The quiet and contented trust in Yahweh

When we truly trust in God, we demonstrate a calm humility in all things.

Psalm 131:1-3 – Yahweh, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child. Israel, put your hope in Yahweh, both now and forever.

We can learn some ideas about trusting in Yahweh from this brief psalm of David. Some Bible versions will place a title on this psalm, such as “A song of quiet trust.” What catches my attention are some of the simple details of trusting God.

The point of the psalm is actually the last verse, “Israel, put your hope in Yahweh both now and forever.” The word for hope carries ideas of patient and expected waiting. Considered by itself, is this not what trust is? When trust is complete, then any delay in the fulfillment of what was promised is merely a time of patient waiting, for it is sure to come to pass. When trust is complete, there is no anxiety, no pained or striving searching, but merely calmness and certitude until it comes to pass.

David also mentions the idea of humility; trust is humble because it does not try to get out ahead of the one being trusted. There is no vaunting of personal agenda to find out ahead of time when something will come to pass. In humility, there is only a quiet and reserved acceptance of the current state, even if unknown, until the trusted thing is realized.

Trust also does not try to enter into areas with which it is not familiar in an attempt to hurry along an intended result. David recognized some things were just “too wonderful” for him, and in his humility, he was willing to leave those things to God.

And finally, David uses the illustration of a weaned child in its mother’s arms. A child who is not weaned will struggle and fuss with the mother in order to be fed from the mother’s breast. However, a weaned child can rest securely in the arms of its mother with no anxiety of nourishment or need of sustenance beyond the simple protective care of her embrace. The child’s soul is stilled and quiet because it needs nothing more.

In David’s poetic imagery, this is what trust in Yahweh looks like. A humble and content child resting securely and without need within the guarded safety of a loving embrace. When we can learn to quietly rest in the arms of a loving God, we can still those irrational fears and doubts that bubble up within our consciousness, knowing that he is more than able to guide us through any uncertainties that may arise.


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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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

God’s historical resume of faithfulness

God has demonstrated himself as being faithful and completely trustworthy through his actions with Israel.

Core of the Bible podcast #48 – God’s historical resume of faithfulness

Today we will be exploring the topic of trust, and how God has demonstrated himself as being faithful and completely trustworthy through his actions with Israel as revealed in the Bible. The story of Israel is a story about God’s faithfulness. He has demonstrated himself as worthy of trust because whatever he has committed to his people has come to pass. Time and time again he has proven himself as fulfilling what he has promised, whether in blessing or in judgment. In essence, the Bible story of Israel is a type of historical resume that God has provided us.

From a quick online search of definitions, we find that a resume can be defined as “a formal document that provides an overview of your professional qualifications, including your relevant work experience, skills, education, and notable accomplishments.” Now let me quickly add that it certainly isn’t necessary for God to provide us all of that information, since, well, he’s God and can do whatever he wants. It’s not as if he is encouraging us to hire him to be our God from among the choices of other gods that are out there. But isn’t that kind of how we look at this information contained in the Bible? We evaluate it critically against the claims of other beliefs and religious systems out there to see if it is a reasonable system of faith.

Since God certainly has nothing to prove, and yet we still need some sort of understanding of who he is, how does the Bible stack up as a demonstration of God’s “skills and notable accomplishments”?

Well, if we review the story of Israel as related in the Bible books, we find a consistent narrative that has a logical beginning, middle, and ending that has been borne out in time. We can see that there is a flow and a lasting evidence to how God has worked with the nation of Israel within history to help us understand who he is.

The story of Israel begins most notably with the events in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as related in the book of Genesis. After Abraham leaves the Ur of the Chaldees to go to a special place in which God is calling him, his son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob, carry the story forward to the twelve sons of Jacob. In the course of time, they needed to temporarily leave the area that God had called them to due to severe famine. However, God had promised that they would be returning in fulfillment of what he had promised them.

Genesis 28:15 – “Look, I am with you, and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

In this vision that Jacob experiences, God recounts the promises made to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. He promised that they would receive the land, that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth, and that all the tribes of the earth would be blessed through him and his descendants.

Genesis 28:13-14  – “I will give you and your offspring the land on which you are lying. “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

Of course, the story reveals that in traveling to Egypt for salvation from the famine, they became a numerous people that began to be a threat to the Egyptians, so they were forced into slavery. God then sent Moses to deliver them, and separate them to himself as his own people.

After the events of the Exodus and the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai, they are relegated to the wilderness in preparation for returning to the land that God had promised them.

As Moses and Aaron pass from the scene, God raises up Joshua to be their leader in purging the land from its pagan atrocities so the land can prosper under the auspices of the torah of God.

Deuteronomy 9:5  – “You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity. Instead, Yahweh your God will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness, in order to fulfill the promise he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

After the battle campaigns, we find that everything had come to pass just as God had promised. On his deathbed, Joshua recounts God’s faithfulness:

Joshua 23:14 – “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know with all your heart and soul that not one of the good promises Yahweh your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.”

So we can see, at least as far as Joshua was concerned, God had demonstrated himself worthy of faith based on everything that he had promised to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


In reviewing God’s resume in relation to the Israelites, we find another historical aspect that has been borne out in time, and still exists to this day. Just prior to the nation entering and taking the land of Canaan, God had set some pretty strict covenantal standards in place. You may recall the blessings and the curses that were pronounced upon them if they were to keep the conditions of the covenant, or if they were to fail in doing so.

