Jehoshaphat, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 15, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Asa served as king of Judah for 41 years, and overall he did what was right in God’s eyes. While the northern kingdom of Israel had multiple evil kings during his reign, the southern kingdom of Judah remained mostly following God. When Asa died, his son Jehoshaphat took over, and that’s who we’ll look at today.

Jehoshaphat began his reign by making sure that his father Asa’s accomplishments remained – namely, he fortified key cities that Asa had captured. This was key since the evil King Ahab was reigning in Israel, and Judah needed to protect itself from him. In addition, Jehoshaphat followed the ways of King David (his great-great-great-grandfather). He worshiped the one true God, not turning to Baal as Israel did (2 Chronicles 17:1-6).

Not only did King Jehoshaphat personally worship God, but it was his mission to make sure the people knew God’s Word. In 2 Chronicles 17:9 we read, “They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.” This teaching was not just reserved for the Levites or other temple workers, but it was for everyone! The regular people in all the towns needed to know God’s law in order to know how to worship and follow Him in their lives. Because of that, the whole nation of Judah feared the Lord, and they honored King Jehoshaphat as well.

Jehoshaphat equipped the people spiritually by teaching them God’s Word, but he also equipped them physically by fortifying key cities and keeping skilled troops throughout the land. He had multiple skilled commanders stationed in various places with thousands of troops ready for battle, ready in case Ahab or another nation would attack (2 Chronicles 17:12-19).

But, just when it seemed like everything was going so well for Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah, Jehoshaphat made a terrible mistake – “he allied himself with Ahab by marriage” (2 Chronicles 18:1). Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah, which led to an alliance between the two nations. That may sound great, right? The divided kingdom of the nation of Israel is uniting once again! But remember that “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30). Would all the good that Jehoshaphat was doing be able to stand up in an alliance with the evil that was King Ahab?

In last week’s post about Ahab, we saw the account of Ahab and Jehoshaphat joining forces to conquer Ramoth-Gilead in 1 Kings 22. That same situation is recounted in 2 Chronicles 18 with more detail on Micaiah’s prophecies. Micaiah was a true prophet and spoke only what God gave him to speak. Jehoshaphat desired to listen to Micaiah, but Ahab got mad when Micaiah’s prophecies did not look favorable for Israel.

After that confrontation between Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and the prophet Micaiah, Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem and sought advice from Jehu, his seer (another prophet). Jehu tells him, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is on you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God” (2 Chronicles 19:2-3). God was not pleased with this alliance between Jehoshaphat and the wicked Ahab, though God still recognized the good that Jehoshaphat was doing to bring Judah toward worshiping God rather than false gods.

This turned Jehoshaphat to focus on worshiping God once again: “Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their ancestors” (2 Chronicles 19:4). Jehoshaphat appointed judges throughout Judah to settle disputes among the people and help them know and understand God’s laws. These judges were responsible for warning the people when they were heading toward sinning against God. They were not only civil leaders but also spiritual leaders for the people.

In 2 Chronicles 20, there was a surprise attack against Judah by the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites. They used a route that was not often traveled to sneak up on Judah. Remember how Jehoshaphat had soldiers ready in various fortified cities, ready to attack if needed? That seems like the easy answer to how Jehoshaphat would respond in this situation, but that’s not what he did. Instead, read about his first action: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him” (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). Rather than immediately striking out with his armies, Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah first turned to God to seek His will.

Jehoshaphat prayed to God about this in front of all the people (2 Chronicles 20:5-12). God answered that prayer right then and there by speaking through Jahaziel son of Zechariah (2 Chronicles 20:15-17). God instructed them to fight the invading armies, and they would be victorious. Jehoshaphat and all the people worshiped God, and the next day the armies set out to fight the invaders.

Jehoshaphat commanded the armies to sing praises to God as they were marching into battle. Because of this focus on God rather than their own strength, God destroyed all three of the invading armies, even using them to destroy one another! When the armies of Judah finally got to the place where the invaders were, all they found were dead bodies. Not one person was left alive even to escape.

