Silver and Gold: Abraham

Consider the Lilies

Silver and gold, silver and gold
Ev’ryone wishes for silver and gold
How do you measure its worth?
Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth
– “Silver and Gold” [lyrics by Johnny Marks]

I have fond memories of this Burl Ives song, from the Christmas cartoon Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Yet silver and gold won’t help Rudolph lead Santa’s sleigh or help Santa’s misfit toys leave their island prison. Without love and friendship, they’re useless. Silver and gold can’t buy friendships with people who “comfort” and “edify one another” either (1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11).[1] Nor can they give us eternal joy. So why do we want to be rich?

business-money-piggy-bankJesus tells us not to store “treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19). He also warns that we can’t “serve God and mammon” (6:24). After the rich…

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Righteous Judgment*

Consider the Lilies

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” – John 7:24[1]

esau-bible jacob-bible esau-sells-his-birthrightCain was a farmer, Abel a shepherd (Genesis 4:2). Esau was a “skillful hunter” (25:27). Jacob, a “mild” man, preferred to live in tents (25:27). King Saul was “handsome” and “taller” than the rest of the men of Israel (1 Samuel 9:2). Although “ruddy … and good-looking,” his successor David was the youngest in his family and a shepherd (16:11-12). Family members, friends, and even strangers must have looked at Cain, Esau, and Saul and thought that they were divinely blessed. They might have glanced at Abel, Jacob, and David and then passed them by.

Judging the “outward appearance,” onlookers couldn’t have been more wrong in their spiritual assessments of these six men (1 Samuel 16:7). They refused to judge the heart, revealed through words and deeds (Matthew 7:15-27, 12:33-35). If these people could have…

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A Great Deliverance*

Consider the Lilies

“God sent me before you … to save your lives by a great deliverance.” – Genesis 45:7[1]

joseph-and-his-brothersJoseph spoke these words to his brothers after he revealed his identity to them. Having lived twenty-two years in Egypt, with five years of famine remaining, Joseph knew that “it was not you who sent me here but God” (Genesis 45:6, 8). Seventeen years later, after Jacob had died and been buried, Joseph told his brothers yet again, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good … to save many people alive” (50:20).

Seeing the goodness of God in men’s evil deeds takes wisdom. But in order to deliver his family – so that God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could be fulfilled – Joseph himself had to be delivered. This “great deliverance” came not from Joseph’s request to the chief butler but from God (Genesis 40:14-15, 23…

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Tower of Babel


“Language is by its very nature a communal thing; that is, it expresses never the exact thing but a compromise—that which is common to you, me, and everybody.”
~Thomas Earnest Hulme

Do you know what primarily characterized the Tower of Babel? Language. “The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” (Genesis 11:1). That is the opening sentence of the biblical account. Continue reading

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Christian Paganism*

Consider the Lilies

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

kari-jobeThe lyrics above are taken from Kari Jobe’s song “Forever” (2014), which is popular at Good Friday and Easter services. Biblically, they make no sense. “The moon and stars” didn’t weep when Jesus died. He isn’t “the morning sun” either. Finally, no “battle” raged in “the grave” and no “war on death was waged” after Jesus died. He said “it is finished” from the cross, a shout of victory (John 19:30). Jesus won the war against sin, death, and hell…

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A Coal From the Altar* (10)

Guest Writer Samuel Ward

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”
(Revelation 3:19).

This title of “angels”: why may it not also be extended to magistrates, as well as that higher style (heavenly being)? “For he [the ruler] is [also] the minister of God” (Romans 13:4). Continue reading

A Coal From the Altar* (9)

Guest Writer Samuel Ward

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”
(Revelation 3:19).

Armed with my own little round fireball, as David was armed with his sling and five smooth stones, yet knowing my own insufficiency, I pray that God with His arm would scatter my words far and wide Continue reading