Wednesday, March 23, 2016

God Made the Gospel Go West

Reading through The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has brought a lot of clarity to my understanding of what life was like for Jesus. I want to save you time if you don't plan on reading this book by the genius, Jewish convert to Christ, Alfred Edersheim. Below I'm going to quickly tell you about the state of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus.

In the days of Christ, the people of Israel were referred to as the 'dispersion' due to their no longer being centralized in Israel. Most Jews were living in the East at Babylon, but they were largely scattered throughout the entire Middle East. The reason for the majority living in Babylon was that they never returned home from their exile in the days of Daniel. There was much prophecy in the book of Ezekiel about a restoration and return home... only that physically never happened. That's because Jesus is the spiritual Christ (Greek word for Messiah) that came to bring about a spiritual restoration, first to the Jews, then to the Greek.


The other half of the Jews were living in the West. These were called the Hellenists, as they were effected by Greek culture and thought. These Jews were not as absorbed in tradition and Law as their Eastern brothers. They were seen with contempt from them for their lack of piety by the letter, but they sought to honor the God of Israel in their lives just the same, and saw many Jewish converts. How does this scattering and division fit with God's purposes though? Look at this prophecy.

"I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them." - Ezekiel 36:10

God said He would scatter them, so He did. It may seem like God failed His chosen people by never physically bringing them back, right? Not at all. He purposely spread them out so that when the Gospel went forth, it would go West to a land where the soil was already tilled (Jewish converts became Christian converts). At that time, the traditional, by the letter Jews in the East, were hardened, they were like a brick wall for the Gospel. Hence the Gospel going West instead. It's amazing and we still feel the effects of it today, being a largely, albeit nominally Christian country.

Praise the Lord for His wisdom.

Photo by Amira

Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to Find Wisdom

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom." -Proverbs 4:7

Reading through Charles Spurgeon's autobiography can get a little dry sometimes to be honest. I'm currently reading a chapter called In Scotland. Scotland's great and all, but there are parts of Spurgeon's life and vacations I really don't care 100 pages about However, like with the Bible, there are some treasures hiding in the areas that require deeper swimming. What I swam down to today was this quote from Mr. Spurgeon to a friend in a letter, "I think I am well acquainted with the book you have culled from; indeed, I would go far to see a proverb-book which I do not know."

Not much special about that right? What are we supposed to take away from Spurgeon reading a lot of proverb-books? Well if you kept the title of my post in mind, it's to be an imitator of this great Christian and seek wisdom with the same zeal he did. The first step in being wise, is admitting the need for wisdom and getting help like he did. Does that mean you have to read all of the proverb books? No, that just means we should be the type of person that cares enough about obeying God's word to seek wisdom diligently. Buy proverb-books, ask teachers and fellow Christians for advice, seek wisdom from God in prayer, and search the scriptures. The Bible says the beginning of wisdom is to be a wisdom-seeker. You won't find wisdom waiting for it to find you, that's what that verse means. Are you actively seeking to grow in wisdom through knowledge and practice? As children of God, we stand at the edge of an ocean of wisdom in God, let's obey His word and dive in after it!


Photo by Vincent Sheed

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Natural Tree House of the Word

"I was sitting, one day, in the New Forest, under a beech tree. I like to look at the beech, and study it, as I do many other trees, for every one has its own peculiarities and habits, its special ways of twisting its boughs, and growing its bark, and opening its leaves, and so forth. As I looked up at that beech, and admired the wisdom of God in making it, I saw a squirrel running round and round the trunk, and up the branches, and I thought to myself, 'Ah! this beech tree is a great deal more to you than it is to me, for it is your home, your living, your all." Its big branches were the main streets of his city, and its little boughs were the lanes; somewhere in that tree he had his house, and the beech-mast was his daily food, he lived on it. Well, now, the way to deal with God's Word is not merely to contemplate it, or to study it, as a student does; but to live on it, as that squirrel lives on his beech tree. Let it be to you, spiritually, your house, your home, your food, your medicine, your clothing, the one essential element of your soul's life and growth.'"

-Charles Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography: Volume 2