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Compare and Contrast

Often times while reading my Bible I come upon people in the pages that God put there for me (not only for me but for you as well) to come across. I always compare these people and their walks to my own. Without judgement of course. I compare them to see how I am doing; the bad or lawless people and the people that show some righteousness.

I never sit here saying to myself well I am better than this group or that group; instead I examine myself to see what things I have in common with them. Afterall, in 2 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us to,”Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.(v5.).”

So God has directed me to the book of Jeremiah. While reading this book I am saying to myself,” Wow there are aspects of my life that match the people of Judah.” However I would also like to think that if you soberly examine your walk that this might be true for you as well.

In chapter 35 we encounter two groups of people, the tribe of Judah and the Rechabites

JUDAH

Some of the sins that the people of Judah were committing are: idol worship (but not just like; Hey, I am on team Molech or team Baal but they would sacrifice their own children to these idols), the murdering of the prophets of Yahwah, lying, not honoring their parents, and the list goes on and on. They have broken all 10 of the commandments. Wow I have been there! If you were honest so have you.

James says,”For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.(James 2:10‭-‬11)

How many of us hate someone in their lives? Well Jesus says that is murder (Matt 5:22) . How many of us have looked at someone of the opposite sex and said wow that is really nice? Again according to Jesus that is adultery (Matt 5:28). All of us in one way or another have something in common with Judah.

RECHABITES

GOD decided that he is going to test the Rechabites by having them come into the one of the chambers of the temple of the LORD and to have them drink wine.

Two things here: God is always testing us and this piece of scripture is not condemning the drinking of alcohol but is rather about obedience.

I love their response to Jeremiah. “We will drink no wine, for Jehonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. We have obeyed the voice of Jehonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters,(Jeremiah 35:6‭, ‬8).

In these verses here we also see that Jehonadab commanded them to live in tents, not to own land or to not build houses for themselves. He also commanded them not to own seed, to plant it or to own vineyards. And at the end of it he quoted God from Exodus 20:12 by saying if you do these thing it will go well with you in the land that you are sojourning.

This group of people had two really excellent (at least in my opinion) men of God that were of their lineage. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law and Elijah the Tishbite.

I remember the first time I read James 5:17 which states,” Elijah was a human being just like us. He prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! (NCV) And of course I was like I am nothing like Elijah. He is so perfect and I am so flawed. God used him in such mighty ways because of his obedience.

Now when I try to compare myself to people like this I fall short. But it gives me something to yearn for. Something that I know the Holy Spirit is going to complete in me one day.

In the end of this chapter Judah gets carried away by Nebuchadnezzar and God awards the Rechabites by saying, “Because you have obeyed the command of Jehonadab, your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jehonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.” (v35:19)

Wow! I would love to have God say this to me if I were so faithful. How about you? I love how God uses His word to convict me of my short comings.

Prayer:

Oh Abba Father, please continue to use your Word to convict me of my sins. Please use your magnificent awesome power to change me. LORD, please create in me a new heart and a steadfast spirit for you. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Redeemed!

What does redeemed mean and what does it look like? There are so many examples and uses for this word. Just to list a few, you can redeem a coupon at your local grocery store to get money back on popular products. It has been said of some people that they have redeeming qualities (ouch). And, if you have ever won tickets to a concert or ball game, you usually would redeem those tickets at a Will Call station.

Although, these are all free gifts, they all pale severely in comparison to how God redeemed us. I also would like to mention that they are all temporary, where as the redemption that was bought for us through the cross is eternal.

We have heard that we have been redeemed through Christ’s death on the cross, but what does that really mean?

The Old Testament is filled with stories of redemption. You have Ruth’s and Naomi’s redemption through Boaz, and the Jewish nation’s redemption through people like Ester, Samson, Samuel and King David. But, in my mind there is one person other than Jesus in scripture whose life truly shows what being redeemed looks like and her name is Gomer.  See, Gomer was a prostitute and we can find that fact in Hosea 1:2-3. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord .” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”   In being a prostitute, Gomer did what prostitutes do and eventually it caught up with her. And now, she was being sold as a slave.

