As we are heading towards another election, I have been asked to address the question of how to vote faithfully as a Christian. I imagine this is a question that many of you have been wrestling with for weeks if not years, so let’s explore this idea of voting faithful as a Christian.
Step 1: Be Uncomfortable
First, concerning the election, if you are right now, uneasy, confused, lost, and a tad physically queasy, well then, you are in a very good place in order to vote. With the long established separation of church and state in the United States, no matter the candidates’ personal faiths which absolutely can be Christian, we are choosing leaders for a secular role in a secular government. That is just a weird experience for a spiritual individual. If you feel weird and uncomfortable voting, that is good.
The Old Testament was not only written in Hebrew. It was written a long time ago. It was written a long way from Georgia, and it was written in a very different culture. What does all of that mean? Translating the Bible can be a difficult task. One particular kind of phrase that is tough for our brave men and women translators, whom I applaud for tackling this task, are colloquialisms. Just think about all the local phrases we have here in the south.
“I am fine as frog hair.” “He is like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” “He’s got a burr in his saddle.” “Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.” “He’s only got one oar in the water.” I had a college roommate who loved hockey who said while watching a game, “look at him standing on his head.” How would these phrases sound to someone outside the South? How would you explain these phrases to people outside of your culture? On top of that, could you imagine trying to translate, “Bless his heart,” with the dozens of possible ways we use that phrase.
Colloquialisms offer a unique translation difficulty for Bible translators. To use an above example, would you translate the exact colloquialism and leave it, “he is like a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” or would you write, “he is nervous, worried, and scared.”
Today let’s look at a colloquialism from Genesis 18:11, and what it says about God and His promises.
Genesis 18:11 says, “Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.” HCSB
Jonah is one of the more well known Bible Stories. God tells Jonah to go and preach to Nineveh a foreign city. Jonah instead tries to run away from his call, and finds himself in a belly of a fish. During his flight, Jonah meets a group of sailors. These sailors are often overshadowed by a big fish and a silly prophet, but they are crucial in helping us recognize the hypocrisy in Jonah and hopefully excising hypocrisy from our own lives. Let’s not miss the message of the Sailors by focusing on the big fish.
Number One: They are pagan (Jonah 1:5). They do not worship or follow Yahweh, the God of the Bible. We know this because when the storm comes, each sailor cried out to his god. A clear indicator that their gods were not Yahweh. This is contrasted to Jonah, who is a prophet of Yahweh, so in the first chapter of Jonah, you are introduced to two characters. Jonah a prophet of Yahweh, and these pagan, unbelieving sailors. What unfolds in this chapter is a comedic tale of comparison between Jonah who should know how to live and serve the true God Yahweh, and the pagan sailors who should not know how to live as God wills.
Quick, can you name the twelve disciples? Come on, shout them out. There‘s Peter, Matthew, the one with the funny name, the guy that doubted. And, uh. Well, if you did just rattle off the twelve disciples without hesitation, I am betting you had an awesome children’s teacher that taught you a real cool song.
The Disciples were the twelve men that Jesus called personally to follow Him and be leaders in His ministry. There are thirteen names if you count Matthias who was added to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:12-21), and you should, but there were never more than twelve Disciples at one time. These men can tell us great deal about Jesus, and Jesus’ heart and character, so today, here are 5 facts on Jesus disciples.
Have you ever watched a movie series out of order? You jump from the second story to the fifth story, and wonder how on earth did the good guys get trapped in this snow, weren’t they in a rocky desert? Why is this army coming after them? Weren’t those guys in white good guys, and now they are shooting at the good guys? What is going on? Then you feel really lost. I have. Well, this can happen when you bounce around reading the Old Testament whether it is your daily reading plan, or your pastor’s sermon series. There are major events that occur throughout the Old Testament, and if you are not familiar with them. You can be lost reading certain passages.
Here are 5 historical events that are crucial for following the Old Testament Story.
The New Testament was written in Greek, and sometimes there just isn’t an English equivalent that will convey the message the New Testament author is trying to convey. So sometimes exploring the Greek can make verses make sense and come alive for us. One such passage is Galatians 3:24-25, so let’s examine a Greek word and explore Paul’s message for us today.
Galatians 3:24-25 says: 24The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Paul’s message in Galatians is that Christ and the gospel has set us free from the Old Testament Law to live new lives for God unbound by sin and unbound by rituals. In these two verses, Paul calls the law, in the HCSB our “guardian” until Christ. What does that mean?