“We Will Not Hide”

“We Will Not Hide”
Psalm 78:1-8

​Psalms is a wonderful book contained within God’s Word divine, endowing us with hymns of praise and glory sung by the nation of Israel in the days of old. Often written in poetic language, the psalms abound with metaphors and prophecies foreshadowing extraordinary events that greatly impacted the landscape of history. Psalm 22 comes to mind when reflecting on memorable prophecies. David so eloquently foretold of the coming suffering that the Savior would endure, explaining that anguish and distress as if you and I were experiencing it! Almost everyone could probably quote the first few verses of Psalm 23, because it is the most familiar psalm to us. But the psalms are also riddled with untold wisdom and knowledge for every person with a desire to grow in the discernment of things eternal. For example, Psalm 1 is simple in meaning, yet rich with depth and learning for the challenges of life.
​The attributes previously mentioned are visible throughout the 78th Psalm. A man by the name of Asaph, the chief singer of praises to God while David was king, composed this psalm many centuries ago. The connotation of each psalm can sometimes be heavy, presenting a formidable task to decipher the root of each verse. Remember that these words were likely set to music, so the way we read each psalm is different from how the chosen people understood it when singing these glad tidings! But fortunately for us, the opening verses of Psalm 78 can be comprehended without confusion. Obscure sayings of old passed down by their forefathers must not be hidden from the generations to come, or else a perverse generation would arise that did not know God, and heeded not his teachings. The phrase “dark sayings” in verse 2 of the psalm 78 means a hard question, proverb, or riddle. In other words, Asaph would use an oral teaching that required interpretation to convey his exhortation. Verse 4 mentions three specific things that the present generation of Israelites could not hide from the generation to come. These are the praises of the Lord, His strength, and the wonderful works that he has done. Such blessings should not be hidden, Asaph is saying, or else a rebellious generation would arise departing from the one who had delivered their ancestors from bondage. The chosen people would have to raise men and women who would be faithful to God, tending to lives guided by his instruction. Asaph’s plea is to the responsible souls who have the duty to teach those who are young about the sovereignty of Almighty God and the need to subject themselves to His will! Each person in the present world that is of a responsible age has the same obligation—to teach the coming generations about the Creator, the praises due him, His marvelous strength, and about all the wonderful works that he has done since time began. There are things of an eternal nature that we must not hide.
​We must not hide the praises of the Lord from the next generation. The psalmist tells us that a man who would be righteous praises God because praise is becoming of the righteous (Psalm 33:1). Today, folks have reduced the praises of the Lord to a form of entertainment and lip service, giving no thought as to whether their praise is admissible to the Father. We are not slack on praising ourselves, however. We want all the recognition available when we excel at some sport or put in a lot of time on a work project and it pays off! We want our children to stock up their trophy cases so people might praise them, all the while ignoring who it is that gives us our abilities. Why do you think today’s generations are denying the existence of God and letting slip the memory of his power and might? It’s because they were taught to embrace the selfish desires born within every human being instead of seeking righteousness. That trend won’t change unless we revert back to teaching the next generations to give praise unto whom praise is really due. David said that he would praise the Lord because of his marvelous works in Psalm 139. We read of two men in Acts 16 who praised God despite finding themselves in unfavorable circumstances. Paul and Silas were beaten with many stripes for preaching the gospel, yet they praised the Father anyway. And because they did, the Lord allowed the jailer to see His power and he obeyed the gospel. And so, if for no other reason, we should praise God for the simple fact that he saved us (Acts 2:47)!
