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"The City ... Was Perplexed" (#1)

Thursday, January 09, 2020

After Haman got his law passed that called for the extinction of the Jews, the Bible tells us that he and Ahasuerus “sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed” (Est. 3:15). The word “perplexed” in that verse means to be confused (Brown, Driver, Briggs). In simple terms, those in Shushan stood in confusion at this law that was now in effect.

Though his name isn’t mentioned in this book, this is the work of Satan. He tempted Haman, and now, because of his anger and jealousy, Haman bribed the king to write a law that would destroy a nation of people (3:9-12). Indeed, Satan tried his best to stir confusion and mayhem throughout the kingdom of Persia. He succeeded! In contrast, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (I Cor. 14:33). God doesn’t stir up strife and hardship. He wants us to be at peace, love one another, and be united. Satan wants confusion. He’s our adversary and looks for souls to devour (I Pet. 5:8). He certainly had a great opportunity in Shushan!

Understanding, peace, impartiality, mercy, and wisdom are the attributes of God and the “wisdom from above” (Jas. 3:17-18). Conversely, “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jas. 3:16). Haman’s actions reflect the wisdom from below, not from above. As a result, Shushan’s population was confused.

Which do you prefer, confusion, or a peaceful life? Do we need to ask? Man’s confusion comes from sin. Clarity comes from God’s word (Jn. 8:31-32). For this reason, let’s follow the example of the Lord, not Haman (I Pet. 2:21-22).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

The Deceit Of Alcohol

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Consuming Alcohol Deceives The Drinker

Jarrod Jacobs

            The consumption of alcohol is a rampant problem in our world. In fact, drinking alcoholic drinks has become a “way of life” for many cultures where some of the youngest among us are brought up drinking alcohol. In our society, teenagers are encouraged by their peers to drink alcohol, as well as consume other drugs. In connection with the dangers associated with alcohol, including addiction, there are any other dangers. The dangers include destroying the body, the failure of marriages, losing a job, loss of money, and the break-down of the family environment. Underneath all of this is the very real danger of self-deceit. When drinking alcohol, people deceive themselves into thinking that the alcohol is harmless to themselves and others, and any harm they are feeling is the result of other things.

            The other day, a friend and I were talking about the dangers and the deceit associated with alcohol. During our conversation, I was reminded of Solomon’s words, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler: and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). In addition to this, Proverbs 23:29-35 explains the results of drinking alcohol in great detail. People who justify drinking alcohol are deceiving themselves! With all the harm alcohol can do to a person, perhaps deception is the worst harm it brings! Solomon says it best when he writes that those who drink alcohol say, “I must have another drink” when they come off of their drunken stupor (Prov. 23:35). So long as one has deceived himself by denying the true reason for his troubles, he will continue to drink and ruin his physical health, his family, his life, and worst of all, he will jeopardize his soul!

            We know one jeopardizes his soul in the drinking of alcohol when we read passages like I Peter 4:3-4. There, the apostle Peter wrote, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” The context of I Peter 4 contrasts the people’s old way of life with the new way of life in Christ (see also: II Cor. 5:17). In so doing, Peter equates all degrees of alcohol consumption (excess of wine, revellings, banquetings) with “lasciviousness, lusts … abominable idolatries … excess of riot”! We know that lasciviousness, and those other sins mentioned are not “harmless pleasure,” or ways to “relax.” Why then would we place the consumption of alcohol into such a category? Truly, we have deceived ourselves when we treat the drinking of alcohol as “nothing”. Alcohol will maim and destroy lives. In addition to these passages, let us add I Corinthians 6:10 and Galatians 5:21 to our study. Yes, the consumption of alcohol will jeopardize our souls. Stay away from it (Prov. 23:31)!

Three Sins That Condemned Daniel

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Three Sins That Condemned Daniel

Jarrod Jacobs

            Daniel, the prophet of God, was an outstanding character of the Old Testament. Most of his life was spent in captivity: first under Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, then under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, king of Persia (Dan. 1, 6, 10). In spite of his being away from family and loved ones, he knew about God and worshiped Him faithfully. His faithfulness so impressed God that God said Daniel was one of only three men who “should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness” while the rest of the land would be laid waste by God because of the people’s sin (Ezek. 14:12-20).

            Yet, on one occasion, Daniel was condemned. Daniel was condemned to die, not by God, but by men, because he prayed to God after a decree had been made that no one could pray to anyone or any “thing” except to the king. Daniel’s condemnation came because three sins were committed. Not his sins, but because certain others committed sin. If we are not careful, we may also be guilty of these same sins. Let us study Daniel chapter 6, and see what three sins condemned Daniel to death.

            The first sin to condemn Daniel was envy. Daniel had risen to a position of leadership, not unlike Joseph in Egypt. During the reign of Darius, Daniel was placed over several governors. These men didn’t like this, and in their envy, they devised a way to trap Daniel (Dan. 6:1-4). In Daniel they found “no error or fault.” Therefore, they decided, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (Dan. 6:5). The only thing they could find “wrong” with him was his loyalty to God, and that he would put God above all else. (Wouldn’t this be a good problem for all of us to have?)

