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Tag Archives: Moses

How Obedience Endears Yourself to God

As a former Catholic, I was taught that I could earn my way into heaven by following the Ten Commandments and participating in the Holy Sacraments. Whenever you learn something that Jesus addresses in Luke 18:18-30, the Bible corrects my misunderstanding. Since this account is mentioned by 3 of the 4 gospel authors, obedience are acts of faith that endear yourself to God, something a rich young ruler was unable to do.

But the [d]Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He answered, Here I am. 12 And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son. 13 Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son! 14 So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided, Genesis 22:11-14.

Moses highlights this concept in the passage above. Prior to Genesis 22, Abraham had a habit of trusting in his own instincts rather than placing his full assurance in God. Perhaps, this is what led God to ask Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his promised son Isaac. When an angel of the Lord intervenes just before Abraham was going to go through with this, this obedience to God’s call endeared himself to the Lord.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.

Prior to Moses’ farewell address as Israel’s spiritual leader, he spends a chapter highlighting why God blesses obedient acts. Like a child who honors their parents, this is accomplished by listening intently and following the rules set in your home. Obedience isn’t a feeling, something you do when you want to. Rather, obedience is a daily conscience decision to seek God first and His righteousness, Matthew 6:33-34.

by Jay Mankus

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Sparing You from Temptation

According to Moses, there are times in life when a busy schedule filled with interruptions and meetings will spare you from temptation. This may be the work of angels, prayers in the form of a hedge of protection or God at work behind the scenes to keep you out of trouble. After reading the passage below, I can recall phone calls or unexpected visitors sent my way to avoid temptations that I wasn’t prepared to face.

But Abimelech had not come near her, so he said, Lord, will you slay a people who are just and innocent? Did not the man tell me, She is my sister? And she herself said, He is my brother. In integrity of heart and innocency of hands I have done this. Then God said to him in the dream, Yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your heart, for it was I Who kept you back and spared you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not give you occasion to touch her, Genesis 20:4-6.

After his servants greet Abraham and Sarah, a lie opens the door for Sarah to join the king’s harem of women. Like any political leader, there was always a thought that someone would try to overthrow the king. Subsequently, many kings used harems to have as many children as possible, especially boys so that there would be at least one potential heir to Abimelech’s throne. However, when Abraham visited, Abimelech was kept so busy by God that there wasn’t any time to consecrate his marriage to Sarah.

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [b]adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [d]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

While writing a letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul provides a history lesson of Israel’s past failures. These major blunders which the Bible calls sin serve as a warning not to follow in their footsteps. The passage above is a blueprint for overcoming temptation. Rather than feed your sinful desires, Romans 7:14-18, Paul asks members of this church to look for an escape route, a way out of temptation. Although this is never easy, if you apply Paul’s advice, you too can be spared from temptation by seeking God’s righteousness, Matthew 6:33.

by Jay Mankus

The First Polygamist

Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. According to Moses, Lamech, son of Methusael, decided to take two wives rather than one. While kings often took more than one wife to insure one of their living sons would hold on to the throne, Lamech made this decision on his own. Although Moses is silent on why Lamech made this decision, he will go down as the first polygamist on earth.

To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methusael, and Methusael the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah and of the other was Zillah, Genesis 4:18-19.

When I was in high school, my best friend Carl was a devout Mormon. One of the guys I ran cross country against, Dean, was the son of the pastor of Carl’s church. Prior to meeting Carl, Mormonism was known for its belief and practice of polygamy. My non-Mormon friends would often joke, “I’d convert if I could have two wives.” Like any book, you may have preconceived judgments before reading it, but until you open it up to experience what’s inside, you’ll never know what you’ll find to be true.

Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle and purchase possessions. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all [cutting] instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah, Genesis 4:20-22.

Moses introduces the first polygamist of the Bible in the passage above. There is no logical explanation provided, but maybe Lamech was torn between two amazing women? Whatever the reason, Lamech is a trend setter for future leaders and kings. King Solomon took this to the extremes with 700 wives and 300 concubines, but this is what happens when you allow human nature to control your thought process, Genesis 4:6-7. May the missteps in life by Cain and Lamech serve as a warning to stay committed to one spouse and one God.

by Jay Mankus

How Wokeness Relates to End Times Theology

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion Tuesday, Senator John Hawley asked Berkeley Law professor Khiara Bridges to explain what she meant by “people with a capacity for pregnancy.” Hawley speculated that Bridges was referring to women but wasn’t sure. This triggered a heated debate that went viral on social media with Republicans and the Woke each claiming to be the victor.

