February 1, 2015 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 6:16-19

    The proverb writer lists seven things which God detests. We sometimes think that some of these are worse sins than others, forgetting that the thought process behind the “least” of these is the same as behind the “worst”.


Psalm 26:1-12

    I cannot speak with the same confidence the psalmist expresses. I have not always acted with integrity and my trust in the Lord has wavered. However, I will still place myself before God and request that He test me and try me. I will not sit with the deceitful and do not associate with hypocrites. I will bring myself before God and throw myself on His mercy.


Matthew 21:23-46

    When Jesus was confronted about where He got the authority to drive the merchants out of the Temple He responded with a question which showed the unwillingness of the official leadership to take a stand. They claimed the authority to speak for God, yet when challenged to take a stand they were unwilling to either admit their previous failings or stand up to popular opinion. Jesus then told two parables which each condemned them in different ways.
    First Jesus showed us that being righteous requires action, not just lip service. We are asked to compare those who, when asked, refuse to commit to take actions to help others. Yet, when it comes time to action, their actions actually do benefit those less fortunate than themselves. There are others who are constantly telling us how much they desire to help those less fortunate than themselves. Yet their actions, even those they claim are intended to help (maybe even especially those actions), always seem to benefit only themselves and their friends. God is not fooled when we claim to do His will but do our own, nor is He fooled when we make a show of rebellion but do His will anyway.

    Then Jesus shows us that the religious leaders who had confronted Him had been given legitimate authority. However, they had failed to live up to the obligations which went with that authority. As a result, they would be stripped of their authority and God would give it to others. The same will happen to those who have been given authority today if they make the same mistake. God does not give authority to people in order for them to serve their own interests. He gives it to them in order for them to serve others and to serve Him. Are we using whatever authority God has given us to do so?


Exodus 13:17-15:18

    When the Israelites left Egypt, God did not lead them on a direct path to Canaan. The direct path would have led them into confrontation with armies prepared to face a potential invading Egyptian army. God knew that if the Israelites, at this time, were confronted by organized resistance they would divide and scatter. So, He had Moses lead them in a direction which would allow them to face an armed foe which they could not escape by scattering. How much of their path was determined by divine intervention and how much by Moses’ experience from 40 years tending his father-in-law’s flocks is open to debate (although, to be perfectly honest, I believe that Moses’ forty years tending flocks was part of God’s divine intervention).
    As expected, when the Israelites were confronted by an army (in this case, Pharaoh’s pursuing army), they panicked. However, there was no place to go that offered hope of escape. Moses responded to their panic by telling them to keep calm and watch what God would do. God responded to their panic by telling Moses to raise his staff over the see which was behind them, dividing the sea. The Israelites fled through the division in the sea as if on dry ground. When Pharaoh’s army pursued they became bogged down. It is worth noting that the Israelites would have been on foot. The animals they would have had would have been herds of sheep and goats. They may have had (and probably did) wagons with wide cargo wheels, designed to go over rough ground, drawn by draft animals, which would have had broad hooves. The Egyptians on the other hand were mounted, mostly on chariots. The chariots would have had narrow wheels, optimized for speed. Any riding horses they had would have also been optimized for speed (or at least more so than draft animals) and thus had narrower hooves. Thus the Israelites would have been able to pass over the dried crust of the mud that was on the bottom of the sea as if it was hard, dry ground. The Egyptians, on the other hand, with their narrower wheels and hooves would have broken through the crust to the mud underneath (the fact that the Israelites had crossed ahead of them would have made matters worse). In this case, and in these circumstances, the Israelites were able to cross much faster than the Egyptian army. This was the only circumstance where a large group of mixed civilians could have outpaced an army. It also explains why the Egyptian army was unable to escape when the waters returned.
    When the Israelites reached the other side and witnessed the destruction of the pursuing force, they praised God and sang of His glory. Do we look at our lives and give God credit for “our” victories? Or do we think our success is a product of our brilliance and hard work? When things go well in my life, I will sing this song (or something similar):

I will sing to the Lord,
for he has triumphed gloriously;

This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

When natural events work so that good things happen to me, I will acknowledge the One who created nature. I have had events recently where I solved a serious dilemma by applying myself and working hard, but I recognize that the key factor occurred through divine intervention. Others might say it was coincidence, or just a matter of banging at the problem until I found the solution, but I know that I had reached the end of my skill and knowledge and had success only because God brought something apparently unrelated that allowed me to see the result. If not for God, I would not have solved the problem.

