TO REIGN AND LEAD WITH GOOD SENSE

Symbol of wisdom
Symbol of Wisdom, Utrecht, Netherlands (Source: Wikimedia)

 

Genesis 1:26-28 (New Living Translation)

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. THEY WILL REIGN over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 

 

While to reign is to rule over things, people and places, to reign also implies to govern – which means to manage the affairs of a thing, people and place, guided by reasoned principles and laws. Where rulers obey and enforce the laws, there will be justice and peace, where rulers are lawless, there will injustice and conflict.

To reign sensibly over fish in the sea, birds in the sky, and animals on land, is to manage them in line with the laws of nature. If we were to capture all animals on land, transport and release them in the middle of the ocean, it is likely they will all die.

To reign, rule, and lead sensibly, requires understanding the conditions under which things and people we manage would be the best they are created to be. To reign with good sense, we must be lifelong learners, with God as our first teacher.

May we have the humility to be lifelong learners, in order to reign with good sense, in our homes, work places, community, government, and in the Church, Amen!

THE STUPENDOUSLY AWESOME GOD!

Brown The Thinking Man Brass Curio by Handecor
The thinking man (Image credit: Pepperfry)

Proverbs 9:10 (from multiple translations)

New Living Translation – Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

New International Version – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Contemporary English Version – Respect and obey the LORD! This is the beginning of wisdom. To have understanding, you must know the Holy God.

Good News Translation – To be wise you must first have reverence for the LORD. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding.

Aramaic Bible – The beginning of wisdom is the awe of Lord Jehovah and the knowledge of the Righteous Ones is understanding;

This passage from the Bible is hugely popular especially in children’s and youth meetings organized by Churches all around the world. While the Bible strongly teaches that God delights in showing love and so we should come to him with our troubles, sorrows and pains, we should do this with respect, reverence, and awe.

Jehovah is much more greater than anyone or thing we will ever get to know or come across in this life; and much much more powerful than our minds will ever fully understand. In every way, Jehovah is so STUPENDOUSLY AWESOME, to make us shake and tremble with respect, reverence, and awe when we come to him. 

To be guided by this understanding of God’s awesomeness, is key to walking in humility, making good decisions and choices as to how we live our lives every day in this world. This is why King Solomon writes in Proverbs that the fear, reverence, and great respect for God is the beginning or foundation of wisdom in this life!    

YAHWEH, THE GOD WHO DELIGHTS IN SHOWING LOVE…

Loving father and child (Source:  Black Culture)

Micah 7:18 (New Living Translation) 

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.

 

As a child, I had the impression that the books of the Prophets were difficult to understand and their messages were full of doom and destruction. As an adult I now see clearly that the books of the Prophets teach about justice, reveal the loving and merciful character of God, and give hope to everyone who study them.

Yes, the Prophets warned of God’s punishment on evildoers like in Micah 7:2-4 – “godly people have all disappeared… Officials and judges alike demand bribes… people with influence get what they want… they scheme to twist justice… But your judgment day… Your time of punishment is here…”

However, their preaching never ended on the theme of judgement, they always called for repentance, and ended their message on the point that God is loving and merciful, very eager to forgive, and very eager to once again bless the people. We see this message even in the book of Jonah, who was sent to the pagan Assyrian Empire.

In this day, when so many nations seem to be experiencing judgement for injustices and other prevailing evils in society, it is a time for us all to first acknowledge, and then pray sincerely for forgiveness for the evils in our society, community, villages, neighborhoods, work places, families, homes, and our individual lives.

Yahweh, the God who delights in showing unfailing love, will hear us, and turn things around in a positive way for our nations and families, Amen!

LORD, HELP US!

Penitent sinner

Joel 1:19-20 (New Living Translation)

LORD, help us!

The fire has consumed the wilderness pastures, and flames have burned up all the trees. Even the wild animals cry out to you because the streams have dried up, and fire has consumed the wilderness pastures.

 

The book of Joel (11 minutes to listen to here https://goo.gl/EkH5Qs), in Chapter 1 opens with a record of a frightening locust invasion that devastated Judah. Four kinds of locusts (cutting, swarming, hopping and stripping locusts) had passed through the land and left the people and their animals starving to death.

Joel notes that in all their history Judah had never experienced such a calamity. He starts Chapter 2 by telling the people that even more terrifying devastation is coming, and it is being brought on them by God as judgement for the injustices and wickedness of the people. The nation’s troubles were as a result of the nation’s evil ways.

