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Sunday’s Service “False Leaders and False Prophets”

Today’s sermon is from Micah 3.

Rulers Denounced

 1 And I said,

“Hear now, heads of Jacob

And rulers of the house of Israel.

Is it not for you to know justice?

 2 “You who hate good and love evil,

Who tear off their skin from them

And their flesh from their bones,

 3 Who eat the flesh of my people,

Strip off their skin from them,

Break their bones

And chop them up as for the pot

And as meat in a kettle.”

 4 Then they will cry out to the Lord,

But He will not answer them.

Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time

Because they have practiced evil deeds.

 5 Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray;

When they have something to bite with their teeth,

They cry, “Peace,”

But against him who puts nothing in their mouths

They declare holy war.

 6 Therefore it will be night for you—without vision,

And darkness for you—without divination.

The sun will go down on the prophets,

And the day will become dark over them.

 7 The seers will be ashamed

And the diviners will be embarrassed.

Indeed, they will all cover their mouths

Because there is no answer from God.

 8 On the other hand I am filled with power—

With the Spirit of the Lord—

And with justice and courage

To make known to Jacob his rebellious act,

Even to Israel his sin.

 9 Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob

And rulers of the house of Israel,

Who abhor justice

And twist everything that is straight,

 10 Who build Zion with bloodshed

And Jerusalem with violent injustice.

 11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe,

Her priests instruct for a price

And her prophets divine for money.

Yet they lean on the Lord saying,

“Is not the Lord in our midst?

Calamity will not come upon us.”

 12 Therefore, on account of you

Zion will be plowed as a field,

Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins,

And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest
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Verses 1-4 show us the results of false teachers and prophets. Micah likens what false teachers do as to canibalism. What is clearly being spoken against. Leaders and teachers are to know and love Justice.

Verses 5-7 speak to God’s judgement upon those false teachers. The prophets will be wrong and God will not answer them.

Verse 8 shows the mark of a Godly ministry. That mark is justice and courage and that the Lord fills you with the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a reference to speaking in tongues or anything like that, but that they will be willing to speak against injustice and point to the sins of the Nations.

Verses 9-11 speaks to what happens with a false ministry. How its leaders twist the straight, who seek to build their work on bloodshed. Corruption, violent injustice , phophets and teachers offering to “help” for money.

Finally in verse 12 we see God’s judgement on such people and countries. That judgement is utter ruination of what they held dear. In thhe book of Micah that was tangible earthly destruction, today it is the promise of eternal damnation.
But God is still gracious and his mercy is sure, and so if we repent and turn to him we can avoid the judgement.

The Enticement of Sinners

The Enticement of Sinners

8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;
9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And bornaments about your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
14 Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
16 For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.
17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Pr 1:8–19). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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Wow. You know it’s funny how often we tend to forget this passage, and it’s implicatiosn. After all there are plenty of Christians that fall to Ponzi schemes, and the lure of “easy” money. We would never consider lying in wait to ambush people in real life anymore, but metaphorically we get tempted every day.

Wednesday of the first week of Advent

Despite not being Episcopal, I absolutely love having access to the Book of Common Prayer, especially this time of year. It’s easily accessible on the Web, but I admit to buying it for my Logos Collection. It makes it much easier to process for myself.

If you do not have easy access though here is today’s reading as places in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

Psalms (Morning) Psalm 119:1–24

Psalms (Evening) Psalm 12, 13, 14

Old Testament Amos 3:12–4:5

New Testament 2 Peter 3:1–10

Gospel Matthew 21:23–32

The Episcopal Church. (2010). Book of Common Prayer Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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So some more about what I plan to talk about.

I admit this is going to be a bit more freeform. I plan to talk some about about Bible software. I’m going to go back to the old Accordance compared to Logos since all the comparisons I see are much older than the current versions, plus I’m going to include the mobile versions of each product as well, I also will talk about and review they tech I own. As a Computer Science Grad from many moons ago I admit I’m a bit of a geek in that respect.

But since this is a blog about the Christian life I also admit I may wander far afield.

 

The beginning of wisdom

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2  To know wisdom and instruction,

to understand words of insight,

3  to receive instruction in wise dealing,

in righteousness, justice, and equity;

4  to give prudence to the simple,

knowledge and discretion to the youth—

5  Let the wise hear and increase in learning,

and the one who understands obtain guidance,

6  to understand a proverb and a saying,

the words of the wise and their riddles.

 7  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; 

fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Proverbs 1: 1-7 ESV

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So I’m starting my journey through the book of Proverbs. And what I find interesting is even most secular people would not argue with any of this right up until verse 7. After all, as someone who has worked ni industry for so long I cannot tell you the number of times I have received , or given, the advice that you always need to continue learning.

 

But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. We so often forget that. Yes we must love our Lord and God but in order to gain wisdom and knowledge we must Fear the Lord. Hoenstly I think that is something lost on my generation (Gen X) and later. All of the parenting magazines and what not keep telling us that we need to raise our children where they aren’t afraid of us parents. And yet God, though the Holy Spirit using King Salomon, says is the the beginning of knowledge, “Fear”. If you think about it fear is at the heart of Learning anything in Nature. Oh in today’s society we tend to try and make it sound better than fear, we say we “have a healthy respect,” for whatever it is we have a fear for, but it is really fear. I mean take a herpatologist for example, if they didn’t have a healthy fear of poisonous snakes, they wouldn’t live long.  Sadly I think our culture has co-opted the term fear to redefine it as abject terror. This re-defintion is imply because of a side effect of Psalm 2:1-3

Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

2  The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

3  “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

 

You see the culture wishes to throw off God. And if you redefine fear so that it means abject terror, then you slowly switch “fear” to “respect” , which slowly changes meaning to where you can shrug God off as a non-entity. Of course God is not dependent on how we definie things, and it doesn’t solve anything, but I’ve rambled off topic for long enough.

We as Christians need to remember that you you can love someone and still have a healthy fear as well.

 

Irony

I cannot help but appreciate the irony. Because I want to write a blog about the Christian life only to find that I had similar thoughts five years ago, and had named it “Living in Laodicea”. Well the goal is the same, maybe with a much larger effort dose of humility now.

 

My father has encouraged me to work my way through the book of Proverbs and so that is currently my goal. In addition I will also talk bible software, like before.