Because of this miraculous victory in battle due to the people’s faith in God, not only did Judah continue to worship God but word traveled to the other nations around them. “The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 20:29-30).

Jehoshaphat reigned as king of Judah for 25 years. Overall, he did a lot to focus the people on God and to teach them God’s laws so they could follow them. He was a great example to the people by praying in front of them before rushing into battle and focusing on God as the deliverer rather than on their own strength. But, he did have his downfalls. He made that alliance with evil King Ahab of Israel, and at the end of his reign, he also made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, another evil king. Because of that alliance with Ahaziah, God destroyed some of Judah’s ships so they could not trade.

Even people who appear to be doing great things for God’s kingdom still have their downfalls. We all sin in some way; no one is perfect except Jesus Christ. But as Jehoshaphat did, we should still strive to live for God as much as we can, living our lives as examples to those around us of what a life following God looks like. Teach others God’s Word, both directly and indirectly through how you live your life.

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Sin 22: Final Judgment Upon Sin

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 12, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This post will conclude my series on sin. It has been an incredible journey! I opened up by just describing what sin was, how it came about, how weighty it is, and the cost for sin. Then I spent several posts talking about the abuse of what sin is, avoiding what sin is, dodging what sin is, and the consequences of having such positions. Then I have spent the last two months dealing with the proper response to sin so that salvation from sin can be acquired. Today, I will wrap it all up by exploring God’s final judgment upon sin.

I’ve already hit on this issue multiple times in this series, but God is a righteous and holy God. He is the Judge who will do right on all things. While He has let bad things happen, He has not and will not let anything happen without consequences taking place. Every choice we make has consequences. A man will reap what he sows, good or bad. All the sins that are committed will be punished. All the unsolved murders will be resolved. All the child molestation and rape victims will have their day in which justice will be met. All the thefts, all the political corruption, etc. is going to be fully exposed. Nixon’s missing tapes, Clinton’s missing emails, Trump’s tweets, Putin’s wars – all of it will meet God on Judgment Day.

But let’s not merely look out there. Let’s look inward, too. All our loose words will be judged not just for saying them but why we said them. All our thoughts will be judged. All our “oops” and “mistakes” and “misjudgments” will be judged. Yes, I am condemning myself, too, because I know myself. I’m not as some people out there who claim the Christian faith and boast “I have not sinned once since I became a Christian and I live with me, so don’t question my claim.” Such people are sinning just with that statement by being proud of their own accomplishments and not giving glory to God for it. I am just as guilty as any here reading this and all those “villains” we deal with. My paraphrase of one of Paul Washer’s statements is: “If God were to turn our sinful nature and habits loose, we’d make Hitler look like a choir boy.” We are all going to face Judgment Day when God makes all things right and every little sin that has ever been done is accounted for.

One of the problems with evangelism is that we tend to treat salvation as “getting off the hook,” and many people have objected to this idea when being presented the Gospel. And they are right to do so. They have a sense of justice, too. That function that we showcase in finite, yet broken form, still works to some degree. How can someone commit multiple murders, rape their victims, and then accept Jesus and never deal with their sins? That’s not Christianity. But what about Paul? Paul explained how he did all those things out of ignorance, belligerence, and rebellion, but he also explained how he lived in regret for all those things the rest of his life. He also told the Corinthian church that all those things we do are going to be tested with fire. Only that which remains will count. It will be gold, silver, or precious stones – things that only melt or have already been tested by fire – or it will be wood, hay, and stubble – things that are reduced to ashes and completely useless afterwards but to be blown away. So just because we are Christians, that does not mean that our choices will not have consequences. Some may be saved as though they were being pulled out of a fire with nothing left to show for it.

Those whom God has not saved however, will receive the righteous judgment for their actions. The Pharaohs, the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Ted Bundys, the David Koreshes, the drug lord, the gang leader, the self-righteous businessman, the false preacher, and the majority of average people who have not placed their trust and hope in the Savior Jesus Christ, will all go to Hell. No matter what their moral standing is with society, each of these people are sinful rebels against God, and it is God’s standard that counts. The rich young ruler was a very moral man on the outside, but inwardly, he was a blaspheming idolator, no better than the pagan neighbors of the Jews.

