“Then they cried with a loud voice, in the Jews’ speech, unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city” (2 Chron. 32:18).
Here is an example of those who would seek to destroy the peace of God’s people. Troublers were in existence in Thessalonica (cf. 2 Thess. 1:6) as well as among the congregations of Galatia (cf. Gal. 5:12). It is sad to think that there are some who would seek to disturb the peace of a people in order to advance their agendas. It is written of one who hindered the progress of the conquest of the promised land in the days of Joshua, “And the sons of Carmi: Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed” (1 Chron. 2:7). One of the things that the Lord hates is “he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:19). Both Old and New Testaments give insights concerning troublers. Consider three principles about such.
Militantly Work to Hinder Real Progress. When the early church was being hurt by certain troublers who would bind things that God did not bind, a letter was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch to bring needed peace. It was stated, “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment” (Acts 15:24). This Judaizing element was troubling the Gentiles and seeking to make the church something different from what God intended it to be. Luke recorded of certain Jews in Thessalonica who did not believe the gospel how that they militantly “set all the city on an uproar” (Acts 17:5). They accused Paul and the brethren of proclaiming decrees contrary to Caesar (cf. Acts 17:7), which was a false accusation. Luke states, “And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things” (Acts 17:8). The workers of Satan do not sit idly by while the gospel is spread.
Misrepresent the Facts. When Zerubbabel and the chief of the Jewish fathers would not let certain ones join with them in the rebuilding of the temple, it is stated, “Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building” (Ezra 4:4). A thorough reading of the report from these troublers to Artaxerxes the king (cf. Ezra 4:11-22) shows that they misrepresented the history of the rebellious Jews with the remnant that was faithful to God and the kings of the nations. It is a common ploy by troublers to group all of God’s people with certain hypocrites to seek to discredit the whole. Another way to misrepresent is seen where Paul addressed certain troublers who “would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7). Some error mixed with some truth creates great trouble as well.
Mistake Who are the Real Troublers. Certain unbelievers in Philippi accused Paul and his companions, saying, “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city” (Acts 16:20). They themselves were the real troublers while Paul and his were the ones who were helping the city. Such confusion is like to that of the conversation between Ahab and Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 18:17-18). Troublers are both deceiving and being deceived.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:9-10).
Here is the first time the Bible records an example of fear. There was no fearfulness between man and God before sin entered. Fear came when sin came and has been problematic ever since. Consider three things to be learned about fear from this account.
Fear Runs From God. The very solution to fear is to be found in God and yet the man and the woman were hiding from God (cf. Gen. 3:10). How common is the practice that when man makes mistakes that he runs from God? Jonah ran from God (cf. Jonah 1:3, 10). David wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whiter shall I flee from thy presence? (Ps. 139:7). The passages following imply that the omnipresence of God is impossible to avoid. The Lord desires people to be drawn to Him, not run from Him. James wrote, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10). God’s people should learn the truth as revealed in the Bible that God does not want fear to create isolation and separation from Him.
Fear Resorts to Excuses. Adam stated, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). Excuses are found throughout the Bible for failure to admit personal responsibility. Aaron said to Moses after being confronted about the golden calf, “Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief” (Ex. 32:22). King Saul said to Samuel after not obeying the Lord, “They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1 Sam. 15:15). The man after God’s own heart was consumed with guilt in his silence over his sin (cf. Ps. 32:3-4) and clearly said when Nathan revealed his sin, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). David would write of this admission, “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5). Let life be without excuses. Face the facts and do not try to cover up wrongs.
Fear Requires Redeeming Love. The Lord God said in view of Adam and Eve’s sins, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is the first reference to Jesus and the price to be paid to redeem man. John wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love castest out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). The first love to deal with fear is the love of God. Jeremiah wrote, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3). That love motivates man to love in return (cf. 1 John 4:19). It is and appreciation for redeeming love that replaces fear with faith and faithfulness. Sin separates; God draws.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things with do appear” (Heb. 11:3).
The word translated “worlds” (Heb. 11:3) is from the word meaning “age” (Thayer, p. 19). However, it also is used figuratively under metonymy to denote “the worlds, the universe, i.e. the aggregate of things contained in time” (Thayer, p. 19). Such is the usage in Hebrews 11:3 as well as in Hebrews 1:2. The visible universe came into existence through the spoken word of God. David wrote, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6). Peter equally confirms this, where he wrote by the same Holy Spirit, “by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” (2 Peter 3:5). Ponder three considerations about God’s physical creation.
Awe-Inspiring. After the Lord gave Job a lengthy discussion of the creation and the sustaining of that same creation by none other than God himself (cf. Job 38-41), Job stated, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:2-3). Truly, looking intently at the universe and taking the Bible in hand to see it clearly brings a reverence and awe of the Creator behind it. Whether one stands on the shores of the ocean or the top of a mountain peak or the rim of a great canyon, the eye is not full nor can words express the fullness of the physical creation of God. Colors in three-dimensional view with powerful movements of every shape and kind will always catch the attention of all living creatures. All should stand in awe of the supernatural power that brought nature into existence.
Arranged by Intelligent Design. David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). From Genesis 1:1 to the book of Revelation, the hand of God is shown to have made the material universe with special point of emphasis to where man lives on earth. God did not simply speak atomic matter into existence and then let it evolve into its various forms. Genesis one gives the message of intelligence design. Discoveries in science only reveal that what the Bible said has always been so. The complexity of DNA, the reproduction of all things “after his kind” (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25) with many other details too numerous to give in a short article declares that nature did not happen by chance. Various scientific laws (i.e. Laws of Thermodynamics) deny organic evolution for the existence of matter. Scientific foreknowledge (i.e. life in the blood –Lev. 17:14; paths of the sea – Ps. 8:8) show to man how infinite is God’s knowledge.
Answers to the Creator. All of life is to respect and respond appropriately to the One who created. Paul wrote of those who rejected righteousness, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Rom. 1:25). Creation owes everything to the Creator. The full teaching of the Bible bears this out (cf. 1 Peter 4:19). May the physical creation merely point man to a greater hunger for God.
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Heb. 1:2-3).
These are some of the most descriptive words of the person of Jesus in concise form to be found anywhere in the Bible. They address his work as the spokesperson for God, the sacrificial offering for the sins of all and the sovereign who sits at the right hand of God. Consider these three great qualities of the Son of God.
Revealer: Prophet. It is clearly stated that God has spoken “by his Son” (Heb. 1:2) and that he is the one who holds all things “by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3). When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John with two of the great Old Testament prophets in his presence, the Father declared of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5; cf. Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). John stated of the Son of God, “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When Jesus was asked that he might show the Father, Jesus stated, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:9-10). Even the last book of the New Testament is an indicator that Jesus is the true revealer.
Redeemer: Priest. It is stated, “he had by himself purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3). The book of Hebrews has as its major theme that of the priesthood of Jesus. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8:1). Furthermore, “For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer” (Heb. 8:3). Jesus offered the greatest sacrifice, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14). His redemption is provided even for those under the first testament (cf. Heb. 9:15).
Ruler: King. It is equally stated after providing redemption through his own sacrifice that he “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). He is truly the priest on his throne (cf. Zech. 6:13; Heb. 12:2) established after the order of Melchisedek (cf. Heb. 7:15-22). He has “a kingdom which cannot be moved” (Heb. 12:28). It is clearly affirmed of his authority, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). The Hebrew people, as well as all nations, have before them the promised Messiah to provide all that is needed for life and happiness. Believing his word, following his steps and giving the sacrifice of praise to him is truly a blessing.