Following the examples of righteousness lived by Noah and Abraham

When we walk before God with integrity and righteousness, we are living by faith in a way that pleases him.

Today we will be looking at the topic of integrity, and how when we walk before God with integrity and righteousness, we are living by faith in a way that pleases him.

Genesis 6:9 – This is the account of Noah and his descendants. Noah was a righteous man; he was blameless in his generation. He walked habitually with God.

From this description of Noah, we can begin to paint a portrait of what type of person pleases God. Noah was righteous, blameless, and walked with God as a way of life. By looking at each of these characteristics, we can draw some application for our own lives as we seek to honor and magnify God as his representatives in this world.

Noah is remembered most famously for building an ark and surviving a great flood. But most people don’t realize he is the first person in the Bible to be named as righteous. The Hebrew word for righteous is tsaddik. A tsaddik is a person who is considered just and righteous in conduct and character. Other contexts of the word include describing someone who is upright, honest, virtuous, pious. It is a word commonly used of good kings or judges who faithfully dispense justice and fairness.

We need to discuss this idea of righteousness a little more in detail than the other characteristics of Noah because in most Christian circles today, righteousness is typically viewed as something that is only conferred on an individual from God, as a bestowal of a righteous state that they did not possess previously. This perspective comes largely from the apostle Paul writing about the legal aspect of of a theological term called imputed righteousness, as is typically pointed out using the example of Abraham who was accounted or considered righteous for his faith in God.

Romans 4:1-5 – What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about ​– ​but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.

Now from this passage has been built an entire theological framework known as justification by faith. This was the famous cry of the reformers of the Christian faith in the 16th and 17th centuries. John Calvin has been quoted as saying, “Justification by faith is the hinge on which all true religion turns.”

In current discussion today, Dr. Kevin McFadden of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary covers the salient points of this doctrine in his article, “10 Things You Should Know about Justification by Faith” posted last year at Crossway.com. Dr. McFadden writes:

“Imputation is an attempt to capture the truth of biblical statements like 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Here Paul does not mean that God actually made Christ a sinner but that he imputed our sin to Christ’s account, just as, in the parallel statement, he has imputed his own righteousness to our account.”

This type of inputting something into our account that wasn’t previously there was outlined centuries earlier by Martin Luther.

“Do you now see how faith justifies without works? Sin lingers in us, and God hates sin. A transfusion of righteousness therefore becomes vitally necessary. This transfusion of righteousness we obtain from Christ because we believe in Him.” (Commentary on Galatians 3:6)

In my humble opinion, the passage in 2 Corinthians 5 has less to do with “transfusions of righteousness” and “crediting accounts” and more with the responsibility of the believer’s actions, as this passage of Paul regarding becoming the righteousness of God parallels his conclusion earlier on in the chapter.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – For the love of Messiah compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

That is the point that Paul appears to be making. He is relating to his audience in Corinth that the fact that Messiah died in a representative way should then spur them on to live in a way that honors him: he died for others, therefore they should live for others by dying to themselves. In this way, they would become the righteousness of God, that is, the righteous-living people that God desired them to be.

When we take the imputed righteousness theory which is based on the characterization of righteousness being added to an account without it being actualized in behavior, the meaning of the word becomes, in a sense, masked. It implies someone can be considered righteous while not really being righteous; it is simply a way God chooses to view those who place their faith in him. According to this doctrine, because of a believer’s faith, God decides to declare them righteous (even though they are not) by substituting the sinless life of his own son, Yeshua, for the sinful life of the sinner. In essence, this idea of imputed righteousness is all about the legal and theoretical standing of an individual before God and not about what they do or how they actually live their lives.

But this is not what the Bible teaches about righteousness, or what the passage about Abraham really says. This kind of theoretical abstract thinking would have been foreign to early believers steeped in the concrete terminology and prose of the Hebraic Scriptures and culture. Even today, when we look at the source material in Genesis that the apostle Paul is quoting, the text says nothing about accounts or infusions, but simply says that Abraham believed God, specifically about his promise to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky.