The extreme majority of people are going to Hell. I’m not being judgmental here; I’m just stating a fact. That’s not me speaking, that’s Jesus speaking. He said that He would tell MANY “I never knew you.” The road to destruction is wide and broad; the road to righteousness is narrow and FEW will find it. While there is a good and righteous desire to see as many saved as we can, there is an unhealthy impulse to turn the Gospel into quick decisionism. That does more damage than having never presented the truth at all, because so many think they are saved when they are not; now they are hardened to any suggestion that they are not saved. The great fallacy throughout many church ages is the assumption of salvation, not examining the evidence of salvation. Those who are born again will bear the fruit of salvation. Those who are not born again might be able to fake some of it cosmetically, but they will always give red flags that something is drastically wrong. While we can examine the fruit, ultimately it is God who will judge that fruit. That which is genuine will be spared and used, and that which is not will be cast out and burned in everlasting fire.

But for the saved, for those whom Christ has purchased with His blood, while our own sins will be judged, we will get to see the final judgment upon sin once and for all. We will get to see the end of sin itself. We will finally get to be freed from the sinful nature, and the very presence of sin will be removed. Our bodies will be resurrected, freed from sin, and glorified to be able to be in the physical presence of God and not be consumed. We all look forward to that day when we can truly worship God as He ought to be worshiped without the weight of sin holding us down.

The Gospel message is not about getting out of Hell, though it does include that. It is about God creating a world in which the people He created would rebel against Him, and yet God would not only come and rescue them but make them heirs to His throne and His glory. The Gospel is not merely about God rescuing man from Hell but rescuing man from sin itself. While Hell is a serious thing, as we evangelize, we should be focusing on what sin truly is and that it is sin that we need to confront, not merely the penalty for sin. We can use that, but we should focus on showing the wretchedness of sin so that people will not want it.

This concludes my series on sin. Let us take this far more seriously than we have, so that we may repent of it and long for the day in which we are ultimately freed from it.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Ahab, King of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 8, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

While Asa was still the king of Judah and after all the chaos that ensued with Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omni, Ahab became king after his father Omri died. Ahab is perhaps the most notorious of the kings of Israel with the worst reputation.

Up to this point, Jeroboam held the title of the king who was most disobedient of God, but the Scriptures tell us that Ahab was even worse. “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him” (1 Kings 16:30-33). Not only did Ahab worship the false god of Baal himself, but he instituted Baal worship for the entire kingdom of Israel.

In response to all of the evil and idolatry that Ahab was committing, the prophet Elijah proclaimed that there would be no rain (not even dew!) in the next few years except at his word (1 Kings 17:1). The nation had already had a drought for 6 months, so this prophecy from Elijah revealed the reason for it. God was concerned for His people and was trying to turn them back to worshipping Him and Him alone. It was during this drought that we see Elijah’s interaction with the widow at Zarephath.

After 3 years of drought with Ahab and the people not repenting of their idolatry, God sends Elijah to present himself to Ahab. This meeting was what led to the showdown on Mount Carmel. You can read about it in 1 Kings 18, but the short version is that the false gods did absolutely nothing (duh!) and God showed up and proved Himself to be the one true God in a miraculous way. After that encounter, it finally rained on the land.

The next significant event we read about in Ahab’s life is the battle with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, in 1 Kings 20. Aram realized that Israel’s army was weakened by the famine, so they took that opportunity to attack Samaria. A prophet of God came to Ahab and informed him that God would bring them through this battle victoriously. True to the prophecy, the Arameans experienced heavy losses and Israel was victorious. This should have brought King Ahab back to trusting God, but it did not.

Ben-Hadad’s advisors decided that since they lost in the hills, then surely Israel’s God would not also be defeated on the plains. So, the next year, they returned for another battle in the plains. Again, a prophet told Ahab that Israel would be victorious in this battle in order to prove that God is the one true God and is powerful everywhere. Again, Israel was victorious because of God’s hand in the battle. Afterward, Ben-Hadad offered to return the land that his father had taken from Israel, and Ahab agreed to this. They made a treaty, and Ahab let Ben-Hadad go. Even though God had given Israel the victory, Ahab worked out the conclusion in his own strength rather than listening to God.

