Always speaking the truth from a renewed heart

Truthfulness among the people of God is a quality that God desires his children to represent in this world.

Core of the Bible podcast #100 – Always speaking the truth from a renewed heart

Today we will be looking at the core Bible principle of the Kingdom of God, and how the establishment of the Kingdom is dependent on the truthfulness of its population. This was represented by the simplest of commands among the Ten Commandments that God spoke from Sinai.

Exodus 20:16 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

As I have mentioned many times before, when God set the Hebrew people apart as a people for himself, he provided them a basic set of community rules, the Ten Commandments, to maintain order within their new society. I believe these rules were the baseline of God’s expectations for all humans that would become evident in the continual outworking of his Kingdom throughout all history for all time.

As such, this specific commandment about bearing false witness includes the restriction against telling an intentional falsehood for the purpose of causing a neighbor harm. To bear false witness against someone is to misrepresent the truth of a situation that one has personal knowledge of to the detriment of someone else. It is intentional deception for the purpose of vengeance or personal gain. Simply stated, falsehood is the simplest way to subvert any relationship or institution. Jealousy and selfish ambition lie at the root of deception. Recognizing this, and knowing the tendency of men to preserve themselves at all costs, God built in to the kingdom charter, the Ten Commandments, a specific command about the necessity of not bearing a false witness against another.

Not only did God provide the clear instruction against bearing false witness, but he also knew that this was an unfortunate reality that would have to be dealt with. So in his wisdom, God also provided a definitive way of handling offenders of this commandment once a falsehood was found out by judges who would be overseeing the civil life of the community. One of the corroborating safeguards against arriving at an incorrect conclusion in a matter of judgment was to ensure that there was always more that one witness to bear record of what had occurred.

Deuteronomy 19:15 – “One witness cannot establish any iniquity or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This helped to overcome the potential for a single person to willfully or maliciously bring down someone else through false testimony. Unless there was some sort of collusion between all parties, the fact that there would have to have been multiple witnesses agreeing to the same course of events was in fact a type of safeguard for the rights of the accused, a practice still in place in our civil courts to this day.

This process is outlined further in the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 19:16-21 – “If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and accused must appear before Yahweh by coming to the priests and judges in office at that time. The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against his fellow Israelite, you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you will purge such evil from among you. Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing. Do not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.

This ancient principle of “eye for an eye” has been known in old Latin as the Lex Talionis, or the law of retaliation. So the punishment for the crime of falsifying a report (that is, bearing false witness) was to apply to the deceiver the same action he intended for the other, and to do so publicly. In this way, a deterrent to falsification would be established within the community.

In reviewing other ancient near Eastern cultures of the time, there are few surviving examples of legal codes of these early civilizations. However, there are a few of them which have been found in archeological digs, and they even pre-date the law of Moses. These ancient legal codes also speak about the necessity of truthful witnesses.

For example, the Code of Ur-Nammu of Mesopotamia, ca. 2100 BC:

  • If a man appeared as a witness, and was shown to be a perjurer, he must pay fifteen shekels of silver.
  • If a man appears as a witness, but withdraws his oath, he must make payment, to the extent of the value in litigation of the case.

So, at least during the reign of Ur-Nammu, there was at a minimum a type of financial accountability for those who would provide false witnesses.

There was also the famous Code of Hammurabi of Babylon, ca. 1750 BC. Interestingly, this code begins with the necessity of having a truthful witness as its very first legal determination. However, the penalty under the reign of Hammurabi in most cases was much more severe than getting fined: his penalty was death for the false witness.

  • If a man bring an accusation against a man, and charge him with a (capital) crime, but cannot prove it, he, the accuser, shall be put to death.
  • If a man, in a case (pending judgment), bear false (threatening) witness, or does not establish the testimony that he has given, if that case be a case involving life, that man shall be put to death.

There are also several other laws in the code that relate to truthful witnesses in regard to transactions involving goods and property, not all of which end in death for the perjurer. However, from these few examples, it is clear that having truthful witnesses was a standard measure of determining civil legal issues in the ancient world.

