What is the source of evil in the world? What does the Bible give as answer this very real question? We have had a variety of discussions at the Bible Education Center recently about this topic. World news certainly gives us all reason to contemplate such a question. This is a pertinent exploration even for people who already think they have the answers figured out. God’s word is good at demolishing preconceived ideas when we really dig into it and let Him speak for Himself.
Have you ever had to draw a boundary with someone you love that was excruciatingly difficult? The kind where you feel you have been cornered at last – and you have no other option but to cut them off somehow? The kind where their choices and/or behavior have tied your hands so that you are no longer able to reach to them, help them or have relationship any more? It’s a difficult place to find oneself. I think we sometimes live in denial that it is a real place because it is so painful to have to arrive there. But the Bible is full of stories of this kind of extreme breaking of relationship. Isaiah chapter one describes the raw emotion of just such a scenario.
Isn’t it exciting to push the restart button and start the Bible afresh in January? I love this aspect of the Robert Roberts reading plan. Back to Genesis. Back to the beginning. Back to basics. And that is what keeps coming to my mind as we read these first several chapters in Genesis. All of the basic tenets of Christianity are easily discerned right from the get-go in this incredible book. Easily discerned- that is – if we take the time to truly listen to what the Master Storyteller is choosing to tell us in panoramic, sometimes almost unbelievable events that are meant for our instruction.
I once had a person who was a pedophile tell me that part of the explanation for this problem was a terrible childhood. While I truly sympathize with having been mistreated as a child (and there is nothing more horrendous!), it still does not make allowance for continued sin. I’m sorry, but a bad upbringing is no excuse. It seems that some people in the Israel of Ezekiel’s day were getting into the habit of also believing that people are incapable of breaking out of cycles of inherited sin. Or perhaps they were blaming their own sin and suffering on their forefathers’ behavior. This is a common worldview embraced in our time as well. Today we often call it a “Victim Mentality.”
When our sons were young, I read aloud to them a great deal. We often would encounter new, unknown-to-us words as we adventured through books. So I decided to put together our own little dictionary entitled, “Very Remarkable Words,” where any of us were welcome to alphabetically list new, interesting (and often astonishing words) we would stumble across in our reading. I still add to our little book – even though my sons are now adults. Samples of words in our book are; slumgullion (stew made of leftovers) and flump (to plump down suddenly or heavily). I discovered a new entry for our book this week that I thought worth discussing with you today.
You may be wondering what today’s strange title means. Is it a typo? No, it is a new word I have coined – entered only in the little Scrabble dictionary of my own mind! Let me give you the definition of Technologism:
“The modern phenomena of the addiction to being distracted by the media, technology and other electronic attractions of modern life”
The Apostle Paul was a man that had it all figured out. In a world where many are struggling to find meaning and peace, we would do well to listen to this wise and experienced man’s advice. Like the Lord Jesus, Paul “learned obedience from the things which he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8 We cannot dismiss him, by thinking he did not understand how hard life can be. If there’s any doubt of this you might want to remind yourself of his incredible list of life experiences to know he was a victor.
The prevalence of Pharisees in Jesus’ life keeps popping out at me for some reason. I think it has to do with one of the classes we had at our Bible school this year that discussed the topic of legalism. My attention keeps getting dragged to these men – rulers, priests, scribes, religious leaders. They never left him alone, did they?
The more a person studies the Word of God, the more precious and interconnected to modern life it becomes. These are not ancient, outdated words from a past era. They are powerful words that can give us guidance and wisdom in the 21st Century. And the most amazing part of it is that they did the same for people reading them in all the previous centuries as well! The absolute truths of God and His understanding of us (His creatures) has never changed. I feel a sense of astonishment over this, time and time again.
Indeed! Who can stand before human jealousy? It is a passionate and often violent emotion. Our readings in Proverbs 27:4 teaches us today that “wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?!” Jealousy is worse than the fierceness of violent anger and the relentless, unexpected force of sweeping floods. Is this true? The wisdom of Proverbs singles it out to tell us so.