Gomer’s life echoes ours lives, or at least my life. See, before Christ we were all slaves to whoredom. We chased after whatever made us happy: whether good or bad. And, just like Gomer, I am willing to bet it was on the bad side of things.

Some commentators say that Gomer was being sold at an auction which makes sense. Slaves were often sold this way. My wife loves auctions so we go to them from time to time. I bring this up because, at an auction if something isn’t bought or redeemed it is sent to the garbage.  The Jewish people in the time of Gomer refer to this as the pit. The word for this place is Gehanna. It is a great description of Hell. Gehanna is a place outside of Israel’s camp where they burn their feces, garbage, and dead. Strong says this about Gehanna:

 refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed; where they experience divine judgment in their individual resurrection-bodies

It is literally a fiery pit. It is Hell.  But, back to the auction..

Now, on the auction block, is Gomer. Not unlike myself at times, she sat there having rejected her husband (Jesus is our husband, Jesus and the bible often refer to us in that kind of relationship), doing things that the law forbade (adultery and prostitution) and look to put her own satisfaction ahead of others.

She sat on that block knowing exactly what she was worth. In Revelations 3, Jesus said, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” At one time, this was Gomer, this was me, and this was you. We could not see that we were wretched, pitiable, poor, blind or naked. We thought that we were on top of the world. We did not need to be Redeemed!

But, here was Gomer on the block in need of someone to buy her, clothe her, give her some value, redeem her! And, that is exactly what God told Hosea to do. “And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.” (Hosea 3:1‭-‬2 ESV)

I would like to point out that at an auction the auctioneer has a starting price. It is usually way much higher than what you could purchase that item for new. But, that is just a starting price and with patience that price comes down drastically. However, that is not what happened here, Hosea paid the opening bid – the higher price! Hosea redeemed Gomer.

This is exactly what God did for us through Jesus and the cross. He paid a debt that we could never pay and he paid with the life of his one and only son. He paid the highest price for us. If we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have also been redeemed; how great is that!

Prayer

Oh Abba, Father. Thank you so much for sending Jesus to redeem me. Help me to walk in that redemption. In Jesus’s name, Amen

Biblio.

Shel Silverstien, Picture From Sister for Sale, Where the Sidewalk Ends, 1974, Harper and Row Publishers

Strong’s Concordance. 1890

Bullies of the Bible part 4: the Sinful Nature

Bullies love to break the rules and they love it even more if they are gathering followers while breaking those rules.  And, one of the biggest bullies in our lives that does exactly this is the sinful nature or the sin that dwells within our hearts. It has the power to entice us to do things that we know are wrong.

I love how the apostle Paul puts it when he is speaking about this bully. He says,”Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ” OR “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (ROMANS 7:16-17, 19-20)

James also talks about the sinful nature in  this way,”But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.  (James 1: 14&15)

Desire calls to all of us in one way or another. For some of us, it is memories of things consumed in the past like; sex or pornography, drugs or alcohol. For others, it is the thought of what they can do to be liked, or thoughts about how they can attain to that covetted position at work. It is different for all of us but desire is just the first level of how the sinful nature bullies us.

According to James, the next thing that happens through this bully’s reign is that those memories or thoughts become sin. Let me state that day-dreaming about certain desires does not always culminate into sin. But, if we continue to allow these desires to control our thoughts; as James says; they will bring forth sin just as a pregnant woman will eventually give birth to a child.

So, know the past thought or desires of the feeling that are associated with being high or inebriated and escaping reality for a while becomes actually partaking in those habits. The conniving about how to get the promotion is now stabbing coworkers in the back to climb your way to the top. How about the thoughts of being liked where do they lead? To disappointment in yourself for compromising all that God has made you to be just to be liked.

