Tag Archives: corruption

Matthew 12 – The Changing of the Guard

In this chapter we really begin to see a different side of Jesus.  So far in Matthew, we have seen Jesus heritage and his ministry.  We have seen where He came from, His lineage and his birth, including how the prophecies were coming true.  We have also looked at His temptation and His ministry.  His message for his disciples and how He responds to the peoples needs.  His working of miracles and His compassion are key principles so far, but now we begin to really see a different side of Jesus in this chapter.

It starts out with Jesus and His disciples walking through some fields one Sabbath.  The disciples began to pick and eat the grain as they walked.  The Pharisees ever watching and lofty eye searching for something, began criticizing the disciples for this.  Jesus began to shine the light on the situation reminding the Pharisees that the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  In response, Jesus comes into their synagogue and heals a man.

The Pharisees are furious, and seek to destroy Him.  They call Him the devil, and criticize all that He does.  Yet the people keep coming and Jesus continues to heal and minister.  Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and their actions.  He defines a tree by its fruit and a man by his actions.  Thus He condemns the Pharisees and flips the Israelite society on its head.  He shows that it is not about having lofty words and the proper lineage, it’s about obedience to the one to who obedience is due.  It’s about pursuing God and the truth, not about following a bunch of rules for the sake of the rules… that’s not to say that the rules are to be rejected.  Jesus, the Christ, did not reject the rules.  In fact He lived in them and embodied them… but rather pursuing the Father, the creator of the world and the rules.

Jesus goes even further by redefining the very nature of family.  He states that those who do his will are His brothers and mother, not those who He is born to / with.

We see in this chapter Jesus going from ministering to the people, to rejecting and correcting the sin and corruption of the leadership.  We see an outright attack against the Pharisees: “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. ”  We see a changing of the guard.

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Leviticus 20 – Profane

Leviticus 20 parallel’s chapter 18 in most ways.  They both deal with those things that profane the people and the land.  They both respond to sexual sins and blatant ungodliness.  Both refer to the corruption of the nation through the corruption of the people, and that the very land itself will spew them out when their actions come out this way.

All of this is important for all people.  These are sins that cause the land to become unfertile and to reject its inhabitants, whether they be Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, or Hindu’s, or Buddhists, or Atheists, or Animists, any others.  When we pursue sexual immorality and spiritists, we will find time and time again that our nations will become more and more corrupt and that we will lose what we cherish most.

On a more positive note, in this chapter we come across a new name of God; YHWH Qadash.  YHWH Qadash appears in verse 8, and it means the LORD (YHWH) who sanctifies you.  It is a beautiful picture of how YHWH cherishes His people and sets them apart for Himself.  Those who are His children are blessed and honored by His name and His work in and through us.  We are pursued and set apart by the Most Holy God.  It is both an honor and a responsibility, and it must not be taken lightly.  It must not be profaned.

John

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Genesis 19 – Influence

This is another chapter where, through this process, i began to see things i don’t remember noticing before.  What is there and what i process, especially when i am just reading it, don’t always fully overlap.

In going through this today, i noticed that it wasn’t just the angels that the people of Sodom had turned against.  By Lot sticking up for the servants of God, he was put on the firing line as well.  Lot had been living with the people of the valley for many years at this point.  He knew what they were like and how they would respond to strangers in their city; hence his insistence that they stay with him in his house rather than spending the night in the town square as was normal for travelers who have not been given guest accommodations.  After finally begging them to stay with him for the night then to leave at first dawn, the people decided to knock down his door.  He tried to reason with them, and they reacted by calling him a stranger and threatening to put Lot’s life in jeopardy as well.

Why the hostility?  Because Lot was “judging them” and they didn’t like being judged.  Does that sound familiar?  It sure does to me.  We are living in a world that is becoming more and more critical of people judging sin.  It’s funny because that criticism of judgment, is judgment.

Ultimately, Lot had had the opportunity to influence the people of Sodom, but in his time there, he did not appear to have any real influence on them.  In fact, his very son-in-laws not only stayed in Sodom choosing to be destroyed, but they were a part of the crowd coming to tear down his door and kill him to get to the strangers that were there.

On the other hand, the sin of the group was beginning to have an influence on Lot and his family.  When they fled, Lot’s wife’s desire was for that place.  She did not want to leave, but chose instead to turn back.  She joined the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the influence she allowed that place to have on her.

His own daughters had been influenced by that place.  When Lot finally followed the instructions to go up to the mountains (out of fear and not respect), instead of having faith in their father and God; Lot’s daughters pursued the sexual immorality by getting their father drunk and laying with him to bear children.  Even Lot himself was not fully unaware (and resistant) of what was going on.

As a result, his daughters bore the Moabite and Ammonite nations.  Two nations that continued to draw the Israelites away from God.  The influence of the corrupter was like a cancer.  It crept in and slowly destroyed Lot and his descendants from the inside out.