Deuteronomy 28:1, 15, 63-65  – “Now if you faithfully obey Yahweh your God and are careful to follow all his commands I am giving you today, Yahweh your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. … “But if you do not obey Yahweh your God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you:  … “Just as Yahweh was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so he will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess. “Then Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There Yahweh will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit.”

Again, we find that both of these examples, the blessings and the curses, have come to pass in the life of the nation.

As they demonstrated faithfulness and maintained worship of the one true God, the nation rose to power in the ancient world, coming to a pinnacle in the lives of David and Solomon. At that time, Israel was not only bountiful within the borders of its own land, but David had also won the peace of surrounding nations who became subservient to Israel, from Egypt all the way to the Euphrates river. This was a monumental territory that was a fulfillment of all that God had promised to Abraham.

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

Solomon lived to enjoy the fulfillment of that promise.

1 Kings 4:21  – “Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and as far as the border of Egypt. They offered tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.”

Sadly, Solomon also lived to see the beginning of the curses of the covenant fall upon the nation, as he himself was the catalyst of events that would lead to the removal of Israel from their territory that God had promised them.

1 Kings 11:4, 6  – “When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been. … Solomon did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not remain loyal to Yahweh.”

In his later years, his heart went after foreign women and their gods. He began to compromise with the religions of the surrounding nations, and due to his unfaithfulness he triggered the activation of the covenant curses, beginning with his own son.

Upon his death, Solomon’s son Rehoboam inherited the kingdom and infuriated the people with his obstinance. As a result, Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon, rebelled and began to rule over ten of the tribes, leaving Judah and Benjamin to Rehoboam. A civil war was to commence that would never be physically healed.

Over the next several hundred years, the country would degrade further into idolatry and rebellion against God, until the ten tribes were finally overpowered by Assyria and removed from the land. Less than two centuries later, Babylon would rise to power and remove Judah and Benjamin from the land. The prophecy that Moses had given to their forefathers came to pass in horrifying reality.

Deuteronomy 28:63-64  – “…You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess. Then Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.”

Assyria invaded in 721 BC and Babylon in 586 BC. The Israelites were indeed “scattered among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other.” Even when the Jews in Babylon were allowed to return to Jerusalem 70 years later, many of them chose to remain in Babylon. The ten northern tribes that had been taken by the Assyrians were so widely spread and co-mingled with the nations that they also never fully returned.

Once again, the truth of God and his faithfulness to his word were demonstrated with Israel. Yet there remained a significant and enduring promise that was still to come to pass.


Long after the physical blessings and curses of the covenant had come to pass, there was still a work that God had committed would happen. Beyond the physical promises of a land and numerous people stood God’s promise to the forefathers of Israel that all the families or tribes of the earth would be blessed through their descendants. God had brought a small remnant of his people back to the land to ensure that the final stage of his drama with Israel could still be fulfilled.

One of the other major prophecies that God had declared to Moses was that of a prophet who was to come, who would faithfully speak God’s words within his generation.

Deuteronomy 18:18-19  – “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name.”

Additionally, God had yet to fulfill a prior prophetic commitment that he had made to Abraham.

Genesis 18:18  – “Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.”

The good news of the Bible is that God fulfilled these promises in the person of Yeshua. As God’s Son, the anointed One, he spoke the words of the Father to his generation of brothers and was appointed the judge who was to hold them accountable to the truth of God’s torah.

John 12:49  – “For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said.”

John 8:16  – “And if I do judge, my judgment is true, because it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.”

Additionally, as a true descendant of Abraham’s lineage, he fulfilled every promise and prophecy for the nation, and became the springboard of faith to the rest of the world.

Genesis 21:12  – But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed about the boy and about your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your seed will be traced through Isaac…

Galatians 3:28-29 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”

Just as Isaac was a miraculous son of promise, so Yeshua was a miraculous son of promise. We see the fulfillment of these promises made to Abraham and to Israel through Moses that came to pass in the days of Yeshua. The early believers recognized these promises being fulfilled, and came to faith in Messiah.

Additionally, in recognition of these fulfillments, the apostle Paul reached out to the Israelites everywhere who were still scattered among the nations with the hopes that they would be restored to the one true God, and that as lost sheep they would be restored to the fold. Many did return to the faith of God, thereby fulfilling the torah by becoming a faithful remnant through whom God would reach out to all nations. In the process of these lost and scattered Israelites coming to faith in Messiah, many others of the nations did so also, demonstrating how all nations would be blessed through him.

Every faithful life needs a narrative, otherwise the Bible merely becomes a collection of stories and platitudes. The Bible stands as God’s resume of faithfulness, a narrative corroborated through the annals of history. Through this brief recounting of God’s faithfulness with the nation of Israel, we can see how God has provided us a resume of his accomplishments within the history of his people. We know historically that they were brought dramatically out of Egypt, how they flourished in the land that God had promised them, and yet were ultimately scattered among all nations, even down to this day.  We see through these inner workings that God has done all things in wisdom by caring for his people, yet holding them accountable to their covenant. All of this was so that his glory would be made known to the whole world, and that all nations would be able to recognize him for who he is.

