Friday, August 31, 2012

A Command From God Is A Lie From Satan?

Some people just don’t learn very easily.  For some people, it’s not their fault.  For others, they have painted themselves into a corner and aren’t man enough to admit they were wrong.  They have feet of clay.  How ellementary, oops I spelled that wrong, elementary of a reading ability do you have to have to read a single command from God and understand that you are obligated to obey it.

Commenting on my explanation of what Galatians 6:1 teaches, someone called God’s clear command “…you who are spiritual restore…” a lie of Satan.  Silly rabbit!!!  That’s the subject (“you”) and verb (“restore”) of the sentence.  It’s a present imperative. That means it’s a command.  That means you have to do it.  That means to not do it is a sin.

I mean, it would be a command if it was a present imperative that said “When your feelings are hurt because you are embarrassed when someone disagrees with you, you blog about it.  Then, when you are confronted and even more offended, continue to blog about it.  Then, when you are again confronted, imply violence and say ‘I’m going to decide not to take that as a threat’ because you have black belts and know the person won’t confront you physically.  Then, when you are dragged in front of the pastoral staff, lie and claim you were not blogging about the person when they and both pastors say ‘You were blogging about him’ because, of course, when he disagreed with you when you were substituting in the class that was him attacking you.  I mean, he started it.  How dare he question you when he's a newcomer and YOU are the one teaching.”  Now if scripture said that, then going and blogging about being offended rather than acting like a man and saying something to the persons face first would be the right thing to do because it would be a command.  However, in this completely hypothetical scenario**, the Bible doesn’t say that so you’re not commanded to do it.

The Bible, however, does say the following in Galatians 6:1-

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

That’s a command of God, not a lie of Satan.
**I mean, who would be childish enough to behave like that, huh, Bugs?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review--The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

I'm not going to lie-sometimes reading through the Old Testament is hard for me.  That, of course, says more about me than it does about the scripture.  After all, we know all scripture is God breathed and useful for a multitude of purposes (II Timothy 3:16).  Still, I've always had a hard time making it through the first 5 books, particularly Exodus through Deuteronomy.  So, when I was sent this book by Crossway to review and comment on, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Therefore, let me stop right here and tell you to go order this book NOW.  Stop what you're doing and go buy the book The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy by Nancy Guthrie.  It's ok.  I'll wait.

Ok, you're back now.  Good.  This is a fantastic book.  Quite simply, I can't think of a better, more clear, thorough, readable explanation as to how the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy reveal Christ.  Ms. Guthrie does a great job of pointing out how everything from the life of Moses to the wilderness Tabernacle points toward Jesus.

Not only that, but since this is a Bible study, the book provides opportunity to interact not only with the text but with other people if you're studying this in a group.  Of course, I read through the book without working through the study (yet), but the questions are thought provoking and sure to provoke thoughtful discussion.

Much scholarship (so-called) in the past 150 years has centered on the thesis that the Old Testament is best interpreted without reference to Christ.  However, as you read Ms. Guthrie's book, it becomes clear that the only way to truly understand the Old Testament is to read it the way Christ read it:

John 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

I believe this book will be a great blessing to you and would be a wonderful Bible study for any small group to use. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Command From God Isn’t The Point Of A Verse??

The other day, I posted an analysis of Galatians 6:1 and noted that the point of the verse is that we are commanded to go to someone who we see in sin and restore them gently.  This is obvious because the subject of that verse is “you” and the verb is “restore”.  The verb “restore” is a present imperative which means it’s a command which means to not do it is to disobey God.

Then, I read something side splittingly funny—someone wrote saying that this command, which Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write, is not the point of the verse.  So, simply by asserting  “This is clearly erroneous…” and “The clear intent of this verse….”, they think they’ve proven that God didn’t mean exactly what He inspired Paul to write.  I guess when you read something you don’t like, you ignore little trivial things like grammar and syntax and just insert your own meaning in there.  Haa.
I mean, that would be like someone substituting in a Sunday School class and during the class when someone disagrees with them, they feel offended.  However, instead of doing what a grown man would do and going to that person (since they felt “attacked” when that person disagreed with them) and talking to them about it, they sull up and pout.  Then two weeks or so afterwards, they write a blog post about the incident, again instead of saying the stuff to the persons face first, but claim that it wasn’t about that person when the Sunday School teacher and two pastors both recognize that it was.  Of course, that’s just a hypothetical situation and would never happen, but in order to justify such infantile behavior, a person would have to do the same sort of theological and grammatical gymnastics as someone claiming a command of God (present imperative) is not the point of a verse.  Too funny!!!

