Preachers of Little Faith

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17 KJV).

Over 50 years ago, a Christian minister lamented: “Great faith can be acquired only by hearing the Word of God. The reason most preachers have so little faith is because they spend more time around the television and on the golf course than they spend alone with God studying His Word.” Yes, whether five decades ago, or 20 centuries ago, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God!”

Today’s Scripture is actually a scolding of unbelieving Israel in the Acts period. Whether during the ministry of the 12 Apostles (early to mid-Acts), or that of the Apostle Paul (mid- to late Acts), the nation Israel overwhelmingly refused to believe on Jesus Christ. Paul wrote: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Too caught up in self-righteousness (religious works), they did not see that righteousness was only in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Sound familiar?)

Verses 16 and 17: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Paul here is actually quoting Isaiah 53:1. Some 700 years before Christ, the Prophet Isaiah had great difficulty convincing his Jewish audience to believe God’s Word that he preached to them. The same was true in the ministries of Peter and the 11, and Paul. Israel had and heard God’s Word, but few Jews had trusted it!

Today, we have the completed Holy Bible, but how many—even preachers—actually read, study, and believe it? Usually, they read commentaries, watch religious television, sing hymns, and recite confessionals and creeds. There are so many distractions, especially in religion, vying for our attention. We had better pay attention to God’s Book, for it is the only way to have faith! Let us not repeat Israel’s mistake!

Fury Turned Away? #2

Friday, October 13, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

We read today’s Scripture in context: “[41] And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. [42] And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. [43] Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; [44] And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; [45] Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?”

Earlier in the chapter, Rebekah and son Jacob connived to have him get his father Isaac’s blessing rather than brother Esau. Of course, upon hearing what happened, Esau is outraged, inconsolable, and bloodthirsty. He actually vows to take Jacob’s life! Wise Rebekah reasons that, if she can send Jacob away for a time, Esau will calm down and back down from his resolution to kill Jacob. In chapter 28, Jacob escapes to Rebekah’s family in Mesopotamia (to the east of Canaan) to find a wife.

Fast-forward 21 years—yes, two decades have elapsed since Jacob escaped to Haran. Returning to Canaan, he meets brother Esau. Has their mother Rebekah’s plan worked? At this point, has Esau’s “fury turned away?” Has his “anger turned away” from his younger brother Jacob? Does Esau still harbor resentment? Will he slay Jacob as he intended all those years earlier? Dear friends, let us see what happens to man’s wrath….