So, after this bully gives birth to sin, the Word says that sin grows up and leads to death. That is scary. This is the level at which addiction truly is present. I mean why not; desire has gotten out of control, which lead to the act of sinning over and over again. Then, when your morality meter is skewed and you have to consume more to get the same feeling(delusion) of relief or make more compromises to make more friends death become imminent.  Face it, at this stage, YOU ARE HOOKED! And without outside influences, death, in so many ways, is right around the corner.

Paul, when describing the sinful nature or warning us about it, said: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.(ROMANS 6:12)

And Jesus said,”Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)

And Peter says,”They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.“(2 Peter 2:19) I love this whole chapter because it points to a group of people whom have been lead astray by the sinful nature and are now slaves to it. And we can see that as slaves they want more people to be enslave and to worship with them. In my mind this is where the concept of “misery loves company”  finds its meaning.

Paul says again in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?.”

Slaves. What a concept, even in this day! Being controlled by another can be hard especially when your master does not obey the things of God. There are two kinds of slaves. The first is one whom hates his master because his master beats him, keeps him down, makes him powerless and rips his life from him. There is no joy in the life of this slave only empty broken promises.

The other kind of slave is one whom loves his master and has chosen to become bonded to him. His master loves him and nurtures him wanting him to enjoy life under His rule. He gives him life abundantly. This master thinks of his slaves as sons and daughters. I love how Jesus put it in John. He says,”No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).”

Even Jesus, the one whom now calls us friends, gives us a warning about being bullied by and allowing ourselves the become slaves of the sinful nature. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)

The bullies that we have visited as of now are all ones whom have no power of us, however this is not the case with the sinful nature and it will not be the case with Satan who is our next bully.  Jesus came to set us free of the chains of sin that entangle us. Jesus has been and is still and always will be the answer in my life and i believe that he could be in yours as well. Jesus is the answer!

Prayer: Oh Abba, Father at times I have allowed sin to reign in my life. I have chosen to walk in the darkness instead of fully committing my life to the light. Your light. The only light. FATHER please cleanse me of all unrighteousness. In Jesus’s name. Amen

Faith in the Face of Despair

Have you ever felt like everything was against you? These past couple of weeks, I have felt this way. Problem after problem. I have been feeling this overwhelming pressure caving in on me, almost like being in a deep whole that just keeps getting deeper with no view of the top.

I have constantly been reminding myself of what Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world”(John 16:33) or Solomon penned:”Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”(Proverds 3:4&5). And they have been the driving force in crawling through these problems.

Sometimes, I swear I feel like I can hear my heavenly Father whispering these things to me in his still small voice. And one of the many things I love about my heavenly Father is that he always draws my attention to his Word to show me how he worked in the lives of others, is working in my life and will continue to show me his faithfulness throughout all of eternity.

So, in everything that is going on right now in my life God has brought me to two different people in scripture. Two people who when up against insurmountable odds and what they chose to focus on.

First: Rehoboam. In 2 Chronicles 12 the Word of God says,”When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord , and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord , Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians.

Rehoboam chose to put his focus on his army and its strength rather than walking with the LORD, so the LORD turned them over to be servants to Shishak the king of Egypt. Shishak also plundered the treasuries of the king’s house as well as the treasuries of the house of the LORD.

Second: Abijah. Abijah was Rehoboam son however he loved the LORD. In fact, there was this time when Judah and Israel were at war against each other and the favor would have seemed to be in Israel’s corner. Israel had 800,000 mighty men of war were as Judah had only half of that. So, here is king Abijah still wet behind the ears confronting an army that has won many wars. And I just love what he says. He says,

Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his Lord, and certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them. “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord , the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes for ordination with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord , the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”(2 Chronicles 13:4‭-12)

I love this Abijah is basically saying,” Hey Israel you have abandoned the LORD God and his commands and have placed your faith in two golden calves that were made by human hands. But we have not abandoned the LORD our God in fact we have Levites continually presenting offering for us. We love God and He is on our side!”