While some Bible detractors might point to these ancient examples and say, “See, Moses didn’t bring anything new to the world. Civilizations always recognized the need for some sort of legal code.” I don’t disagree. However, to my way of thinking, what distinguishes the commandments of God from these other cultures is how simple and direct they are. Yes, the bulk of the Code of Moses is very similar to some of these ancient documents, but the Ten Commandments stand apart as the firmest of foundations for any type of societal structure.

We have to remember that while Ur-Nammu or Hammurabi crafted their codes through their leaders and officials, the Ten Commandments were not just made up by Moses and some hand-picked officials but were delivered directly from God to not only Moses, but to an entire assembled multitude at Sinai.

Exodus 19:17-18 – Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the LORD came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently.

There was not just one witness, Moses, to God’s provision of these commands, but an entire nation of people saw the display of fire on the mountain and all of them personally heard the direct words of God himself. In fact, they became so fearful that they asked Moses to intercede for them, since they were so frightened to hear God himself speak to them.

  • Deuteronomy 4:33, 35-36 – “Has a people heard God’s voice speaking from the fire as you have, and lived? … “You were shown these things so that you would know that Yahweh is God; there is no other besides him. “He let you hear his voice from heaven to instruct you. He showed you his great fire on earth, and you heard his words from the fire.
  • Deuteronomy 5:22 – “Yahweh spoke these commands in a loud voice to your entire assembly from the fire, cloud, and total darkness on the mountain; he added nothing more. He wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

To the Bible believer, this requires faith to believe that God himself delivered the Ten Commandments to his fledgling earthly Kingdom. But we can become more firmly established by recognizing that he did so by providing not just one, two, or three witnesses, but a multitude of thousands of witnesses to corroborate the story. This is why I believe that, since the ancient times of the legal codes of past civilizations, the words that Moses recorded have been spread wider and farther than those of Ur-Nammu or Hammurabi. There has always been an underlying reliability within the biblical records themselves that demonstrate the faithfulness of God in providing a firm foundation for his eternal kingdom.

So with this simple foundational principle against bearing false witness revealed for all at Sinai, God’s Kingdom could now begin its upward trajectory to encompassing the world. But before that could become a reality, it would need to transcend every earthly nation or community to do so. This, as we shall see, was to occur during the ministry of Yeshua and his disciples.

Now that we have looked at the ancient evidences for the necessity of truthful witnesses, how is all of this interpreted and put into practice within the context of the Kingdom during the time of Yeshua and his disciples?

In determining the truth of a matter between individuals, Yeshua taught to approach an offender on a personal basis, and seek to be reconciled. If that was ineffective, then one was to bring several others who also could corroborate the offense to confront the offender. These additional witnesses would be bearing the truth of the situation to bring additional weight of truth to the one who is unrelenting.

Matthew 18:15-16 – “If your brother sins [against you], go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established.

This direction of having multiple witnesses to establish the truth of a matter is based squarely on the instruction of Moses.

Yeshua further teaches that lying is an indication of a larger issue that can affect all of one’s  mode of life. In a confrontation with Jews who were conspiring to kill him, he responds to them by equating lying with that which is spawned of the devil, which is to equate lying with all that is adversarial to God in all things.

John 8:43-44 – “Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.

Yeshua taught that a liar, a falsifier who misrepresents, distorts facts, or misleads others (for that is what the word means) has an innate tendency to do so. They cannot be trusted in anything because the ability to lie and spread falsehood can be present in anything they say. He uses the representative word picture of being born of that which is adversarial to God, and it is therefore within their nature, just as the child has the representative traits of the parent. Once one is consigned to lies, misrepresentations and distortions come more easily as new situations arise, and unfortunately they then spiral into layers of falsehoods piled one on top of another.

As an example of this, in an attempt to protect his disciples from the false and hypocritical teaching of the religious leaders, Yeshua used an analogy of bread dough and the effects of yeast or leavening.

Matthew 16:6-7, 11-12 – Then Yeshua told them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  They were discussing among themselves, “We didn’t bring any bread.”  … “Why is it you don’t understand that when I told you, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees,’ it wasn’t about bread? ” Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the leaven in bread, but of the false teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The apostle Paul also emphasizes that same principle in teaching the Galatians about their own confusion over some doctrinal issues.

