Jeroboam I, King of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 27, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As I introduced two weeks ago, during the 4th king of the united nation of Israel, it split into the divided kingdom. The ten tribes in the north retained the name Israel, and the two tribes in the south became known as Judah. Rehoboam, who I wrote about last week, was the last king of the united nation of Israel, and then he became the first king of the nation of Judah. Jeroboam, sometimes referred to as Jeroboam I since there was another king Jeroboam (Jeroboam II) later, was instrumental in the split of the kingdom, and he became the first king of the northern nation of Israel.

But Jeroboam’s history with the kingdom begins prior to his becoming king. Solomon was the third king of Israel, and Jeroboam was one of King Solomon’s advisors. During Solomon’s reign, before his son Rehoboam became king of the unified nation, Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon.

Jeroboam did great work to repair a problem in the wall of Jerusalem, and Solomon noticed that, so Solomon put Jeroboam in charge of a large labor force working in the city. One day while he was working, the prophet Ahijah met Jeroboam and gave him the prophecy that the kingdom would become divided and Jeroboam would become the king of ten of the tribes. This was to happen because the nation of Israel disobeyed God’s commands and worshiped false gods. They had not kept God as their one true God, so they would now face the consequences of that disobedience by having their nation divided. Jeroboam would be the king over Israel. God gave Jeroboam the same promise that He gave previous kings – that they would be blessed with an enduring dynasty if they obeyed God as King David did (1 Kings 11:26-39).

At some point after Jeroboam received this prophecy, he actually rebelled against King Solomon, and therefore King Solomon tried to kill him. Jeroboam survived and fled to Egypt, where he stayed until after Solomon died (1 Kings 11:40). Then, when Rehoboam was becoming king, Jeroboam was the leader of the rebellion against him that divided the nation, which you can read about in my post on Rehoboam or in 1 Kings 12:1-24.

Once Jeroboam became the king of Israel, he worried that the people would revolt and turn to Jeroboam in Jerusalem (in the southern kingdom of Judah) since that had been the holy city and place of worship for the nation because of King David’s legacy. So, he decided that rather than the people going to God in Jerusalem, he would bring gods to them right in their territory. He created two golden calves (sound familiar?) and set them up in Bethel and Dan in the northern kingdom. Jeroboam created shrines and festivals that centered on the worship of these false gods, and he himself participated in giving offerings and worship to these statues (1 Kings 12:25-33).

Because this was clearly against God’s ways, God send a prophet to rebuke Jeroboam and try and set him straight in 1 Kings 13. The prophet provided signs to Jeroboam that he was from the one true God, yet Jeroboam still did not change his ways. Jeroboam invited the prophet to eat and drink with him, but the prophet would not do so because it was against what God told him, and he left. Jeroboam sent a man to chase after him and invite him to a meal again. This man lied to the prophet and convinced him to come back. The prophet disobeyed God by doing this, and he ended up dead because of it.

But Jeroboam still did not change his evil ways. “Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth” (1 Kings 13:33-34).

In 1 Kings 14, we read about further disobedience to God by Jeroboam. Jeroboam’s son Abijah became sick, so Jeroboam sent his wife to Ahijah the prophet to find out what would happen to their son. Jeroboam told his wife to pretend to be someone else, and God told Ahijah that would happen before she arrived. Before telling her the fate of her son, Ahijah tells her how God will bring destruction upon Israel because Jeroboam disobeyed God and worshiped idols. Not only would their son die, but there would be no further kings from the line of Jeroboam; God would raise up another to be king instead. Just as the prophet Ahijah said, Jeroboam’s son Abijah died as soon as his wife returned back to their home.

What can we learn from Jeroboam’s story for our lives today? The first lesson is that we need to listen to God’s timing for our lives. Jeroboam received the prophecy that he would be the king of the ten northern tribes of Israel before it was to actually take place. He tried to force it by rebelling against Solomon, but that was not God’s timing.

The second lesson we can learn is to listen to the people who God places in our lives to guide and direct us. Jeroboam did not listen to the prophet God sent him, even though the prophet made it clear that he was truly from God. Instead, Jeroboam continued to disobey God. Because of his continued disobedience of lying and worshiping other gods, Jeroboam’s son Abijah died and Jeroboam’s family did not continue the legacy as kings of Israel.

Consider Jeroboam’s story and look at your own life this week. What is God doing in your life where you need to be patient and wait for God’s timing? In what ways might you be disobeying God in your life?

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Sin 15: Brokenness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 24, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I addressed the shame that comes with sin, and I introduced the responses to that shame. The first response is self-justification – seeking any way possible to make sure that you get off the hook. But this never gets us anywhere. The true response to our sin is brokenness. This is a very unpopular notion today. If a preacher wanted to see how loyal his congregation is to either him or the truth, a message about brokenness would expose the genuine from the fakes. Voddie Baucham has a powerful sermon about brokenness based on Psalm 51. I do not want to regurgitate it, but to follow up this blog post, go listen to that sermon. It is powerful.

Growing up, I never wanted to be broken over my sin. I don’t mean that in a proud way. I would always say I would rather be moldable and allow God to gently tweak me and correct me, but the more I mature in the faith, the more I realize that I truly need to be broken. It has been said that every man that God has used has walked with a limp. With every man, there is something that God puts in his life to humble him. Paul described his as a “thorn in the flesh.” Jacob had a physical limp as a result of wrestling with God (he was at least 91 at the time, which gives us all hope).

