Vigilant obedience to Torah

Demonstrating obedience to God’s Word takes resolve and commitment.

Demonstrating obedience to God’s Word takes resolve and commitment.

Nehemiah 13:1-3 – At that time the book of Moses was read publicly to the people. The command was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, because they did not meet the Israelites with food and water. Instead, they hired Balaam against them to curse them, but our God turned the curse into a blessing. When they heard the law, they separated all those of mixed descent from Israel.

At first reading, this type of action by Nehemiah and his reformers can seem harsh and unjustified. Separating people from the assembly of Israel due only to their racial descent grates against our modern perspective on race and inclusion. Was it true that someone could be excluded from the civil life of Israel simply because of their ethnicity?

First, we have to realize that Israel was to be a pure, holy, and set apart people. They were to be distinct from all others and could only maintain that distinction if they did not intermarry with other nations. This was a direct command of God through Moses that had been forsaken in the days of Nehemiah:

Deuteronomy 7:1, 3-4, 6 – “When Yahweh your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and he drives out many nations before you​ … You must not intermarry with them, and you must not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, because they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then Yahweh’s anger will burn against you, and he will swiftly destroy you. … “For you are a holy people belonging to Yahweh your God. Yahweh your God has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

While avoiding contamination from idolatrous worship was the primary reason for their separation, in the present case, Nehemiah was quoting another portion of the law of Moses where they were directed to exclude the Moabites and Ammonites specifically from ever joining in the civil life of the community, due to those tribes’ resistance to assist Israel in their wilderness journeys.

Deuteronomy 23:3-4, 6 – “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter Yahweh’s assembly; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, may ever enter Yahweh’s assembly. “This is because they did not meet you with food and water on the journey after you came out of Egypt, and because Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram-naharaim was hired to curse you. … “Never pursue their welfare or prosperity as long as you live.

So it appears that ethnic descent could bar someone from participating in the civil life of an Israelite. But so could having a physical deformation or being born outside of marriage.

Deuteronomy 23:1-2 – “No man whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may enter Yahweh’s assembly. “No one of illegitimate birth may enter Yahweh’s assembly; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, may enter Yahweh’s assembly.”

The command to be excluded from the assembly has been variously interpreted to mean marriage, to participating in the leadership of the Israelite community, or to mean total and complete excommunication. But the word used here means to separate, or to set apart as distinct. It is also used of God separating light from darkness, the Levites being set apart from the rest of the Israelites, the veil separating the ark in the holy of holies from the rest of the temple, the cities of refuge being set apart from the rest of the towns of Israel, and Israel themselves being set apart from all other nations.

I find it interesting that all of the conditions of separation have nothing to do with the free will choice of the individual in question; therefore they could not be held spiritually accountable for a condition which they had no control of, such as the conditions surrounding the marital status of their parents at birth, their physical deformities, or their racial heritage. Being identified as distinct from the assembly of Yahweh was a condition of separation only for temporary time within the nation of Israel’s history for the sake of teaching an eternal lesson about purity, holiness, and vigilance.

As we have seen, the Bible is filled with distinctions being made between all types of places and individuals, and this appears to me to be another one of those instances. To me, the command does not appear so much a punishment on those who were to be excluded, but a test for the faithful to see if they would abide by God’s command.

Consider the vigilance needed to physically remove individuals from the core life of the community who had families, jobs, and responsibilities within the congregation of Israel. This would require a deep commitment to honoring the Torah of God above those relationships. This is akin to the level of commitment that Yeshua spoke of when it comes to removing the mechanisms of sin from within one’s own life.

Matthew 5:29-30 – “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Gehenna. “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into Gehenna.

Ultimately, all who would demonstrate sincere worship of Yahweh would be honored by him. Isaiah spoke of the time of the Messianic kingdom when anyone truly seeking Yahweh would have the ability and freedom to do so, specifically mentioning foreigners and eunuchs who were formerly to be separated.

Isaiah 56:3-8 – No foreigner who has joined himself to Yahweh should say, “Yahweh will exclude me from his people,” and the eunuch should not say, “Look, I am a dried-up tree.” For Yahweh says this: “For the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose what pleases me, and hold firmly to my covenant, “I will give them, in my house and within my walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give each of them an everlasting name that will never be cut off. “As for the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh to minister to him, to love the name of Yahweh, and to become his servants — all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold firmly to my covenant — “I will bring them to my holy mountain and let them rejoice in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This is the declaration of Yahweh GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: “I will gather to them still others besides those already gathered.”

