposite of every aspect of the idols. “He is (our) help and (our) shield…He is mindful to us…He will bless us.” He is the source of every good thing, every blessing, and will NEVER fail. Verse 18 tells us, “we will bless the LORD from this time and forever.” This is the Kingdom hope we have, that we may bless the LORD and trust in the LORD for all time. 

-Bill Dunn

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Psalm 114- 116 and Ezekiel 21-22

Praise Him

Psalm 111-113

Most of us say that we would like to have wisdom and good understanding. This seems pretty obvious but it is so easy to loose track of what brings these things. We search in books, on apps, listening to podcasts, and on websites. When we search in these and other places like these for wisdom and understanding we find that it all falls short if it is not based in faith. Thankfully we have a source of both wisdom and understanding. Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; All those who follow His commandments have a good understanding; His praise endures forever.”

When we search for wisdom we need to start with fear for the LORD. This does not mean we need to cower and hide when we think of God. He absolutely has the power that He could instill that type of fear but that is not who He is.  Instead it means that we need to have a respectful awe or reverence for the LORD. Although He is mighty and powerful beyond our capabilities, He is also loving and compassionate beyond our understanding. He is the God who is powerful enough to speak and create life as we know it and loving enough to send His Son to overcome death that we may live. David said that wisdom begins with this reverent fear of the LORD. When we know who we serve and the love He has for us we can truly focus on what is important. That is leading as many as possible to a relationship with God as we serve Him with our life. 

David does not stop there. He says that following the commandments of God shows “a good understanding.” We follow His commandments because we understand what has been done for us. We have a desire to serve the one that has blessed us so incredibly with hope, both now and in the life to come. We understand that we have been given a gift that we could not have possibly earned and as such we desire to show thanks in the best way we can. That is to follow His commandments. Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments, upon which hang all the others, are to love God and love people!

David ends this verse by saying that “His (God’s) praise endures forever.” At first it may seem a simple statement of just four words. Upon further thought though we realize that this statement has long lasting reach. Also we find that His praise will endure forever. This means that even if I do not praise Him others will. It also means that His praise did not stop when David died, when Solomon died, when Job died, when the apostles died, and it will not stop when you and I die either. If His praise endures forever; this is an eternal statement with implications into the Kingdom of God! It is with great pleasure that I tell you that you can praise Him both now and FOREVER!

Those who have wisdom and have understanding will praise the LORD!

-Bill Dunn

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading plan passages at SeekGrowLove.com here – Psalm 111-113 and Ezekiel 19-20

See a Victory

 

Psalm 108-110

When you think of a strong person what do you picture? Do you envision an Olympic weightlifter holding an impossibly heavy barbell over their head? Or maybe you go the route of imagining a superhero trying to hold back a speeding train.  While these examples do show strength, we need to remember that there is more to strength than flexing a muscle. More than brute strength is needed to have victory over evil.

In today’s passage, David continues to trust in God’s strength and might no matter the circumstance.  As David seems to go through a rollercoaster of emotions, he doesn’t wavier in his trust that God will be victorious at the end of the day. I love what it says in Psalm 108:12 in the Good News Translation, “Help us against the enemy; human help is worthless.”  David is gearing up for a battle and has an army by his side yet he is humble enough to recognize that compared to God’s strength, his army and any other human help is worthless.  If King David was able to humbly recognize that the only way to victory is through God, we should be able to do the same.

God promises that we will ultimately be victorious over evil if we walk in His ways and accept the gift of His Son.  Psalm 110:1 gives us a clear picture of what God has planned for the future.  This verse might seem repetitive at a glance, but as we look closer we can see that the first LORD is in all caps which means its referencing God while the second Lord that is not in all caps references the Messiah who we know as Jesus.  By placing Jesus at His right hand, God is putting His son in a position of authority until the time comes for Jesus to rule over the nations after which will come the Kingdom of God. With all the craziness going on in our world, it’s refreshing to know that God has a plan for us to have victory over evil through Him.

Today I’d like to leave you with the lyrics from a praise and worship song we like to sing at Garden Park.  Remember that no matter how dark it may seem, God has a plan and He will be victorious.

“See A Victory” by Elevation Worship

“The weapon may be formed, but it won’t prosper

When the darkness falls, it won’t prevail

‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph

My God will never fail …

I’m gonna see a victory

I’m gonna see a victory

For the Battle belongs to you Lord.”

-Bill Dunn

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 17-18 and Psalm 108-110

Give Thanks to the LORD!

Psalm 107

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His mercy is everlasting. The redeemed of the LORD shall say so…” (Psalm 107:1, 2a NASB2020)

We, the redeemed of the LORD, are to give praise to our God! This seems obvious when we think of the good things He has done for us. However, when we think of the struggles of life we tend to forget about the many blessings we have from above. It can be easy to get caught up in the stress of a job, the race of paying off debt, the chaos that is a college campus, the extra-curricular activities of high school, or even the pleasures of pet ownership. Some of these are good, some are not so good, and others depend on the day and context; but we find that anything that takes our eyes away from the LORD is a problem. The Psalmist here tells us that we need to give thanks in all situations. 

We will see that if we turn from the ways of the world and walk in the ways of God we will find peace and reason to give thanks! First, he says we are redeemed from the hands of our enemy and gathered from foreign lands. Although it is not as common now, in ancient culture it was quite common for citizens of defeated nations to be carried off and scattered to prevent the nation from rebuilding. This happened to Israel many times in the Old Testament; time and time again God promised he would gather His people and He did just exactly that. For this His people would give thanks to the LORD!