The whole time Abijah was speaking to Israel, Jeroboam had sent some of his army around Jerusalem’s army to attack them from behind them. However because of Abijah’s devotion to the LORD especially in the face of what would have been complete destruction, God delivered them from their foes. God destroyed 500,000 man from Israel’s army and Jeroboam for the rest of his life was never able to rebuild his army.

So, God has shown me these two men here; one who put all his faith in his own strength and the strength of his army and another man who put all of his faith in the God who has never failed. And He has done this to help me get through what I am going through.

The other morning, I was praying for some relief from all that has been going on in my life when I heard that still small voice again, asking me if His arms have been shortened. Something about my prayer life you need to know is that I love praying the Word of God, so his voice lead me in prayer and it restored my faith to where it should have been. He was and is making me more like Abijah, more like Christ.

Now as for what he spoke to me, “have my arms been shortened”, well that is right out of Numbers 11. Israel is in the wilderness and complaining yet again. Deceiving them selves with lies of what they had back in Egypt. So, God says to Moses prepare them because He is going to give them so much pheasant to eat that it will; at the end of 30 days; be coming out of their noses. And Moses response to this was,” we couldn’t slaughter enough livestock to feed such a great multitude. Even if all the fish of the sea where gathered together they would not be enough.”  To this God says,” Have my arms been shortened.”(NIV)

God was saying ‘Am I not able to do this?’ And this is exactly what he was saying to me. And you know He did, He came through. Praise God for His mercy, His grace, His love, and His benevolence.

Prayer:

Oh most holy Father, I love that you are faithful. I love that you see everything that we go through and that in those times of where we need more strength you give it. Thank you LORD for all you do in our lives. In Jesus’s name, Amen

Bullies of the Bible part three: Jezebel. 

The past two posts had to do with the comparisons between big league Bullies of the Bible and addiction. This week, I am going to continue moving in that direction.

Bullies are known notoriously for taking things from others and leaving a path of devastation behind them. You know, in my mind I am not and nor have I ever been a small person and I would not consider myself a nerd. But, I have been Bullied not only by addiction but also by people.

I remember in 4th or 5th grade riding the bus home from school and being accosted by a bigger guy. I remember having this smooth glossy grey rock that was said to help relieve anxiety and I carried it everywhere. Well, this guy used his size and took it from me and threw it out the window of the bus. And for weeks afterwards, he teased me and egged me on until one day I took a swing at him.

Let me say that was a big mistake, however, the only way I can describe this event would be to point you at the movie Back to the Future (1985, Zemeckis). To the scene at the dance where George Mcfly finally decides to stand up to Biff over his treatment of George’s future wife (sorry, I don’t remember her name). George was half the size of Biff, Biff was a jock and had loads of muscles where George was well skinny and small and unlikely to be able to lick Biff in anything outside of academics. Anyway, George stood up to Biff and laid him out.

That, however, wasn’t the case here. I swung at this bully, got my arm twisted, and my face pushed into the seat of the bus. You know, there is one trait about Bullies that is similar across the board, they operate by the use of force to take things that aren’t theirs. An example of this could be that rock, lunch money, or now a days credit at work for something you worked so hard on, and so on. This is definitely how Jezebel  operated!

In 1 Kings 21, there was a man named Naboth. Naboth had a vineyard next to the palace. Now, Ahab the king of Samaria wanted this vineyard for himself for a vegetable garden and offered Naboth a better vineyard or money for it. Naboth told Ahab that it was against the law of God to give up inheritance of his father’s.  In the Book of Numbers, Moses tells Israel the law which God wants them to follow regarding the land they are going to possess (their inheritance).  This law is: “No inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.'” (Numbers 36:9)

See, Ahab haled from the tribe of Ephraim and Naboth came from the tribe of Issachar. So, if Naboth had given Ahab his land he would have broken God’s law. Not just that, Naboth’s family for hundreds of years has been tending that land; that vineyard. Naboth has taken pride in all He has done on his land. His heart, his blood, his sweat, and his tears has gone into it. So, it is no wonder why he said no to Ahab.