People have this soft, fluffy, shampoo-model idea of Jesus that is pure kindness and gentleness with not a rough spot in Him. Yet, that’s not who Jesus is. While He is kind and gentle, He is also firm and tough. He didn’t have soft hands but calloused hands; He worked. When He dealt with sin, He did not mince words. You see two responses Jesus gave to all people and summarized this way: “Law to the proud, grace to the humble.” Before Jesus ever offered anyone grace, He first dealt with the heart issue – the Pharisees, the rich young ruler, and even the crowds. While He had compassion on the crowds to feed them once, He did not feed them a second time. He instead dealt with their heart issue. But what about the woman caught in adultery? He never confronted her about her sin. Why? Because she was already broken. She already knew she was guilty and could do nothing about it.

Before we can truly grasp what Jesus did for us, we have to see and understand the weight of our sin. This is a struggle I have. Those who have hit rock bottom know it very well; those who haven’t struggle with this. Those who have experienced the true emptiness of sin and the death it produces want nothing to do with it anymore. Some are enslaved by it still and need deliverance. Many drug addicts and alcoholics hate the junk but can’t escape it without divine intervention. But those who have not yet tasted the death of sin don’t always see the emptiness. Some see it in others. Many children saw their father drunk and decided they would never drink and be like that. Others saw their father drunk, and they themselves drink because that is how they saw their faither deal with pain. These people are broken people. They are htruurting people. They are experiencing the fruit of their own choices, but they don’t have a good solution. They need the Gospel.

Voddie Baucham describes repentance from sin as getting off the highway towards Hell and brokenness as the off-ramp. And as always, there are two responses to brokenness. Paul showcases these in 2 Corinthians 7:10. One is worldly sorrow, which leads to death, and the other is Godly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is showcased well in two people: Esau and Judas Iscariot. Esau despised his birthright and when he realized what he lost, he was only sorry he lost it and not sorry for what he did. Judas betrayed Jesus and even acknowledged that what he did was wrong, but he never saw the vertical component to sin. Both died unrepentant of their sins.

But Godly sorrow leads to repentance and to salvation. Two people showcase this: David and Peter. David sinned against God. He lusted after another man’s wife, slept with her, and murdered him, one of his own best friends, to cover it up. When confronted a year later, David realized the severity of his sin and that his sin was primarily and ultimately against God. Then he wrote the famous song of repentance: Psalm 51. Peter also betrayed Jesus and denied Him three times. But unlike Judas, what Peter missed the most was the relationship he had with his Savior. He was broken and finally learned what it means to rely upon Jesus for everything.

But there was another case of brokenness that should be explored: Pharaoh, who defied Moses in freeing Israel and took Egypt through the 10 plagues. Pharaoh was different than Esau and Judas who realized what they lost. Pharaoh was so hard, so still, and so determined to stay in control that it took seven plagues for him to actually recognize he sinned and would let just the men go worship God. After the 9th plague, Pharaoh let the women and children go, but not the flocks. Why did he do this? Simple: he wanted them to have an anchor and reason to come back. But after the 10th plague, that’s when Pharaoh finally broke. After letting his entire nation essentially go down in flames, he finally relented. But he never would bow the knee before God. Soon, his grief over the loss of his son turned to utter rage. He charged after Israel with his army to slay everyone, only to be buried in the Red Sea by another miracle of God.

Brokenness is meant to be a roadblock to stop us from completing sin’s cycle of death. It is meant to get us off that track and to redirect us back to the correct path. It is painful, it hurts, and no one likes going through it. But when taken in the full context of where it leads, it is a beautiful thing. Every person broken by God and restored does not like the breaking process at the moment, but they most certainly prefer the restored state after healing to where they would have been had God done nothing. We still have a choice in how we respond to brokenness. We can turn aside from our sin or persist in it. I want to dwell on this issue a little more before going on to the next step in the proper response to sin. Next week, I will do a study on “dust and ashes” before going on to the confession of sin and then to the repentance from sin.

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Rehoboam, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 20, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As I introduced last week, I’m beginning a blog post series to dig into the kings of the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. The united nation had 4 kings before the split in 928 BC – Saul, David, Solomon, and Rehoboam. It was early in Rehoboam’s reign that the kingdom split, so we’ll begin our study with him.

Rehoboam was the first king of the new nation of Judah, which was comprised of the two southernmost tribes of Benjamin and Judah. But Rehoboam became king of the entire nation of Israel (all twelve tribes) when his father Solomon died (1 Kings 11:43). Rehoboam went to the town of Shechem to officially become king, but while they were there, all the people came to King Rehoboam and said, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 12:4).

Newly kinged Rehoboam needed to figure out what to do to lighten the labor of the people so that they would serve him as their king. First, he consulted with the elders who has served his father, King Solomon. They told him to grant the people’s demands so they would be loyal to him. But Rehoboam didn’t like that answer, so he then asked his buddies what they thought he should do. They told him to make the people’s labor even harsher and their burden heavier. You think King Solomon was hard on you? I’ll be even harder!

When the people came back to hear King Rehoboam’s response, he followed the advice of his buddies. The King did not listen to the people he was beginning to govern, so they got mad at him and rebelled. “When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: ‘What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, Israel! Look after your own house, David!’ So the Israelites went home” (1 Kings 12:16). This all happened in order to fulfill the prophecy that had been made that God would divide the kingdom because of Solomon’s disobedience in 1 Kings 11:9-13.