January 31, 2015 Bible Study — Jesus Victorious

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 6:12-15

    The proverb writer tells us how to recognize who the truly wicked and worthless are. They are constant liars, plot evil and constantly stir up trouble. Look in the news today and I think you will quickly see to whom he is referring.


Psalm 25:16-22

    I will not comment on this psalm, except to say that this is another psalm which makes a great prayer. I will make this my prayer for today (although my life does not feel nearly as hard to me right now as the psalmist’s appears to have been when he wrote this).


Matthew 20:29-21:22

    When Jesus entered Jerusalem the Sunday before His crucifixion, He chose to ride in on a donkey. This referenced a prophecy by Zechariah. Jesus was riding in, not as a king about to lead His people to war, but as a king returning from war victorious. This was in distinct contradiction of those who were expecting the Messiah to come and lead the Jews to military victory over the Romans. Jesus was not about to lead a revolution. He had already won the victory. This story has the same message for us as it did for the people of that day. We do not need to wait for some future victory which Jesus will win. He has already won the victory and we live in the Kingdom He has brought into being.


Exodus 12:14-13:16

    Before the plagues began, God told Moses that Pharaoh would not just let the Israelites go, he would force them to leave Egypt. The night of the first Passover, when the first born of every Egyptian died, Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to leave. The Egyptians wanted the Israelites out of their midst so badly that they gave up much of their wealth to see them go. The outcome in this passage is one that those who are today persecuting Jews may want to consider.

January 30, 2015 Bible Study — The Last Will Be First and the First Will Be Last

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 6:6-11

    The proverb writer tells us to imitate the example of ants. They do not have a boss over them to make sure they work. Yet they labor hard when the weather allows in order to gather food and supplies for when times are more difficult. Let us learn to do the same.


Psalm 25:1-15

    The psalm contains a prayer which we can be sure has already been answered:

Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,…

We know that God has already done this. The only question is whether or not we have chosen to accept His teaching and to follow the path He has shown us.


Matthew 20:1-28

    I am glad that the parable of the vineyard workers is in the same days reading as Jesus’ response to the request from the mother of James and John. The latter story clarifies the meaning of the parable and the parable amplifies the meaning of Jesus’ answer. At the end of the parable Jesus tells us that the last will be first and first will be last. In the parable, those who were hired early in the day get paid last and receive no more than those hired later in the day. I have always heard this explained that those who accept Christ early in life will receive the same reward as those who accept Him late in life.
    I do not think that is wrong, but, in light of what Jesus says at the end of today’s passage, I don’t think that is His primary point. To the worldly, those with power, the leaders, are those who get to satisfy their own wants and needs by telling others what to do. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the powerful, the leaders, are those who use what power they have to satisfy the needs and wants of others. If you want to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, you must serve the needs of others before your own needs. The most interesting part of this is paradoxical. One of those needs that you must serve is the need to serve others.


Exodus 10-12:13

    In the plagues we read about yesterday, the passage told us that Pharaoh became stubborn after the plague was lifted and refused to let the Israelites go. In the plagues we read about today, it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he refused to let the Israelites go. This is a warning to us that each time we refuse to turn from our sins it will become harder to do so, and the consequences of not doing so will become more severe.

January 29, 2015 Bible Study — A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 6:1-5

    Do not offer to be security for someone else’s debt unless you can afford to pay it off yourself. Then plan on doing so.


Psalm 24:1-10

    Do you want to know how to treat people? Treat them as if they are God’s people, because they are! Do you want to know how to treat the plants and animals around you? treat them as if they are God’s property, because they are! There is more to be gotten from this psalm and I hope you read it and see, but that’s all I am going to write about it today.


Matthew 19:13-30

    Today’s passage contains the story of the rich young man. He has obeyed the commandments, but feels called to do more. Jesus tells him to sell all that he has and come follow Him. The young man is unwilling to do that and turns away. Jesus then tells His disciples that it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
    I have repeatedly heard people try to explain that “camel through the eye of a needle” is a figure of speech for something else, something which is very difficult, but possible. When I first heard such explanations, I thought they were insightful, which shows the importance of reading the Bible for yourself. The focus of such teaching is that, while getting into heaven is very difficult for the wealthy, it is possible. However, that does not seem to be Jesus’ message here. When the disciples heard what Jesus said, their response was, “If that’s the case, who can get into heaven?” Clearly, they heard Jesus say that it is impossible for the rich to get into heaven. Jesus tells them that they had heard Him correctly. It is impossible for a human to get into heaven on the basis of his own actions. However, with God all things are possible.


