Living righteously removes fear

Psalm 112:1 – Praise Yahweh! Happy is the person who fears Yahweh, taking great delight in his commands.

The idea contained within the completeness of this psalm is that the righteous individual, one who fears God and abides by his word, is blessed by God.

  • v. 2 Their descendants will be powerful and blessed
  • v. 3 They will have wealth and riches

They are:

  • v. 4 industrious, gracious, merciful
  • v. 5 just in all dealings
  • v. 9 generous
  • v. 9 they receive honor

This is the picture of a righteous person who lives with integrity. This is also the idea that the disciples of Yeshua had of someone who is considered righteous by God. If someone was rich and powerful, they thought, it was clear they were blessed by God.

However, Yeshua provided further insight regarding wealth and power.

Matthew 19:23-26 – Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved? ” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Yeshua took the disciples perspective that all wealthy people must be blessed by God and turned it on its head, a concept which astonished the disciples. True wealth, he says, is maintained by those who are rich toward God and toward his righteous standards.

Matthew 6:19-21 – “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In fact, that was the very discussion he had just had with the rich young ruler, and which caused the disciples to be considering this question of God’s blessing on the wealthy in the first place.

Matthew 19:21-22 – “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Our perspective must always be based on the overall message of God’s word, not just certain aspects of it, or verses taken out of context here and there. When God says the righteous will be blessed, he means it; but being blessed by God should not be the reason and motivation for living righteously.

Living according to God’s standards provides for needs and also allows one to be generous with others as God provides above and beyond. Yet, being wealthy, something many people seek to attain, should not be an end in itself. When it is, then the attainment of riches becomes the standard, and any means will be used to reach that goal.

Instead, Yeshua encourages believers to focus on doing what’s right, and God will bless as he sees fit and in his own timing. When this understanding is the focus of the individual, the confidence of the believer is that, though they may not have attained their own personal financial desires, doing what God requires according to his wisdom is more valuable than any riches in the world.

A sampling from the Proverbs can easily demonstrate this:

Proverbs 3:13-14 – Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold.
8:11, 19 – “For wisdom is better than jewels, and nothing desirable can equal it. … “My fruit is better than solid gold, and my harvest than pure silver.
16:8, 16, 19 – Better a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. … Get wisdom — how much better it is than gold! And get understanding — it is preferable to silver. … Better to be lowly of spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud.

True wealth is not measured in dollars and cents, but in the abundant measure of doing what’s right. When this is the true stance of the believer, there is no fear of losing that abundance, because it is not something that can be taken away.

Psalm 112: 7-8 – He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in Yahweh. His heart is assured; he will not fear.

This should be the central core of the believer’s perspective. Doing right according to God’s standards, living with integrity, allows one the privilege of confidence and dominion over fear; fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of the unknown. When one is operating from this confident place of a settled mind, they can be more assured in their just dealings, and this can naturally lead to increased abundance. However, abundance in and of itself is not the measure to attain. It may be the by-product of faithful work and just dealings, but it should not be the end-goal of all industry.

While God can provide bountifully for his own, the larger perspective is that everything we have belongs to him and can be given up in a moment. When this is the heart perspective of the believer, then all confidence is in God, not in the abundance of things. There is no bad news that this type of assurance cannot overcome.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

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Biblical meekness that inherits the earth

Core of the Bible Podcast #38 – Biblical meekness that inherits the earth

Today we will be exploring the topic of integrity, and how integrity is vividly illustrated in the concept of biblical meekness.

Yeshua stated it this way:

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

What I would like to do today is to look at the two main aspects of this principle of Yeshua: what the Bible says this meekness or gentleness is, and then to review what inheriting the earth is all about.

Looking at some modern definitions of the word “meek” present us with ideas like “easily imposed on” or “overly submissive.” Words like “weak, timid, soft, and yielding” are also considered modern synonyms.

Yet, if you were to look a little further into some of the archaic definitions, you would find “gentle” and “kind.”

As is typically the case, in shifting between languages throughout time certain meanings are lost and others are gained. Looking at definitions derived from the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible we come up with some definitions that provide a different emphasis.

For example, the Easton Bible dictionary says that meekness is “a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.”

Friberg Lexicon says that meekness is as “a mild and friendly disposition, gentle, kind, considerate.”

Bauer’s Lexicon says meekness is when a person is “not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate.”

What Yeshua is expressing here when he says the meek shall inherit the earth is certainly not timidity or weakness, but rather strength that is under complete control, having the ability to demonstrate great power without harshness. This is a vital ingredient in the make up of the integrity of a believer.

This is a non-intuitive way of viewing power in general, as we typically associate power with directness and abruptness of absolute authority or influence. However, the quality spoken of here is one of constancy of purpose and direction, yet having the ability to convey that definitive purpose in a way that is steady and unyielding but without being severe.

