Deuteronomy 18:9-12 - God Hates Witchcraft
Moses said this to the children of Israel, but the warnings about witchcraft also apply to us:
Verses 9-12: "When thou art [when you (the children of Israel) have] come into the land [Canaan] which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations [wicked practices] of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one
that maketh his [or her] son or his [or her] daughter to pass through the fire [in a religious rite involving Moloch, the fire-god, which involved sacrificing children to idols--see note below*],
or that useth divination [fortune-telling or other supernatural means] [to predict the future],
or [who is] an observer of times [an astrologer or stargazer (someone who looks to the stars for guidance); examples include checking a horoscope],
or [who is] an enchanter [a magician],
or [who is] a witch [a girl or woman with magic powers],
Or [who is] a charmer [a snake charmer or other person who uses the power of enchantment],
or [who is] a consulter with familiar spirits [someone, like a medium, who speaks to demons],
or [who is] a wizard [a boy or man with magic powers],
or [who is] a necromancer [a person who communicates with the dead].
For [because] all that do these things [listed above] are an abomination [a detestable (hateful) thing] unto the LORD: and because of these abominations [wicked practices] the LORD thy God doth drive them [the nations that do these things] out [of their land] from before thee [you, referring to the Jewish people]."
*Here's how John Gill explained what "There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire" means: "To Moloch, which was a sort of lustration [ceremonial purification] by fire, two fires being made, and the child led by a priest between them, and which was an initiation of him into the religion of that deity, and devoting him to it; so Jarchi says, this is the service of Moloch, making piles of fire here and there (on this side and on that), and causing (the children) to pass between them both. Besides this they used to burn them [the children] with fire to this deity, perhaps after the performance of this ceremony; …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/deuteronomy/18-10.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")
Hebrews 10:28-31 - Apostasy and Revenge
This was written by the apostle Paul to the Jewish people as a warning against apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of their Christian faith), but it also applies to Christians today.
Verse 28: "He [or she] that despised [disregarded, rejected, refused to obey] Moses' law died without mercy [pity, compassion] under [based upon the testimony of] two or three witnesses:"
Verse 29: "Of how much sorer [more severe] punishment [than physical death, which 'he that despised Moses' law' received], suppose ye [do you think], shall he [or she, referring to born-again Christians,] be thought worthy [of receiving] [i.e., what worse punishment is deserved by a professing Christian], who hath trodden under foot [trampled on, disrespected, treated with contempt] [the Lord Jesus Christ, who is] the Son of God, and hath counted [has considered] the blood of the covenant [referring to the New Testament agreement between God and mankind, which is based on the blood that was shed (poured out) by Jesus when he died on the cross to pay for our sins], wherewith [by which] he [or she--the saved person] was sanctified [cleansed from sin, purified, set apart for service to God], an unholy [common, ordinary] thing [referring to 'the blood of the covenant,' which this person considers to be 'an unholy thing'], and hath done despite unto [has insulted] the Spirit of grace [i.e., the Holy Spirit]?"
Verses 30-31: "For we [born-again Christians] [personally] know him [God] that hath said [who has said, in Deuteronomy 32:35-36, which is quoted below*], Vengeance [revenge, punishment of offenders] belongeth unto me, I will recompense [repay], saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people [both the Jewish nation and Christians]. It is a fearful [terrible, frightening] thing to fall into the hands of the living God [when he is punishing sin]."
In these verses, we learn that salvation is a serious thing and must be treated with respect. When Christians sin or backslide, they can be forgiven by God, but people who willfully reject Jesus and renounce their Christian faith after being born again can't be saved a second time, which means that they'll eventually end up in hell and the lake of fire. This is explained by Charles Spurgeon in the note below.**
In addition to avoiding apostasy, we should not seek revenge. When someone "does you wrong," forget about getting even or paying that person back. Instead, let God decide what to do.
*Deuteronomy 32:35-36: "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left."