Exodus 8-9:35

    This passage falls into a pattern. Repeatedly Moses relays God’s message about coming plagues to Pharaoh. The plagues arrive, each one more severe than the last. Pharaoh promises to let the Israelites go to worship God. Moses prays to God for the plague to life. Pharaoh hardens his heart and refuses to let the Israelites go. How often do we follow a pattern similar to Pharaoh in our lives. Something bad happens to us, we turn to God and promise to reform our bad habits, God relieves us from our difficulty, we return to our bad habits. Rinse, lather, repeat. The escalation of difficulties in this passage are a warning to us to stop this behavior, before we end up paying a price for our sins that we will regret for the rest of our lives.

January 28, 2015 Bible Study — Forgiveness and Divorce

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 5:22-23

    People often reject Christianity so that they can do whatever they please. Yet, they get trapped by their sins. Lack of discipline will lead to death.


Psalm 23:1-6

    There is a reason this is the most popular psalm. It reminds us that God cares for us and will provide for all of our needs. If we trust Him, He will keep us safe and comfort us when we pass through dangerous times.


Matthew 18:21-19:12

    Most of us have read this passage about forgiveness many times, but how often do we tell ourselves that this time we don’t need to forgive? WE don’t usually say it that way. Instead we say that our anger is justified, or that we will forgive, but that doesn’t mean we have to forget. We have other ways to justify not forgiving those who have offended us. It is very hard to forgive someone who does the same thing to us over and over again. Jesus tells us that no matter how many times that person has sinned against us, no matter how many times they have done that thing we cannot stand, it is minor compared to how badly, and frequently, we have sinned against God, we have done that thing which God cannot stand. Yet God has forgiven us. If we will not forgive those whose debt to us is much less, we will be unable to accept God’s forgiveness of our much greater debt to him.
    Some Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to find out which side of the rabbinical debate about divorce He was on. I am not sure what about this question Matthew viewed as a trap, but I am quite sure those present saw it the same way. Jesus’ tells us that God made us male and female with the intent that a man would leave his father and mother and become one with his wife. When we get married God makes us one with our spouse. Since God has made us into one, who has authority to split us into two once more? Jesus’ answer is that the only justification for divorce is if the other person has been unfaithful…or in other words, if the other person has already divorced us. Since in Jesus’ world the only “marriage” is that marriage before God, the only “divorce” is divorce before God. If your spouse leaves you, by having sexual relations with another, you are free, but there is no circumstance under which you are justified leaving them.


Exodus 5:22-7:25

    Moses did what God had told him to do and things got worse. Howe often have we seen things go like that? Either for ourselves or someone else? But God was not done with Moses, and after fussing about it, Moses went back to Pharaoh. Things did not get better right away. Pharaoh demanded proof of God’s power, so Moses showed him proof. Pharaoh did not accept Moses’ proof. How often do we run into that today? People ask us for proof, but are unwilling to accept anything as proof. Pharaoh never did accept Moses’ proofs for God’s existence and power, but eventually he did as God said he would.

January 27, 2015 Bible Study — Who Is Greatest In the Kingdom of Heaven?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 5:15-21

    Stay faithful to your wife/husband. You will be rewarded for doing so by the love you receive in return. Do not turn from your spouse to an immoral person. The pleasure from immorality cannot compare with that to be had with a faithful spouse.


Psalm 22:19-31

    Today we look at the rest of the psalm which Jesus referenced from the cross just before He died. The part I read and commented on yesterday expressed great despair. However, today’s portion expresses great faith and hope. Despite the terrible situation he finds himself in and the despair he feels, the psalmist tells us that he will proclaim God’s name, that he will praise God among the assembled people. This is not the statement of a person who is abandoned by God.
    The psalm starts out with the statement, “My God, my God why have You forsaken me?” But then in verse 23 it tells us to praise the Lord because:

For He has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help.

