The “God Game” (1 Samuel 15-17)

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) It's tempting to play games with God as if we have Him all figured out.  The game goes like this: God, I know you'll forgive me if I ask you to, so I'm going to do what I want now and then ... [Continue Reading]

Not Even a Hint (Judges 20-21)

The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God.  They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”  The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.” (Judges 20:18) At first glance, it's uncomfortable to imagine that God encouraged Israel to fight against the Benjamites - one of the nation's own tribes of people.  What could possibly have been worthy ... [Continue Reading]

What’s the Big Deal? (Joshua 7-8)

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. (Joshua 7:1) I think some of the biggest obstacles to faith are the rules surrounding it.  Particularly, I think it's easy to misunderstand rules and think that ... [Continue Reading]

The Danger of Frustration (Numbers 20-21, Psalm 90)

He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) Every person has a breaking point.  Regardless of who you are or how patient you seem, there's someone in your life who is capable of pushing you so far that you finally lose it.  Moses experienced that ... [Continue Reading]

Little Eyes Are Watching (Genesis 25-26)

When the men of that place asked [Isaac] about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.” (Genesis 26:7) Where did Isaac learn to say that his wife was really his sister?  He probably learned it from his dad. It's amazing that ... [Continue Reading]

No Joke (Genesis 19-21)

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters.  He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!”  But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. (Genesis 19:14) I think this story is one of the most tragic ones of the Old Testament.  God attempted to show mercy to Lot's future sons-in-law before ... [Continue Reading]

Be Careful Where You Pitch Your Tents (Genesis 12-15)

Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. (Genesis 13:12) Lot's first mistake was pitching his tents near Sodom.  Known for its perverseness as a city, going anywhere near Sodom was simply putting oneself in the face of temptation.  Whether or not that was Lot's reason for parking it there, he ... [Continue Reading]

What Goes Around Comes Around (Job 35-37)

But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, [God] tells them what they have done—that they have sinned arrogantly.  He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil.  If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.  But if they do not listen, they will ... [Continue Reading]

A Fresh Start (Genesis 1-3)

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:2) It's remarkable to me that Adam decided to name his wife, "Eve."  After all, one of the biggest let-downs of human history had just occurred.  God created this masterful new world, and the new man and his wife were given one rule: don't eat from the tree. One rule.  And they ... [Continue Reading]