Tag Archives: authority

Matthew 7 – Understanding

I was going through this chapter, trying to understand and process all of this information in a relatively short period of time, and i was struck by this first couple of sections.  First off, Christ talks about not judging lest we be judged.  I was thinking about what that means.  I know that i do not want to be judged by God, but how does one go about not judging others?  Then we hit verse 6 that says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”  So, we are not to judge, but in order to not give what is holy to dogs and not cast our pearls before swine, we must judge and discern that they are dogs or swine.  How do we do that?  Do not judge lest you be judged, yet judge lest you cast truth before those who can not accept it.

So we need to judge whether someone is able to handle the truth, but we must be careful in judging as we will be judged in the same way.  Later on, Jesus talks about knowing a person by their fruits.  If you need to judge someone you can understand who they are, and the truth about them by looking at what they produce.  If they produce life, they are people of life.  If they leave a path of destruction behind them, chances are they are a bad tree.

Later in the chapter Jesus talks about how the road is broad that leads to destruction, and narrow that leads to life and many who seek it will not find it.  So many who pursue truth and life will never find it.  Those are pretty strong words in our “all inclusive” culture.  Yet, those are Christ’s words.

So in understanding all of these things, it is important to build a strong foundation.  When you do not have a strong foundation, the troubles of life WILL sweep you away.  The only way to remain strong is have a strong foundation and strong roots.

Do you understand?  I’m pretty sure i MIGHT understand…  “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

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Leviticus 4 – Guilt Offering

I find it interesting that the chapter on the peace (or thanksgiving) offering immediately precedes the unintentional sin (or guilt) offering.  It almost seems like the priority is the peace offering, and as a counter to that, we have the guilt offering.  I don’t know how much significance there is in this, but i’m sure someone can make it very significant.

The chapter is split up into four sections.  The first talks about the offering that is required if the priest sins unintentionally.  Secondly, is the offering that is required for when the congregation as a whole sins unintentionally.  In that case the leaders are responsible and they are the ones that lay their hands on the head of the bull as it is sacrificed.  The leaders are responsible for the actions of the people.  The third sacrifice is the sacrifice when a leader sins unintentionally.  He has a greater responsibility thus his sacrifice is separate from those of the common people.  Then finally, the sacrifice for the common people.  Each sacrifice is different in type or sex of the animal.

It’s very significant to me that the sacrifice for the leaders of the congregation is different and of greater value than the common people.  It says so much about the expectations and demands placed on the leaders.  Being a leader is a double edged sword.  It means you have more authority and power, but it also means that you hold more responsibility, including responsibility for the actions of those you are leading.  That is a common theme throughout the Bible.  When the people go astray, the leaders are to blame.  Do our leaders live up to those expectations?  Do we?

Do we take sin seriously?  God does!  Do we even bring our intentional sins before YHWH in repentance, or do we just brush them aside?  Even if we do that, do we bring our unintentional sins to Him as well?  Even for those who are willing to say “yes”  about the first (intentional sins), chances are we don’t say “yes” in response to the second (unintentional).  I know i tend not to even bring my intentional sins to Him, let alone my unintentional.  That is something that needs to change.

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Exodus 22 – Holy Men

The legal code continues.  This (i want to call it a project because i am used to doing projects such as i am doing now) work that God is doing with the Israelite people was a relatively new thing.  God was personally setting up the government of a nation for that nation.  He was establishing the rules, laws, and regulations for a nation of 1,000,000+ people.  As a result there was a whole lot of ground to cover.  The nice thing is that there wasn’t a whole bunch of politics going on.  It was clear cut and straight forward.  God said it… it was so.

Here we focus on personal property and what happens when something is stolen, lost by another, or destroyed.  It also looks at various relationships and abuse.  There is a focus on lending and firstfruits to the LORD.

What i really like about this chapter are two verses, 28 & 31.  Verse 28 says; “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  It sets a precedent early on that says to treat not only YHWH but also the rulers of the people with respect.  I honestly believe that one of the big problems with our culture today is this mentality that it’s all about me.  Those in authority are here to serve ME, and i have every right to bash them publicly if they are doing something i don’t like.  I know that this is such a common thing that we don’t think twice about it.  I also know that we feel justified to do this because we are in a democratic republic, but that’s not what God says.  He says don’t “curse a ruler of your people“.  Can we disagree?  Absolutely!  Should we voice our opinion publicly?  To some extent.  Should we insult, ostracize, or otherwise denigrate our leaders?  Absolutely not!  Christ said to love those who hate you and pray for those who despitefully use you.  We are to stand up and bring them before God seeking YHWH’s will praying for guidance and direction for them.

All of this is summed up in the beginning of the end of the chapter; “You shall be holy men to Me“.  We are not to act like self-centered and self-focused men and women.  We are to be holy to God.  Set apart to do His good will.

 

John Camiolo

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Genesis 32 – Coming Home

Wow, can Jacob never get a rest?  He is chased down by Laban and has to contend with him.  He overcomes Laban, continues travelling home, and after sending his servant ahead of him to let his brother know that he is coming and to scout out the situation; he finds out that his brother is coming to meet him with a mob of 400 men!

So Jacob wisely does some damage control.  He knows that Esau’s contention is with him, so he places some distance between himself and the majority of his belongings and family.  I have always seen this as a buffer of protection for Jacob.  Esau has to go through all of these things in order to get to Jacob.  Even if Esau destroys all of this other stuff, it gives Jacob a chance to run away, or for Esau’s anger to abate before he reaches Jacob.

However, this buffer is also for the protection of his family and property.  By separating the people and things from the source of the anger, the desire for vengeance is less likely to become focused on the things and family.  Also, the realization that Jacob has been so blessed by God that it becomes obvious that it is not in the best interest to attack what God is blessing.

The gift of goats, sheep, milking camels, cows, and donkeys doesn’t hurt the anger appeasement situation either.

However, the wrestling is far from over.  Jacob has one more wrestling match to go through before he faces off with his future and destiny.  Jacob has to wrestle with God!  I love this passage!  I don’t necessarily understand it, but i love it!  First off; how does a man wrestle with God?  How is that even possible?  Jacob can’t be stronger than God any more than we could pick up and carry a mountain.  Yet there it is.  He wrestled with God throughout the night.  He doesn’t beat God, but he succeeds in wrestling until morning?  Then he asks for a blessing on top of that!  I don’t understand how any of that works or is possible, but i also know that the Word is inerrant, so it must work somehow.  So what does Jacob get?  He gets a new name.  Jacob is now Israel.

What about you and i?  Do we wrestle with God?  Do we come face to face with God and wrestle with Him then ask Him for a blessing?  Do we even seek Him out?  When we do wrestle with Him, do we find that our reward is what we expect?  Or are we under estimating the power of words: the power of a name?

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