The Israelites had to practice “tough love” and vigilance of separation in order to abide by the Torah that applied to them in their day. God was preserving the purity of the congregation until the kingdom of Messiah would arrive, and once that occurred, the physical lineages and distinctions would no longer retain the same significance.

Galatians 3:28 – There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

For anyone in Messiah, the barriers would be broken down and all would be honored in him. But those spiritual lessons regarding vigilance and purity would remain for eternity.


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

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

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

The consistent attitude and actions of those who fear God

Believers must be vigilant in both restraining evil actions and promoting the good.

Believers must be vigilant in both restraining evil actions and promoting the good.

Psalm 34:11-14 – Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of Yahweh. Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.

The message of the Bible is not as difficult as many people believe it to be. Every now and then, a passage speaks in a simple and direct way about what God expects of his people. Here are some examples:

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Micah 6:8 – Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is Yahweh requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 22:36-40 – “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest? ” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. “This is the greatest and most important command. “The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. “All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

The passage we are looking at today in the thirty-fourth psalm is another example of this simplicity containing the same type of summarizing qualities. The psalmist, presumably David, speaks of what it means to fear Yahweh. The fear of Yahweh, he says, is pursued by someone who desires life, and many days (long life) of goodness. The life that is provided by the fear of Yahweh is more than just existence, but longevity of happiness, spiritual blessedness and the ability to enjoy it.

This fear of Yahweh is demonstrated in specific ways. On the one hand, it is achieved by diligently guarding one’s speech from deceit and also turning aside from doing evil. This requires the vigilance of a guard in a watchtower, ensuring that no deceptive or misleading comments are put forth with the intent of misguiding others. It also requires an intentional turning away from anything that is bad, vicious, unkind, harmful, or displeasing to God.

On the other hand, it is achieved by also doing or making that which is good, pleasing to God, valuable in estimation, fruitful, advantageous, excellent. All of these qualities are rolled up into the concept of doing good.

  • Galatians 6:9 – Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:13 – But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.
  • 1 Peter 2:15 – For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.

Finally, the fear of Yahweh is demonstrated by seeking and pursuing peace. To seek it is to seek with the intent to find, chasing after every opportunity to implement peaceful interactions with others.

  • Romans 8:6 – Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
  • Romans 12:18 – If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
  • Romans 14:19 – So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

These, then, are the attitudes and actions required of those who would seek to demonstrate a true fear of Yahweh as children of God. They will be diligent in honoring him in all of their ways through the ongoing rejection of evil and the never-ending pursuit of goodness and peace.


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

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

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

Discipline on the path of life

Believers must constantly evaluate their choices in light of the eternal purpose of God.

Believers must constantly evaluate their choices in light of the eternal purpose of God.

Proverbs 5:21-23 – For a man’s ways are before the eyes of Yahweh, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Believers cannot become complacent within their walk with God. Every day we are challenged by the world: the desires of the eyes, the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Yahweh sees and knows our ways and desires us to remain faithful and productive for him. However, he also warns us that if we lack discipline in the things of God, we can easily be led astray.

Proverbs 14:14 – The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways…

This is the only Bible verse where the term “backslider” is used. The underlying word itself means “to turn back” or “to turn aside.” To retreat from the ways of God is to fall back on practices that one may have become comfortable with in life previous to becoming new creations in Messiah. In this proverb, Solomon warns that there does not have to be some divine judgment from turning aside, but that the very wicked practices themselves will come back to the wayward individual. They will be filled with the fruit of their own (wicked) ways.

The apostle Peter uses similar language in warning the early believers of the false prophets and false teachers who had infiltrated the ranks of believers.

2 Peter 2:15 – Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing…

Peter here says these false teachers were not just evil individuals, but they were people who had forsaken the right way, having gone astray. This means that at one point they were believers in the truth and yet had somehow turned away from it, lured by the profits of wicked practices.

Yeshua taught that believers must remain unwaveringly vigilant in the ways of righteousness. He metaphorically referred to this commitment to right practices as the equivalent of removing the members of the physical body which would be involved in wicked practices.

Matthew 5:29-30 – If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into Gehenna.

