Category Archives: Biblical Truth

Straining at Gnats, Swallowing Camels

As Jesus spoke to His disciples and the multitude gathered in His last public discourse held in the Temple of Jerusalem before His crucifixion, He spoke of those who strain at gnats and swallow camels. He spoke of those who minor on the major, and major on the minor. He spoke of those who clean the outside of the cup while neglecting the filthiness inside the cup. He spoke of the scribes and Pharisees of the day, pronouncing woe upon them for their hypocrisy and iniquity.

In Matthew 23 Jesus’ words of guilt and punishment are recorded upon those in His presence who had laid heavy burdens upon the people but would not lift one finger to help them. He declared, “All their works they do for to be seen of men,” (vs4-5). In denouncing them, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (v13), Jesus proceeded to make clear the very nature of their sin.

Jesus rebuked them for promoting false doctrine contrary to the Scriptures (v13); devouring widows’ property and possessions by fraud (v14); making a pretence of long prayers (v14); compassing land and sea to make one false convert to their traditions (v15); giving more credence to an oath sworn on the gold of the Temple or a gift on the altar than by the God of Heaven Whose presence dwelt in the Temple (vs16-22); paying tithes with herbs of little value while omitting “the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (v23).

As Jesus refers to the scribes and Pharisees as “blind guides” throughout the chapter for leading His people astray, He gives word pictures to their actions. He describes how they wipe clean the outside of the plate and cup, observing all the washings and cleansings of their tradition, while neglecting what matters most on the inside (vs25-26). He then turns their attention to the cemetery and the “whited sepulchres” found there, which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones. He tells them of how they build and decorate the tombs of the prophets and righteous who were slain by their forefathers, all the while proclaiming “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Knowing that it would be by their very hands they would call for His crucifixion, He tells them, “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers,” (vs27-32).

For such actions by the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus called them “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers,” for their pretending to be pious and devoted to God, but all the while being wicked on the inside with evil intentions. Jesus then asked them, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (v33). If the scribes and Pharisees continued on their wicked path, their future punishment in eternity would be inescapable.

A Virtuous Woman vs. A Godless Woman

The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is the model set forth by King Solomon as a godly woman, one who pleases her husband, cares for her children and her neighbors. In contrast, the Apostle Paul speaks of the characteristics of the ungodly in Romans 1, those who do “not like to retain God in their knowledge” (vs.28), and live their lives accordingly. The differences between the two are striking.

A Virtuous Woman – Proverbs 31:10-31

Does good and not evil all the days of her life

Works willingly with her hands

Gathers food for her family

Rises early from sleep to care for her family

Buys property

Plants a garden

Strengthens herself

Works hard day and night

Helps the poor and needy

Provides warm clothing for her family

Faithful to her husband

Makes and delivers goods to the merchant

Maintains her honor

Speaks with wisdom

Shows kindness

Takes care of her household

Keeps busy

Reverences The LORD

 

An Ungodly Woman – Romans 1:18-32

Filled with unrighteousness                                                Hates God

Involved in sexual sin                                                             Despiteful

Wicked                                                                                          Proud

Desires what others have                                                     Boastful

Seeks to harm others                                                             Invents evil things

Full of envy                                                                                 Disobedient to parents

Full of murder                                                                           Without understanding

Contentious                                                                               Covenant breaker

Deceitful                                                                                      Without natural affection

Has bad character                                                                   Unreasonable

Secret slanderer                                                                       Unmerciful

Backbites                                                                                    Has pleasure in wickedness

 

“Who can find a Virtuous Woman?

for her price is Far Above Rubies.”

Proverbs 31:10

I Can See Clearly Now

A familiar verse found in Psalm 119:105 brings not only direction for one’s life, but presents the key to understanding the events taking place in the world today and what lies ahead for each and every person in the life to come. The answers to man’s questions past, present and future are found within the pages of God’s WORD, a gift He has given mankind applicable to every generation.

“Thy WORD is a Lamp unto My Feet, and a Light unto My Path.”