Genesis 15:2-6 – But Abram said, “Lord Yahweh, what can you give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? ” Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.” Now the word of Yahweh came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” Abram believed Yahweh, and he considered it to him as righteousness.

The fact that Abraham simply believed what God told him was considered by God as an act of righteousness, not the change of some legal standing before him. We know Abraham was also considered a righteous individual because he was obedient to all of God’s revealed instruction, most likely oral at that point, just like it was with Noah. When God reiterated this promise of innumerable descendants to Abraham’s son Isaac, God states:

Genesis 26:4-5 – “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky, I will give your offspring all these lands, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because Abraham listened to me and kept my mandate, my commands, my statutes, and my instructions.”

This statement helps define God’s view of righteousness. A righteous individual believes in the instruction of God (taking God at his word) and then obeys it. In God’s view, believing what he says, even though it may not yet be fulfilled, is an act of righteousness as valuable as any other act of obedience. It is the sign of ultimate trust which is considered by God as the action of a righteous person.

So, returning to the passage in Romans where Paul is explaining this event in Abraham’s life, in reality, I think what Paul was attempting to convey is the idea that faith in God is equally considered a righteous act, along with all other lawful, virtuous, honest, and upright actions according to the instruction of God. Therefore, faith in God and his Messiah is considered a righteous action. That would have been a revolutionary concept to his audience. The believers of Paul’s day knew that to be a tsaddik was to faithfully and obediently follow the torah (or instruction) of God that has been revealed. But to do this effectively, Paul argues, requires faith, a righteous action like any other obedient action.

Noah had believed that what God had revealed to him about a coming flood, even though it had not yet been fulfilled, was going to happen. He took it seriously and built a giant boat, rearranging his entire life and enterprise to commit to this faith in what God had said. There are few greater examples of what a living faith looks like.

For Noah, this would mean that out of all others in his generation or age, he was the individual who most closely matched the ideal that God had provided up to that point because of his faith and his actions based on that faith. While those in his day may not have had any written Scripture, there were undoubtedly oral teachings that had been passed from generation to generation since the days of Adam previously. And in God’s eyes, Noah was a tsaddik, a righteous individual, one who faithfully and continually walked with him. To walk with God in this sense is to live in a way that pleases him, to abide by his counsels and admonitions, to be familiar with God and his ways and to direct one’s own personal affairs in agreement with God’s. This is biblical righteousness.

Additionally, the text says that Noah was tamim or blameless. This is a Hebrew term that can mean what is complete, entirely in accord with truth and fact. Noah’s life was not a life of hidden agendas or misrepresentation for the sake of personal gain, but everything he did and said was based completely on truth and fact. Someone who is blameless has nothing to hide from those who would inquire into their background or motivations.

This is a life of integrity, and Yeshua described this concept in various ways throughout his ministry, and most notably in his Sermon on the Mount. For Yeshua, to live with integrity and righteousness meant to demonstrate virtue and purity that exceeded those who were merely following external commands, like the Pharisees and Sadducees. It meant to be a person of your word, simply saying yes or no, and doing what you say. It was defined as craving equity; thirsting for doing the right thing because it was personally and inwardly important. It included avoiding hypocrisy in judgment and practice, and to magnify God by letting your good deeds “shine.” And finally, Yeshua taught to conduct yourself with mildness and gentleness, and, if necessary, to endure harmful attacks of those who may not agree with your right actions. All of these things could essentially be said of Noah, which is why he was considered a tsaddik.

We would do well to follow in his footsteps among our generation, doing what’s right in the face of adversity and corruption around us. God may not task each of us with building a literal ark, but we should be just as mindful of our responsibility to “become the righteousness of God” by positively influencing those around us through our integrity and faithful obedience to God’s revealed word.


If you enjoy these daily articles, 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.

