Exceeding What Is Written

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” What divides the church these days is the all too common practice of going beyond what the scriptures explicitly state and declaring as doctrine man’s opinion.

The reasons we do this may be too numerous to name, but it may be that we just don’t like what certain scriptures declare, so we find a way to explain away the doctrines that we find unpalatable.

It has been this way since the beginning of the church, and it shows no signs of stopping.  In our sin, we demand that someone explain away anything that makes us uncomfortable.  It is only when we are being brutally honest with ourselves that we allow the Word of Christ to penetrate our toughened exteriors and soften our hardened hearts.

Fidelity to the truth is a rough and lonely road to trod.  Most people will continue to follow the crowd to popular venues and popular doctrines.  Very few will be courageous enough to ferret out the truth of God’s word and then live by it.  It is a sad fact, but it is one of the facts of life, and the sooner we accept it the happier we will be.  

Jesus is “The Word.”  He is the author of scripture, the embodiment of scripture, and the truth of scripture.  When we misunderstand scripture, we misunderstand him. 

— Brad Heilhecker

Loyalty

King David, as a type of Christ, was loyal to whomever he served whether it was Saul, the king of Israel, or Achish, the king of the Philistines.  He was loyal to his leader, regardless of their character or their country.  

We so often want to weigh our loyalty in proportion to the goodness of our superior.  This is a very slippery slope, for if we decide that there is no goodness in our leader, then we can be tempted to violently oppose them, and we may find ourselves fighting against God.

This type of loyalty is a fruit of a faithful, courageous heart that recognizes God’s sovereignty over all.

Jesus demonstrated this characteristic perfectly, though he was God in the flesh. He could have incited rebellion against Rome or mounted organized opposition to the ungodly Jewish leaders, but he didn’t. He knew his kingdom was in another world, and he was not unduly threatened by earthly monarchs.

King David and Jesus both knew that submission to all ordained authority is in our best interest. When we are serving the King of Kings, we can relax knowing that our earthly king himself has a King to whom he must give account.

This takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders.  For, one day, we may be the leader or the king and we will need to know that our troops are on our side.  Anarchy is nobody’s friend.

— Brad Heilhecker

Friends

Today as I begin to write I hear the word, “friend.” It seems generic in so many ways, and yet, I believe we must be reminded of the importance of friendships.

We know verses about friends, especially from Proverbs. However, the book of Job has some thoughts as well. Job had some pretty interesting “friends.”

Job 6:14 “A friend should be kind to an unhappy man,even to one who abandons Shaddai.

Job 42:10 When Iyov (Job) prayed for his friends, Adonai restored his fortunes; Adonai gave Iyov twice as much as he had had before.

A well known Proverb:

Proverb 17:17 A friend shows his friendship at all times —it is for adversity that [such] a brother is born.

Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend are received as well-meant, but an enemy’s kisses are insincere.

There are more I could add, but the point I want to make is: community is important. Friends are important. The friends we surround ourselves with is important.

Job’s friends were not always the most encouraging. Even God had to deal with them. However, in the end, God had Job PRAY for those friends and because he did, Adonai blessed Job with twice as much as before.

This is why Jesus tells us to:

Luke 6:27-28 Nevertheless, to you who are listening, what I say is this: “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

When our friends hurt us, we need to understand that “wounds from a friend are received as well-meant.” Friends will hurt us. Friends will challenge us. Instead of seeing them as an enemy, we should see them as someone who sticks with us through adversity.

As I have stated before, and as we all know, life has changed. I was listening to a rabbi share about “going back to normal.” His question was, “Should we go back to ‘normal’?” Normal was going here and there and “busyness.” When God placed a “STOP” on the world, maybe He did so for a reason. Maybe we need to get back to family and friends. Maybe it’s time to leave behind the hurt and find a way to BE His love.

I challenge you ALL to stop and look at your friendships. How should you reassess what is happening with them? How should you stop and consider family? How should you begin to treat those you believe have mistreated you? Are we, as a family of God, willing to WALK with each other even if we disagree with each other?

Stop today and pray for those who have hurt you. Bless those who have cursed you. Leave them at the foot of the cross and give them to the Father.

Then, place yourself into the arms of the Father. Find HIS LOVE inside and be that blessing to those you meet.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash