The Sins of Josh Duggar – How Should a Christian Respond?

Bible Quote of Romans 3:10 & 23

There is None righteous – ALL have Sinned

The Sins of Josh Duggar

How Should a Christian Respond?

The sexual sins of Josh Duggar as a teenager are currently making headlines.  The oldest son of the nationally televised Duggar family was 14-years old when he allegedly “molested” some of his sisters.  The purpose of this article is not to rehash the details of his sin, which have already been exposed by others.

What does the Bible say?

The purpose of this article is to reflect on the national response to these events that occurred twelve years ago.  And to consider what our response should be as Christians.  What does the Bible say?

First, it should come as no shock that Josh Duggar and his family have sinned and are imperfect.  Because the Bible says:

  • For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Eccl. 7:20)
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom. 3:23)
  • As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Rom. 3:10)
  • There is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Rom. 3:12)
  • If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 Jn. 1:8)

According the Bible we have all sinned.  In God’s eyes, we are all sinners.  This includes me, you, Josh Duggar and his parents, and everyone else (including all Christians).  Some people may claim they have never sinned, but that is because they do not understand what God calls sin.  Most people sin many times every day.

Most people sin many times every day

Sin includes violating any of God’s commands either by doing something He forbids, or by failing to do something He commands.  A partial list of God’s commands includes:

  • Love God with all of your heart, mind and soul (Dt. 6:5; 10:12; Josh. 22:5; Mt. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)
  • Put God first in your life (Ex. 20:2-3; Dt. 5:7)
  • You are not to misuse God’s name by using it in an empty, frivolous, or demeaning way (such as using it as part of a curse or exclamation) (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11)
  • Honor and obey your parents (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16; Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20)
  • Do not murder (Ex. 20:13; Dt. 5:17)
  • Do not commit adultery (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18)
  • Do not steal (Ex. 20:15; Dt. 5:19)
  • Do not lie (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20; Prov. 6:16-19)
  • Do not covet (a strong desire for something that belongs to another) (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21)
  • Love others as yourself (Lev. 19:18; Mt. 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9-10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8)
  • Believe in Jesus Christ as your personal savior (John 3:15-19; 6:28-29; 14:6)

Some people may look at this list and say, “I have never killed anyone.”  But Jesus raised the bar on this commandment, saying that anyone who gets angry without cause is in danger of judgment (Mt. 21-22).

Others might say they have never committed adultery because they are not married and they have never had sex with a married person.  But this prohibition includes any form of sex outside of marriage, which would include premarital sex.  Jesus also raised the bar on this command, saying that anyone who looks on a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt. 5:28).  This would include anyone who has ever looked at pornography or had a sexual desire for someone other than their spouse.

The question is have you ever sinned at all?

Based even on the partial list above, any honest person would have to admit that they have sinned.  Some people may try to rationalize their sin, or say their sin is not as bad as Josh Duggar’s sin.  But the Bible says that he who is guilty of one sin is guilty of the whole law (James 2:10).  The question is not whether or not you are better than someone else.  The question is have you ever sinned at all?

So was Josh Duggar’s behavior toward those girls sin?  Absolutely, and there is no excuse for it.  But forgiveness is possible.

Forgiveness is possible

There has only been one person who ever lived without sinning, Jesus Christ.  God wanted a way to forgive sins so He could restore His fellowship with people.  But God is holy and righteous, so the death penalty for sin (Rom. 6:23) had to be paid.  So God the Son became a man named Jesus through the virgin birth by Mary.  As a man, Jesus was tempted just as we all are.  But being God, He was able to resist all temptation and lived a perfect life without sin (Heb. 4:14-15).

Even though Jesus was completely righteous and lived a sin-free life, He still paid the penalty of death by His crucifixion on the cross.  Because Jesus had no sin of His own to pay for, His death could pay for our sin instead.  Jesus became our substitute.  Jesus became sin for us so we could receive His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).

God became a perfect man to die a terrible death on the cross to pay for our sin, so we would not have to pay the eternal penalty of death in hell.  So our sins can be forgiven and we can have eternal life in heaven, if we will just confess our sin and trust in Jesus as our savior.