**Here's a good explanation of the consequences of apostasy, quoted from "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible" (https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hebrews-10.html, "Verses 1-39"):
"Hebrews 10:26-27. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
"Here the truth taught is that, if a Christian apostatizes, if he renounces his faith, and goes back to the world, it is impossible to reclaim him. A backslider may be restored, but anyone who should wilfully, after receiving the truth, reject it, has rejected the only Saviour; he has rejected the only regeneration; and, consequently, he is without the pale of the possibilities of restoration. The question is, 'Will any true child of God so apostatize?' That question is answered in this very chapter; but the truth here taught is that, if he does, he goes into a state of absolute hopelessness."
In another section of the same commentary, Mr. Spurgeon goes on to say:
"… No man was ever born again twice; no man was ever washed twice in the precious blood of Jesus. The one washing makes us so clean that 'he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet,' for which Jesus provides by daily cleansing; but the one grand atoning act never fails. If it did fail, there would remain 'no more sacrifice for sins.'"
Proverbs 28:24: "Whoso [whoever] robbeth [steals from] his [or her] father or his [or her] mother [even though what they (the parents) have will probably belong to him or her when they die], and saith, It is no transgression [crime, wrongdoing, sin]; the same is the companion of a destroyer [that same person is no better than a common thief--who destroys the victim's peace of mind, happiness, security, etc.]."
Regarding this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church said, "This young person commits a crime against his parents, but he doesn't see it that way. He says, 'I did nothing wrong. It is not a sin to take things from my own parents.'" That's because "[h]e may genuinely believe that whatever he takes from his parents he deserves or is entitled to… and therefore, taking it is not robbery."
Pastor Delany's excellent commentary on this verse includes examples of the many ways in which children intentionally and unintentionally rob their parents (i.e., theft [secretly stealing money], wasting goods and finances [spending money foolishly], fraud [lying about how much money they have, need, etc.], debt [using their parents' credit cards to buy things], playing on heartstrings [trying to gain sympathy by telling their parents sob stories], borrowing money and not paying it back, wastefully spending their inheritance, and sloth [laziness]).
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_24/.
Psalm 37:4: "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
In his commentary on this verse, Albert Barnes compares the relationship of a Christian and God to that of a child and his father, and he says, in part:
"(a) the fact that you seek your happiness in him [God] will regulate your desires, so that you will be 'disposed' to ask only those things which it will be proper for him to grant; and
"(b) the fact that you do find your happiness in him [God] will be a reason why he will grant your desires.
"The fact that a child loves his father, and finds his happiness in doing his will, will do much to regulate his own 'wishes' or 'desires,' and will at the same thee [sic--he probably meant time] be a reason why the father will be disposed to comply with [or grant] his requests."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-37.html, "Verse 4")
Proverbs 26:11: "As a dog returneth to [goes back to and eats] his [or her] vomit, so [does] a fool returneth to [go(es) back to, repeat(s)] his [or her] folly [foolish or sinful behavior]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. It starts by telling why dogs eat their own vomit and goes on to illustrate the meaning of the verse by providing examples of the types of people who, for some reason, may quit their old habits for a short time and then go back to them. They include alcoholics, drug addicts, adulteresses, people with anger-control issues, thieves, and false teachers.
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-26-index/proverbs-26_11/.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 - The Importance of Teaching Children About the Bible
In a letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote:
Verse 14: "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of [hold fast to the doctrines, or truths, contained in the Bible], knowing of whom thou hast learned them [knowing that you have learned them not only from me (Paul) but also from your mother and grandmother];"
Verse 15: "And that from a child [ever since you were a very young child] thou hast known the holy scriptures [in Timothy's case, referring to verses in the Old Testament, as the New Testament had not yet been written], which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Among many other things, the Bible teaches about sin, salvation, heaven, hell, and the gift of eternal life. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, willingly came to earth, died on the cross to pay for our sins, and then rose from the dead. The only way that we can go to heaven someday is by believing those facts about Jesus and trusting him as our personal Savior.
Like Timothy's mother, we need to introduce our children to the Bible at an early age.
Proverbs 24:8-9 - Thinking About and Doing Bad Things
Verse 8: "He [or she] that deviseth [makes plans] to do evil [things--i.e., hurt others in any way (physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally) due to anger, jealousy, revenge, etc.--or just for fun] shall be called a mischievous person [a schemer, troublemaker, terrorist]."