I had recently come across an article from Llewelyn Martin, writing over at Pilgrim Ministries, that conveys a sense of this nature of Moses and how we should view his actions and behavior along with those of Yeshua.

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). Vine’s defines meekness like this: “It is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God.” It is the attitude of accepting God’s work in our lives without disputing or resisting what He brings our way. It is the ability to see everything that comes along as something that God allows and wants to use to strengthen and purify our character. Whether it is circumstances that are contrary to our plan or people that insult or injure us, we realize that God has allowed it to purify us. It is complete reliance on God in what He asks of us or brings to us.

We tend to view meekness as weakness or mildness; however, in reality, meekness is strength. We know that Jesus was meek, but He was not weak. It took strength to meekly accept God’s lot for His life without using all the resources at His disposal to avoid it. He instead laid that all aside to follow through with God’s plan for Him. Meekness is the ability to use God’s power to fulfill His will when we have the power and ability to follow our own plan or defend ourselves. It is not being at the end of our rope and then needing to rely on God. It is having rope left but choosing instead to accept God’s plan. Therefore, meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. It is the calmness of spirit that is neither self-exulting nor self-degrading; it is not preoccupied with self at all. Meekness can only be realized through the Holy Spirit empowering our lives.

-Llewellyn Martin, Moses the Meekest Man

Moses The Meekest Man | Pilgrim Ministry

That biblically meek men can be influential leaders was also brought into focus by an article I found at Perspective Digest. This excerpt highlights the driving force behind biblical meekness which is a patient yet firm conviction of God’s will.

Review of the biblical use of the term translated as “meek” pertaining to Moses (Num. 12:3), provides good insight into Old Testament significance of this quality. Though at times synonymous (and even confused) with the related word translated “poor” or “afflicted,” the term’s 18 most certain occurrences never represent high social standing or popular esteem. …

For meekness as leadership principle is neither dependent on popular permission, nor on personal whim and preference. It is controlled neither by social status nor by personal will. It is the simple conviction that this is what God, unique and supreme Authority, has required and would will. It is doing what God says to do regardless. Patience with human perversity is part and parcel of such leadership, for the crowds do eventually follow, however reluctantly. But however unwilling the multitude may prove to be, God will still lead, and His meek human agent will lead by following Him (Ps. 25:9). Such single-minded, shame-despising commitment was and is the leadership of Jesus (Heb. 12:2), and of His servant Moses.

  • Lael Caesar, Moses’ Meek Leadership

Perspective Digest : Moses’ Meek Leadership

Believers are encouraged to have this quality of great strength and capability within humble and steady control, coupled with respect and kindness for others.

Titus 3:1-2 – Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Some other words from other versions of verse 2 use language like, “they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone,” or “to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

Biblical meekness is powerful because it is also one of the visible fruits of God’s holy Spirit working within us:

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This Biblical meekness or strength that is under humble control can be likened to a forest stream as it winds its way down a mountain in the wilderness. The power of the water is steady and unyielding, yet it doesn’t flow in a straight line from the top of the mountain to the sea into which it empties itself. It flows over and around rocks and obstacles as it makes its journey, softening the edges of hard rock and scooping bits of soil and pebbles in its path and carrying them away. Over time, its effects become more prominent as the channel for the stream becomes deeper and more defined. While, from one perspective, the water can be thought of as yielding to the hard rocks along the way, it is actually molding, shaping, and moving the mountain as it flows over and around the rocks and pebbles in its path.

Matthew 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Yeshua encourages us to learn of this biblical meekness from him. When we take it to heart and actually practice this with those around us, our strength that is under control can positively influence the hardened and sharpened opinions of the world around us.


Now that we have a broader understanding of biblical meekness and how we should exercise this same quality that Yeshua had, how is it that this quality allows believers to inherit the earth? Well, we can begin to understand this better when we recognize that when Yeshua was saying that the meek shall inherit the earth, he was actually referencing a quote from one of the Psalms.

Psalm 37:11 – But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

However, in Psalm 37, the contextual reference is to the land as an eternal inheritance, not the earth as a whole. The Hebrew word for earth (eretz) can be translated as either “earth” meaning the whole globe, or “land” as in the land of Israel. It is up to the translator to choose the usage.

We can see the land referenced throughout this Psalm:

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. …

9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. …

11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. …

22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. …

29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. …

34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

The reason that using the word land instead of earth in these passages is preferred is that this same type of language of inheriting the land is all through the Old Covenant. This was the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his descendants.

Genesis 12:7 – Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Genesis 13:17 – Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”

Genesis 15:18 – On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…”

In that last passage, the land is even physically described as being bordered by Egypt to the Euphrates, the physical land of Israel.