            The second sin that condemned Daniel was lying. Based on their decision to trap Daniel by forcing him to choose between the laws of the land and the laws of God; they met with the king, saying: “All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions” (Dan. 6:7). This was a lie, for “all” were not “agreed”! Daniel would not support this legislation. They had conspired and lied against Daniel, the very one who was over them (Dan. 6:2-3).

            The third sin condemning Daniel was pride. Friend, think about it. Why then did this edict pass (Dan. 6:9)? It is because of the King’s pride! He could have refused the legislation, but he, like Nebuchadnezzar, was proud and wanted to be worshiped. Why else would one sign such a decree? In the end, though, he was humbled when he realized what his signature and seal had done to Daniel (Dan. 6:14-15, 18-19). The sins of these men condemned Daniel to the lion’s den. Why? Because when Daniel “knew that the document was signed, he ... gave thanks before His God, as he had done previously” (Dan. 6:10). He did not alter his prayers, nor hide in the corner from anyone.

            The sad thing is that these sins are still with us today, and it is possible for us to be guilty of envy, lying, and pride if we are not careful. (In fact, these sins nailed Christ to the cross!) We know the outcome of Daniel and of his accusers (Dan. 6:23-24). What about us? Are we the kind of people that have such conviction and dedication that, no matter what, we will be faithful to God? Remember, Daniel didn’t know he would be rescued when he made his stand! In like manner, we don’t know the end of things when we stand for the Lord. However, we know Who holds the future! If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

"Lying Lips Are An Abomination"

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lying Lips Are An Abomination

Jarrod Jacobs

                   Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” George Washington was quoted as saying, “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” In a time in which lying to one another (and to ourselves) seems to be in epidemic proportions, let us see what God says about lying.

                   God consistently condemns lying. Looking to the Old Testament we read, “Let the lying lips be put to silence…” (Ps. 31:18). David prayed that God would consume those who sinned by lying and cursing with their mouth (Ps. 59:12). Proverbs 6:17 reveals that God hates a “lying tongue.” Solomon said, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD…” (Prov. 12:22). The righteous man will hate lying (Prov. 13:5). Jeremiah says that “lying words” are words which “cannot profit” (Jer. 7:8).

                   Looking to the New Testament, we learn we must put away, “lying” and “speak truth” (Eph. 4:25). In Colossians 3:9, the apostle Paul says to “lie not.” Could a Scripture be any plainer than this? In Acts 5, we read of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to God (Acts 5:1-11). As a result of their deception, and lying to God, they were struck dead (v. 3-5, 10)! Jesus spoke of, “all liars” and said they, “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). What else needs to be said to get people to understand that God demands honesty?

                   Why talk about dishonesty? Perhaps we can answer this question by considering our advocate, Jesus Christ (I Jn. 2:1) and our adversary, Satan (I Pet. 5:8). Our Lord Jesus is “the truth” and God’s word is truth (Jn. 14:6, 17:17). Satan, on the other hand, is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). He introduced lies into the world (Gen. 3:4), and has been lying ever since. Therefore, when we are dishonest, who are we following? When we are honest, who are we following? Answer those questions, and we will see why honesty is imperative with God!

                   “The truth hurts” is an accurate statement at times. But, isn’t greater damage done when we lie to others (or to ourselves)? Isn’t it a far worse thing to be found out as a liar and a dishonest person than if you’d just told the truth in the first place? This world encourages us to lie “a little bit,” or “bend the truth” (?) at times. However, isn’t it better, and so much easier, to always tell the truth? As Mr. Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” Make no mistake, “your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). If it doesn’t come in this life, it will come on the Day of Judgment (II Cor. 5:10; Ecc. 12:13-14). What then, friend? Consider the consequences of your choices before it is too late. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Are you ready for the Judgment Day? Can you honestly say that you have obeyed Christ and are a Christian (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38, 22:16)? Or, have you been lying to yourself all this time? The truth is that Jesus Christ is “the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). Don’t deceive yourself by thinking that simply hearing His word is enough. You must obey His will today (Jas. 1:22-25).

Lies The Devil Tells (#6)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lies The Devil Tells

Jarrod Jacobs 

            Satan has many lies that he tells people (Jn. 8:44). We have studied several of these lies in earlier articles. One very common lie justifies sin by saying, “It is acceptable/legal in society.”

            This popular lie allows society to determine what is correct or incorrect. Of course, we see many things that society accepts that are unacceptable with God. For instance, homosexuality is accepted in society, though the Bible says it is a sin (Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 1:9-11). Society allows a man and woman to divorce for any cause, even though the Bible does not allow this (Matt. 5:32, 19:9). Fornication is portrayed in society as acceptable and “loving”, but God says that sexual relations are only acceptable in the marriage relationship (Heb. 13:4). Society also accepts such things as gambling (or lotteries), drinking alcohol, smoking, immodest dress, etc. We must never base our decision to do right or wrong simply because it is “legal.”

            Doesn’t it make sense that as society gets worse and worse, our laws will change, and things once illegal will become legal? However, God’s word will never change (Ps. 119:89)!!

            The Bible makes it clear that we must do what is right regardless of what society accepts or legalizes! For example, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). Further, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22). Peter said, “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Pet. 2:11). Jesus said that there are only two ways to live this life — the broad way or the strait and narrow way (Matt. 7:13-14). Let us obey Christ regardless of what society does or does not accept!

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