This is the level of discipline needed by believers to remain on the narrow path of life and to avoid the judgment of wicked practices. By contrast, much of our modern spirituality is based on the careless attitude that “Jesus paid it all” and somehow we are no longer responsible for maintaining our own sanctification and righteous actions; however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Walking in faith as a disciple of Yeshua takes daily resolve and discipline to ensure that we are not being seduced by the world and our own desires. In fact, even the literary derivation of the English word “disciple” comes from “one who practices a certain discipline.” We should not become distracted or disillusioned by our one-off slips and failures, but, relying on the ongoing forgiveness God offers for the truly repentant, these should harden our resolve to always behave in ways that honor God. After all, when we step back and take the long view of an eternal perspective, we can be comforted in knowing that these struggles will ultimately pass away.

1 John 2:15-17- Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.


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

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

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

The challenge of staying dead

The reality of the new life in Messiah is only possible through death, death to self.

The reality of the new life in Messiah is only possible through death, death to self.

2 Timothy 2:11 – This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him…

The life of the believer is all about dying to self and living for God. The problem with this simple concept is that our self continues to want to live. Paul calls this conflict the struggle between the old self and the newness of life.

Romans 6:1-7 – What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yeshua were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin.

Paul uses this metaphor of the old self dying throughout his writings:

  • Romans 6:11 – So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Messiah Yeshua.
  • Galatians 2:19 – For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God.
  • Colossians 2:20 – If you died with Messiah to the elements of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?
  • Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God.

All of these references are simply speaking in metaphorical language about how that, in the believer’s life, one must forsake all previous disobedience to God with the finality of death. A dead person cannot commit sin; this is how abruptly and decisively we must act within the remaining time of our lives.

Paul continues his thought in this “trustworthy saying” that he was committing to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:11-12 – This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him;

Paul here conveys a sense of endurance in remaining dead to those things that displease God. The word for endure literally means to “stay under,” as in remaining, persevering, bearing up under trials. However, Paul also presents Timothy with the opposite result if we choose to yield to our self and deny the One who calls us to himself.

2 Timothy 2:12-13 – if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

This is reminiscent of the admonition of Yeshua, explaining what will be the state of those who refuse to give up their sinful actions, the breaking of God’s laws.

Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name? ‘ “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ‘

This is why we are constantly reminded to endure and to bear up our trials with a persevering and faithful spirit. The writer to the Hebrews and James also provide similar encouragement under trial, even referring to the endurance of Messiah as a motivating consideration in the believers’ own endurance.

  • Hebrews 10:32 – Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings.
  • Hebrews 12:3 – For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.
  • James 1:12 – Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

We should recognize that it is through these types of struggles that God is causing us to grow and continually be renewed to become more like him.

Colossians 3:9-10 – …you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.

As we grow in the image of God, we can then become more useful to him in the accomplishment of his purpose in expanding the kingdom of God on the earth. This is why this encouragement to remain dead to sin must become a guiding principle in our daily lives.


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

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

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

Waiting for Yahweh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Inspiring a passionate vigilance for the Word of God

When God’s Word is taken seriously, believers passionately stand up for what’s right.

When God’s Word is taken seriously, believers passionately stand up for what’s right.

2 Kings 23:25 – “Before [Josiah] there was no king like him who turned to Yahweh with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.”

This account of King Josiah demonstrates the extreme vigilance with which Josiah eradicated idolatrous practices within Israel. Prior to his reign, under the wicked King Manasseh, the nation had fallen into some of the deepest levels of idolatry over a period of over fifty years. The wickedness was so great that God sent prophets to warn of the impending destruction if they did not repent.

2 Kings 21:10-12 – “Yahweh said through his servants the prophets, ‘Since King Manasseh of Judah has committed all these detestable acts ​– ​worse evil than the Amorites who preceded him had done ​– ​and by means of his idols has also caused Judah to sin, ‘this is what Yahweh God of Israel says: ‘I am about to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will shudder.'”

The text then goes on to list all of the judgment that was about to be brought against Israel for their unfaithfulness. After Manasseh’s death, his son Amon continued the reign of wickedness for another two years, until his own servants conspired against him and put him to death. It is then that his son Josiah took to the throne at the tender age of eight years old.

However, eighteen years after his reign began, a discovery was made in the temple that had been long lost through the generations of idolatry: a copy of the book of the law was found. When it was read in the presence of the king, the text says he tore his clothes, which was a common indication of utter despair and repentance before God.