To Isaac, God said, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father,” (Genesis 26:3).

To Jacob he said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring,” (Genesis 28:13).

So to inherit the land was the result of faithfulness and obedience to God. Conversely, to not enter or to be cut off from the land was language that defined the consequences of unbelief.

Numbers 32:11 – ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me…

Deuteronomy 28:58, 63-66 – “If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, … “It shall come about … you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life.

This is the state of the wicked and unrepentant: to be cut off from the land.

God told Solomon: 1 Kings 9:6-7 – “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

So we see that the land was instrumental to the promises and purpose of God for national Israel. These promises then reached their fulfillment within the spiritual kingdom of God.


When Yeshua said the meek shall inherit the earth, I believe he used this phrase of inheriting the land metaphorically, applying it directly to the kingdom that emanates from heaven. This can be demonstrated by looking at the immediate context of the teaching of meekness within the Sermon on the Mount:

Mat 5:3, 5, 10 3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … 5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth [land]. … 10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, if Yeshua used references to the land inheritance to metaphorically stand for the Kingdom, then I believe we can also. God gave national Israel (physical descendants of Abraham) the Land; he gives believers (spiritual descendants of Abraham) the Kingdom.

Luke 12:32 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Therefore, we now come to the final aspect of this land question. If the land was to be given to Israel forever, then why did this not come to pass, as they were removed through several different scatterings through the ancient empires of Assyria, Babylon and Rome?

I believe this has to do with the nature of the eternal promise, and its fulfillment in the kingdom of God.

We know that nothing on this earth is eternal. The apostle Paul even taught that everything which can be seen is temporary.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

By that logic, the land is something that can be seen and is therefore not an eternal possession in and of itself. I believe these references to an eternal land are foreshadowing the everlasting kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven.

The prophetic Zion is mentioned as having everlasting qualities.

Psalm 125:1 – Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Psalm 146:10 – The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Micah 4:7 – “I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever.

This is also as the writer to the Hebrews relates when he ties all of this imagery together:

Hebrews 12:22 – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…

He even carries forward the promise of the land that was made to Abraham as a promise that even Abraham knew was something larger, more permanent, and a future possession:

Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-14, 16 – By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign [land,] dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. … All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. … But as it is, they desire a better [country,] that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Psalm 125:1 reads: Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” In an allusion back to this passage, the writer of Hebrews also mentions how the kingdom of God cannot be shaken.

Hebrews 12:27-28 – This [expression,] “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

This kingdom which cannot be shaken is the New Jerusalem, Mount Zion, representative of the kingdom of heaven. Just as the physically faithful inherited the physical land, then the spiritually faithful inherit the spiritual kingdom. This is the kingdom that was prophesied to spread to all kingdoms, and last forever.

Daniel 2:44 – “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and [that] kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Daniel 7:13-14 – “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

As this kingdom is to be spread over the entire earth, then in a very real way, the meek shall indeed inherit the earth, with the caveat that it will be so when the realization of the heavenly kingdom is over all the earth.

So to summarize a lot of broad-ranging information today, we can see that Yeshua’s saying that “the meek shall inherit the earth” is indeed a reality that is underway and growing to fulfillment with each passing day.

The concept of biblical meekness or gentleness is strength under control, flexible but unyielding, having a powerful purpose but adapting to its environment while accomplishing its ends.

This is the force that overcomes the mighty and powerful, beating swords into plowshares, replacing the kingdoms of men with the kingdom of God, as believers remain firm on the principles of God’s kingdom. We, as the biblical meek, are the stream cascading down the mountain of God, smoothing the rough stones and scooping up the willing along its way into the vast ocean of eternity.

As believers are diligent in bringing about this integrity of gentleness in expressing God’s powerful purpose around them, anything is possible. The world of rebellious men becomes the possession of God as willing hearts turn to him. To him every knee shall bow, and to him every knee shall confess. This is the type of power that truly inherits the earth.

Living as a new person

1 Samuel 10:6, 9 – …and the Spirit of Yahweh will come mightily on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man … When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

The Spirit of God has the ability to transform believers. Saul, as the first king of Israel, was mightily anointed by God for the task, so much so, that he effectively became another person. The text says that God when the Spirit of God came upon him, God “gave him another heart.”

God’s desired goal with individuals is that when they encounter him in a personal way, they are effectively changed from the inside out.

God had told Ezekiel that the whole nation of Israel was going to be able to receive his influence in their lives. This was to provide them the strength and wisdom to obey his commands.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 – I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.

This was God’s plan for them all along: to become a new people, set apart from all others, and to be obedient examples to the rest of the world. They were to be a nation following his torah, his instruction for all to see. This obedience would not be one of rote compulsion, but one of freedom and joy from the heart.

