Living righteously removes fear

Doing what’s right instills confidence in those who practice it.

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

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

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

They are:

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

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

However, Yeshua provided further insight regarding wealth and power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sampling from the Proverbs can easily demonstrate this:

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

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

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

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

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

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Faith in Messiah leads confidently to the one true God

True faith provides confidence, assurance, and freedom of access to God.

Ephesians 3:12 – In union with Messiah and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God’s presence with all confidence.

The reference to God’s presence that the apostle Paul uses here is an allusion to the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, the compartment of the Tabernacle and Temple of God in which the ark of the covenant resided and God’s presence abode. It could only be accessed through the veil or curtain that separated it from the rest of the structure.

Access to this area was a privilege granted only to the High Priest, and that once a year on the Day of Atonement. He would enter to provide the blood sacrifice of the goat in obedience to the Word of God and in hopes of God’s forgiveness for the community of Israel for the year.

Paul is combining this imagery with union with Messiah through faith in him. This faith, Paul argues, is the catalyst that provides a strong confidence and freedom for believers to figuratively enter that sacred space without the need of any physical High Priest; faith in Messiah is equivalent to the action of a faithful High Priest.

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews continues this line of reasoning in a long and dramatic build-up to the culmination of his reasoning in the tenth chapter.

Hebrews 10:19-20, 23 – We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Yeshua. He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body. … Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.

And what is this promise that he provides to those who have faith in Messiah?

Hebrews 10:14-17 – With one sacrifice, then, he has made perfect forever those who are purified from sin. And the Holy Spirit also gives us his witness. First he says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them in the days to come, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds.” And then he says, “I will not remember their sins and evil deeds any longer.”

The great promise is that torah obedience from the heart would be the natural operating principle of all believers, and sins and evil deeds would no longer be remembered. Forgiveness and the ability to accomplish God’s will is granted through confidence and faith in the Messiah. This is the vast reward, the promised blessing that believers have for their consistent and ongoing faith in Yeshua.

Hebrews 10:35-36 – Therefore do not cast from you your confident hope, for it will receive a vast reward. For you stand in need of patient endurance, so that, as the result of having done the will of God, you may receive the promised blessing.

The household of God is established solely on this faith in Messiah, the one through whom God had chosen to bring to a culmination all of the promises made to his people. The eternal blessing and ongoing promise for faith in him is forgiveness from past sin and being enabled to do the will of God from the heart.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 – … I have written so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the congregation of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
Hebrews 3:6 – the Messiah was faithful as the Son in charge of God’s household, and we are his household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we rejoice.

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 or your favorite podcast streaming service. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at

Living out the wisdom of God

The best demonstration of faith is in living out the wisdom of God.

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through perseverance and through encouragement and comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4

While Paul is here speaking about the writings that we would today call the Old Testament, in truth for believers today, the collective apostolic writings of the New Testament would also be included within the torah, or instruction of God. Paul’s admonition is that our learning should be based on this instruction of God. These writings have been designed for instructing us in wisdom. From this wisdom stems steadfastness, constancy, and cheerful endurance. This wisdom provides hope, expectation, or confidence.

For the first century believers, their hope was that they would be protected and spared through the rampant persecution of the Jews against their sect. Their hope was in the soon and coming judgment upon the wickedness of that generation that was to be poured out in the impending war with Rome. The writings of their forefathers were being fulfilled before their eyes, and they could draw encouragement and comfort to help them endure the troubling times they were living through. In like fashion today, we can also draw hope and encouragement through the writings of our spiritual forefathers in the Bible that have been handed down to us through the centuries.

Additionally, Paul’s admonition is that, based on the wisdom of the writings, we should be building one another up, not segregating ourselves further from one another.

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. … May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:2, 5-6

Believers today have been entrusted with the most valuable commodity there is in a world of falsified news and social unrest: the truth of God’s instruction. If we lived like we really believed that, like we really trusted in the God of the Bible, the world would, for better or worse, take notice. The results would be dependent on how steadfast we would remain; to be tested if we could endure their onslaught with the cheerful endurance of our spiritual forefathers.

If we would, as Paul envisions, “join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the impact on this generation could have similar effects that the faithful of that generation had, effects which are still resonating with believers down to our day thousands of years later.

Our faithful handling of God’s word is magnified when we actually live out what we say we believe. The best demonstration of faith is in living out the wisdom of God.

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

The holiness of shining with the simplicity of God’s wisdom

When we apply the wisdom of God with confidence, we will appear to shine amidst the darkness of this world.

Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed.

Ecclesiastes 8:1

Wisdom in interpretation can provide great strength. That which we know and understand and apply in our lives is that which provides confidence and direction that emboldens us to act in right ways. Our stern attitude can appear to be changed when we act with simplicity in confidence. It is as if we are shining, radiating that wisdom out to others.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23

Yeshua speaks about the singleness of the eye. The word means to be simple; literally, “unfolded.” If something is unfolded, it is simple, no wrinkles or creases to distract from the simplicity of what it is. This condition is contrasted with that which is wicked or bad; this “badness” also contains meanings of distractedness and annoyance; that which causes pain and trouble.

The analogy of the eye represents what we focus on; what we spend our time paying attention to. If we choose to keep things simple by remaining focused on the kingdom, we will not allow the distractions of this life to pull us away from that objective. We can apply the wisdom of God with confidence, and in so doing we will appear to shine amidst the darkness of this world.

Daniel 12:3 Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 13:43 “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen.
Philippians 2:15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world,

This shining sets us apart from the rest of the world. This is what holiness is: it’s being set apart, and typically set apart for God’s purposes, not our own. When we radiate with the wisdom of God and our simple focus on the kingdom, we cannot help but shine upon the darkness of this generation for God to draw them to himself.

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

Desiring to be in God’s presence is a demonstration of trust

Longing for God’s house is a longing to be in his eternal presence which can provide true happiness.

LORD Almighty, how happy are those who trust in you!

Psalm 84:12

This entire psalm is a hymn of longing to be in God’s presence represented by the Temple courts and prophetic Mount Zion.

The psalm ends with the statement above, “how happy are those who trust in you.” This Hebrew word for trust also includes meanings like confidence and reliance. To trust is to be confident in and to rely on God. How do we demonstrate a confident reliance on God?

  • When we operate our lives from an understanding that there is one God who is establishing an eternal kingdom on earth, we are relying on him.
  • When we base our worldview upon the principles he has revealed in his Torah, or his Word, we are relying on him.
  • When we keep the eternal perspective over the temporary things of this world, we are relying on him.
  • When we give sacrificially of ourselves and what we have in obedience to his Torah, we are relying on him.

We are relying on God when we trust him for the things we cannot see, but are no less real than the physical Temple and Mount Zion. Paul encouraged the early believers to maintain their trust and reliance on God through tumultuous suffering and persecution, because the reality of eternal things superseded any earthly travail.

That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Longing for God’s house is a longing to be in his presence. The Temple and Mount Zion, while they were established as real places in the land of Israel, are metaphors for the larger work of God on the earth in his kingdom. However, these images both stem from his eternal presence in heavenly places.

The psalmist writes, “One day spent in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else.” Yeshua taught his disciples, “Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe [i.e., trust, have confidence or reliance] in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so,” (John 14:1-2).

To be in God’s presence is the fulfillment of the life of the believer, the one who trusts in, or relies on, him. How happy and confident we should be!