Galatians 5:7-9 – You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough.

Paul here states that falsehoods, misrepresentation, and bad character are like a leavening agent. Once they become manifest in a person’s life, they continue to spread like yeast working its way through an entire batch of dough. This appears to have been a proverb that he quoted regularly:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 – Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Notice the opposite of leaven is expressed as the positive, “unleavened” principles of sincerity and truth. During this time while God’s Kingdom was moving from the natural to the spiritual, Yeshua and his disciples taught that it was even more critical that truthfulness be the bedrock within the community of believers.  Rather than always having to rely on external judges to decide the truth of the matter, however, the emphasis was on the arbiter moving from the external  judges’ seat to a place within the heart of every believer, as had been prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

  • Jeremiah 31:33 – “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” ​– ​Yahweh declares. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
  • Ezekiel 36:26-27 – And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

This is why James could speak so harshly to the remnant about the corrupting influences that could disrupt the community of God.

James 3:13-16 – If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

James relates that selfish boasting and lying could be used to hide the truth, and had the potential result of causing “disorder and evil of every kind.” This was the end result of the leaven working its way through the entire batch of dough.

Paul used the analogous contrast of the “old man” and the “new man” of the heart. As believers’ hearts were renewed, it was as if there was a new person who could only do what was right, and who would stand in judgment of the practices of the old man.

Ephesians 4:22-25 – …that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “[Let] each one [of you] speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

The encouragement to truthful dealings within the community was to be based on this newness of righteousness and holiness of heart. Because of this community in which all were “members of one another,” that is, parts of an integral body, they were to always provide a truthful and honest example in everything, with everyone, in all of their words and actions.

So, we can see that from the initial Sinai revelation against false witness, the necessity of truthfulness among the people of God is a quality that God desires his children to represent in this world. The simplicity of this aspiration is realized in the words of the commandment, but the effectiveness of God’s desire is realized when the heart has been renewed in the likeness of its Creator to always be truthful.

Today, all who consider themselves believers in Messiah, who was the embodiment of truth, should have this virtue imbedded deeply within their hearts. Instead of deception and falsehood should come forth righteousness and truth for the good of the entire community within the Kingdom of God.

If you enjoy these 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 archived blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at

Peace and reconciliation are the primary indicators of the children of God

Believers are taught and encouraged to operate within a spirit of peace at all times.

Believers are taught and encouraged to operate within a spirit of peace at all times.

When Yeshua taught his disciples about forgiveness, it was with the idea that they were to be reconcilers, those who promote peace instead of further divisiveness. This was to be true not only among themselves, but with all others, even including their enemies.

Matthew 5:44 – “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

The apostle Paul continued this line of thinking in his epistle to the Roman congregation.

Romans 12:16-18 – Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

The apostle James mentions how it is the wisdom of God which promotes peace, and also how righteousness can only become evident in an environment of peace.

James 3:17-18 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

If the fruit of righteousness (that is, doing what is right in God’s eyes) can only be sown in peace, then we see how peace itself, as a fruit of the holy Spirit, is a demonstration of God working within our lives.

  • Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
  • Romans 8:14 – For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

According to the apostle Paul, anyone who considers themself to be a child of God is led by the Spirit of God. Therefore, if one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace, then peace prompted and flowing from God’s Spirit should be evident within their life. This aligns with the teaching of Yeshua

Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers, just like the Roman congregation, to have the same mind about living in peace which would be an outward demonstration of their spiritual maturity or completeness.

2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, have the same mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Living in peace with others is an identifiable characteristic of Kingdom life. If we are attempting to promote the wisdom of God to others, then, according to the apostle James, at its most basic level that wisdom can only be sown amidst an environment of peace and good will toward others.

Romans 14:19 – So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

If we have a shared faith in Messiah Yeshua, then we can build on that to encourage one another. If we encounter others who do not share a biblical faith, then, as children of God shining as lights in this world of darkness, we are still obligated as much as possible to live at peace with them.

Romans 12:17-18 – Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

This is how we demonstrate the love of God to others, not through condemnation, but through being peace makers. This is how we exemplify to others that we truly are children of God. This is how we overcome adversity and bond together as brothers and sisters in Messiah. This is the way of interacting socially with all that honors God and fulfills his desire for his Kingdom becoming evident on the earth.

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.

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

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at

Loving the unlovable

Believers already hold the key to overcoming worldly strife.

Believers already hold the key to overcoming worldly strife.

As believers, we know that the commandment we have been charged with is simply to love. It sounds so simple, and yet when we consider the state of the world and the social environment in which we live, we see what appear to be unlovable people everywhere. There is rumor and inuendo prevalent through personal social media, criticism and outright vitriol promoted in the legacy media, all of which spills over into division and strife among our friends and family groups.

Many believers feel this is an indication of how things are getting worse and worse, and we just need to hold on until Messiah returns. However, this is nothing new. Even in Yeshua’s day, the wicked state of the population even in that time could be characterized in a similar fashion. Paul elucidates the characteristics evident even within that generation.

Romans 1:29-31 – …They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

How can we love people such as this? Aren’t these the people that God will destroy in vengeance? Perhaps we need to step back and broaden our understanding a bit and recognize how that type of mentality plays out.

Consider how Paul believed that the Torah command to love one’s neighbor was effective even amidst that wicked generation.

  • Galatians 5:13-14 – For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Romans 13:8-10 – Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

These encouragements, of course, were equally based on and supported by the teaching of Messiah.

Matthew 22:37-40 – And he said to him, “You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

But besides this clear teaching of Yeshua, Paul’s admonition to love others struck at a deeper place in the hearts of his hearers. He simply confronted them with their own histories of past disobedience.

Titus 3:2-3 – to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Paul includes himself in this characterization of “malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” If we can likewise arrive at this place of naked recognition in our own lives, we can begin to find the compassion for others who seem at first glance to be unlovable. We ourselves have been in that dark place, and yet God somehow saw past that rebellious and disobedient exterior to demonstrate his own love for us.

And this leads to the corresponding method of our own love for others: to love the unlovable, we need to view them, not with the eyes of our flesh, but through the eyes of God’s compassion. It is the most difficult thing any of us can hope to accomplish, at least in our own strength. However, relying on his Spirit for our strength, we can take steps toward compassionate actions that would be beyond our own strength or willingness to do so.

Galatians 5:16, 22-25 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

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.

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

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at

Real peace is generated by trust in God

Regardless of our own abilities or resources, our ultimate trust in all things should be in God.

Core of the Bible podcast #83 – Real peace is generated by trust in God

Today we will be looking at the topic of trust or faith in God, and how, regardless of our own abilities or resources, our ultimate trust in all things should be in God.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

This verse has been very popular over the years due to its simple admonition to prayer and its promise of peace of a troubled mind.

But rather than focus on the peace it provides, I would like to draw out another unstated concept present in this verse: trust in God. You see, peace can only come when there is an understanding that something, or someone, larger than our current troubling circumstance is handling the situation, and we don’t need to be anxious about it. This is why prayer is effective, because we are giving over situations that are beyond our control to Someone who has all control.

I think about when I was a small child, riding in the back of our car on a trip home from visiting relatives. I had no concerns about which roads we had to take, how much traffic there was, what the weather conditions were. My dad was taking us home, and that’s all that mattered. I would inevitably drift off to sleep with the rhythmic motion of the car and the road noise. I had no cares to concern me, only knowing that I would be home at the end of the trip. I trusted my dad to get us home; I had no reason not to trust him to do so.

When I became a dad and our family was on road trips to visit relatives, it was up to me to take all of those factors into consideration, since I was responsible for getting my family home safely. My role as a dad had increased responsibilities, but even with those responsibilities, my skills had grown to meet them. Certainly, I had to focus on things that I was not concerned about as a child, but even though I had to manage all of those concerns, I still had an over-arching trust that we were going to make it home. Regardless of the right route to take, the traffic, or the road conditions, we would be home soon.

Yeshua famously taught his disciples about trusting in our heavenly Father for all of their needs.