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Biblical faith is never blind faith

Biblical faith is obedient action based on confident assurance and conviction.

Core of the Bible podcast #55 – Biblical faith is never blind faith

Today we will be looking at the topic of trust or faith, and how biblical faith is never expected to be a blind faith. Believers have chosen a worldview that is consistent with God’s revelation of himself in his word, and he has demonstrated that he is worthy of our trust.

The life of a believer is just that: a life of faith. But to understand more about faith, we may need to lay down some definitions. Now a quick internet search on the definition of faith yields the following results:

complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion
a strongly held belief or theory

From Wikipedia, their definition of faith begins with the following:

Faith, derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept. In the context of religion, one can define faith as “belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion”. Religious people often think of faith as confidence based on a perceived degree of warrant, while others who are more skeptical of religion tend to think of faith as simply belief without evidence.

That is the contrast that I want to highlight: faith based on evidence (what Wikipedia calls “a perceived degree of warrant), and blind faith, or faith with no evidence at all.

To believe in God is to be confident that God exists. While many people may say that is all there is to faith, in truth, most people have confidence in God because of some other reassurance they have received that he indeed exists, whether this reassurance was public or private. Perhaps it was a “miraculous” healing or rescue from a harmful situation (like a car accident), or a near-death experience with a spiritual vision of some kind. Perhaps it was some inspired preaching other type of learning experience.

For myself, I can say that I have faith in God because I believe that God has revealed himself in history through the Bible and the historical example of Israel. For me, this historical reassurance provides a foundation upon which a living faith can emerge. This living faith is a demonstration of knowledge and practices that are rooted in principles of the Bible. This is not just an expression of personal beliefs with no basis, but an expression of a specific worldview that springs from a repository of knowledge and spiritual understanding handed down through the ages.

All people operate within a specific worldview; that’s just how we are wired. The specifics of that worldview are shaped by how one interprets knowledge and understanding that one has been exposed to. For believers, these various interpretations of biblical knowledge and understanding are why we have different religious traditions all saying they are based on the Bible. Each of the various traditions emphasizes different aspects of that body of information. Some traditions focus on liturgy; others focus on social justice, while yet others focus on separation from society. Those of us who claim to believe in God have all made and are making choices about the expression of our faith that are influenced by culture, tradition, and familial upbringing.

While all of this may just sound like just a big hot mess of philosophical opinion, allow me to demonstrate from the Bible how a biblical faith is not a blind faith, but a worldview that is based on evidential experience and knowledge. To do so, we need to look no further than the examples of Gideon and Abraham. Let’s start by looking at Gideon, who is recognized as one of the great examples of faith who is memorialized for us in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews.


Hebrews 11:6, 32-34 – “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  … And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.”

Now, if we review some of the accomplishments of Gideon, we may find there is more to them than simply trusting without question what God was asking of him. Gideon’s trust that God would do what he said was based on evidential reassurances that God had provided him. This was demonstrated all along in his journey to becoming a savior of Israel from the oppression of the Midianites.

Judges 6:11-12 – The angel of Yahweh came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. Then the angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said: “Yahweh is with you, valiant warrior.”

When Gideon was first called by God through an angel, Gideon asked for a sign to confirm this was truly God’s plan.

Judges 6:17, 20-23 – Then he [Gideon] said to him, “If I have found favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me. … The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat with the unleavened bread, put it on this stone, and pour the broth on it.” So he did that. The angel of Yahweh extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of Yahweh vanished from his sight. When Gideon realized that he was the angel of Yahweh, he said, “Oh no, Lord Yahweh! I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face! ” But Yahweh said to him, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.”

So Gideon’s first evidential sign was demonstrated by a dramatic acceptance of his sacrificial offering. Immediately after this, God instructed him to tear down his father’s idolatrous altar.

Judges 6:25 – “On that very night Yahweh said to him, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

Gideon acted in faith, but it was faith based on the evidential sign he had previously received.