We can have eternal life in heaven, if we will just confess our sin and trust in Jesus as our savior

Second, there is a way to be forgiven

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  By all reports, Josh has admitted he was wrong.  He repented of his sin, got his heart right with God, and has been trying to live for God for the past 12-years.

Josh’s transformation demonstrates the power of redemption and is what the Bible says should happen.  While Josh’s sins were as scarlet, he has been washed white as snow (Isa. 1:18).  Although it is right to be shocked by the sins of Josh’s past, as Christians we should rejoice in his reclamation.

Josh’s life over the past 12-years gives evidence of genuine repentance and a changed life.  If he confessed his sin to God, as he has said (and as confirmed by his transformed life), then God has forgiven Josh for those sins.  If God has forgiven Josh Duggar, who are we to condemn him?

Let us remember the admonition of our Lord when He said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Mt. 7:1-2; Luke 6:37).  We should also heed Christ’s warning that if we do not forgive others for their trespasses, then God will not forgive our trespasses (Mt. 6:15; Mark 11:26).

If God has forgiven Josh Duggar, who are we to condemn him?

The apostle Paul said, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).  It appears that this happened in the case of Josh Duggar.  But now the “liberal” media, the religious left, and other haters want to punish Josh 12-years after his restoration.  Those who would condemn Josh and his parents should beware lest they be overtaken in faults of their own.

Third, the liberal media and others who want to condemn Josh Duggar and his family are displaying extraordinary hypocrisy by singling them out.

I have not heard the words “rape” or “intercourse” used in conjunction with Josh Duggar’s sin.  While I would not minimize the seriousness of Josh’s behavior or the effect it had on those girls, far worse things (like rapes, murders, and forced prostitution) happen every day that go unreported by the media.

Our culture actively promotes sexual exploration among children.  Instead of teaching abstinence, schools hand out condoms.  If a 14-year old girl gets pregnant as a result of this behavior, the school and Planned Parenthood will take her to have an abortion without informing her parents or getting their consent.  Apparently our society thinks that encouraging sex among young teenagers and murdering the innocent babies that result is more acceptable than Josh’s form of sexual exploration as a 14-year old.

If Josh had been prosecuted at the time of the crime, he would have been tried as a minor.  And as a result, he might have spent some time in a juvenile facility.  Society normally espouses reformation as the goal for juvenile offenders.  In Josh’s case, reformation occurred, which should make people happy.  So why are people so upset that he and his parents were not punished?

Those who have been enlightened should not join those who walk in darkness in condemning the forgiven

This appears to be a case of our ungodly society seeking any excuse they can find to condemn Christianity.  Perhaps this is more about those who live in darkness striking out at the light that hurts their eyes, than about what actually happened.  Those who have been enlightened should not join those who walk in darkness in condemning the forgiven.

Fourth, Christians should remember that if this can happen to a faithful family like the Duggars, it can happen to anyone, including them.

David was “a man after God’s own heart.”  David’s life was characterized by faithfulness.  He was “the sweet psalmist of Israel.”  His descendants were chosen to be the royal family of Israel, and Jesus Christ was born from his lineage.  Yet David coveted another man’s wife (Bathsheba), committed adultery with her, and had her husband (Uriah) killed in battle.

David confessed his sin and repented.  So God forgave him.  He did not lose his salvation.  His fellowship with God was restored.

Yet there were consequences.  Nathan the prophet told David the sword would never depart from his house, and that another man would publically commit adultery with his wives (2 Sam. 12:9-12).  All of these predictions came true in David’s life.  David’s family troubles included the death of the child of adultery, a son raping one of his daughters, her brother (Absalom) killing the brother who raped her.  Absalom sought to kill his father to steal his throne, but was killed in battle.  And after Solomon became king, he put his older brother Adonijah to death.

No doubt there were consequences for Josh Duggar and his family that we are not even aware of.  They are certainly suffering the consequences now.

As Christians we need to remember that we are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil, and light and darkness

Nathan told David that his sin had “given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Sam. 12:14).  This is also happening today with the Duggar family.  The sins Josh committed 12-years ago have given God’s enemies occasion to blaspheme God and faithful Christians today.