Matthew 6:31-32: ““Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “

He encouraged them not to do what the nations around them would do which was earnestly seek after every opportunity to improve material gain and wealth. This is not a situation unlike today in which we find ourselves living among a culture that is obsessed with materialism. This is why this topic of trusting in God can be such a challenging topic for us today. It’s because, at least in our American culture, we are constantly fed a steady diet of information that says we must be successful at all costs. That definition of success is typically wrapped up in nice houses, fancy cars, and investment income.

All my life I have wanted to be independent and be able to create my own source or sources of income to support myself and my family. Even if it wasn’t possible at any given time, it has always been in the back of my mind that I would like to accomplish that level of independence. I’ve always thought it was just the way my brain is wired, but lately I have come to think that it may have more to do with exposure to our culture than it does with any independent streak I may have in my personality. It does not appear to be an uncommon desire in our current culture.

Yet here I am with kids almost grown and over 25 years with my current employer. Thankfully, we currently have more than enough to meet all of our needs, even though at times it was a struggle as we were raising our family up. Through it all, my wife and I have always trusted that God would provide for our family, and he has graciously done so.

Does that mean that I didn’t have to do anything, and God would simply pour resources into our lap? Of course not, I have had to work very hard to provide consistency in my job, sometimes working nights and weekends as needed. But I have had a strangely long run with a single employer which is becoming less and less prevalent as the years go by, and I find that in itself is an unusual provision in these challenging times.

You see, trust in God is not an abdication of all responsible action; it is a recognition of power or skill beyond your own that will ultimately accomplish the outcome. That trust can be present at every skill and responsibility level. When we pray about everything, we are demonstrating that our trust is not in our own abilities or resources, but in God.

Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.

Trust in God also involves being flexible. In a moment we will look at various aspects of flexibility that should also be evident in the life of a believer who is trusting in God.

So far in our examination of this topic, we have reviewed trusting in God by praying about all things. We have also looked at the efforts that are still needed on our part to accomplish even our most basic needs.

Beyond these basics, another aspect of trusting in God is remaining flexible. Many times, we may believe we are headed toward a desired outcome when God has something totally different planned. This is not always a negative thing, but it may require a pivot in our thinking and expectations.

Back to the example of the responsible dad who is safely taking his family home from a road trip, we can glean some application by looking at various aspects of that situation.

For example, we need to be strategizing our desired route, but not to the exclusion of allowing for detours along the way. Perhaps the expected route home has become unavailable due to a crash ahead or construction that has blocked off access. In these instances, we need to be able to take the time to think rationally around the obstacle in order to continue making progress toward home. When we perform this exercise, many times new opportunities in previously undiscovered ways come to light.

For example, I have a typical way I commute to work every day but in times of heavy traffic I have begun to rely on digital mapping of my route to find the quickest way around the traffic as needed. Some of the alternative routes at times of heavy traffic have yielded much more pleasant ways of getting to the same destination. This is one way in which remaining flexible can yield new opportunities when we trust God’s direction.

Psalm 119:59-60: “I considered my ways, and turned my steps to your statutes. I will hurry, and not delay, to obey your commandments.”

Being obedient in those times can yield new experiences and more fruitful results.

We also need to be considering traffic and road conditions but remain open to having to modify our plans accordingly as needed. Perhaps we begin to encounter snow, heavy rain, or dense fog which prevents us from seeing clearly. In these cases, we may need to simply pull over and wait it out until more favorable conditions arrive. Sometimes God has us sit quietly and wait for him until we can receive further instruction.

Psalm 40:1: “I waited patiently for Yahweh. He turned to me, and heard my cry.”

Isaiah 33:2: “Yahweh, be gracious to us. We have waited for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.”

These periods of waiting for God can be excruciating, especially for those type A’s among us. But these times can also provide needed rest when we are over-stressed, or they can cause us to focus on other needed things that may have arisen unexpectedly. Remaining flexible says that we are trusting that God has a reason for the unintended delay.

At other times, God provides guidance through or during the adverse condition or situation.

