The integrity of people of faith

We must base our actions with faith in the revealed words of God above the opinions of men.

We must base our actions with faith in the revealed words of God above the opinions of men.

Those who believe in the God of the Bible have a quality that is not evidenced among outsiders or pretenders to the faith. They possess an undaunted sense of surety about the words of God that leads to different conclusions than that of the general population of a community. This is what can cause friction among communities and congregations.

A good example of this can be exemplified by the group of Israelites that was selected to go spy out the land of Canaan prior to their moving into the land. The story is related that the land was viewed as being plentiful and productive, albeit currently inhabited by some of the most feared inhabitants: a people of extremely large stature known as the descendants of Anak. Because of this, the majority of the scouting group became fearful and therefore provided a negative report of the land, while Joshua and Caleb provided the positive aspects of the land relying on God’s help to overcome the current inhabitants.

Numbers 14:6-9 – Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community: “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. “If Yahweh is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. “Only don’t rebel against Yahweh, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yahweh is with us. Don’t be afraid of them! “

This quickly divided the congregation of Israel into groups of those who wanted to return to Egypt and those who wanted to continue on into the land of Canaan. This caused God’s anger to be aroused at the unfaithful scouts who would not obey his commands to take the land, while Joshua and Caleb were spared for their faithfulness.

Numbers 14:22-24, 30, 37-38 – “none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me, “will ever see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised me will see it. “But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it. … “I swear that none of you will enter the land I promised to settle you in, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. … those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by Yahweh. Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.

As dramatic as this event was, we find that it illustrates how God delineates between those who are truly faithful and obedient to him from those who only pay lip service to him until their own perceived notions or opinions clash with what God has revealed as his purpose. This was a principle that has always existed among God’s people, even up to New Testament times.

The apostle Paul dealt extensively with these types of issues. In his letter to the Corinthians, he had to spell out specifics on different cultural and doctrinal issues that were causing divisions within the congregation, yet he states the following:

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 – “For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”

Interestingly, he said these factions were necessary as indicators of right and wrong practices within the congregation. Those of integrity within the congregation were doing everything they could to abide by the word of God while others tried to find loopholes in the doctrine and abuse their privileges based on their own opinions.

In the wilderness, Caleb and Joshua could see beyond the physical appearance of the giants of the land and believed that their “protection had been removed” (since God was commanding the Israelites to overcome them). Because of the wickedness of the land, Caleb and Joshua rightly believed the Canaanites had become exposed to the justice of God that was about to be meted out through the faithful Israelite armies. Joshua and Caleb were merely stating in faith what they knew would come to pass if only the people obeyed and took the land.

This same thing occurs to this very day, but we need to realize that factions can be, as the apostle Paul says, necessary to ensure that those who are doing what is approved become apparent from the rest. This is why it is so important that we have a holistic grasp of the entire Bible, not just a concentrated focus on a few parts. The wider our perspective on the whole of how God has worked and continues to work among his people provides us a wide and firm foundation to draw conclusions for our daily practices.

This is the integrity that people of faith can demonstrate when faced with similar obstacles. Understanding and obeying the word of God from the heart brings the blessings of God, just as Caleb and Joshua received their inheritance while the others did not.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Authentic forgiveness influences others to do the same

The most impactful messages are backed up by the actions of those who are presenting them.

Core of the Bible podcast #70 – Authentic forgiveness influences others to do the same

Today we will be looking at the topic of forgiveness, and how the most impactful and influential examples are made by the consistency and authenticity of those who are living them out.

Luke 23:34 – Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.

One of the main reasons that Yeshua’s teachings have been so influential in the centuries and millennia is not just because of the wisdom, logic, and truth of what he taught, but because he actually demonstrated how to apply what he implored others to do. As was the case in the instance of his crucifixion at the hands of his oppressors, he didn’t just preach forgiveness of enemies, he actually lived it out, praying for God to forgive those who had no intent toward him except extreme harm.

A message of instruction can have impact because it makes sense, or because it is an accepted tradition, or it may be a requirement of an institution or governing authority. However, the most impactful messages are those that are conveyed with consistency and authenticity, and backed up by the actions of those who are presenting them.