Verse 9: "The thought of foolishness [thinking about doing something bad or stupid, even if your thoughts are not followed by action, and/or participating in the planning stages of someone else's evil deeds] is sin: and the scorner [the person who hates and/or mocks (makes fun of) others] is an abomination [a detestable (hateful) thing] to men [and women and children]."
According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, the above verses refer to troublemakers, and in them "… Solomon is warning us so that we will stay away from such people-and especially that we would not be drawn in to their evil schemes."
Pastor Delany's commentaries on these verses include many examples to back up his statements. Here is a sample from the commentary on verse 9:
"3. Thus, this term ['thought of foolishness'] adds a new point to what was said in verse eight.
"a. Verse 8 spoke of the man who was 'devising evil.'
"• This man was planning and plotting evil with the intentions of carrying out those plans.
"• We noted last time that this term was used in Gen. 50:20 when Joseph's brothers plotted evil against him. They devised to DO evil and actually carried out their plan.
"b. Verse 9 is very similar in meaning, but note that it does NOT include the words 'to do.'
"• The distinction is not so much grammatical as it is conceptual.
"• In verse 8, the 'lord of mischief' is planning an evil scheme so that he might carry it out.
"• In verse 9, there is no mention of carrying it out. It is the thought stage ONLY.
"• Solomon's point seems to be that even the thought stage is SIN.
"• Take radical Islam for example. From among that ideology, some become suicide bombers.
"» But there are many others who may cheer them and agree with them, but who do not actually blow up themselves and others.
"» Perhaps some would like to, but do not carry out their plans for other reasons: family, fear, cowardice, would do so if their family could be left enough money but cannot find a sponsor.
"» This proverb states that even THINKING such thoughts is sin regardless of whether they are carried out or not.
"• Consider another example of the man who really wants to steal his co-workers new iPhone.
"» He has been watching where he leaves it at lunch every day.
"» He has thought through an elaborate scheme on exactly how to do it.
"» However, he doesn't do it-because he is afraid if he gets caught, he loses his job… or loses his reputation…
"» Solomon's point is that even the planning stage is sinful.
"» To God, sin is sin.
"» We know of no mortal or venial sins as Christians. All sin separates us from fellowship with a holy God.
"» Thus, to the Lord, the thought stage is sin just like the actual carrying out of the evil thoughts."
If you want to read one or both of Pastor Delany's commentaries, here's are the links:
-- Verse 8: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_8/
-- Verse 9: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_9/
Psalm 19:7: "The law of the LORD [referring to the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), which contains instructions and guidance from God] is perfect [complete], [and is capable of] converting the soul [from sin to salvation, returning us to a right relationship with God]: the testimony [witness] of the LORD [in the Bible] is sure [trustworthy, dependable], making wise the simple [i.e., those who are humble and teachable, or even those who are weak and foolish]."
John 8:23-24 - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or You'll Die in Your Sins
When this took place, Jesus was teaching in the treasury, or women's court, which was a public place within the Jewish temple. He had just told the unbelieving Jews that they would die in their sins, and now he tells them why.
Verse 23: "And he [Jesus] said unto them [the Jewish people, including the scribes and Pharisees], Ye are from beneath [referring to the earth]; I am from above [i.e., heaven]: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."
Verse 24: "I said therefore unto you [unbelieving Jews], that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he [if you don't believe that I (Jesus) am the Son of God, Messiah, and Savior of the world and, as a result, you don't trust in me for salvation], ye shall die in your sins [and end up in the lake of fire--see note below*]."
*Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Note: If you don't want to die in your sins, you must be born again. Most of the tracts on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website will show you what to do. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Proverbs 21:1: "The king's [mind and] heart [i.e., everything that a ruler or leader thinks and does, both good and bad,] is in the hand of [is guided, controlled, or directed by] the LORD, as [just like] the rivers of water [which can be forced to flow in different directions (by means of a dam, for example)]: he [God] turneth it [the king's heart] whithersoever he will [wherever he wants it to go]."
