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Sabbath: Dealing With Bad Decisions — 9 Comments

  1. In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. Neh 13:23,24 NKJV

    In his book "Nineteen Eighty-four", George Orwell shows how the government controlled the thinking of the people by restricting their vocabulary. The book was published in 1949 and I read it in the early '60s as a student and the notion seemed to me rather far-fetched. Later in life I studied linguistics (It was part of the computer science course on natural language processing) and read Noam Chomsky and realised just how our language shapes our thinking. It is not so much by government edict but our society shapes and manipulates the use of language to the extent it controls our thinking.

    If you want a pertinent example of this, watch just about any entertainment program where a church or church goers are used as part of the plot. Typically, church attendees are portrayed as naive. irrational, mentally unstable, pig-headed, or worse. The entertainment industry is shaping our thinking by providing idea associations between Christianity and irrationality. Our children grow up in this environment and do not have the experience to determine that such portrayal is a distortion.

    Religion is not the only target of such manipulation but if you are analytical you will see the same strategies being used in politics, healthcare and many other area of life.

    So Nehemiah's concern that the children could not speak the "language o Judah" was not just a concern that they had lost their mother tongue. They had lost the ability to think about ideas that were associated with their language.

    And that raises another related point. Most of us Christians speak a language that our unchurched friends cannot understand. I often smile to myself when I read our discussions here as I think of what my own unchurched friends would make of what we talk about. Not only would they not understand what we are saying, they have been preconditioned to think of "Jesus talk " as passe and irrelevant -evidence that we are irrational and should not be listened to. Rather than bemoaning their loss of vocabulary, we should recognise the importance of learning to speak the gospel sin a way that is clearly understood. And that is why our actions can be a much more eloquent witness than our words.

  2. Jeremiah had to deal with the unfaithfulness to God of virtually all of the people. From kings and princes to priests and prophets, all were unfaithful to God. They still, on the whole, came to the temple, offered sacrifices and called on the name of the Lord, but failed to acknowledge God in the way they lived the rest of their lives (Jer. 7:1-11). This is not unlike those today who attend church on Saturday, place their offerings in the collection plate, but live the rest of their lives as though God were not involved.

    The fundamental issue in the book of Jeremiah is whether the people will be faithful to God in the midst of a difficult environment. Jeremiah is concerned with faithfulness in every aspect of life, including religion, family, military, government, agriculture and other spheres of life and work. We face a similar issue as workers today. We’re called to be faithful to God in our work, but it’s not easy to follow God’s ways in many workplaces...

  3. Is the bible against intermarriage?
    If we take that position then the genealogy of Jesus would be incomplete.
    What is the problem with the intermarriage?
    The effects of intermarriage was God of Israel become one of the gods of the land.
    Isaiah 42: 8 & 9
    God declares why he will not share his glory with the idols.
    To share one must be on equal with the other.
    Christ had won the battle in heaven and in humanity He has defeated satan on this earth.
    He will not share his glory with another because unlike any other god He has demonstrated agape on the cross.
    Therefore, He will not tolerate sharing His glory with another.
    When they made the idol at Mt. Sinai, these are the gods brought you out of Egypt.
    satan wants to claim equality with God; however, he comes to steal, kill and destroy.
    Exodus 20:1 I am the Lord your God who has brought you out of Egypt.
    If Adam did not stand a chance against Eve in his sinless state, what makes you think, you will not falter in your relationship with the savior when your spouse challenges your relationship with God?

  4. Maurice,

    Your thoughts on language brought this to mind:

    I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
    I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
    The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
    Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
    And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
    For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.

    I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
    I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
    And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
    But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
    For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
    But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

    When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
    When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
    Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
    To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
    And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
    Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

    One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
    One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
    Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
    For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
    Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
    I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day.

    – Edgar A. Guest

    The Christian’s behaviour informs the meaning of the words he speaks. To my chagrin, God has had to speak this truth to my heart more times than I would wish. The human condition makes it so easy to lose focus on the Author and Finisher of faith. In this day’s reading, I believe this very lesson is one which those who married outside of their faith had to learn in humility and tears.

    Richard Ferguson

  5. Thou shalt not have any other god before, with or after Jehovah.
    Holy Ghost guide your people everyday in our choices whenever we come to this sensitive situation.

