I was kicking myself after about 30 minutes had passed and I learned I would be needing a crown on one of my teeth. This past Sabbath before virtual church I had broken a tooth–I’ve known it was cracked since early December and my dentist had been encouraging me to get it fixed . . . but who has the time? So Sabbath morning the tooth broke, and today my doc told me to get into her office for an emergency appointment–which I obeyed . . . because now I do have the time.
But back to why I was kicking myself. I didn’t bring a book. I looked right at three books I’m reading when I was getting ready to leave the house and decided I wouldn’t be that long. One, there aren’t many patients going to the dentist in the season of Covid-19 and two, she’ll probably just throw some temporary fill in the hole and we’ll get to it when all this passes.
But no–things were too close to the nerve and so there I was wishing I had a book.
But since I didn’t I open the Bible app on my phone and I read the following (stay tuned after the text I have some thoughts):
After I read that text I wasn’t kicking myself quite as hard, because it started me ruminating.
Here were my thoughts:
Verses 1-2: There is food right now we need that is above and beyond physical food. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” -Matthew 4:4
In this time of Covid-19 while we are worrying about the economy and what we will and won’t have does the Lord have a plan to draw us to return to His Word and His instruction for our lives? Is He calling us to take our eyes off of the world’s economy and place them on the Lord’s economy.
Verses 3-5: Verse 3 begins with an imperative to “listen” and our “listening” to what God is saying will lead us to another level of living. And then there is an expansion on that promise in verses 3b-5.
Verse 6: My heart was touched as I read these words. I thought about the people that will die due to this virus. Maybe someone I know and love. Maybe someone you know and love. I think about the people that will die prior to Jesus returning that have not yet accepted Him as their Savior. This is their time that He may be found. But this is not just about others, this is about the time I have now to seek Jesus more deeply than I have previously. In fact those things that have often sucked-up my time have been removed. The things I would subconsciously and consciously allow to pull me away from Jesus time–an abundance of meetings–I don’t have those right now. Sports–I don’t have those right now. Kids school activities–I don’t have those right now. I have a lot more time–Chad “seek me in this extra time, while I may be found.”
Verse 7: When we truly seek The Lord we will see wicked things in our lives, we will see all kinds of levels of unrighteousness. But when we see those things we don’t need to despair! Jesus through His death on the cross has given us a better option than the wicked ways and the unrighteous thoughts, the option to turn away from the wicked things and live, because “He will freely pardon.”
Verses 8-9: I pondered how is God thinking about Covid-19. It didn’t catch Him off guard like it did the leader of our country and so many others. Is God working in a way through this horrible situation that we cannot even comprehend? In history when there are calamities, crises, and persecution the church grows. But what about when the calamity is forced isolation? The question has been in my mind, “how can a church grow when can’t “go”? I hear God saying to me, “my ways are not your ways.” Maybe God is preparing a people that will come through this Covid-19 time more convicted of the times in which we are living. Ready to put everything else aside and live only for reaching people for Jesus. I don’t know. But I do know God’s ways are not my ways.
Verses 10-11: My favorite verses in the entire passage. Verses 10 and 11 assure me even in this time of isolation, somehow God’s Word is going out and it will not return to Him void. Just in the last couple weeks the grass in our back yard that has lied dormant all winter is letting me know it is ready to be cut, and today as the rain fell I thought, “after the off and on of rain and sun all week our yard is really going to need cutting.” Just like that dormant grass bursts forth. God’s word I know will do that in people’s hearts! That is how His ways, whatever they are will be fulfilled. People open to God’s word, and God’s word doing the work only it can!
Verses 12-13: I had not thought about verse 12 and 13–I don’t think ever before today. But in my heart, there in the dentist chair I thought . . . well let me first say, I don’t mean for this to sound callous. I understand there is a lot of suffering going on in our world right now, and that some will die from Covid-19, maybe even us . . . but as I pondered this verse in the chair while I was waiting for the machine to finish making my new tooth (crown) my heart thought, “could there a people who spiritually come through this virus more joyful? Seeing the good things of God rather than the thorn bush?”
Those are my thoughts. I pray Isaiah 55 leads us in this time of Covid-19.