In paragraph 3c of his excellent commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church said: "Thus, without violating their own free will, God works sovereignly and providentially in the background in such a way that guarantees that as the king chooses of his own free will, the choice he makes is the exact choice necessary for God's own plan and purposes to come to pass."
And in paragraph 7d, he summarized the meaning of the verse as follows: "We don't have to worry that world events are swirling out of control. They are in perfect control… all being orchestrated to fulfill God's will…"
To read the rest of the commentary, click here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_1/.
Matthew 23:8-10 - Titles of Religious Leaders
Referring to religious leaders (in this case, the scribes and Pharisees), Jesus told his disciples:
Verse 8: "But be not ye called Rabbi [another word for master and teacher]: for one [person] is your Master, even Christ [Jesus] [himself]; and all ye are brethren [you are all fellow Christians, and children of God]."
Verse 9: "And call no man [no religious leader] your [spiritual] father upon the earth: for one [person--God] is your Father, which is in heaven."
Verse 10: "Neither be ye called masters [leaders, guides]: for one is your Master, even Christ [Jesus]."
In his commentary on these verses, Albert Barnes said:
-- "Jesus forbade his disciples [followers] to seek such titles of distinction [i.e., Rabbi, father, and master] …"
-- "… This title ['Rabbi'] corresponds with the title 'Doctor of Divinity' as applied to ministers of the gospel; and, so far as I can see, the spirit of the Saviour's command is violated by the reception of such a title, as really as it would have been by their being called 'Rabbi.' It makes a distinction among ministers. It tends to engender pride and a sense of superiority in those who obtain it, and envy and a sense of inferiority in those who do not; and the whole spirit and tendency of it is contrary to the 'simplicity that is in Christ.'"
-- It's okay "… to apply the term ['father'] to our real [earthly] father …"
-- It's okay "… to give proper titles of civil office to men, or to render them the honor belonging to their station …"
(Source for above quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-23.html, "Verse 8," "Verse 9," and "Verse 10")
Another Bible commentator said, "… Jesus rebukes all who use religion as a means of gaining glory for themselves …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/23-8.html, "The Bible Study New Testament")
Romans 13:10: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour [i.e., a person with genuine love in his or her heart does not harm others but treats them kindly and tries to do good things for them]: therefore love [of both God and 'man' (people)] is the fulfilling [meets the requirements] of the law [of Moses, referring to the Ten Commandments, which are listed below]."
Exodus 20:2-17 - The Ten Commandments
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
 Thou shalt not kill.
 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 Thou shalt not steal.
 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Proverbs 17:12: "Let a bear robbed of her whelps [cubs] [i.e., a mother bear who is searching for her missing cubs] meet a man [or woman or child], rather than [let] a fool [who is engaged or involved] in his [or her] folly [criminal or bad behavior] [meet a man (or woman or child)]."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "The fool behaves less rationally than does a bear. That's the point of the proverb." In his commentary, he goes on to say, "You're better off meeting up with a wild animal than a fool in his folly! … You can predict how a bear will react. A fool-well, who knows what he'll do! Stay away!"
Through research, Pastor Delany has learned some things about bears:
"4. The dangers of an encounter with angry bears.
"a. Actually, the situation Solomon described is rare.
"b. Bears are not usually a threat to men.
"c. One hiking source said the following about the danger: 'The reality is, you have a much greater chance of being flattened by a semi on the way to the trailhead than you do having a problem with a bear once you're on the trail. But, unlike the runaway semi, the bear danger is mostly controllable with education and common sense, so you have a responsibility to take sensible precautions and know how to respond to the danger if encountered…'
"d. Consider the advice given to those who encounter a bear protecting her whelps:
"→ Avoid direct eye contact as bears may perceive this as a threat.
"→ Don't make any sudden movements, throw anything, or yell.
"→ If necessary, back away slowly to give the bear plenty of room to escape- including the right-of-way on the trail.
"→ Bluff charges: stand tall and they usually retreat!
"e. If you follow those simple rules, you normally will avoid being mauled by the bear.
"f. What should I do if I find myself around a mother bear with cubs? (NH Fish and Game)
"• Mother bears are rarely aggressive toward humans, but they are protective of their cubs.