The next situation in Ahab’s life is regarding Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel (1 Kings 21). Ahab really wanted this vineyard that belonged to Naboth, so Ahab offered to buy it from him. Naboth said no since it was his inheritance from his father. Ahab went home to his wife Jezebel and sulked about it, so Jezebel said she’d take care of it. She did so by having Naboth killed under false charges. Once Naboth was dead, Ahab easily got his vineyard.

Elijah confronted Ahab about this situation, accusing him (truthfully) of killing a man in order to get his vineyard. Elijah pronounced multiple negative prophecies against Ahab for this act, and Ahab actually appeared to repent of them. “When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son’” (1 Kings 21:27-29).

In spite of all of the evil, disobedience, murder, and idolatry that Ahab had committed up to this point, this shows that he could still repent and be sorry for his actions. However, we do not see evidence in Scripture that Ahab’s character was completely transformed into doing good and following God. But this does show that there truly is hope even for the vilest offender to have their heart softened toward God!

Three years after the previous war with Ben-Hadad and the Arameans, Israel had still not reoccupied the land that they got back, so Ahab began to make a plan to do so, specifically the strategic city of Ramoth Gilead (1 Kings 22). By this time, Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah, so Ahab and Jehoshaphat discussed joining forces to retake that land. Jehoshaphat agreed on one condition – that they seek the Lord’s direction in the situation. There was only one true prophet left in Israel – Micaiah. Ahab’s other prophets had said he would be victorious, but Micaiah gave two prophetic visions that indicated that if Ahab went to battle, Israel would not only be defeated but Ahab himself would die.

So what did Ahab do? He threw Micaiah in prison and went ahead into battle, and Jehoshaphat went with him. Just as Micaiah prophesied, Ahab was killed by a “random” arrow: “But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor” (1 Kings 22:34). Ahab died later that day.

There is much we can learn from Ahab, King of Israel. As with every other evil king, God will not let idol worship and continued turning against Him go unpunished. God even sent the prophet Elijah to warn Ahab, but still Ahab persisted. Even after the miraculous showdown on Mount Carmel, Ahab still did not put his trust in the one true God. Even after God clearly delivered Israel in multiple battles against Ben-Hadad and Aram, Ahab still did not put his trust in the one true God. Elijah did finally get through to Ahab a little after the incident with Naboth’s vineyard, but it is clear from how Ahab handled the prophet Micaiah that he did not truly have a change of heart.

Ahab lived his life doing what he wanted, along with his evil wife Jezebel. He relied on God when it was convenient for him but not with his whole life and in all situations. How often are we like that? We rely on God when it seems easier or more convenient to do so, but when we think we can trust ourselves instead, we don’t listen to God or His message for our lives. Don’t be like Ahab; trust in God for all things at all times!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Sin 21: Made in the Image of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 5, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Gospel message is not merely about God saving mankind from Hell. That is part of it and that is great news, but Hell is just the punishment for sin. When preachers and evangelists stop at that point, they miss the point of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t merely die to take the punishment for sin upon Himself, though that is a huge and necessary part of it all. He died for much more than that. He died to save us from ourselves, to save us from our own sin itself. Our preachers and evangelists (and me too) need to emphasize this even more than we have been. Jesus died to save us from ourselves.

Our sinful nature is outright rebellion against God, and Jesus died to save us from that rebellion and that rebellious nature. This all goes back to Genesis 1. To understand the Gospel, you have to understand Genesis. When God created man, He made man in His image. Man is meant to be a reflection of God, a physical demonstration showcasing of what God is like, albeit in physical, finite form. That is why we are able to showcase what are called the “communicable” attributes of God such as love, wrath, justice, mercy, compassion, and even holiness. There are things we do not get from God such as His omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence; however, we are meant to showcase what God is like in our finite, temporal ways.