Soon after, when he was instructed by God to attack the Midianite armies, Gideon asked God for a sign by placing a fleece of wool on the ground overnight. If the fleece demonstrated wetness or dryness opposite to the normal dew patterns, he would know that it was really God who was asking this of him.

Judges 6:36-40 – “Then Gideon said to God, “If you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you said, “I will put a wool fleece here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that you will deliver Israel by my strength, as you said.” And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water. Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.” That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.”

Once this evidential sign was confirmed, Gideon rallied his troops for battle.

Judges 7:1-2 – “Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops who were with him, got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley. Yahweh said to Gideon, “You have too many troops for me to hand the Midianites over to them, or else Israel might elevate themselves over me and say, ‘My own strength saved me.'”

As a final act of trust, God asked him to reduce his forces to just 300 men. When he did so, he was still fearful that they would potentially be overwhelmed by the Midianite forces.

Judges 7:9-11 – That night Yahweh said to him, “Get up and attack the camp, for I have handed it over to you. “But if you are afraid to attack the camp, go down with Purah your servant. “Listen to what they say, and then you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the troops who were in the camp.”

God still provided him reassurance as he and his servant spied on the enemy camp and overheard their fear based on a dream that Gideon was going to overtake their army.

Judges 7:13-15 – “When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend about a dream. He said, “Listen, I had a dream: a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed.” His friend answered: “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.” When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel’s camp and said, “Get up, for Yahweh has handed the Midianite camp over to you.”

Of course, the famous story is that Gideon and his 300 troops were able to put an “innumerable” host of Midianite aggressors to flight along with their allies.

Judges 7:20-22 – “The three companies blew their trumpets and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands, their trumpets in their right hands, and shouted, “A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon! ” Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire Midianite army began to run, and they cried out as they fled. When Gideon’s men blew their three hundred trumpets, Yahweh caused the men in the whole army to turn on each other with their swords. They fled to Acacia House in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.”

All of these examples in the life of Gideon point to an interesting facet of trusting God: if we are sincere in wanting to accomplish God’s will, God can provide reassurances when he asks for our trustful actions. In these examples, these were not outward signs to all of Israel, but were private and personal reassurances that gave Gideon the confirmation that God was communicating with him, and that he would come through for Gideon if Gideon would act in faith by trusting in what he asked of him.


Now, at one point in my journey of faith, when I came across this concept, I determined that I would seek God’s direction in my life in a similar fashion as Gideon, asking for verification of what I thought I was hearing by seeking specific signs and indications ahead of time. If the indication occurred, then that would serve as the confirmation needed to take action. Sounds good, right?

Well, if you thought that didn’t sound right, you would be correct. What ended up happening is I began crafting a whole process for ascertaining what I thought would be God’s will in any big life decision I was facing. I kept a journal for things I was praying about, and if the indication came to pass or not. Based on the indication I would take the appropriate action “in faith.” However, I began to ask for indications or signs on anything, not just what God may have been trying to communicate to me, and this is where I believe the whole thing went off the rails. I began to use this journal as a “magic 8-ball” of sorts to determine important things.

For those of you not familiar with the magic 8-ball, just Google it. It was a party game where you would ask a question of the 8-ball, shake it up, and then a generic “answer” to your question would show up in a liquid-filled window on the 8-ball. The answer might go beyond just yes or no to something like “not at this time,” or “outlook not good.” Essentially, I was conducting my faith-life like a party game on whether or not a junior-high crush liked me or not.

Needless to say, I did not continue with this method of determining God’s will, even after making some hefty life decisions with it which, fortunately, I believe God still worked out in spite of my own ignorance. But I will say, one of the positive aspects of this concept is that my awareness of God’s communication with me was heightened throughout the day. I was literally looking for these indications to occur, just like Gideon might have been looking to see if the fleece was wet or not. The problem was that I was not asking for confirmation of something I thought God was trying to communicate to me; instead, I was basically telling God to provide me an answer to a question of my own choosing. That is a radically different thing all together, expecting God to be the genie to magically answer any question that I might pose to him. Gideon did not do this; Gideon was simply seeking confirmation of something God had already revealed to him that he wanted to be sure was legitimately God speaking to him. I hope you can see the difference between those two things, because for a very long time, I did not.

