I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Warfare and Biblical teachings: I think we have to first examine the significance of the Exodus before we can adequately address the juxtaposition of the two. The Exodus was God’s separation of his people from other forms of worship and they needed lots of direction and support. The majority of Exodus 21-40 contains the minutiae of establishing civil/ceremonial law, construction of the tabernacle, and priestly instructions. God had to provide each painstakingly small step of how to worship Him because there hadn’t previously been a large, organized, chosen group of people who were set apart to worship the Lord. They needed that instruction.
And this is why I believe God was there to assist in battle and also to allow them to fail in battle; this is how life at the hands of man had developed.
Typically written to encourage those who were suffering for their faith, apocalyptic literature such as Revelation is characterized by the presence of deep despair as well as heavenly hope. Presented via symbolic language, celestial powers, and catastrophic judgment, Revelation was ultimately a writing of encouragement and warning. Because of the highly symbolic language, Revelation lends itself to interpretation.
As I read the various interpretations, I found myself digging deeper and deeper into the symbols and their possible explanations. I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase, “unable to see the forest for the trees” – an idiom that conveys how easy it is to become so consumed with the details of something that we lose sight of the big picture. That is an accurate representation of what can happen when one studies Revelation.
In the face of intense attack on the very core of Christianity, the authors of II Peter; Jude; and I,II, III John tried to reassure people that they really were children of God and that salvation is based on faith and cannot be attained simply through knowledge.
So how does one defend the Gospel? Let me begin by clarifying: a ‘defense’ is not the same thing as a ‘proof.’ I cannot give an unbeliever undeniable proof of the Gospel message. What I can do is lead them to faith through a scriptural defense of my beliefs. Through my defense, I pray for the Holy Spirit to move in the heart of the unbeliever and bring them to a place of belief, as well. So, where do I begin…
Paul was coming up on two years in a Roman prison when he wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. Unlike many of his dealings with other churches, this letter wasn’t written to help with problems or to defend his own ministry; this time, Paul wrote to a thriving church whose members needed counsel on how “to walk worthily of their heavenly citizenship” (Phil. 3:17-21).
Founded on his second missionary journey, the church at Philippi was generous, joyful, and a model of what a church should be. This was a church membership Paul could confide in (Acts 16). Facing known enemies in Rome who were doing anything they could to undermine his work, as well as the very real possibility of execution at the end of his imprisonment, Paul easily could have used this opportunity to vent his frustrations and fears to concerned friends.
Instead, he was outlandishly joyful. Continue reading