​We must not hide God’s strength from the next generation. Despite what critics say about the Creator, He is omnipotent or all-powerful! That truth is evident throughout the entirety of the scriptures. This is one of the many reasons we should praise God, because of what he can do! The phrase “and his strength” in the text is derived from the Hebrew and it means forcibleness, power, or might. Think through the great miracles and events that are recorded in the scriptures! We read of a God who spoke this world into existence and blinded the eyes of men when appearing to them in His marvelous light! This is a God who once wiped out all but 8 souls from the surface of the earth with a flood! This is a God who annihilated entire cities with fire from the heavens! This is a God…whose strength must be feared!!! Think back to God’s deliverance of the people out of Egypt, how he caused the plagues to come about, how he parted the Red Sea, and caused it to collapse when the Egyptians pursued the chosen people. That’s power that cannot be matched! But more than that, think also about the miracles that were wrought in God by Jesus and his apostles in the first century? Such things as healing the blind and maimed and speaking away the sins of some lost soul further illustrate the power of God! But the Master’s strength was never on greater display than when He raised His Son from the dead as promised (Romans 1:3-4; Matthew 28:6). God’s strength in raising Christ from the dead paved the way for the gospel. The gospel is our way of escape from sin and it is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16). Unfortunately for the world’s sake, the coming generations have all taken on the outlook that God is some kind of crutch, that man can pull himself up by his own bootstraps without God’s help. This seed of independence in people’s minds has had its effects on the church in one way or another. We grow impatient waiting on God, so we just try to do things ourselves, forcing the issue. When we fail, we blame the Lord for our failure, not recognizing that all strength flows from Him (Philippians 4:13). We grow very disappointed, even sometimes bitter when we can’t do something on our own, when all we need to do is ask the Father for assistance since he has the strength to cover our weaknesses! In II Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about his “thorn in the flesh.” This hindrance kept the apostle from being exalted above measure. The apostle begged the Lord three times the scriptures say, for this thorn to depart from him, yet it remained. The apostle learned that the Lord’s strength was brought to light in his weaknesses! So remember that our weaknesses are a window into God’s unfailing strength. May we teach the generations to come the necessity of fearing God’s strength!
​We must not hide the wonderful works that God has done from the generation to come. A tall task awaits anyone who would seek to explore all the wonderful works performed by our Lord. John the apostle supposed that if every work that Jesus did while on earth were written down, the world could not hold all the books (John 21:25)! With that in mind, this writer must be selective in naming at least two of the most wonderful works that God has accomplished. The first of which is Creation. Have you ever stopped and looked at the things surrounding you everyday? We take for granted the sun coming up every morning and setting every evening! We give no mind to the vast beauties that make man seem so insignificant! We’ve developed a science to explain all of these marvelous things, while each wonder points to the Creator! It’s amazing with how vast the universe is and even the world we live in, that God bends his ear to man’s call (Psalm 8:3-4). David noted that something as beautiful as the heavens above us declared the glory of God’s handiwork (Psalm 19:1-2). Paul told the Romans that the deeper things of God are revealed in creation (Romans 1:20). The point is that creation is one of the most wonderful works that God has done, and something that future generations should be taught about! But the creation that we see is only a drop in a bucket compared to the God’s most wonderful work. The second of countless wonderful works wrought by God that we would make mention of is Heaven. We only have imagery of this work through the words of the Bible, but it is certainly something that must be passed down so that everyone can know about a realm of glories untold. In Revelation 21, John describes a scene that he saw, a glorious city unlike anything he had ever seen! Verse 4 tells us that it is a place where no sorrow, no death, no crying or any more pain; and God would wipe away all tears. He went on to explain in detail some of the unbelievable glories and riches he beheld there. One thing he noted was that there was no night there. And the only one’s who entered in had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:23-27)! The things we read about will never depict Heaven with the glory and perfection that it shines in. But just from what we can read, don’t you want to go there?
​Here’s what I know—the importance of learning about God’s will by the things we have been taught must be a priority! The generations before us bore the responsibility to teach us the things of God and we must bear the same responsibility! Like Asaph told the Israelites, we will not hide from the generations to come the praises of the Lord, His strength, and the wonderful works that he hath done.