If I was to contemporize Gideon’s experience, it might go something like this: It starts with hearing something from God. Today, we have God’s word to inspire and encourage us to obedient actions. Perhaps it is an admonition from a sermon or bible study, or more typically, a spark of inspiration from personal meditation in God’s word. Then, we respond by reaching out to him in prayer to make sure we understand clearly what we think we heard. This can be done by verifying with other scripture passages to ensure we are being contextually faithful, or it can also be a recognition of some internal confirmation that still lines up with Scripture. If we are sincere and attentive, we will likely find God responding to us in a way that only we can know, a way that has his “fingerprints” all over it but may not be recognizable to others.

In our lives today, we may not have visions of angels or miraculous fleeces to provide us confirmation of God’s direction. However, if we are attentive and serious about understanding what we believe we have heard from God, we receive confirmations that are private and personal to us. Perhaps it may be a saying on a billboard which you pass on the freeway that resonates in answer to prayer, or a song that comes up in your playlist with encouraging lyrics that match what you believe God is conveying to you.

This is the relationship God wishes to have with us: an active, living relationship based on trust. And for trust to take place, there has to be back and forth communication between both parties to establish that trust on which our actions are based.


Even Abraham did not respond in blind faith to God when he famously accepted the understanding that God would make him the “father of many nations.” While it may have been presented to us that way when it says “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,” the apostle Paul goes into greater detail on Abraham’s experience, and reveals a little closer look into the mechanics of Abraham’s faith.

Romans 4:3, 17-22 – “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.’ … As it is written: ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’ He is our father in God’s sight, in whom Abraham believed ​– ​the God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. He [Abraham] believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: ‘So will your descendants be.’

“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness.”

Abraham could only demonstrate faith in God because he already believed in God. The text says he did not weaken or waver in the faith he already had, simply because his reason was telling him he and Sarah were both way too old to have a child. He continued to maintain his existing faith in God and merely accepted that what God said would come to pass somehow.

Hebrews 11:6 – “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

If we accept this as a principle of faith, then we can understand Abraham already had a faith in God in order to even be hearing from him about being the father of many nations. While we don’t have specifics in Scripture, we can see a glimmer of the establishment of that faith in Genesis chapter 11.

Genesis 11:31-32 – “Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years and died in Haran.”

Why was Terah heading out to the land of Canaan? The text doesn’t say, but immediately following this passage in the first verses of chapter 12 we read the following:

Genesis 12:1, 4-5 – Yahweh said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. … So Abram went, as Yahweh had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan…”

Is it possible that Abraham’s father Terah had already heard from God about taking his family to Canaan and simply got waylaid in Haran on their way? Perhaps he became ill on the journey and they had to settle there hoping for his recovery, but then died. Then Abraham, hearing and recognizing the call of the God he already believed in, picked up where his father had left off to continue the family’s journey to Canaan as originally intended. If so, this could indicate that Abraham already had a familial understanding of Yahweh as the one true God, and he could then obey in faith based on an understanding of how God had already protected their family from Ur to Haran (which was a huge journey in and of itself).

While this may be speculative based on the lack of detail in the text, it is not entirely unfounded based on the pattern of faith in the Bible. The writer of Hebrews says that to have faith in God, one must believe he exists. To think that a God exists means one must have heard of him somehow, and must believe that account of God is reasonable. For anyone to be able to call on Yahweh in the first place, Paul writes:

Romans 10:14 – How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? …

Somehow Abraham had come to know Yahweh, whether in Ur or Haran, or perhaps through his father Terah, or by straight-up self-revelation of God directly to Abraham. However it occurred, I believe it is very likely that Abraham had reason to recognize that God was trustworthy in order to place his faith in him and to become the father of a multitude of nations.