Those are not the words of someone abandoned by God, and they are words Jesus wanted us to think of as He hung on the cross dying. So, no matter how dire our situation is, let us always remember that God will not ignore our suffering, nor will He turn His back on us. He will listen to our cries for help and we will praise Him in the assembly.


Matthew 18:1-20

    The disciples asked Jesus who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven? I think it is clear they were asking which of them was the greatest, or what individual they should strive to emulate. So, they were looking for an answer like, “John the Baptist”, “Moses”, or “Abraham”. Instead, Jesus gave them a completely different answer. He told them that if they wanted to get into the kingdom of heaven, they needed to become like little children. They needed to stop thinking about who would be the greatest and accept a lowly position in the kingdom of heaven. The message here is that if we want to get into Heaven we need to not seek to be great in the kingdom of Heaven. Rather we need to be willing, and eager, to be servants.


Exodus 4-5:21

    After God told Moses to return to Egypt to lead the Israelites Moses asked God, “But what if they won’t believe me?” In response to this question, God gave Moses three miracles he could perform to demonstrate that God had spoken to him. However, Moses was not done. Next he complained that he was not a good public speaker. To which God replied that just exactly did Moses think had given people the ability to speak. God promised Moses that He would give him the words to say when he spoke to the people and to Pharaoh. With all of his excuses used up, Moses came right out and asked God to send someone else. Every time I read this I think, “I’m not that bad…Am I?” Really, how often do we do the same thing? We tried once years ago and things didn’t work out like we planned, so now, when God calls us to do something we reply, “Please send someone else!” Every time I read this, I tell myself I won’t do that the next time God calls me. Maybe this time I will keep that promise.

January 26, 2015 Bible Study– Faith As Small As A Mustard Seed

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 5:7-14

    Stay away from immoral people, if you allow them to suck you into their immorality you will regret it. It may seem pleasing at first, but you will lose your honour and everything of value.


Psalm 22:1-18

    This is the psalm which Jesus referenced when He hung on the cross and cried out “My God, My God why have you abandoned me?” According to tradition, when a rabbi, or teacher of Jewish law, quoted the first line of a passage of Scripture, he was quoting the entire passage. So, let’s take a look at the first part of this passage which Jesus quoted while on the cross. I will look at the rest tomorrow.
    The psalm reflects feelings of great despair. Yet, even in that despair, it gives glory to God and acknowledges the good He has done in the past. The psalmist expresses that he is in great pain from the scorn and mockery of those around him. They ask why, since he relies on God and claims God’s love, God does not save Him? In the Gospels we are told that the crowd around Jesus echoed verse 8 of this psalm. The psalmist (and Jesus by referencing this psalm) declares that it was God who brought him safely from his mother’s womb. God has been his God since birth. This portion of this psalm is both a statement of despair and one of great faith.


Matthew 17:10-27

    When the father brought his son to Jesus to request healing and tells Him that the disciples had been unable to heal the boy, Jesus expresses anger. It is not clear to me what Jesus was angry about. It is unclear to me why Jesus is angry. Based on what He says after healing the boy there are two possibilities that I can see, but I am not sure which is true, or whether there is some further explanation which has not occurred to me. The first possibility is that Jesus is angry with His disciples because they did not have enough faith to heal the boy. The second possibility is that He was angry because the father did not have faith that the disciples could heal the boy.
    Jesus follows this up with telling His disciples that if they had faith no larger than a mustard seed, they could tell a mountain to move, and it would move. I truly believe that this is true. However, I believe that if you have faith that it is God’s will for that mountain to move, you will do more than tell it to move. You will grab a shovel and start digging, or hire an earth mover if you can afford one. If your faith tells you that something needs to be done, you won’t wait for God to perform a miracle, you will start doing whatever is within your power to accomplish that something. If you grab a shovel and start digging, that mountain WILL     Let us look for the “mountains” in this world that God wants moved and grab our shovels! Let’s stop worrying that we do not have “enough” to complete the task and do what is within our power, trusting God to provide the difference. Remember the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000.