    In the bible beginning from Genesis we observed this plot. Gen 6:1-5. Those intermarriage came to a disaster way back then.

    The bible repeats itself several times saying, When there was no king/strong leader in Israel the people did what pleases them.
    Sampson was the Judge/the leader to set Israel free from the Philistines, look at his life, look at his death?
    --In the book of Ruth we see four marriage, but Mahlon and Chilion had two heathen wives who they led to Christ, one followed the mother-in-law all the way to another marriage.
    --In 1 Samuel we see Elkanah, he had two wives, one an Israel and another a heathen, we knew the result.
    --Be ye not unequally yoked to an unbeliever, for what fellowship hath light with darkness.

    Intermarriage is a very touchy topic in our SDA church. Many times people who are single and wants to get marry look to others in the church who are marry to observe their relationship(even though some may only be an outward show). Then determine if they want to get marry to someone in or outside of the church. Looking back, this is dangerous.

    But what about in our day, isnt many SDA giving their daughters and sons into marriage with unbelievers? They of themselves are getting marry to unbelievers. So many Sabbath weddings and the name of God is polluted from the reveling and unholy activities.

  6. Intermarriage:
    2Cor 6:14 be not unequally yoked is Paul's advice, and he gives further advice to those who are not married in 1Cor 7:1-9.
    Then he gives advice to those already married to an unbeliever in 1Cor 7:10-16, which shows sensitivity to their situation.
    I believe it is easy to pontificate on a subject until one finds oneself in a similarly difficult situation especially when the heart is involved. What did Jesus do when faced with the woman caught in adultery? John 8:1-11

    • Holy Spirit, guide me today, guide my heart.

      Did anyone thought God was unfair when he told or allowed Ezra and Nehemiah to separate by divorce the Priest from their heathen wives. I do not, neither do I understand the heart of God. That was a hard thing to deal with, but whatever the bible says we have to accept it even if the heart is in it.
      When I was young and growing up I truly thought if anyone love someone out of the faith, if they love them deeply, the other person will see the love and respond to the love. Therefore when they see you having devotion, getting ready for the sabbath, returning tithe and offering, going to church, etc, etc because "you" love them, they will respond to you and follow God. As I got older I realized that is not so. It is only God who can change the heart of humans. Human love cannot. Read the book of Hosea, human can go to the extreme at times especially with a christian spouse. Evil pulls good over, the struggle becomes real. Many heart become broken. Let this mind be in you as it was in Christ.

  7. This week's lesson goes hand and hand with least week's lesson, Backslidden People. Also, go back and read Mr. Earnhardt's commentary for last week's lesson.

    Last week, we started the process of discovering why the entire nation of Judah backslide. This week, we continue to discover other reasons for the backslidden state.

    There is always a reason for backsliding, then and now. The main reason we backslide is that we stop studying God's word. Before Nehemiah left to return to Babylon, after the restoring of the wall, he appointed leaders of each family to be responsible for teaching his family the law of God, which Ezra had read to them. Somewhere, after a period of time, the leaders perhaps stopped having the teaching of the laws and ordinance on a regular basis. If it was anything like our bible study (and Prayer meeting) of today, then the people probably attended faithfully in the beginning, but as time passed the attendance grew smaller and smaller, until the meeting just died out. But this is often the first sign on spiritual decline in the church, and for the Isrealites, in their society as a whole. The Bible says, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". If we are not studying the word of God daily, it is easy to fall off the path; I know that I this has happened to me a few things in my spiritual life.

    When we stop studying the Word of God, then it become easier for us to compromise on the laws of God; before we know it, we have backslidden. The Berean church, of Acts 17, had it right.Also, the leaders of the church, Paul and Silas, did not have as many problems with the Berea church because the word of God says in Acts 17:10,11 -"10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. So, they listened to the leaders as they taught them, but then they went home and studied the scripture again, daily, which is why Luke, the author of book of Acts, said that "they were more noble". It is not enough to just take the word of the leaders, whether it is the Pastor, visiting Pastors, elders, or Sabbath School teacher; we must study God's word daily for ourselves. We will not be able to blame the Pastor or any other leaders this time for our backsliding; we will have to do as Paul says in Philippians 2:12, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." or through the studying of God's word.

    Be blessed everyone!


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