28 May

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (Matthew 4:5-7)

Now, here we see the Devil actually telling a part-truth. He’s quoting an actual verse, and is quoting it correctly. And in fact, he’s even applying it to Jesus semi-correctly… And if Jesus hadn’t compared that verse to the rest of Scripture, He may have thought that the Devil made a good point.

Now, Jesus, and us, are about as different as can be, but the Devil uses the same basic principle that he used on Jesus, on us. i.e., he’ll sometimes use Scripture, taken out of the context of the rest of the Bible, to confuse us. Our problem is that once we see something which we think may support what we want, we tend to latch onto that, and not look at what the verse’s context may say. We need to learn to see if God is pointing us there, or if it’s the Devil. So, for the sake of example, let’s look at a random verse and draw what conclusions we can from it:

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.(O) (Psalm 91:13)

Taken out of context, we can easily draw a very wrong, and very dangerous conclusion: that we can go jumping on lions and snakes without ill effect. But when we look at the context of the verse, we see that the psalmist was using this as an illustration (and an illustration only) of what the wo/man that loves God will be able to do. (See verses 9, and 14-16 to see the context I’m talking about). The Bible never lies, and I’m not saying that it does. However, sometimes we can see things in a light which they are not meant to be seen… Something which begs the question, “What’s the right “light”?”

I’m not some sort of authority that’s able to say what the exact right way to understand every word of the Bible, correctly, is. But, that being said, Paul  does gives us a clue about how to do it:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom(A) as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] (B) I came to you(C) in weakness(D) with great fear and trembling.(E) My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words,(F) but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,(G) so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.(H(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

Paul calls what he did, “preaching”. Now, what is true preaching, if not expounding on the word of God? So, it’s safe to assume that he expounded on the word of God. (And, evidently he did it correctly, as he claims to have come to the Corinthians with wisdom from God). – But how did he expound the Scriptures? He says two things that tell us:

  1. He says that he proclaimed to them the “testimony about God”. Now, this could easily mean almost anything, because we don’t really know what the “testimony about God” is. But the second thing he says clarifies it for us:
  2. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. So, we can draw a parallel between his resolution to know nothing while he was among them, but Christ-crucified, and his preaching to them.

Christ’s death is the way to understand Scripture, as according to Paul. Something we can see if we return to the verse we used as an example earlier:

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.(O) (Psalm 91:13)

We’ll be able to “tread” on the Devil’s power and lies, because we love God. (The Devil is described as a lion, and at one time actually appeared in the form of a snake. In the first case, we see the Devil’s “power”, and in the second, we see the Devil’s lies. Thus it isn’t unreasonable for us to draw the conclusion that God is referring to the Devil here, through the psalmist.) Yet, why should God protect us after everything we’ve done against Him? Because His son died to forgive us of what we’ve done wrong.

The point being this: in every verse we see, we’re to look at it in context, and we’re to see how it can relate to the cross.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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