How Far is Too Far? (Ezekiel 14-16)

You adulterous wife!  You prefer strangers to your own husband!  All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors.  So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors.  You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you. ... [Continue Reading]

The Great U-Turn (Jeremiah 1-3)

They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’  They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’ (Jeremiah 2:27) If you were heading down a road that suddenly led you into a bad part of town, you might think about turning around because of the danger that you were about to be ... [Continue Reading]

In Common (Isaiah 49-53)

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) Did you know that, no matter where you're from, no matter what kind of lineage you have, and regardless of your socio-economic status you have something in common with every other person on earth?  Whether you're rich or poor, ... [Continue Reading]

Tired of the Game (Isaiah 1-4)

Stop bringing meaningless offerings!  Your incense is detestable to me.  New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. (Isaiah 1:13) Solomon's wasn't kidding when he said, "there's nothing new under the sun."  He was especially right as it comes to the whole game of religion.  In fact, the temptation to make religion a game is just as ... [Continue Reading]

A Fresh Start (1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8)

The Lord said to [Solomon]: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever.  My eyes and my heart will always be there.” (1 Kings 9:3) Sometimes it's important to get a fresh start in life.  The finishing of the Temple and the kingship of Solomon was a time for a fresh start ... [Continue Reading]

Perfect People Need Not Apply (1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5)

“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near... then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.” (1 Kings 8:46, 49) There is a misnomer in our culture that Christians need to be ... [Continue Reading]

A Tale of Two Stories (2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20)

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14) Sin is serious, and it carries with it enormous consequences.  A part of the human condition, however, is that ... [Continue Reading]

What Will it Take? (Judges 3-4)

Because [Jabin, the king of Canaan,] had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. (Judges 4:3) Twenty years of oppression is what it took for Israel to turn back to God?  Seriously?  Twenty years? It's remarkable to me that it took so long for the nation to realize that it was ... [Continue Reading]

Overflowing Generosity (Exodus 36:1-8; 39:32-43)

And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.  So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” (Exodus 36:3b-5) Do you remember the last time that people gave so generously to the ... [Continue Reading]

The Power of Forgiveness (Genesis 32-34)

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (Genesis 33:4) Forgiveness is a powerful force.  It says: debt cancelled - you don't owe me any longer. In the relationship between Jacob and Esau, Jacob had built up a huge debt.  First, he monopolized on a situation of weakness and manipulated Esau into ... [Continue Reading]