Exodus 2:11-3:22

    In many ways this passage is the perfect counterpoint to what I just said about faith. In this passage, Moses went to visit his people. He recognized their suffering and acted in an attempt to relive that suffering. Things did not work out as he had planned and he had to flee Egypt. Forty years later, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and told him it was time to return to Egypt and lead His (and his) people out of Egypt. The first time did not work out because it was not yet God’s time.
    When God called Moses to return to Egypt, Moses resisted the call. He had learned the wrong lesson from his earlier failure. The lesson Moses learned from his first failure was that he was not the person to lead the Israelites. As I said, this was the wrong lesson. The problem with Moses first attempt to lead the people of Israel was that he tried to do it on his own (and, perhaps, it was not yet God’s time). So, when we grab that “shovel” I talked about in the previous section, let’s remember that we are not going to accomplish the task. We are merely providing our hands to do God’s work. A second thing for us to keep in mind is that we should approach such things prayerfully to make sure that it is God’s will that this “mountain” move. Let us remember that, perhaps, it is not yet God’s time for that mountain to move.

January 25, 2015 Bible Study — The Gates Of Hell Will Not Stand Against It

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 5:1-6

    This proverb warns against getting involved with an immoral, or adulterous, woman. I cannot speak from personal experience but I am confident that its warning applies to immoral/adulterous men as well. The proverb writer warns us that initially being involved with an immoral person is sweet and gives pleasure, but in the long run they are poison. Becoming involved in an immoral relationship will bring pleasure at first, but that pleasure will turn to pain and attempts to revive the pleasure will lead to death.


Psalm 21:1-13

    This psalm was written for and about King David, but a careful reading reveals advice for any leader. If you trust in the Lord and seek to do His will, He will give you your heart’s desire. It is worth noting that your heart’s desire may be different from what you think you want. Trust in the Lord and make sure that all of your successes bring honour to Him and your successes will be without end, even your “failures” will prove to be successes.


Matthew 16:13-17:9

    Jesus asked His disciples the easy question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” It is interesting that when He asked that question He used that phrase to refer to Himself. As I said, that is an easy question. It is not just the answer itself that is easy, pointing out why they are wrong is also easy. Jesus’ next question is the hard one, and the one which we are going to have to answer, sooner or later, “Who do you say I am?” I imagine a long pause while the disciples thought about their answer, none of them wanting to be the first to say it, each afraid that they are wrong. Finally, Peter blurts out the answer. I suspect that it is something none of the disciples have said previously, not even in their private conversations with each other. I imagine they have had conversations which assume the answer, but that they have each avoided saying it out right, reserving the right to say, “Oh, I was just talking hypothetically.”(although I doubt they would have used that word)
    So, the question is, do we agree with Peter? Is Jesus the Anointed One, the Son of the living God? I just came to a new understanding of Jesus’ reply to Peter’s answer. I am not sure if it is correct, but I am going to share it. The rock upon which Jesus built His Church is those willing to take the risk of being the first in a group to declare their faith in Jesus. In order for a group of Christians to work together to do God’s will, one of them must be willing to be the first to declare themselves God’s servant. This is not limited to those who are the first, just those willing to be first. It is this boldness which gives the Church the ability to overcome the gates of Hell.
    I have often heard people talk about Jesus’ statement here as a promise of protection. But it is not. It is a promise of victory. Gates are not used to attack people. Gates are used to stop people. We are not called to stand defensively and resist the attacks of Satan. We are called to take the battle into the heart of the enemy’s city and rescue those held captive there. When Jesus says that the gates of Hell will not overcome His Church, He is calling us to storm Hell. Are we up for that battle?
    We are not called to be on the defensive. It is time to go on offense and claim the world for Christ.


Genesis 50:1-26

    When Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were afraid that, with their father dead, Joseph would take revenge. This situation reminds us that things change and guilt will come back to haunt those we have forgiven. We need to remind them that we have forgiven them. Joseph’s statement is also one we need to remember. Those who have done us wrong may have done so with malicious intent, but, despite the pain they may have caused us, God will use their malicious acts to accomplish good in our lives.


Exodus 1-2:10

    Jacob’s descendants had it good in Egypt for a while, but times change and people forget. The people of Egypt, particularly the political leaders, became afraid of the Israelites and forgot why they had been given special treatment. I never noticed before, but the passage does NOT say that they Israelites outnumbered the Egyptians and were more powerful than they. I says that the said those things about them. We see the classic approach of the demagogue in what the Pharaoh says. He picks a group and demonizes it. Ultimately, the people of Egypt paid a heavy price for following such a demagogue. Such is the case every time.