"• A mother bear will usually give many warning signs (huffing or popping sounds, swatting the ground or even bluff charges) to let you know that you are too close.
"• Move away as described above… and even a bear protecting her cubs will not do you any harm.
"• Female Brown Bears though will fiercely protect the cubs even if it means her own life.
"• But a bear robbed of her cubs is LOOKING for her cubs. She doesn't want you.
"• Though rare, the most common type of bear attack is generally the result of a surprise encounter and almost always with a mother and her cubs. In nearly every mauling that has occurred in the past during a surprise encounter, once the hiker quit fighting and laid quiet, the sow has grabbed her cubs and run or walked away."
Regarding fools in their folly, Pastor Delany says:
5. HOW can a fool be MORE dangerous?
"a. Lots of ways!
"• Try putting a knife in his hand.
"• Put him behind the wheel of a car with a carload of foolish teens.
"• Put a pair of skis under him.
"• Think of this fool full of a fifth of Jack Daniels
"• Think of this fool on crack cocaine
"• Think of this fool with a gun in his hand.
"• Even a bicycle! (Look ma, no hands!)
"• That's a fool engaged in his folly!
"• This is comparable in the analogy to a bear ROBBED of her whelps.
"» A bear is not normally all that dangerous.
"» But while engaged in looking for her cubs, she is!
"» That's the WORST time to meet a bear.
"» A fool may not normally be all that dangerous-except when engaged in his folly. (beer; car; gun)
"» We can't always AVOID being in the presence of foolish people. They are everywhere!
"» However, a fool IN their folly - a fool engaged in his folly should be avoided like the plague!"
If you want to read the rest of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_12/.
John 14:15-17 - The Holy Spirit is the Christians' Comforter
To his disciples (apostles) during the Last Supper, Jesus said:
Verses 15-16: "If ye love me, keep [obey] my commandments. And [then] I will pray [to] the Father [God], and he shall give you another Comforter [in place of Jesus (who had only been with them for a few years); Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit, who would be sent to teach, guide, help, protect, and comfort the disciples after Jesus left this world], [so] that he [the Holy Spirit] may abide [remain] with you for ever;"
Verse 17: "Even the Spirit of truth [the Holy Spirit]; whom the [unsaved people in the] world cannot receive, because it ['the world,' or the people in it] seeth him not [does not see him (the Holy Spirit)], neither [does it, or do they] knoweth him [the Holy Spirit] [personally]: but ye [born-again Christians] know him [the Holy Spirit]; for he dwelleth [lives] with you, and shall be in you [in your heart]."
Jesus lived on earth for a very short time (his public ministry only lasted about 3½ years--see note below*), but the Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of Christians forever.
*The question "How long was Jesus' ministry?" is answered by GotQuestions.org in an article with that title. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/length-Jesus-ministry.html.
Proverbs 15:11: "Hell and destruction are before the LORD [i.e., God knows everything that happens in hell, the realm (place) of the dead, where all unsaved people go when they die]: how much more then [are] the hearts of the children of men [referring to everything that we think, say, and do during our lives] [before the LORD]?"
God is omniscient, which means that he sees, hears, and knows everything, including the things that are hidden from view.
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_11/.
Joel 3:19: "Egypt shall be a desolation [ruined country], and Edom [see note below*] shall be a desolate [uninhabited] wilderness, for [on account of] the violence [they have committed] against the children of Judah [descendants of Abraham--see note below**], because they have shed innocent blood [murdered innocent people] in their land."
The above verse should serve is a warning to the enemies of Israel.
*You can read about Edom in the following article: "Who/what is Edom (Obadiah 1:1, 8)?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Edom-Obadiah.html.
In addition, in his commentary on the above verse, Albert Barnes describes in detail the former glory and current condition of Egypt and Edom. If you want to read it, go to https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joel-3.html and scroll down to "Verse 19."
**Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac married Rebekah and had twin sons, Jacob and Esau. When Jacob grew up, he wrestled with God one night and was renamed Israel. Jacob had four wives (Leah, Zilpah, Bilhah, Rachel) and a total of 13 children--one daughter and 12 sons. One of those sons was named Judah. To read brief synopsis of these events and see Abraham's family tree, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham%27s_family_tree.
