King Balak of Moab summoned Balaam to curse Israel, God's people (Num.22-24). Balaam was informed, "You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed" (Num.22: 12). Four times Balaam opened his mouth and every time words of blessing poured forth. The curse was intended to harm God's people and God protected them against the curse. Balaam had to conclude, "May those that bless you be blessed and those that curse you be cursed." The nations that did seek to curse Israel became a curse themselves. In fact, they were wiped off the map.
Jeremiah the prophet made this prediction, "A wolf from the desert shall destroy them" (5: 6; RSV). The allies of the wolf will be a lion and a leopard. The reasons for the demise of the wolf's prey are multiple transgressions and innumerable apostasies. The prey was Israel-Judah and Jeremiah's unpleasant task was to tell his people that they would be destroyed by a desert people that were not in existence than a thousand years into the future. The historian has on record that Muhammad was born 1570 A.D. and began his crusade against all people that had deserted God the Creator and abandoned His laws. God had given Israel a thousand years to return to her Maker and the Christians five hundred years. By the time Islam became a movement, Christianity had become a world power and began to suppress those that wanted to personalize faith in Christ.
The Third Commandment is, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain" (Ex.20: 7).
The word "civility" has a melodious sound. Especially during a crisis or a tragedy it appears to be manna from heaven. Politicians that wag their tongues like dogs do tails demand civility from their opposition. James, the brother of Jesus, issued this warning, "It (the tongue) corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (Ja.3: 6). It only takes a spark to start a fire that ignites a splinter that has come off the beam in our eyes (Mt.7: 3-5). It is a sign of immaturity that blames others for our failures. We are in a way children that never grow up. I look in the mirror and see an eight-year old face that far too often behaves childish. What frightens me is the prediction in Isaiah that we are going to be led by children (11: 6).
Jesus taught his followers to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Mt.6: 13). Temptations are habit-forming that result in servitude. It is not God but the evil one that wants us to taste the forbidden fruit before we think of the consequences (Ja.1: 13; Gen.3). Once we taste repeatedly what is pleasurable, we are no longer capable of controlling it. Who will bail us out? Experts tell us that 70% kick their addictions by sheer determination and only 15% do it with drugs or medical assistance. To those of us that believe we can be accountable for our bad or good habits, it is welcome news. But for those among us that are unwilling to take charge of their own lives, it is bad news. Particularly, those among us that believe someone else is in charge of our lives and destiny need to be warned. God did not bail out Adam and Eve or anyone else in the Bible.
Moses, the greatest spokesman for God said these words, "Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you"(Deu.16: 18-20). To legislators that think they know better than God, Jesus asked this question, "And why do you break the commandment of God for your tradition?" (Mt.15: 3). The command in question was and still is, "You shall not kill!" (Ex.20: 13). Vengeance is the Lord's and He shall repay (Deu.32: 35; Ro.12: 19).
Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles wrote the following regarding the maintenance of the human body. "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize"(I Cor.9: 26-27).
Fate has a way of challenging faith. It throws us a curve that appears to be leading to a dead end and we assume that God willed it. It is not so, my friends. God wills nothing that causes us pain or trouble. He has assigned all that to our will. We map our destiny and not God. We make choices that hurt us. We follow systems that destroy us. We believe in beings and things that lead nowhere. And we justify our actions by assigning them to some one other than to ourselves. We have sown the seed that is producing our kind of harvest (Gal.6: 7). Because of the results, we have become fatalists.
The Bible teaches that the coming of the Messiah or the Christ was the most important event in human history. Prophets predicted the event for centuries and intellectuals were able to determine where and from whom the king of the Jews would come. Yet, when he came, he did not fit into their framework (Jn.7: 52). The theological intelligentsia had decided what the Messiah would do. Primarily, he would endorse their policies. The truth was and still is that the Messiah does not fit into a box designed by humans. Human intentions at best do not advance the intentions of Christ. God did not trust the brightest minds then and it is doubtful He can today (I Cor.1: 20-31; 2: 6-10). Just think what we have done with Christmas? Now, even Santa has to give way to Frosty the Snowman.