But were the northern tribes really mad, or were they just playing? Rehoboam had to find out, so he sent Adoniram, his chief tax collector, to those tribes to collect the taxes. The people stoned Adoniram to death. So, Rehoboam fled and managed to escape and fled back to safety in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:18).

Rehoboam wanted to keep the nation united, so he gathered all the troops he could from the two southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah and desired to go to war against the northern tribes and regain the rest of his kingdom. But, Shemaiah the prophet stepped in and intervened before Rehoboam could go to war. Shemaiah told Rehoboam that it was God’s will for the kingdom to be divided, so they obeyed and the troops went home (1 Kings 12:21-24).

After that tumultuous start to his reign, we learn more about King Rehoboam ruling over the nation of Judah in 1 Kings 14:21-31. Remember how God was mad at King Solomon for his disobedience? Well, things only got worse in Judah under King Rehoboam. “Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done” (1 Kings 14:22). There were many “detestable practices” including Asherah worship and the worship of other pagan gods.

The division of the kingdom did not happen smoothly and then the nation was at peace. No, there was continual warfare between Rehoboam in the southern kingdom and Jeroboam in the northern kingdom during all of Rehoboam’s reign. Rehoboam fortified Jerusalem and other key cities as best as he could in order to defend his new nation of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah (2 Chronicles 11:5-12).

Many of the Levites from the entire nation of Israel desired to follow Rehoboam rather than the rebellion of Jeroboam in the northern tribes. They saw that Jeroboam was rejecting God, so they left their lands in the north and came south to Judah. Some Israelites fled to the south as well. They supported Rehoboam as they believed he was the rightful king (2 Chronicles 11:13-17).

But then, things only got worse for Judah. In Rehoboam’s 5th year as king, Shishak king of Egypt ransacked the temple and took everything that was valuable from the royal palace and the temple, including the gold shields that King Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields so they would have them for ceremonial use, but the quality was not the same. The destruction by Egypt would have been much worse, except Rehoboam did humble himself before the Lord (2 Chronicles 12:1-12).

Rehoboam served as king for 17 years in Judah, until he died and his son Abijah succeeded him (2 Chronicles 12:16).

What can we learn today from Rehoboam’s reign? The first thing is that what God says will happen is going to happen. God proclaimed judgment on King Solomon, and it came to pass exactly as God said it would, and even in the timing that God indicated.

The second thing we can learn is that division only leads to more destruction. Dividng the kingdom of Israel did not solve any problems, and perhaps it even created more. Judah did not continue following God during Rehoboam’s reign but instead turned to worshiping pagan gods. Many from the northern kingdom fled to Judah in the south, only to find out that Rehoboam allowed Judah to be just as corrupt as Israel was under Jeroboam. The grass may have been greener in the south at first, but it didn’t stay that way for long.

We need to trust that God will do what He says He will do. God clearly gave the nation of Israel a prophecy that it would become divided because of disobedience to Him, and it happened. God gives us the Bible to clearly warn us of consequences that can happen when nations become divided and stop following Him. Are we paying attention to its warnings?

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Sin 14: Naked and Ashamed

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 17, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Now that we have examined what sin is, what sin does, what it costs, what it is not, and what happens when we get it wrong, we can now look at the proper response to sin. We’ll first look at the instinct God has instilled into all mankind from the start: shame. Let’s look at the origin of shame.

Adam and Eve were created naked in the garden, and they had no shame. It never entered their minds that they were naked. But then they ate from the tree. Suddenly, they realized they were naked, and they were ashamed. I want to make clear that public nakedness is the ultimate form of humiliation and shame in the Jewish mindset. Adam and Eve were naked and now were ashamed of it. Nakedness is a huge theme throughout Scripture, and this is a Gospel issue – a CENTRAL Gospel issue.

Being naked means that you are fully exposed. Every little bit about you is revealed. What triggers you, what set you off, what motivates you – everything is exposed. Physical nakedness is just a picture of spiritual nakedness in which you are exposed before God. Prior to sin, there was no shame. Nothing wrong, nothing to hide, nothing to fear. But now they knew they were naked, and they felt shame, exposed, guilty, dread, regret, and all the emotions that come with it. Shame makes you feel little and strips you of your power.

There are various accounts where the shame of nakedness appears throughout Scripture. It was a common practice of ancient nations when they conquered their enemies that they would parade their captives naked to showcase their dominion over them. David had to deal with a case of such humiliation. After conquering various nations and establishing his throne, he wanted to offer a gift to the king of Ammon because they had housed David’s family while he hid from Saul. But he thought David’s envoys were spies and sent them back with their beards cut and naked from the hip down. It was a big mistake because David came with his wrath upon them. The seven sons of Sceva also suffered a similar humiliation attempting to exorcise a demoniac by riding on Paul’s ministry. They got their tails kicked and fled both bleeding and naked.

The ultimate humiliation in Scripture was Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus, bearing the crown of thorns, the very physical symbol of sin, was crucified and publicly hung stark naked. He was fully exposed, and the wrath of God was poured out upon Him. Jesus endured not only one of the cruelest forms of execution known to man, but He also had to deal with the greatest shame of forced public nudity.

There are two primary responses to the shame that comes with sin. I’ll focus on one for this post and the other one next week. The two responses are self-justification and brokenness. The first is showcased clearly by Adam and Eve. But brokenness is best showcased by King David in Psalm 51. Self-justification is how sinful man responds to the shame of sin. Brokenness is how the believer responds to the shame of sin. Let’s examine the sinful man’s response of self-justification.

