Two Talents

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Less is more

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Bob Deffinbaugh wrote an article at Bible.org called “When Less is More“. It is excellent. He uses the example of Gideon to make his points about misplaced faith. Let’s look at the scripture Deffinbaugh uses, which is Judges 6:36-40; 7:1-23.

36Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken,37behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.”

38And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water.

39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”

40God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

1Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.2The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

3“Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.'” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

4Then the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.”

6Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.

7The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”

8So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

9Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.

10“But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp,

11and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.

12Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

13When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.”

14His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”

15When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”

16He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers.

17He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do.

18“When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.'”

19So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.20When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”

21Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.

22When they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.

23The men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Shawn

March 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm

“And they took offense at Him”

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Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him.When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. {Mark 6:1-6 NASB}

In a mere six verses several things jump off the page here. Firstly, it was Jesus’ hometown. Usually when someone returns to their hometown bearing some manner of fame they are greeted warmly. It’s a source of pride for the hometown that one of their own has obtained some sort of notoriety. That was not the case here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Contradictory gospels?

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I really like NPR, but I recognize that it is a wholly secular endeavor. Take, for instance, this story about apparent contradictions in the biblical gospels.

“In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is not interested in teaching about himself. But when you read John’s Gospel, that’s virtually the only thing Jesus talks about is who he is, what his identity is, where he came from,” Ehrman says. “This is completely unlike anything that you find in Mark or in Matthew and Luke. And historically it creates all sorts of problems, because if the historical Jesus actually went around saying that he was God, it’s very hard to believe that Matthew, Mark and Luke left out that part — you know, as if that part wasn’t important to mention. But in fact, they don’t mention it. And so this view of the divinity of Jesus on his own lips is found only in our latest Gospel, the Gospel of John.”

This from the lips of a man who has attended both the Moody Bible Institute and Princeton Theological Seminary. One may not be like the other in the case of those two institutions, but irregardless of where you obtain your education if you cannot see Jesus claiming divinity in Matthew, Mark and Luke you are blind; spiritually and almost literally. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 15, 2010 at 2:04 am

The woman caught in the act of adultery

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Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” {John 8:2-11 ESV}

It’s a familiar story for anyone who has become familiar with the gospels. A mere 9 verses, yet there is so much to be gleaned from it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 13, 2010 at 6:15 am

The Ten Commandments

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We had a visiting, fill-in pastor on Sunday. Before I begin I'd like to vent something. For reasons I don't know or understand we refer to pastors who fill-in as "pulpit supply". That is such an impersonal and cold term and I wish it would go away. Back to the topic. The pastor spoke of the typology of Noah's ark and Jesus Christ. At some point, while he explained the various typologies, I had a thought: What if God listed the Ten Commandments in the order He gave them for a reason. See, we've gone and numbered them and because that is what we are familiar with we see God's statement as being ten commands. One site I found states… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

May 15, 2006 at 5:13 am

A tale of two kings

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Okay, apologies to Dickens, but it fits the content of this post. Let us look at the biblical record of two Judean kings and examine how they pleased or displeased God. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 5, 2006 at 5:39 pm

Waiting for the Messiah

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I read a story this morning which states the singer Madonna is looking to buy property in Israel.

US pop diva Madonna wants to buy a house in the Israeli town of Rosh Pina, where the ancient Jewish Kabbalah tradition expects the Messiah to appear at the end of the world.

Madonna is into Kabbalah, which I recently learned began as something taught to Rabbis who had achieved a higher scholastic level. Sort of an advanced studies course you might say. I find the story interesting for two reasons. Firstly, that Judaism has already failed to receive its promised Messiah (Yeshua, or Jesus) and that Madonna has turned her back on Jesus. She was raised Catholic, so she’s heard that Jesus is the Christ, received the Eucharist, etc. While I have major problems with the Roman Catholic presentation of the gospel message the crux of Jesus being the Christ is at least there within Catholicism.

At issue is whether Jesus is the Messiah promised to the Jews (i.e. the Christ, the Annointed One). If Jesus is who He said He was, then He is the promised Messiah. If He is the Messiah, then He was rejected by the Jews, because today most Jews are either atheists or still waiting for the Messiah. Let’s see what the scripture says. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shawn

March 4, 2006 at 3:49 pm