MEN SUPPRESS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CREATOR,
THOUGH HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES CAN BE SEEN FROM
THE NEWBORN BABY
TO THE SWEEP OF THE GRAND CANYON
Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control. It has been illuminating to me to see the reason behind disbelief. While it is true that if you have been fed lies, you need evidence to refute them, it is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe, for that will help you not only with those whom you love who resist God, but with your own heart, whose tendency is also to resist in order to be in control. Tim Conway said:
Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.
Lent is a season of repentance, leading us to the cross and the resurrection, so we must indeed apply Psalm 14, not only to the outspoken fools of our world, but to our own hearts. When Paul quotes Psalm 14 in Romans, it is directed toward us.
May we consider how we have belittled God, how we have not wanted Him, how we have not trusted Him, and how we have not made Him the center of our lives.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)
Songs: This Lent we’ve been endeavoring to follow Bonhoeffer’s advice of preparing our hearts each morning with song, then going to the Word, and then praying the Word.
In the optional sermon on Psalm 14, Tim Keller says that fools in their arrogance do not know they are fools, but a child of God realizes he is a fool without God. He is desperate therefore for Him. This brought two songs to mind:
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
5. When Psalm 14 talks about the fool, it uses the Hebrew word “nabal.” Abigail was married to a man who typified the kind of fool Psalm 14 addresses, and his name actually was Nabal. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-13 and find how Nabal suppressed the truth in order to do what he wanted to do.
6. Consider — how do you tend to suppress the truth at times and why is this foolish? If God shows you, let this lead you into a prayer of repentance.
7. Read Psalm 14:2-3 and then see how it is quoted in Romans 3:9-11. Who is Paul talking about here? How does this speak to you?
8. Read Psalm 14:4. In the sermon you will hear from Dick Lucas, he lists those like Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini who devoured God’s people. If you listened to the atheisit’s song, Imagine, last week, how does verse 4 and these historical examples refute the lie of Imagine?
9. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of verses 5-7:
Is there anyone around to save Israel? Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope, turned-around Israel sings laughter.
10. Psalm 53 is nearly identical to Psalm 14. Read it. I have learned that God uses repetition when things are important. Why do you think these thoughts are so important to Him?
11. Praying the Psalm
A. Pray for your own heart, that you would not think like the fool. Pray for those you love.
B. Thank God that He is takes the side of victims and one day will do a great reversal.
12. Share your notes and observations.
Optional Sermon for 2.50 from Tim Keller: LINK
13. Share notes if you listened.
14. What is your take-a-way and why?
14. What is your take-a-way and why?
So beautifully said!
Our hearts are deceitful and we are led astray by our own desires.
The cross is a reminder of our sinfulness and what our precious redeemer has done by his sacrifice on the cross.
12. Share your notes and observations.
Lucas brought out that God calls the atheist ‘ignorant’ and a ‘fool’.. Their eyes are closed-they are blind and cannot see-like I was before HE opened my eyes when I came to know Him and I am grateful even now when I am blind to a layer in Scripture, or to my idolatry he reveals it to me and opens my eyes. :))
Before I knew Him I tried to read and understand scripture but I was unable until after I came to know him-He opened my eyes and I understood-I couldn’t get enough of His word-that was the Holy Spirit he put inside me.
I can’t help but hearken back to Conway’s talk and think that his passion is in line with God’s in saying they are ignorant fools. With me I have seen them more as misguided and blind than ignorant but after this week’s study I think really they are ignorant and foolish like I was and I would still be ignorant and a fool if left to my own devices-and there are times I can be ignorant and a fool when my actions and behavior are the opposite of Him.
I remember before I knew Him I was in a community college class and the professor asked if we believed in God and in heaven-that heaven existed. I raised my hand and said-“I don’t believe because it hasn’t been proved. How do you know for sure there is a heaven? ” God rescued me a few years later-it was all him. And yes I can still be foolish when I run to my idols instead of him-but I am not an atheist..I do think even though we know him we can easily bend away toward our dark ignorant hearts. I do think this Psalm is talking more about the atheist perhaps? I am looking forward to Keller’s sermon for I know he will shed light on that. :))
What stuck out to me the most was the encouragement that God is on the move and is restoring His church in our country.