Adam and Eve did three things once the shame of their nakedness was revealed. They first covered up their sin. They sewed fig leaves together, having nothing else in sight, to cover themselves. Now think about how silly this is. They were naked this whole time. Now they had fig leaves covering their intimate parts. What greater way could you say, “Hey! Lookie here!” They were announcing to the whole world that they had done something wrong. And don’t we see this over and over again? Parents, don’t your kids do this all the time? They want to hide from the wrong they did, yet they so easily give themselves away that they did something? They make it so obvious too.

The second thing they did was hide. They hid from God. At first, they were open and exposed before God, but now they ran and hid like cockroaches when the light turns on. Again, it was another giveaway that they had sinned. How obvious do you want to be that you sinned?! I know we can laugh at this, but we really aren’t any different; we do this all the time, and it’s so stupid. We can look at Adam and Eve and say, “Come on, just confess. You’re already busted.” Yet how many times do we do the same thing?

The third thing they did was shift the blame. God dragged them out and confronted them. Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit, and then he blamed God for giving Eve to him. Eve blamed the serpent. Neither came forward and confessed their sin before God. But they did confess to doing the deed. They did say “I ate,” but neither said, “I am sorry. I disobeyed You.” But I will give them this credit that there was one thing they did not do. They did not lie about it, though that wasn’t far down the road. Cain lied to God’s face unfazed when confronted about his murder of Abel just one generation later.

One thing that is key to notice when sinful man attempts to self-justify himself against the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the shame that comes with sin is that the conscience becomes worn out and ultimately seared. Look at today. I still remember the days when both homosexuality and woman who had abortions felt great shame. Today, they boast about their sins publicly as though they are daring God to do something about it. But that shame has not gone away. Those in the LGBT arena face some of the greatest bouts of depression we’ve seen, comparable if not greater than soldiers in combat. Why? The answer is simple: because their chosen lifestyle can’t do what they were seeking. They KNOW something is wrong, but sinful man cannot and will not accept the fact that it is their sin that is causing their shame – not the Christians who call out such sinful lifestyles. The same is true with abortions. So many women (and men too) are utterly devastated every time they see a child that is the age of a child theirs should be. It’s extremely shameful. While many have so hardened their hearts that they don’t care how evil they get and will continue that path no matter the cost, some are seeing the emptiness of sin and the death that it produces. We as the church need to be there to support and pick up those people by showing them the true response to sin.

The first proper response to sin is brokenness. I am only going to introduce it here now, but I will go into detail on it next week. Brokenness is the admission and recognition of what your sin is and the understanding of the weight of it. Brokenness leads to confession of sin, which will then lead to repentance from sin. When this happens, and we put our faith in Christ, we will be clothed with Christ and our nakedness will be covered.

While salvation is offered to us freely, there still needs to be a response on our part for it to apply. Jesus’s ministry can be summed in this phrase: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” That was His message. But we cannot and will not repent unless we are first broken over our sin and confess it to be what it truly is. With repentance comes salvation – salvation from the penalty of sin, salvation from the power of sin, and soon salvation from the presence of sin. And with that comes the ultimate judgment and defeat of sin once for all. Stay tuned for the answer to this whole problem of sin over the next few weeks – the answer found in the Gospel of Christ.

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ADHD Christianity: Introversion & Discipleship

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 14, 2022 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

While this topic isn’t strictly related to having ADHD, having such does complicate matters more. But first, it’s important to define some terms. An introvert is a person who regains energy by being either alone or in smaller group settings. Typically, they are the people who find much joy in watching Netflix or YouTube alone, for example, but will socialize as well. Discipleship, however, is a multi-faceted action. The common view of discipleship is becoming a mentor to someone seeking to know more about Christ, get involved in a ministry, etc. Discipleship is relational. It’s nearly impossible to walk someone through growing closer to Christ without educating them in their shortcomings, but also getting to know them as a person to know how to minister to them. The main focus of this post will be centered around the relational aspect of discipleship – trying to disciple others and building that relationship while being introverted and having ADHD.

Think about a time when God gave you a chance to share Jesus directly with someone. If you’re like me, you probably shied away from the situation or started rambling. It’s not uncommon for me to do either of those things, because it can be intimidating. Even in study groups, I’ve been known to just sit there and have a coherent thought yet make it seem like I speak in tongues when I verbalize said thought.

In reality, when you make Jesus Christ your priority, sharing your faith is just talking about the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit. It can be retelling others’ stories to help guide the conversation, or sharing your own experiences to make the talk become more personal. Being vulnerable, though, can be a struggle when you find it tough to talk to others or become drained around others. For example, I often find it hard to focus after a certain point when I’m with a group of other people because I expend so much energy fighting my ADHD to focus on what is happening in front of me instead of around me.

The question quickly becomes how to resolve the issue. How can someone who is shy, is introverted, and has a problem focusing when there’s a shiny red ball everywhere be still and talk about Christ to others?

One way is to look at how Christ did His talks. The times He spoke were never in a situation that involved Him being hurried. Even when a matter seemed very important to the people seeking Him, Jesus took his time (i.e., John 11). Even in His sermons, we don’t see Jesus as someone rushing; He spoke with calmness but also authority. We, too, can look at this as a sign that we should approach these conversations with calmness. A famous saying is, “It’s a marathon not a sprint.” This means that the journey is long and we need to pace ourselves, not try to get things done quickly and exhaust ourselves easily. So instead of feeling like you need to throw everything about Jesus to someone right away, take it slow. The vast majority of the time, if we push the topic hard and fast, it’ll lead people further away from the discussion.