What Does It Mean? Matthew 5:23-24

Recently, I noticed someone using sloppy exegesis to determine the meaning of some scriptures.  That got me to thinking that it might be a good exercise to post not some exposition but rather analysis that I would use to determine the meaning of the text so that I could exposit it. 

Take the following verses out of Matthew. 

Matthew 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  

Now, I don’t remember the exact words the guy used, but when talking about what this verse meant he said something like verse 22 is talking about being angry with your brother (or whomever), so clearly (clearly to him, anyway), verses 23 and 24 are speaking about if that anger is coming between you and God. More particularly, it discusses not harboring anger. 

Hmm, that’s interesting.  Let’s take a look at the passage and see if that’s what it means.  What does the verse say you are doing?  Well, it says “…you are offering…” and that you “remember”.  Both verbs are in the active voice, which just means that you personally are performing the action.  What do you remember?  Well, you remember your brother has something against you.  In other words, he is angry.  What is your brother doing in this verse?  He “…has something against you…”  The verb in this phrase is also in active voice, meaning that he himself is angry.  Therefore, in this verse, are you angry?  No.  Obviously then, it couldn’t possibly be talking about your anger coming between you and God since you’re not the one angry. 

“But wait” someone might say.  We didn’t consider verse 22.  Perhaps that might change the interpretation just like this guy says.  So let’s also look at verse 22. 

Matthew 5:22  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.  

So, who is Christ talking to?  Well, this passage is in the Sermon on the Mount, so He’s talking to His disciples, not just His apostles.  He’s also not indicating any specific individual, but He says “everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”  The word “everyone” would mean “any person”.  So he’s not just talking about you being angry, as this person states.  He’s talking about any person being angry.  Now, there is nothing to suggest or imply that this means that the person in verse 23 who is presenting his gift at the altar is the one angry since verse 23 very clearly says the brother is angry and that you are the one presenting the offering. 

Therefore, what these verses mean is what they say.  If you know someone is angry at you, then you are supposed to attempt to initiate reconciliation.  That would involve you going to that person and discussing the issue face to face.  In fact, because verse 24 says that you are supposed to “leave your gift at the altar”, to fail to do this is sin, since “leave” is an active imperative—in other words, it’s a command not a suggestion.

We have a few more verses to examine.  I pray you are encouraged.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Does It Mean? Galatians 6:1

Recently, as I mentioned the other day, I noticed someone using sloppy exegesis to determine the meaning of some scriptures.  That got me to thinking that it might be a good exercise to post not some exposition but rather analysis that I would use to determine the meaning of the text so that I could exposit it. 

As an example, look at this verse from Galatians.   

Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Again, I regret that I don’t remember exactly what the person said about what this verse meant, but it was something along the lines of that the verse is not about the confronting, but about when confronting, to do so with a spirit of gentleness so that one is not tempted to sin himself.

Ummmm, I believe we might need to look at this verse and see if that’s in fact what it’s saying, cause I’m thinking “Not so much”.

I think the first question we have to ask is what the subject of this sentence is.  The subject is “you”.  Of course, the “you” is the “Brothers” but the word “brothers “is being used to identify the people Paul is addressing.

Next, let’s ask “Ok, well what is the verb” because, remember, the assertion we’re testing here is that “the verse is not about confronting”.  So, in Greek, the subject and verb of a sentence have the same person (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person) and the same number (singular or plural).  So, we’ve got “is caught”, “restore”, and “keep watch” as our suspects in this mystery. 

The verb translated “keep watch” (skopeo-4648) is a participle so it can’t be the verb (a participle is a verbal noun—thanks Granny Dawkins).  The verb translated “is caught” (prolambano-4301) is 3rd person singular.  The verb “restore” is 2nd person plural.  The subject of our sentence (“you”) is also 2nd person plural.  Therefore, the subject of the sentence is “you” and the verb is “restore”.  Also, the verb “restore’ is a present imperative.  What that means is that it’s a command.  If it’s a command, that means you’re being told to do it.  If you’re being told do it, then to not do it is sin.  So, in direct contradiction to what was asserted above that the verse is “not about the confronting”, very obviously the verse is certainly about the confronting because Paul is here commanding that they do it.  In fact, since the verb is in the present tense, it doesn’t mean just go do it once and say “Hey, I tried”.  It means to continue to go doing it, presumably until the person is restored from whatever sin they are involved in.