Yet when Adam and Eve sinned, that image was tainted and corrupted. While there are still pieces left, for the most part we no longer give a good image. Now, don’t misread me. When I said that we still have some remnants of the image of God, I am not talking like the Gnostics and the Progressives or Word of Faith people that we are “little gods” and we have “divine nature” still in us. That’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about how even sinful people are able to love, execute justice upon evil, and even know what is right and wrong. Many sinful people are not inherently “wicked” in a pure general moral sense; they just want to do things their own way and not God’s way. Jesus came to die so that He could save us from ourselves, our own self-righteousness, our own self-destructive ways, our own limits that lead us to disaster, and our own stupidity for that matter.

Last week, I talked about the process of sanctification and how this is a process that removes sin from our lives. This is also a process that conforms us into the image of Christ. Salvation does not take a wretched prisoner in rags and just turn him loose. It takes that wretched, dirty prisoner and clothes him in royal garb, gives him the crown of an heir, adoption as a son of the King of Kings, and training to be a warrior in God’s army and a rule in the Kingdom of God. Please check out this video by Eric Ludy to visually see this. The goal of the Christian life is to go from a wicked, sinful wretch into an image-bearer of Christ.

One of the key verses for this is Romans 12:2. We are not to conform to the pattern of the world. We are not to bear the image of this world and how the world thinks. We are not to think as the world does or operate as the world does. This is not just about morality here; this is about worldview and paradigms. I harp on origins frequently for two reasons; it has been the focus of my studies on apologetics, but more so because it showcases the issues we face so easily and clearly.

For much of church history, origins was never really challenged in the church. The pagan cultures had their myths, but even when the church confronted the Gnostics who had their own very twisted origins models (that sounded much like the OEC/Evolutionary models of today), they really only needed to address God as Creator to establish the Creation account as written. However, things have changed today. Origins is a major front on the assault on the authority of Scripture and what makes it so sneaky and tricky is that the “science” never mentions the Bible and that is intentional. The models for millions of years were developed with the intention of creating an entirely different history that would completely undermine the authority of Scripture, but they never mention Scripture so believers would not recognize it was being attacked. It has worked well. As Christians, we should not have anything to do with such ideas, yet up to 90% if not more of churches and denominations either teach the “millions of years” as fact or at least do not make a stance on this issue. And they wonder why we are losing 90% of our kids. We are not to conform to this world’s system. That includes Deep Time, New Age mysticism, Marxist ideals for “Liberation Theology,” and that even includes “Christian Nationalism.”

Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are to have a completely changed worldview that aligns to God’s worldview, which is revealed in Scripture. The sinful nature keeps showing up in its resistance to letting God be God and surrendering self to no longer have a say on the matter. God is the Creator. We are the creation. We don’t have a say in what God does, what God did, or how He does things. We can plead with Him, beg for His mercy, etc., but He is God and what He says goes. The Christian, the born-again believer, strives and seeks to be like God in God’s way. Not our way but God’s way. As Christians, our duty is to work with God in the transformation process so we look less like ourselves and look more like Christ.

The end goal is to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is work with the process. It is God who does all the actual heavy lifting; we just get to go along with Him for it. We’ll look bad and clumsy and silly, but we’ll want to be like Jesus as we work alongside Him. And Jesus didn’t get to where He got just by “being God.” He got there through suffering and learning obedience through suffering. So, if we are to be like Jesus, we too will go through suffering. That suffering is what produces the sanctification and holiness in our lives. It is something many of us desire, but we don’t want to go through the cost to get it.

So many people try to compare their lives to those around them and think they are just fine. But there is only one life who will be used as the standard on Judgment Day: Jesus Christ. We will all be compared to Him. Every man will give account for each thing done, said, and thought about. It is on that day that all sin will finally be dealt with once and for all.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


ADHD Christianity: Introduction to John 17

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 2, 2022 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” - Genesis 2:7

Ever have shower thought? You’re taking a shower, bath, out in the pool, etc. and some random thought just pops into your head. That happened to me and is part of the inspiration of this blog post (and this series).