Colby Culbertson

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

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TODAY’S DEFINITION OF TOLERANCE

Almost 20  years ago I wrote an article for Old Paths Advocate dealing with what I perceived to be an effort by our culture to rede ne the meaning of the word “tolerance” (“Rede ning Tolerance” OPA March 2000). I thought it might be worth revisiting that subject to see if we can determine exactly where we stand today. In Webster’s 1997 edition of its New World Dictionary, “tolerate” is de ned as, “To recognize and respect [others’ beliefs, practices, etc.] without sharing them,” and [“to bear or put up with someone or something not especially liked]” (1407). Although the word “tolerant” is not found in the NT Paul expresses the essence of the word in 1 Corinthians 13:7 when he says, “charity endures all things.” The word endurance derives from the Latin “tolerare,” meaning to endure. Because we are told not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), and are warned that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33 NKJV), brethren have sometimes wished we could isolate ourselves from the world completely. However we are commanded to be the “salt of the earth ,” and the “light of the world” (Mt. 5: 13-14). We cannot ful ll those obligations to the world if we are isolated from it. There is a difference between being separate from the world and isolated from the world. Jesus was separate from the world’s rebellious attitude, sinful behavior and God-defying lifestyle, but He went among worldly people daily. He talked with them, ate with them, and opened His heart to them in an effort to save them. During my college days I had classmates and work associates whose lifestyles were clearly ungodly. I did not endorse their sinful activities and I did not participate in them. I was never tempted by these associations to forfeit my belief in God or my hope of heaven, and when I had opportunities I explained to them my faith and my hope (1 Pet. 3:15-16). I did my best to get along with all my classmates and co-workers, treating them with courtesy. Paul says, “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with ALL men (Rom. 12:18). Again, he says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto ALL men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Based upon the meaning of the word at the time, I exercised tolerance toward these people. Traditional tolerance values, respects, and accepts the individual without necessarily approving of or participating in his or her beliefs or behavior We hate the sin, but we love the sinner-a soul created in the image of God (Gen. 2:7), worth more than the world (Mt. 16:26), and therefore in need of saving. In the past 20 years, however our culture has gradually foisted upon us a new de nition of tolerance. Today, if you do not APPROVE and ENDORSE a person’s beliefs and lifestyle, you are accused of “hating” the person and being intolerant, insensitive, and bigoted. Almost every time you hear the word “tolerance” spoken today outside the walls of the church-by school teachers, news anchors, government of cials, activists, celebrities, perhaps even your own children and grandchildren-this is the de nition that is meant. The new de nition is based upon the premise that there is no such thing as moral absolutes-moral laws that apply to everybody. One sociology textbook says, “Everything is right somewhere, and nothing is right everywhere.” According to the new de nition, anyone who believes uncompromisingly in anything and especially in absolute truth-is guilty of intolerance. The Bible makes it clear however that all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth-claims are NOT equal. God’s words are absolutely true (Ps. 119:160) and if something is not right in God’s sight it is wrong (Deut. 6:18). Naturally, our convictions about these teachings offend the proponents of the new tolerance. Consequently, Christians are viewed as the greatest sinners in our culture, committing the only serious sin left in our world-intolerance. It is the pariah sin. America is sick of intolerant people and is not going to tolerate them anymore! Since the 1990s, a primary tactic used by the new-tolerance advocates is “jamming.” It is part of a three-pronged approach devised by two Harvard-educated marketing experts named Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Jamming is the use of name-calling to smear Christians, traditionalists, or anyone who opposes the new tolerance. They will not engage you in rational discussion if you disagree with them, they will just attack you by calling you names such as “homophobe,” “hater” and “bigot.” The tactic is used almost every day in our present culture war and has been very effective over the past 20 years. Our best defense continues to be preaching the gospel in love to ALL those in sin, and living our lives in a way that is consistent with what we preach (Rom. 1 :26-27’ 1 Cor 6:9).