Now, upon Ahab hearing that Naboth would not give him his land, Ahab went to his wife Jezebel. And, she had Naboth killed, took his land and gave it to her husband.

Jezebel, in her time, also tried to wipe out all of God’s prophets. She was a nasty woman.

There is a tragic similarity between Jezebel’s bullying and addiction. Really, Jezebel’s life and addiction! Both of them take things that don’t belong to them; like life, time, and possessions. Both lead people astray to worship at the altars of idols. Both can lead or do lead to death. Deaths of friendships, families, marriages, jobs, and even life.

Prayer: Oh Abba, Father thank you so much for bring this to my attention and showing me how bad things can get if I continue to sow into the flesh. Father please deliver me from sin’s chains, and continue to whisper to me that they no longer have any power over me because of my dear saviors death and resurrection. I pray all of this in the name above all names; in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Back to the Future. Robert Zemeckis, Universal Studios, California, 1985

The Comparison of Bullies of the Bible and the Bullies of Addiction: David and how giving into that addictive behavior will have you pushing away your friends.

This is a hard comparison for me because David is one of my favorite people in God’s Word. So many of the things he has written in the book of Psalms I have used in my prayers. Things like;  Psalms 27:4 “One thing I have asked of the Lord , that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” Or Psalm 51:10 Oh LORD,” Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Or Psalm 84,”For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Or how about Psalm 119:105,” Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Many of the Psalms are David’s prayers and my prayer life has grown immensely because of his words.

He has taught me that God is my mighty fortress, my strong tower, my shield and my rampart. David has taught me that I can run and find refuge under God’s mighty wings(Psalm 57:1). 

David is a man after God’s own heart(2 Samuel 13:14). He was the king of the old testament that all other kings were stacked up against. Yet he was also a man that suffered from an addiction to lust. I mean he had 8 wives and 10 concubines and the things he did to obtain at least two of those wives point to this fact. And we are going to talk the circumstances surrounding David obtaining Bathsheba as a wife.  

I know Bathsheba, Bathsheba, Bathsheba. But this is more about the relationship between Uriah the hittite and King David. Uriah is listed as one of the mighty men in 1 Chronicles 12. I believe that when David fled from King Saul and came to Nob and received the holy bread from Ahimelech that his mighty men were with him. And the Word points to this by Ahimelech stating,” I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread-if the young men have kept themselves from women.”(1 Samuel 21:4)

King Saul also made David a commander of a thousand in his army. I believe that this is where David met Uriah and the rest of his mighty men.  So David went out and came in before the people. And he had great success in all He undertook(18:12-14).

 Another time we see David with his men is in procuring the bridal price for Michal. Line 27 says that David rose and went with his men and killed two hundred Philistines. Again we see David with his men and Uriah was one of his them.

When David fled from King Saul and dwelled in the cave at Adullam his men were with him; Uriah was with him. They were together with whole Nabal debacle.  They were a band of brothers, no they were the band of brothers. So the next part was not easy for David. 

David’s addiction to lust and sex lead him to the brink. Yeah he slept with Bathsheba. Yeah she got pregnant. But the part where he played the Bully was trying to trick Uriah into submitting to his command and when he could no longer cover up the fruits of his yielding to his addiction. He had a brother killed. And Uriah’s death in David’s mind would cover it all up and everything would just be peachy. Which wasn’t the case and isn’t the case for us. 

Like David when we give into sin we do things we will regret and the people closest to us can become hurt, or even worse the death of a relationship may happen. In the story of David and Uriah there was a person that was able to bring David back in the End. God  

Prayer: Oh Father,I need you help, I need you to be my rock. Please continue the good work you started in me. In Jesus name, amen .