What this means is that when Abraham believed God that he would be the father of many nations, he did not need to look for evidence of this, even though he knew that both he and Sarah were typically too old to have children. Abraham knew God was trustworthy and simply believed without trying to figure out how it could be accomplished, and that type of faith was what God honored and considered righteous.


So, to summarize all of the distance we have covered today, I believe it can be shown that faith is something that is based on a multitude of factors that we have been exposed to in our lives. Whether by tradition or society, the individual interpretation of that information will lead to a specific worldview. Within the biblical worldview, we can receive personal guidance if we sincerely seek God’s direction, which may be known to us but unseen by others, and this direction will be in harmony with God’s revealed will in his word.

Gideon acted in faith even though he had received confirmations or indications from Yahweh before he took action. This does not necessarily mean his faith is any less worthy or valid, as is demonstrated by the fact that he is included in the “Hall of Faith” of Hebrews 11. However, it does indicate to us that even though God may ask his people to do unusual things at times, it is still a demonstration of courageous faith to recognize a personal indication that may be received and then to act on that direction from God. Obeying direction from God is still obedience.

It is my belief that the Bible knows nothing of a blind faith, only a trust and confidence in what may be unseen to others but known to be real to us.

Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the conviction of things not being seen.”

Biblical faith, then, is obedient action based on confident assurance and conviction. This confident assurance may simply be an individual recognition of specific direction that agrees with the revealed principles in the Bible.

Another way to say this is we can trust God today for what he has revealed to us yesterday. And we can trust God for tomorrow and beyond when we trust him for today. Acting on that unseen conviction is how we demonstrate our faith in God and fulfill his purposes in this world.


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.

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The kingdom of our spiritual forefathers

The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God.

Matthew 8:8, 10-12 – “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. … Hearing this, Yeshua was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. “I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. “But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In this foreboding statement by Yeshua, he is freely conveying that many outside the Jewish faith will be admitted to the kingdom by faith in him, while many within the Jewish faith will not participate in the kingdom because of their lack of faith in him. Faith in Messiah is clearly the primary intent of this teaching.

However, Yeshua also mentions that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and presumably, those of like faith with them) will participate in the kingdom.

Genesis 17:5 – “Your name will no longer be Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.”
Genesis 17:19 – “But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring.”
Genesis 28:10, 13-14 – “Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. … Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. … All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

The message of the all-encompassing kingdom through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was initiated in the very first book of the Bible; it was not a new teaching of Yeshua. However, it appeared radical to the Jewish leaders of his day because the Jewish people had come to believe that God had chosen them only, and no outsiders had the right to worship God.

This misunderstanding was common also among the Samaritans, who believed that they alone were the remnant of the true faith. And yet, Yeshua also sets this understanding straight with the woman at the well.

John 4:20-21, 23-24 – “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Yeshua told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. … “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Once again, Yeshua makes the point that the true worship of God will not be based on a location, but in spirit and in truth. Spirit and truth are not limited to any one location, or any one people.

Paul also recognized this and clarified this truth further in relating it to the practice of circumcision.

Romans 2:27-29 – “A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you [Jews] who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart ​– ​by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.”

Having circumcised hearts was also not a new concept introduced by Paul, even though he suffered greatly for being persecuted as forsaking the law of Moses. In fact, Moses himself, the one whom the Jews were trusting in, related to ancient Israel the very same concept of spiritual circumcision of the heart.

Deuteronomy 10:16 – “Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer.
Deuteronomy 30:6 – “Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live.

According to Yeshua, Paul, and even Moses, the kingdom of God belongs to those with circumcised hearts, the repository of faith. The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God. Yeshua claimed to be sent by God, so trusting in Messiah was by extension exhibiting faith in God.