Like Paul, we can hold all of this in amazement when we realize the intricate care and detail in how God works all things to his own glory:

Romans 11:33, 36  – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways!  … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.”

The promises that were made to Abraham and Moses were recognized by the earliest believers in Messiah as coming to fulfillment in Yeshua. They have continued to come to pass up to our day, multiplying believers in the one true God and blessing all of the tribes within each generation of the earth into the future. As we honor God by trusting in him and his Messiah, we demonstrate we are participating in the ongoing consummation of his faithfulness to all people.


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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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

How Yeshua illustrates the ultimate trust in God

His hope and trust can become our hope and trust.

Luke 23:46 – And Yeshua called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last.

We can draw great insight from the final words of Yeshua as he hung on the cross. Everything related to those final hours and moments of his earthly life were drenched thick with meaning.

It is a common understanding that when a Hebrew speaker is quoting a section of Scripture, the hearer would instantly understand the context of the quote and recognize that the entirety of the passage is in view. In the case of Yeshua’s final words, we are hyper-linked back to Psalm 31.

Psalm 31:5 – Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Yahweh, God of truth.

Yet this statement of hope is embedded in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances, as other stanzas within that psalm describe.

Psalm 31:9-11, 13 – Be gracious to me, Yahweh, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from frustration — my whole being as well. Indeed, my life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my affliction, and my bones waste away. I am ridiculed by all my adversaries and even by my neighbors. I am dreaded by my acquaintances; those who see me in the street run from me. … I have heard the gossip of many; terror is on every side. When they conspired against me, they plotted to take my life.

By placing the words and full context of this messianic psalm on the lips of Yeshua, the psalm comes to life and describes his thoughts as he was in the throes of the most hideous of circumstances. Nevertheless, we can draw great hope and inspiration from faith and trust that Yeshua places in Yahweh, even amidst the most painful suffering and humiliation a human could be exposed to.

Psalm 31:7, 14-16 – I will rejoice and be glad in your faithful love because you have seen my affliction. You know the troubles of my soul … But I trust in you, Yahweh; I say, “You are my God.” The course of my life is in your power; rescue me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. Make your face shine on your servant; save me by your faithful love.

Some of the most powerful statements of trust in God that can be uttered are, “into your hands I commit my spirit,” and “the course of my life is in your power.” If we really believed that the course of our life, our very existence, is within the power of God, I believe that we might live differently with a unique and much more powerful perspective. To commit our spirit into the hands of God is the ultimate act of de-throning our Self and allowing God to guide us in a way that seems best to him.

Is this what Yeshua would want for us, to love Yahweh enough to fully commit our whole being to him? Well, if we consider the psalm as being in his mind and on his lips as he hung on the cross, he tells us so himself within its final verses:

Psalm 31:23-24 – Love Yahweh, all his faithful ones. Yahweh protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant. Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in Yahweh.

When we accept Yeshua’s admonition to faithfully love Yahweh, his hope and trust become our hope in trust, no matter how insurmountable our own circumstances may appear.


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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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

Faith in the greater purpose of God

We must always be faithful in sowing the seeds of truth.

Many times today, I have heard people say that if God would only give them a sign, then they would believe in him. But what kind of sign would be a true indication? They haven’t defined what that sign would be, just that they won’t believe until they see some sort of evidence.

Well, we can tell from the book of Deuteronomy that signs are not the answer to people believing in God or not. Time after time, Moses is upbraiding the people for their lack of faith, regardless of the signs they have personally witnessed.

Deuteronomy 6:22-23 – “Before our eyes Yahweh inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his household, “but he brought us from there in order to lead us in and give us the land that he swore to our fathers.

Deuteronomy 11:2-3, 7 – “Understand today that it is not your children who experienced or saw the discipline of Yahweh your God: His greatness, strong hand, and outstretched arm; “his signs and the works he did in Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and all his land; … “Your own eyes have seen every great work Yahweh has done.

Deuteronomy 1:30-33 – “Yahweh your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw him do for you in Egypt. “And you saw in the wilderness how Yahweh your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. “But in spite of this you did not trust Yahweh your God, who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.

In spite of the signs they had seen, they refused to believe. Yet even as he is concluding his narrative, Moses provides us a glimpse into why they had rejected the signs:

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything Yahweh did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to his entire land. “You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders. “Yet to this day Yahweh has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.

Now we get to the meat of it; regardless of the amount of signs they experienced, Yahweh had not provided them “a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.” Why would he do that? Doesn’t he want everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)?

We can understand this a little better as we find Yeshua, quoting the prophet Isaiah, saying the same thing to the religious leaders of his day:

Matthew 13:10-17 – Then the disciples came up and asked him, “Why are you speaking to them in parables? ” He answered, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. “For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. “That is why I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. “Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, but never understand; you will look and look, but never perceive. “For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back — and I would heal them. “Blessed are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. “For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see but didn’t see them, to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.

When he spoke in parables, it was with the idea of sharing the truth of the kingdom with them but also providing them opportunity to reject it. The ones who were sincere in seeking God would understand the parables for what they were, while those who were not sincere in seeking God would reject them.

This was how the apostle Paul also understood the principle of receiving spiritual truths:

1 Corinthians 1:19-23 – For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Messiah crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the nations.