Jeremiah 31:33 – Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days ​– ​the LORD’s declaration. I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The only way this could effectively be accomplished was by transforming the individual’s heart to understand and to desire to follow God.

Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

Just as God had promised Israel that he would cleanse them from all of their impurities and their idols, he promised that believers in Messiah could draw near to him as they received cleansing for their rebellious deeds of conscience and body.

John 3:3, 5 – Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

To live as a believer in God and his Messiah is to live as a new person with lives of integrity and righteousness. This is the goal that God has for every individual who comes to him in sincerity and truth, and he can make it so.

Many people come to congregations seeking to change their own lives, as if somehow they can learn enough or do the right “church things” they can mold and shape themselves into who they think God wants them to be. However, all of these passages speak to the changing of the heart to be an act of God, not a twelve-step plan to becoming a better person.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

It doesn’t take a program of study to experience God’s presence in our lives, but it does take a sincere approach that lays down all personal objectives and known transgressions against a holy and righteous God. A true seeker must be willing to die to self, for the call of the true believer is the call of the martyr.

Just like Saul of long ago, God is still willing to transform. Once we have surrendered all to God, then he can mold and shape us into whom he desires us to be for him.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Becoming a lighthouse of integrity on the foundation of God’s wisdom

Proverbs 4:18-19 – The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don’t know what makes them stumble.

When we as believers are operating from a place of integrity, the way through situational obscurity can become clear. When we are obligated to do what’s right, there are limited actions, if not a singular course of action, available to us.

But how do we know what’s right? If we keep to the context of this proverbial wisdom, we find that wisdom is the key. Throughout the various chapters of Proverbs, we see they are based on a father who is imparting wisdom to a young child.

Proverbs 4:10-13 – Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life.

The key to “not stumbling” through life is to have a repository of wisdom from which to draw insight and understanding. We all must have some sort of foundational knowledge that serves to uphold our decision making processes. In ancient times, this was the common practice for parents to pass on to their children.

Proverbs 4:3-6 – When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: “Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. “Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words from my mouth. “Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you.

In today’s information-overloaded life, parents struggle to not only find their own way but to successfully impart any type of personal wisdom to their children. There are so many sources of opinion that are available on any topic these days that newer generations are being involuntarily raised by the collective angst of a worldwide mentorship. Rather than having an historically based heritage of proven familial insights, they are basing decisions by the shallow opinion of a hollow, aggregate new orthodoxy.

As believing parents, we need to caution our children that “the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don’t know what makes them stumble.” Even to declare today that anything, or anyone, could be wicked is in itself a transgression against this neo-orthodoxy of popular opinion. However, a biblical worldview does not hesitate to name wickedness and foolishness, along with righteousness and the source of all true wisdom.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 2:3-9 – furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of Yahweh and discover the knowledge of God. For Yahweh gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity so that he may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of his faithful followers. Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity ​– ​every good path.

The “good path” of integrity springs from a heart formed with true wisdom. The Bible teaches that wisdom comes from Yahweh. For thousands of years, the wisdom of God has successfully guided the righteous, and been faithfully passed to their children to provide them the right way amidst the chaos of their respective generations.

An ancient Hebraic proverb states: “Those who fear the Lord will form true judgments, and they will kindle righteous deeds like a light.” Our proverb today is filled with a similar sentiment: “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.” Yeshua also taught that righteous deeds of integrity can shine amidst a world of darkness that does not know God, and that the doing of those good and righteous deeds can provide a beacon of hope for others.

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Shining in the perfection of integrity

Matthew 5:48 – Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Integrity is a word in English which is associated with doing what’s right instinctively and from the heart. It implies that, when faced with moral dilemma, an individual will choose the correct path in God’s eyes.

What is wonderful about the original languages of the Bible is how rich they are in meaning. Like facets of a gem glint and sparkle in the sunlight as it is rotated before the discerning eye, the ancient words and language have folds and layers of various shades of meaning.

In Hebrew, a word that is many times translated into English as integrity is the word tom (pronounced tome). At its root, it carries the meaning of completion, or a full measure. Something that is tom cannot be added to because it is an act in its simplest and purest form. Taken in this sense, integrity is then the most pure and simple action that can be accomplished in any given situation. It cannot be improved upon.

Another layer to this Hebrew term is that it describes the inherent nature of the ancient high priest’s ephod, a type of ceremonial breastplate, that was used to divine God’s direction for his people.

Exodus 28:30 – “Place the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece for decisions, so that they will also be over Aaron’s heart whenever he comes before the LORD. Aaron will continually carry the means of decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.

