Bread – Ignorance

April 5, 2017


Psalm 59

Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city.  There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips — for ‘Who,’ they think, ‘will hear us?’  But You, O Lord, laugh at them;…Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by their power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield!”  Ps,. 59:6-8,11

There are three parts to this excerpt from Psalm 59.  The first is the description of the people behaving like dogs, ignorant of God and the judgment to come.  The second is God Himself, who by the Psalmist’s description is amused at their ignorance.  The third is the Psalmist, who is praying to God that He not destroy them, so that their collapse over time can be a testimony to God’s people.  This last one caught me by surprise, because my natural reaction would be “God, shoot the dogs and get me out of my misery from having to listen to them!”  But the Psalmist prays for God to spare them for a time so the ignorance and depravity of their ways can become apparent to all.

There are sayings like “ignorance is bliss” and “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.”  The problem, which David points out, is that ignorance is not bliss; instead, ignorance is a fast track to punishment for eternity.  What you don’t know does hurt you.  You cannot step in front of a moving train and wish it away.  You cannot remain ignorant of the natural law of gravity.  You cannot remain ignorant of the spiritual law that the product of sin is death and that we all sin, no matter the degree of our “good works.”

The deliberately evil people and the ignorant people are all destined to the same end.  The evil people may say “We don’t care if He hears us” and the ignorant people may say “Who is He and why would He hear us in the first place,” but the result of a good, ignorant life without God and the salvation which comes from Jesus Christ alone has the same ending.  When God confronts us on our day of judgment, an inadequate response is “I didn’t know.”

The statement “I was blind, but now I see” was preceded by the acknowledgment “I am blind and I want to see.”

How does one proceed from ignorance of God to knowing Him?  Not initially by one’s own effort, just like going from unsaved to saved is not accomplished by our own effort.

Ignorance is its own form of blindness.  When we are blind, we know it because we cannot see with our eyes and the world is dark.  However, when we are ignorant, part of that ignorance is the fundamental belief that we know something, so we believe that we can see.  However, our seeing in the throes of ignorance is like peering through distorted glass.  However, the distortion is not apparent to the one in ignorance.

So what are the ignorant to do?  The same as the blind.  The same as the unredeemed.  The same as we all have done whether consciously or unconsciously – pray “Come Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and wake me up, let me see, rescue me, and save me.  Amen.”  Truth, not ignorance, shall set you free.

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

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Bread – Knowledge

February 22, 2017


Psalm 53

Have those who work evil no knowledge, who …do not call upon God?”  Ps. 53:4

The NASB translations says it this way, “Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge…?”  I like the “workers of wickedness” because it rhymes.  But “work evil” has the same meaning.

This one line is full of more meaning than we can imagine.

First, what is wickedness?  Well, it turns out that there are 12 Hebrew words which stand for various kinds and demonstrations of sin, sin being multi-faceted and everywhere.  The word used here for “wickedness” is one of the major Hebrew words for sin, often translated “iniquity.”  According to the lexical aid to the Old Testament contained within the  Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (NASB, Zhodiates, Ed., AMG Publishers 1990), the word means “vanity, breath, vainness, nothingness, falseness, falsehood, idol, idolatry, wickedness, sin, sorrow, distress, hardship, toil – there are two aspects to the primary meaning of the word: (a) emphasis upon trouble which moves onward to wickedness; (b) emptiness which results in idolatry…The word focuses on the planning and expression of deception, pointing more to the consequences of sin.”

To summarize this definition, it seems like the wickedness which is being talked about is the kind of action which occurs (a) from emptiness, (b) which causes a chasing after idols, (c) which works a deception, (d) which results in turmoil and sorrow, (e) which results in an outworking of evil in the world.  Isn’t it interesting that the word “wickedness” has as its foundation an emptiness which can only be filled with God, and yet the person has “no knowledge” because they do not call upon God in their distress.

So, now that we have looked at what “wickedness” is, what is the “knowledge” which they apparently do not have?

Well, it turns out that the kind of knowledge which is being referenced is “…the various types of knowledge which are gained through the senses.”  [Hebrew-Greek Study Bible].

