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Translating God

There are many unsolved mysteries that have been recorded throughout the history of the earth. Some of these mysteries are detailed in the Bible. Whenever you read something that doesn’t make sense, you have to go back to see what the context is to help you understand what really happened. Unfortunately, there are chapters and verses in the Bible that require further research. This process is often referred to as translating God to extract why an account or story has been placed in the Bible; unveiling God’s nature.

And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. The man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you shall he offer the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord has spoken: Behold, the altar shall be split and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. [Fulfilled in II Kings 23:15, 16.] When King Jeroboam heard the words the man of God cried against the altar in Bethel, he thrust out his hand, saying, Lay hold on him! And his hand which he put forth against him dried up, so that he could not draw it to him again, 1 Kings 13:1-4.

When I first heard a sermon on the passage above, I immediately thought of the song U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer. This hit song reached #1 on the Hip Hop and R&B Billboard charts in 1990. Normally, kings would call upon body guards or soldiers to remove an individual from their presence. However, the words of this unnamed prophet from Judah infuriated King Jeroboam so much that he tried to harm this man. In what can only described as a scene from a Science Fiction film, King Jeroboam’s hand immediately shriveled up.

And he went and found the corpse thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion stood by the body; the lion had not eaten the corpse or torn the donkey. 29 The prophet took up the corpse of the man of God and laid it upon the donkey and brought it back, and the old prophet came into the city to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother! 31 After he had buried him, he said to his sons, When I am dead, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones, 1 Kings 13:28-31.

The news of this strange encounter and subsequent healing spread throughout the land like a raging wildfire. A wayward prophet, paid off by King Jeroboam to only proclaim positive messages to enhance his reign felt compelled to reach out to this man of God. When his own sons couldn’t alter his course, this desperate man made up a story about an angelic counter to persuade him to stay an extra day. This decision proved to be fatal, killed by a mountain lion on his way back to Judah. Realizing it was his fault, the corrupt prophet has this man buried in his own personal tomb. Although this story has a sad ending, translating this chapter reveals the important of complete obedience to God. Anything less is unacceptable.

by Jay Mankus

Another Silent Night


It won’t be long until Christmas music permeates the airwaves.  Meanwhile, the annual release of new Christmas albums are on their way, as Country, R&B and Christian artists  try to give their modern interpretation of classics like Silent Night.  However, in this age, there is another meaning to silent night, one without God.

In the song Christmas at Denny’s, Randy Stonehill presents Christmas from an orphans perspective, without a family to call home or gifts to open.  In fact, most Americans experience silent nights often, alone, depressed and doubting God’s existence.  Although these people may not say it, they are thinking, “if God is real, why did He choose this path for me or God has abandoned me so I am going to go in a different direction.”  Choices like this lead to another silent night, separated from God like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:23-24.

If God could speak directly to us like the days of old in the garden, He might ask, “have you spent any time praying today, singing songs of praise or opening up my Word to connect with me?”  Once you experience a close bond with someone, you want to build upon your relationship, nurturing it with caring, effort and time.  Unfortunately, the distractions of this world have recently kept  me from applying these same principles with God.

Thus, I am wrestling with silence, waiting impatiently for another sign from God like the faithless people in the days of Jesus.  Since what I have been doing isn’t working, I need to go back to the basics to break this silence.  Nehemiah has established a biblical formula of brokenness, fasting and prayer in chapter 1.  When you add vision to this equation, God broke the silence, providing Nehemiah with a plan.  If you are like me, sick of silent nights, clueless of the direction God wants you to move in, set time aside each day like Jesus in Mark 1:35 and God willing, you’ll be reconnected spiritually, Psalm 4:1-3.

by Jay Mankus

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