God also delivers His people from hunger, thirst, unjust imprisonment, foolishness, and even illness. This is not to say that we will always be delivered from these situations but we do find that God takes pleasure in caring for us. When we are in these scenarios we need to call to Him to deliver us and give thanks to Him for His goodness. 

There are certainly times that we can feel like we are tossed here and there as if by the waves of the sea during a storm. Your waves may come from any number of areas of life but what we hold in common in these times is that we can be found at our wits’ end as it says in the 2020 NASB. The Psalmist says that when we find ourselves here we can cry out to Him and He can cause the storm to be still and bring us to the end of our distresses. Once the wind and waves stop we must not be tempted to just think, oh the storm died down. We must acknowledge and give thanks to God for stopping the storm. 

In the last 5 verses of Psalm 107 we read of a concept that Jesus taught his disciples. Jesus said the first shall be last and the last shall be first, while here the proud will be humbled and the humble will be exalted. I find this to be encouraging because even when the world punishes us for doing what God has called us to do, we can have faith that God will raise us beyond the judgment of the world. For that we should alway give thanks to the LORD!

-Bill Dunn

Today’s Bible reading plan passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 15-16 and Psalm 107

Remember

2 Peter 3

Have you ever played any memory or matching games? Our family likes to watch Braingames, where they discuss different scenarios that “trick the mind.” Some will use colors that play tricks on the brain, others will use shapes to make you think a longer line is actually shorter, still others will show you tricks to better remember something. 

We tend to forget things easily, as a result we have found that it is easier to remember if we recap our tasks at the end of a conversation or email. Our family emails will usually end with a bullet point list of the main points of the email. We have even begun doing this with some of the emails we send to those outside of our family as well. 

The third chapter of 2 Peter is kind of a bulleted list reminding his readers of the main points he has brought to their attention. He reminds his readers of the the importance of the words spoken by the prophets and the commandments of the Lord. This is the foremost reminder that he gives seeking for his readers to focus their lives on these. He says mockers will come and they will ask, “Is your Lord ever actually going to return?” If you have been a Christian for very long you have probably been asked a similar question, or even thought about similar questions yourself. Peter reminds us that God operates outside of our understanding of time. What seems like a long time to us is like a day to Him. He also reminds us that the apparent delay is not so much slowness as it is patiently waiting for as many as will to come to repentance and form a relationship of hope and love with our Lord. 

Remembering these things should cause us to think of the kind of person we should be. We should be people that are consistently looking for opportunities to further His Kingdom work and bring others to Christ. We should be living holy and godly lives while keeping our eyes on the things of God rather than the things of this world. I will never forget the many times I have heard Dr. Joe Martin proclaiming, “ITS ALL GONNA BURN” as he talks about the earthly things he dreams of (his Toyota Tundra). We all have material possessions that we hold dear and that we dream of one day having, the fact of the matter is that ITS ALL GONNA BURN and that’s okay! When it burns at the coming day of the Lord we will receive eternal life. We will be in the presence of our LORD and His Son! We will be seeing the new heaven and new earth! There is NOTHING in this creation that can compare with how amazing that will be!

REMEMBER:

  • The words spoken by the prophets. (Verse 2)
  • The commandment of the Lord and Savior. (Verse 2)
  • Mockers will come with their mocking. (Verse 3)
  • God is patient, NOT slow. (Verses 8 & 9)
  • Its all gonna burn! (Verse 12 & Dr. Joe)
  • We are awaiting something FAR BETTER!!! (Verse 13)
  • Be diligent in your faith and actions. (Verse 14)
  • Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord. (Verse 18)

-Bill Dunn

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading plan passages at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 13-14 and 2 Peter 3

FALSE

2 Peter 2

We do NOT like to be told our actions are wrong or that our understanding is false. Many people today fight against the idea that there even is “true or false”, “fact or fiction”, and “right or wrong”. The Bible, however, very clearly teaches us that there is a difference between each of these. 

In 2 Peter 2 we read that there have always been people, and even angels, teaching what is not correct and there have always been consequences for these false teachings. There are angels “held for punishment”, the ungodly caught in a worldwide flood, and cities reduced to ashes all as a result of teaching and living by what is NOT TRUE. 

The good news is that we have the option to read and understand what is TRUE. Verse 9 tells us that God “knows how to rescue the godly!” This is incredible news as we read about the destruction of the ungodly false teachers and prophets. When we teach we need to be certain that what we are teaching is the truth we find in the Bible. When we make choices we need to be sure they are guided by these same truths and NOT by the false teachings of the world. 

Peter even tells us that the false teachers will promise freedom, while being enslaved by their own false teachings. It is possible to get away from the grips of these false teachings but it is not always easy to stay away. Peter describes it by quoting Proverbs 26:11, “A dog returns to its own vomit…” this is quite the disgusting thought but it is quite accurate. A dog will return to eat what its body has already rejected and a pig will go roll in the mud after it was just cleaned off. We tend to do the same thing, hopefully not literally! Temptations and the false teachings of the world are not easy to resist but Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will give a way out of any temptation we face. That way out may not be easy, it may not be pleasant, but it will be there; and it will be far better for us. 

Don’t be like a dog or a pig! Avoid the false teachings this world has to offer and live your life in the freedom that can only be found serving The LORD God Almighty and His Son, Jesus the Christ!

-Bill Dunn

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway.com here – Ezekiel 11-12 and 2 Peter 2