The city of Baltimore, Maryland is in flames, with young anarchists destroying property, looting stores and assaulting everyone who tries to stop them. Except in one case. A mother of a rebellious young man came to the riots and, finding her son, began to slap him, scold him and send him home. And he took her wrath and gave in to her demands. He did not respect the law or law officers, but his mother had earned his respect enough so that she could intervene. Mothers and fathers are our best hope at preventing youthful rebelliousness.
Is it okay to discipline children for bad behavior? Of course it is! Consider God’s word: “Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead!’ they said. ‘Go on up, you baldhead!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths” (II Kings 21:23-25).
Everyone must learn to respect other people, their property and the laws that protect them. It’s up to parents to teach respect from the earliest age. It’s not hard to do. Demand that respect be paid to older people, people in positions of authority and meet every transgression with instant scolding or punishment. We must teach respect for others above every other lesson in life. That’s how we avoid riots and bears.
Do you ever catch yourself repeating yourself? Our mates and friends hear us tell the same stories over and over again. But I figure if it’s worth telling in the first place, it bears repeating. If it’s a story I want to tell again, I want my wife and friends to love me enough to listen courteously and act like they enjoy it. Thank you in advance of my repetitions.
Wise King Solomon wrote many stories, psalms and proverbs and he repeated himself. For instance, Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Then in Proverbs 16:25 he wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Did he forget that he had written that proverb, or could it be that it’s just important enough to say twice or more. I believe it’s just so essential an idea that it needs double emphasis.
There is a method to many ideas humans come up with. Philosophies, religious practices, social norms, traditions and such all have some reasoning behind them, but without the foundation of God designed truth, they will most certainly lead to death. Again, philosophies, religious practices, social norms, traditions and such all have some reasoning behind them, but without the foundation of God designed truth, they will most certainly lead to death. There, I just repeated myself again. Solomon and I agree. This is a concept we all need to hear over and over again.
Our nation has begun its election process. Candidates are putting themselves forward as desirous of the office of President of the United States of America. There is a wide range of core beliefs among the candidates, though two extremes are evident overall: liberal versus conservative. It’s up to the voters to define these extremes, know the candidates and to vote for the person most representative of our beliefs.
To prepare ourselves to be informed voters, let me suggest we each read II Samuel 13-19 and I Kings 1-3. Three brothers, sons of David, wanted to replace their father as king: Absalom, Adonijah, and Solomon. You’ll see in these political characters every strategy known to be employed by ambitious people: murder, usurpation, propaganda, smears, alliances, compromises, assumptions, secret deals, grandstanding, promotions, declarations, lies, immorality, graft, promises, and in some instances, wisdom. King David, guided by God, chose Solomon as his successor. Absalom and Adonijah ruined themselves in the electoral process.
Some billions of dollars will be spent to try to persuade the voting electorate in our nation. And all of the dirty tricks that men can think up will be employed by people of low character. We would be wise to be cynical when listening to those like Absalom and Adonijah. We’ll be able to identify them if we can distinguish between foolishness and wisdom. God help as we vote.
Jesus was arrested by a company of soldiers called a “speira,” a Greek word denoting 600 men. John tells us that while Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, “Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers (speira)” (John 18:3). Mark tells us that after Jesus’ trial, “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers (speira)” (Mark 15:16).
The soldiers flogged Jesus with a whip, then put a purple robe and a crown of thorns on him. They taunted him as the king of the Jews, struck him with a staff and spit on him. Then they forced him to carry a wooden cross as far as he was physically able. Finally, they nailed his hands and feet to the cross and lifted Jesus up to hang until he died. His death was confirmed by a centurion who speared Jesus in the side.
But something amazing took place before these soldiers. They saw the sky grow dark in the middle of the day, felt an earthquake under their feet, heard Jesus offer hope to one crucified beside him, heard Jesus ask God to forgive those who were crucifying him, and then heard Jesus shout, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Then they heard one of their own soldiers speak. “The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely he was the Son of God”’ (Matthew 27:54; Luke 23;47). Then three days later, some soldiers were guarding Jesus’ tomb when he resurrected. “The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men” (Matthew 28:4). What do you suppose the speira were discussing in the barracks that night?