Saying to take it slow is nice, but in what ways can we actually do this?

In a “class” I’m taking as part of entering missionary work, we are talking solely about relational discipleship. While this is something I will cover more in depth in another post, one very important thing that was said recently was, “Tell people how something reminds you of Jesus.” An example given was that the person was spending time with some coworkers making naan bread. During that time, he mentioned how the bread reminds him of Jesus. The coworkers asked why/how, and it allowed him to talk about how Jesus is the bread of life for him without it being forced. Of course, the conversation was guided by the connection of bread and Jesus, but something we need to remember as Christians is that we need to go to the people; people won’t come to us. So we need to find simple ways to just talk about how Jesus is important to us.

If you find it hard to focus when sharing stories about Christ to others, consider your surroundings. For me, it’s easier to be at a restaurant or cafĂ© when talking about things like this. If I need time to think of what to say or how to form a thought properly, I can take a drink or a bite of food. However, others may not find it as convenient for them. Perhaps they get easily sidetracked when they look at the menu. Perhaps you could meet at a park and bring up how the scenery or nature reminds you of Christ. Be intentional in your thoughts. Christ was intentional with everyone He talked to because He was intentionally talking about the Father.

The last thing I wanted to talk about here is what I said before, where we have to go to the people because they won’t come to us.

This is probably one of the most scary aspects of seeking discipleship. When you have ADHD, you can also have perfectionism, which makes it harder to accept failure; things turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will. Being a follower of Christ and following the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) is definitely not easy. However, we need to speak to those who do not yet know Christ, which is why it’s important to know ourselves who Christ is. There are many ways to start a discussion, both direct and indirect. The important thing is to keep Christ at the center of it all. In doing so, we can go to others and share who Christ is to us.

Before going to talk to others, simply answer, “Who is Jesus to me?” From there you can talk freely. I don’t have kids, but I share how since knowing Christ, I have become a much more loving husband. This is especially valuable to a newlywed or someone struggling to keep their relationship alive. While the person may come to me asking for help or venting, I’m still going to that person with the intentionality of Christ being the solution instead of providing secular advice.

Introverted ADHD doesn’t mean we can only be a backseat Christian, but it does mean we have to be more intentional than others. The important thing is to keep Christ first, and be aware you may not have all the answers when God puts you into a place of talking about faith, but that God will direct your conversation.

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Introduction to the Kings

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 13, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I was raised in the church and in Christian schools, so I have literally spent my entire life studying the Bible in various ways. But one of the parts of it where everything seems to run together in my brain is the period of the kings when the nation Israel was divided into the two kingdoms. So, what better way to learn more about the kings than to study each one in detail!

I suspect that as we dig into this time period over the next few months, we’ll find some correlations between our nation today as well. After all, these historical accounts have been preserved in the Scriptures for a reason, and we know that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That includes all of the Old Testament, even the historical accounts of the kings.

But first, we need to look at the context of what led up to that time period in the nation of Israel. Israel had conquered the promised land in the book of Joshua. Then, in the book of Judges, we see a time period when Israel was occupying the promised land but still fighting with some neighboring peoples. Israel went through the cycle of sinning against God, being enslaved by their enemies, crying out to God to deliver them, being delivered by God, a time of peace, and then the cycle would repeat. The last verse of the book of Judges sets up the next phase in Israel’s history: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

After the period of the judges, the people asked for a king through the prophet Samuel. Through Samuel, God warned the people that they would regret asking for a king: “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:18). But the people insisted, so God did what Israel wanted and gave them a king.

Their first king was Saul, who was anointed by Samuel as recorded in 1 Samuel 9-10. Saul’s reign as king only lasted about 20 years, but it was filled with conflicts and wars against Israel’s enemies, though he was always victorious in these battles. But, in 1 Samuel 15, Saul disobeyed God and Samuel called him out on it, so God rejected him as the king. Then in 1 Samuel 16, we see how God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king.

God led Samuel to anoint David, the youngest son of Jesse, as the next king of Israel. But David did not yet step into that role; first, he went into service for Saul as an armor bearer and to play music for the king to calm him down from the evil spirit that tormented him. But after David killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17), David became a mighty warrior and Saul became afraid of him. “Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul” (1 Samuel 18:12). Saul tried to kill David multiple times but was unsuccessful each time; David had the opportunity to kill Saul at least twice but did not act on it (1 Samuel 24 and 26).

Eventually, Saul kills himself in battle (1 Samuel 31), and then David becomes officially anointed as the king, first of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-7) and then of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5). The prophet Nathan is raised up, and God gives David a great promise in 2 Samuel 7: his throne would be great, and the savior would come from his descendants! Overall, David was considered the greatest king of Israel, even though he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband Uriah killed to cover it up (2 Samuel 11). David also wrote much of the book of Psalms, which share the emotions he felt at both the highs and the lows of his life. There is so much to David’s story, including but not limited to his 40 years as king, much more than I’ll go into here, so I encourage you to read it for yourself in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel.

After David, the next king of Israel was David’s son Solomon. David had multiple wives, and his son Adonijah tried to make himself the next king, but the prophet Nathan conspired with Bathsheba to make her son with David, Solomon, the next king (1 Kings 1). Even though Solomon’s mother was the woman with whom David had committed adultery, God ordained Solomon as the next king of the nation of Israel.