I had the opportunity to watch “Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace” yesterday. It was interesting. I think I need to read the book now. I was puzzled, however, by his justification of spying and lying in the movie. There was a scene where he was talking to one of the sympathetic guards in prison and explained that he did not need to tell the truth to the Gestapo interrogator because the interrogator was like a teacher who was abusing his power. I know that I have never been in prison under threat of torture or death, but is there ever a reason to lie? I know that Abram lied about Sarai not being his wife a couple of times when he feared for their safety, and David lied when he was on the run for his life, pretending he was insane. But does that make it right? I could understand lying in order to protect others, or even out of fear, but to justify it on the basis of bullying, or to say he was choosing “the lesser of two evils,” as he said of why he was helping in the assasination plot, makes me very uncomfortable. I have always believed lying was wrong under any circumstance, though I admit I have done it. But I see it as sin. Now I am confused.
What do you guys think?
I even looked up a few verses:
Exodus 20:16 (ESV)
Colossians 3:9 (ESV)
Proverbs 14:5 (ESV)
Diane, your question has started my wheels in my head turning! I was uncomfortable with it, too. But my mind is taken several places in its musings.
Matthew 12:1-13 – it is the why behind what we do that matters. (There are several other examples of Christ ‘breaking the rules.’)
Corrie ten-Boom’s The Hiding Place – the little girl who told the truth and God protected those in danger (when they were hiding people under the kitchen floor).
Had Bonhoeffer escaped from prison I would not have been uncomfortable with it…interesting…his lying was a way of “escape” and “protection” for others??
(not arguing one way or the other, just sharing my thoughts.)
Thanks for your contribution to my thinking process. No problem if you disagree. I am just trying to think this through. Yes, there are examples of people hiding others from enemies in the Bible, like Moses as a baby, and the midwives lying about why the Israelite baby boys were surviving birth in Egypt. And God seems to reward their actions. (Exodus 1:15-21) Like I said before, I am confused. Are there times it is alright to lie? I am sure some Christians will disagree with others on this question. For me, it is not a make or break issue. I think it is important to think the issue through, however.
In the Matt. 12 passage you mentioned, Jesus here was breaking the man-made rules of the Pharisees, not Biblical commands, so I do not think that is the same thing as lying. I know it can be argued that the Proverbs are just principles not unbreakable rules, but the verse in Exodus 20 that I quoted above about “bearing false witness” is one of the Ten Commandments. I wonder whether “bearing false witness” is the exact same thing as “lying”, though I don’t want to split hairs. The Bible clearly says that God never lies, so should we?
Numbers 23:19 (ESV)
Yes, that subject of lying was one that I was considering. However I am glad to have read the whole biography before watching the movie.
Bonhoeffer had a lot of struggling and praying before he came to his decision. This weighed on him and yet he felt led by God in each step.
It was a lonely time as he knew others in the Confessing Church would not understand either.
It is a reminder to me of my struggles. As I made some decisions that others criticized, but I felt God directing me. I could not explain or justify my actions, yet felt God was working.
Thanks for your thoughts on this issue, Shirley Hodges. I do need to read the book. When I was younger, I tended to be a more “black and white” person on many issues – pretty legalistic, I guess. Now I know that issues are more complicated, but I do not want to excuse away what is sin. Are we following God or using our freedom for an excuse?
Diane–you have articulated so well something I have struggled with many times. Deep within me, I feel like even lying in these circumstances is in some way a lack of trust–it is lying out of fear, and how can that be the very best way? Our Lord never lied. Maybe this is my simplistic faith, but I believe that God honors truth, and no matter how dire the circumstances, He will protect if we are choosing honesty out of reverence for Him. I am not saying I could do it, I would imagine in those circumstances, going along with a lie in order to protect my family–but I would have to admit I think that would show a lack of true faith. Not sure if I can make sense, another one of those wish I could talk in person moments here! But I do know I really agree and appreciate your thoughts here.
