Jonah and superficial repentance

(Old Facebook Post)

Those of you who studied Jonah in Sunday School today may especially be interested in this study which suggests Jonah’s chapter 2 prayer was a sham. I agree! (There is even more evidence than given here.)

Takeaway thought: Beware superficial repentance–repentance which is still self-centered, which feels worthy of God’s mercy and refuses to offer it to others.


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On taking God’s name in vain

(Old Facebook Post)

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

“The name is equivalent to the identity of the Deity… We are familiar with identity theft today, when a symbol such as a… social security number can be used to abuse or exploit the economic power or authority of an individual. Commandment three works on the same premise and prohibits divine identity theft.” – John H. Walton

I think the idea here is that we are prohibited from commandeering God (God’s name entails all that God is) for our own selfish purposes. I’m reminded of James: “You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your own lusts” (James 5:3). I think we can even take God’s name in vain in our prayers–perhaps more easily there than at any other time.

And yet… Jesus invites us to confidently pray in his name (John 16:23-27)… and he has been given “the name which is above every name… LORD” (Philippians 2), that is–as a Jewish mind would understand it–Jesus has been given God’s own name, Yahweh. (Re-read Philippians 2:8-11 and let that sink in for a bit.)

So, God has given Jesus the authority to use God’s own name, and Jesus then gives us authority to use Jesus’ name, and… God forbid that we use his name in vain! This makes me aware again what an awesome invitation and responsibility it is to pray.


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“When people add to the Word of God”

(Old Facebook Post)

Satan and His Kingdom: What the Bible Says and How It Matters to You Buy on Amazon Dennis McCallum on adding to God’s Word:

“How much should we make of Eve’s addition to God’s Word–that even touching the fruit would cause death? [See Genesis 3:2. God had only said, “If you eat it’s fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:17, italics added.] Some commentators think this is significant, and I tend to agree.

“Remember, Eve wasn’t around when God spoke his directive to Adam… Therefore, Adam probably had to convey what God had said. Perhaps he decided to play it safe and, just in case, add a restriction that God never mentioned. If so, his addition is similar to what believers have historically done with God’s Word. Instead of sticking with what God has said, we tend to add extra restrictions, as layers of protection or control…

“When people add to the Word of God, they tend to add more boundaries and guidelines than he gave in the original. Such additions can become openings for Satan because they represent God as being needlessly restrictive and portray the Christian life as stuffy and unlivable. Satan then uses this to call God’s character into question.”

Excerpts from Satan and His Kingdom: What the Bible Says and How It Matters to You (Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2009), page 29. (The bracketed comment and the boldface were added by me.)


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