Genesis 24 is a chapter often used to emphasize the Biblical teachings regarding marriage and God’s miraculous providence. This time, we recount the story through the perspective of the old servant and the evolution of his attitude toward the LORD as the work of God pans out before his eyes. The progression of his posture in prayer is a reflection of the progression of his faith through his experience of God.
“Psa 4:1 To the Chief Musician. With Stringed Instruments. A Psalm of David. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.”
What I admire about David in Psalm chapter 4 is his trust and confidence in God. David, throughout his life, had been through many trials and had to flee for his life on many occasions. He was constantly pursued by Saul and his men and betrayed by even his own son, Absalom.
“For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.” (Deut 23:14)
In Deuteronomy, God specifically commanded the Israelites that they should keep their camp holy by covering up their physical waste, which is unclean to God. It may be difficult for us to imagine what unholiness feels like to God, but perhaps the revulsion we feel when we see something putrid is how God feels about sin. If God is so repulsed when He looks at sin, what might He feel when He looks at the depths of our hearts? Though we have not murdered or committed adultery, it is the lust, pride, bitterness, and other abominable things harbored in our hearts that cause us to rot within. Our sins create a barrier in our relationship with God. Proverbs 15:8-9 tells us that the prayer of a wicked person is disgusting before the LORD, because their hearts are not clean.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10) Sometimes, we may not realize how filthy we are until God shows us the things within us that are offensive to Him. His standard of holiness is much higher than we imagined, and can only be attained through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we wish to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ, we must start with imitating His holiness, which begins with our hearts.
And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12)
Gideon is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or questionable characters in the Bible. He was of a quiet and timid character (Judges 6:15, 27), and at times displayed reluctance or even doubt of God’s abidance with Israel (Judges 6:13). He was definitely not a perfect man, but one thing is sure because God had this to say about him before any feat of courage or action of strength: you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12, 14)!
Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.
Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. (Jer 3:22)
Backsliding is very serious. The backsliding of the people of Judah led to the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. Throughout history, God has called for His people to return. “Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jer 6:16, NIV). After the exile, the Israelites finally returned to the Lord and His law.
Christians can become backsliders when they lose their fellowship with God, have a cold or lukewarm heart, or fall into sin. We need to be alert so as to not become loveless, lifeless, or lukewarm believers as described in the book of Revelation to the churches in Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea. In the first steps of our Christian lives, we may have had enthusiasm without knowledge. Do we now have knowledge without enthusiasm? If you find yourself feeling indifferent to church, to God, or to the Bible, you have begun to shut God out of your life. Continue reading