Choose Your Tribe Wisely

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Ps 1:1)

Our culture spends a lot of time talking about ‘community’ and finding your ‘tribe’.  With the advent of the internet it became possible to immerse yourself in communities of people dedicated to any particular hobby or interest no matter how specific – if you have a particular interest in Ukrainian wax-resist eggs or 80’s video game consoles or knitting miniature-pinscher clothes… you can have it.  Distance no longer is a factor – our friendships can be entirely cyber and we can make connections with whomever we want.

Of course, this can be used for good and for ill, but the point remains that never before in human history has it been so possible for you to choose your companions and friends.  What a magnificent blessing and responsibility.  Choose your tribe wisely.

Matt 4:4 #Biblebites

First Things First

“Then all the people departed each to his house, and David returned to bless his household.” (1 Chr 16:43)
 
After worshipping God, the people returned home to their normal lives… including David. But look at what happened when David returned home! He returned to bless his household. David’s worship led to a natural act of desiring to bless those around him.
 
First things first. Put God first and you will be a better husband, wife, friend, and neighbor. Start your week off with a solid Sunday of worshipping Him and you will go home and bless your household, too.
 
Matt 4:4 #Biblebites

Seeking God, God’s Way

“Because you [the Levites] did not carry it [the ark] at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” (1 Chr 15:13)

When David initially tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem, he did it with all good intentions.  His desire was to seek God and bring about a revival of devotion to Jehovah in the nation (see 1 Chr 13:2-3).  His intentions were sincere and entirely pure.

But David didn’t seek God according to the ordinance.  Long ago, God had explained who (the Levites – Deut 10:8) and how (carried with poles – Ex 25:14) the ark was to be transported.  David in his genuine zeal ignored those instructions and it led to the disastrous events that you can read about in 1 Chronicles 13.

Good intentions are not enough.  We must know how God wishes to be loved and worshipped.  If we seek him, no matter how sincerely and zealously, without paying attention to His Word… the results will be disastrous.  Learn from David – zeal needs knowledge.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. (Rom 10:1-3)

Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites

Burn the Idols

“They [the Philistines] abandoned their gods there; so David gave the order and they were burned with fire.” (1 Chr 14:12)
 
There is only one answer to what we should do with idols – destroy them. When Israel compromised with idolatry… inevitably idolatry ended up corrupting them in the long run. We must be ruthless with idolatry in our hearts today – a scorched earth policy is what is best.  That was what the early Christians did in Acts 19:19.
 
No sinful desire should be tolerated or tacitly accepted to dwell in our hearts. We must fight it with all that we are and not let it lull us into weakness. Sin crouches at the door and we must be the masters of it (see Gen 4:7). Each man and woman know themselves and can properly examine their character. Do not accept mediocrity. Burn the idols – expose the darkness – confess the sin. It will be the best loss you will have ever suffered.
 
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. (Matt 18:8-9)
 
Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites

The Ocean’s Message

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.” (Ps 107:23-24)

The smaller your world is, the easier it is to think you are the center of it.  In our climate-controlled homes, using our voice-activated smart phones, waiting for our Amazon-delivered groceries, it is easy to believe that I am important, powerful, and in charge.

Sea captains know better.  Spend a few weeks on an ocean so vast that it can snap a 300,000 ton oil tanker in half and you stop being so sure of yourself.  It’s a big world and the more time you spend in it the easier it is to remember He is God and we are definitely not.

Matt 4:4 #Biblebites

A Bad Exchange

“They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a molten image. Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that eats grass.” (Ps 106:19-20)
 
The above Psalm alludes to the golden calf that the Israelites created for themselves while Moses spoke to the living God on Mt. Sinai. Their impatience led them to exchange Jehovah for a manmade statue. It was a bad trade. They had Jehovah and they ended up with an ox.
 
How often do we make the same mistake? Exchanging our trust in God for immediate pleasure or ease from trials, we give up that which is glorious for a bit of short-term glitter. It happens every day.
  • God designs us for marriage and we give up that glorious design for the short-term thrill of a one-night stand.
  • God designs us to serve as lights to the world and we exchange that glorious purpose for the short-term comfort of remaining silent.
  • God designs us to worship Him and be filled with the joy that can only be found in being at peace with your Creator and we exchange that glorious relationship to sleep in a little extra on Sunday morning.
It’s a bad trade. There is nothing temporary worth exchanging eternal things for.
 
“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17)
 
Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites

Unity Through Simplicity

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1)
 
Unity happens when multiple parts are joined together as a whole. There is nothing more beautiful than when mankind drops their differences and with singular focus joins together in a common cause. Unity is the pleasant world God envisioned in the garden of Eden and it is the image we see depicted in heaven when all of His people exist together without fear, without quarrels, and without division.
 
Division is a product of jealousy and strife (see Jas. 3:16) and it exists where pride and selfishness become our gods. Religious division is no different. It is appalling that there are so many denominations and “flavors” of Christianity in this world. A God who gave us one Bible, one hope, one baptism, and one Lord (see Eph 4:4-6) never intended for us to divide, but instead to unite around His Word.
 
Simple Christians that seek His will through His Word – without creed or human tradition to divide us. What if we just went back to the Bible and did what we found in it? Surely, such a humble and meek approach would work! The only people who would lose power would be the religious leaders that benefit from manmade traditions and divisions.
 
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)
 
Matt 4:4 #Biblebites

Character Over Conquest

“For day by day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army like the army of God.” (1 Chr 12:22)
 
David didn’t spend all his time trying to figure out how to build an army and usurp the kingdom from Saul. Instead, David decided to be a good man, live by faith, and the LORD sent him an army and gave him a kingship.
 
Be who you ought to be and the LORD will provide the army when you need the help. Choose character over conquest.
 
Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites

Lead With Gratitude

“And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.” (2 Sam 5:12)

Great leaders recognize that their position is a gift.  As David’s reign as king gained prosperity and success, David realized the source of his security and honor.  God had blessed David and giving him unique opportunities to shepherd Israel.

All we have is from God.  If you are in a position of influence.  An employer, a parent, a spouse, a friend.  If you are considered a leader by anybody and in any circumstance – it is a gift from God.  Lead with selflessness.  Lead with gratitude.  Lead with character.

“And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mk 9:35)

Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites

Fate of the Earth

“You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the earth.” (Ps 104:9)
 
It is with great hubris that mankind believes we have total power over the future fate of the Earth. Do we have dominion and a stewardship? Certainly! Genesis 1:26-28 clearly states our responsibility as the caretakers of the planet. But stewardship is very different from total authority and control. Ultimately, the cosmos are held together by God’s sovereign power and design and there are limits to how far we can alter His creation’s direction.
 
After all, “He is before all things and in Him all things consist” (Col 1:17) and we cannot alter the seasons beyond His predetermined boundaries for them (see Acts 14:17 and Gen 1:14). It is His wisdom that reigns in the creation and our wisdom (and our foolishness) cannot overturn His faithful and thoughtful design (see Ps 104:24).
 
Man is exceptional and capable of astonishing acts of dominion and power in this world – but there are limits to how much power we wield. The destruction of this planet will happen on His timetable, not ours.
 
“For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Pet 3:5-7)
 
Matt. 4:4 #Biblebites