2 Kings 22:11, 13 – “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. … ‘Go and inquire of Yahweh for me, the people, and all Judah about the words in this book that has been found. For great is Yahweh’s wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.'”

Josiah then carries out a monumental campaign to eradicate all forms of idolatry in the precincts of the temple and throughout the land. Almost the entire next chapter relates his purification efforts in detail:

  • Destruction of all idolatrous materials that had been brought into the temple
  • Removal of all idolatrous priests, slaughtering them and burning their bones on their own idolatrous altars
  • Destruction of the houses of cultic participants
  • Destruction of the high places of idolatrous worship including Molech, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Milcom, and the worship of the sun
  • Destruction of all of the idolatrous altars wherever they were to be found
  • He eradicated all mediums, spiritists, household idols and images everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem.

He then commands that the Passover be held that year, since Passover had not been celebrated according to the book of the law for generations. It was the most well-attested Passover in the history of Israel.

2 Kings 23:22 – “No such Passover had ever been observed from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah.”

Through all of this, it becomes apparent that all of this reform was sparked by a reading of the book of the law. When the God’s Word is read, internalized, and believed in the heart, it causes a burning desire to honor him in every way possible, and to remove every hindrance that detracts from his glory.

If only our passion, zeal, and vigilance were as committed as Josiah’s, we would have believers rising up, not to destroy and eradicate physical things or people, but to destroy the arguments and justifications that the world uses to reject God and his Word.

As the apostle Paul writes:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Messiah.

This is the level of vigilance needed of believers to turn this world of rebellion to obedience within the kingdom of God through the power of his Spirit.


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

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

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

The woman of noble character

Our collective resolve to pursue the goals of the kingdom demonstrates our character as God’s people.

Core of the Bible podcast #67 – The woman of noble character

Today we will be looking at the topic of vigilance, and how our collective resolve to pursue the goals of the kingdom demonstrates our character as God’s people.

If Proverbs 31 is viewed as the ideal for all of God’s people, we can be encouraged to collectively attain its lofty ambitions.

The thirty-first chapter of Proverbs contains a famous passage providing the characteristics of a “noble” or “virtuous” woman. Many a wife has reviewed this passage with trepidation, as the ideal set forth in these verses can indeed be intimidating.

However, instead of describing the ideal woman and holding wives to an unreachable standard, this passage can be viewed from a different, and perhaps more attainable, perspective that aligns with the middle eastern propensity to couch word pictures and ideas in parabolic language. When viewed as a metaphor for the people of God, a whole new set of ideals come into focus.

Especially in the prophets, God has revealed himself as desiring his people as a husband desires the pure love of a faithful bride. However, he is bitterly disappointed when that love is not returned to him, but is instead wasted on the idolatry of the nations around them.

Hosea 6:4 – “’O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?’ asks Yahweh. ‘For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.'”

But he holds out the promise of renewed faithfulness and marital fidelity for the people of Zion.

Isaiah 62:4-5 – “Never again will [Jerusalem] be called ‘The Forsaken City’ or ‘The Desolate Land.’ Your new name will be ‘The City of God’s Delight’ and ‘The Bride of God,’ for Yahweh delights in you and will claim you as his bride. Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.”

This theme is echoed all the way into the New Testament in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 21:2-3 – “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.'”

If this noble woman in Proverbs is viewed as the ideal for all of God’s people as his metaphorical and prophetic bride, then it begins to make sense of the overall passage which lines out the expectations God has for his people, not just a list of unattainable objectives for wives.

One of the notable characteristics God expects of his people is the vigilance with which this woman watches over her family, that nothing is outside of her purview.

Proverbs 31:15, 18, 27 “She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. … She sees that her gain is good, and her lamp is not extinguished at night. … She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.”

This woman of the Proverbs carefully looks ahead to the needs of her family, identifying dangers ahead of time, like a watchman on the walls of a city. She works with diligence throughout the day and even into the night. She ensures her family is fed and cared for, and all of the servants have appropriate tasks for the work at hand.

The vigilance that she exhibits is contrasted with laziness, or more literally the eating of “the bread of idleness,” as one who sits idle, concerned only with their own appetite and nothing else. In today’s terminology, this individual might be labeled a deadbeat or a slacker. However, as we have the opportunity to view the passage in its entirety of what God expects of his people, we can then become aware that his goal for us is not to remain trapped in the idleness of our own selfish passions, but to be ever watchful, caring for the welfare of those of our “family.”

Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

She is represented by both strength and dignity. If there are two words that I would long for how believers should be perceived in this day and age, it would be that we are strong and dignified. Yet, that is currently far from the case. Most non-believers, at least in America today, look on believers with a sense of scorn and derision for what has been labeled “backward thinking” and “antiquated morality.” Yet they are quick to forget that the antiquated morality of believers is the glue that has held Western society together for millennia. It is only in recent decades that it has become in danger of being expunged for the sake of the more politically correct, culturally-driven designations of tolerance and understanding regarding self-appointed marginalized groups.

In regards to this woman of Proverbs, it is also stated that she “laughs at the time to come.” This beautiful sentiment of being care-free from the challenges of this world is unfortunately woefully lacking among most believers today. Congregations instead fret unnecessarily over the divisive condition of the world, rather than seeing the larger picture of how God wants to use his people to modify the world for good, and to unify a people for himself. To laugh at the time to come means that we should become so impervious to the negative cycle of sensationalism in our social and media platforms that we can only see the good growing out of the increase of the kingdom in this world. We should be able to laugh at the time to come because we are prepared for any earthly eventuality, not in the sense of prepping for apocalyptic demise, but in relegating our physical life and belongings as expendable for the cause of God’s greater purpose. It is only when we begin to loosen our grip on material things that we can be freed up for the will of God to be accomplished in our lives, and with this freedom comes a sense of joy.

Therefore, when looked at as a list of objectives for individual wives, Proverbs 31 can be intimidating and unattainable. However, viewed as an ideal for all believers, a collective attainment of its lofty ambitions suddenly becomes more applicable and practical.

John Gill writes, “her price is far above rubies; showing …the esteem she is had in by him; who reckons her as his portion and inheritance; as preferable to the purest gold, and choicest silver; as his peculiar treasure; as his jewels, and more valuable than the most precious stones.” We would do well to imbue our lives with her character of vigilance for her family in respect and honor of the one who holds us in such high esteem as his very own.


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

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

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

Asking, seeking, and knocking

Being persistent in the ways of God is expected by Yeshua of his followers.

Being persistent in the ways of God is expected by Yeshua of his followers.

Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Yeshua’s teaching has been an inspiration to many over the centuries, encouraging believers to be persistent in following after God’s will. By consistently asking, seeking, and knocking, the faithful believer will have those things that God desires for them in the outworking of the kingdom here on earth.

It begins with asking. Asking God in prayer for his will to be accomplished in one’s life through the work of his holy Spirit is an imperative.

Matthew 21:22 – “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

As we seek for his ideals to be worked out through us, we recognize that we are carrying out his purpose for his kingdom.

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Yeshua promises that for whoever knocks, the door will be opened. But there was also a warning to those of his generation who would not accept his message. The message of salvation from physical destruction was effective for his people for a limited time; the wrath of God was about to be poured out on Jerusalem in their lifetimes. There would be those who would only understand the truth of Yeshua’s prophecies and teaching when it was too late, and the day of Yahweh would be upon them. To those, Yeshua mentioned no amount of knocking would open the door.

Luke 13:24-25 – “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able “once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us! ‘ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.'”

The good news is, through the faithful apostles of that generation, the message of the gospel of the kingdom went far and wide throughout the known world, and the remnant of God’s people everywhere heard the message and accepted it with glad hearts. Then, rather than knocking upon the door of God’s chambers for admittance, they instead responded to the knocking of Messiah upon the door of their chambers.

Revelation 3:20 – “See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

The life of a believer today still consists of an ongoing relationship with God through our diligence in asking, seeking, and knocking. We must remain ever watchful for opportunities to correlate our lives within the context of his kingdom. By doing so, we will find that we receive the direction we need, we find what we have been looking for, and the door is opened to the presence of God each day.


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

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

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

Following Yeshua for the right reasons

The signs of God working in the life of a repentant believer reveal the true power of God.

The signs of God working in the life of a repentant believer reveal the true power of God.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

We have looked before at what it means to do something in the name of God, or in this case, in the name of Messiah. It means to conduct oneself with the character and reputation of the one whom one is claiming to be associated with. To take the name of God was to associate with everything that God represents as one of his people. To do something in the name of Messiah was to associate with everything Messiah taught and did as one of his disciples.