Someone might counter though “Wait, I’m not called to point out other people’s sins.  That’s not my job.  That’s not what I’ve been called to do.  In fact, look, it says ‘you who are spiritual should restore’.  That means this is a job for the leaders in the church, not me.” 

Well, let’s just see about that, shall we.

The word translated “spiritual” is pnuematikos (4152).  it is used in the New Testament in 20 verses in addition to the passage here in Galatians (in the NASB—sorry, Angie J ). 

Romans 1:11, Romans 7:14, Romans 15:27, 1 Cor 2:13, 1 Cor 2:15, 1 Cor 3:1, 1 Cor 9:11, 1 Cor 10:3, 1 Cor 10:4, 1 Cor 12:1, 1 Cor 14:1, 1 Cor 14:37, 1 Cor 15:44, 1 Cor 15:46, Eph 1:3, Eph 5:19, Eph 6:12, Col 1:9, Col 3:16, 1 Peter 2:5

None of these verses indicate that the term applies only to leaders of the church.  So therefore, there is no reason to restrict the meaning of this word here in this verse in Galatians. 

Therefore, what this verse means is that if we see someone caught up in or overtaken by sin, we are to go to them, since that is a commandment, and gently attempt to help restore them while being careful to avoid temptation ourselves.

Friday, August 24, 2012

You Can Tell A Live Body From A Dead One

The only time I've ever seen a dead body in person is at a funeral, but I'm pretty sure if I saw someone who had been dead for hours, certain signs would clue me that they were dead.  No, I don't mean "No pulse" or "Not breathing" because the person might have had something happen within a few minutes of me finding them in that state and could possibly be revived.  I mean something more obvious, like blue skin, blueish lips--you know, things that let you know the body hasn't gotten oxygen in a good, long time.  I'm pretty sure most people would not have to be told that a person in that condition isn't coming back from it.

So, when we read the following passage in Colossians 2:13

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (ESV)

and this one in Ephesians 2:1

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (ESV)

we should realize that dead doesn't mean sick, or about to die, not does it suggest that people can be resuscitated by religion but they need to be resurrected by a Savior.  Our attempts to use church programs, man centered evangelistic strategies, gimmicks, or feel good self help will not lead anyone to a right relationship with God.  They're as foolish as trying to do CPR on a corpse that is cold to the touch with blueish skin.  It's only when we preach gospel that people can know what they must do to be saved.  We must prech that God is holy but mankind is sinful.  However, because God is so merciful and so kind, He decided to send Jesus, His Son, to live a fully obedient life without any sin.  God sent His Son to the cross where Jesus suffered the punishment for sin that we deserve.  Because He was our Substitute, if we have faith that He died on the cross and rose again for our sin and we repent of our sin, God will save us.  He will  save anyone who repents of their sins and trusts Christ.

Have you done that?  Do you realize you are a sinner?  Do you want to be freed from your sin?  Trust that Christ died and rose again and repent--call out to God and tell Him you've done this and He will save you.  He will resurrect you from spiritual death and make you spiritually alive.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Wednesday morning, I read something so funny I almost broke a rib laughing.  Anyway, what I read isn't important nor is when I read it.  Once I got composed again, which took several minutes, I was reminded of a scripture verse.

Psalm 17:22 (ESV)--A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

And I got to thinking, there's nothing more important in the life of a believer than understanding what the Bible means, but maybe, just as a break for today, maybe someone needs a laugh and I can give them one.  Here's some funny stuff to encourage you to have a good laugh today.


They still use cellphones in the 24th century?

Well, duct tape does fix everything, right?

The funniest part of this is I went to a church where the youth director took the kids on a trip to see a service at Steven Furtick's church.  Ok, that's not so funny after all.