Elizabeth, I agree with what you wrote about lying and lack of trust. Something related (and it’s hard to do this from a hypothetical perspective): It seems it would be wrong to lie to save my own life or the lives of believers because that would be kinda like what Conway said about “exchanging.” Would I be saying that life on this earth is the best there is? Exchanging the glory of man for obedience to God?
wow-Renee, great point “Would I be saying that life on this earth is the best there is?”!! I have had just a few experiences, once in the ER when I felt that inner pleading to not let this be “my time” to go, for my kids sake, etc…and then also felt that conflict within of realizing I still by default cling to this life–and that is such a crazy thought! Sometimes even when people discuss the end times, there is a split second where I think–“but wait, I’m not ready-enough” even though I KNOW this is not the truth of the Gospel! Sorry, starting to ramble now, but loved your point!
Elizabeth, not sure exactly where this post will be posted — but what you wrote about ER and clinging to this life: Me, too. When I’ve felt sick enough to be scared of dying, I’ve thought “not yet” because something wasn’t finished, yet other times I was depressed enough that I wanted to die… Thankful for God’s sovereignty and his timing.
Diane, I was confused, too. I used to ask myself those questions about Corrie Ten Boom and her family, too, and seriously wrestle with “What would I do?” My take: lying is wrong 99.99999% of the time, that we should assume it is wrong for our own behavior, that if in the rare event God seems to be leading otherwise, we should agonize about the decision and carefully seek him. When others have pattern of stretching the truth, I learn not to trust them. Regarding Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Boom, etc: Those situations are rare enough here, that I have to rest knowing that God knows peoples’ heart. They did “betray” those to whom they lied; but they would have been betraying others if they hadn’t lied. Don’t know… God knows:) (sigh of relief)
Diane.……I read Bonhoeffer by Metaxas over a year’s time, meeting with a friend to discuss it. I am so grateful that I was invited to join this blog because I really continue to learn from everyone else’s questions and thoughts too. The thing that finally settled the questions of ‘how could the resistance, many of them devout Christians plot to kill Hitler ?’ was in reading that Bonhoeffer and the others, after wrestling enormously with the burden of what to do…..came to the realization that Hitler was indeed ‘evil incarnate’. I think they had to take whatever steps necessary to save who they could. It was a stretch for me to see how killing was justified at first. (I struggle with military interventions and with capitol punishment so even, with Hitler…I had questions.) Bonhoeffer was a pacifist and though he supported and respected those who took up arms, he prayed that he would not have to. And yet….the intensity of the incarnate evil he saw in Hitler and the subsequent unparallelled destruction of humanity.. meant, to him, that he must be active in the resistance and the assassination plot. It does help to read the book and sympathize with all of the struggles that he and his Christian brothers and sisters went through in coming to that conviction.
14. What is your take-a-way and why? Confession and desire.
I am a fool, Lord. I seek to justify my own “wisdom” and “logic” and all the while forget You, all the while serving me and my ideal instead of You and Your purpose. Oh God, that I would serve like Bonhoeffer and truly, TRULY grasp that the things of this world are secondary and lovely but that You are ultimate. That Bonhoeffer would deny the love of his life to serve the love of his eternity….I am humbled, and convicted. God grant me vision! That I would not just see you in every newborn, or every canyon, every sunset…but that I would also begin to see You in every irritable challenge – every split-second response decision. Reach deep inside me to the deepest root and rip it out, Lord, change me. And I give thanks that You are my refuge, You are the author of all good in my life and of the change in my heart that I would say “There IS a God and He is big and able and I am His, and He is mine.” Amen.
Yes, Lord. I too pray this prayer for myself. Thank you, Jill, for your prayer.
oh the Keller sermon was really good–really rich. I was struggling at first so I tried to get every word this time and somehow ended up with 7 pages of notes! Staci already did a great job–so I’ll just give a few thoughts.
1. The Bible tells us foolishness is a proud willfulness that keeps us from learning, from seeing the evidence
The essence of the spirit of foolishness is, “I don’t need anybody’s help. I don’t need anybody to tell me what to do. I can do it myself. Nobody tells me how to live my life.”
