John T. Willis

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Heart Fears [Part 2]

[Continued from previous blog]

8. The Hebrew adjective charedh, "trembling," appears once with "heart" in 1 Samuel 4:13. When news came from the battlefield at Aphek, a message came back to Shiloh telling Eli that his two sons had been killed, the Israelites had been defeated, and the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines. "When he arrived, Eli was sitting upon his seat by the road watching, FOR HIS HEART TREMBLED FOR THE ARK OF GOD. When the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out."

9. The Hebrew verb naphal, "to fall, lie," appears once with "heart" in 1 Samuel 17:32. When Saul and the Israelites were afraid of Goliath the Philistine, "David said to Saul, 'LET NO ONE'S HEART FAIL BECAUSE OF HIM [Goliath]; your servant [David] will go and fight against this Philistine."

10. The Hebrew verb muth, "to die," occurs once with "heart" in 1 Samuel 25:37. When Abigail told her husband Nabal that David was successful, "HIS HEART DIED WITHIN HIM; he became like a stone."

 11. The Hebrew verb masas, "to faint, grow fearful," appears six times with 'heart."
       a. Hushai the Archite warned Absalom that David is a dangerous warrior, saying: "Then even the valiant warrior, WHOSE HEART IS LIKE THE HEART OF A LION, WILL UTTERLY MELT WITH FEAR; for all Israel knows that your father [David] is a warrior, and that those who are with him are valiant warrior."
      b. The poet in Psalm 22:14 says:
           "I am poured out like water
                 and all my bones are out of joint;
             MY HEART IS LIKE WAX;
                 IT IS MELTED WITHIN MY BREAST."
      c. Ezekiel gave this message to his people in Babylon in Ezekiel 21:7:
          "And when they say to you, 'Why do you moan?'
            you shall say, 'Because of the news that has come.
            EVERY HEART WILL MELT and all hands will be feeble,
            every spirit will faint and all knees with turn to water.
            See, it comes and it will be fulfilled,' says the Lord God."
      d. Nahum 2:10 says:
          "Devastation, desolation, and destruction!
                 HEARTS FAINT and knees tremble,
            all loins quake,
                 all faces grow pale."
     e. In the oracle concerning Babylon, Isaiah 13:7 says:
         "Therefore all hands will be feeble,
     f. In an oracle concerning Egypt, Isaiah 19:1 says:
         "See, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud
                 and comes to Egypt;
          the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
[To be continued]

Share YOUR fears and anxieties and problems and frustrations and concerns with others. Let me hear from You.

John Willis 


The Biblical Teaching of Disciples--16

There are several passages in the Gospel of Mark referring to disciples. Many of these appear also in Matthew and Luke. Here, I will only mention these passages and not repeat what we have already discussed.

1. At Levi's [Matthew's] house, Jesus ate with many tax collectors and sinners. The Jewish scribes and Pharisees approached JESUS' DISCIPLES and challenged them to allow Jesus to eat with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus replied that he came to call sinners and not the righteous. Mark 2:13-17. See Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 5:27-32.
2. One sabbath, some of JESUS' DISCIPLES plucked grain in the field on the sabbath day. The Jewish Pharisees rebuked Jesus for allowing his disciples to do this on the sabbath day. Jesus responded: "The sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the sabbath." Mark 2:23-28. See Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5.
3.Jesus departed with HIS DISCIPLES to the Mediterranean Sea and a great multitude from Galilee followed him. Jesus told HIS DISCIPLES to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. Mark 3:7-9. See Matthew 12:15-21.
4. After presenting several parables, Jesus did not speak to the crowds except in parables, but he explained everything in private to HIS DISCIPLES. Mark 4:30-34. See Matthew 13:31-32; Luke 13:18-19.
5. In the middle of a large crowd, a woman suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years touched Jesus' cloak. Jesus said, "Who touched me?" HIS DISCIPLES told him that many people were pressing in on Jesus and surely many people touched him. The woman with the hemorrhages fell before Jesus, and Jesus healed her. Mark 5:24-34. See Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56.

All these stories appear in Matthew and some in Luke. It is unnecessary to repeat all the details.
[To be continued about Mark].