In some translations, these strange Hebrew words are translated as “lights and perfections.” While not fully understood by scholars, it is thought that whatever the Urim and Thummim actually were, they may have lit up in certain fashions to indicate God’s direction when questions were posed of him. What is interesting to me is the word Thummim is the plural of tom, which is our word for integrity. The idea of integrity and doing what’s right is bound up in the imagery of this ancient form of seeking God’s guidance.

In the passage from Matthew above, Yeshua indicates that we should be “perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect.” The word for perfect here is the Greek word teleios, which means “having reached its end, complete, perfect.” I find that this admonition of Yeshua is simply carrying over this idea of integrity and doing what’s right according to God’s will into the eternal kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul corroborates this when he writes to the believers in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:11-13 – And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

While this modern version provides a clear meaning of the passage, the KJV highlights an aspect of this maturity that can be obscured through some translations.

Ephesians 4:13 – Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

The “perfect man” is the telios man, the individual who is complete, who has reached the end or the goal of all God is wanting to accomplish within all individuals. The individual who is perfect acts with integrity in all things. Like the ancient breastplate of the high priest, the perfect individual shines with the “lights and perfections” of God’s will, and others can see and know the truth of God through observing their actions.

When we reach this level of maturity, then will be fulfilled within us the desire of God within his people.

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The integrity of praising the Creator of all

Psalm 33:1 – Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful.

According to the Psalmist, those who are righteous are expected to be praisers of God. We have reviewed before how the righteous ones of God are people of integrity; the tzaddikim, those who are just or righteous in conduct and character. Rejoicing by those of integrity is appropriate and beautiful.

True to form, it is evident that God’s people are a praising people. Worship music is not only a primary aspect of services around the world, but it is also a huge industry in and of itself.

Unfortunately, I have seen musical tastes divide congregations and create tensions and hard feelings among members who have differing views on what would be considered appropriate worship styles. Some people prefer traditional, hymn-like worship, others prefer contemporary music styles along the lines of pop culture. The Bible, though, makes no distinction between these styles.

Psalm 33:2-3 – Praise the LORD with the lyre; make music to him with a ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song to him; play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.

However, regardless of the abuses and contentions about the role and place of music in congregations today, it is definitely scriptural for God’s people to praise him. A realization of the truthfulness of God’s word and his works all throughout his Creation should provide all the motivation needed for us to lift our praises to him.

Psalm 33: 4, 6, 8-9 – For the word of the LORD is right, and all his work is trustworthy. … The heavens were made by the word of the LORD, and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth. … Let the whole earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke, and it came into being; he commanded, and it came into existence.

I typically will listen to instrumental music while I write, and, as if to validate this point further, even as I am writing, the hymn below has begun to play. This is a perfect indicator of this very principle put forward by the Psalmist. How amazing is the working of God in continuity and encouragement!

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
he shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

This is my Father’s World, by Maltbie D. Babcock

“Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” People of integrity everywhere should be encouraged by this message of hope and positivity based on the eternal and all-powerful nature of our God. I hope in some way it also blesses your life today.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The integrity of the open mind

Proverbs 9:8-9 Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

This is an interesting concept that seems to raise the question of why a wise person would need further understanding. We typically consider that those who have knowledge are those who do not need further instruction, since they already have the knowledge. We will usually spend our time instructing those who do not have understanding so they can grow in their learning. If we are instructing someone, we feel we are giving them knowledge that they do not have, and they will be better off for it.

While this may be generally true of teaching others, the idea of reproving or rebuking a wise person is also shown to be effective, as well as being necessary at times.

Proverbs 19:25 Strike a mocker, and the inexperienced learn a lesson; rebuke the discerning, and he gains knowledge.
Proverbs 25:12 A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold.

With wisdom can come a sense of superiority and an attitude of knowing it all, therefore there can arise a conceit that prevents open-mindedness and seeks for control of others. However, a true wise person of integrity will remain humble regardless of the revelation and understanding they have received from God. A righteous person of integrity, in Hebrew, a tzaddik, will understand that even with great learning they don’t know everything, and that they still have room to be instructed further. In many ways, having a wide breadth of wisdom and understanding only highlights how much more there is to learn.

It is truly the know-it-all person who has closed their mind, thinking they have all the information they need on any given topic. Yet they typically have only enough information to be dangerous, and have not plumbed the further depths of wisdom and understanding. Sometimes even God needs to step in to help them recognize that they are out of line, and ultimately they are better off for it.

Job 5:17 See how happy is the person whom God corrects; so do not reject the discipline of the Almighty.

Integrity, or acting in righteousness, is to keep an open mind to further instruction.