I’ve had asthma ever since I was about 12 (as of this writing, I’m 35). I’ve definitely had my fair share of times I literally could not breathe, almost like I was Adam before God gave him life. When you have an asthma attack, the typical process you follow is to try and relax (stressing about the event only causes the breathing to become more shallow) and use an inhaler. If you’re able, a nebulizer is an even better option, and far more portable now than they were back then. But when you feel lifeless, you just look forward to that next breath.

One time when I was in the doctor’s office going through a bit of an asthma attack, the nurse gave me a nebulizer treatment. During that time, she instructed me to make a closed fist with my thumb inside of the fingers (basically resting on the palm and fingers on top of the thumb), and put my arms and hands to my side. This could be done sitting down, standing up, etc. It opens up your airwaves more and helps you breathe better. There was a sense of “I’m going to be okay,” and it reminded me of when God breathed into Adam.

The objective of the above story is to highlight the importance of life and breathing and how they’re interconnected. It’s also become a very helpful mechanism when I have panic attacks due to my hyper-focusing, leading to catastrophic thinking. It’s led to many thoughts of “God doesn’t love me” and, if you can believe it, worse than that. During a therapy session, my therapist instructed me to read John 17. Ultimately, this is a very beautiful passage of Jesus praying for all believers throughout the world and until the end of time. When reading this passage, it grounds me into the present, even if the present is just the fact I’m reading something or if it’s a feeling washing over me of “God really does love me and He’s right here with me.”

The meaning of the chapter is straightforward as I said above, but like the layers of an onion, the layers of this chapter go deep and are thick with flavor, substance, and reality. It deserves a deeper focus on application and thought. I’ve often heard and believed that the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is the crux of Jesus’s ministry. I also see John 17 being the crux of Jesus’ prayers. Nothing about the chapter is focused on Jesus as a man; it is all God-focused. When you are wanting to reel down the anxiety, it really helps to focus on something other than what you’re stressing about. This is especially a good time to be reading God’s Word.

Hyper-focusing can be a great thing, but it can also be horrible depending on what you end up focusing on. During those times of intense fear and concern, reading this passage has helped bring me to the present and give me that life back spiritually speaking a few times as of late; it is like holding my clenched fists to my sides and God breathing into my nostrils. I want to bring this seed to others and let them enjoy the free gift of God’s Word as well, and I hope you will remember this passage and focus on it during your own times of anxiety.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri, Kings of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 1, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Today, we’re going to take a look at not one, not two, not even three, but four kings of the northern kingdom of Israel! These four kings all had fairly insignificant reigns, and their stories are intertwined in 1 Kings 16:8-28, so it makes sense to look at all four of them together.

Elah was the son of Baasha and succeeded his father as the next king, purely because of their family relationship. Asa was still the king of Judah during the reign of Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri. When Elah became king, Zimri was one of Elah’s officials, and Omri was the commander of Elah’s army.

Zimri was not content with being just an official, even though he had command over half of the king’s chariots, so he plotted to assassinate Elah. Less than two years into Elah’s reign, Zimri’s opportunity presented itself. Elah became drunk, and Zimri “struck him down and killed him” (verse 10a). That was the end of Elah’s reign as king, and that also ended Baasha’s family line.

Not only did Zimri kill King Elah, but he also killed every single male in Elah’s entire extended family, so that the family line was completely cut off. He even killed friends of the family, so that they could not step in and claim the kingdom before Zimri did (verse 11).

You may recall that Baasha was the one who assassinated King Nadab of Israel, so it’s especially interesting that Baasha’s son Elah was also killed in the same way. You may say this is a great example of “what goes around, comes around,” but really it was God continuing to punish the kings who led Israel into idolatry and disobedience to Him. In 1 Kings 16:7, the prophet Jehu had prophesied that Baasha’s family would be destroyed because of the sins that he and his son had committed and that they had caused the entire nation of Israel to commit. God was angry at them for worshiping worthless idols (verses 12-14).