January 24, 2015 Bible Study — Reading the Signs of the Times

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 4:20-27

    This section of Proverbs reminds us of what Jesus said in yesterday’s passage. The starting place for living a good life is to keep your heart pure. In order to keep your heart pure be careful about what you say. Stay away from perverse and corrupt talk. What you say reflects what is in your heart. Yet it also has the power to corrupt your heart. Let us focus our thoughts on doing what God wants in our own lives and not worry about what others are doing which may be contrary to God’s will (or not). There are times when we are called to speak to others about the sin in their lives, but let us remember that we are not called to speak to third parties about it.


Psalm 20:1-9

    Every year when I read this psalm I think, “What a wonderful blessing, or toast, the first five verses make.” I am determined to remember this and bring it out when I am called upon to offer up such at an event of various kinds. I make this my prayer for those of you reading this today:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.


Matthew 15:29-16:12

    It was not long before the events which took place in today’s passage that Jesus fed the 5,000 and walked on water. Yet when Jesus says that He does not want to send the crowd away hungry, the disciples ask, “Where would we get enough food for such a large crowd?” Once more Jesus showed them that God can provide. He took the small amount of food which they had and divided it up among all the people present. There was enough for everyone and more leftover than they had begun with. This has the same important lesson as the feeding of the 5,000. We should not be afraid to do God’s will even if we think we have insufficient resources. If we stretch our resources as far as they will go helping others, God will supply sufficient to meet the need, with plenty leftover.
    Then one day a group of religious leaders came to Jesus and demanded that He perform a miraculous sign to prove His authority. This comes after He has healed numerous people and fed two large crowds. I am convinced that they were like those who demand proof of God’s existence and then dismiss every thing presented as coincidence. If Jesus had performed a miracle for them, they would have explained it away. Jesus confronts them with their unwillingness to see what the events going on around them mean. The Pharisees were unable (or unwilling) to read the signs of the times. Are we willing to see what God is showing us?


Genesis 48-49:33

    Jacob blessed his grandsons by Joseph, giving priority to the younger. A short while later he blessed all of his sons. His blessing on his sons reflects with fair accuracy the behaviors and actions of their descendants.

January 23, 2015 Bible Study — Blind Guides Leading The Blind

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 4:14-19

    Do not follow the example of the wicked. They are constantly seeking new ways to do evil. As a result, their path is in complete darkness so that they do not know what they are tripping over. The righteous on the other hand can easily see the obstacles in their way and go around them.


Psalm 19:1-14

    Every time I look up at the stars at night, or at a beautiful sunrise/sunset, I am reminded of the glory of God. I feel sorry for those who think those things came about by happenstance for no particular reason.
    Further into the psalm the psalmist reminds us of the value of God’s commands. His instructions will refresh our souls when we feel parched and depressed. Even those who are simple minded and slow can learn wisdom by following God’s laws.


Matthew 15:1-28

    When the Pharisees and teachers of the law confronted Jesus because He did not teach His disciples to keep their traditions, He responded by pointing out that they used their traditions to teach their disciples to not keep God’s law. I started to write my thoughts four times before I was satisfied with where I was going. It is more important to please God than it is to keep traditions. We should review traditions on a regular basis in order to be sure that they are consistent with God’s commands. It is too easy for us to warp a tradition to serve our own selfish purposes rather than helping people to keep God’s commands.
    Most traditions start out as a way to help people keep God’s commands, but over time people tend to forget the reasons why a tradition was started. When that happens one of two things results. Some people keep the tradition in a way which violates its original purpose. Other people stop doing the good thing the tradition was intended to encourage as well as the tradition itself. In both cases they are the blind leading the blind. They do not know why something was done and as result they either blindly follow it without accomplishing the purpose for which it was designed, or blindly dismiss it without replacing it with another method of accomplishing the purpose for which it was designed. If we wish to avoid being blind guides, we need to make sure that we do not follow man-made ideas as if they were commands from God, much less teach them.


Genesis 46-47:31

    There is a lesson in this passage that we often overlook. Because the people of Egypt had not themselves prepared for the coming famine during the times of plenty, they became dependent on the government (Pharaoh). As a result of this dependency, the government became the owner of all of the land and means of production. Once the people lost their land and other means of production, they lost their freedom. When times are good, we must save and store so that when times are bad we do not become dependent on others.