Now listen and give heed, O Israel, to the statutes and ordinances which I teach you, and do them, that you may live and go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you, Deuteronomy 4:1-2.

The book of Deuteronomy consists of three speeches delivered to the Israelites by Moses on the Plains of Moab prior to entering God’s promised land. Deuteronomy serves as a remainder of God’s laws as Israel is about to receive one of God’s many promises. One of the most basic elements of obeying God is to not add or subtract from biblical principles. Anyone who does this is considered a heretic, holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted by the community of faith.

But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach, Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized), 1 Timothy 4:1-2.

The apostle Paul refers to end times when people begin to listen to what their itching ears want to hear, 2 Timothy 4:3-4. When the newest member of the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was afraid to answer the question “what is a woman,” this is a clear sign of how influential the Woke Movement has become. Perhaps Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, and Emma Thomson were visionaries of men being able to have babies in the 1994 film Junior. Since God works in mysterious and strange ways, maybe it will be the Woke Movement ushering in the days leading up to Jesus’ second coming. Only God knows how this story ends.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 155: Time

Today’s featured song comes from a band from Fullerton, California. While Undercover is classified as a punk rock group, there’s an element of metal found in music from the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Time begins with a guitar solo that sets the tone for this song. The lyrics refer to the age-old adage that Father Time is undefeated as human beings can’t do anything to stop time from ticking away.

So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

The passage above was written by Moses when the first generation of Israelites were dying in the wilderness after the Exodus. At some point during their trek to God’s Promised Land, Moses realized that something was wrong. Rather than continue to wander aimlessly, often going in circles, Moses asks God for advice to lead Israel in the right direction. May God give you daily insight as time slips away.

by Jay Mankus

Living an Undaunted Life

Living an undaunted life is not being intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment. Saying you will do this and actually rising above the hand you are dealt in life are two different things. While God called one man to be his voice for the nation of Israel, Moses began to dwell upon his speech impediment. Frustrated by Moses’ response, God gives him a pep talk to fulfill God’s will for his life.

And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue. 11 And the Lord said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord? – Exodus 4:10-11

As someone who was born with a severe stuttering problem, thinking about what you want to say and actually saying it clearly is like asking for a miracle. Based upon the passage above, Moses struggled to imagine a life without stammering and stuttering. This mental block took time to overcome as Aaron was initially given to Moses as a security blanket. Subsequently, living an undaunted life had to wait.

Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say, Exodus 4:12.

Despite this transition, Moses gradually develops the courage to confront Egypt’s King face to face. While Pharaoh tried to duplicate the initial plagues with magicians, God hardened his heart over and over again. Hebrews 11:24-29 highlights Moses’ maturity from daunted to undaunted. If God can use a stutterer to lead Israel to the Promised Land, there is hope for you and me to transform from fearful to undaunted.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Injunction

An injunction is a judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another. The purpose of an injunction is to compel a person to carry out a certain act or to make restitution to an injured party. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples uses injunction in the context of a direct command from God. This spiritual injunction serves as a reminder of how God wants Christians to act, behave and live.

And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [[j]believer] also, 1 John 4:21.

In the days following Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit began to flow and move through people. The apostle Paul suggests that this spiritual injunction continues today, Galatians 5:25. While spiritual disciplines may be a daily part of your life, sometimes God’s Spirit may urge you to pray for someone. This direct order may include calling a person from your past or reaching out to someone in need. Whatever the injunction, your response should be fueled by love.

All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

King Solomon ends one of his Old Testament letters with something to consider. God will bring every act, behavior, careless word and deed into judgement. In view of this future reality, Christians should fear, revere and worship God. During his farewell address to Israel, Moses urged listeners to invest your time on earth on things that bring life, Deuteronomy 30:15-16. This spiritual injunction from the past serves as a focal point to cherish and love your neighbor.

by Jay Mankus

Aroused by Faith

Aroused is not one of those words associated with Christianity. Yet, there are two distinct chapters in the Bible that offer contrasting differences. The first occurs in 1 Corinthians 10 where the apostle Paul reflects upon past mistakes made by former Jewish leaders. These individuals were aroused by sin that resulted in disobedience and rebellion. Meanwhile, Hebrews 11 is dedicated to the Christian Hall of Fame. The common denominator of these special candidates was being aroused by and prompted by faith to act.

[Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and[f]become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Hebrews 11:24.

To understand the passage above, a brief history lesson is necessary. Exodus 2:1-25 details how Moses’ parents hid their child in the Nile where Pharaoh’s daughter found him. This sets the stage for Moses’ life to be saved and raised in the house of Egypt’s king. Rather than endure a life of poverty, Moses experienced the riches of Egypt, likely spoiled beyond belief by Pharaoh’s daughter. However, as Moses grew up and matured, wealth became empty to him. This is when Moses’ faith was aroused.

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [b]adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [d]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

After a list of past failures, the apostle Paul concludes 1 Corinthians 10 ends with a warning in verse 12 and advice to overcome temptation in verse 13. Verse 12 serves as a cautious reminder against becoming overconfident. Perhaps Paul is speaking of personal experience, a time in his life when pride led to failure. Conscious of this possibility, Paul lays out a spiritual blueprint of how to overcome temptation. Therefore, the next time you’re aroused by sin, look for the way out so that faith prevails.

by Jay Mankus

Lord It’s Been So Long

If you’re not careful, life can be like a white water rafting trip. Once you’re on the river, there is danger lurking around every corner. Depending upon the classification and level of rapids, each one can come fast and furious. Unless there is some sort of break in between for your mind to relax, there will be no rest for the weary. Anyone who finds themselves on a wild ride may be so focused on survival that taking time to spend with God is like a blip on a radar screen.

Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, and said to them, Get up this way by the South (the Negeb) and go up into the hill country,18 And see what the land is and whether the people who dwell there are strong or weak, few or many,19 And whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they dwell in are camps or strongholds, 20 And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is timber on it or not. And be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes, Numbers 13:17-20.

In his 1993 song, Power and Promise, Brett Williams uses the phrase, “Lord It’s Been So Long.” The context of these lyrics date back to Moses waiting to enter God’s Promise Land. In the second stanza, Williams refers back to the anguish Mary felt while her brother Lazarus was dead for 3 days. When signs of God’s power or presence is absent, invisible to your eyes, staying optimistic in times of trouble is difficult. This is where faith comes into play.

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? Anyone who walks about in the daytime does not stumble, because he sees [by] the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks about in the night, he does stumble, because there is no light in him [the light is lacking to him]. 11 He said these things, and then added, Our friend Lazarus is at rest and sleeping; but I am going there that I may awaken him out of his sleep, John 11:9-11.

However, when basic spiritual routines like going to church, reading the Bible or praying stop occurring, God fades from your memory. While the Coronavirus may have been an excuse for some to use in 2020, it’s time to reconnect. The imagery of Luke 15:20 pictures the Lord as a concerned parent, patiently waiting on the front porch for prodigals to come home. Until lost souls come to their senses, this reconciliation is put on hold. Therefore, if you find yourself distant from God, today as good as any day to open up by saying, “Lord, it’s been so long.”

by Jay Mankus

The Day of Danger

Next to experience, repetition is one of the best modes of teaching. Perhaps, Moses was painfully aware of the human condition, so focused on the present that lessons of the past are forgotten. The Book of Deuteronomy simply means second law, serving as a constant reminder of God’s expectations. From the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-26 to the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, if important principles aren’t brushed up on, you won’t be prepared for the day of danger that will rock your world.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place], Ephesians 6:12-13.

The context of this expression is found in what Bible scholars refers to the armor of God. As tension within the spiritual dimension builds, powers of darkness are lurking, waiting and eager to pounce upon weakened and lonely Christians, 1 Peter 5:8. This invisible danger seeks to steal spiritual truths within young and vulnerable hearts. Meanwhile, trials and tragedy are just a few of the weapons used to steal dreams and poison souls. If you think you’re exempt from the day of danger, just listen to the words of King Solomon below.

A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering], Proverbs 22:3.

What’s odd about this passage is that five chapters later in Proverbs 27:12, Solomon chooses the exact same words. As one of the wisest human beings to walk the face of the earth, there must be a specific reason. Perhaps, one of his son’s was forgetful or had a short attention span. As Jesus often said, “you have ears, but do not hear.” When the timing isn’t right, crucial lessons fly by, out of sight, out of mind. Yet, when the timing is right and hearts embraces these spiritual morsels like a sponge, Christians are prepared when your day of danger arrives.

by Jay Mankus

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