By contrast, in our culture today, the opposite happens so frequently that there is the ironic statement expressed by the saying, “Do what I say, not what I do.” This is the epitome of sad weakness in which one may have an understanding of what the right thing may be in a given situation, but they do not have the strength or fortitude to carry out even their own advice. Hypocrisy is powerless.

But wisdom with consistent action makes a difference, especially with hard teachings like those about forgiveness. Anyone can say people should be forgiving of those who are intent on harm, but to do so in the most extreme of circumstances demonstrates authenticity that has power to change lives.

This is corroborated in the lives of Yeshua’s disciples, most visibly in the noble act of Stephen when he faced the same type of hostility of those who would see him dead for his speaking of the truth. When he was called before the religious high court to defend his beliefs, Stephen provides a protracted description of God’s favor with Israel, and then abruptly accuses the religious leaders of his day of forsaking everything they should have been practicing. In boldly speaking this truth, the situation then proceeded toward its inevitable conclusion.

Acts 7:53-54, 57-58, 60 – [Stephen said,] “You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.” … When they heard these things, they were enraged and gnashed their teeth at him. … They yelled at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. … He knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them! ” And after saying this, he died.

Stephen was so captivated with the powerful example of his Lord in forgiving his enemies that, thrust into a similar circumstance, he responded in the same way. His actions were consistent with his recognition of the truth related by his Master, and he was able to respond with the same level of demonstrable conviction. His righteous actions were so powerful they still influence and challenge us to this day.

In contrast, Yeshua provides an opposite example in stark relief against the nobility of Stephen’s type of forgiving actions. At one point when his disciples were asking him questions, he had responded to Peter’s question about how many times believers are expected to forgive. Yeshua’s answer was couched in a story, a parable, about what this looks like from God’s perspective.

Matthew 18:21-35 – Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times? ” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven. “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. “When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. “Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ “Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe! ‘ “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. “When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. “Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. “Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? ‘ “And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. “So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

This parable is so comprehensive and compelling that it leaves little room for any comment. Yeshua sets a clear indication of God’s desire for his people to be people of forgiveness based on on their own recognition of how much they have been forgiven. The apostle Paul carries this forward to the believers in Colosse, as well.

Colossians 3:12-13 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.”

Our ability to forgive should not be based solely on an emotional feeling of sadness or pity toward someone else. There may be times where our emotions are running completely opposite to empathy or pity, and yet, we are commanded to forgive anyway, if for no other reason than we have been forgiven by God. That is the standard that should guide us.

Based on these demonstrations of genuine forgiveness of enemies by both Yeshua and Stephen, can we somehow find it within ourselves to forgive others with this same level of authenticity? If this is the ultimate level of obedience demanded of every disciple of Yeshua, then forgiving those who have wronged us in some minor detail seems much less daunting. Every time we do so, we have an opportunity to provide an authentic response that can influence others to do the same.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

God’s children are commandment keepers

Obedience to the King’s rule is fundamental in the kingdom.

Obedience to the King’s rule is fundamental in the kingdom.

In the past I have described the Ten Commandments, or the Ten Words, as the Charter of the Kingdom of God. This means that these commandments are the basic rules that God expects his people to follow.

In legal terms, a charter is “a grant made by the sovereign either to the whole people or to a portion of them, securing to them the enjoyment of certain rights.” To further explain, the legal dictionary explains: “A charter differs from a constitution in this, that the former is granted by the sovereign, while the latter is established by the people themselves : both are the fundamental law of the land.”

As I have stated many times before, I do not believe the Ten Commandments were just for the national people of Israel. They are the only words ever spoken directly by God to a whole mixed community of individuals at once, and they were carved into stone, the most durable of records, by the very finger of God himself. Based even on only these two criteria, there is no other document or record anywhere conveyed directly by God with those to whom he was intending to communicate.

Yeshua verified that he was not doing away with any commands of Torah:

Matthew 5:17-19 – “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

To recognize the universality of this principle brings one to a more comprehensive understanding of God: his Word, his instruction, his Torah, is eternal. God’s people are those who understand and obey his words.