The current uproar over the sin of Josh Duggar highlights that a person’s sin often reflects poorly on others as well.  Just as Josh’s sin makes his parents and family look bad in the eyes of the world, so any sin in the life of a believer dishonors Jesus, our Heavenly Father, and other Christians.

As Christians we need to remember that we are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil, and light and darkness (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-4).  One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to tempt God’s children and then accuse them if they sin (Rev. 12:10).  So we need to be sober and vigilant.  Because our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8).

So we need to:

  • Put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11-17)
  • Resist the devil by remaining steadfast in the faith (1 Pet. 5:9a)
  • Take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)

When Christians see another believer sin, we need to:

  • Love them (John 13:34-35; 15:12; Rom. 13:8; Eph. 4:2; Heb. 10:24; 1 Pet. 3:8; 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12)
  • Not Condemn them (Mt. 7:1; Luke 6:37)
  • Forgive them (Mt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 17:3-4; 2 Cor. 2:7-8)
  • Gently restore them, while taking heed to ourselves lest we be tempted also (Gal. 6:1-2)
  • Examine our own life, confess our sins and ask God for forgiveness (1 Cor. 11:28, 31; 1 Jn. 1:9)

We should “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  We need to live lives that are beyond reproach so “that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:7-8).

 

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Encouragement From Esther

The Old Testament book of Esther

Encouragement from the Book of Esther

The book of Esther is unique among the books of the Bible.

  • It takes place among the exiles outside of the land of Israel in a capital city of the kingdom of Persia
  • God is never named as God, Jehovah (LORD), the Almighty, or in any other way
  • Israel is never mentioned, and the people are never called the Children of Israel
  • They are called “Jews” instead. The words “Jew” and “Jews” are used a total of 92 times in the Old Testament; 53 of those uses are in the book of Esther.
  • There is no mention of any prophets, priests or Levites.
  • The book never mentions any sacrifices or offerings
  • There are no miracles, no new revelation, and no mention of religion
  • While there is great mourning, with rent clothes, fasting, weeping, wailing, sackcloth and ashes, there is no mention of prayer or the One to whom they prayed

So why is this story about Jews living in Persia, that appears to omit God, even in the Bible? 

What does Esther reveal about God?  And how is it encouraging?

Esther is a story of spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).  While the devil is not named, Esther tells of his attempt to annihilate the Jews, who were chosen by God as His people, and through whom the Messiah would come.  And Haman, the Jew’s adversary, is the image of Satan in his arrogance and pride, accusations and lies, and ruthless hatred of God’s people.

Esther is a story about the providence of God

The northern and southern kingdoms of Israel had both been destroyed because of their sin, idolatry, and rebellion against God.  Those who survived were dispersed and living in exile.  Yet they were not assimilated into the peoples of the world.  They retained their national identity as Jews and their faith in the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Esther is the story of a faithful Jew named Mordecai who refused to bow down and reverence a proud man named Haman.  Haman had found favor with the king, who promoted him above all others.  Haman was furious that Mordecai would not bow to him.  When he learned the reason was that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews along with Mordecai.  (Est. 3:1-6)

Haman told the king about a people scattered throughout his kingdom, whose laws were different from all others.  He said they did not keep the king’s laws so it was not in the king’s interest to tolerate them.  With his accusations and lies, Haman convinced the king to allow him to destroy God’s chosen people.  (Est. 3:8-11)

Most of all, Esther is a story about the providence of God.  Even though God is never named directly, His divine control over the affairs of men is evident throughout the book.  While Esther, Mordecai, and Haman were all human chess pieces in this spiritual warfare, God was always in control, and many moves ahead of His opponent.

God was always in control

Ultimately the proud Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai (Est. 7:9-10), and Haman’s family was destroyed (Est. 9:10) rather than Mordecai’s people.  God turned the fasting and mourning of the Jews into feasting and celebrating (Est. 8:16-17).  And Mordecai took Haman’s place of favor with the king (Est. 8:1-2).

So the fear of Mordecai and the Jews fell upon all people (Est. 8:17-9:3).  But this fear was misplaced.  They should have feared God, Who turned the heart of the king, elevated Mordecai to his position of power, and saved His people from their enemy.

God still rules providentially over the affairs of men

Another spiritual battle is raging in America today.  Religious freedom is under attack.  Christians are being branded as law breakers and targeted as enemies of the state when they take a stand to obey God’s Word.  Some say that obedient Christians should not be tolerated.  They say we should lose our freedoms and be stripped of our livelihood.

But be encouraged, the God of Esther and Mordecai is still on the throne.  God still rules providentially over the affairs of men.  Often when things seem the darkest, God’s help rises like the light of dawn.

When the Jews were threatened in the time of Esther, they humbled themselves, fasted, and no doubt prayed (Est. 4:1-3).  The people of God banded together to defend themselves from their enemies (Est. 9:1-3).  Perhaps Christians today need to apply this lesson from the book of Esther.

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 / KJV)

Jesus Is Risen!

Jesus is Alive!

Jesus died to pay for Our Sins. He was Raised for our Justification.

Jesus has Risen from the Dead!

And because He Lives, we can live!

How Have You Been Treating Jesus?

How Do You Treat Others?

How Do You Treat Strangers?

The Stranger Among Us

Have you ever met Jesus in your everyday life without knowing it?

Could one of the strangers you interacted with have actually been the Son of God in the flesh?  What did you say?  How did you treat Him?

 

Jesus said that the way we treat others is the way we treat Him

Hebrews 13:2 says:

  • “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  (KJV)
  • “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  (NASB)

Have you met an angel without realizing it?

What if that was no ordinary angel?  What if you met The Angel of the Lord; God incarnate; Immanuel – God with us; Jesus the Son of God?  Were you courteous, kind, respectful, hospitable, and loving?  Or were you inconsiderate, neglectful, indifferent; perhaps even rude?

Every person you meet could be an angel, or even Jesus Christ Himself.

So, how do you treat other people?

Even if they are not angels or God in the flesh, everyone is special to God, created in His image; someone He loves; someone Jesus died to redeem.  While teaching about the coming judgment of all people in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus said that the way we treat others is the way we treat Him.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be assembled before Him, and He will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I was naked and you gave Me clothing, I was sick and you took care of Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’  And the King will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.

Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels!  For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.  I was a stranger and you did not receive Me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give You whatever You needed?’  Then He will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.

And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (NET)

This puts the 2nd Great Commandment, and the Golden Rule into a new perspective:

We need to love others as ourselves by treating them the way we would want to be treated

Because Jesus says that is how we are treating Him!

 

So, how have you been treating Jesus lately?

Evolution’s New “Science” Published on Kindle

Evolution's New "Science" - Fact or Fiction?

Exposing the Fairy Tale

Evolution’s New “Science”

Fact or Fiction?

Is now available as a Kindle book on Amazon

Have you ever noticed the similarity between the fairy tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen and the modern religion of evolution? This short book explores that similarity by pointing out parallels between the words and tactics of the thieving “tailors” in the fable and those of many ardent proponents of evolutionary “science.”

The high priests of evolution dogmatically declare that evolution is a “proven fact,” but I have never seen the proof.  Have you?  They claim creation is religion and only evolution is science, but is that really true?

Like the frauds in the story, evolutionists seek to scare people into professing faith in evolution by weaving tales about creationists being stupid and incompetent.  Today Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye publicly proclaim that anyone who believes in creation rather than evolution is deluded and unfit to be a scientist, engineer, or medical doctor.  But the bold bigotry of these claims is mere fabrication.

Genuine science deals with what can be observed in the present, what can be tested, and what can be replicated

Being a good scientist, engineer or doctor requires understanding and applying the laws of nature as they exist in the present, on which both creationists and evolutionists agree.  What one believes about the origin of life and the universe is irrelevant to one’s ability to use the scientific method, practice medicine or apply modern engineering principles.

If you would like to sample more of the book’s introduction, it is available on the Evolution’s New “Science” page on this site.

If you would like to read the whole book, I invite you buy it as a Kindle book on Amazon.  “Evolution’s New “Science” – Fact or Fiction?” is available for a mere 99 cents.