For Moses, Yeshua, and Paul, those who would not understand their message have been kept from understanding something, not necessarily because of some direct intervention of God, but by the condition of their own hearts.

The idolatry of ancient Israel hardened them to the signs they received. The pride of the religious leaders in Yeshua’s day prevented them from hearing the truth of his words. The philosophy of the elite that Paul preached to prevented them from accepting his message. Yet through all of these rebellions, the larger purpose of God was ultimately served.

When we share the clear measure of the word of God with those around us and they don’t receive it, it could be that God has not yet prepared their hearts for understanding at that moment for some other greater purpose he has. This requires a great measure of faith on our part. However, we can be sure that as Paul told Timothy, God desires that we intercede on behalf of others that they would receive the truth:

1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 – … I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, … This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We are not to determine how the seed may grow or what kind of soil it lands on, only that we are faithful in the sowing of it.

Acts 13:46-47 – Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you [Jews] first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the nations. “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the nations to bring salvation to the end of the earth.”

We should remember that through the discipline of unbelief in the wilderness, God hardened and prepared a people to have the strength to take the land he had promised them. That was the larger purpose. And through the discipline of unbelief in New Testament Judea, God’s largest purpose was then realized: his word was spread throughout the world, and even down through the millennia, to us.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.


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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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


Trusting God above the stubborn idolatry of our own hearts

Those who trust in Yahweh become a refreshment and a resource for others, continuing to produce fruit when no other fruit is to be found.

Jeremiah 17:5-6 – This is what Yahweh says: Cursed is the person who trusts in mankind. He makes human flesh his strength, and his heart turns from Yahweh. He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives.

This judgment from God described by Jeremiah is being leveled against Judah in the context of their continual unfaithfulness with idolatry.

Jeremiah 16:10-13 – “When you tell these people all these things, they will say to you, ‘Why has Yahweh declared all this terrible disaster against us? What is our iniquity? What is our sin that we have committed against Yahweh our God? ‘ “Then you will answer them, ‘Because your fathers abandoned me ​– ​this is Yahweh’s declaration ​– ​and followed other gods, served them, and bowed in worship to them. Indeed, they abandoned me and did not keep my instruction. “You did more evil than your fathers. Look, each one of you was following the stubbornness of his evil heart, not obeying me. “So I will hurl you from this land into a land that you and your fathers are not familiar with. There you will worship other gods both day and night, for I will not grant you grace.’

Jeremiah tells them “each one of you was following the stubbornness of his evil heart, not obeying [Yahweh].” At its core, this is what idolatry is. What I find interesting in this passage is that this stubbornness of the evil heart is extended to “the person who trusts in mankind. He makes human flesh his strength, and his heart turns from Yahweh,” (v. 5-6). Idolatry is not always just the worship of false gods, but false humans.

Ancient literature surrounding the Bible conveys that the root of idolatry began when people began “honoring” images of humans and human leaders, not just pagan gods (Wisdom of Solomon 14:12-31). All of this blended together over time to become a mash-up of deities and exalted humans which people began to trust more than the true God of the universe.

This gross idolatry of Judah is an example for us today. People may say, “We don’t worship idols today,” yet, how we look to our leaders and how much we trust them to solve the world’s problems can easily become idolatrous for us. This may be even more prevalent now than in the time of ancient Judah, as exposure to these idols assault us through the availability of 24/7 online media. In the stubbornness of our evil hearts, just like ancient Judah, we choose to trust in mankind, “turning our hearts from Yahweh.”

However, the relief in all of this is contained within the blessing contained within Jeremiah’s stern admonitions and curse against the idolatry of the day. The curse against stubbornness of idolatry is contrasted with the blessing of trusting in Yahweh.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – The person who trusts in Yahweh, whose confidence indeed is Yahweh, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.

Notice the blessings that come with truly trusting in Yahweh, and not the stubbornness of our evil hearts by looking to false gods and humans. There is no fear or worry of future calamity, the source of nourishment remains strong, even when all else may be drying up around us. Those who trust in Yahweh become a refreshment and a resource for others, continuing to produce fruit when no other fruit is to be found.

Yeshua encouraged his listeners to place their trust in Yahweh by believing in him.

John 12:44, 49 – Jesus cried out, “The one who believes in me believes not in me, but in him who sent me. … “For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said.

If we can trust in Yahweh by trusting in the words of Yeshua, then we have our renewed objectives away from the idolatry that can so easily consume us. When we remove our stubborn focus off of the kingdoms of men and place it on the kingdom of God, we can rest confidently and without concern in the care of the Almighty.

Matthew 6:33-34 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its 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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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

Hope that comes from faith in God

His commands are sure and faithful, leading to his kingdom.

Proverbs 23:17-18 – Let not your heart envy sinners: but be in the fear of Yahweh all the day. For if you should keep these things, you shall have a future; and your hope shall not be removed.

In this passage of Proverbs, Solomon conveys that when it comes to trusting in Yahweh, there is a promise of continuance, a future where posterity thrives and hope lives.

by contrast, the wicked will not maintain hope in any recognizable future.

Proverbs 24: 19-20 Rejoice not in evil-doers, neither be envious of sinners. For the evil man shall have no future: and the light of the wicked shall be put out.