Further, there is not a single individual in the entire Bible who has ever been condemned for keeping the word of God, his Torah. There are, however, plenty of examples of those who were condemned for NOT keeping his Word:

  • Psalm 119:158 – I have seen the disloyal and feel disgust because they do not keep your word.
  • Nehemiah 1:7 – We have acted corruptly toward you and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances you gave your servant Moses.
  • Amos 2:4 – Yahweh says: I will not relent from punishing Judah for three crimes, even four, because they have rejected the instruction of Yahweh and have not kept his statutes. The lies that their ancestors followed have led them astray.
  • Malachi 3:7 – “Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of Armies.

There are examples of those who were condemned for ADDING unnecessarily to his words by their traditions:

Mark 7:9, 13 – [Yeshua] also said to [the Pharisees and scribes], “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition! … “You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

But no one ever is condemned for actually keeping and obeying his words; that’s what his obedient children are known for!

  • Psalm 119:57, 60, 63, 106 – Yahweh is my portion; I have promised to keep your words.  … I hurried, not hesitating to keep your commands.  … I am a friend to all who fear you, to those who keep your precepts.  … I have solemnly sworn to keep your righteous judgments.
  • John 8:29, 47, 55 – “The one who sent me [Yeshua] is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.” … “The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.” … “You do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word.
  • Philippians 2:8 – [Yeshua] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.

Those in the Kingdom of God are those who honor God by keeping his commands in humble obedience. The Ten Commandments or Ten Words were kept by Yeshua, and if we consider ourselves his followers, then we should be keeping them, too.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Living out our compassionate calling

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

True compassion is having the ability to confront injustice and corruption, helping those who cannot help themselves.

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

In this verse and the ones following, believers are called to be the salt and the light of the world. Both of these metaphorically stand for that which purifies and enlightens. If what we do in this life is not making a positive difference in the lives of those around us, then we are like the salt which has lost its taste, no longer good for anything.

The life of a believer is one that is forged in the fires of conflict. Paul writes that as much as is possible with us, we need to live in peace with all men, which is true (Romans 12:8). But by the same token, truth and compassion cannot rest idle within us, allowing the world to deteriorate around us. The nature of salt and light is that of healing and greater insight, not rottenness and darkness. The world is already filled with rotten and dark things, and what purpose do we serve if we only turn a blind and unfeeling eye toward our generation?

Instead, as representatives of the Creator of all, our lives should be demonstrations of truth and compassion, living out the ideals that the Creator of all has for his Creation. We should be focusing our godly efforts on those things within our sphere of influence that result in positive outcomes for those who are currently afflicted. Affliction takes many forms within the dark corners of our world, yet we have been uniquely gifted with Spirit of God, the ultimate salt and light, to accomplish whatever needs to be done to meet needs and help others overcome adversities they may be facing.

This is how the kingdom of God expands, and how we demonstrate the ability to overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21). Though we may suffer through this process in the fires of conflict that can ensue, we can stand knowing that we have been faithful to our compassionate calling of being the salt and light when and where it was needed most.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Reconciliation in the new creation

Only when we die to ourselves can God then work through us.

Only when we die to ourselves can God then work through us.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 – That is, in Messiah, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Messiah, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Messiah’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”

This description that Paul gives of his ministry has been debated over the years as to whether this ministry of reconciliation applied only to the apostles, or if this is a quality that all believers should demonstrate. I believe the context of the passage provides an insight into how this principle should be applied.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 – Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Messiah and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul states if anyone is in Messiah, they are part of the new creation. Therefore, anyone who has been reconciled to God through Messiah has been given us the responsibility of helping to reconcile the world to God through themselves. Certainly, the apostles were the greatest and initial examples of this, as it was necessary for God to first to reconcile all of the scattered tribes of Israel back to himself through their message of faith and hope. But then, as others who feared God also were drawn to the message of faith in Messiah, the circle of reconciliation began to widen across the known world at that time, and continues to this day.

Reconciliation is a process of peace, an adjustment of differences usually involving forgiveness and a restoration to a favorable condition. Yeshua taught that peacemakers are blessed, and that they would be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). This is THE defining characteristic of God’s children. In Jewish tradition based on this ancient concept, this is something still hoped for in a future time.

