Tag Archives: Jacob

Have I Told You about My Grandchildren?

23 May

KiKi, Granddad, KinseyCheckout the podcast here.

Last week we learned that lying is one of those character traits that you do not want to be known for. We can’t confuse our version of the truth with the absolute truth of Scripture. As believers, we must uphold the truth in our speech and in our actions. We have an obligation to help the needy, but our primary mission is to live our lives authentically for Christ which means sharing the truth of who Christ is. Never glory in the misfortune of others. We love when mercy and grace are extended to us and we must endeavor to exercise mercy and grace to others and balance that with accountability for our actions. Sometimes that can be a tough balancing act, but I assure you, if you follow the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the principles of Scripture, you won’t go wrong. This morning, Solomon talks about the joy of grand kids.

Pro. 17:6-8 says, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers. Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.”

Here’s another crown. Solomon spoke of the gray head being a crown and now he adds another one. “Grandchildren are the crown of old men.” What an awesome verse that doesn’t mean what you think it does. Solomon’s not talking about just having a boat load of grand-kids as if that in itself is some kind of achievement. He’s talking about something much more important, something significantly more rewarding, something that is eternal. The Apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 Jo. 4) By association, it stands to reason that if your children walk with God, then your grandchildren will too. We’re not talking guarantees here, but probabilities. That’s the angle Solomon is taking. Remember, he’s giving all these instructions to his son. The Hebrew patriarch Jacob thought he had lost his son Joseph. Genesis tells us that Joseph was sold into slavery and eventually found himself in Egypt where he rose to be the #2 guy in the land right below Pharaoh. After they were reunited, Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.” (Gen. 48:11) It was a double blessing. Grandchildren can be like that. The normal grandparent loves their grandchildren. The beauty of grandchildren is that you can love them and care for them and then they can go home with their parents. God’s design for the family was not for grandparents to raise grandchildren. That’s the job of the mom and the dad that God designed to be married to one another for as long as they both shall live.

Of course grandparents will influence their grand-kids and that’s also by design. The Apostle Paul praised Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice for playing a significant part in the sincere faith that Timothy had. (2 Tim. 1:5) The crown Solomon is talking about is the joy to see grandchildren walking in truth serving God with authenticity and passion. In Phil. 4:1 Paul said, “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.” He told the Thessalonians, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” (1 Thes. 2:19) There is another side too. Not all grandchildren bring joy to their grandparents. Sometimes it’s heartache. Keep in mind, we’re talking in a biblical context. We don’t pretend that all is awesome in the world and there are never challenges we face. It’s great to hear wonderful things about our grandchildren and the logic that Solomon uses is because, “The glory of sons is their fathers.” Behind every good kid is a good parent. Again, there is no guarantee that the awesomeness of a parent will be transferred to a kid. And even if your father was not a player in your life or was a horrible dad, that doesn’t mean your life is over and you’ll never amount to anything. We’re still talking a biblical context here and don’t forget who the great cycle breaker is. Don’t underestimate the power of Jesus in a person’s life. As we have said so many times before, having Jesus in your life ought to make a difference.

Solomon now gives us an awesome comparison. “Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.” Remember in Solomon’s mind, a fool is synonymous with wickedness. Fools lack wisdom and understanding. This is a tremendous word picture so let’s really look at. Excellent speech literally means a lip of abundance. That’s doesn’t mean fat lips, it’s a word picture. It’s a comparison and a contrast and it’s between a fool and a noble man. Noble can mean being born into a royal family or being part of the highest class of people in society.  Here it means having fine personal qualities or high moral principles. Have you ever been around someone that makes as if he knows what he’s talking about, but really doesn’t? As you talk with them, it’s obvious they’re making stuff up as they go along. Excellent speech doesn’t taste good in the mouth of the fool. Excellent speech is totally foreign to the fool. In fact, when I think of this, I picture the fool having the same reaction as those funny videos of a baby tasting a lemon, or how you respond after taking cough medicine of NyQuil. Having excellent speech and speaking wisdom is completely out of character for the fool. An area that is pretty prolific today is the nonsense people spout off on social media. We’ve got all sorts of people speaking authoritatively on topics they really have no clue about. We’ve got people saying the dumbest things and they’re recorded for posterity for all to read. All you have to do is Google dumb things people say.