The Bible says many people doubt God because they don’t like the idea that there’s someone to whom they have to submit. They want to do it themselves. “Nobody tells me what to do.”
The Bible tells us there are foolish people, people with foolishness of a proud willfulness that says, “I can do it myself. I don’t want anybody telling me what to do,” and it blinds them to the evidence there is for God.
2. Foolishness makes it impossible for you to see your own heart commitments as alternatives to believing in God
Foolishness actually is in the heart. “It’s in the heart that the fool says, ‘There is no God.’ ” Why does it say that? People think their inability to believe in God is intellectual or emotional.
3. Foolishness can’t understand grace
At the end of almost every psalm there’s always hope. In spite of how bad everything seems, God’s grace shows up at the end of these psalms. The word Zion is the name of one of the hills inside the city of Jerusalem, the hill on which the temple was built.
God’s salvation will come out of Zion, out of the temple. The temple is where God dwells, where His glory dwells. If you approached Him at the temple, His glory would not threaten you. God says, “I’ll meet you over the sacrifice.”
Foolishness is that part of our heart that is threatened by God. We don’t like people to tell us what to do. We don’t like someone greater to show us what we have to do. That’s what sin is. It’s foolishness that says, “I’m getting close to somebody who’s going to demand this and who’s going to demand that …” so we get threatened when we get near God.
Some churches try to tell you how you ought to live. You feel threatened. “I can’t live like that.” If you try to come near God through a church like that, you’ll find it’ll crush you with guilt, the closer you get, all you hear is, “God is in charge. God is going to do this. God is going to do that.”
There’s a barrier–God says, “You must submit. I am holy.” The heart says, “I don’t want to obey”. God says, “I can accept you, even with all of your foolishness, if there is a substitute pays the penalty with his blood.” Jesus says “I am the temple. I am the sacrifice. I am the one who lays down my blood… I am the way you meet God.”
The cross is foolishness to the world,the heart of the fool says, “I don’t want your blood. I can do it myself. .. I don’t need your bleeding charity.” That’s the fool.
The fool doesn’t understand grace. The cross was the greatest and highest act of wisdom that has ever happened. It was on the cross that God, in one stroke, in one event, honored the Law, and at the same time, saved us from our penalty. Justice and mercy–both satisfied. That’s the highest wisdom ever.
The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” The Christian continually in the heart, everyday, says, “There is.”
Good notes, Elizabeth…I haven’t listened yet – now I really want to!
11. Praying the Psalm
A. Pray for your own heart, that you would not think like the fool. Pray for those you love.
Lord, I admit that I can live like a fool, too. Help me to have You as my first waking thought each day, that I would not just wake up and get out of bed and go about my day saying, like the fool, “There is no God”, as if You are not important or relevant to my plans. Help me not to live for the pleasures of this world. I know it’s okay to look forward to special things like time with family and friends, but not to set my heart on the things that this world says I need to be happy, as if this world is all there is. Help me not to suppress the truth about You, to not exchange the truth for a lie. I pray that You would reveal my idols more and more to me…when I look to others and use them to feed my idols of wanting approval or comfort and security, I am eating them like a piece of bread to fill me up and that is a selfish kind of love. Help me to love like You do.
Lord, please-because You have provided salvation by pouring out Your King on Zion, turn the hearts of those I love who are fools back to You. They just live their lives ignoring You, have no desire for You. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers and they need You to rescue them. Without Your intervention, they will remain in their darkness – they cannot escape without Your help. I wish that I could somehow give them the desire for You but I know I can’t do it. Only You can save.
oh Susan–such wisdom “…when I look to others and use them to feed my idols of wanting approval or comfort and security, I am eating them like a piece of bread to fill me up and that is a selfish kind of love. Help me to love like You do.”
My take away:
What a journey this is for me to do the indepth study of Psalm 14.
The sermon by Lucas helped me. Three words characterize the fool, defined as “the person to whom God means nothing”.