Tikkun means to repair or improve. Olam means the entire world. In Jewish teachings, any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created is considered Tikkun Olam.

Chabad.org, “Tikkun Olam

While Jews today view this process of repairing or restoring as something that will ultimately lead to a harmonious whole, Paul implies that God already reconciled the world through Messiah, and now it is up to his children to champion the cause to become evident in this reality.

Since God was spiritually reconciling the world to himself through Messiah, it makes sense that his children would also do the same in its current physical state. This is possible only when we recognize that we are no longer allowed to view others from our own limited perspective, but from the perspective of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16 – From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Messiah from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.

We are to view others from a spiritual perspective, in the same way we now know Messiah. We don’t know Yeshua in the same way today as if we were to see him teaching in the streets. He has been exalted to a position of honor and authority at the right hand of God in heavenly places; this is how we relate to him today. Paul says we need to view others in a similar way: from an eternal and spiritual perspective, not from a fleshly one. When we do this, we are then given the ability to look beyond their fleshly resistance or aggression toward God and toward us. We can begin to love them as God does: as a dear creation of his whom he desires to draw to himself.

2 Corinthians 5:15 – And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

But this process involves us dying to ourselves in order to see the spiritual reality behind who they appear to be. Only then can we truly become Messiah’s ambassadors, seeing others in the same way that God does, and allowing him to work through us in continuing to reconcile the world to himself. When this happens among his people all around the world, God becomes “all in all,” and the kingdoms of this world then become his.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The God of all Creation

The example of God’s provision is all around us when we have eyes to see.

The example of God’s provision is all around us when we have eyes to see.

Psalm 135:6-7 – Yahweh does whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths. He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from his storehouses.

The fact that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all is provided throughout the Bible as a reason for people to place their trust in him.

Revelation 4:11 – Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.

Yeshua teaches on the natural order as a measure of trusting in God when he speaks of the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26, 28-30 – “Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? … “And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. “Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. “If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you ​– ​you of little faith?”

The apostle Paul writes of how the Creation itself should cause men to seek after God.

Romans 1:18-20 – For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

When we look out into the Creation, something we see every day, we should be reminded of the power, majesty, and provision of God in our lives. Even in the cities where almost all is concrete and steel and glass, a glimpse of the sky above, the rain that falls, or the wind that blows down the streets and alleys should remind us that we are part of a world that God has created, and that he retains his privilege over all.

No matter if we lose sight of him, we can place our trust in him since he is still in control of all, even when he is obscured by circumstances of our own making, or through the designs of men all around us. When we recognize him as the Creator of all, we yield to his greater will and purpose and allow his provision in our time of need. Just as he still provides for the natural order of all things, he can still provide for those who place their faith in him.

Matthew 6:30 – “If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you ​– ​you of little faith?”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The lamp of God

Being created in God’s image, it makes sense that his stamp is embossed within us.

Being created in God’s image, it makes sense that his stamp is embossed within us.

Proverbs 20:27 – The spirit of man is Yahweh’s lamp, searching all his innermost parts.

Different English renderings of this verse appear to be unsure of how exactly to render this unusual phrase.

  • New International Version: The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.
  • New Living Translation: The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
  • Amplified Bible: The spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being.
  • Contemporary English Version: Our inner thoughts are a lamp from the LORD, and they search our hearts.
  • Good News Translation: The LORD gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.

Is Yahweh somehow invading our personal human spirit, or is it speaking of the human spirit in general? Is it speaking of our mind, conscience, or inner thoughts?

The spirit of man is using the term “neshamah,” or life-breath, for man. This term is closely associated with the word “ruach” which also is typically translated as spirit. In Hebrew thinking, the life-breath is something from God that animates us as individuals. This is evidenced when God created Adam.

Genesis 2:7 – And Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [neshamah]; and man became a living soul.

When the spirit departs, the body dies.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 – Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto God who gave it.

The term “adam” can be speaking of an individual or the entire human race. I think we can get some direction here from another familiar passage as well:

John 1:9 – The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

There is a light that enlightens every person (all people: adam); it is called the Word, or the Spirit of God. Because of it’s association with the first chapter of John, most people assume that the Word is Yeshua. In one sense, that is true, because he was called by John “the Word made flesh.” He was so completely filled with and obedient to the Spirit of God that they were indistinguishable.

