My Eyes

Job 31:1 
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?”

A covenant, like a treaty, is an agreement between two parties that results in peace. Job realized that he was at war, not with others, but with himself. The battle that raged within him was for control of his thoughts. He came to realize, the only way to be victorious, was to be certain his eyes did not look at what would stir his lusts.

I find it interesting that Job was not a young man when he penned these thoughts. His children were grown and had children of their own, and yet Job still had to guard his eyes against looking at what was inappropriate, and what would lead to further sin.

Jesus expounded upon this same idea, exhorting us to “pluck out our eye,” if it leads us to sin. He was obviously speaking figuratively, and suggesting that perhaps it is time to take a more radical approach to guarding against sin.
We live in a day and age where we must implement the example of Job if we are going to remain pure in thought and action. Perhaps now would be a good time to memorize this verse and apply it to how you use your internet browser.
Pastor Jim

 

Misguided Affections 

1 Kings 11:40
“Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.”

It is almost eerie to compare the similarities between Solomon and Saul, and Jeroboam and David. As a result of personal sin, Solomon, like Saul, had the kingdom taken from him. While Jeroboam, like David, was chosen by God, to rise to the challenge and lead a new nation. Sadly, both men failed miserably. The root cause of Solomon’s sin is explained earlier.

1 Kings 11:1-2. “But King Solomon loved many foreign women… from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love.”

Solomon was responsible for introducing idolatry into the nation. He built temples, shrines,  and high places for Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh and Molech. These were the gods of the nations surrounding Israel. Along with the worship of these gods, came all kinds of lewd and licentious behaviors. The seeds dividing the nation were planted by Solomon, and quickly picked up by the people of Israel. In one generation, the once powerful nation of Israel, would be devastated by civil war that would lead to invasion, and ultimately collapse.

We read, although Solomon knew his behavior was unbiblical, he “clung to these women in love.” Love has been used throughout history to justify the sinful behaviors of men. A Christian will disobey the will of God, begin to date an unbeliever, and justify it as love. An unmarried couple will cross the line physically, move in together, using their love for one another as an excuse. A married man will leave his family because he is “in love” with his secretary, or a high school sweetheart.

Love is an important part of life, but misguided love will lead us away from the Lord, and into a world of hurt. The same God who instructed us that love is the chief grace, also warned us not to love the world, nor the things that are in the world. It is crucial that we examine our lives and be sure we are not using love as an excuse to sin.

Pastor Jim

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? 

2 Samuel 13:1
After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.”

“I love you” is one of the most common phrases in any language. It is the heartbeat behind many popular songs, movies or works of literature. It seems a love story is an underlining theme in every movie whether it is designed as an historical piece, a comedy, or even a horror film. The story of Amnon and Tamar reveal that the love story is as ancient as time itself, and  people were as confused then, as they are now as to what love really is.

We are told Amnon loved Tamar. However, as the details are described, it becomes clear that his feelings for her were anything but love. We read, she was his half sister, making the relationship forbidden, both biblically and genetically. After he forced himself upon her, he then cast her away like an unwanted trophy. Even the most callous reader would clearly see this was not love, but instead, a man who was driven by his passions.

While it is almost universally accepted that it is wrong to force yourself upon another, or to engage in incestual relations, there are many things which are passed off as love, that are truly nothing more than uncurbed passions. The Bible explains that true love is others-centered, and is driven by a desire to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. One of the problems in relationships is, we forget that true love desires to please another, not just to please ourselves.

Pastor Jim

 

Can’t Eat Just One

Proverbs 27:20
Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b9a/30989304/files/2014/12/img_1902.jpgA few years ago, the Frito-Lay Corporation ran an ad for their potato chips with the slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” The concept was simple, their chips were so good, so addicting, that once you tasted one, you would keep eating until the bag was empty. In this verse, Solomon points out, sin is like that. The word he uses for hell is Sheol, and can mean the grave. He is declaring, just as death is never satisfied, so desire for sin will never be satisfied by sinning. Often, when we are facing greater than normal temptation toward sin, we think one more look, touch or taste will satisfy the craving. What we find is, the desire comes back with greater force after it has been fed.

The children of Israel experienced this in the wilderness. Each morning they awoke to breakfast being served from heaven. This “Manna”, as it was called, was designed to satisfy their appetite during their journey through the desert. After years of the same food, they began to hunger for something else. When their craving became so great that they could no longer withstand it, they began to threaten Moses. In response, God promised to send them meat to satisfy their intense craving. Soon, a flock of quail flew into the camp and was trapped and killed by the people. With their lust for meat in full swing, they began to tear into the fowl, not waiting for it to be cooked properly, and the people became ill. With their lust for meat driving them, many died from sickness (Numbers 11). Later, this area became known as the Graves of Lust.

Feeding lust will never make the desire go away. The Bible tells us, the only hope for overcoming the desire for sin is to deny it. Paul declared, he considered himself to be crucified with Christ, and he treated sin as a dead man would (Galatians 2:20). We are exhorted to do the same. We are told, since we died with Christ, we are to treat sin as a corpse would. To do this, we must treat it as something of our past, not our present. We accomplish this is by not sowing to our sin nature, but removing ourselves as far as possible from its influence. In another place, Solomon asks, “can a man put fire on his lap and not get burned?” (Proverbs 6:27) The answer is obviously NO. In the same way, we cannot bring sin close, increase our desire for it, and not fall into it. The secret of success in the battle with the flesh, is to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.

Pastor Jim