In this passage, Yeshua is warning against hypocrisy. There would be many who would claim him as their Lord and Master, only to falsely represent him with their actions. They would claim to be associated intimately with him by doing their works in his name.

To many believers today, prophesying, casting out of demons, and doing works of power are all things to be sought after. People continue looking for miraculous happenings as some sort of evidential truth that they are involved with the true work of God. And yet Yeshua condemns these types of individuals as being workers of iniquity who don’t really know him at all. If they are just seeking the miraculous events, they are no better than the thousands who followed Yeshua just because he miraculously had fed them all; they weren’t true followers, just miracle-chasers.

This is similar to the man Simon whom the disciples encountered in Samaria. He was known for amazing people with sorcery and magic, things that are forbidden by the word of God. The text says he became a believer when he heard the disciples’ message of the kingdom.

Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.

Yet, there was hypocrisy in his heart. As it turns out, he was fascinated not with the repentant life of believer, but with the real power of God working through the disciples. This would suggest his own “magic” was more of a deceptive show than than the real thing.

Acts 8:18-21 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God.

Simon was focused on the ability to perform miraculous signs, not the repentant heart that allowed the sign to occur. Because of this hypocrisy, Peter rebukes him. Simon wanted to do the miraculous, but Yeshua was not truly his Lord, as evidenced by his actions.

This should stand as a witness to all who would seek only to be associated with miraculous happenings rather than simply and sincerely submitting their lives wholly to the life and teaching of Messiah as their Lord. The true repentant heart will seek to be faithful to God’s word and to serve others, yet remain vigilant in avoiding association with those who are only miracle-chasers.


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

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

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

Taking correction to heart

We must overcome a casual approach to godly living.

In the text of the New Testament, we find the apostle Paul had written to many different congregations of the early believers. In his writings to the congregation at Corinth, we have an example of a preliminary communication and a secondary, follow up letter, as well.

One of the things that becomes obvious is that the tone of the first letter expresses frustration over their apparent careless attitude and shallow understanding of message of the gospel of Messiah. Yet, the second letter delves into matters with more depth and a demonstration of their overall growth in their spiritual development.

This can be shown by how they were dealing with those who were conducting flagrant sin within the congregation. In his first letter, Paul had learned that one of their members was a man who was having a relationship with his step-mother.

1 Corinthians 5:1-2 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is intolerable even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been stricken with grief and have removed from your fellowship the man who did this?

This type of relationship was forbidden by Torah, and yet the congregation was not taking it seriously.

Leviticus 18:8 – ” ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.

This was just one specific instance of their casual approach to maintaining their purity and abiding by the Torah, or instruction, of God. Yet, in the second letter, we find that the upbraiding they had received from Paul had actually caused them to regather their spiritual senses and become vigilant in their earnestness to be obedient and holy.

Proverbs 15:5 – Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; but whoever learns from correction is wise.

Paul, acting as their parent, had the difficult task of outlining correction for them. And yet this upbraiding had its desired effect; so much so, in fact, that he praises them for their taking his instruction to heart and following through in taking their faith more seriously. The Amplified Bible captures the sense of his parental pride:

2 Corinthians 7:11 – For [you can look back and] see what an earnestness and authentic concern this godly sorrow has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves [against charges that you tolerate sin], what indignation [at sin], what fear [of offending God], what longing [for righteousness and justice], what passion [to do what is right], what readiness to punish [those who sin and those who tolerate sin]! At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

From these insights, we can learn that sometimes we need to be confronted with our shortcomings so that we may understand what course corrections we may need to take. When we begin to take our favored status as believers in the one true God for granted, we can become lax in our conduct and our interactions with one another. We can become dismissive of the instruction of God and the high standards God has for his people. However, for those who are truly seeking God, being made aware of inadequacy will typically fuel a driving desire to become more diligent in our walk.

While the Bible teaches we are accountable to one another, the primary way that God reminds us of our present state is through his Spirit and his Word. By faithfully and prayerfully seeking to understand him more, he can provide the deepest level of guidance and correction through his Word. If we are wise, as the proverb says, it is up to us to demonstrate with all that we are and all that we do that we are learning from his correction. Our goal is to become more like him and to become earnestly vigilant in whatever he requires of us to become his representative 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, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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