 

FYI – You don’t need to own a Kindle to read Kindle books.  Free Kindle Reader Apps are available for PC, Android, and Apple devices.

By Faith Moses . . .

By Faith Moses . . . Obeyed God

Hebrews 11 – The Hall of Faith

Hebrews 11 is sometimes called “The Hall of Faith”

Because Hebrews 11 highlights the most notable deeds of many of the Old Testament saints.   This includes several of the most significant acts Moses accomplished “by faith.” The faithful acts of Moses recorded in Hebrews 11:24-29 include:

  • By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (Heb. 11:24-26)
  • By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible. (Heb 11:27)
  • Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. (Heb 11:28)
  • By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. (Heb 11:29)

The Old Testament records many other Acts Moses performed by Faith:

  • By faith Moses returned to Egypt and demanded that Pharaoh let God’s people go (Exodus 4-12)

  • By faith Moses warned Pharaoh before each of the 10 plagues (Exodus 7-11)

  • By faith Moses walked out of the city during the hail storm before asking God to end the plague of hail (Exodus 9:33)

  • By faith Moses led the children of Israel through the wilderness for 40-years

  • By faith Moses spent 40-days without food or water on mount Sinai receiving the law (Twice back-to-back!) (Exodus 24:12-18; 31:18; 32:15-16; 34:1-2, 28-29)

  • By faith Moses interceded with God on behalf of the children of Israel pleading for mercy after their sin (Exodus 32:7-14)

  • By faith Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch (AKA – “the books of the Law)

  • And much more

Three times, God’s Word declares that Moses was faithful in all God’s house (Numbers 12:7; Hebrews 3:2, 5).  Moses was acknowledged by all of Israel as the lawgiver.  Centuries later, the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day said, “We are Moses’ disciples.  We know that God spake unto Moses . . .” (John 9:28-29 / KJV).

Application

So what can we learn from the life of Moses that will help us live by faith?

  1. Moses was humble (Numbers 12:3)
  2. Moses communed with God (Exodus 34:28-35)
  3. Moses considered “the reproach of Christ” as better than enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25-26).
  4. Moses kept his eye on the prize.  “He had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Heb. 11:26).
  5. Moses believed God – he endured, “seeing Him who is invisible” (i.e.: God) (Heb. 11:27).
  6. Moses obeyed God’s Word (Heb. 11:28)
  7. Moses trusted God (Heb. 11:29)

In light of this, how can we live by faith?

  1. Conquer your pride.  Humble yourself and humbly walk with God. (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6; Micah 6:8)

  2. Commune with God through daily Bible reading and prayer

  3. Choose Christ rather than the world.  Openly display your faith, disregarding any shame or ridicule that might result. (Heb. 12:2-3; 1 John 2:15; Mark 8:38)

  4. Keep your eyes on God and the finish line as you run your race (Heb. 11:26; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

  5. Keep believing in God and trusting His Word (Heb. 11:1-3; John 14:1; 1 Timothy 4:10; Heb. 11:6)

  6. Obey God’s Word (John 14:15, 15:10; 1 John 2:3, 5:2-3; Rev. 14:12)

  7. Trust God (Proverbs 3:5-6; 2 Cor. 1:9)

 So how are you doing?  Are you “living by faith”?

If someone were to describe your life, what would they say you do “by faith”?

 

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Why did Terah leave Ur for Canaan, but Stop Halfway in Haran?

Why Did Terah Stop Halfway?

Have you ever wondered why Terah (the father of Abraham) left Ur of Chaldeans to go to Canaan?

Have you ever wondered why God’s Word devotes eleven verses in Genesis 11:24-32 telling us about Terah?

Who is Terah anyway?

Beginning in Genesis 11:10, this chapter recorded “the generations of Shem.”  From verse 10 through 25, the Bible simply lists what father begat what son, and how long they lived, through nine generations in a direct line from Shem to Terah.  Beginning in Genesis 11:26, the pattern changes.  Suddenly a lot more information is given about Terah and his children.  Why?

Genesis 11:31 tells us:

Terah took Abram his son . . . , and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. (ESV)

But why does God tell us this?