I can recall a true-life story about a couple driving home on the interstate when they became trapped in a white-out snowstorm. Unable to see the road, they simply pulled over, but they also knew that if they remained stationary too long, they would become trapped as the continuing snow deepened. Praying about their situation, they soon realized a snowplow had arrived to keep the freeway clear. They were then able to get back on the freeway and follow at a safe distance as the road was being plowed for them by professionals who knew the way and had the resources to clear the snow. They were able to safely arrive at their exit and complete their journey.

Psalm 25:5: “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation, I wait for you all day long.”

Psalm 73:21,23-24: “For my soul was grieved. I was embittered in my heart. … Nevertheless, I am continually with you. You have held my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

God’s guidance still involves us to follow that guidance, just as the couple had to get back on the freeway to follow the snowplow. But when we are faithful to his statutes, we will find he has provided a way through our predicament, and all to his glory.

In summary, we need to be faithful with what we’ve been called to do, but we need to always keep a higher sense of trust and dependency in God beyond our own abilities and actions. When we pray for the outcome according to God’s will, we can rest assured that regardless of any modifications along the way, everything will come to pass within his purpose and timing.

This is where the peace that passes understanding comes from: it is generated in the recognition that God ultimately has us, regardless of what happens along the way. It is beyond our understanding, because only he knows which route we will ultimately have to take to get there. We should always maintain a healthy understanding of the limits of our abilities and be sure our ultimate trust is in the One who can bring us safely home at the end of the trip. Yet, if he has other plans for us along the way, plans of which we had no idea or had even considered a possibility, our trust in him will provide the confidence needed to operate in these unfamiliar areas and terrain.

This is what it means to walk by the Spirit. Yeshua taught:

John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.””

Paul reiterated this dependency on God when he wrote to the Galatian congregation:

Galatians 5:25: “If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.”

Therefore, if we live by faith in the God of the universe, let us also walk by faith that he can and will guide us within his perfect plan and purpose. This can provide real peace because it is not based in anything that can be overturned in this life, but it is based in the One who holds all things in the palm of his hand.

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.

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

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at

The smallest of kindnesses can have influential results

We may never see the positive end results of our simplest compassionate actions.

We may never see the positive end results of our simplest compassionate actions.

Exodus 2:5-6 – Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds, sent her slave girl, took it, opened it, and saw him, the child ​– ​and there he was, a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.”

It was an act of compassion which began the people of Israel as an independent nation. Rescued from abandonment in the the Nile River, Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s household only to become the deliverer of God’s people.

We may never understand the scope of our compassionate actions, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us at that time that we help someone else. Knowing the history of how the Hebrew male babies were being killed during their enslavement in Egypt, it may have seemed pointless to rescue one child when so many other hundreds or thousands were routinely being killed. Yet from this smallest of caring deeds by Pharaoh’s daughter the history of a nation, and ultimately the world, was forever changed.

Boaz, a prominent man of Israel showed simple compassion to Ruth, the daughter of a distant relative, Naomi. In the process of showing a kindness to her, he ended up acquiring her as a wife.

Ruth 4:9-10 – Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon. “I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man’s name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his hometown. You are witnesses today.”

Through this act of compassion and obedience to Torah, Boaz became the immortalized as a great-grandfather in the lineage of one of the most famous of ancient Israelites, King David.

Ruth 4:21-22 – Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

Yeshua encouraged compassion among believers, even something as simple as giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty.

Matthew 10:40-42 – “The one who welcomes you welcomes me, and the one who welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he’s righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”

Our actions, good or bad, radiate into the unknown recesses of influence much like ripples in a pond when an object breaks the surface of the water. While we may not personally see or become aware of the end results, God can use those positive and caring actions to bring about his good purpose in his timing.

As believers, we have been gifted with his Spirit, imbued with his very presence in order to allow that influence of kindness to flow through us to others in ways that honor him.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another.

Since these characteristics of kindness and compassion are hard-wired into the DNA of the believer, we should exemplify those caring attitudes at every opportunity. God has shown us that even the smallest of compassionate actions can have unforeseen results that will ultimately glorify him and accomplish his purpose on the earth.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive 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