Hope is a rare and precious commodity, especially in our current day. People are longing for any thread of optimism to cling to. Many are convinced that things are only getting worse and that society as a whole is headed toward some sort of climactic shift or end where a renewal will take place. For the secular among us, crises of all proportions loom on the horizon, from global warming to over-population to mutual nuclear destruction. From the religious camps are touted apocalyptic endings within this generation, with the destruction of the wicked and the establishment of a reign of subsequent peace.

Yet God’s Word remains steadfast in its declaration of faithful continuance. The kingdom of God that was established with the coming of the Messiah two millennia ago will continue to increase, ebbing and expanding in synchronous harmony with the faithfulness of each generation until it fills the earth. There will be good times, and there will be bad times, but all times are moving steadily toward its fulfillment in reality.

As individuals, when we faithfully trust God and enact his principles in our lives, we shine a light within our circles of influence. As these lights grow and move, they can overlap and spread, increasing with luminosity as hope and truth spread.

In the proverb above, the simple admonition of Solomon captures the essence of all of the ten commandments by stating its first command and its last: “Let not your heart envy sinners: but be in the fear of Yahweh all the day.” The tenth commandment is not to covet or “envy sinners”; the first is to not have any other gods but Yahweh, to “be in fear of Yahweh all the day.”

By following these commands personally, we can have a future and a hope. This hope and future can be communicated to those around us, thereby carrying the light of truth a little further out into our world. When other hearts become committed to Yahweh and his principles contained within his commandments, the kingdom grows, and we grow steadfastly toward the ultimate reality of his kingdom together. When we share faith and trust in Yahweh, we share hope.


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! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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

We can’t successfully obey God if we don’t trust him

Trusting in God is the root of obedience to his Word.

Deuteronomy 9:23 – When Yahweh sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, “Go up and possess the land which I have given you;” then you rebelled against the commandment of Yahweh your God, and you didn’t believe him, nor listen to his voice.

As national Israel was preparing to enter the land of Canaan, Moses was recounting to them their history over the last 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. This was to put them in the correct mindset so they could be fully prepared to take the land that God is providing to them.

One of the negative occurrences that he recounted was a stark reminder to them to be faithful and obedient to God’s commands. When they had rebelled against God’s original command to take the land, they were routed by the local tribes and suffered heavy losses. Additionally, this act of disobedience was the primary cause of their wandering in the wilderness for forty years. God had to make sure all of the unfaithful among them died off before they could have another opportunity to successfully overcome and possess the land.

Moses stated this process of rebellion as a simple fact: they had rebelled against the word of Yahweh (literally, the mouth of Yahweh) because they did not trust him; therefore, they did not listen or obey him. Rebellion is fostered by not trusting God or his Word, and therefore no obedience to that Word can be had.

The same is true today. When people do not trust God, they do not believe in his Word and they are not likely to obey his commands. Trusting in God is the root of obedience to his Word.

In Hebrew, listening to God is the same thing as obeying him. When one listens to God, obedience is the result. Many of us today may hear what God is saying, but we don’t actually listen to him and take it to heart; if we did, we would obey him.

Mark 4:23 – “If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”

Yeshua made this statement over and over to the people of his generation. But in doing so, he also knew many of them would not believe, and therefore would not hear and obey in repentance.

Matthew 13:15 – For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back — and I would heal them.

Not hearing God is a condition of a callous heart. The heart, as the source and wellspring of life, is surrounded by bitter thoughts and emotions against God that thicken its defenses. The individual then becomes deaf and blind to the pleas of God.

But Yeshua encourages his disciples. They are the believers, the listeners and doers of the words of God.

Matthew 13:16 – Blessed are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear.

James also illustrates this contrast between believers who are doers and those who only hear without truly listening.

James 1:22-25 – But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works ​– ​this person will be blessed in what he does.

Those who believe in him are the ones who can obediently carry out his Word to their generation just as the disciples did. The Word of God was spread throughout the Roman Empire to the limits of the known world within a forty year span of time, and all with no printing, no transportation, and no internet. They simply believed God and and followed his Messiah, sharing the good news of the kingdom of God in faithful obedience.

John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.

Trust in God leads to hearing the Messiah and obediently following him. If we have not been as obedient as we should be, perhaps we need to reevaluate where we are placing our trust. Once realigned with the proper heavenly perspective and trust in God, we can then bear fruit for him and successfully accomplish his purposes on the earth.


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.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

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

Following the path, the Way of Life

The “pleasant paths” that Yahweh leads us on are considered the Way of God, the message of the kingdom, and the hope of rest.

Core of the Bible podcast #41 – Following the path, the Way of Life

Today we will be exploring the topic of trust using one of the most widely familiar passages of the Bible.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct you on pleasant paths.

The word for trust in this famous passage has shades of meaning which include confidence and boldness, running to a secure place for refuge, being free of care or worry, having a steadfast hope. All of these are different ways of representing the believer’s inner reliance on Yahweh.

It’s important to recognize that this is not an admonishment that we are to abandon all reason and understanding. We are simply not to have our own wisdom as the primary source of our planning and our actions. We must leave room for direction from God, maintaining a view to his kingdom and purpose in this life.