Ignorance, intolerance and impudence… The last word he compared with Hitler’s obsession to destroy God’s chosen people.
God’s judgments are based on a thorough knowledge of mens’ hearts. Impudent people are bold in their contempt or disregard for others.
This is often seen today with unbelievers in their superior attitudes, in the media and in groups.
My word for this week is Courage. I am praying for God to teach me His ways. As the hymn words say “Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight, thy guiding grace afford-teach me thy way.”
This morning I read the story in Exodus 32 and read the words that God spoke to Moses, saying My people have been corrupt, as he referred to their making themselves a golden calf, idol, to worship. Then I looked at verse 3 of Psalm 13- yes, we are corrupt when we turn to idols of the heart- comfort and approval. I confess my tendency to corrupt ways.
May I desire to please God only.
14. What is your take-a-way and why.
i don’t usually get time for take aways, but this week I have been sick soil have had “extra” time 🙂
i just can’t understand why some people don’t believe in God. It confounds me. To me, when you are “right” with God, your life is full of peace and joy. When you aren’t, you have pain and suffering in your life. Why would I want that?
Laura-great take away– you highlight the “foolishness” of not believing!
I listened to Dick Lucus. He gave three characteristics of atheists. 1. ignorance, 2. intolerance, 3. multiple illusions. I wrote “Imagine” next to that one as the song and video are totally that, an illusion. His thoughts on China and the rising church there were exciting. He says the Chineese church will convert the muslin world. I mourn the loss of the fervor of the Lord for the European church and the church in America, but I am excited for the work of the Spirit in the Asian world. The seeds of passion are growing in the soil of oppression. How many times have we seen that in history?! I pray that His church in America and Europe will be restored as well. As the world looks and acts less like our legalistic vision, hopeful our love for Him and others will stand out as a light on a hill. Pastor Lucus also pointed out Isaiah 66 and the vision of the New Jerusalem. I’m excited to dig into the last part of Isaiah for a few days.
I wanted to share this morning’s Spurgeon devotion, so good on suffering:
We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering”—it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me now; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does He honor us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”
Thought of a couple verses this morning (about fools):
The following one used to scare me when I was a kid. I wondered if, when name-calling, I dared call my sisters fools! The word doesn’t automatically roll off my tongue, but reading the verse tempted me!! BUT, now when I reread it, I think we should be VERY cautious in seriously pegging people as fools.
And this one reflects my total dependence on God:
I agree with your statement. We all can do things that are foolish from time to time but that doesn’t make us a fool as Psalm 14 depicts.
Mat. 5:22 was one of the Scriptures I was thinking about the other day but didn’t have time to look it up.
Just found this–some really good questions–The Ligonier 2014 National Conference — Questions and Answers, I thought some of you would be interested. Panel includes: Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul,Voddie Baucham, Stephen Nichols, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Derek Thomas
(fyi–answers are obviously based on Reformed theology)
Thanks, Elizabeth. I like how the page is set up — so that I can go to a specific Q & A without watching 2 hours of video.
Last night, my husband and I watched the Hollywood movie Valkyrie about the plot to kill Hitler. Of course, after watching, I had to google and read a summary of the many assassination plots and was thumbing through my Bonhoeffer biography during the movie as well. Even though the movie had to condense all the players in the plots and included scenes with just those most directly involved, when I re-read parts of the book, it was pretty enlightening to me to realize just how close Bonhoeffer, his family and other Christians were to the inner circles. You don’t see it in much in the movie, but Stauffenberg, who led the July 20 attempt, was a devout believer who had wrestled much with what he felt compelled to do. I guess all of these resources and discoveries really make me think. What would I do? Am I doing what I should be doing now to curb/help eliminate the evil in my world? Hard, hard questions.