King Solomon was most known for his great wisdom, and he wrote the Song of Songs, likely the book of Ecclesiates, and much of the book of Proverbs. He is also known for overseeing the building of the temple in Jerusalem. As Solomon got older, he accumulated over 700 wives and 300 concubines, who led him into worshiping pagan gods and angering God. This disobedience was what made God divide the nation of Israel:

The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:9-13)

Solomon’s son Rehoboam took the throne next, and shortly into his reign, the nation of Israel divided (1 Kings 12). This was partly due to a disagreement between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, but also to fulfill the prophecy that God had made to Solomon. Rehoboam remained the king of the southern kingdom, known as Judah and comprised of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam became the king of the northern kingdom, which kept the name of Israel and was comprised of the other ten tribes.

So, that sets the stage for the situation in the nation of Israel – how they started having kings and then how they split into the divided kingdom. Starting next week, I’ll begin taking a look at one king each week, chronologically from the point the kingdom divided to the the end of each kingdom, when Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC and Jerusalem in Judah was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey to learn more about the history of Israel and Judah, and that together we’ll learn how those kings and their legacies can help us grow in our faith today!

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Sin 13: A Proper View of Sin

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 10, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

After spending multiple weeks examining various false teachings we face within today’s Christian community in how they view sin and the deadly consequences of such ideas, I want to come back and bring this full circle. I spent five weeks describing what sin is, where it came from, what it does, and what its cost is to open the series. Then I spent seven weeks dealing with what sin is not and what happens when we get it wrong. Today, I will return to what sin truly is. From here, we’ll go into how we should respond to sin.

I opened up by discussion how the very term “sin” means to “miss the mark.” It is an archery term for missing the target. It’s not merely missing the bullseye (though that is what is expected from a pure, holy God) but missing the target entirely. But sin goes much deeper than that. Sin utterly rejects the target as the standard. It is not merely missing the standard; it is defying the standard. Sin intentionally seeks its own target. The lie of the serpent at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is ever present: “And you shall be as God.” Even since that moment, man has sought to be his own arbiter of reality. He seeks to define things by his own desires and thus has a God complex. This applies to every person, even me. We all think we are right, and we all think we have the ability to judge and discern what is right and wrong for ourselves. This is not a new philosophy that has merely revealed itself in post-modernism but is the malady of all mankind ever since man fell. Man is a terrible arbiter of truth when self is the standard. We’ll explore why as we go.

In missing the mark, sin has several characteristics. It violates God’s plan or purpose for any object, teaching, or idea. I’ll use sexuality as an example here as this certainly is an issue that our youngest children are being forced to face. God designed sexual activity to be for one man and one woman to engage in only within the confides of Biblical marriage, with the primary function of intimacy and procreation. If both spouses in the marriage fully obeyed God’s commandments regarding marriage and sexuality, neither of them will ever have to worry about any STDs. When any person chooses to engage in any form of sexuality outside the marriage bed, even if that person is going to be their spouse, that is a violation of God’s timing regarding sexuality, and that is a sin. If done with someone who is not that spouse, then it is violation of God’s purpose of sexuality, and that is a sin. If done with other body parts other than what they are intended for, then that is a violation of the function of said body parts, and that is also why Paul says these aren’t just sins against God but also sins against your body. Sin violates God’s plan, purpose, function, and timing for any activity or object or gift He has given us.

When we violate these purposes and functions, things are going to go wrong. We call this natural law. It is said that steam-powered technology tends to never break on its own, and when it does, it is nearly always due to misuse of the system. The same is true with us. When we violate what God intends us to do, when we miss the mark, it is a misuse of God’s gifts and the result leads to broken equipment or catastrophic failure, which is death. God is not a mean, harsh judge just looking for a reason to strike people down. He often lets man go about his business and sin as he desires, but not without consequences. In a way, God is saying, “If you want to do that, go ahead, but don’t think I didn’t warn you, and don’t expect an easy out from it.” Sin produces death, both as a consequence and as a sentence. Death of every kind: spiritually, physically, economically, socially, politically, and in every sense of the term. Sometimes the death is instant; sometimes the process of death begins. It’s not an unfair punishment either. If we really saw the weight of sin and how severe it is, we’d take this much more seriously.

Death is not merely the punishment of sin; it is also the fruit of sin. Where sin goes, death follows. Sometimes it is evident; sometimes it is not. John does indicate sins that lead to death that you must call out immediately and sins that do not lead to death that there is grace for. But he’s talking about something else. He’s talking about the types of sin that, if left unchecked, will truly destroy the church, contrasted with sins that are remnants of the old sinful self and which are being warred against. Let’s go back to sexuality for an example. Homosexuality in particular is especially heinous. It is one of the few sins singled out as an utter abomination to God, but also one of the few sins that was marked as the key reason for divine judgment. But it’s more than that. It does devastating damage to the body. The average lifespan of a man in a homosexual lifestyle is about ten years shorter than that of a heterosexual. That’s no laughing matter. When we violate God’s purpose and intention, the consequences only stack up.