But John says this same light enlightens everyone, and this passage in Proverbs, written a millennia prior to John, is saying the same thing: the lamp of Yahweh is somehow connected to the spirit of all people. We have stumbled in our English Bibles at trying to describe it as conscience or inner thoughts, but the fact is that since all mankind (adam) is created in God’s image, we all have a connection to the Creator of all.

The writer of Hebrews takes this even further by describing how the Word of God, his eternal Spirit, is active within us.

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

I can’t think of a more precise explanation of how the lamp of Yahweh searches the innermost parts of our being. As believers, our call to holiness is heightened by recognizing that somehow God is active within the depths of every person. We are set apart by continually growing in obedience to his Word, his Spirit.

I recognize this is not commonly accepted theology, but it is what the Bible records describe when we understand them within their cultural context. I believe this is why believers gravitate to the Bible, what we also call the Word of God, because it was conveyed to mankind through that same Spirit of God. As we recognize the Voice speaking to us from its pages, we are drawn closer to understanding the God of the universe and his desire for all men to come to him, as well.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Waiting for Yahweh

We must allow room and time for God to be God.

We must allow room and time for God to be God.

Psalm 130:5-6 – I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in his word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning — more than watchmen for the morning.

This idea of waiting for Yahweh is all throughout the Bible, but most pronouncedly in the psalms.

Psalm 25:3-5 – No one who waits for you will be disgraced; those who act treacherously without cause will be disgraced. Make your ways known to me, Yahweh; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; I wait for you all day long.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait for Yahweh; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for Yahweh.

Psalm 37:7-9 – Be silent before Yahweh and wait expectantly for him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the person who carries out evil plans. Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated ​– ​it can only bring harm. For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in Yahweh will inherit the land.

Without quoting all of the passages here, the general meaning of this phrase as it is used throughout the psalms carries the concept of patience, gathering one’s wits about them, eagerly anticipating God to act in a situation. It conveys a purposeful restraint of one’s own reflexive emotion against the acts of the wicked, and instead allowing God’s justice to be played out.

It is so easy for us to be caught up in the emotion of the moment that many times we forget to wait for God to work things out in his timing. We get impatient or emotionally engaged and say or do things that we will regret later, because upon reflection, it wasn’t how God would have wanted us to act at that time.

To illustrate this, look at some of the characteristics that should mark this time of expectant waiting:

  • Be strong
  • Let your heart be courageous
  • Refrain from anger
  • Give up your rage
  • Do not be agitated

All of these demonstrate holding back from pursuing your own personal vengeance against those who may be working at odds with you, or against the plans of God.

Instead, the characteristics associated with waiting have to do with unceasing vigilance, watching for and expecting God to work in a way that brings justice to the situation:

  • I put my hope in your Word
  • Make your ways known to me
  • Teach me your paths
  • Guide me in your truth and teach me
  • Be silent before Yahweh
  • Wait expectantly for him

These are the things that should mark our times of waiting. Instead of reacting foolishly out of anger or impatience, we should collect our thoughts by focusing on God’s Word, his plans and purpose. We should remain silent when we want to speak out in frustration, knowing that God will be vindicated, and we will be rescued from the situation when all things are accomplished. But our waiting should be exemplified by vigilant expectancy, “more than a watchman waits for the morning.”

Waiting on Yahweh is a discipline that should mark all of his children who are truly seeking for his kingdom and his glory in this world, and not their own.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Trusting God beyond our own lifetime

The contrast of our fleeting lives with the eternity of God should keep our trust and our focus firmly grounded in him.

Core of the Bible podcast #69 – Trusting God beyond our own lifetime

Today we will be looking at the topic of trust, and how the contrast of our fleeting lives with the eternity of God should keep our trust and our focus firmly grounded in him.

Isaiah 26:4 – “Trust in Yahweh forever, because Yahweh God is the Rock eternal.”