Take-away: I want to know Him more, and I want to love Him more. I’m thinking of several phrases/verses from Phil 3 right now: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”I have as many questions as usual 🙂 but I’m noticing a gradual change (and a dramatic difference from years ago). My questions now send me into the arms of my Savior (vs. existential despair), and I can set them aside and rest, knowing the He is wise, loving, sovereign and has the answers. This statement by Lucas reinforced my desire to leave the judging to Him: “God’s judgments are based on a thorough knowledge about what is going on on earth and in the hearts and minds of men. “
Very interesting week! And, oh my, the sermons/talks were very, very different in identifying who is a fool — seemed to be opposite ends of the continuum: one who stereotyped (good word, Deanna) all university and medical professionals as idiots/fools, whether they believe in evolution or not. He also lumped together everyone who believes in evolution in one category. And the other(Lucas), who indicated that the fool, the atheist, refers to those who are atheists/anti-God to the core, Hitler, Stalin, etc. And then there was Keller, respectful as always, clear, and somewhere in the middle. Though both Lucas and Keller brought up points that helped me better understand Scripture and bring me before Christ, I’m more used to Keller. But I loved that Lucas stretched my brain . This statement, written by Keller, struck me in light of the “loudness” of the sermons: “many Christian laypeople remain confused because the voices arguing that Biblical orthodoxy and evolution are mutually exclusive are louder and more prominent than any others.”
I would like to see/hear Keller “debate” Conway 🙂 because they say very different things about evolution (Conway: belief in evolution = idiot; Keller: several ways to hold belief in God and in evolutionary processes) . Keller also wrote “Many orthodox Christians who believe in EBP [Evolutionary Biological Processes] often find themselves attacked by those Christians who do not.” It sounded as if Conway attacked those orthodox Christians.
Another take-away: I’d sort of given up on deciding what I believe about evolution. I figured I’d have to be fluent in Hebrew and have a Ph.D. and several years of research experience in biology etc to know. I’ve attended research workshops that combine religion and science (my geeky idea of fun), and some of the most humble, gracious, expert, Christian, educated people I have met believe in evolution. It used to be almost too much for my rigid little brain to process that dinosaurs existed. After reading Keller’s article, not only can I think more clearly, butI easily could believe that God used evolutionary biological processes to create the world. I already knew that disagreements were based as much (if not more) on philosophy as science.
SO cool that creation reveals God’s glory. To me, that shows there is great hope for scientists to know God. Collins became a Christian because he saw evidence of God. Keller wrote, “We must interpret the book of nature by the book of God. It cannot be said too strongly that Scripture is the perfect vehicle for God’s revelation…its bold selectiveness, like that of a great painting, is its power. To read it with one eye on any other account is to blur its image and miss its wisdom.”
I’ll likely never (on this earth) be fluent in Hebrew or get to the point at which I have academic work that approaches some of the accomplished researchers I know. I “have to” rely on experts who also are believers. I don’t want to be one of the “anti-scientific religionists or the anti-religious scientists.” So, thanks to Conway calling groups of people idiots, I dug at little deeper (mostly into Keller & short video clip of Collins), connected dots that I didn’t want to connect earlier, and now I think I lean toward evolution!! (feels odd to say that and I know I wouldn’t dare say it around some people & am wondering if I am somewhat ‘foolish’ to post it here.) Because I know researchers, scientists, & physicians who believe in evolution and follow Jesus (and some experience resistance because of it), I couldn’t live with the “idiot” explanation. Without Conway’s video clip, I probably would have said “whatever” about the evolution issue forever.
My take-away–I am humbled by the ways I act the fool. When Dee said “May we consider how we have belittled God, how we have not wanted Him, how we have not trusted Him, and how we have not made Him the center of our lives.” My initial thought is of course that I have never “not wanted” Him. But of course He opens my eyes again to my sin, and I see the ways I have not wanted Him to guide me in a certain situation–I have wanted to rely on my own ways of doing things. I wouldn’t normally think I “belittle” God, and yet, I do when I make His Word too limited, too small to apply to my circumstances. When I allow myself to react out of my sin nature instead of going to Him and asking Him to give me perspective. I’m amazed daily at how in the tiniest of things I am completely wretched without Him. I was at WalMart and a lady “cut me off” with her cart, pushing in front of me to the line…within the second I felt anger swell in me! She turned around and said “sorry”–and I melted,and made sure to tell her profusely that it was OK, and inside I was overwhelmed with conviction of my sin. It’s in me so deep, but oh His grace. It pours over me.