I say this next thing not as an insult but it goes back to my earlier series on apologetics and namely on 2 Timothy 2:24-26. One thing that leaped out to me was that the lost person is not thinking straight. They are not in their right mind. God needs to grant them repentance so that they may come to their senses. Check out this list of terms that describe the sinful mind:

The shocking discovery can be best grasped in the following twelve different negative New Testament words that describe the ruin of man's intellectual capacity.
1. Romans 1:28: debased
2. 2 Cor 3:14: hardened
3. 2 Cor 4:4: blinded
4. Eph 4:17: futility
5. Eph 4:18: darkened
6. Col 1:21: hostile
7. Col 2:4: deluded
8. Col 2:8: deceived
9. Col 1:18: sensuous
10. 1 Tim 6:5: depraved
11. 2 Tim 3:8: corrupted
12. Titus 1:15: defiled
~Richard Mayhue: Think Biblically! page 39

Sin destroys the brain. It destroys the ability to see, think, reason, process, and care. Look at the majority of villains in books and movies. Most villains aren’t evil just because they are evil. Most actually think they are actually doing the right and the best thing. Thanos really thought he was doing the right thing by wiping out half of mankind in Infinity War. So it is with each of us. We each think we are doing what is right in our own eyes. Yet because of our sin, we cannot properly discern what is right or wrong.

The last thing I’ll look at here is that anything that is not done in faith is sin. Anything we say or do without trusting God and believing Him is actually a result of believing something or someone other than God. Guess what we call that? Idolatry, which is a violation of the 1st and 2nd commandments. Any time we say something that does not have its origin in what God has revealed and trust in that truth, it is not from God and is therefore of sin. Any time we do something because we believed what someone said and it does not agree with what God has said, that is believing a lie and that is sin. Eve was deceived; she believed a lie. To believe a lie is a result of sin. There is grace to a degree in this, but if we continue believing what we know to be lies and we have been told they are lies by honest Bible-believing Christians, that is sin.

Every aspect of sin is deadly, and every one of us is guilty of it. We all deserve death. We all deserve Hell. And let me make this clear: if we believed and followed Christ every day for the rest of our lives, and God were to still send us all to Hell anyway, He would be righteous and just to do it. And so, the question we have to ask ourselves is this: Why should God save us? Why should God give us mercy? He has no obligation to do so. Yet He has chosen to offer us mercy. So what do we do about our sin? What should our response be when God in His great mercy towards us convicts us of our sin? That is for the next few weeks, but first, sin has an immediate side-effect that forces us into action: shame. How we respond to the shame of our sin defines our relationship with Christ.

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Hebrews 13:20-25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 6, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly.
I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.
Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.
Grace be with you all.”
-Hebrews 13:20-25

We have made it to the end of the book of Hebrews! This is is the final section of verses, and it serves as a conclusion through the use of a doxology and some greetings from the author to his audience.

Verses 20-21 serve as a doxology. A doxology is simply praising God; the word doxology comes from the Greek word doxa, meaning glory. It’s interesting that the author calls God “the God of peace” here, as that’s a phrase often used by the Apostle Paul. Some scholars do suspect that Paul wrote this letter, but there is also support for the fact that Paul did not write it. (See this post for more on this letter’s author.) The peace referred to here is not just an absence of conflict but it’s a sense of well-being, reminding the audience that all of life depends on God.

“The blood of the eternal covenant” is one of the main themes of this letter, so it’s fitting that the author brings it up here. Much of the letter has compared and contrasted the old covenant that God had with the nation of Israel with the new covenant that all people now have through Jesus Christ.

However, this is the first place in the entire letter where Jesus is referred to as a shepherd, though there are many other times in the Bible where the shepherd imagery is used – Psalm 23, Isaiah 63:11, John 10, and 1 Peter 2:25 just to name a few. Jesus as a shepherd showcases His care for people; sheep are pretty helpless (and dumb) without their shepherd. Shepherds also had complete sovereignty over their flocks, which is something that we tend to gloss over today. Jesus should have complete rule over our lives, as He is our great shepherd.

The author’s prayer for his audience is that God would equip them with what they need. The verb for “equip” has the idea of mending something that is broken. His prayer is that God will make right whatever is not right in the spiritual lives of the readers and that they will lack nothing.

It’s interesting to see the idea of doing God’s will right next to the phrase of “may he work in us.” We are to desire to do God’s will, but doing so is only possible as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We do good works because we have faith in Jesus, and it’s that faith that allows us to do good things that are unselfish in nature (see James 2 for more on that). When we love God and desire to follow Jesus with our entire lives, our desire should be to do exactly what this doxology says – “what is pleasing to Him.” We should love God so much that our own desires are not worthwhile to dwell on, but our focus should be on pleasing God.

The last few verses of this letter are greetings to its readers, which is one way that we know it is a letter that was sent by an author to a group of people.

Verse 22 shows that the author calls this letter an “exhortation.” Exhorting simply means to communicate with emphasis, urging someone to do something. The author has clearly spent a lot of time on this letter, so he wants his readers to take it to heart. It is interesting in that the author says that he has written “quite briefly.” A 13-chapter letter like this one definitely does not fit my definition of “brief”! Some scholars take this to mean that perhaps the last chapter or two was a separate document initially that was attached to the rest of the book at some point in history.

The Timothy referred to in verse 23 is very likely the Timothy to whom Paul wrote the letters of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, as there is no record of any other Timothy associated with the early church in this time period. The word “released” is curious, as its meaning is unclear whether Timothy is being released from prison, released from some other obligation, or released as in starting on a journey of some sort. The Greek word could mean any of these. But whatever the situation, the writer is clearly expecting Timothy to arrive at the place where he is, and then the two of them would journey on to see the recipients of this letter.

The author has written about leaders a couple of times already in this chapter, so it’s no surprise that he encourages the greeting of the leaders in verse 24, along with all the Lord’s people. It is unclear what the author means by “Those from Italy send you their greetings.” Scholars do not know enough about the author or his geographic location to make sense of that.

