by Pastor Tim Burt
Today I want to use our devotional time to teach you something that’s critical to understanding God’s word, and to encourage you to stop making the mistake that Christians have made throughout all Christianity when it comes to learning about God.
People and cultures change over time. We’d like to think society changes for the better, but that’s not a guarantee! We currently live in a sound-bite generation. People want information quickly and in as few words as possible—in sound-bites. People like snippets of what someone said so that they may get to the bottom-line quickly, The problem with that is that sound-bites do not carry the context of the conversation with which they were spoken and make it easy for others to mischaracterize what that snippet of words meant—and to their advantage if they have an agenda or a point of view they are trying to persuade others into. We live in the age of sound-bites and consumers of media are possibly given misinformation multiple times every day. Very few are held accountable for misrepresenting what someone else said and meant. Honestly, it’s a curse on our society. It has created a negative change in our culture. It leads us to be a generation of people that shape our opinions from out-of-context information and then take sides and become loyal to misinformation. It is so critical that you do not become one of those people. Especially as a Christian. At the very least, realize that you don’t have to have an opinion on everything.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because it’s a problem in our society and one we need to guard our hearts from! But there’s another more significant reason. Christians have become victims of this sound-bite syndrome concerning God’s word. We’ve let it creep into our understanding of God. God warns us to be careful of what we believe doctrinally. 1 Timothy 4:16 (NLT2) “Keep a close watch
on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of
your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
Allow me to focus this point on one example to help you understand what I am sharing with you today. There are scriptures that seem to imply that we have no control over our life. That God is simply going to dictate our outcome. And if that’s the case, who are we to fight God? This verse could be an example of that. 1 Samuel 2:7 (NKJV) says, “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.” This scripture appears to say that whether we are rich or poor is totally up to God and we have nothing to say about it. That’s what you would think if you treated God’s word like a sound-bite! All of God’s word has to be interpreted in context with His total word and in relation to His covenant with us.
When God created a covenant with His people through Abraham, God made many promises. He promised He would give Abraham and his descendants a “Promise-land.” There were evil people presently living contrary to God’s word in that land. Abraham’s descendants had to go in and possess it having faith that God would help them. God would allow and help His people take the land from the evil presently there and push them out. They were required by God to obey His Word and have faith in Him working in their behalf to possess this land. God didn’t just wave His hand and make it happen. He allowed it according to His covenant with them but they had to do it. This is the meaning behind “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.” In context, it means God allowed for this blessing and promise to happen for them as they would pursue it by faith. At first God’s people were afraid and didn’t trust God. That generation did not have the courage to go into the promised land and take it. So Joshua and Caleb led the next generation in to do so.
It’s critical to know the back-story to understand God’s word or you’ll treat God’s word like a sound-bite and take one scripture as a snippet and say, “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up” out of context and say, It’s up to the Lord whether I am rich or poor or live or die. I have no say in the matter. God is sovereign and He will do as He wants. That’s not true because God did not set Himself up as a dictator over our lives. He gives us free will and allows us to trust His Word and promises and make godly decisions about our life as He guides us. That leads to blessing!
I hear people teach God’s word wrongly often. People often feel like they are a victim of His sovereignty and have no choice in the outcome of their life. They say, “I hate God! He gave me this crummy life! It’s not fair! Don’t be one who hears soundbites from God’s word and misunderstands them. Don’t let your life be misguided by them. Some verses are difficult to understand but I promise you God always has a plan of good for His people! God is good. God wants you to choose His Word, His covenant promises, and have faith that He wants good for you so that you’ll overcome the evil Satan has tried to attack your life with and be an overcomer living a purpose-filled and blessed life for Him! God in context is always good!
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT2) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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