Share YOUR insights and dreams and aspirations and imaginations and events with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Confidence in God to deliver one from enemies--Psalm 55

Like most Psalms. the author and historical setting of Psalm 55 are unknown. The few clues about the situation assumed in Psalm 55 are these: this psalmist was living in Jerusalem because he alludes to "the city" in 55:9 surrounded by walls in 55:10 in which the "house," that is, the temple, was situated according to 55:14. A large number of wicked people (55:3, 11, 18) oppress the psalmist and his friends (55:20). This is a well-organized ban of ruffians, who carefully plan deeds of violence and strife in the city (55:9), who constantly roam the city walls in search for opportunities to cause mischief and trouble (55:10), and who practice oppression and fraud in the marketplace (55:11, 23). Every generation has included people of this character. This psalmist's best friend, his "equal," his "companion," his "familiar friend" (55:13, 20) has betrayed him and his companions, and had broken their covenant of friendship by casting his lot with malicious oppressors (55:20). The psalmist can remember when they had conversed together on the most intimate matter, when they had enjoyed each other's fellowship in God's house [the Jerusalem temple] (55:14). But now he realizes that all this show of friendship and loyalty was nothing but a sham. His friend was using an external show of religion and of communion to promote his own selfish goals and personal gain, and therefore he would not hesitate to betray his friend's confidence in him if this was to his best interest.
           "My companion laid hands on a friend
                     and violated a covenant with me:
             with speech smoother than butter,
                     but with a heart set on war,
             with words that were softer than oil,
                     but in fact were drawn swords" (55:20-21).
A person should be able to open his/her heart fully to his/her Christian brother/sister, but unfortunately there are those even in the church today who do not hesitate to betray a brother's/ sister's confidence to promote their own interests. Psalm 55 falls into two parts.

1. The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to intervene and deliver him from his enemies who plot his destruction. Psalm 55:1-11.
     a. The psalmist begins by imploring Yahweh to hear his prayer and not hide himself from the psalmist's supplication. He beseeches Yahweh to answer him. 55:1-2a.
     b. This psalmist says he is troubled and distraught by the "noise" and "clamor" of his wicked enemies. They bring trouble on the psalmist and in anger they cherish enmity against him. The psalmist's heart is in anguish, the terrors of death have fallen on him, fear, trembling, and horror overwhelm him. 55:2b-5.
     c. The psalmist wishes he could escape far away from this terrible circumstance. He would like to fly away like a dove, rest, and lodge in the wilderness, a shelter from the raging wind and tempest. 55:6-8.
     d. The psalmist beseeches Yahweh to confuse and confound the speech of his enemies. His enemies cause violence and strife in the city; they go around on its walls to cause iniquity and trouble;  in the marketplace, his enemies cause oppression and fraud. 55:9-11.

2. This psalmist declares his confidence that Yahweh will deliver him from the schemes of his best friend who has betrayed him. Psalm 55:12-23.
    a. The psalmist says he could cope with the atrocities of his enemies,  but in this situation his "equal," his "companion," his "familiar friend" with whom he kept pleasant company and who walked together in the house of God [the Jerusalem temple] with the throng of worshippers, has stabbed him in the back, he has betrayed him vehemently. 55:12-14.
    b. Because of this, this psalmist implores Yahweh to let death come upon his vicious enemies and go down alive to Sheol, the grave because EVIL [SIN OF THE HEART] is in their homes and hearts. 55:15.
    c. Thus, this psalmist turns to Yahweh for help and deliverance. He is certain that Yahweh will hear his voice and intervene. God, who is enthroned from of old, will hear his cry and humble his enemies, because his enemies do not change and do not fear [revere, honor] God. 55:16-19.
    d. This psalmist's best friend, his "companion," laid hands on him and violated a covenant with him. The way he did this is pretending to be his best friend, when in reality he planned to destroy his so-called friend. 55:20-21.
    e. Finally, the psalmist turns to his audience and then to God. He beseeches his audience to cast their burdens on the Lord because he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be moved. Then affirms that God will cast down his wicked enemies into the lowest pit because they are bloodthirsty and treacherous. This psalmist will trust in Yahweh. 55:22-23.

Every generation produces churches here and there in which so-called Christians will betray their fellow-worshippers. This is sad, but true. Be prepared to face this reality.

Share YOUR experiences and losses and anguishes and betrayals and reversals with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis