Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         October 30, 2016                                                                                                                            NO. 33



If I have put my confidence in gold, and called fine gold my trust, if I have gloated because my wealth was great, and because my hand had secured so much; if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon going in splendor, and my heart became secretly enticed, and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth, that too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, for I would have denied God above." (Job 31:24-28).

Recently, when I once again came across these words of Job, I was struck by how serious he was about avoiding every form of sin and even the slightest of transgressions. In this text, Job is asserting his integrity before God and trying to argue his absolute faithfulness to God. Job recognized, and bluntly declares here, that any paganism at all--even in the smallest of forms--would constitute an utter denial of God.

When Job speaks in this text of looking at the sun or the moon in their splendor, he's not talking about simply admiring these great heavenly bodies as God created them. All of us, from time to time, stand in awe of God's creation and admire its beauty and rightly so! We should admire what God has made.

But this isn't what Job is talking about in this text. He's talking about looking at the sun or moon with the intent of worshiping these created things. Job is saying that if somehow he felt a desire to worship the sun or the moon by throwing a kiss at them--if he only entertained these thoughts secretly in his own heart--even that would be an outright denial of the true God of heaven.

Job knew, as we do, that the moon and sun are only parts of God's creation; they are not deities to be worshiped. Only God is God; and only He is worthy of our worship. And that means that even the slightest move by man in the direction of paganism would be an iniquity deserving of judgment.

Now, when I think about what Job says in this text, I cannot help but think of at least two lessons we need to learn from it:

1) A person does not have to overtly and openly deny God to be guilty of denying Him. One can deny the Lord secretly in his heart without ever doing anything openly to suggest that he has denied God. When we longingly look at temporal things and begin to secretly think in our hearts that maybe these things can make us happy and give our lives real purpose, we are taking steps in the direction of denying God.

2) Even the slightest move in the direction of putting trust in something else or someone else other than God constitutes paganism and a denial of the true God. Now this may not mean a whole lot to us in a society that traditionally does not literally bow down to images and idols. But when we understand that Job, not only speaks of kissing the sun or moon, but also of putting confidence in wealth and in our ability to secure so much for ourselves (31:24-25), we begin to see the point.

We live in an extremely earthly (worldly) society. Oh, we may not literally bow to idols, but we most certainly devote ourselves to the pursuit of material things and material pleasures. And that makes us just as pagan as the man who throws a kiss to the moon or bows before an idolatrous sun god. And what we need to be acutely aware of is that even though we may consider ourselves to be Christians, and even though we may faithfully worship the true God on a regular basis, when we put (even some of) our confidence in physical pleasure or our material things or our ability to secure wealth, we have in essence denied God. And in denying God in this way, we are just as guilty of "an iniquity calling for judgment" (31:28).

Job's words are sobering, but he knew his own heart--that he'd never been guilty of any of these iniquities. Can you honestly say the same for yourself? Before you answer, you'd better examine yourself--your own heart. You'd better recognize that God knows everything you do even the things you do secretly in your heart.

—Rick Liggin

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Influence and education start sooner than most parents imagine.  It begins long before children are responsible for the things they do.

The most powerful school in all the world is the home and the influence of godly parents.  The most permanent impressions are learned from mothers and fathers.  Parents, it is very difficult to convince your child:

1) That the church is the most important thing in all the world if you often miss services.

2) That the church is the greatest institution in the world if you permit them to neglect services to go elsewhere.

3) That the church is to be held in higher esteem than anything if you insist that they get their school lessons, but permit them to miss Bible  study.

4) That they ought to respect the church if you continually criticize the leadership, the preacher and other members.

—Everett Hardin

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In a recent visit with a denominational preacher, it was noted that we have some real and serious doctrinal differences. “Would you be willing to discuss these in a friendly way?” I asked. He responded: “I’m not going to try to convert you, and you DEFINITELY aren’t going to change me!”

While the attitude he expressed is very common these days, we think it is wrong on several levels. 

1) This attitude certainly conveys the idea: “I’m right, and couldn’t possibly be wrong.” No one can afford to think that way. Consider Apollos (Acts 18). He was a well educated man from a respected center of Biblical studies; he was an eloquent speaker; and he was highly committed to spreading his message (vs. 24-25). But when he arrived in Ephesus, two ‘ordinary Christians’ (Aquila and Priscilla) recognized his faulty understanding and reached out to him with help (vs. 26). To his great credit, he accepted their instruction, changed, and went on to be a faithful and effective preacher of the Word (1 Cor. 3:4ff).  That would have never happened if he had proudly said: “You DEFINITELY aren’t going to change me!” Let us all be open to the reality that we just might be wrong, and if so we WANT to be instructed “in the way of God more perfectly.”

2) This preacher’s response also suggests that he isn’t really interested in ME! We differ. He acknowledges this. Yet he has no interest in changing my understanding. How can this be? If these differences are significant enough to provoke his ‘you won’t change me’ reply, then they are surely important enough that he ought to want to change me.  Yet, he says no. Out of love for my soul he should want to teach me (2 Tim. 2:25), but he won’t.

3) His reaction to the offer to study our differences also shows that he is content to remain in a divided state. In so doing, he is directly counteracting the desire and prayer of Jesus that we be united (John 17:20,21)

His response was a common one, but it exposes some seriously wrong attitudes. Think!

—Greg Gwin

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“An honest man alters his opinions to fit the truth 

while a dishonest man alters the truth to fit his opinions." 

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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