Genesis 18:20-21: "And the LORD [God, appearing in human form] said [to Abraham], Because the cry of [the cities of] Sodom and Gomorrah is great [loud], and because their sin [primarily, homosexuality (see note below*), which involves sexual activity between two or more people of the same sex] is very grievous [serious]; I will go down [there] now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me [i.e., I'll see for myself if what I have heard is true--that the people in Sodom and Gomorrah and three nearby cities are doing those immoral things]; and if not, I will know."
What God had heard about the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was indeed true, and he ended up destroying those two cities (and two other cities as well, since Zoar was spared) with fire and brimstone because of it. The story is told in Genesis 19:1-26. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+19&version=KJV.
*According to the Bible, the "sin of Sodom" was homosexuality. This is explained in the following article: "What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Sodom-and-Gomorrah.html.
Romans 5:19: "For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience [when he ate some fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil after God specifically warned him not to do that] many [people (everyone on earth)--all of Adam and Eve's descendants] were made sinners [at conception, when Adam's sin nature (see note below*) was passed on to them through inheritance], so [likewise, in a similar manner] by the obedience of one [person--Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for our sins] shall many [people] be made righteous [acceptable in God's sight--by being born again, as instructed in the Bible]."
In summary, according to Matthew Henry: "The disobedience of the first Adam ruined us, the obedience of the second Adam [Jesus] saves us …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/romans/5.html, "Verses 6-21," "v. 19")
*The sin nature is explained fully in the article entitled "What is the sin nature?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/sin-nature.html.
Proverbs 11:12: "He that is void of wisdom [a person who lacks wisdom (good judgment and common sense)] despiseth [hates] his [or her] neighbour [neighbor, friend, acquaintance, etc.--and shows it by saying bad things about him or her, whether true or false]: but a man of understanding [a wise person] holdeth his peace [remains silent, if and when he or she hears offensive things being said about others or about himself or herself]."
According to Salem Bible Church's commentary, this verse is about the tongue. People who say bad things about others often do so because they lack wisdom rather than self-control.
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_12/.
Albert Barnes summed up the meaning of the above verse as follows: "None but the man 'void of wisdom' will show contempt for those about him. The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-11.html, "Verse 12")
Psalm 44:20-21 [This psalm applies not only to the Jews but to people in general]: "If we have forgotten the name of our God [Almighty God--Jehovah; i.e., if we have stopped worshiping him], or [if we have] stretched out our hands [in prayer and/or adoration] to a strange [false] god [and, thus, have committed idolatry]; Shall not God search this out [be aware of it]? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart."
Philippians 3:14 [In a letter to the saints (born-again Christians) at Philippi, comparing himself to a runner in the Olympic games, the apostle Paul wrote]: "I press [run] toward the mark [the 'finish line,' or end of the Christian race] for [so I can win] the prize [an incorruptible (everlasting) crown, or reward in heaven] of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus [because God has called me, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, to run that race]."
Commenting on the above verse, Albert Barnes said: "The calling of the Christian is from heaven, and to heaven … He has been summoned by God through the gospel of the Lord Jesus to secure the crown. It is placed before and above him in heaven. It may be his, if he will not faint or tire or look backward. It demands his highest efforts, and it is worth all the exertions which a mortal can make even in the longest life."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/philippians-3.html, "Verse 14")
Hebrews 4:14-16 - Jesus Christ is Our High Priest (Mediator Between Us and God)
Verse 14: "Seeing then that we [born-again Christians] have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, [i.e.,] Jesus the Son of God [who, after his resurrection (rising from the dead), went back to heaven], let us hold fast [to, or remain strong in,] our profession [of faith, referring to salvation]."
Verse 15: "For we have not [we do not have] an high priest which[,] [like Aaron and other high priests in Old Testament times,] cannot be touched with [affected by] the feeling of our infirmities [physical and mental weaknesses]; but [our high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ] was in all points [things] tempted like as we are, yet without [committing] sin [in thoughts, words, and deeds]."
Verse 16: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace [God's throne in heaven] [through prayer], [so] that we may obtain mercy [kindness, compassion, forgiveness of sin], and find grace [unmerited (undeserved) favor, willingness] to help [us] in time of need."
By dying on the cross to pay for our sins, Jesus made it possible for Christians to communicate directly with God.
Psalm 145:2 [King David's prayer to God]: "Every day will I bless thee [worship and thank you]; and I will praise thy name [I will praise you] for ever and ever."
Like King David, Christians should get in the habit of worshiping, thanking, and praising God on a daily basis.
James 4:1-3 - War, Violence, Covetousness, Answers to Prayer
The apostle James wrote this in a letter to the twelve tribes of Israel (specifically, Jewish Christians) … but what he says really applies to everyone:
Verse 1: "From whence [where] come wars and fightings [heated arguments, disagreements, etc., leading to violence] among you? come they not hence [from here], even of your lusts [desires for pleasure] that war [fight] in your members [various parts of the human body] [in other words, don't they originate from lust?--see note below*]?"
Verse 2: "Ye lust [want things], and have not [don't have them]: ye kill, and desire to have [what other people have], and cannot obtain [those things] [in a fair and honest way]: ye fight and war [with one another], yet ye have not [you don't have the things that you want], because ye ask not [you don't ask God for them]."
Verse 3: "Ye ask [God, in prayer, for things], and receive not [don't receive them], because ye ask amiss [with the wrong motives, for the wrong reasons], [so] that ye may consume it upon [waste it on, satisfy] your lusts [desires for worldly pleasure]."
Lust causes many problems.
*According to Albert Barnes: "… The desire of booty, the love of conquest, the ambition for extended rule, the gratification of revenge, these and similar causes have led to all the wars that have desolated the earth. …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-4.html, "Verse 1")
2 Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves [spiritually, to find out or determine], whether ye be in the faith [if you are true Christians]; prove your own selves [prove your piety (godliness, reverence for God) by testing your religion (subjecting it to actual trial in the various duties and responsibilities of life)]. Know ye not your own selves [then you will know or be sure], how that Jesus Christ is in you [in your heart], except ye be reprobates [unless you are reprobates (counterfeit Christians), or not really saved)]?"
In other words, if you are a true Christian (i.e., have been born again according to the Bible), you should know it.
In his commentary, Albert Barnes summarizes the above verse as follows: "The simple idea is, that they might know that they were Christians, unless their religion was such as would not stand the test, or was worthless." He also describes what it means to "stand the test":
"Prove your own selves - … The proof of their piety was to be arrived at by a faithful examination of their own hearts and lives; by a diligent comparison of their views and feelings with the word of God; and especially by making trial of it in life. The best way to prove our piety is to subject it to actual trial in the various duties and responsibilites of life. A man who wishes to prove an axe to see whether it is good or not, does not sit down and look at it, or read all the treatises which he can find on axe-making, and on the properties of iron and steel, valuable as such information would be; but he shoulders his axe and goes into the woods, and puts it to the trial there.
"If it cuts well; if it does not break; if it is not soon made dull, he understands the quality of his axe better than he could in any other way. So if a man wishes to know what his religion is worth, let him try it in the places where religion is of any value. Let him go into the world with it. Let him go and try to do good; to endure affliction in a proper manner; to combat the errors and follies of life; to admonish sinners of the error of their ways; and to urge forward the great work of the conversion of the world, and he will soon see there what his religion is worth - as easily as a man can test the qualities of an axe. Let him not merely sit down and think, and compare himself with the Bible and look at his own heart - valuable as this may be in many respects - but let him treat his religion as he would anything else - let him subject it to actual experiment. That religion which will enable a man to imitate the example of Paul or Howard, or the great Master [Jesus] himself, in doing good, is genuine.
"That religion which will enable a man to endure persecution for the name of Jesus; to bear calamity without complaining; to submit to a long series of disappointments and distresses for Christ's sake, is genuine. That religion which will prompt a man unceasingly to a life of prayer and self-denial; which will make him ever conscientious, industrious, and honest; which will enable him to warn sinners of the errors of their ways, and which will dispose him to seek the friendship of Christians, and the salvation of the world, is pure and genuine. That will answer the purpose. It is like the good axe with which a man can chop all day long, in which there is no flaw, and which does not get dull, and which answers all the purposes of an axe. Any other religion than this is worthless."