Since our senses are sight, sound, touch, and smell, one might say that the knowledge being referenced is that knowledge which we can discover for ourselves, what we can observe.  One might call this scientific knowledge or demonstrable knowledge.  It is what we learn in books.  So, in a sense, the question is “Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge of science…?”  This sounds odd because, in today’s world, the knowledge of science is equated with the understanding that there is no God, no creation.  However, the existence of God is proclaimed by what is observable in science, if we have but eyes to see and ears to hear.

But the Hebrew word used as “knowledge” here can also refer to the knowledge which comes from relationship.  This same word is used for sexual encounters, rape, homosexuality, and relationship to God and idols.  This relationship, however, arises from knowledge which arises from the senses.  It arises from what we can observe.

Another way of asking this same question, as is asked in our reading of Psalm 53, is this – “Have those who work evil no knowledge of God’s creation, of His presence, of His reality?”  And the short answer is that they do have knowledge (from the senses, of the existence of God as seen through His revelation of Himself in creation), but it is useless to them because their eyes have not been opened by the sovereign act of God.

So, in a sense this is a trick question.  We who do evil have knowledge without knowing, we have discernment without wisdom, we have relationships without connection … why, because for whatever reason God has not revealed Himself to us.  Those who work evil see creation but they do not see the Creator because it is God who provides the link between the two.  Everything is apparent to those who do evil, but they do not understand what they see.

When we ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we became like God in our own understanding but we did not become God.  Our knowledge from the senses falls short; it is the supernatural knowledge provided by God in His sovereign time and way which provides us the link between our physical reality and our spiritual reality.

And so we pray, “Come Holy Spirit and open the eyes of those who cannot see so that they knowledge they have naturally will be enhanced with the knowledge they receive supernaturally so that they will have knowledge of You and will have the ability and desire to call upon You and know You.  Amen.”

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread – Apparent

October 26, 2016


Psalm 38

“O Lord, all my longing is before You; my sighing is not hidden from You.”  Ps. 38:9

I have been justly accused of not being very observant.  In a crowded room, my best friend might be standing three feet away from me and I might not see him.  My wife might have put on a brand new dress which complements her wonderfully, and I might not notice it for eight hours or so, if then.  Terrible, terrible, terrible.  But very very human.

And this happens to me (and I daresay you) on a regular basis even when the things we are (not) looking at are apparent, even when they are obvious.

We are commanded as Christians to love one another.  I think we often believe that this is complicated.  It probably isn’t.  In fact, we might begin by just training ourselves to be attentive to the apparent, the obvious, and then react to it.  If we look at a person’s face instead of looking through them to our next agenda item, we might notice the apparent hurt or sadness or anger or frustration.  And then having seen the obvious, we have an opportunity at least to react to it in a way which loves the person we are looking at.

But if we cannot see the obvious and apparent in that which is around us and can be touched, seen, and heard, then how are we to ever become aware of the apparent and the obvious which belong in the spiritual realm?

What strikes me as so powerful about this verse from Psalm 38 is that it states the obvious, which is not so apparent to most people.  Are you in trouble?  God knows it.  Are you sick?  God knows it.  Is there a longing in your heart which is unsatisfied?  God knows it.  Are you sighing?  God hears it.

God is not us.  We ignore the apparent.  God sees both the apparent and the hidden.

So why prayer, when God already knows it?  Maybe it is because you don’t know it.  Speaking our sighing before God makes us focus on the apparent (and hidden) causes of that sighing.  Speaking our sighing before God reminds us that God loves us, that He hears us, and that He has mercy on us.   Speaking our sighing before God reminds us that we are in fact sighing, that we are broken, hurt, fallen down, people, that are sinful and that we fall short in every way imaginable.  Speaking our sighing before God transfers that burden from us to Him, because now that we have recognized our error and recognized the Person who can heal us, we can cast our cares upon Him.

But before we can get there, we must acknowledge the most apparent thing in the room, and that is God.  But we will not see him because  we do not see apparent things unless we have eyes to see and ears to hear.  And for that we need to be trained and to be best trained, we need a trainer.  And so we begin the process of seeing the apparent by praying, “Come Holy Spirit.”

