Welcome to tomthinking.com Thursday, April 19 2018 @ 05:45 PM UTC
Recently, I posted a question on social media asking, “Can you live a godly life without reading the Bible?” As expected, the range of answers went from a simple yes or no to everything in between. But no one hit my perspective.
Yesterday I did not read the Bible even once. The day before I completed my reading of the Bible and then took a one day break. Did I sin? Was I less godly yesterday because I didn’t read scripture?
To answer my own question I’d like to change its terminology just slightly, but significantly. But before I do so, I’d like to define just what the Bible is. The Bible isn’t merely a collection of religious writings. Rather, it can be described as what theologians call, revelation. This means that its content is not simply writings of mere men. Rather, the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to man. This is significant because you can’t go anywhere else to discover the specifics of who God is. Now, some might argue that we can go to godly men to learn about God. But where do they get their information about God’s character? From the Bible.
- They are seeking comfort because of a terrible trial or injustice
- They are seeking answers to why there is suffering and injustice in the world if a good God exists
- They are seeking to blame God for suffering and injustices when he doesn’t appear, from their perspective, to take corrective action, or
- They are seeking to demonstrate that God does not exist since a so-called good God could not, from their perspective, exist and allow such terrible things to happen
Here’s a baffling question for those who read the Bible. Why didn't God tell Jacob that his son, Joseph was still alive? Jacob languished for years in mourning for what he thought was a dead son. At any time during his faithful service to a God, God could have spoken to his servant, Jacob, and told him the truth. Why didn’t he?
Now, I can think of a number of reasons why God remained silent on this issue. If God told Jacob then he would have likely discovered the truth of what his other 10 sons had done in selling a Joseph into slavery. There’s no telling what Jacob might have done.
Second, Jacob could have prematurely gone to Egypt, which would have blown the family’s need for time to work repentance in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers.
Third, before he was sold into slavery, Joseph had a prophetic dream that he would rule over his family. That fate might have been put in jeopardy if Jacob had discovered the truth.
But I think there’s a more important reason, which I’ll reveal in a moment.
Here’s an equally baffling question. Why didn't Joseph send word to his father that he was alive and ruling in Egypt? I find this question to be harder than the first. Once Joseph had solidified his hold on power, what prevented him from sending a messenger to his father with the good news that he was alive and well? But he didn’t do this. In fact, Joseph believed he would never see his family again. Remember what Joseph said at the birth of his son, Manasseh, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father's family” (Genesis 41:51).
Of course, all of this brings up a much deeper question. Why does God allow people to believe anything that isn't true at all? After all, most people on the earth who die, die never knowing the truth about Jesus. Why does God permit this? I’d like present seven possible reasons why this may be so.
Now, clearly, she had experiences with other Christians that were problematic that may have helped drive her in the direction she ultimately went. She signifies this by saying, "You lost me," 29 times. She uses this turn of phrase to pass responsibility for abandoning Jesus onto the church instead of herself, where the blame belongs. Saying things like, "You lost me," is an attempt at blame-shifting. It shifts the blame for unbelief from self, where it belongs, to others.
Every time you reach out in prayer to touch Jesus you are doing a bold and remarkable thing. Think for a moment. Who are you to come to the throne of the Almighty, sinless God of the universe?
There is someone in scripture who did just that, knowing that if she reached out to Jesus her life would be changed forever. We know her only at the woman with the "Issue of blood."
"There was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, 'If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.' And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my garments?' And his disciples said to him, 'You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’' And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease'” (Mark 525-34).
Why was the way she reached out to Jesus so remarkable? It has to do with her condition and the society she lived in.
How often have you prayed to God about something and it seems like your prayers just hit the ceiling, never to be answered? God does indeed hear our prayers. But very often God does not give an immediate answer, or his answer is no. Sometimes God will say no several times before he says yes. Here's one such example from scripture:
The recent death of Hugh Hefner, the Playboy founder, saw multiple posts on social media remarking about the eternal destiny of the man, that Hefner, having never repented of his sin, died and went to hell. At the same time, there were those who remarked that you don't really know if Hefner went to hell because anything could have happened at the last moment. Perhaps he asked the Lord to save him and we'll see him in heaven?