Finally, the author ends with, “Grace be with you all” in verse 25. This is very appropriate given that the author spent much of this letter talking about the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and how we are freely given the gift of God’s grace. He does not exclude anyone who might read this letter from receiving God’s grace, just as God excludes no one.

I thank you for joining me on this journey through the letter to the Hebrews! It has been quite an adventure over the past year to write through this entire book, and if you haven’t read through all the posts, I continue to go back and do so.

And on that note, I’ll end as the author does: Grace be with you all!

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Sin 12: Wrong Views of Sin Leads to False Ministry

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 3, 2022 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jesus lambasted the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and false teachings that not only showcased their own problems but made their followers the two-fold sons of Hell than they were. The Pharisees were bad enough, but their students were even worse. Why? Because when a sinful person sees someone deemed a righteous man open the door for liberalism and some sin, that person will take that door and open it even further.

This will be my final post on the deadly consequences of getting sin wrong before I return to the true definition of sin and go into the proper response to sin. I am going to make a bold and seemingly harsh statement: ANY PERSON who does not have a Biblical understanding of sin – knowing full well what it is, how severe it is, what it does, and what the consequences are – has absolutely no business being in any form of ministry. The results of any kind of ministry that does not understand nor take sin as the Bible describes it lead to utter failure and destruction. Jesus warned anyone against leading the youth astray and James said anyone in any teaching position is going to be held to a higher standard. That standard means they will be held responsible for anyone who listens to what they say and follows them. This is why Paul said to “imitate me just as I imitate Christ” but that also gives a hint that we are not to imitate him in any other way. If I am not pointing towards Christ, I don’t want people following me.

I understand that no one has a perfect understanding of sin, but anyone who has a remote working knowledge of the Bible should know enough to know what sin is. They also should know to have warnings go off anytime someone attempts to excuse sin, cover it up, or to literally re-define it to mean something else. I just spent blog posts #6-11 of this series going over examples so you would know the flavors of this we are currently dealing with.

Ultimately, the situation is like this: people have a deadly disease with only one possible cure. Doctors know what the cure is supposed to be, and because they know people won’t like the diagnosis or the medicine, they soften the diagnosis and tell them it is actually something else. Then to make it worse, they give medicine that fits the new diagnosis instead of what fits the actual disease. Now, sin is NOT a disease that one simply contracts, but the analogy works here for this purpose. We have preachers, missionaries, and evangelists who tell people how great they are and how much God loves them but never actually addresses their malady and what is wrong with life. And that person will hear the message, thinking they are safe, but will continue to go through life without ever getting a real solution. And to make it worse, those people will become hardened to any real presentation because the last “Christian” who spoke to them told them a flat out lie.

When we get sin wrong, we get evangelism wrong. But let’s get more practical here on earth too. What about counseling? What about identity politics? Why are states trying to ban churches and pastors from sex conversion therapies? The answer is because the root of every one of these problems is sin, and the answer to every one of these problems is the cross. So if we get sin wrong, we get the root of the problem wrong, and thus any attempt to solve the problem will only be a band aid at best.

People who hear false teachings and are impressed by the opinions of this world will ask: “How will you get the experts to listen to you when you know they reject your secondary teachings?” Usually this question is asked about origins. How can we possibly evangelize the scientific community when they believe that a 6-day creation and a 6000-year history is utterly impossible? My answer is, “If they are going to reject creation, what makes you think they are going to accept the cross? And why are we worried about what they think? They are sinners and they are LOST. Why are you taking counsel from a lost person?” Frankly, those people are ashamed of the Gospel and of Christ before men. I seriously ask them, if that is their approach, why bother believing the rest of what the Bible says that “modern science” doesn’t agree with either? That’s in academics. What about in practical life?

A marriage starts to fall apart, and the world is only going to offer trivial solutions if not break it apart. A friend of Worldview Warriors president Jason DeZurik was a musician in a Christian band who came out as a homosexual and abandoned his wife and kids to go public about it. As bad as that is, I had an indignation rise up in me like I rarely get when I found out that two pastors (one was a Progressive Christian) encouraged him and advised him to do this instead of dealing with his real issue – sin. They had a false view of sin and did not consider homosexuality to be a sinful lifestyle, so they gave him bad counsel which led that young man into further sin.

While I don’t want to boast about myself, but my book Biblical Foundations has already saved a marriage and I didn’t even write about marriage. How did I do that? I didn’t do anything but write about what being a Christian really entails and what it means to have your foundation in Scripture. This couple read my book, got their lives back in order with God, and out of that their marriage was saved. That was not me; that was God who used me because I was not ashamed of the Gospel and not ashamed to speak of what sin is and what the solution to sin is.

It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. How was the thief on the cross saved? By recognizing his own sin and also recognizing that Jesus, being without sin, was the Savior. He didn’t use theological language, but he realized his need for a savior even in death. The Gospel’s power lies in correctly identifying sin as being sin and that the hope from that sin is found only in Christ Jesus. I believe I speak for all of us at Worldview Warriors when I say that we are not ashamed of the Gospel. We are not ashamed of the message that Christianity teaches, and we will speak that message no matter what it may cost us. We love the truth, and we love people enough that we will tell them the truth no matter what they may think of it. And that means that we have to tell people what their sin truly is and what it is like. That is what I will do next week. I will go back to what sin truly is and how utterly and completely wicked it is; only when we understand that can we have a proper response to 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.