Pulpit commentary

“[The Hebrew word] signifies “to lean upon, rest upon,” just as man rests upon a spear for support. Its metaphorical use, to repose confidence in, is derived from the practice of kings who were accustomed to appear in public leaning on their friends and ministers…”

For example, Naaman, a foreign commander, after being healed of leprosy, requested forgiveness of Elisha the prophet.

2 Kings 5:18  – “However, in a particular matter may Yahweh pardon your servant: When my master, the king of Aram, goes into the temple of Rimmon to bow in worship while he is leaning on my arm, and I have to bow in the temple of Rimmon ​– ​when I bow in the temple of Rimmon, may Yahweh pardon your servant in this matter.”

Again, when Elisha pronounced a prophecy regarding the release of a siege famine from Samaria, the king’s aid was in disbelief.

2 Kings 7:1-2 CSB – Elisha replied, “Hear the word of Yahweh! This is what Yahweh says: ‘About this time tomorrow at Samaria’s gate, six quarts of fine flour will sell for a half ounce of silver and twelve quarts of barley will sell for a half ounce of silver.’ ”  Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man (upon whose hand the king leaned), responded to the man of God, “Look, even if Yahweh were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen? ” Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”

So we see the practice since ancient times was to have the king supported by a close aid, one who provided physical, moral and tactical support and advice. While trusted counsel is not a bad thing, it is this type of worldly wisdom that is contrasted with trusting in, that is leaning on, Yahweh.

Pulpit commentary

“The admonition does not mean that we are not to use our own understanding, i.e. form plans with discretion, and employ legitimate means in the pursuit of our ends; but that, when we use it, we are to depend upon God and his directing and overruling providence.”

Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthian congregation, writes;

1 Corinthians 2:12, 14 – Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. … But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

There is a worldly type of wisdom that is helpful in worldly things, but if that is true then there is also a spiritual type of wisdom that is helpful (in fact, necessary) in judging spiritual things.

In Proverbs 3:5-6, the language used here of trusting in God that he will “direct you on pleasant paths” can be likened to a traveler who is trekking through a wilderness in fog. He uses his natural wisdom and understanding to find the path that will take him where he needs to go. However, once he is on the path, he places his confidence in the path that it will carry him to his destination, even though because of the fog he cannot see the full length of where the path is heading. When he is following the path, he is carefree from having to choose his own potentially hazardous way through the wilderness.

Our wisdom instructs us to find the path; the path is that in which we place our trust, since it has been provided by God. We have confidence the path that God provided will lead us to the destination God has in store for us. God promises the path will be smooth and pleasant compared to the directionless wilderness ways of our own choosing.

Job 12:13, 23-25 – Wisdom and strength belong to God; counsel and understanding are his.  … He makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away.  He deprives the world’s leaders of reason, and makes them wander in a trackless wasteland.  They grope around in darkness without light; he makes them stagger like a drunkard.

The trackless wasteland is a place where no one wants to be. There is no direction, no indication of the right way, just sameness and harsh wilderness in each direction.

In a description of the Biblical wilderness over at www.environmentandsociety.org/, they describe it in these terms:

“The wilderness is a locale for intense experiences—of stark need for food and water (manna and quails), of isolation (Elijah and the still small voice), of danger and divine deliverance (Hagar and Ishmael), of renewal, of encounters with God (Moses, the burning bush, the revelation of the divine name, Mount Sinai). There is a psychology as well as a geography of wilderness, a theology gained in the wilderness.

“Linguists will make the point that the Hebrews did not have an exact equivalent of the contemporary English word ‘wilderness.’ Nevertheless, the Hebrews evidently knew the experience of confronting the wild.”

The Bible is filled with imagery and examples of those who have wandered away from God; they have gone off the path he has provided. Being off the path is straying from God, and is an indication of not trusting in him with your whole heart. Here are some examples:

Psalm 119:176 – I wander like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commands.

Proverbs 10:17 – The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

Proverbs 12:26 – A righteous person is careful in dealing with his neighbor, but the ways of the wicked lead them astray.

Proverbs 14:22 – Don’t those who plan evil go astray? But those who plan good find loyalty and faithfulness.

Proverbs 21:16 – The person who strays from the way of prudence will come to rest in the assembly of the departed spirits.

Isaiah 53:6 – We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way…

Jeremiah 50:6 – My people were lost sheep; their shepherds led them astray, guiding them the wrong way in the mountains. They wandered from mountain to hill; they forgot their resting place.

When one has gone astray, they have left “the path to life,” (Prov 10:17), or “the way of prudence,” (Prov 21:16). Jeremiah says those who wander have forgotten “their resting place,” (Jer 50:6).

As believers, unfortunately it’s not uncommon for us to go astray, to forget who we are, where we are going, or where to find true rest within the will of God. We get caught up in our circumstances and distracted from our purpose. For non-believers, the picture is an even wider perspective where God is a distant or non-existent resource for guidance through life. All of us need to know and understand God’s ability to guide us where he would like us to go which can only happen when we keep our eyes on him and trust his direction with all of our heart.

—–

That this trust in God directs people in the way of life is a theme all through the Bible. This has been recognized by Jews throughout the centuries and is expressed in many different ways.