However, in the narratives of devastation in Chapters 1 and 2, Joel makes it known that if the people collectively cry out to God for help, for deliverance, in sincere repentance of heart, with prayers and fasting, led by their religious leaders, God will listen, roll back the devastation and fully restore the nation to peace and prosperity.

Today, nations, great and small, are unstable and failing; we see starvation, sufferings, death. Joel shows us how Judah suffered when godlessness and selfishness kicked out godliness, righteousness, and fairness. Joel also teach us that God is ready to turn things around when we cry to him for help.

In these times of troubles, lets draw even closer to God individually and collectively; lets cry out everyday for our nations, with a repentant heart “Lord, help us!”

 

Image: Penitent sinner rend your heart – Joel 2:13 (Source: balandin.net)

TOWARDS A JUST AND FAIR SOCIETY…

love your neighbor

 

Amos 5:21-24 (New Living Translation)

“I hate all your show and pretense – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living…”

 

This passage from the book of Amos has been quoted countless number of times by Christians concerned about fairness and justice in society. The book of Amos has tough words of rebuke to Israel. The nation was rich at the time but the wealthy and powerful were mean and wicked in the way they behaved towards the poor and weak.

So God raised up Prophet Amos to speak to Israel, especially to the wealthy; to remind them that true worship of God was not only about the gifts we bring to Church but also about how we relate to the poor and less privileged people in society.

Amos very strongly rebukes the rich and powerful for pretending to worship Yahweh when in truth they were worshiping idols they had made for themselves. Thus, instead of being guided by God’s righteous laws regarding how they should relate to one another with love and kindness, the rich and wealthy were guided by selfishness.

We learn from the book of Amos that idolatry breeds selfishness, which leads to unfair unjust societies. We also learn that worship of Yahweh must go beyond public display of faith, to living a life of loving kindness to one another. In so doing, we will create a society that is not only prosperous but just and fair to all.

 

Image: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (Wikimedia)

WHEN FEARFUL STORMS RAGE…

The_Lord_is_my_Good_Shepherd_v2

Matthew 11:28 (New Living Translation)
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke… Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

There is so much going on in the world today that keeps us all on edge, make us worry endlessly, and rob us of peaceful sleep on most nights. We sometimes turn to alcohol, sex, and other drugs out there to help us cope. Christians would often turn to faith leaders and or the Bible for comfort and guidance through it all.

A question to fellow Christians is this – in the midst of these storms have you reached out to Jesus for his rest? In the midst of these challenges and troubles, how often have you got on your knees in prayer and utter the words – Lord Jesus give me rest for my soul, and help me get through this fearful storm safe and sound.

We are not just Christians – who go to Church once or twice a week, read our Bibles at certain times, pay tithes and give offerings, fast once in a while, and do good when it is convenient – we are followers of Jesus. As such we need to be deeply familiar with what he taught, and very regularly pray to him for comfort and guidance.

This is more so in today’s world where storms seem to be coming at us non-stop. The more these fearful storms rage, the more we must call on JESUS!

 

Image: The Good Shepherd (Wikimedia

ORDINARY PEOPLE – EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY! (Part 3: Leah)

Related image

Genesis 29:17 (New International Version)Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.

Genesis 29:17 (New Living Translation) – There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.

 

Jacob’s two wives who happened to be sisters, had the distinct physical features noted in the passage above from the book of Genesis. Rachel was the prima donna beauty queen and Leah was the ordinary one – she had no sparkle in her eyes.

Yet, Leah has a most extraordinary legacy among God’s people. She is the mother of Judah, the tribe of Kings, and she is the mother of Levi, the tribe of Priests. She is the mother of Issachar and Zebulun, the tribe noted for their wisdom in Israel.

What is it than distinguished Leah – the secret is revealed in the names of her six sons; their names reveal her absolute trust in God and her love for her husband. Take Judah, her fourth son, his name means Praise, as in Praise God. Our Lord Jesus is known as the Lion of the tribe of Judah – the Lion of the tribe that praises God.

Rachel’s beauty melted Jacob’s heart, it was love at first sight; but Leah’s trusting faith in God has won for her an extraordinary legacy for eternity.

The legacy we leave behind is most assured when we walk humbly and faithfully before God. May Leah’s persistent faith inspire your walk with God, Amen!

 

Image: Rachel and Leah (Wikimedia)