There is a Hebraic way of understanding the Torah or instruction of God which demonstrates that wisdom may have many different levels and aspects to it. They involve the Hebrew words Peshat (“surface”), Remez (“hints”), Derash (“inquire”), and Sod (“secret”). The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden, or deep spiritual meaning. It is a good practice of integrity to remain open to other ways of looking at things, as long as they remain consistent with the overall message of the Bible.

We can see these various levels of messaging throughout the Bible, whether it is a prophecy that was to be applied in a specific circumstance with additional deeper meaning, or whether it was parable of Yeshua meant to allegorically teach a spiritual truth using common elements of daily life. All wisdom comes from God, but if we are to exhibit integrity in our walk, we should remain open to the possibility of learning new things to add to our repository of knowledge we have attained thus far.

Being a disciple of integrity in the kingdom of heaven is similar to the example of teachers of the law in Yeshua’s day who became believers. They recognized that they had access to depths of ancient wisdom of the Hebraic culture as well as the new insights that the Messiah brought to those ancient teachings.

Matthew 13:52 “Therefore,” he said to them, “every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom treasures new and old.”

For us today, we have the ongoing inspiration of God as we continually review the wisdom of God in his Word. We should continually add to our “storeroom of wisdom” with humility and integrity, all the while keeping our focus on the Almighty God as our ultimate source and guide for all truth.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


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 at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The integrity of knowing and doing God’s will

The Hebrew word for integrity (tom, pronounced tome) has been discussed before as meaning simplicity or completeness. But one of the other variations for this word comes from the stones that were used by the high priest to determine God’s will in any situation.

Tom is a basis for the word thummim (pronounced too-meem) as in the “Urim and Thummim.” Thummim means perfections, and Urim (pronounced oo-reem) means lights. Therefore, in some versions of the Bible, instead of simply transliterating Urim and Thummim in the descriptions of the high priest’s breastplate, they will use the phrase “lights and perfections.”

Exodus 28:30 “Place the Urim and Thummim [lights and perfections] in the breastpiece for decisions, so that they will also be over Aaron’s heart whenever he comes before the LORD. Aaron will continually carry the means of decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.

Leviticus 8:8 Then he put the breastpiece on him and placed the Urim and Thummim [lights and perfections] into the breastpiece.

Numbers 27:21 “He will stand before the priest Eleazar who will consult the LORD for him with the decision of the Urim [lights]. He and all the Israelites with him, even the entire community, will go out and come back in at his command.”

Nehemiah 7:65 The governor ordered them not to eat the most holy things until there was a priest who could consult the Urim and Thummim [lights and perfections].

There has been much speculation as to how these stones worked, or what mechanism was involved in order to determine what God’s will was in any given situation. Some think the stones would be used kind of like holy dice. Others think that the stones lit up when a certain question was asked. However, regardless of the method, the result was that God’s will would be determined through the use of these stones. It was a simple method and it was complete in that the determination would be final.

What is interesting to me about the Hebrew language is that all the word meanings within a root group tend to blend together and overlap. The simplicity and completeness of integrity is also a means for determining God’s will, just as the stones were for the high priest. The continuity of Hebrew thought comes through the completeness of the root word tom culminating in the perfections of the word thummim. To be complete is to be perfected.

If we view integrity as being the simple choice in any given situation, we may find that we are operating within the ethics that God prefers. Understandably, the simple choice is not always the easy choice, but it is typically the clearest path to doing what’s right. If we are to maintain our integrity in any given situation, then we should have the clarity of purpose and direction that God’s will provides.

The Greek word telios (pronounced tell-ee-os) carries this concept into the New Testament writings. For something to be telios is to reach its fullness, maturity, or completion. This is why Yeshua could instruct his disciples to exhibit this most essential characteristic of their heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The apostle Paul said that believers could determine God’s perfect will through being transformed by the renewing of their mind.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Whether in Hebrew or Greek, this clarity of purpose and understanding of God’s will is provided by the simplicity and completeness of integrity, just as the perfections of the stones did for the high priest.

For believers today, we don’t need physical stones to understand God’s will and act with integrity. God’s will is best determined by having a thorough understanding of his word and by allowing our minds to be renewed by God’s Spirit as to how to apply it in day to day actions. Therefore, it can be said that those who live lives of integrity are truly living their lives according to God’s word.


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

Lighting the way for others

Core of the Bible Podcast #31 – Lighting the way for others

In this episode we will be exploring the topic of integrity, and how a life of integrity cannot help but shine brightly for God in a world filled with darkness.

Yeshua stated it this way:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

This  passage can be paraphrased as “Be shining: let your good practices be seen by all. Magnify God.”

The life of a believer is a life that is all about others. It’s not just about receiving light for your own path, but about lighting the way for those around you. As that light is received, others can recognize and honor God for who he is.