Genesis 11:32 records the death of Terah.  Then Genesis 12:1-5 tells us that God called Abram to leave his family and country to go to Canaan, with the promise that he would be blessed for his obedience.  He was also told that if he obeyed, all the families of the earth would be blessed in him (Gen. 12:3).  So Abram left Haran at the age of 75, taking Sarai his wife, his nephew Lot, and all their possessions with him, and entered the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:4-5).

So why did we need to know about Terah leaving Ur to go to Canaan, but stopping in Haran?  After all, the record of Abraham’s family history and call could have started in Haran.  Why did we need to know about Terah and Ur?  Since the Word of God provides this information, I think it must be significant.

Why did we need to know about Terah leaving Ur to go to Canaan, but stopping in Haran?

First, what would motivate Terah to uproot his family and leave the great city of Ur to travel 1,000 miles to the land of Canaan?  This would be a slow, arduous and dangerous journey.  He would have to take a roundabout route staying on “the fertile crescent,” rather than taking a direct route across the desert.  That is why he traveled 600 miles to Haran.

Second, since he left Ur to go to Canaan, why did Terah stop in Haran rather than continuing on?  The land of Canaan would have been about another 400 miles, so he was over halfway there.  Why did Terah settle halfway?

Could it be that God originally called Terah to go to Canaan with the same promises that were later given to his son Abraham?  It seems likely, because that would explain his reason for leaving his extended family and the prosperous city of Ur to travel to a land he did not know.  That would also explain why God chose to tell us so much about Terah and his move to Haran.

Could it be that God originally called Terah to go to Canaan with the same promises that were later given to his son Abraham?

So if God called Terah to go to Canaan, why did he stop halfway in Haran?  The Bible does not tell us, so we can only speculate.  Perhaps he stopped because of illness, injury, or just to rest.  Terah died at the age of 205 (Gen. 11:32).  Abram left Haran after Terah’s death when he was 75 years old (Gen. 12:4).  So Terah was probably over 150 years old when they made the trip.  Maybe he just got tired.

“Haran” is the name of Terah’s deceased son, Lot’s father (Gen. 11:27-28).  So it is likely that Terah named the place after his son.  If so, then Haran probably was not an established city when they stopped there.  No doubt it had water and pasture land for livestock (based on the many shepherds there during the days of Isaac, Jacob, and Laban).  So it may have provided a nice rest stop.

Terah stopped halfway; he did not fully obey

It could be that once they lost their momentum by stopping, they just got comfortable.  Then inertia (an object at rest tends to stay at rest) took over so they just settled in.  Maybe Terah felt comfortable enough that he just did not feel the need to sacrifice more in order to be blessed.

Whatever the reason, Terah stopped halfway.  But if God called Terah to go to Canaan, then he did not fully obey.  And incomplete obedience is disobedience.  So Abraham got his blessing instead.  Even though Terah is in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:34), it is through Abraham that all the families of the earth are blessed, not Terah.

All this Bible history is very interesting, but how does this apply to your life?

Abraham demonstrated his faith in God by continuing to obey Him through many hardships and trials.  “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).  So Abraham is the example we should follow, not Terah.

I may provide more applications on this subject in the future, but for now, Remember:

  • Terah stopped halfway; he did not fully obey

  • Starting is not enough.  Like Paul, we must finish our course (2 Tim. 4:7)

  • We need to demonstrate our faith by remaining faithful to the end

  • If God gives you something to do, you need to see it through

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What My Great-Great Grandfather Saw In His Garden

Rev. Dr. Dean

Oliver Stone Dean

Would it surprise you to learn that there were several preachers in my ancestry?  A few years ago, my sister sent me a copy of a book by our great, great grandfather, Oliver Stone Dean (1835 – 1927).  In 1923, he published a short book entitled, “What I Saw In My Garden“.  In this book, he used his garden to illustrate various spiritual principles and teach wisdom.

I knew nothing of this book until a few years ago.  My sister found two of the books in a little chest full of memorabilia from our parent’s home after they passed away.