God deserves our trust because he never changes. What he has decreed will come to pass. What he has done remains forever. What he continues to do is as constant as the ocean surf, the shining sun, the starry constellations.

Psalm 33:11 – “The counsel of Yahweh stands forever, the purposes of His heart to all generations.”

The psalmist here instructs us how stable God’s counsel is, it outlasts generations and continues on. Have you ever taken the time to consider how incredible a thing it is that the counsel of God survives over thousands of years? Though culture and language have taken their toll on the outer layers of biblical thinking, the core of the message remains to this day, and will continue on. This in itself is a miraculous occurrence.

Throughout this unchanging counsel of the Bible, by contrast the life we have been given is represented as a fleeting and temporal existence.

James 4:14 – What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Psalm 89:47 – Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!

Psalm 144:4 – Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

Job 8:9 – For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow.

Psalm 103:15-16 – As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Psalm 39:4-5 – “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”

This recognition of our own mortality should drive us closer to God, not farther from him. Because we understand we are so temporary, we should seek to latch on to those things that are eternal, that reach beyond our short time that we have while we are here. Our thoughts should run in step with those of the psalmist:

Psalm 90:12 – So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

When we “number our days,” we are considering the short time that we have and the vain things we spend so much time on. Our lives can be unstable and variable as we flit from passion to passing trend. We waste time, energy, and passion on so many pointless and fleeting distractions that we arrive breathless and strained at the end of each day. We rave about the most popular people and issues of the day, while ranting about individualized injustice and personal misery. Like Job of old, we come to view our lives as a constant, unfair struggle that deserves to be broadcast to the widest possible audience:

Job 19:23-24 – “I wish that my words were recorded and inscribed in a book, by an iron stylus on lead, or chiseled in stone forever.”

The fallacy of this type of thinking is borne out even in the conclusion of Job’s story: his fortunes are restored, his honor is retained, and the eternal justice of God is exonerated. Therefore, we should recognize that the eternal nature of God stands supreme over the petty and temporal issues and circumstances we face. Like Paul, our lives should be molded toward that which is eternal:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

When we really pause to consider that God is eternal and we are not, how can we possibly think that our ways are better than his? Have we learned nothing from the natural course of life, how the wisdom of the aged is more stable than the impetuous passion of youth? If this is true in a natural sense, how much more with the One who never changes for all of eternity?


Within this idea of the fleeting nature of life we may be challenged as to what, then, we should spend our time doing. What kind of goals should we set for ourselves when we have such little time to accomplish what we would hope to do? And can we maintain those goals in any sort of consistent manner? As an example, I happen to be an employee of a large national corporation here in America which sets its goals year by year and quarter by quarter, and those goals are constantly changing. But because of this type of constant change, I find the perpetual stability of God’s word to be of great comfort.

I remember reading of some Japanese institutions which have existed for generations who do their best to lay out 500-year goals for their companies! Can you imagine such a thing? In fact, it is said that more than half of the oldest companies in the world are in Japan. As of 2020, there were over 33,000 Japanese companies that were over 100 years old, there were about 40 companies that were 500 years old. The oldest company in the world is also Japanese; it is a construction company that has been in business for over 1,400 years. A lot of this longevity has to do with the culture of the working class and the mindset of the employees who rarely change jobs. The overarching ideal is for stability of the company through the stability of its employment.

By contrast, our American culture has almost the exact opposite mentality. While some institutions have survived for long periods of time, overall, employment stability is rare, if not non-existent. And this lack of stability in employment leads workers to change jobs frequently in order to cope. It is said that the average American worker changes jobs between 12-15 times throughout their working lifetime.

But what if, as believers, we were to take a lesson from the eternal nature of God and some of this understanding of the Japanese culture by considering objectives in our lives beyond just our lifetimes? Remember:

Psalm 90:12 – So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

What if we had 500-year goals, not for an earthly company, but for God? Since he is unchanging and eternal, and if we were to line our goals up with his, we could be able to create a solid planning strategy that could extend well into the future. “Well,” you may say, “that’s impossible, because we won’t live to be 500 years old.” True, but if we were to consider the impact our life can have beyond even our own lifetime, how would that change what we do each day?