As much as we might like to believe it’s all about us, we don’t have the luxury of receiving wisdom from God simply for our own benefit and use. Unfortunately many messages from within the halls of Christendom today ring with the hollow platitudes of self-improvement for the sake of self, living your best life, getting all that God has to offer you. These are merely phantoms and shadows of the truths of the Bible, and yet their message is so seductive that many, if not most, have been led astray.

These messages of self do not align with God’s view of integrity because integrity is not only about doing the right thing, but doing the right thing in view of, and on behalf of, others. In fact, integrity doesn’t exist until it can be demonstrated to someone else, whether it be God or your neighbor.

That being said, this does not mean that we should make a point of everyone seeing how righteous we are. This is hypocrisy, the very opposite of integrity. Yeshua condemned the religious leaders of his day for their hypocrisy.

Matthew 6:5, 16 “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. … “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.

Instead, integrity is doing the right thing in the sight of others even if it is the unpopular or undesirable course of action. The motivation for this type of example is not to become the center of attention, but to simply do the right thing even if the right thing to do is sometimes messy. When others can see that someone is going beyond the minimum or is willing to step outside their comfort zone to be of assistance or to take an unpopular stance on an issue, they are more likely to be inspired and encouraged to follow suit.

And isn’t this why integrity is more rare than it should be? Acts of integrity typically come at a personal cost to the individual, and most people do not feel that they are willing to come out of their own safety zone to do the right thing, even if they know what the right thing to do is. It is easier to simply go along with the crowd.

The answer to increasing integrity in our society is realigning peoples’ motivation to do the right thing. If people are unwilling to act with integrity, it is because they have no motivation to do so, and would prefer to guard their own interests. This is just human nature.

Motivation for actions of integrity will come from one of two places: a motivation to please the desires or opinions of men, or the motivation to please the desires of God. Whomever you are seeking praise from is whom you will serve. If you seek the praise of men, you will do just enough to receive their praise, and do nothing more. However, if you seek the praise of God, you will serve him BY serving others AS IF you were serving God directly.

As for believers, we don’t need the praise of men when the things that we do are done for God. Our motivation is to please God, not the opinions or desires of men. Operating in this perspective typically means we are willing to go well above and beyond the minimum requirement of the needs of others. This is because we have the awareness that God is ultimately the one who is receiving the benefit of our efforts.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people…

When you serve others as if you are serving God, notice is taken by everyone else who is merely doing the minimum, and God is honored in this world. Those acts of integrity then become a light for others who see the consistency of your beliefs and your actions. When that happens, God is magnified. Just like the principle of a magnifying glass, to magnify God is to make him appear larger, that is, he is brought closer in reality to others.

Psalm 34:3 O magnify Yahweh with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

The reality is that the truth of God can’t be contained when you are operating with integrity. As you do so, your good works make a real difference as they shine into the lives around you.


On the subject of shining, in our passage today Yeshua says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” While this is one of the most popular and familiar sayings of Yeshua, if we step back and take a look at this passage from a cultural and historical context, this well-known saying actually takes on some new and distinct characteristics. Quoting Talumudic sources (that is, the oral traditions of the Jews that were were written down and compiled in the first and second centuries AD), John Gill, in his exposition of the Bible, says that great leaders and rabbis within Judaism have  been viewed as “the light of the world.”

So. R. Meir, R. Akiba his disciple, and R. Judah the prince, are each of them called , “the light of the world”; as R. Jochanan ben Zaccai is by his disciples, “the lamp of the world”: and it was usual for the head of a school, or of an university to be styled, “the light of the world.”

This metaphor of light, Gill describes, has been picked up from Daniel 12:3.

Then the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

If all of this is the true context, then this greatly amplifies Yeshua telling his disciples that “you are the light of the world.” He was intimating that they were to be the teachers and leaders of that generation of believers.

This is borne out as we view how the religious leaders of the day were viewing Yeshua and his disciples.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Yeshua himself was accused of the same thing.

John 7:15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

It was mind-boggling to the Jews as to how men who were not steeped in the traditions and schooling within the Jewish traditions could have such wide ranging and authoritative spiritual influence among the people.

That the rabbis considered themselves to be the light of the world is also intimated by Paul when he writes

Romans 2:17-21 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth– you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

Paul was sarcastically poking at the hypocrisy of the Jews who considered themselves to have the light of torah and instruction, and yet continued to violate the requirements of torah themselves. The louder someone shouts they have the light, the less light they actually convey, especially if they don’t even abide by the light they say they have.

True acts of integrity don’t need to be announced, they are simply done, quietly and effectively, because they are the right thing to do.