One of the most popular examples of this is brought forward from the mid-1700’s in Jewish literature. At that time, a respected rabbi by the name of Moshe Chaim Luzatto wrote a book entitled the Derech Hashem; the Way of God. In it, he details a spiritual perspective of life, God, and human responsibility from a deeply Jewish, mystical perspective. This book has become a Jewish classic, much like Pilgrim’s Progress might be to the Christian faith.

However, he was not the first to coin the term, the Way of God, or the Way as being the path of life. We can go to the teachings of Yeshua and find this same type of “path of life” imagery present.

Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

We have reviewed these verses in detail in a previous episode, but in summary Yeshua is conveying that this narrow way to life is a cramped and difficult passageway, surrounded by obstacles; it takes determination, effort, and persistence to find one’s way through.

Ellicott in his commentary writes:

“The meaning of the parable here lies on the surface. The way and the gate are alike the way of obedience and holiness, and the gate is to be reached not without pain and effort; but only through it can we enter into the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. A deeper significance is, however, suggested even by our Lord’s own teaching. He Himself is the “way” (John 14:6), or with a slight variation of the imagery, He is the “door,” or gate, by which His sheep enter into the fold (John 10:7). Only we must remember that His being thus the “way” and the “gate” does not mean that we can find, in union with Him, a substitute for holiness, but indicates simply how we are to attain to it.”

To break this down a little further, let’s look more closely at these other references that Yeshua makes to the Way.

John 14:4-6 – “You know the way to where I am going.”  “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way? ”  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Interestingly, Yeshua didn’t point Thomas and the disciples to an expected place like the Temple or Jerusalem as a further place of learning, but claimed that he himself is the Way. He specifically said that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” This would be a hugely conceited statement were it not true. The exclusiveness of Yeshua’s teaching is here revealed with no apology from the Master himself. Whatever this Way is, it is represented solely by his life, his practice, and his teaching, all of which make up who he is. This is why Yeshua is so central to Christian thought and practice, because he has placed himself there on purpose. The life of Messiah is one that is to be followed and imitated; this is how one stays in the Way of God.

In Yeshua’s other reference to exclusiveness, he relates that he is the gate or the door to the sheep pen.

John 10:6-9 – Jesus gave them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.  Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

In rapid-fire succession, the context of this passage reveals that Yeshua was likening his life and ministry to practices surrounding the tending and herding sheep. On the one hand, he relates that he is the gate, or the single entry point into the sheep pen, but on the other hand that he is also the good shepherd, the one who cares so deeply for his sheep that he is willing to lay his life down for them to protect them, if necessary. Through these examples, Yeshua is conveying the supremacy of his own teaching over the “thieves and robbers,” (i.e., false teachers) who had come before him, as well as his unique position as being the only one qualified to effectively protect the sheep with his own life.

That Yeshua is conveying the true Way of God was a concept that was picked up by his disciples and considered a summary of distinguishing their belief in Messiah from the broader context of popular first-century Judaism. The Way or the Way of God was an ancient title for the true spiritual understanding of the kingdom, mentioned several times in the book of Acts.

Acts 18:24-26 – Now a Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was competent in the use of the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately about Jesus, although he knew only John’s baptism. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately.

Acts 19:8-10, 22-23 – … But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he [Paul] withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord. … After sending to Macedonia two of those who assisted him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself [Paul] stayed in Asia for a while.  About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way.

We find that this term, the Way of God, or the Way, was simply becoming shorthand for the teaching about Messiah and the kingdom of God. Paul even uses this terminology in his defense before Felix when he was accused of the Jewish leaders of leading a rebellion.

Acts 24:14, 22 – But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets… Since Felix was well informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.”

The Way was considered a sect within Judaism at that time, the way of worshiping the God of the Bible in truth according to all of Torah. Paul saw no conflict in this understanding, and struggled to convey this over-arching unity of purpose to his fellow countrymen, along with his detractors.

Acts 24:24-25 – Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Messiah Yeshua. Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I’ll call for you.”

So we can see from this brief review that the Way of God consisted of faith in Messiah Yeshua, the law and the prophets, righteousness and self-control as disciplines, and the warning of impending judgment on those who would not believe.  These are all aspects of the Yeshua’s life and teaching; hence he is the Way.

Coming full circle to our verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 today, we can see that leaning solely on our own understanding can lead us astray. When we place our trust in Yahweh, we are thereby placing our faith in the law and the prophets, the practices of righteousness and self control, and the teachings of Yeshua as his Messiah. The “pleasant paths” that Yahweh leads us on are considered the Way of God, the message of the kingdom, and the hope of rest. Though the narrow way may be restricted and difficult, in the end it is considered a pleasant path to the alternative of striving through the “trackless waste” of the wilderness without God. However, when we choose to acknowledge him “in all our ways,” we demonstrate we are trusting in him with all of our heart, and he will lead us instead in that pleasant Way, the Way of the Messiah, the Way of God.

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.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

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

Trust that overcomes fear

It is natural to be afraid when we are in those circumstances which can overwhelm us

Psalm 56:3 – When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

There is a deep sense of power and simplicity in this statement. The entirety of this psalm is described as having been written by David when he had been seized by the Philistines in Gath. He had plenty to fear, as he describes his experience throughout the psalm.

Psalm 56:1-2, 5-6 – Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. … They twist my words all day long; all their thoughts against me are evil. They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps while they wait to take my life.