As a lamp shines closest to its carrier, many recall the words to live by of the great Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s premier Founding Fathers who was known for his words of wisdom… “A penny saved is a penny earned;” “Waste not, want not;” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Much more profound than Franklin’s words, the Holy WORD of God contains over 800 proverbs of the wisdom of Solomon, the wisest person to ever live, “… that God had put in his heart,” (2 Chronicles 9:23), recorded in the Book of Proverbs. Words to live by such as, Keep My commandments, and live,” (7:2); “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,” (10:32); ”Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD,” (16:5); “A poor man is better than a liar,” (19:22); “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man,” (21:17); “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small,” (24:10), and on, and on.

As events fill every news broadcast and sets the world on edge, God’s WORD shines on the path ahead clearly illuminating what is happening, why it is happening and what the final result will be. His WORD reveals, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about… all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it,” (Zechariah 12:2-3); the coming battle of Gog and Magog (Russia) allied with Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (Turkey), along with other nations (Ezekiel 38-39); “With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish… God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11); “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine… they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables,” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Concerning life after death, God’s WORD speaks of, “In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you,” (John 14:2); “For I know that my Redeemer liveth… though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,” (Job 19:25-26); “… willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 5:8); “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth… no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” (Revelation 21:1-4).

“For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” 

Psalm 119:89

                                                                    

Thou Shalt Not Covet

The sin of coveting was first committed in the Garden God had planted in Eden where Eve believed the lie of that old serpent, the Devil, when she ate of the tree God had instructed her and Adam not to partake. Satan had convinced Eve that God’s Word concerning not eating the fruit of the tree lest she die was not to be believed, nor trusted. Eve desired to taste the fruit, saw that it did not look harmful, and reached for the first bite, what the Apostle John referred to in 1 John 2:16, “the lust of the flesh… the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father.” What God commanded, Eve rejected.

To covet something is to want it so much that one will do anything to get it regardless of the consequences, as in the case of Eve. In taking a bite of forbidden fruit and encouraging her husband to do the same brought disastrous life-changing results that harmed both their own personal relationships with God, their relationship with one another, the glorious plan God had prior to their sin for their lives , and the plan of God for the entire planet and those who would inhabit it in the future (Genesis 2-3).

In Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 who came to Him desiring to know what he must do to obtain eternal life, the young man professed to have kept the six Commandments Jesus named. But Jesus knowing his heart was full of covetousness honed in on the last of the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s,” (Exodus 20:17). When Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor, the depth of his sinfulness was revealed to the man. Like Eve, the rich young man rejected God’s command.

The sin of coveting is referred to as idolatry in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Colosse where he implored the believers in Christ to put off and put to death those things that should not be found among them, “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5). In the Book of Hebrews God’s people are told to not be covetous, but “be content with such things as ye have,” (Hebrews 13:5). The things of this world rust, corrupt, and decay, and eventually will be burned up at the end of this age, but those things that are laid up in Heaven will retain their value for eternity.

To Stand Faultless Before the Throne

As it is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment, how is one able to come before the Throne of God faultless? With the sin of mankind passed down from generation to generation from the original sin committed by Adam in the Garden, how does one come to stand before a Holy God and escape His wrath that is to come? The Apostle John was afforded a glimpse upon the Heavenly Throne of God and tells the world of those who are able to stand “without fault before the Throne of God,” (Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:1-5).

As John was carried to the Heavenly scene by “the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:9-10), he found himself in the presence of the Lamb of God standing with those who had been “redeemed from the earth… redeemed from among men.” He saw those who were with Jesus had the Lamb’s “Father’s name written in their foreheads,” in contrast to the beast’s mark on the hand or forehead John had been warned would be required during the Great Tribulation of those who rejected God and followed after the beast (Revelation 13:11-18). Before the Throne of God, only the Father’s Name is present on those who have been redeemed.

As John observed those who stood before the Throne of the Most High God, he heard the voices of the redeemed singing a new song, a song no man could learn but the redeemed. It is the song of redemption, the song of amazing grace, the song of salvation. Even God’s holy angels are unable to learn the song of the redeemed.

Those the Apostle John saw standing before the Throne were those who were the firstfruits of the redeemed who were to follow, as Christ is the Firstfruit of those who are to be risen again in His likeness and live in His Presence throughout Eternity (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John wrote of the redeemed he saw in the heavenly vision, “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the Throne of God.” Those who stand before the Throne of God in worship and praise are those who have been cleansed from their sin, washed in the blood of the Lamb, clothed in His Righteousness, without spot or blemish. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7).