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

Bread – See

March 30, 2016


Psalm 13

“Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death…” Ps. 13:3

In the last Bread, we dealt with the condition of despair, where we lay at the bottom of the barrel, in the dark, with no hope ahead.  A lonely place, an unfriendly place, a wild place, a place where none of us want to go and yet, in business, in the home or in the family, with spouse or children, in spiritual affairs – we have been there.

How did we get out of it?  Medicine (science) would say that our brain chemistry was bad and that we were brought up from darkness to light by the miracle of modern drugs and therapy.  The religious atheists who believe in the essential goodness of self over all other things would say that we got out of the pit of despair by our own bootstraps, by looking to the future rather than the past, by slogging through the difficulties one step at a time, by thinking positive thoughts rather than negative ones, or, as Dr. Seuss might say it, by thinking on “fluffy things.”    The “group first” people would probably say that we were pulled out of our despair by a group of people around us who love us and who lift us up … after all, “it takes a village.”

But David had a different answer.  He knew that, in the despair of life and sin, in thrall to the world and the prince of darkness, Satan, we stand no chance without God.  When we are dead (the “sleep of death”), we have no hope for life except by the exercise of a power outside ourselves.  In the socialists world view, that outside power is the village, or society.  In the Christian world view, that outside power is God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The first, the village, relies on blind men to guide blind men, relies on broken people to fix broken people, relies upon an irrational belief that, if you have a bunch of defective parts, when you combine them the whole is not defective.  The second, the Christian world view, relies upon the rock of ages, the creator, the promise-keeper, one who has not sinned and is perfect.  The socialist relies upon shifting sand while the Christian relies upon the foundations of the earth.

That is why David pleads to God “Light up my eyes.”  He knows that, if God does not light up our eyes, our eyes will remain dark.  He knows that, if God does not give us power, we have none except the counterfeit kind, the appearance of power with no strength to persevere.  He knows that wisdom comes from God and not from man, except perhaps in a negative way (teaching us what not to do).

And so David, while wallowing in despair, does one thing and one thing only – and that is plead with God that God consider where he is and that God answer him, light up his eyes, and guide him out of that dark place into a place of light and joy.

Perhaps, today, your joy is gone, happiness is a memory, hope is distant, and the pit seems bigger and bigger.  Have you stopped to ask God for answers, for wisdom, for consideration, for hope, for joy, for gratitude?  Have you stopped to pray … not just a short “God help me” but a long pause in the day where you can be with Him, hear Him, learn from Him, be infilled with Him, and be empowered by Him?

What is the foundation of our day?  How do we begin it?  With our important activities like dressing and cleaning up and eating breakfast and reviewing the daily task list and appointments, by running through our mind what we will say to those important people we will meet, practicing how we will behave and what we will do, rehearsing so that we will be successful and have lots of respect, position, power, wealth, and things?  Or with the most important activity of all – getting in touch with the Foundation, God?

David’s got it right.  When we are in despair, do not look to our own or society’s devices but to look to maintaining the relationship with God.

If we do not ask God to light up our eyes, we will remain in the sleep of death – perhaps successful by the world’s standards but in the sleep of death anyway.  If we ask Him … well, read the rest of Psalm 13 … and be grateful.

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Bread – Eyes

February 19, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, February 19, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Gen. 31:25-50; 1 Jn. 2:12-17; John 10:1-18; Psalms 101,109,119:121-144

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What do you have eyes for? Not, why do you have eyes but what do you like to look at? What do you have eyes for?

This question arose when I read today’s lesson from 1 John, as follows: “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16

Although we have various senses (hearing, smell, taste, feel, sight), if you think about it, the eyes are the primary intake vehicle for what the world has to offer. “The desires of the flesh” begin with the seeing of something which we know will make us feel good. The “desires of the eyes” are obviously related to the eyes, because we see clearly the worldly idols which attract us – food, drink, sex, power, position, jewelry, gold and silver, bank account statements, etc. Even the final one, “pride of possessions,” exists because of our eyes – when we walk into our garage, we are prideful of our car; when we walk around our house, we are prideful of our artwork, our furniture, our backyard, our front yard, our flowers, our square footage, our street, our community, and our city. When we go to the bank to look inside our safe deposit box, our eyes are what look at our papers and things evidencing our possession. When we open our treasure chests, whether it be a gun safe or a jewelry box, we use our eyes to contemplate their value to us.