What’s particularly interesting to me is the number of people who claim no affiliation with God use the Bible to either condemn or endorse certain views. Ps. 50:16, “But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes and to take My covenant in your mouth?” I think the top one people like to quote is don’t judge. It’s ludicrous for a fool to speak the incredible truths of God. It’s as equally foreign for someone of nobility to speak lies. It would certainly apply to a prince or king, but Solomon is talking about people with character. Is. 32:8, “But the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble plans he stands.” People of high moral character naturally speak like they have that great character trait because it’s who they are in Christ. They don’t have to think, “Okay, now what did I tell that person so I can keep my story straight.” You can’t be partially truthful, or truthful much of the time. You either choose to tell the truth or not.

This next verse isn’t very charming. “A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; wherever he turns, he prospers.” This verse seems to be a contradiction to good ethical principles so let’s take a closer look at it. A bribe is defined as the practice of offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in discharge of his or her public or legal duties. A bribe is therefore illegal and since it’s illegal, it is unbiblical. It used to be that if something were unbiblical it was generally illegal, but that has changed in recent years. The legality of some issues is irrespective of biblical principles. But bribes are illegal and unbiblical so what is Solomon saying? The charm Solomon refers to literally means stone of favor. Bribes can take numerous forms, but the item offered always has some value, at least to the one attempting to be enticed. Don’t confuse bribery with blackmail or extortion. The briber is attempting to get some favor from someone that is in a position to grant that favor. Solomon is saying that there are people of means that think they can get what they want by dangling a precious gem or something else of value in the face of someone that can grant them favor. This is playing off of the often misquoted 1 Tim 6:10 that tells us, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Maybe you’ve heard it said that everyone has a price. Don’t sell out; don’t be enticed by quick riches. This verse would also apply to gifts used to appease anger. Has your spouse ever given you flowers after an argument? Have your kids ever willingly taken on a chore to appease your anger? It’s the same principle. You shouldn’t have to bribe anyone to earn their love or forgiveness. Solomon is not legitimizing or condemning a bribe, he’s simply stating fact. One theologian said, “A bribe works like magic.” When you put it like that, you can see how true this is. People who give gifts often receive special favors.

Grandchildren are awesome and are a crown to old men. Grandparents should influence their grandchildren, but God’s design is for parents to raise children not grandparents raise grandchildren. When I say this, please don’t think that I’m saying it’s sinful, wrong, or unethical for grandparents to raise their kid’s kids. We are in challenging times and we must adapt and overcome, and what a blessing it is to have grandchildren and grandparents in your lives. Excellent speech doesn’t taste good in the mouth of the fool just like speaking nonsense or lies is foreign to someone of high moral character – a quality all Christians should be growing in. Finally, Solomon told us that bribes work like magic, but you shouldn’t have to bribe someone to receive love or forgiveness.

Israel’s Rebellion

7 Oct

RememberYou can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we learned that certain people crept into the church – the creepers. Jude gave us three reasons why their judgment was right and just and told us the judgment for sin was determined long ago. They were ungodly, used grace as license, and denied Jesus Christ. Jude now provides three examples – remember he likes trifectas – of past judgment to his readers.

Jude 5 says, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.”

Here’s Jude’s preface. The first phrase of v. 5 is a transition. His examples serve as a review of what they know. In Ec. 1:9 Solomon that said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  It’s always good to review what we know and Jude is no different. He set up this letter by telling his readers what’s going on in the church because they failed to recognize it. People got into the church and were teaching things that were not consistent with the Bible. They taught things that were not consistent with the traditions of the apostles, were not consistent with what the people knew to be correct, and still no one in the church noticed these things. He starts off by saying, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all.” Did you catch that phrase? Jude said his readers, “Know all things once for all,”  This makes a connection with, “The faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude reminded them of the gospel message they already knew because it was preached to them and they made a decision to follow Christ. He’s not saying they know everything. In contrast to the creepers, Jude’s readers knew the Gospel and the creepers did not because they were turning the Gospel into something it was not. On one hand, his readers knew what they were talking about. On the other hand, just because they do know the truth doesn’t mean reminders aren’t helpful. It’s good to be reminded of the power of the Gospel. It is that power that affects change within us in such a transformative way that only God could get the credit. Jude reminded them because his readers, like us, are sometimes susceptible to forgetting the truth.