"I thought you said you were watching them!"
And last but not least......
Thank you, Captain Obvious!!!!
I hope you got a good guffaw out of those.  Or at least maybe a chortle.  :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Habakkuk 2:18 The Foolishness of Idolatry Part I

I’m a diabetic.  My grandma (paternal) and both of my parents were as well, so I come by it honestly.  I probably could have staved off the disease longer by making smarter choices when I was younger but, well, it is what it is.  Thankfully, though, God in His providence allowed for the invention of Splenda.  Oh, how I love me some Splenda.  It doesn’t replace sugar, but it gets close enough for this old boy.  It’s a fine substitute.  Some substitutes are nowhere near as good as the real thing.  A man who cheats on his wife, for instance, and nearly wrecks his marriage and loses his son as a result (despite his protests of “She made the indecent proposal”) finds that substitute for love can’t compare with the real thing.  I would say idolatry falls into that same category.  Setting up something in your life as a substitute for God can bring a kind of comfort and assurance, but those are only temporary and shallow at best.

In fact, as we read through our passage in Habakkuk, there are things that God says about idols that I think hold true for all of them, whether they’re made of gold like a statue or brick and mortar like an office.  First of all, notice with me that idols are worthless.  In verse 18, we ready the rhetorical question “What profit is an idol?”  The answer, of course, is that there is no profit.  For that matter, there is no “prophet” in the idol either, but we’ll get to that later.  Anything that we make into an idol costs something, whether it’s wood, gold, or silver like the Babylonians or a job, power, or a boat like we do today. In order to worship and serve God, we have to spend our time:  in Bible study, prayer, ministry, and other things.  Well, if you’re serving anything in the place of God you’re going to do the same thing.  You’ll need to work one more week of late nights, make yourself look better at the expense of others, or wax and polish that boat just a few hours more.  The fact is, as human beings, we’re going to worship. 

Furthermore, observe in Habakkuk 2:17 the truth that idols are manufactured.  In fact, I would go further to say that sometimes people manufacture their own idols.  We find that to be the case in this verse because the maker “shaped it” and “trusts in his own creation”.  To illustrate the absurdity of those statements read with me the following passage in Isaiah 44:14-17.  I won’t reproduce the entire passage here, but the short version of the long story is some guy goes out, cuts down a tree, takes one log from that tree and makes a fire to warm himself and cook his food.   He fashions the other log into a wooden idol and worships it.  Now, that wooden idol that he is worshipping had a 50/50 chance of being the wood that he burned to cook and warm himself.  So he could have just as easily burned this thing that he is now calling “god”.  If that doesn’t make you want to guffaw, I don’t know what will.  The fact is, idols are not creators, and they are always creations.  And if I create something, it must, by definition, be less than me.  So what kind of silly person would I be to bow down to something I just made?  Exactly.

Finally, we know that God is a truthful God.  We He speaks, what He says is true and we can trust it.  People that trust an idol trust in a lie.  The text refers to idols as “teacher[s] of lies”.  While it doesn’t specifically say what lies are being taught, I would imagine some of them include “You’re ok”, “Everything will be alight”, or “Live for the now and take what you want”.  In any case, in contrast to our God who speaks truth, these idols lie even though they themselves are “speechless”.  I think that means they help the makers lie to themselves.  They tell themselves that everything is ok when in fact their soul is in mortal danger because of their sins.

As we look later at the passage, we’ll see more evidence of the foolishness of idolatry.  As we remind ourselves of that, we should also be encouraged to faithfully follow, worship, and obey God rather than idols.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review-Am I Called? by Dave Harvey

Occassionally, I receive books from Crossway Publications and they ask me to review the book.  I enjoy that part of blogging because, well, I'm addicted to books like some people are to coffee.  I recently received a book about the summons to pastoral ministry called "Am I Called?"  The author, Dave Harvey, is a pastor and he writes to men considering the call to pastoral ministry.  Therefore, his primary audience is pretty specific.  However, I wold commend this book not only to men who believe they may be called but also to all Christians who desire to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

I think Dave Harvey does a good job of trying to articulate both the subjective, interal experience of being called by God to service and the objective, external factors involved such as people recognizing your gifting and aptitude for ministry.  The book is practical and ultimately points the reader back to the most important thing any Christian needs to be reminded of--that any call from God is first and foremost intertwined with the call to salvation.  In other words, the most important thing in the ministers life is his relationship with Christ.  Hense, the reason one of his first chapters is titled "Summoned to the Savior".  His second section offers a series of questions that any man thnking about entering the pastoral ministry must ask hmself.  The biblical qualifications for being a pastor are high and therefore a good deal of personal iintropection and examination by others in various contexts are important, to say the least.  I think my favorite chapter, however, was chapter 10, which covered what to do "While You Wait".  The time between you realizing God has called you, he says, and you being able to use that call in a church should be a time for growth and reflection even as you're chomping at the bits to get to work.