What I Saw In My Garden - book coverThe book is in the public domain now, but has long been out of print.  We thought it would be unfortunate to lose our great-great grandfather’s spiritual observations.   So I transcribed his book into an electronic format to give it a second life.

My great-great grandfather has been awaiting the resurrection of his physical body for over 90-years.  That resurrection will have to continue waiting until the return of Jesus Christ to rule and reign over the earth.  But we hope to resurrect his book now by breathing new, electronic life into it.

This book is a window into another world.  It takes you back to the America of a century ago.  The people were different, the culture was different, and the writing style was different.  But truth, wisdom and spiritual principles transcend time.  If you would enjoy a glimpse into that world, and the thinking of a 19th Century Christian, then this book is for you.

My great-great grandfather’s book is now available electronically on Amazon as: What I Saw In My Garden: An Interpretation

If you would like to “Look Inside” it or buy it (for 99 cents) you can go to the “What I Saw In My Garden: An Interpretation” sales page on Amazon.com.

There is more information about my great, great grandfather and his book on a page on this site dedicated to his book.  The “What I Saw In My Garden” page also includes a copy of the first chapter, if you would like to sample the book for free.

Do You Talk Too Much?

Before You Talk - Listen to Understand

You Might Be a FOOL – IF You Talk Instead of Listening – Proverbs 18:2

Do You Talk When You Should Be Listening?

The 5th of Stephen R. Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”  This wise advice succinctly states a Biblical principle.

“Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood” – Stephen R. Covey

Thousands of years before Stephen Covey was born, King Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) spoke thousands of proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), many of which were collected into the book of Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs was written to teach wisdom and understanding through instruction (Prov. 1:1-6).  In Proverbs, Solomon often contrasts the behavior of fools to those who are wise, and shows the natural results of foolishness.

Proverbs 18:2 states, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (ESV).  Unlike Stephen Covey, the fool is not interested in understanding.  It is not clear that he even cares about being understood.  The fool just wants to speak his mind.  The fool does not want to listen; he only likes to talk.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2 / ESV)

This principle can often be observed in everyday life.  People are naturally interested in their own lives, and many like to monopolize conversations.  People often ignore what others are saying as they think about what they want to say next.  And people often interrupt each other as they vie for airtime.  In the midst of a long conversation, there is often an amazing lack of communication.

Proverbs 18:13 also speaks to this communication failure:

Listen to Understand Before You Answer

You Might Be a FOOL – IF You Answer Before Hearing – Proverbs 18:13

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (KJV)

This proverb clearly teaches that we should “listen to understand” before we respond to what another says.  It also plainly states the consequences of this foolish behavior: “folly and shame.”  Yet virtually all of us fall into this self-made trap at least on occasion.  (I know I do.)  Many people are especially good at letting their opinions rip on social media pages and other online forums.

Perhaps we all need to pause to examine our communication behavior and motives.  You could ask yourself:

  • What is my true motive for talking so much?
  • Is my opinion really so valuable that it needs to be shared?
  • Or am I just being proud, wanting to show off my vain opinion like a fool?
  • Have I really listened?  Do I understand what they said?
  • Do I really even understand what I am answering?
  • Is my pride setting me up for a fall (Proverbs 18:12)?
  • Am I being Christ-like in my communication behaviors?
  • Am I speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)?
  • Would I want others to treat me the way I am treating them (Luke 6:31)?

We should follow the admonition of James:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19 / KJV)

We need to Listen More (be quick to hear) and Talk Less (be slow to speak).

In other words, We need to listen with the intent of understanding before we speak.

 

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Seek Wisdom and Live

Proverbs 8:32-36 on Wisdom

Seek Wisdom and Live

Whoever Finds Wisdom, Finds Life and is Blessed by God.

Wisdom is Calling You

In Proverbs 8, Solomon personifies Wisdom.  So throughout this chapter, the speaker is Wisdom.

Proverbs 8:1-11 says:

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Hear what Wisdom says in

Proverbs 8:32-36

Now therefore hearken unto me (Wisdom), O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear Instruction, and Be Wise, and refuse it not.
Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

(KJV)

So Be Wise and Listen to Instruction

Seek Wisdom and Live!

 

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