Remember Egypt! Jude gives his readers the first example of God’s judgment. This was an event of such significance that it was likely talked about around dinner tables like we talk about Pearl Harbor, or the Challenger disaster, or 9/11. What began as an incredible miracle of God turned into a judgment from God for many Israelites. Jude reminds them, “The Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Why was Israel in Egypt? Let’s set Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine to around 1898 B.C. to find out why. Here’s the Cliff Note version. Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham. Isaac was one of them and he had twin sons named Jacob and Esau. Jacob was one of Israel’s patriarchs because first born Esau sold his birth right for a pot of stew. Jacob and his mother Rebekah subsequently tricked Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of the first born Esau. Jacob has a dream in which a ladder is set atop earth reaching to heaven and God tells him, I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 28:13-14) True to the dream, Jacob has 12 sons and the last of them he names Joseph. God changes Jacob’s name to Israel. Gen. 37:3 tells us that, “Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons.” Gen. 37:4 says Joseph’s brothers, “hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.”  It didn’t help that Jacob made Joseph a, “varicolored tunic” or what we call a coat of many colors. Adding to the hatred of the brothers was the fact that Joseph had two dreams in which he was placed in authority over his brothers. The brothers conspire to kill Joseph, but his brother Reuben steps in and says, “Let us not take his life. Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness.” (Gen. 37:21-22) Reuben planned to rescue Joseph later, but some Midianite traders were passing by and the brothers decide to sell Joseph for 20 shekels of silver and Gen. 37:28 tells us, “Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.” Exodus tells us a slave is worth 30 shekels of silver and Joseph was sold for less. It gives you the sense of just how poorly they thought of Joseph. By my calculations, that’s a price of about $152 in today’s money. The conspiracy deepens as the brothers take Joseph’s stylish coat, kill a goat, and dip the coat in the blood and show it to their father Jacob who concludes that Joseph was, “torn to bits” by a wild beast. (Gen. 37:33) So Joseph arrives in Egypt courtesy of his brothers and the Midianite traders and is then sold to one of Pharaoh’s officers that was captain of the bodyguard and the Bible tells us the Lord was with Joseph. (Gen. 37:36) Joseph became overseer of Potiphar’s house and managed it well right up until Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him and Joseph literally ran out of his coat leaving it in her hands. She accuses Joseph of rape; he’s thrown in jail where he rises to a position where he’s in charge of the other prisoners such that the chief jailer didn’t even supervise him. (Gen. 39:23) Joseph has the opportunity to interpret a dream for Pharaoh in which there would be seven years of abundance and seven years of famine. Joseph develops a plan to store up grain for seven years and then distribute that food during the famine. Because of his great planning skills and dream interpretation, at the age of 30, he’s elevated to a position just below Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt. As the famine spreads throughout the world, Egypt had plenty of food so people were flocking there to get grain that they were allowed to buy with cash, goats, horse, livestock, and whatever people could find to sell – even selling their lives as they willingly entered servitude to Pharaoh. So who shows up in Egypt but Joseph’s eleven brothers seeking food. After some back and forth exchanges with his brothers, the family is reunited. Joseph gets the last word to his brothers when he says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20)

In order to get back to Jude, we need to look at Ex. 1:5-14. If you continue studying Exodus, you’ll see Moses raised up to go against Pharaoh in order to let God’s people go. Israel flees Egypt and is led to the Promised Land in Israel where milk and honey flow. God leads them by a pillar of clouds by day and fire by night. All the while, the people are complaining against Moses and Aaron saying they’d rather be in Egypt as slaves than be in the wilderness.

Now Jude brings it home. The Israelites saw the miracles of God with their own eyes and still rebelled. These weren’t your typical the sun’ll come up tomorrow things. These were incredible and numerous miracles. From the plagues that hammered Pharaoh, to the Red Sea, to the manna from heaven, to the quail to the Israelites clothes not wearing out on their journey. Jude reminds them that God’s judgment came from their disobedience. Of the twelve spies that were sent into the Promised Land, only two came back saying let’s go! With God on our side, we can take them! “The Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Believe is the verb form of faith. Jude conveys the principle that a faith that is not in action, a faith that is not moving is dead. Our faith is not passive. There cannot be a profession of faith without a life of obedience. The disobedience of the people demonstrated their unbelief. That is why God judged them.

Jude’s point, like Peter, is that continued faithfulness is the primary way to demonstrate that we are children of God. Perseverance is one of the distinguishing marks of an authentic believer according to 2 Pet. 1:6. Christian belief – faith – means action. That’s why Jude is reminding the people. When we forget the past, we are doomed to repeat it.