Condemning Violence: H.C. Question 107

Is it enough then that we do not murder our neighbor in any such way? 

Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Matthew 5:3-12 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:36 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Galatians 6:1-2 – Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Colossians 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Exodus 23:4-5 – “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.

Matthew 5:44-45 – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Romans 12:20-21 – On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Proverbs 25:21-22 – If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Providing Help: H.C. Question 28

How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?

Job 1:21-22 – …and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;  may the name of the Lord be praised.”  In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

James 1:3 – because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Deuteronomy 8:10 – When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Job 1:12 – The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”  Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Job 2:6 – The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

Proverbs 21:1 – In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him.

Acts 17:24-28 – “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Day 227: Jeremiah 27-29; Give the People what They Want?

There are really two messages that we read about today from largely opposing worldviews and motivations.  One comes from a false prophet and the other from the true prophet of God.  One is a message the people want to hear and the other is rather unpopular with the people.  One carries Truth, the other carries with it lies, deceit, and the desire for attention only.  Today we get to observe as Jeremiah, the prophet of God, and Hananiah the false prophet square off as they give their respective messages to the people of Judah.

As I was reading this I found myself, much like Jeremiah, wanting to agree and believe Hananiah’s message of deliverance.  His message centered around the idea that God was going to relent from His judgment and restore the people of Israel.  Taken at face value this message is great!  I’m sure there were a lot of excited people that were very motivated and thought they would just need to hold out a bit longer.  In some ways I’m sure that the people thought that this was obvious because of how loving and merciful God is, and probably along the lines of a “better late than never” situation.  But if you look a bit deeper, there are some very glaring problems.  The people have disobeyed God and sinned repeatedly.  As is spelled out by the Law, the people would first actually need to repent from their sins and turn from their evil ways for God to relent from the punishment that is prescribed.  Hananiah’s message would seem to contradict that.  Like Jeremiah, I wish this was what would have come true.  I too wanted to say “Amen!” to his message.  But the simple fact is, it wasn’t true, even if it was what the people wanted to hear.

On the other hand, the message of Jeremiah was absolutely an unpopular one, yet it carried with it the Truth and assurance of God.  Jeremiah’s message shows up in a letter written to the exiles in Babylon, those that had been taken in the first exile in 593 B.C.  He tells them to hunker down, prepare for the long haul, be ready to stay for a while.  This, as you can imagine, was not what the people wanted to hear at all.  I’m sure the response to the first part of the letter went something like this: “Stay in Babylon?  Build a life for ourselves in a foreign land?  God has truly forsaken us.”  However, neither God nor Jeremiah leave them with that hopeless message.  One of the most famous verses in the Bible and its subsequent explanation is spoken here, leaving the people with a message of hope and an understanding that God has indeed not left them, but has everything under control and is working His will through them even in this time and in this foreign land.

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Two messages delivered.  Only one is popular and only one is true.  It makes me think about many of the sermons and messages that are being preached in churches today, about the rise of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and about how people flock to hear sermons from pastors with very poor theology.  It makes me wonder about the message of the Church as a whole in culture today.  Are we going along with the ideas of relative truth?  Spiritualism?  Civil religion?  Or are we listening for the Word of God in all that we do and in ever situation that we find ourselves in?  I sure hope its the latter…