In short, I think you ought to get a copy of this book regardless of whether you're a man who believes he is called to ministry or you're a man or woman who just wants to think more deeply about the gospel.  I believe this book would be a great benefit either way.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Matthew 18:15-17 Dealing With Offenses

This is just a short note to remind us that when we believe someone has attacked* us, we should follow the prescription for dealing with offenses in Matthew 18:15-17 rather than behaving like a junior high school girl and doing something childish like blogging about it.

*Becauase if we claim that someone attacked us (December 7, 2011 "...Grouchy took the offensive...") then we are saying that person has sinned against us.  Claiming anything else is just verbal gymnastics similar to what children do when caught with their pants down doing something they shouldn't.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Habakkuk 2:15-17 Shame, shame, shame!!

I’ve never really enjoyed watching reality TV.  I guess that’s why I haven’t watched much first-run television in probably a decade because that’s all that’s on.  You can watch people’s hearts get broken on dating shows, you can see people compete in groups against each other to see who is going to be told “You no longer have a job here”, and you can watch people embarrass themselves in all manner of contests to try and avoid being shipped off of an island.  I guess we’re following the same pattern as the society of Babylon because, as we read in this text, they enjoyed watching people embarrass themselves as well.  I submit to you that if a society finds enjoyment in the humiliation of other people, that society is sick.  In the case of Babylon, it was just one more example of why God was going to judge them for their wickedness.

First of all, Habakkuk 2:15 gives us the fifth “Woe” in this song about the Babylonian empire.  They are told they will be punished because of how they manipulate people for their own enjoyment.  Specifically, we’re told the Babylonians “make [their] neighbor drink…in order to gaze at their nakedness”.  Now, obviously there is an aspect of lusting in what they’re doing, but the basic thrust here is the same as today in reality television.  They view people as objects to be used as fodder for entertainment.  They enjoy seeing them in positions that we all would find embarrassing—in this verse specifically we’re told it is so the Babylonians can “look on their nakedness”.  Now, if you or I were to be seen by most people without our clothes, we would be embarrassed.  However, for the Babylonians, and for many in our entertainment culture today, that’s not really important.  When we devalue men and women who are made in the image of God, we reveal something about how holy we think God is—so in the end these Babylonians, in their lust, were really giving further evidence of their profane, anti-God attitude.

Instead of being able to sit around and enjoy the shame of other people, God tells them that they themselves will be shamed.  In fact, Habakkuk 2:16 says they will be shamed in the same sorts of ways that they embarrassed other people (…show your uncircumcision..).  They made others drink wine so that they could watch them put on a show for their amusement.  God will, in His time, make the Babylonians drink from the cup of His wrath.  While judgment would not come where the prophet Habakkuk could see it, it would come and when it did those who had lived in comfort because they were in power as world conquerors would find that they were the ones suffering shame.

The Babylonians ascended to world dominance through violence—they conquered a whole lot of people, killed some, enslaved others, and lived high on the hog as a result.  However, as we read in Habakkuk 2:17, the chicken, metaphorically speaking, will come home to roost.  All of the violence they had spread and the blood that they had shed would be returned on them.  Now, we know from reading history, that it was the Persian army of King Darius that attacked Babylon, but in the end, it was by the word that God spoke in the prophesy that judgment came upon that nation.  No matter how long it takes, God will execute His wrath on sinners for their sinfulness.

Friday, August 3, 2012

They think they so smarty... they think their brain so big.

I moved to Tennessee in 2006.  I didn’t move to get away from anyone, the church I served as pastor loved me and they invite me back pretty regularly, and I certainly didn’t move to try to find a pastorate where no one knew me—I’ve made no attempts to contact any church about an open position.  When I’ve talked to a church it’s been because they called me.  I work a full time job as an auditor so I'm not remotely interested in a full time pastorate.  I’m perfectly happy to just take opportunities to share the gospel and the truth of God’s word where I find them.  Some people, though, crave prestige.  It’s usually because they feel so small inside they have to do something to make themselves feel like they matter.  They love the position of being “The Teacher” because it makes them feel important.  As an aside, when someone says “I never wanted to be a teacher.  It’s not something I look forward to doing but I do it when I asked” you can be 100% sure that they most certainly do enjoy it and are on the lookout for anyone they perceive as a threat to their position.  The religious leaders in Jerusalem are a perfect example of this kind of mentality.  As we read in Matthew 2:4-6, we see they are abounding in knowledge but it hasn’t made any difference because their eyes are blind to the truth of God’s word. 

