Category Archives: Bible Reading

The Sins of Hophni and Phinehas

We all have our favorite books in the Bible. 1 Samuel is one of them for me. My wife and I have been reading it lately and there were some interesting things that I noticed in my reading of it. I notice a few things looking at 1 Samuel 2-4. In particular the works of Hophni and Phinehas.

There sins were great in the eyes of the LORD. “The sin of the men was very great before the LORD, for men abhored the offering of the LORD.” It was in regard to the meat that Hophni and Phinehas wanted to get the meat before the fat was burned. But instead they took it by force. Ignoring the commands of the Lord that: “‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.(Lev. 3:17)” Or that the person who eats shall be cut off from His people as Lev. 7:22-27 mentions. They defiled the worship of God and the sin offerings.

They didn’t wear an ephod. Levites were to wear ephods as perscribed in Exodus 28. Which in verse 18 says that Samuel was wearing. What!? We might think that the ephod was such a simple issue but it was God’s prescription for worship. Wouldn’t we want to come and worship God according to His standards and commandments. God makes a big deal out of it when He says; “Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?” This speaking of Aaron.

Too little, Too late. That is the response of Eli the father of Hophni and Phinehas. He did rebuke them but how mild. No my sons! Really the rebuke and then a stoning would have been the appropriate response. Here is what God thought of his rebuke. “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them Of course God is often gracious is there is a repentance.(3:13)” But Eli had little care it seems for his sons. Instead his response was “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him. (3:18)” I think the appropriate response would be LORD have mercy with fasting and sackcloth.

The implications to me is sobering. That we should not only be careful of our own soul but the soul of our children. Eli didn’t restrain his children and instead let them continue in their sin. Let us not lend a blind eye or sit back while our kids sin but rather deal with it no matter how terrible the sin is.

Meditations From The Book of Zechariah

Last week I spent time in the Book of Zechariah. It really had been some time since I had last read and it was a good refresher in the book. I wanted to look at a few things that I have learned in my short study of Zechariah.

Zechariah both priest and prophet. It is quite clear that Zechariah was a prophet. Statements like “the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah” gives us the assurance that he is a prophet. He has both revelations and words spoken by God to Zechariah for the nation of Israel. Priest is a little less apparent but helps with the whole of scripture like Nehemiah 12:1 that the Levites Iddo and verse 16 where Zechariah was a descendant of Iddo.

The Lord Remembers. This is what Bible scholars say theme of the book is about. It resonates from the start of the book as God calls back Israel to obedience in 1:3,4. In chapter 2 we get that God will come back and dwell in the midst of His people and nations will flock to be with Him. In chapter 3 that He will purge Joshua the priest of sin and nation of Israel from their iniquity. Even in the last of half of Zechariah that we find that God is reassuring that He will dwell in the midst of Israel. That He will defend and rebuke the nations that stood against Israel.

God’s promises yet to be fulfilled. Undoubtedly there are parts in this book that speak strongly about the Lord Jesus Christ. Parts like the BRANCH which we could reference John 15 and Jesus as the Vine. Or the 30 pieces of silver that betrayed Jesus. But when I read things like; “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” I can’t help but think that the scriptures are yet to be fulfilled for Israel. Or that all nations will come to keep the feast of Tabernacles in chapter 14 and a curse will be on the nations that do not. God’s promises seem to yet be fulfilled.

I find that Zechariah was an encouraging read. A reminder that though some fall into sin that God yet gives second chances. That He remembers His promises to His people and that the Sovereign God will fulfill those promises. Israel will yet worship the Lord. How is relationship with God? If you find yourself wandering from the presence of the Lord then I implore you to return to the Lord and He will return to you.

Making Sense of the Earthquake in Japan

As you well know the earthquake in Japan had devastating effects even for a nation that is deemed one of the most earthquake prepared countries. Yet homes fell and were washed away, cars were swept along like leaves on rivers, and many were displaced or died in the cataclysm. There are currently estimated 21,000 souls lost or presumed dead in the earthquake and tsunami with many families and friends separated. With such devastating effects we should know that God has made sense of disasters. Let us make some sense from the Bible about the earthquake in Japan.

God is the maker of heaven and earth. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). My help comes from Him, Who made heaven and earth (Ps 121:2). If we are committed to God as creator than we can recognize that it brings more meaning to devastation caused by earthquakes. Without God then really the question of why would something like this happen is pointless. Even in an event like the earthquake in Japan we should know that the earth declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) and the earth is His footstool (Is. 66:1). The scripture establishes God at the center of creation. He is neither absent or unaware of situations like this.

Earthquakes come from the presence of God. Since God is at the center of creation He also has the power to do with it whatever he wants.

Psalms 114:3-8
The sea saw it and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
The little hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled?
O Jordan, that you turned back?
6 O mountains, that you skipped like rams?
O little hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain of waters.

Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

His presence causes the earth to shake an the waters to recede. It is God at the center of devastation. Because the Bible attributes volcanic activity to God in Psalms 18:7-15 then there also can be a reason why something like this happens.

The Purpose of God in Earthquakes

God’s purpose in earthquakes is to achieve His will. Whatever the LORD pleases He does,In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places (Psalm 135:6). If He desires it He will do it. Yet there is something more than Him shaking the earth for no reason as if He did it just because. He is not like a child who for spite makes the mountains quake. In scripture the earthquakes are most often referred to God’s anger or displeasure.

Job 9:1-6 Then Job answered and said:
“Truly I know it is so, But how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? He removes the mountains, and they do not know. When He overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble;

At God’s displeasure that mountains are moved and the earth shakes. Jeremiah reiterates this in chapter 4:23-26. We might be moved to be angry with God yet it is sin that is just for God to reveal his just anger. For Psalms 7:11-13 even points out that God is angry with the wicked every day.

Is There Hope?

Absolutely. In the presence of such disaster as we read earlier that God is our help and refuge in times trouble Psalm 46:1. We can have a sure confidence that we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. For those who go through such experience like this and have their hope in the Lord can have a comfort and joy.

Do you love God?

Loving God is the first and greatest question you can ever answer. A Pharisee Lawyer asked Jesus this question;

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. (Matt. 22:35-38).

To not love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind is the first and great sin as spoken by R.A. Torrey. To not love God is the greatest trespass that we could ever have. Really to have hope in God is to believe in Him. To find refuge in trouble is to have peace when it seems as though the world is falling apart.

Jesus gives a response to such a question about cataclysmic events. He points to the tower of Siloam in which 13 people die from its collapse (Luke 13:4) and says do you think they worst sinners than all of Jerusalem. The point He is making is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God uses events like these to call some to Himself, to bring judgement, and to take some home. Some people will be save as a result of earthquakes.

The End Is Soon

The gospels give us a sign that the end is near. The disciples ask in Matthew 24:3 what the sign of the end is near. Jesus gives us a list of signs that the end is near.

  • People claiming to be Christ (present)
  • Wars and rumors of wars (present)
  • Famine
  • Pestilence
  • Earthquakes

May this be a reminder unto us that the end is near and that earthquakes are a revelation of God to mankind. That He uses earthquakes to bring judgment to punish evil doers and to save the lost. And should we face such crippling situations may we yet look find God as our present help in times of trouble.

The Purity of the Word

Your Word is Very Pure therefore you servant Loves it! (PS 119:140) Do you know how it goes? You know the tune? After all the Israelite’s sang the Psalms. After 22 stanzas it makes you wonder why most of our hymns are only 4 long. But this song doesn’t get old if truly have the heart like that of the psalmist-your servant loves it. How do we show love for the word? It starts through how we view it. Is it valuable or not so valuable. We will look here at the purity of God’s Word.

The purity of the Word is because it comes from the mouth of God. The scripture is the words of God. As all scripture is God breathed. It is the autobiography of God as opposed to the biography that is revealed in creation. As we understand that God revealed Himself in the scriptures revealing His character, attributes, and works. You look into the Holy Text and find the Person of God and get an understanding of His likes and dislikes. There really no better way to get the truth about someone or something unless you go directly to the source. God has clearly revealed Himself and gives a clear description of who He is in the scripture. He purely describes Himself unashamedly and without equivocation.

The purity of the Word from its truthfulness. Nothing is so poignant as the discovery of your sin in the light of Scripture. It even gives the complete failures of saints of old and God’s grace to them despite their utter failings. You would think that perhaps there would be motivation to lie about things and yet it doesn’t. For God does not lie and in Him is truthfulness. The Scripture is pure and undiluted as it gives the simplicity of gospel.

May we truly have the heart of the Psalmist. Your word is very pure therefore I love it! Let us raise our view of God’s Word as it is pure. The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

More Than My Necessary Food

In America it isn’t often that we eat only bread and water for dinner. In fact, prisoners are fed better than people in third world countries. Our necessary food is often exceeded by snacks and desserts. If you are anything like me you are likely thinking about food. Some plan out their next meal and others collect and swap recipes. We even dream about our favorite meals and look forward to that great restaurant we’ve been hearing about. The Bible should be our souls necessary sustenance.

I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.

Necessary for Job and Necessary for us. If anyone had an awful situation it was Job. He was in turmoil to near death, with his children dead, his friends accusing him of sin, and his wife saying “curse God and die.” In Jobs utter ruin he make this statement that he has treasured the Word more than his necessary food. I am challenged by that statement are you?

The necessity of heavenly food. Our souls need God’s word. Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The Christian should consume the Word of God as if it were food. It should be our sustenance that are delighted to receive.

How do you find time to read the scriptures? Is it a habit? In the morning, noon, and night?