Sunday, February 27, 2011

Slaying Giants: Temptation



Genesis 3:1-13 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate;
and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Giants take all kinds of forms around us. In David’s case, Goliath was a very literal, flesh and blood giant. Joseph’s giants were more about life, the loss and waste of time. Job had to face giants of loss, loss of family and wealth and position. Today I want to talk about the giant of temptation. The Greek word temptation does not just refer to the desire to do something sinful, it also relates to very stressful times. Spiritual warfare…

Sometimes the Bible is very clear on things. In the case of temptation, the Biblical authors were inspired to focus on 3 different kinds. We see them very clearly delineated in 3 different passages. Let’s start by looking at the passage that clearly lists these categories.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Slaying Giants – Job



Job 1:13-22 “Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Slaying giants starts by rooting yourself in God, rooting your life in Jesus so that all that you take in through life is filtered through that paradigm. Then when life takes tragic or serious downturns you are not thrown off track nor are you left without hope or understanding. When you look at Job, right at the beginning he is described as “blameless, upright, fearing God, turning away from evil”. We talked about this principle with Jehoshaphat, and indeed it is foundational for any follower of Jesus, even today.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Slaying Giants - Jehoshaphat



 “Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, "A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi)."
Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD.
They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed."
When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, "Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed.
For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped.
When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much." 2 Chronicles 20:1-4; 20-25

This is one of my favourite songs of Don Fransisco’s. It is a bright spot in the history of Israel, when you look at the kings following Solomon. The country was split in 2. Israel was the northern part and consisted of ten tribes, while Judah was the southern half and consisted of two tribes. Israel’s capital was Samaria; Judah’s capital was Jerusalem. Every king in Israel was considered wicked, while there were a spattering of good kings in Judah. Jehoshaphat was one of the good ones.