Think of the cathedral builders who recognized they were working on a project that would not be completed for decades or even over a hundred years. They worked every day as a link in a chain that they knew could extend beyond their working lifetime. If we had even the slightest inclination that our work would be progressively built upon after our departure, how would that affect the effort and quality we would put forth?

I stumbled across a story recently written by Jim Stephens on leadership, where he shares this kind of principle in the context of effective life-planning. He writes the following:

“My mentor once asked me for my life plan. I didn’t have one. He made me go home and not come back to work until I had my plan down on paper. After a few days I returned to work and handed him several pages. He asked me why my life plan only went 50 years? (At the time I was 27 and I figured that was a pretty good life plan.) He said, ‘Don’t you get anything?’ I was thoroughly confused. He asked, ‘Why set goals that last only as long as the body?’ He said, ‘Don’t you realize you are a spiritual being who HAS a body? And, if that’s true, why not set 500 year goals for what will be going on in the world as a result of when you had a body. At the least,’ he continued, ‘set 100 years goals, figuring that you will leave a wake on this company, your family, your community and your church much like a boat leaves a wake behind in the water when it passes.'”

I like that imagery of a boat leaving a wake behind it that continues outward behind it. When we can get out of our limited mindset of the-most-important-thing-right-now to the most important thing to an eternal God, our perspective changes, and our scope of influence changes radically. Our life now becomes a life of faith, because we are having to rely on others and situations outside of ourselves, and strength and wisdom that comes from God. When we consider ways we can pass the baton of the faith not only to the next generation but the one beyond that, we re-structure the priorities we have currently to affect that end result. Sometimes the biggest way to grow our faith is to simply change our perspective.

As we have seen, the Bible is filled with references to the temporary nature of our lives on this earth. By looking beyond the scope of our own lifetime, we can see that the God of the Bible is eternal and unchanging, and the more our plans and goals line up with his, the more likely the things and people we are involved with during our time here will carry greater meaning and lasting influence.

Ultimately, we are encouraged by the prophet Isaiah to trust in God if for no other reason than simply because he is eternal. We need to allow God to be God, and to recognize that we are not. When we do so, we can then have clarity through the settling dust of our temporary existence to see him for who he is, and place our trust and our purpose where it really belongs: in his gracious, unchanging hands.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Meekness provides stability and strength with integrity

Believers should be shining the light, not cursing the darkness.

Believers should be shining the light, not cursing the darkness.

Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Few are aware that this famous saying of Yeshua is actually a quote from the Psalms:

Psalm 37:10-11 – Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity.

The depth of meaning provided by the reference in this psalm widens the scope to show the contrast between the wicked and the meek. The wicked, due to their unfaithfulness to Yahweh, were to be removed from the land. This is a principle borne out by the testimony of the prophets and the witness of history, as Israel was removed from its land due to its idolatrous practices; first by the Assyrians, and then by the Babylonians.

The wicked were those who were guilty of sin, criminal, hostile to God. But by contrast, those who were to be inheritors were those who were meek. The Hebrew meaning of this word is to be humble, lowly, poor, weak, and afflicted. When we overlay the Hebrew meaning with the Greek definition from Matthew 5 we get the idea of mildness and gentleness. Combined, the idea of humility, being lowly of mindset, fits well with the mild and gentle demeanor that should be a hallmark of all believers.

This same Greek word for meekness was a characteristic that was exemplified for us by Yeshua and encouraged by the apostles, most significantly in Peter’s epistle to the scattered believers.

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 21:5 – Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 – Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry, but rather what is inside the heart ​– ​the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

In our current generation of rampant criticism, politicization of fringe practices, and trampling of common sense and objectivity, many believers have been caught up in the swirl of sensationalism and self-promotion that continues to divide our society. However, our role in this world is to exemplify the qualities of mildness and gentleness, not as doormats for others to walk on, but as having great strength under control. We have a duty to speak out for what is right, but to do so with humility and reserve so that the reasonableness of truth can be shown for what it is.

1 Peter 3:15-16 – but in your hearts regard Messiah the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Messiah will be put to shame.

1 Peter 2:12, 15 – Conduct yourselves honorably among the nations, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God … For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.

We need more of this.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.