(Source for quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-13.html, "Verse 5")
Romans 13:13 [Writing to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul said]: "Let us walk [live] honestly [decently], as [we usually do] in the day[time,] [when our actions can easily be seen by others]; not [participating] in rioting and drunkenness [feasts and drinking parties, similar to those in Bible times], not in chambering [sexual immorality] and wantonness [offensive or shameful sexual behavior], not in strife [arguments] and envying [jealousy]."
The above advice also applies to Christians today.
Regarding drunkenness, one Bible commentator wrote: "Even were there no hereafter, a wise man would shun it as a pestilence. No other evil has so great a share in bringing ruin on individuals and families." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/13-13.html, "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans")
SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 3
Exodus 18:12-26 - Moses Learns How to Choose Godly Leaders
and Set Up a Successful Government for Israel
This took place after the Exodus, when the children of Israel (the Jewish people)
escaped from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea.
Verse 12: "And Jethro, Moses' father in law [who was the priest of Midian], took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God [in appreciation for all that God had done to keep the Jewish people safe]: and Aaron [Moses' brother] came, and all the elders of Israel [older men who were leaders] [also came], to eat bread [and other food] with Moses' father in law before [in the presence of] God [where the sacrifices had been offered]."
Verses 13-14: "And it came to pass on the morrow [the next day], that Moses sat [down] to judge the [Jewish] people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he [Moses] did to [for] the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest [you are doing] to the people? why sittest thou thyself [why do you sit] alone, and all the people stand by thee [you] from morning unto even [evening]?"
Verses 15-16: "And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of [get directions from] God: When they have a matter [of controversy, or a disagreement], they come unto me; and I judge between one [person] and another, and I do make them know the statutes [ordinances, decrees] of God, and his laws."
Verses 17-18: "And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest [what you are doing] is not good [for your health]. Thou wilt [you will] surely wear away [become exhausted], both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing [judging the Jewish people] is too heavy [a task or burden] [meaning it is too difficult] for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself [you can't do it] alone."
Verses 19-20: "Hearken [listen] now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel [advice], and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward [as the representative of the people, be the mediator (link) between them and God], [so] that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them [the Jews] [God's] ordinances [rules] and laws, and shalt shew [show] them [the people] the way wherein they must walk [or the path they must follow], and the work that they must do."
Verse 21: "Moreover thou shalt provide [select, choose] out of all [of] the people able [wise, capable, and experienced] men, such as [those who] fear [respect and obey] God, [and who are] men of truth [not liars (meaning they are honest and trustworthy)], hating covetousness [or, in this case, unjust (dishonest) gain--meaning they won't accept bribes]; and place [appoint] such [men] over them [the Jews], to be rulers [leaders] of [groups of] thousands [of people], and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:"
Verse 22: "And let them [the men who were chosen to rule the various groups] judge [govern] the people at all seasons [times]: and it shall be, that every great [important] matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small [minor, unimportant, insignificant] matter they shall judge [decide] [themselves]: so shall it be easier for thyself [you], and they shall bear the burden [carry the weight or responsibility] [of ruling and judging the people] with thee."
Verse 23: "If thou shalt [if you are willing to] do this thing [what I just suggested], and God command thee [to do] so, then thou shalt be able to endure [last, hold up (remain strong), continue to do your job], and all this people [the Jews] shall also go to their place [either to the promised land (Canaan, which was promised to them by God) or to their own tents or homes] in peace."
Verses 24-26: "So Moses hearkened [listened] to the voice [advice] of his father in law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able [capable] men out of all [of] Israel, and made them heads [rulers, judges, governors, and officers] over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons [times]: the hard causes [cases, matters, things] they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves."
Although the numbers are different, this advice has been, and still is, followed by national, state, and local governments and by militaries, courts, organizations, etc., throughout the world. For example, in the United States, cases in the lower courts can be appealed to higher courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court.