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Psalm 50 is the first of the Psalms credited to the man Asaph, and is the only Psalm so credited in the second, Exodus book of Psalms. The remaining Asaph Psalms are all found in the third book of Psalms. There are in total twelve psalms credited to Asaph.

The name “Asaph” means “Gatherer” or “Collector.” He is first introduced to us among the musicians who served in the house of the LORD in I Chronicles 6.

31. Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after the ark came to rest. 32. They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order.
33. And these are the ones who ministered with their sons: Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Why do you think God chose Joshua and not Caleb to proceed Moses?

I assume you are thinking because both Joshua and Caleb gave a faithful report from spying out the land, whereas the other ten spies gave a bad report and died for it.

Caleb was indeed faithful to God and to Moses, and gave a report full of faith, just like Joshua did. However, Joshua’s faithful report in this instance was not what won him the right to become Moses’ assistant, and to take over his place when Moses died. Rather, Joshua had already been Moses’ assistant and right-hand man long before this.

The first time we read of him is in Exodus 17:9. The Bible does not even bother to introduce him to us. Instead, we simply read of Moses instructing him to lead Israel in their battle with the nation of Amalek. Joshua does this, and Israel gets the victory. Apparently, God is pleased with the work of Joshua in this case. The LORD insists in Exodus 17:14 that Joshua be present to hear Moses rehearse the promise when the LORD declares that He will wipe the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Numbers 24:1. “Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.”

Were Balaam’s first oracles his own and not prophecy? Numbers 16:34-35. Balaam’s first oracle are his own words because v.10 of ch23 doesn’t come true in comparison to Numbers 31:8.

Balaam’s first oracles were definitely not his own. In Numbers 23:5, we read, “Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.’” The same thing happens in verse 16. The difference seems to be that Balaam tries to convince God to change His mind and curse Israel the first two times by putting on a huge show with seven altars, seven bulls, and seven rams. It seems that Balaam had picked up that the LORD likes the number seven, and he was trying to impress Him with this great show. However, the LORD was not impressed. He had given Balaam the opportunity to repeat His words faithfully in Numbers 22:12, but in verse 13 he had changed the message to something that better suited him. In Numbers 22:20, the LORD gave him a word to obey, but he disobeyed the word in verse 21 and did what he liked. Now, the LORD does not trust Balaam with His words. Instead, He puts them in Balaam’s mouth like a CD in a CD player, and Balaam has no choice but to repeat them exactly as he was given them. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Is the story of Samson a case where suicide killing is advocated in the bible?

One thing to always remember when reading the history recorded in the Scriptures is not to assume that every action of every individual recorded in Scripture, be it the “hero” of the story or not, is necessarily something that the Scriptures support. Many times, the Scriptures record what occurred, without offering the Divine Author’s opinion of these things at all. Sometimes, of course, we are given such commentary, and so can speak with confidence regarding God’s opinion of events that transpired. On the other hand, many times we do not have God’s commentary upon what was occurring, but just a record of events. In these situations, we must use care before we rush in to proclaim that what the Bible character did was done on behalf of, or with the approval of, the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »

In our last message, we were illustrating Paul’s command in I Corinthians 9:24-27 to run in such a way as to receive a prize and not be disqualified. We were doing this by examining a story from the Old Testament of a man who began to run after the LORD very well, only to be disqualified later when he refused to continue that run after Him as he should have. The example we were looking at was that of the man Jehu.

In our last message, we saw how the king of Israel, Joram, was a wicked man and the heir of a line of kings that God had cursed and promised to destroy. Now Jehu, a man who had been the army commander, had been anointed by God’s prophet and was told that he was to take the throne and carry out God’s vengeance against the wicked house of Ahab that ruled before him. Jehu’s men had enthusiastically embraced him as king when they heard of what the prophet had done, and then Jehu began to carry out the LORD’s instructions to him. Read the rest of this entry »

I Corinthians 9:24 reads:

24. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

When we consider this verse, we see that God’s desire for those who follow Him is that they run in such a way as to obtain a prize. Yet he points out that only one receives the prize in any given race. Many run in races, but many less are winners.

25. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Here, the Holy Spirit through Paul points out that those who compete for the prize condition themselves to run the race. When we apply this to our lives as believers, we realize that running after God as He desires requires conditioning on our part as well. There are certain things that are essential for training believers, such as Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. Those who neglect the training are not prepared to run in such a way as to receive the prize. Read the rest of this entry »

We are all familiar with the common, romantic fairytale ending that “they got married and lived happily ever after.” Sometimes, I think we tend to look at our walks with the Lord the same way. We view it almost as if salvation were “getting married,” and our future, eternal life were the “living happily ever after.” These things might be so, but we tend then to ignore the part in between, which is where most of us are now. And yet here, between salvation and happily ever after, we need to live for the Lord as He wants us to live.

In our last message, we began this topic by considering several truths about how we should be living “between now and happily ever after.” Then, we went on to begin considering the negative example of Samson from the Bible, as a man who failed to live for God in spite of his special relationship with Him. Read the rest of this entry »

We are probably all familiar with fairytales. They are popular in children’s reading, and many of them have been made into popular, animated movies by the Walt Disney company. So we all know about the common, romantic “fairytale ending.” Usually, the story ends with the hero and heroine getting reunited at last, and we are told that they “got married and lived happily ever after.” That is the way we like our fairytales to end, and maybe the way we like to think it is as children. But I imagine that anyone who has actually gotten married knows that there is a lot of real life that goes on between “getting married” and “living happily ever after.” Things are not at all that simple! The majority of our lives, the majority of our relationships, takes place after that “getting married” and before the “living happily ever after.”

So I wonder if sometimes we view the Christian life the same way as we view a fairytale?  That is, that we focus all our energies on the beginning of the relationship with God, the “getting married,” if you will, and on the end of that relationship, our eternal hope, the “happily ever after” part. Read the rest of this entry »

BalaamOne of the more interesting and often overlooked characters in the writings of Moses is the character of Balaam.  Most people know that he was the man whose donkey talked, but what is the real lesson behind this story?  And who was Balaam the son of Beor?  He appears on the Biblical scene suddenly and dramatically in Numbers 22.  His story is an interesting one, and one that stands out in that book.  But who was he exactly, and what can we learn from his story?

Who and what he was can be answered for us, not from the Old Testament, but from the New.  For in II Peter 2:15-16 we read of Balaam.  Peter is speaking of unfaithful people, and says, “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.Read the rest of this entry »