Digging in Deeper: Malachi 2:8-9

“‘You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping my ways but are showing partiality in your instruction.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In 1989, Ed Koch lost his bid to be reelected Mayor of New York City in a primary upset to David Dinkins. When later interviewed about it and asked if he would run again, Koch wittily replied that “the people threw me out. And now the people must be punished.” In other words, if the people don’t like the situation they are in, it’s their own fault and they are going to have to own it. And indeed, sometimes when people are in a hard spot, it is their own fault for not receiving and following good leadership. But sometimes it is the fault of bad leadership. Disobedient people may raise the Lord’s ire, but poor leadership just makes Him angry. This is what Malachi reminds us of here.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Zechariah 11:16

“I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are perishing, and he will not seek the lost or heal the broken. He will not sustain the healthy, but he will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hooves.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

History matters. An adage that has become a cliché over time is if we do not study history, then we are doomed to repeat it. The idea is that if we do not make ourselves conspicuously aware of the mistakes we have made in the past, then we are likely to make the same ones again when given the chance. That may be a cliché, but it’s still true. This kind of thing is what God seems to have in mind here.

Continue reading “Morning Musing: Zechariah 11:16”

The Leaders We Deserve

As we continue in our journey through the book of Judges, things are getting ugly. God keeps raising up leaders to help the people when they are in trouble, but the stock of people from which He can draw is getting pretty poor. As a result, rather than leading the people, these men are merely reflecting them. There’s a lesson here for us: Our leaders are ultimately going to look like us. What kind of leaders are we meaningfully going to be able to produce? Let’s talk about it.

The Leaders We Deserve

Have you ever seen a movie in which a great leader calls a people to rise above themselves and do great things? That’s a pretty broad category of mostly good movies if you think about it. There is one, though, that stands atop the rest: Braveheart. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what scene I’m talking about. The Scottish clans are all lined up on the hill waiting to run into battle against their English oppressors. They are hopelessly outnumbered by the British regulars. And then William Wallace rides up and down their ranks and speaks courage and confidence into their very souls. The most famous passage of the speech ended like this: “And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Zechariah 4:6-7

“So he answered me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord of Armies. “What are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain. And he will bring out the capstone accompanied by shouts of: Grace, grace to it!”‘” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Leadership is tough. It’s easier to manage. Now, that doesn’t mean management is easy, but it’s easier than leadership. When you’re managing, your job is simply to keep things running smoothly. You’re not trying to go anywhere; you’re just trying to stay afloat. But leadership implies direction. You’re trying to actively move an organization–that is, a group of people–forward somewhere they haven’t been before. The challenge is that even on our most adventurous days, we are all creatures of habit. If you’re going to lead anyone anywhere, then, you’ve got to convince people who are settled to get unsettled and go on a journey whose end they cannot see. That’s tough. Even the best leaders need encouragement along the way if they are going to accomplish anything significant. God knew this, and in Zechariah’s next vision, we find Him offering some encouragement.

Read the rest…

Getting Things Right

In this third part of our series, I Do, we finally start getting practical. In the first part we defined marriage, and last week we talked about its purpose. That’s all good and important to know, but how do we actually get it right? Let’s talk about it starting with a special focus on what husbands need to do if our marriages are going to be what they can be.

Getting Things Right

We’ve talked about this a few times before and will talk about it again in the future, but one of the challenges of being a follower of Jesus committed to the idea that the Scriptures are right and true in everything they affirm is that there are some places that are downright hard to handle. The reasons for the difficulty are sometimes theological, but they are also scientific and cultural and social and relational and even just applicational. For example, the Law of Moses calls for the stoning of incorrigibly rebellious children and at the same time Jesus said that He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Unless we can successfully understand Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law to mean that we can disregard commands such as that one, other than a strong temptation on rough days—like, say, day four or five of being stranded inside with three increasingly wild boys…not that Lisa and I know anything about that—we need to get used to the idea of living in constant and open rebellion to the Law given by God to His people.

Read the rest…