And the analogy to a brightly lit city on a hill also cannot go overlooked. John Gill continues:

The land of Israel, the Jews say, was higher than all other lands; and the temple at Jerusalem was higher than any other part of the land of Israel. And as a city cannot be hid which is built on a high place, so neither could, nor ought the doctrines which the apostles were commissioned to preach, be hid, or concealed from men…”

If we take Yeshua’s analogous city on a hill to mean not just any generic city, but Jerusalem itself, as Gill does, then it takes on even more meaning. The city of believers, as the New Jerusalem, is not a city that can be hidden or missed. Just as a high city at night draws all attention to itself, so the people of God cannot help but be noticed and seen by our very presence among the societies of this world.

On the topic of the city on the hill, John Ellicott writes:

“The imagery might, however, come from the prophetic visions of the Zion of the future, idealising the position of the actual Zion (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1). No image could so vividly set forth the calling of the Church of Christ as a visible society. For good or for evil, it could not fail to be prominent in the world’s history, a city of refuge for the weary, or open to the attacks of the invader.”

Albert Barnes contributes:

“Jesus…told his disciples that they were like [a city on a hill]. Their actions could not be hid. The eyes of the world were upon them. They must be seen; and as this was the case, they ought to be holy, harmless, and undefiled.”

Because believers in this world are motivated by pleasing God and not men, our actions stand out in stark relief to the corruption and darkness all around us. The message of Yeshua’s analogy to a city on a hill is captured in the popular proverb, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Paul’s desire was for believers to continue this legacy of light.

Romans 13:12-13 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime…

Philippians 2:15-16 that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life…

Put your lamp on the lampstand where it belongs. The integrity of your actions fuel the lamp that shines into the night. Together, our collective lights become a city of righteousness on a high mountain that is visible to all, magnifying and broadcasting a beacon of God’s truths to our world. In this way, a generation of those living in the darkness can be drawn to him.


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

The Watcher and Influencer of hearts

“If you say, “Behold, we didn’t know this;” doesn’t he who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, doesn’t he know it? Shall he not render to every man according to his work?”

Proverbs 24:12

Yahweh is he represented as one who weighs the heart and keeps the soul. Scripture conveys the idea that Yahweh is observing, and guarding, and watching at all times. To say that he observes is to say that he keeps watch, as one who is guarding a fortress. A watcher must be alert and aware at all times of what’s going on. But a watcher is also a preserver, or a guard who protects what he has guarding. These meanings bleed together in the descriptions of how God is intimately involved with the inmost motives of his people.

Proverbs 16:2: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but Yahweh weighs the motives.”
Proverbs 21:2: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Yahweh weighs the hearts.”

As a weigher of hearts, he is depicted as a measurer, balancing motives on a scale to see how they measure up. But there is also conveyed a notion of being a regulator of those motives which drive our actions. In this sense, Yahweh is depicted as being actively involved in molding and shaping one’s thoughts toward a desired outcome.

Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in Yahweh’s hand like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.”

Many great minds over the centuries have pondered these aspects of Yahweh’s involvement within the deepest recesses of those whom he has created. Some have concluded all is predestined and Yahweh’s hand guides everything without exception. Others have concluded that the free will of mankind is the only explanation for how God can hold us accountable for our actions.

However, I am of the opinion that these types of passages demonstrate how all of creation is balanced on the point of a needle. The very actions and motives of our heart are not only known by God but also at times purposefully planted with intent. To my mind, this is why predestination and free will are both sustainable arguments from Scripture, because they are both true, but neither is satisfactory in the extreme.

To be wholly predestined is to be a robot acting out a pre-programmed course of events. To have complete free will is to acknowledge the sovereignty of man above the will of God, hence, making mankind God.
The reality is that God holds men accountable for the integrity of their actions, and yet is actively supporting, directing, and regulating those actions for his perfect will.

I believe the practical key for our understanding lies in recognizing the outcome of our actions which are based on our motives. The more in line our actions are with God‘s word, the more we can know we are doing what’s right in his eyes. The integrity of our actions are the feedback loop on our motives. While this indefinable process of God’s influence on our heart and motives strains our understanding, we are not left without a recognition of the results of that influence in our lives.

We should join with the pleas of David, as he seeks Yahweh’s strength and wisdom in molding and shaping his heart, so that his actions would reflect and conform to the will of  God.

Psalm 51:10-13,17: “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Don’t throw me from your presence, and don’t take your holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways. Sinners shall be converted to you. … The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

When we offer up broken hearts, we demonstrate our willingness to conform our lives to God’s standards so that his will can be accomplished. Allowing his influence on our hearts through his Spirit completes the purpose of God to establish his ways in our hearts, and not just in a book.

Integrity is consistency of action with the revealed will of Yahweh. We should welcome his scrutiny and influence as a watcher and influencer of hearts while we seek to obediently chart our way through this world. The more we do so, the more he is honored and glorified.


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