Just like the centurion, when we exhibit faith in Messiah today, we are demonstrating that we have been admitted to the kingdom of our spiritual forefathers. Any non-believers, even descendants who could somehow trace their fleshly heritage to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be cast out. Every new believer becomes an ongoing fulfillment of the promises made to these spiritual forefathers, and as the promises of God are fulfilled, the kingdom continues to grow and spread across 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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

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

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

God’s 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.

Jacob’s vision of the kingdom

Disciples would be made of all nations through faith in the seed of Abraham, that is, Messiah.

Genesis 28:10-14 – Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching the sky, and God’s angels were going up and down on it. Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. 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.

There is an ancient Jewish tradition that what Jacob viewed in this vision was a representation of the kingdom of God. This “ladder” (or stairway or ramp) was connecting the lofty realm of God with the earth. Through Jacob and his offspring, somehow there would be a connection between the realm of God in heaven and the earth, and it would extend to all people. The promise that was given to Abraham (Genesis 12:3) was reiterated to his son Isaac (Genesis 26:4), and here with Jacob, “All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

Interestingly, we find a reference to this story of Jacob’s dream issuing from none other than the Messiah himself.

John 1:49-51 – “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel! ” Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

This is a clear reference to the story of Jacob’s dream where Yeshua is now further illuminating the text by stating that the connection between heaven and earth, the ladder, stairway, or ramp, is attained through himself!

If we are to look at other references within the book of Matthew where Yeshua refers to himself as the Son of Man and speaks of angels, we find some interesting verses.

Matthew 13:41 – “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom all who cause sin and those guilty of lawlessness.
Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each according to what he has done.
Matthew 25:31 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

These references of angels with the Son of Man all have to do with consequence and reward within the kingdom of God. These sayings allude to the spiritual truth of the authority of the kingdom of God, and the consequences of rejection or belief in him. Notice the summary of each of the Son of Man passages above concludes with unambiguous references to the kingdom of God.

Matthew 13:43 – “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen.
Matthew 16:28 – “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 25:32, 34 – “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. … “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

We know that this paradigm of the kingdom is already in place, as after his resurrection, Messiah was quoted as saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19)

This is the fulfillment of the promise of the kingdom made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Disciples would be made of all nations through faith in the seed of Abraham, that is, Messiah.

The apostle Paul recognized this connection as well, when he wrote that the Messiah was the promised seed to whom this blessing would come.

Galatians 3:14, 16 – The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the nations by Messiah Yeshua, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith. … Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Messiah.

In Messiah Yeshua, the kingdom of God has its fulfillment. As the promised seed of Abraham, he is the bridge between heaven and earth. All who believe in him, that is, who are “in” the seed, have access to the throne of heaven through faith. The ancient Jewish tradition of Jacob having a vision of God’s kingdom is substantiated through the revelation of the Messiah as the Son of Man through which God’s kingdom is come to 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.

Biblical meekness that inherits the earth

The biblical definition of meekness provides the basis of integrity

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

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

Yeshua stated it this way:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Llewellyn Martin, Moses the Meekest Man

Moses The Meekest Man | Pilgrim Ministry

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

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

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

  • Lael Caesar, Moses’ Meek Leadership

Perspective Digest : Moses’ Meek Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

We can see the land referenced throughout this Psalm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The prophetic Zion is mentioned as having everlasting qualities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kingdom of God has a name

One of the most famous passages of the Bible provides the answer.

In one of the most famous passages of the Bible, we learn that the Kingdom of God, which is the main theme of the Bible, has a name. Here is the context of the passage:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34

This passage of course is extremely familiar to believers. This promise is specifically addressed to Israel and Judah that a new covenant would be made with them by God, not by them. The demonstration of this new covenant would be that his law or Torah would be within them, and they would all personally have an intimate relationship with him. This was to be the economy of the kingdom: an internal reality governing the lives of its people, not just an outward set of laws as their forefathers had received at Sinai.

Now, it is actually the next passage in Jeremiah that identifies the name of this kingdom.

Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:35-37

The eternal nature of this kingdom is defined in these verses. As long as the order of the moon, stars, and sun and essentially the whole natural order of things exists, the offspring of Israel will remain. And that is who this group is, the members of this kingdom: the offspring, or seed, of Israel.

The Hebrew calls them the zera Yisrael, the seed of Israel. The zera or seed is extremely symbolic throughout the Bible and has layers of meanings, as seeds do. A seed can be related to plants or human descendants. A seed carries the potential for new life of its genus into the future indefinitely. Seed can refer to a singular future descendant or a group.

As this applies to believers, the Bible is clear that Yeshua was the zera or seed promised from the days of Abraham, who was the father (technically, the grandfather) of Israel.

Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as [referring] to many, but [rather] to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Galatians 3:16

The apostle Paul makes the point that the scripture in this case points to an individual seed, Yeshua, as the recipient of Abraham’s blessing and that through him Abraham, the father of Israel, would be the father of many nations.

And herein lies one of the deepest layers of meaning, and the root of the good news of the gospel message of the kingdom: if we are believers in Messiah, the Bible says we are “in him,” meaning, we are in the zera, the seed, just as Yeshua taught.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Colossians 2:6-7, 10 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk in Him, having been firmly rooted [and now] being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, [and] overflowing with gratitude. … and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

If we are in the seed, and he in us, then we are participants in the zera Yisrael, the seed of Israel; hence, the kingdom. This kingdom will never end, and the seed will continue to perpetuate forever until it fills the earth.

“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:14

This is the promise of God and the hope that we have. The zera Yisrael is the name of the everlasting Kingdom of God. As we faithfully walk in the ways of Yeshua, we are co-laboring with God to plant seed for future generations of believers, until his kingdom fills 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 here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The most effective act of righteousness is simply believing God

Paul equates faith in Messiah as a righteous act, equally as righteous as any of the acts of the law-keeping Jews, and in fact more so, because faith in God was the whole point of the law.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

Romans 3:21-22

One of the radical teachings brought out by the apostle Paul is the fact that faith in God and his Messiah is considered a righteous act. To his Jewish audience, righteousness had been defined solely by following the law of Moses. In fairness, this would not have been an incorrect conclusion, but the Jews had complicated it further by adding man-made rules and traditions that began to overshadow the original intent of God in the first place.

Paul’s argument throughout the early chapters of his letter to the Roman assembly is challenging, to be sure, but masterfully lays out how all along faith had been the root of righteousness that God was seeking for his people, and he uses the example of Abraham to make his point.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Romans 4:13

Paul’s whole point in doing so is to demonstrate how the torah or instruction of God described how Abraham was considered righteous simply by believing what God had promised him. This is the righteousness that was “apart from the law” (because it was 400 years before Sinai) yet “witnessed by the law and Prophets.” It’s as if Paul is saying just because faith was not one of the Ten Commandments at Sinai or expressly listed as a requirement of the covenant, faith in God is all through the “law and the Prophets,” that is, the rest of the Bible. According to Paul, this principle was there all along but was only then being revealed to his people as they were coming to faith in Messiah.

Paul equates faith in the Messiah of God as a righteous act, equally as righteous as any of the acts of the law-keeping Jews, and in fact more so, because faith in God was the whole point of the law. By demonstrating how Abraham’s faith preceded the giving of the law at Sinai, Paul is highlighting how the righteousness that the Jews thought they were possessing through their over-strict adherence to the letter of the law was being diminished because they were not expressing the faith in God that the torah was designed to supplement all along. It was a classic case of the Jews having missed the forest for the trees.

When we seek to live lives of integrity that Yeshua asks of us, we should consider that whatever the situation, demonstration of faith in God is always the most righteous thing we could ever do. God’s torah points us in the right direction, but it must always be accompanied by faith in him to be truly effective in the intent that God had for it in the first place. And it will never return to him without accomplishing what he intends.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper [in the thing] for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.