In his sermon, Keller referred to a few more verses on a “fool” and they convicted me as well.
Prov. 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,but only in expressing his opinion.”
Proverbs 15:5 “A fool despises his father’s instruction,but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.”
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Keller also said this–“A Christian is somebody who knows he or she is a fool. A fool is somebody who thinks he or she is not a fool…We’re all foolish, and the only way to keep from being a fool is to realize you’re foolish and to approach the Father through Jesus Christ…(and) a kind of transplant that happens.”
Lord, thank You that You know I am a fool and You knew on the Cross all I was and all I would do, and all I would struggle to believe–and yet, You went through it all. God, in Your perfect Story, You allow for mercy and justice to meet, and for me to be claimed by You. I am so humbled by Your indescribable love. How can it be that Thou My God should die for me?
10. Psalm 53…Why do you think these thoughts are so important to Him?
Because we all sin and have the capacity to be fools. The Lord wants none to perish, but does not force Himself on any person…grace is a gift to be received with thanksgiving and gratitude, not forcefully given against one’s will.
11A. Pray for your own heart…
Do my actions reveal foolishness, corruption, evil? Lord, You see all and know me better than I know myself. I do not want to turn away from You; I want to do Your good works–help me to be obedient, to be God-sufficient. I want to truly learn and absorb Your truth and turn from false truths of the world that I have accepted. You are my protection and protector; create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Provide restoration Lord as only You can…I am Yours, Amen.
Lord, many that I love are not in sync with You…they practice religion but not faith. Their actions are pharisaic, thinking they are “good enough” by their works and miss the gospel. Lord, guide them away from false, worldly truths to the gospel…may they rest in Your gift of grace knowing in their hearts that You are their only hope, their only salvation. Let them turn from their foolish, self-righteous thoughts to You, the true and only Savior. You have blessed me with continuing growth, insight, and affection, may they experience and accept Your credible blessing of grace. Amen.
11B. Thank God…
Thank You, Lord for Your provision…even in the darkest, most evil moments You are there, standing hand-in-hand with those suffering. We hold on to Your promises that all will be made right in this world–Your return will usher in peace, love, and restoration, and You are the protector of the weak…You are strength in weakness. Many suffer acts of violence, persecution, and slavery…our human actions fall short, but You will overwhelm evil and dispose of it once and for all. Thank You that You are Lord, King, Savior, and Protector…You stand with Your people always. Thank You, Lord.
I forgot to mention…I felt so powerless when writing the prayer of thanksgiving thinking of the evil of human trafficking that runs rampant and such a seemingly overwhelming evil, but then I thought, “powerless?”…powerless is exactly where the evil one wants us, thinking we are powerless…apathetic. Yes, as a human and in my own power I DO lack power, but as a follower of Christ, I have the greatest power backing me, there is none greater. If the Lord is by my side, what should I fear?…there is NO greater power…back-off Satan!
Nanci, I just was talking about human trafficking with someone yesterday. (Campus Christian orgs are planning something & I had to sign papers for it). I knew it was bad here, but I had NO idea how extensive. I also knew some of the events/locations in the area where this is a problem. But my jaw dropped when I heard that it even is associated with hunting season. Makes sense because the airport and flights are full of hunters in the fall… I realized how little I know about the extent of the evil, and it’s not necessarily in the places where people are fighting “culture wars.” The is still one of the most “religious” countries, and yet I wonder what the Lord thinks when he “looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.”