So our view into the world is through our eyes, and our eyes contemplate what the world has to offer and we are glad indeed.

Until we realize that our eyes have fooled us. Who has not watched very carefully the machinations of the magician who, with sleight of hand, produces the amazing card trick? We saw it but we did not see it. We are fascinated because we know we have been tricked but we don’t know how.

What the writer of 1 John is telling us bluntly is that Satan is that magician. We look and see, and covet what we see, and through the desires of the flesh, the desires of our eyes, and the pride of possession we are sucked into the mirage which is what the world has to offer. Because what we see is what we want as sinful people, we buy into the magician’s trick, believing that what we see is what there is. We may sense we have been tricked, we may know we have been tricked, but we don’t care that we have been tricked. Why don’t we care? Because the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and our pride of possessions has been satisfied.

This is a side effect of being dead in our sins. When we are dead in our sins, we cannot see anything of truth and we cannot see anything really of love. All we can see is the mirage.

This is why we need God to sovereignly reach out to us in mercy and open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. This is why we need God to save us and why we cannot save ourselves. If our eyes are to see anything other than what the world has to offer, it is because God has given us a special set of glasses to see Satan through. We cannot buy these glasses and we cannot earn these glasses. God shows up when He is ready and when He wants to and gives them to us and, because we have no capacity in ourselves, puts them on us. Actually, He does more than that because He really gives us a new set of eyes, ones which can see spiritually, ones which can discern, ones which can see clearly, ones who look first to Him and then, through Him, to the world.

Which eyes do you want – the ones which see the real and the eternal, or the ones which see the fake and the temporal? Which lens do we want to peer through – the lens of ourselves or the lens of Jesus Christ?

Which lens are you seeing through today? How are you using your eyes? What do you have eyes for?

________________

© 2014 GBF

Bread – Calling

January 15, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, January 15, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Gen. 4:1-16; Heb. 2:11-18; John 1:35-42; Psalms 12,13,14,119:1-24

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? We ask this question because it is, to the scientific mind, a conundrum, a puzzlement, because one must exist before the other if the other is to exist at all.

Unless, of course, God created the chicken and the egg, in which case the only point of beginning is God. A simple but profound answer.

So, do we choose to follow Christ or does Christ choose us to follow Him?

Lest you think this is a stupid question, the answer to this question divides modern Christians because, if we choose to follow Christ, we have a say in the outcome. If, however, Christ chooses us to follow Him, then the only person who has a say is Christ.

This question is on full display in today’s readings from John. The set-up is this, Jesus walks past John the Baptist, John the Baptist says (of Jesus) “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Two disciples of John the Baptist get up and start following Jesus. Jesus turns and asks them what (not who) they are seeking. They don’t respond, but instead ask Him where He is staying. Jesus says “Come and you will see,” and they then follow Him to where He is living at the time. Andrew, one of the two disciples, then leaves Jesus’ side and goes to his brother (later named Peter/Cephas by Jesus), tells his brother that he has found the Messiah, and then brought his brother (Peter) to Jesus. Jn. 1:35-42

Did the disciples follow Jesus because they chose to after hearing John the Baptist speak well of Him, or did the disciples follow Jesus because Jesus deliberately walked past them so that they could see who He is, and their following Jesus was a natural outgrowth of Jesus calling them to be His disciples?

The next question is even more interesting. Did Peter come to follow Jesus because he chose to do so, after hearing Andrew preach the gospel, or was Peter already chosen by Christ? This second option is strongly implied by the end of the passage – “Jesus looked at him, and said ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)’” Jn. 1:42. There was no introduction; Peter appeared before Jesus and Jesus knew exactly who He was and who He would become.

From many, many Bible verses, I conclude that the answer to this question is that I am saved because Jesus chose me to be saved and not because of anything that I ever did or ever will do to earn it. I am saved because God is sovereign and not me. I did not choose Jesus; He chose me, and I finally admitted it one day so that it became obvious to the world. However, I know many, many people who think differently.