What are we allowing to creep into our lives?  What are we allowing to influence us?  What should we be fleeing from that instead we are ignoring?  Where is the line between influencing and being influenced?

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Genesis 7 – Loss

Well, i know that God is working in me through this project.  I have said previously that by going through the Bible this way i am getting a much more intimate picture.  The lives and people become more personal.  The situations and lives have gone from stories of history, to a history of people.  Well, that has not been more clear than here in chapter 7.

I started today waking up with the song “Take Me In” by Kutless running through my head.  So i was singing it as i went down to the basement to start working on chapter 7.  I opened my Bible and journal, looked at vs. 1, and started crying. “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household…”  I knew what was coming, and i just couldn’t handle it.

Now to put this into perspective; I remember where i was the day that the Oklahoma city bombing occurred.  I was at a friend’s house.  It was someone i hadn’t seen in years.  His mom turned on the TV, and it was all over the news.  My reaction was, “Oh great, that means that this is going to be  all over the news all day.”  Not a tear shed; more annoyance about the life interruption than anything else.  I didn’t understand why everyone was getting so worked up about things.  And sure enough the drama went on for days and weeks.

Then September 11, 2001 occurred.  I was in class working towards my Masters in Counseling when the news hit.  It seemed like all these people all around me were crying and upset.  The loss of life affected them, but not the same way as with me.  I was shocked and upset about what was happening, but i was more fascinated with seeing the whole event unfold.  I kept wanting to see before and after comparison pictures to see the extent of the damage.  The loss of human life was not as much of an issue for me.

Now with that background, i come into this chapter.  I’ve read this chapter more times than i can remember.  I’ve heard the story in Sunday School and classes even more than that.  It has always been just a story to me.  …A story with important historical and theological implications.  Today though, it was something completely different.  It was no longer just some story.  Those people, those lives, have become important.  Seeing all the energy, all the effort, all the work that has gone into these lives.  Not just the people, but the animals and the plant-life.  Those people have become my people.  It’s like i’ve watched them grow up.  I’ve seen their dreams, joys, failures, children, and grandchildren.  I’ve seen them live, love, lose, and find redemption.  I’ve been there as man loses his home and he comforts his wife.  I’ve seen children born, destroy their lives, and continue feeding that through the generations.  I’ve seen new hope born.  I’ve seen generation after generation consume themselves more and more with their anger and selfishness.

I understand WHY it needs to happen, but i’m crushed that it DOES.  “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household…”  I knew what was coming, and i just couldn’t handle it.  How must it have been for Noah and his family?  How hard was it for them knowing that all that they knew and cared for was about to be destroyed.  How much more for God, who had created and cared so lovingly for.  This wasn’t just some trivial matter.  This was a necessary revulsion of all of the corruption  that was acting as a cancer that was destroying the world.  It was all the hard work and effort.  It was all the hope dreams and lives, gone.  I started crying.  (You can ask my wife, that’s not something that happens very often.)

Then it’s almost like my eyes were drawn straight down to verse 16 “Those that entered,… entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.”  At that point the crying turned into weeping and i had to turn away.  This is something that God HAD to do personally.  He HAD to set it into motion Himself.  The work of His hands, the man created in His image, the birds, the cattle, even the creeping things, all of it.  A necessary and total loss… except for that one hope that floated along in that little boat.

It took me about 10 minutes and some serious toughing up to get to the point where i could pick up my pen and start writing.  Needless to say, this project is completely changing the way i view the scriptures, and the world around me.

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Genesis 6 – Redemption

“According to all that God had commanded him, so he did”  It’s quite the contrast between Noah and … well, everyone else.

Noah walked with God.  In all that line of genealogy that defines Genesis 5, only one other man (besides pre-fall Adam) walked with God.  That was Noah’s great grandfather.  All of the world was falling apart.  The people were consuming themselves with their own desires.  The men of the line of Seth… those of the holy legacy, were intermarrying with the women of the corrupted legacy.  The corrupt were corrupting the holy, and the legacy of the righteous were failing.  Men did not know God, neither did they care to.  All that God had built was being corrupted.  There was little left.

Noah, however, was the exception to the rule.  He walked with God and was righteous in His sight. “Noah was blameless in his time.”  That’s a pretty big feat, even bigger when you consider his surroundings.  It is difficult to be blameless when everyone else around you is not.

As i copied out this chapter, i found that it was easy to focus on the negative.  I already know what God is going to do, and it’s hard not to focus on the corruption.  However, in going through the chapter i found more and more of the focus was not so much on the corruption as on the redemption.  What we are doing wrong is nothing compared to what is done right.  This chapter is not on the corruption, it is on the redemption.  It’s not that the world is falling apart and is coming to destruction.  It’s that in the midst of that corruption… Noah.  What do we look at?  Do we tend to focus on the bad, or on the good?  What does God call us to do?

John Camiolo

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