We read in verse 4 of the text that Herod gathered all the chief priest and scribes of the people together and he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. This was a fairly startling move for this man and it reveals something of his motivations. We know that the news that One had been born King of the Jews troubled him. We also know that he was not Jewish and from things we can read in history he was not a person of faith. We know, therefore, that the reason for his inquiry was not godly nor were his motives pure. In fact, being a Roman official and an outsider to Jewish life, he actually condescended himself in asking this information from the chief priests and scribes. Josephus records that when Herod was named the Roman provincial governor of Jerusalem, he killed many of the scribes that were in Jerusalem. He, like most Romans, felt these people in Jerusalem were beneath him. Therefore, it must have humbled him to have had to ask these people for this information. He appears willing to humble himself somewhat if it means that he can thwart the Messiah’s rise to power. 

He certainly looked for the information in the right place. We observe that he inquired of the chief priests. There was only one chief priest ordained at a time so, in reality, this could have included not only the current chief priest but also so of his predecessors. The priesthood had become something of a political office and sometimes they were disposed of at the whim of the local governor. These men were responsible for the service and maintenance of the temple. As such, they were important figures in Jewish life and could actually only come from one family. The scribes were the lawyers. They were professionals who devoted their time to the study of the law. In short, Herod called together the religious and judicial leaders of the nation in his haste to find out where his rival was born. 

The fact that he was able to find any of these men should come as a surprise to us. They had just heard the news that the star announcing the birth of the Messiah had been seen by the magi. They knew the scriptures. If anyone in the city of Jerusalem should have been running to greet the Lord, it should have been these men. Instead, we find them having been assembled by this godless, evil man to assist him in his attempt to find the Messiah. They were able to do this with no trouble at all. Quite simply, scripture records that they said to him “In Bethlehem of Judea” and they noted that it was written by the prophet. They quoted the substance of the prophecy. Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. They also recognized the source of the prophecy was the revelation of God through His prophet. These guys could have made 100 on a Bible pop quiz. If they were on Jeopardy and the category was “Old Testament” and they hit the daily double, they could confidently say “I’ll bet all of it, Alex.” They knew, in a head knowledge kind of way, everything that a person needed to know to understand the significance of the birth of Christ. Instead of seeking Him our, they were indifferent. They were content to be called as consultants to this Gentile king who they hated rather than welcome their one, true King. 

They even go so far as to quote from the Old Testament to substantiate their claim. In my day job, I’m an auditor. That is an accountant that has specialized in the task of telling other people how to do their jobs. Basically, when an auditee presents me with information, I never take their word for it. I always look for corroborating evidence. In a sense, that is what these men do here. They quote from Micah 5:2. We see in their quotation that is recorded in Matthew 2:6 that they knew the humble beginnings of the Messiah (You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah.) They also know from Scripture the character of the Messiah. They quote that the Messiah shall be a Ruler. The word ruler translates the Greek word hegeomai which means leader and has the sense of royalty. However, even though He would be the Messiah and would rule with a rod of iron, as noted in Revelation 19:15, He would be tender and compassionate with his subjects. These men further quoted that this Ruler would shepherd My people, Israel. We know that in the book of John, Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd in chapter 10 and David proudly proclaimed that the Lord was his Shepherd in the 23rd Psalm. There is no more selfless, tireless kind of caretaker than a shepherd and that is exactly the kind of Messiah that was revealed in this prophecy. 

These men knew all these things. They knew where He was to be born and, after the visit of the magi, they knew when He was born. Instead of going to look for Him, they remained in their lofty positions of power and influence in Jerusalem. Friends, let us pay careful attention to this. A person can know a lot about Jesus and the Bible and be lost as a goose. I would dare say there may well be some very well educated theologians that go straight into Hell and not all of them may be liberals. It isn’t head knowledge that saves a man or a woman but a real relationship with Jesus Christ. These men, by their indifference to the Messiah, prove their lack of a true faith in God. 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.