It is not my objective here to solve this, but to merely point out all the different ways we hear the calling. The two disciples saw Jesus. The two disciples heard John the Baptist, clearly a holy man, call Jesus the equivalent of the Messiah (the Lamb of God). Peter heard the gospel from a family member and spoke to Jesus directly.

One thing is in common with all of these people. They saw what they saw and heard what they heard, and immediately they responded by following Jesus, by coming into His presence.

How often have we heard the gospel and ignored it for another day? How often have we seen Jesus in other people, and walked away? How often have we been woken up in the middle of the night with the knowledge that God is speaking to us about our future, about our sin, about our impending death, about His love for us, about His death on the cross for us, about His forgiveness and mercy, and about His gifts of everlasting life in the future and victorious life in the present – only to go back to sleep?

You have heard a calling upon your life, to follow Him.

What do you do next?

___________________

© 2014 GBF

Bread – Blind

November 1, 2013


Readings for Friday, November 1, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Neh. 2:1-20; Rev. 6:12-7:4; Matt. 13:24-30; Psalms 40,51,54

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We can be blind to the most obvious things and then, when someone points it out to us, we say “Oh, yeah.” Sometimes, even more tragically, we still can’t see from our blindness even when someone has pointed it out to us.

Our Scripture readings today are sort of object lessons or at least object observations in blindness to reality.

In Nehemiah, he has asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to evaluate the situation and rebuild the city. The king approves and Nehemiah goes and check it out. He says of himself “I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire.” Neh. 2:13. Pretty graphic. He then says that he gathered “the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were going to do the work” and said to them “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned…” Neh. 2:17. Now, let us stop here for a second and ask a question, “Did they [the nobles, officials, priests, etc.] really ‘see’ the trouble they were in, that their city was in ruins?” Did they? Probably not, because if you think about it they were being “priests, officials, nobles, etc.” within and among the very rubble being described by Nehemiah. They were not only living in it, they had been living in it for quite a while. Why did they not see this until Nehemiah showed up, and if they saw it, why didn’t they do anything about it?” Because they were blind to their own condition and the condition of their surroundings.

In Revelation, we read that the sixth seal has been broken and calamity has struck the earth. In response “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” Rev. 6:15-17. These people, great and small, powerful and powerless, all are blind. Oh they see the calamity, but what they don’t see is that the great mountains are no more able to hide them or save them then their houses of straw can; what they don’t see is sanctuary in God’s grace, in His forgiveness, in His Son, the very Lamb of wrath (and salvation).

And in these brackets, the Old Testament and the New, we can see very clearly what we are blind to as well. We are blind to our own decrepit circumstances (sin) and we are blind to the solution (the cross). We don’t recognize that our walls are broken down and our gates are burned to a crisp, so we never engage in the investigative work and labor to make our city sound again. Once we realize the depth of destruction our sin has caused, we hide in worldly structures of education, reason, science, knowledge, things which appear to be houses made of stone (impregnable mountains) but which are really houses of straw ready to be consumed by the fires of wrath. We hide in weak places because we are blind to the strong place, the shelter of the Most High.

We are blind to our condition and we are blind to the cure for our condition.

That is why we need a Nehemiah to point out our sin. That is why we need a John to point out our need for the savior from our sin, Jesus Christ.

Why are we blind? It would be nice to blame it on Satan or say that it is our natural condition, but psychologically, if you think about it, blindness is actually a pretty safe place. After all, if I can’t see my ruin, I can live is blissful ignorance of my poverty. If I can’t see the ruin of others, I don’t have to do any work or I don’t have to love. If I can’t see the weakness of the mountains to protect me in the day of wrath, I can blame the mountains when they collapse on me. Being blind, I can be the victim. Being blind, I have a built-in excuse. Being blind, I have no neighbors I can see. Being blind, I can let others do the work. If I can’t see, then how do I know what I am missing?