So, Zimri became the new king of Israel. But Zimri’s evil act of assassinating the previous king had consequences, and Zimri’s reign was even shorter than Elah’s – Zimri reigned for only 7 days! When part of the Israelite army nearby heard what had happened to Elah, they decided that Omri, their commander, should be the new king. Zimri assassinated Elah in Tirzah, which was the official location of the palace at that time. Omri was commanding the army camped in nearby Gibbethon. Omri believed that he was the next king since his army wanted that to be the truth, so Omri and his army went to conquer Tirzah for Omri to reign there (verses 15-17).

Zimri saw that Omri’s army had taken the city of Tirzah, so he retreated into the palace and literally set it on fire. He apparently preferred to die a fiery death rather than be taken as a prisoner and face the humiliation of someone else becoming king after just one week. So, Zimri burned himself to death, and the author of 1 Kings notes that Omri followed the pattern of the kings who went before him and did even in the eyes of the Lord (verses 18-19).

So with all that settled, Omri was the new king who would reign for years to come, right? Not so fast. Enter Tibni. We really don’t know much about Tibni other than he existed and reigned as king for about 4 years. As all that rebellion and taking of the throne was going on, the people in the nation of Israel were divided in their loyalties. Half of the people supported Tibni as the king and the other half supported Omri. How did they settle this disagreement? By a show of strength. We don’t know exactly what happened, other than Omri’s followers were stronger than Tibni’s followers, so Tibni died and Omri was declared to be the new king (verses 21-22). This showdown appears to have lasted for the entire 4 years that Tibni was the king.

Omri reigned as king of Israel for 12 years. For the first 6 years, he reigned in Tirzah, but then he set about building a new capital city for the northern kingdom of Israel. He chose a strategically advantageous site – one that was in neutral land in Israel and centrally located. Being on a hill, it was easier to defend from potential attackers. It overlooked chief trade routes in the area, which was an economic advantage. The new capital was called Samaria after the hill it was built on, which had been owned by Shemer (verses 23-24).

As with the other kings who preceded him, Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Verse 25 even says that he “sinned more than all those before him.” He sinned and he caused the people of Israel to sin, so God remained angry with the nation because of their disobedience and idolatry.

What can we learn from these four evil kings of Israel? As with every other king who did not follow God’s ways, worshiping other gods than the one true God will result in punishment from God. Elah was assassinated. Zimri burned himself to death. Tibni was taken out due to division. Omri sinned the most, and while he did not experience the direct consequences of that evil as a violent death, the nation was about to face the music with the next king – Omri’s son Ahab.

Zimri, Tibni, and Omri were all selfish in their ambitions. They each desired to be king and committed selfish, evil acts in order to make that happen. They were not only not following God, but they were only looking out for themselves, not the good of the people they were supposed to be leading. They were completely concerned with gaining power for themselves, and they didn’t seem to care what kind of uproar that caused in the kingdom among the people. Selfishness and a lust for power may get you what you want in the short term, but it’s likely that will be very short-lived and result in even more negative consequences, as these kings experienced.

While most of us today are not in positions of power like the commander of an army or a high-ranking official, we still need to be on our guard for selfishness and power grabs in our lives. A lust for power is part of our sinful nature, and it’s the opposite of the humility that God calls us to as a follower of Jesus. Take a look at your life, and make sure that you are following the path of humility rather than the path of trying to gain power. God is the one who is ultimately in control, and there is nothing that we can do to change that – and if we know God and love Him, then we shouldn’t want to change that.

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Sin 20: Sanctification

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 29, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Christian life is a life that is always in process – a process that works a sinful heart of stone and into a heart of flesh. We call this process sanctification. This only happens with someone who has already been born again. This does not happen with someone who just says a prayer or someone who makes a profession of faith, but someone in whom the seed of rebirth has been planted, watered, and now has sprouted and grown.

Sanctification is the process of removing sin from one’s life. It is often an unpleasant experience as we go through it. It’s often painful, and we wonder why God puts us through this. But we scrub pots and floors and walls and laundry all the time to get the dirt and grime off them. What if that pot, that floor, that wall, that piece of clothing had feelings? Would they not feel pain too? But the pain would be worth it because the grime would be gone. The same is true for us. Every believer who has been through this sanctification process does not like going through it but always finds it worthwhile once it is done.