My takeaway this week: It’s been a challenging one! So much good discussion which leads to more digging and clarifying and just pondering. I am amazed at how many hours I put into this study this week (good thing I work only casually!) but it wasn’t just those hours either. I find myself thinking about things we’ve talked about a big part of the day. I’m very grateful that I was able to join this study group and grateful for the depth of the study material. Many thanks Dee! And thanks to everyone who meets me here. I can honestly say, it’s been the best season of Lent for me, in many, many years…..having an interactive study with an underlying theme of pointing us to the Cross. I’ve also loved being re-directed to the voices of Michael Card, Keith Green and the theme of ‘God’s Own Fool’ brought me back to a Chuck Girard album with the song ‘Fool for Jesus’. I love to be reminded of my youth…..not just for nostalgia, but because there was such a freshness to my faith then…..which I lose from time to time….and being ‘back there’…..listening to music that impacted me then……gives me a wave of new love for my Lord. I didn’t get to listening to Tim Keller this week….but I plan to get an account set up, so I can access his messages more frequently. I have so learned from him in his books. I rarely read ‘living authors’ it seems. I more often like to try to plumb the depths of a lot of ‘old dead guy’s’ writings. So…..when I realize the richness of hearing someone who is contemporary….it’s a great asset. Keller’s impact will live on and on. He is one of the greats. My personal reading of the psalms and of Bonhoeffer’s Prayer Book of the Psalms has been a real agent of change. I have never seen the Psalms approached this way before. And I am learning to try to use more of God’s own speech when I pray. For a long time, I’ve been pondering how to pray…..I’ve been confused about the specificity of many prayers that I’m around…..like we bring an exact plan to God and ask Him to do it. I’ve been trying to rely more on praying His attributes and applying them to my life and needs. SO MUCH TO LEARN. If I could sum up this week in one word, it would be ‘refreshment’.……and I am grateful for that.
Glad you’re here, Wanda! I’ve been blessed with at least a few good seasons of Lent on this blog 🙂 SO thankful as more of the gospel continues to move from my head to my heart.
What life-giving words. We have been given such a sweet fellowship!
Because of where I live, where I’ve worked, and events I’ve attended, I’ve often heard about parallels between how Hitler treated Jews and treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. (and pre-U.S.). I did a little more reading on it and realized I hadn’t even thought about many of the parallels. Apparently, Hitler studied and admired what he saw as the U.S. government’s efficiency in exterminating Indians (which would explain the parallels). I’ve often wondered why some in Germany and the Netherlands would show up in the most remote & poverty-stricken parts of this state. (still don’t make all the connections, but apparently some of the interest in the American West predated Hitler).
The following paragraph “interested” me:
It’s sad that what happened here provided a blueprint for Hitler. But I’m not hopeful that “open discussions” alone will prevent greed and hatred. People have been oppressed throughout history. SO THANKFUL that the Lord is the refuge for the poor and that the Lord will restore the fortunes of his people. I’m praying that the church would be restored here, too, particularly among those who have been so oppressed.
That is so well said Renee. Yes, we all need to know and acknowledge more of the American holocaust…..the genocide of Native Americans. There is no one righteous. No not one. America is not an exception.
And here’s my factoid for the week! While I’m still getting over the weeping following re-watching Bonhoeffer Agent of Grace……(I got so much more out of it this time as Bonhoeffer’s life and everything happening at the time, takes so long to process)……I discovered something pretty interesting. The man who played Eberhard Bethge (who was Dietrich’s close friend and became his biographer) was, in the movie, the real life great nephew of Dietrich….Justus von Dohnanyi. He is the grandson of Hans Dohnanyi, who was married to Dietrich’s sister Christel (sometimes called Christine). Loved finding that out! Justus is a German actor who was born in 1960. (After I read the credits and saw that….I was trying to figure out which was the role of Eberhard Bethge….but I think the one scene that is most clear was that he was the man who took down the Nazi flags from the church with Dietrich and threw them in the water.)
As I was looking up a scripture at Bible Gateway, this ad was at the top of the page.
If this isn’t the Noah of Genesis, which Noah is it?
In my opinion the American-made movie “Noah” reflects many of today’s Americans values one being — FREEDOM! The ultimate freedom from God.
This same mindset has crept into some churches today and to me— this the ultimate picture of a FOOLPsalm 14 paints for us.
Wonderful take-a-ways and discussion.
Eager to look at resource Elizabeth gave.
No easy answers — but I can’t imagine not lying to protect children and their parents from death.