I believe it was a good thing I chose not to bring a book to the dentist today.
Genesis 19 illustrates the combined wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and its impact on Lots family through sexual sin:
Before they (Lot and male guests) had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them.
One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him.
Due to the inference of homosexual acts in the first scripture reference above and our modern societies desire to avoid all condemnation of homosexual activity, there are efforts to minimize this sin of Sodom and Gomorrah,
It may be that sexual disorder is one aspect of a general disorder. But that issue is presented in a way scarcely pertinent to contemporary discussions of homosexuality.
Brueggemann, W. (1982). Genesis (p. 164). Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press.
So those that want to condone the homosexual acts within our society often point out that Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned in other parts of scripture for overall injustice (Isaiah 1:10; 3:9), adultery and deceit (Jeremiah 23:14), and the most popular explanation for their destruction,
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.
I concur with commentators that there were other ills in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but that does not mean one of those ills was not homosexual activity.
On the other hand, I would push against those who focus primarily on the sin of sexual activity between two individuals of the same gender, that the sexual sins in the rest of Genesis 19 and the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah listed in other parts of scripture need to be condemned just as strongly as the homosexual activity.
We as Christians that believe sexual activity, as God designed it, is to be reserved for heterosexual marriage, lose credibility when we ignore other sins of a society or within our own groups.
For Christians to condemn homosexual acts out of one side of their mouths and condone the vitriol, lies, and greed of a president out of the other side of their mouths destroy Christian credibility.
Sex between individuals of the same gender is sin. So is avarice, gluttony, pride, dishonesty, oppression of the poor, heterosexual sins, etc.
Reading the Bible is unlike any other book for a multitude of reasons, but in one way that is so fascinating is how with each reading the Holy Spirit impresses a new emphasis.
Normally when I read Genesis 18 I focus on Sarah laughing or Abraham “bargaining” with God for Sodom–at least that is what the notes in my margins all tell me have been on my mind in the past.
But this time I thought about Abraham’s hospitality. This was an expectation of their culture, but there is a reason. The bedouin culture understood the value of hospitality and sharing a meal with another.
Recently we had a church meeting with some of our leaders and we decided to host it at our house. We provided food . . . my wife or I did not go and kill a calf . . . we catered Chipotle . . . but still, the meeting was different because before we got to business people took off their coats, some took off their shoes, and they sat together and ate.
It made me want to have a meal around every meeting . . .
I don’t know that we could afford that, but I do think we’ll do it more often than we have in the past.
Show hospitality, eat with people.
These aspects of human, and even in the case of Abraham, divine relationships seem to be very important in the Bible!
If a person believes in the authority of scripture, they cannot read Genesis 11 and not recognize that sometimes God allows or even does things that will make us unhappy in order to protect us.
The first 9 verses of Genesis 11 tell the story of the tower of Babel and what jumps out at me is God was willing to upset a lot of folk and give them a level of unhappiness and frustration in order to save humanity.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lordconfused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Lesson to me, to us? Don’t assume every situation in our lives that is frustrating is a.) from the devil. b.) something to be upset about. c.) something that is working against us.
The Lord confused the languages of humanity and saved us from ourselves.
What is the purpose and value of genealogies in the Bible (Because that is all Genesis 10 is)?
Genealogies help to substantiate the historical accuracy of scripture.
Genealogies help to confirm prophecy from the past.
Genealogies remind us that God works with families. Strong families. Weak families. Intact families. Broken families.
Genealogies sometimes share with us small stories or insights that we can apply to our lives for edification. Some of you may remember a little book that was very popular called, “The Prayer of Jabez.” Jabez’s story came from a genealogy, 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10. Two verses in a genealogy that God used to bless a lot of people.
So let’s not look down on genealogies. Let us mine them and see what blessing there may be for us.
My name is Chad Stuart, and I'm a preacher. Inevitably, I spend a lot of time speaking from “inside” the pulpit, however, this blog reflects thoughts I have beyond, or “outside” the pulpit. It represents my own thoughts on religion, spirituality, the Bible, family, leadership, church growth, and some random other stuff.