The Bible uses two main images to describe how sanctification works: a launderer’s soap and a refiner’s fire. The first image is what I just used above. A launderer’s soap is a scouring soap. It is mean to really dig into the dirt and grime to break up its bonds with the substance to water can wash it off. Let me emphasize this point more. The grease and grime that the fuller’s soap needs to cleanse is chemically bonded to the surface. It’s not like mere dirt or mud that a hose can simply wash off. You need the soap to break the chemical bonds.

The same is true for sin. It’s not just a “fall in the mud and get dirty” issue. It is bonded to you so strongly that the only way to get it off is through breaking those bonds. The only thing potent enough to break the bond of sin is the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying that once we are born again then we are freed from sin. There is more to the image. The soap doesn’t just wash it off on its own. It requires scrubbing. When dealing with grime, you spray the cleaner on the area needing to be cleaned, let it sit for a while so the chemical reaction can do its thing, and then you have to scrub it and the scrubbing takes work. Likewise, God applies the blood of Jesus to our areas of life infected with sin and then He has to scrub us to get the sin out. How does He scrub us? With trials, tribulations, persecutions, difficulties, etc. People ask why God is so “cruel” to His own people; He is actually scrubbing them clean of their sin.

The other image used to describe sanctification is a refiner’s fire. There are two versions of this. In the first version, the goldsmith will take his raw material, place in in his pot or whatever he is using, and turn up the heat. The heat will melt the gold and leave the impurities on the top, because gold is one of the heaviest natural materials. The goldsmith scrapes off the impurities and then turns up the heat again. More impurities come up and are scraped off. Then more heat, and more heat, until all that is left is pure, unadulterated gold. The other version is the same idea only with silver. The silversmith does the same thing and knows when it is finished because he can see a reflection of his face in the pool of silver. I’ll dwell on this point next week in more detail.

I need to make this clear: sanctification is a process that will go on for the entirety of our earthly lives. As long as we live in this physical body that is tainted and corrupted by sin, we will always deal with our sinful nature and tendencies. Until that is finally dealt with, we will be warring against our sin. At the resurrection of our physical bodies, we will celebrate our final victory over sin.

I also need to make it clear that this is something we cannot do on our own. We can never overcome our own sin by our own efforts. This can only be done by the Holy Spirit’s work in us, though we still have a responsibility to submit to the process. Fighting the process is only going to produce more pain for us and make our lives even harder. The prayer of David was for God to wash him and cleanse him. David knew his sinful tendencies and his sinful nature and longed to be freed from that sin. It was attached to him, and he could not get rid of it. He needed help. He needed a Savior.

There are two equal and opposite heresies to the sanctification process. One is legalism and the other is antinomianism. In legalism, sanctification becomes about being morally perfect for the sake of being morally perfect. It is doing the law to make yourself clean and going through the rituals to get it all done yourself. Let me make this crystal clear: proclaiming God’s perfect standard as the ideal is NOT legalism. Proclaiming the goal and telling people they are wrong is not legalism. David Wilkerson said that the church is at the height of apostasy when we call “obedience” as legalism, and he’s right. The sanctification process is not legalism. But true legalism, the practice of doing good works to please God, is not sanctification either.

The other heresy is antinomianism, which basically makes everything a free-for-all, and we can do what we want and how we want to do it. We can believe the doctrines we like, and we can follow which teachers we want. Because we are all under the grace of God, we should all get along. That’s turning the grace of God into lawlessness. And I will argue that the ones who cry “legalism” the most are likely in this camp.

Sanctification is directly opposed to antinomianism, but it is also not legalism. It is the process of being rid of sin and being cleansed of sin. Salvation initially removes the penalty of sin from our record, then sanctification takes us through the process of being delivered from the power of sin. And then our final glorification will remove us from the very presence of sin. But there is more to what is happening in the sanctification process. It is not just deliverance from something (sin) but deliverance to something (Christ). That’s for next week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.