 The Comparison of the Bullies of the Bible and the Bullies of Addiction Part One:Absalom 

A couple weeks ago I wrote about devoting things to destruction that cause me to struggle and sometimes falling in those struggles. In that blog I talked about why God told Israel to completely wipe out the inhabitants of the land that they were coming over to possess. It was because of their hearts or more accurately because their weakness to live whole heartedly for the LORD. I struggle with this at times how about you?

So that being said God has brought me to the parts of the Bible dealing with Absalom.  

The Setup

Absalom had a sister; Tamar; and the Word says that she was beautiful.(I would like to point out that King David had a bunch of wives and through them he had a bunch of children.) Now Absalom had a brother Ammon that was obsessed with Tamar, in fact the Word says that her beauty made Ammon ill and that his love(lust) for her tormented him( sound familiar, I have felt this way in my struggles). Needless to say Ammon ended up having his way with her. 

This infuriated Absalom to the point that for two years he plotted on how he would kill Ammon, and when the proper time came he did. 

 Ammon sleeping with his sister was not a sin deserving death because the Word does not say that Tamar was betrothed to anyone(Deut 22;23-24). If anything according to Leviticus 20:17; Ammon should have been cut off from his people. So this makes Absalom a murderer and after killing Ammon he fleed to Geshur so that he wouldn’t face his punishment which was death. (Numbers 35:17-21) I am not saying that Ammon is innocent and in fact he is a Bully , just not the Bully I am writing about.

Galatians 6:8(NIV) says,”Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” And Romans 6:23 states,” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I bring these two piece of scripture up because both of these gentlemen’s lives were defined by thier sins. And Ammon died by the hands of his brother and Absalom died by the very hands of the man that would bring him home from Geshur and reunited him with his father. Thier sins lead to their respective deaths.

The Fall 

 The thing about addictive things is that from time to time we yearn for them and that is exactly what the Word says David did after he got past grieving for Ammon.2 Samuel 13;39 says it this way,”And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.” 

David yearned for something(someone) that would eventually cause a huge amount of strife in not only his life but also in the lives of those whom were closest to him. Wow if that doesn’t sound like the effects of Addiction; I don’t know what does. Addicts long for something that brings chaos and sometimes death into not only thier lives but also into the lives of those closest to them. So here Absalom is the substance of the addiction for David, where as for drug Addicts it might be Meth or Heroine, or for the alcoholic; Bourbon or the sex addict; prostitutes. 

The substances are Bullies to those addicted to them and as Bullies they push the Addicts around in different ways. Do this, do that, I promise I will make you feel better now, it not wrong or how can it be wrong when it feels so good. How about you go my way and I will help you forget the hurt. 

In the beginning a beer isn’t addictive, Marijuana does not make you steal from your love ones to buy harder stuff and nudity in a movie doesn’t make you loose control. But over time if you listen to the inner whisperings of these Bullies you get hooked and a beer becomes a hidden flash of vodka in your desk at work and becoming so inebriated that you loose you job, an occasional toke on a drag becomes doing the white lines and movies showing breasts become having a full blown trist.  

This was Absalom in David’s life. He went from living in his house not banished, not dead (which is the punishment he deserved) to ripping the kingdom away from David, to seeking David’s (his own Father’s)life, to the defilement of David’s concubines on the roof of the palace for all of Jerusalem to see. Absalom would have almost completely ruined David’s life( but for the grace of God), just like other addictive avenues can ruin our lives unless we seek God. 

There is an answer to addiction; Jesus! 

Jesus himself said,”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Jesus’s yoke is easy where as the yoke of Addiction is hard and brings death.

I love this: the second part of Galatians 6:8 states,” but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

I love how Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He says,”Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(italics added)

See Jesus is the only one that can set us free from the Bullies of Addiction.

Prayer:

Oh Father, I need your help to put this down. I know that all things are possible through you and I need your help. Please help me!                 In Jesus’s name, Amen