Carl Johnson

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

TODAY’S DEFINITION OF TOLERANCE

TODAY’S DEFINITION OF TOLERANCE

Almost 20 years ago I wrote an article for Old Paths Advocate dealing with what I perceived to be an effort by our culture to rede ne the meaning of the word “tolerance” (“Rede ning Tolerance” OPA March 2000). I thought it might be worth revisiting that subject to see if we can determine exactly where we stand today. In Webster’s 1997 edition of its New World Dictionary, “tolerate” is de ned as, “To recognize and respect [others’ beliefs, practices, etc.] without sharing them,” and [“to bear or put up with someone or something not especially liked]” (1407). Although the word “tolerant” is not found in the NT Paul expresses the essence of the word in 1 Corinthians 13:7 when he says, “charity endures all things.” The word endurance derives from the Latin “tolerare,” meaning to endure. Because we are told not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), and are warned that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33 NKJV), brethren have sometimes wished we could isolate ourselves from the world completely. However we are commanded to be the “salt of the earth ,” and the “light of the world” (Mt. 5: 13-14). We cannot ful ll those obligations to the world if we are isolated from it. There is a difference between being separate from the world and isolated from the world. Jesus was separate from the world’s rebellious attitude, sinful behavior and God-defying lifestyle, but He went among worldly people daily. He talked with them, ate with them, and opened His heart to them in an effort to save them. During my college days I had classmates and work associates whose lifestyles were clearly ungodly. I did not endorse their sinful activities and I did not participate in them. I was never tempted by these associations to forfeit my belief in God or my hope of heaven, and when I had opportunities I explained to them my faith and my hope (1 Pet. 3:15-16). I did my best to get along with all my classmates and co-workers, treating them with courtesy. Paul says, “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with ALL men (Rom. 12:18). Again, he says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto ALL men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Based upon the meaning of the word at the time, I exercised tolerance toward these people. Traditional tolerance values, respects, and accepts the individual without necessarily approving of or participating in his or her beliefs or behavior We hate the sin, but we love the sinner-a soul created in the image of God (Gen. 2:7), worth more than the world (Mt. 16:26), and therefore in need of saving. In the past 20 years, however our culture has gradually foisted upon us a new de nition of tolerance. Today, if you do not APPROVE and ENDORSE a person’s beliefs and lifestyle, you are accused of “hating” the person and being intolerant, insensitive, and bigoted. Almost every time you hear the word “tolerance” spoken today outside the walls of the church-by school teachers, news anchors, government of cials, activists, celebrities, perhaps even your own children and grandchildren-this is the de nition that is meant. The new de nition is based upon the premise that there is no such thing as moral absolutes-moral laws that apply to everybody. One sociology textbook says, “Everything is right somewhere, and nothing is right everywhere.” According to the new de nition, anyone who believes uncompromisingly in anything and especially in absolute truth-is guilty of intolerance. The Bible makes it clear however that all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth-claims are NOT equal. God’s words are absolutely true (Ps. 119:160) and if something is not right in God’s sight it is wrong (Deut. 6:18). Naturally, our convictions about these teachings offend the proponents of the new tolerance. Consequently, Christians are viewed as the greatest sinners in our culture, committing the only serious sin left in our world-intolerance. It is the pariah sin. America is sick of intolerant people and is not going to tolerate them anymore! Since the 1990s, a primary tactic used by the new-tolerance advocates is “jamming.” It is part of a three-pronged approach devised by two Harvard-educated marketing experts named Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Jamming is the use of name-calling to smear Christians, traditionalists, or anyone who opposes the new tolerance. They will not engage you in rational discussion if you disagree with them, they will just attack you by calling you names such as “homophobe,” “hater” and “bigot.” The tactic is used almost every day in our present culture war and has been very effective over the past 20 years. Our best defense continues to be preaching the gospel in love to ALL those in sin, and living our lives in a way that is consistent with what we preach (Rom. 1 :26-27’ 1 Cor 6:9).