Isn’t this a miracle? Isn’t this grace? That God so loves us that He will not let us live in our blindness, but opens our eyes to the reality of our condition … not so that we can despair but so that we can receive His gift of eternal joy, eternal life with Him, His protection, His good pleasure. He opens our eyes to His Son, so that in the day of the wrath of the Lamb we do not join those running to the mountains because we know that our safety is in Him.

The people hiding ask “who can stand?” The answer is “We can because He (Jesus) has, He is, and He will.”

So, in the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit He has sent to us, let us see clearly the ruin which surrounds us, and let us take up the spade and begin the work, knowing in whose strength the work is really accomplished. Amen.

_________________

© 2013 GBF

Bread – Leaven

August 5, 2013


Readings for Monday, August 5, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 7:1-17; Acts 18:1-11; Mark 8:11-21; Psalms 77,79,80

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In our reading today from Mark, Jesus tells the disciples “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mk. 8:14 What is he talking about?

Leaven is that ingredient which causes bread to change chemically so that it rises. But, as far as we are concerned, it also makes bread tasty. Unleavened bread is bland.

One of the articles in this weekend’s newspaper was on the state of the baguette in France. Basically, the French have started using older, slower techniques of preparing their bread for baking so that it will taste better. Although they did not use the word “leaven” in the article, it was obvious that they were talking about a process of leavening, over a period of time, where a small amount of leaven would have the opportunity to change the big batch of dough so that it would make a proper tasty baguette.

Now, this writing is called “Bread” and we have just been discussing baguettes, so one might be inclined to think this “Bread” is about food. When Jesus talked about the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod to the disciples, the disciples thought He was talking about food too. Jesus responds with a “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” Mk. 8:18. So, obviously Jesus is not talking about food. But He is talking about things that change one’s life.

What is the leaven of the Pharisees? The Pharisees were the keepers of the law in the synagogue, in church. Follow their (God’s) rules and you would go to a good place when you die; fail to follow their rules and you would go to a bad place. The remarkable thing was they really believed that we, as humans, could follow God’s law in all things, in our hearts, minds, thoughts, behaviors, speech, action, and attitude. Really? Name me one perfect person (other than Jesus) and naming yourself does not count! And yet, the leaven of the Pharisees requires one to have good works if one is to achieve their right place with God. Less you think this attitude is gone from the modern church, why do you go to Bible studies, attend worship, read the Bible, fast, meditate on the Word, read Bread, or do anything religious? Is it because you believe your works will help save you, or is out of gratitude for the work done by Jesus for you on the cross? In the first one, you are building your tower of Babel to the heavens. In the second, you are living in the presence of God’s kingdom on earth.

What is the leaven of Herod? Herod represents the world in all of its power and pseudo-glory. In another sense, he also represents education and reason. In another sense, he represents the perversions of the world, the lusts of the flesh, etc. Herod represents our reason, our base desires, our old man. He actually is us without Christ.

A little leaven goes a long way toward ruining the dough (if you consider the dough to be OK as is). Of course, a little leaven also makes life “tasty,” or so Satan would have us think.

Isn’t this last point why we deliberately let leaven into our lives or deliberately add it. We dabble in corruption, lying, lust, almost pornographic movies, books on evil (zombies) or sex, which appeal to our inner desire for things tasty – adventure, danger, power, money, fancy houses and cars, the most advanced electronics, stuff. We think we do it just enough to get a taste out of life, but Jesus reminds us that a little leaven affects the entire loaf, and that little taste leads to severe loss of who we can be in Christ.

The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod affects the quality of the victorious life we can have in Christ. Jesus’ question strikes home at this place, this time, these circumstances we are in – when we reach for the leaven of the world, He asks – “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?”

And the short answer to this question is “No, we do not.” Most of the time we do not use our eyes to clearly see Christ; most of the time we do not use our ears to clearly hear Christ.

To do that, we need the help of the Holy Spirit minute-by-minute, day by day. It is not enough to say – “Don’t touch that hot stove, don’t touch that leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod.” Instead, we must say “Come Holy Spirit” and then use, really us, our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

“God, protect me from leaven, because I cannot protect myself.” A short prayer, but a necessary one. And He will because, by His sovereign will in our lives and through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, He already has.

___________________

© 2013 GBF

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