Mining For Gold

Steve Arterburn

Everyone ever born has a human mother and father, right? Almost. There are three exceptions: Adam and Eve, our first parents, and Jesus Christ, who, as the Apostle’s Creed says, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

 

The opening chapter of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, consists of an extensive genealogy. You may consider genealogies dull, and maybe skipped right to chapter two. But, there’s gold here if you’ll mine for it.

 

Matthew’s goal is to show us that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, a direct descendent of both Abraham, Israel’s father, and David, it’s greatest king. Along the way, Matthew mentions forty-two fathers and five mothers.

 

You see, Matthew’s culture was certainly patriarchal, and because it was, the mention of these women takes on increased significance. They’re quite a colorful group. Tamar bore her father-in-law’s twins. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was a foreigner visiting Israel. And Bathsheba’well, we all know about her and David.

 

But women aren’t the only colorful characters here. Trace the men through Scripture and you’ll find most of their backgrounds quite checkered. And it shows that God chose and used not only ordinary people to create the linage of Jesus, but also, profoundly flawed people. My point: God uses men like you and me in mighty ways. Take heart!

Tearing Down Idols

Steve Arterburn

 

King Asa lived at a time when the Israelites had given themselves over to idolatry. They basically thumbed their nose at God and believed their way of living, contrary to His instructions, was right.

 

But when the king heard the message of the prophets, he destroyed the idols the people were worshipping. Asa restored the altar of the Lord. He even removed his own mother from her position of power because she’d been influencing Israel in their idolatry.

 

When you think of idolatry, you might consider it a phenomenon of times past. But that’s a big mistake. Our culture is rife with idolatry, and our own hearts are very susceptible to it.

 

As God continues His work in you, it’s crucial that you recognize the idols our culture bows before and that you don’t get caught up in treating them as idols yourself.  Things like money, power, possessions, titles, comfort, superficial beauty, or any number of things that usurp what belongs only to God.

 

In the end, you’re called to do something very much like king Asa did: crush and burn the idols in your own thinking and in your heart. Guys, God has called you to redirect your life in order to follow Him. That means moving against the stream of this world, and the things it worships in place of God.

 

But take heart: God always supplies the ability to accomplish what He asks of you. He’ll be there for you, empowering and encouraging you all the way home.

Contemplating The Almighty

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Think about what it means to say that God is almighty. On the one hand, if His power wasn’t expressed to us by love, we’d think He was a monster. We’d have every reason to try to run and hide from Him. Since the almighty God is at the same time the all-loving, all-wise, and all-just God, we’re foolish to resist Him. We actually have every reason to fall down before Him in worship and praise, trusting He is the Almighty and all-loving God.

Men, this is who God has revealed Himself to be. And when we surrender to Him, He becomes our protector’our refuge. David, king of Israel, wrote in Psalm 91:1-2:

‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.’

Surrender to God brings peace’peace produced and preserved by His strength. Under your own rule, you’re subject to the insecurity of self-reliance. Under God’s rule, you’re anchored to the One the psalmist described as ‘the Rock.’ And that Rock is steadfast, unmovable, and completely worthy of our trust.

Let me put it another way: if you and I fail to fear God, we are left being afraid of everything. On the other hand, if we fear God, we need never be afraid of Him’nor anything else.