While we may not be in captivity or fear for our very lives, many of us can relate to the emotions that David expresses here. We may feel trampled and oppressed each day as arrogant people come against us. Our words may be twisted as our accusers stir up strife. We may have those watching everything we do, waiting for us to slip up so they can take advantage of our situation.

To counter this, David simply says to God, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” We need to recognize that David was indeed afraid. Notice he doesn’t say “if I were to become afraid, I would trust in you.” No, he relates that fear and distress were regular occurrences in his life.

Psalm 18:6 – I called to Yahweh in my distress, and I cried to my God for help.
Psalm 22:11 – Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help.
Psalm 55:3-5 – because of the enemy’s words, because of the pressure of the wicked. For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger. My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me. Fear and trembling grip me; horror has overwhelmed me.
Psalm 69:17, 19-20 – Don’t hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me quickly! … You know the insults I endure — my shame and disgrace. You are aware of all my adversaries. Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but found no one.

Yet, time and time again, when David was in this condition, his reflexive response was to reach out to God.

Psalm 18:2-3 – Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to Yahweh, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.
Psalm 22:23-24 – You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, revere him! For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.
Psalm 55:16, 22 – But I call to God, and Yahweh will save me. … Cast your burden on Yahweh, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 69:30-32 – I will praise God’s name with song and exalt him with thanksgiving. That will please Yahweh more than an ox, more than a bull with horns and hooves. The humble will see it and rejoice. You who seek God, take heart!

Even among the Philistines, David was encouraged as he relied on God’s word and praised him.

Psalm 56:10-11, 13 – In God, whose word I praise, in Yahweh, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere humans do to me? … For you rescued me from death, even my feet from stumbling, to walk before God in the light of life.

Who are the metaphorical Philistines you may be facing each day? Know that it is natural to be afraid when we are in those circumstances which can overwhelm us. However, when our footing and our firm foundation are in God, we can overcome those oppressive feelings and not only remain steadfast, but become a light for others when they see the boldness of our faith.

Psalm 56:3 – When I am afraid, I will trust in you.


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.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

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

Faith in God is a righteous act

Righteousness is not a complicated theological ideal.

We hear much in Christian circles today speaking of righteousness as a state which one has achieved or been placed into through the completed work of Messiah. There is a distinction between the state of the righteous and the state of the unrighteous. This righteous state, they say, is available only through faith in Messiah.

…righteousness is the God-given quality imputed to man upon believing in Christ.

Christianity.com, “What is Righteousness?”

Righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven…believers receive righteousness from Christ. This doctrine is called imputation. Christ’s perfect righteousness is applied to imperfect humans.

learnreligions.com, “Righteousness”

While partially true, this lofty theological ideal does not convey the essential root of Paul’s argument in Romans 4, as he speaks about the righteousness of Abraham.

Romans 4:3-5 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…

To Paul, faith in God is in itself an act of righteousness. Abraham simply believed God, and this was counted by God as a righteous act. This was controversial to the Jewish ear because they understood righteousness was demonstrated only by being obedient to the law; and technically they were not mistaken.

Deuteronomy 6:25 – “Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

If someone dutifully followed the law, according to Moses, God considered them righteous. They were then doing righteous things because they were following God’s instruction. By doing righteous things, they demonstrate that they are righteous. This is not an incorrect understanding.

However, where the religious leaders of Yeshua’s day went off the rails was by becoming proud in their hearts; they considered themselves so obedient to the letter of the law that they were better than others who did not follow the law as closely as they thought they were doing. However, Yeshua knew their hearts were not right, even though they were technically doing “right” things. This is what led to the hypocrisy that Yeshua denounces.

Matthew 23:23 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law ​– ​justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.

What Paul was trying to convey was that believing God (and by extension, his servant, Messiah Yeshua) was in and of itself an act of righteousness equal to or better than all of the deeds of the law combined. Faith in God was the sum and goal of the law; to generate a heartfelt and sincere trust in God in all things. To Paul, this belief that what God was saying (through Messiah) was true constituted an act of righteousness that was “apart” from the law of Moses (that is, it was not a command in itself), but it was still evidenced within the Tanakh, or the Law and the Prophets, the Old Testament.

Romans 3:21 – But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets.

There was no law in the Torah of Moses that said simply “believe God.” Instead, the Israelites were commanded to have no other gods before him, to make no images, not to defame his reputation; all of these base commandments are predicated on a belief in God; faith in God must be assumed for these laws to make any sense.

Abraham exhibited faith by simply believing what God said; it had nothing to do what he did or did not do according to some instruction; he merely believed that God was trustworthy. Paul’s argument is that Abraham’s simple expression of faith in God was the supreme act of righteousness. This act of righteousness had nothing to do with any law, it was a genuine and unadorned, honest response of the heart toward God.

This is the response that God desires of all people everywhere; not to grudgingly follow some list of commands to get to heaven, but to honestly from the heart desire to follow him in all things.

Yeshua courts us to believe in him, as he represented the one true God in all things.

John 14:1 – “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

This godly faith in Messiah, Paul says, is demonstrated by all who believe.

Romans 3:22 – The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…

Righteousness is not a complicated theological ideal. It is simply believing God from the heart demonstrated by believing his Messiah.


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