Carl Johnson

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

In God’s Eyes

In God’s Eyes

​We are repeatedly judged by how we look, as society ceaselessly bullies those who are different than themselves, it is no wonder that many today feel inferior. However, this was not God’s plan for His creation, for man or women, this truth is shown in the light of Galatians 3:25-29, especially in verse 27 when Paul illustrates Gods point in that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. In God’s eyes there is impartiality across the human race. And while we are all created with different talents and gifts our value in God’s eyes never diminishes. Therefore I encourage both men and women to take a step back and understand “His eyes are on the ways of man, And He sees all his steps” (Job 34:21). God is always watching us, and so it’s important to take a step back from the negativity of the world and view ourselves through God’s eyes.
​When we view ourselves through God’s eyes we find that the world has lied to us in that they fill our ears with words of derision saying we are nothing special, but in God’s eyes you are precious. In fact God said of His people in Isaiah 43:4 “Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you. . .” This truth is even more unmistakable when we look at the picture Titus 3:3 paints of us saying we were: “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another”, but even in this state God saw us, loved us, and provided a way of escape through His Son (Jn. 14:6). How then can the world tell any man or women that they are of lesser value than their neighbor? Neither skin color, nor country of origin can change your value to God, Church, or home.
​When we know this how can we view ourselves as worthless or inferior when that is not how we are made. In fact, our value to God is fully shown in that “God so loved the world (us) that He gave His only begotten Son. . .” (Jn. 3:16). Our value in God’s eyes is shown elsewhere in that God even knows the smallest details of our being (Matthew 10:30-31). Have courage that even when others fail to see your value, God has found value in you, and in seeing this value He willingly paid the price no man could pay (1Corinthians 6:20). In that He paid the price, we have value, to Church, to home, and to society. Therefore women when you doubt your worth, remember that it was because of a grandmother and a mother that the Church had a leader like Timothy (2Tim. 1:5), and men, remember it was a Samaritan man who set the example of how we should treat our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37).
​In understanding these few thoughts, the words of Eleanor Roosevelt echo out in that “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. And so we are challenged to view ourselves differently than the world views us, because God views the Christian as chosen and special (1Peter 2:9). And so, I challenge myself to view myself through God’s eyes, understanding that God does not merely judge by external appearances but with a righteous judgment of who we are on the inside (Jn. 7:24).

Aaron Boone

​www.oldpathsadvocate.org

How To Understand the Bible for Yourself

 

How to Understand the Bible for Yourself

​Perhaps you have come across a disturbing passage in the Bible, but you don’t know how to decipher the meaning. A passage may seem to to downplay your entire belief system. Maybe the passage is disturbing simply because of the mystical language used by ancient Bible writers. How do you respond in this moment of struggle for definition of God’s word? Before anything else, remember what Paul said to Timothy in 1 Tim. 1:5-7. Paul reminded Timothy to always maintain a pure heart, a good conscience, and be sincere in his faith. Being sincere enough to admit error when presented with the truth of God’s word is foremost. Diligence and care come only a breath behind sincerity. Being diligent to study God’s word with integrity and a systematic method is paramount. Jesus did not call fishermen like James and John for their laziness, ineptness, or disregard for properly understanding His teaching. These men consistently asked Jesus questions to better understand His mission and call to discipleship (Mark, 9:10-13, 10:10 & 13:3-4). Consider consistently asking yourself systematic questions when studying any given Bible passage. The questions to follow will hopefully guide you in this effort and lead you to Truth’s doorstep.
​The questions in this article are a bare bones skeleton of what should be asked whenever seeking clarity on a Bible passage. These questions also assume the reader to be established in two principles of thought: there is such a thing as absolute truth, and the proper interpretation of a passage is that which was intended by the original author. No more will be said on these points. Now, for the feature presentation, read on.

1. The Bible is a book of literature. This literature consists of poetry, history, narrative, argumentative discourse, and figurative/prophetic texts. With this knowledge, ask the question: What type of literature is this single verse found within, and how might that affect how I interpret the verse?

2. Why is the author writing this book? Does my interpretation of this single verse agree with the author’s ultimate purpose in writing the book?

3. What is the immediate (surrounding) context of the verse I am studying? Does my interpretation of this single verse fit the immediate context?

4. Before I make personal application of what is taught in the verse, do I understand what the passage originally meant? Personal application should never be made until the verse’s original meaning is understood. Otherwise, you are dangerously near to making an application the Holy Spirit never intended to be drawn. This fallacy is at the root of many a belligerent and ignorant internet blogger.

5. Does anything within the passage allude or echo back to an Old Testament passage or teaching of Jesus (i.e. John 8:58)? If so, go back to the passage alluded to and gain a better understanding of that text. Many times, New Testament writers allude back to an Old Testament prophecy, teaching, story-line, character, or theme, making a parallel application to the audience of the New Testament.

Paul wrote God’s revelation down so that his audience could read and understand it (Eph. 3:3-4), not be confused. God’s word is not beyond our grasp, our grasp just has to reach farther than the TV remote. Now close your screen, pick up your Bible, and glean from God’s treasure chest, “things new and old,” (Matthew 13:52).
Aaron Battey

 

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org