Tag: Truth

How Not To Write A Song

“So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1 Sam. 18:7)

 

This song has always struck me a little funny. It’s the ‘exclamation of praise’ that some women began to sing as David and Saul returned from the slaying of Goliath. When you read what they sang it’s almost incumbent upon you to ask, “Really? Did they seriously think that was a good song choice?” Did they really give any thought to the lyrics and think, “I know what we should sing, let’s keep it simple, how about…‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’”

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Co-existence versus Conquest (Jdg. 1:21, 27-36)

When the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan they were given specific instructions regarding those who were inhabiting the land. God’s judgment was to be executed upon the Canaanites and the nation of Israel was the LORD’s instrument of choice. God could have used any means He wanted; He could have brought massive earthquakes upon the land; He could have brought famine; He could have simply decided not to extend another gracious breath to all those who had come under the righteous wrath; but instead, in this Old Testament context, He used the nation of Israel to be His instrument of choice.

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The Tragedy of Procrastination (Acts 24:25)

There are times in Scripture where we receive unique insight into the tragedy of procrastination. There’s the parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-13), five of whom prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival, and five that did not, but instead procrastinated and were shut out of the wedding. In Luke 9:57-62 we see instances of people who, instead of heeding Jesus’ call to follow Him, offered “but first” excuses. We don’t know what they decided to do after Jesus addressed their attempts to procrastinate but if they did put off following Him we understand what a foolish and dangerous decision that was. That’s the kind of procrastination that is the most tragic of all. Although procrastination in any form of life can be problematic, i.e. letting the sun go down on your wrath because you didn’t address it sooner (Eph. 4:26-27), this kind of procrastination is the pinnacle of folly.

The governor Felix was such a man. He had heard Paul’s defense after the Jews accused Paul of sedition and heresy. Felix postponed making a decision about the apostle, and then, after some days, he and his wife Drusilla sent for him and heard him concerning faith in Christ (Acts 24:24).

What happens next is startling.

Paul reasoned with Felix about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (vs.25). While we’re not told the exact details of the conversation we could imagine that when Paul spoke of righteousness that he spoke about the merit of Christ and our need to have a righteousness that was not of the law but one that only comes through faith in the person and work of Christ. Such is a theme addressed by Paul quite a few times in his epistles. When he spoke of self-control, he most likely described to Felix what the Christian life looks like. In the midst of a pagan world given to sensual pleasure and satisfaction, the Christian was to find contentment in the One who said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5). And, as any good Gospel presentation will do, Paul spoke about the judgment to come. This Gospel wasn’t simply an option that Felix had presented to him whereby he could make this life better. The backdrop of the Gospel is the inevitability of death and judgment in light of a lifetime of rebellion against God. The Gospel is not simply an option, it’s the only way for a sinner to be made righteous, escape the torments of the lake of fire, and enjoy glorifying God forever.

What’s startling is – Felix’s response. The rest of verse says, “Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'” (vs.25b)

As far as we know… that ‘convenient time’ never came…

When Felix heard Paul speak concerning faith in Christ and righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, he was afraid. It would be fair to assume he intellectually understood the Gospel and that he was afraid because he knew, at some level, that he was a sinner that was not right before God. Yet, like many of us have tried to do when we’ve been afraid, he suppressed it, and pushed it to the side. It’s one thing to push aside fears that the Lord tells us not to have, like worrying about tomorrow, or about food and clothing. It’s another thing to push away the fear that we’re supposed to have. The kind that the Scripture calls the beginning of wisdom: “the fear of the LORD”.

Whatever the case was with Felix, and whatever the internal workings of his mind were, he joined the foolishness of the Athenians who told Paul, “We will hear you again on this matter” (Acts 17:32).

That moment that the Athenians presumed would be there appears to have never happened.

The convenient time Felix appeased his mind by thinking about looks to have never occurred either.

If today, you hear the voice of the Lord saying, as it were, ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Believe the Gospel’, do not join the ranks of Felix and the Athenians, or those in Luke 9:57-62 who said, “I will…. But first….” As it is written, “Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and avoid the foolish tragedy of procrastination.

Putting Words in God’s Mouth (Jer. 28:1-4)

Have you ever had someone tell someone else that you said something you never actually said? If so, you’ve probably found that your level of appropriate frustration was greater or smaller depending on how serious the misrepresentation was. But regardless, most of us (if not all of us) do not like the idea of somebody putting words in our mouth that were never actually there. And if you find that irritating you are catching a tiny glimpse of how God feels when fallen man does that very thing to Him. It’s one of the reasons why not many ought to be teachers (Jas. 3:1). It is a high and hefty responsibility to divide God’s word accurately (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) and refrain from giving a message that God never gave (cf. Jer. 23:21b). But the latter was just the kind of thing that Hananiah was doing.

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Supposed Bible Contradictions – How Did Saul Really Die? (1 Sam. 31:4; 2 Sam. 1:10)

4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it.

(1 Samuel 31:4)

10 So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.”
(2 Samuel 1:10)

Have you ever told a story to make yourself look better than you are? Have you ever changed certain details while recounting a personal story in the hopes that you’d win favor, or approval, or applause with your hearer(s)? That appears to be exactly what the young man in 2nd Samuel was doing – a strategy which didn’t work out well for him. But nonetheless, his fabrication provides an explanation for the different accounts of Saul’s demise.

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