Thoughts and encouragement from David Guzik for pastors, preachers, Bible teachers, and all those who serve God, His people, and a needy world in Jesus’ name.

Foundations for Leadership

Foundations for Leadership

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope this email finds you well after a weekend of serving Jesus, His people, and a needy world. Here’s a thought about leadership from the life of David 2 Samuel 5:1-3:

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’” Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel.

Foundations for Leadership

It took many years, but eventually David became king over all the tribes of Israel. The elders of Israel received David’s leadership because he was an Israelite himself. They said, “We are your bone and your flesh.” Not long before this, David had lived as a Philistine among the Philistines. The elders of Israel put that away and embraced David as one of their own.

They also told David, “You were the one who led Israel out and brought them in.” The elders of Israel received David’s leadership because he already displayed his ability to lead.

Finally, the elders of Israel received David’s leadership because it was evident God called him to lead. They recognized that the LORD had said to David, “You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.”

If God has given you any kind of responsibility to lead among God’s people, ask yourself. Am I really “among” those I lead, sharing life with them? Have I given others a reason to trust my leadership? Can other people see that God has called me to leadership?

Of course, all of these are perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the greatest leader. Yet, these three characteristics should mark anyone who leads God’s people.

  • A leader must belong to God’s people in heritage and heart.
  • A leader must demonstrate capability to lead.
  • A leader must have an evident call from God.

Ask God to grow you in these areas – and honor the called, godly leaders God has placed in your life.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Faithful Priest or a Failed Priest?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope your weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world was blessed and you have your sights set on your next opportunity. Here’s something from 1 Samuel to keep in mind as God allows you to serve Him:

Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest,
to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me?
And did I not give to the house of your father
all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?
(1 Samuel 2:28)

This passage in 1 Samuel 2 contains some of the words that a man of God brought against Eli, the high priest of Israel. In God’s word to Eli through this unknown prophet, we have a wonderful summary of some of the duties of the priesthood in Israel.

By analogy, we can learn at least two things. First, that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the priesthood in the way no one else every could. Second, these principles give a pattern of how we should serve God’s people today.

  • To be My priest: First and foremost, the job of the high priest was to minister unto the Lord. Before he served the people, he was a servant of God. He was not first the people’s priest; he was first the priest of God. We first serve God.
  • To offer upon My altar: The priest brought sacrifices for atonement and worship. We continually point to God’s perfect sacrifice, to what Jesus accomplished at the cross.
  • To burn incense: Burning incense was a picture of prayer, because the smoke and the scent of the incense ascends to the heavens. The priest was to lead the nation in prayer, and to pray for the nation. We must be praying pastors, teachers, and leaders.
  • To wear an ephod before Me: The priest was clothed in specific garments, for glory and for beauty(Exodus 28:2). He was to represent the majesty, dignity, glory, and beauty of God to the people. We need to represent our God in proper manner.
  • All the offerings: The priest was also charged with the responsibility to receive the offerings of God’s people and to make good use of them. We are stewards of what God’s people give to the work of His kingdom.

Eli failed as a high priest, but Jesus perfectly fulfilled the office. As you abide in Him and reflect the heart of Jesus to those you serve, you will walk in the faith of a faithful priest, not a failed priest.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Gleaning from God's Word

Gleaning from God’s Word

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here is a thought for your Monday, following a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world…

Ruth 2 presents the wonderful picture of Ruth, the Moabitess, finding favor with Boaz. Boaz generously gave her permission to glean in his field.

She gleaned in the field until evening,
and beat out what she had gleaned
. (Ruth 2:17)

“Gleaning” was the practice of going into a recently-harvested field and picking up whatever grain remained. God commanded Israel in Leviticus 19:9-10 to deliberately leave some behind for the poor and needy of the land to get food.

Gleaning from God's Word

God blessed Ruth and people were generous to her. At the same time, she did work hard, and she worked all day long. It wasn’t easy to follow the reapers of the harvest and carefully search for every remaining stalk of grain, carefully picking up even the small pieces left behind. It was work that demanded a lot of focus, attention, and searching.

We should use Ruth’s example to glean everything we can from the word of God:

  • Ruth worked hard – we should work hard in studying God’s word.
  • Ruth had to stoop to gather every grain – we don’t have to explain every “grain” when we preach and teach, but we can gather the “small grains” for ourselves and benefit from them.
  • Ruth could only pick up one grain at a time – we should think through what we learn from the Bible, piece by piece.
  • Ruth had to hold on to each grain, and not immediately drop it – we should mentally “hold on” to truth, to meditate on it and benefit from it.
  • Ruth took the grain home and threshed it – the benefit from our gleaning in God’s word should first be a blessing to our home.
  • Ruth took the threshed grain and winnowed it – what we glean in our study must be carefully prepared to have the most benefit for those who will receive it.
  • Ruth was nourished by the grain – we must be nourished by God’s word, and not receive it as only truths to tell others about.

This week, may God bless your gleaning in His word!

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Not Sour, Not Sweet

Not Sour, Not Sweet

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here is a thought for your Monday, following a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world…

No grain offering which you bring to the LORD
shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven
nor any honey in any offering to the LORD made by fire.
(Leviticus 2:11)

Leviticus 2 describes the grain offering for ancient Israel. This was typically fine flour, mixed with a bit of oil and frankincense. A portion of the flour was burnt before the LORD on the altar. The rest was given to the priests for their own use in making bread for the priest and his family.

Many commentators see the grain offering as suggestive of our service to God. G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “This meal offering was the work of men’s hands, of the fruits of the ground, the result of cultivation, manufacture, and preparation; and it was the symbol of service offered.”

Not Sour, Not Sweet

So, consider a few things that must not be presented with the grain offering.

First, Leviticus 2:11 says it was to be presented with no yeast or leaven. In the picture of the grain offering, we can say that God did not want His service to be corrupted by sin, by leaven. Jesus spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6-12) and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15), by which He meant their doctrines, their philosophy. Paul spoke of the old leaven of corruption and sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-9).

If the grain offering is a picture of proper service to God, it is also a reminder that fall short in serving God as we should. We are grateful that Jesus fulfilled the heart and meaning of the grain offering for us, as the One who perfectly served God, whose service was never touched with leaven in any way.

Second, Leviticus 2:11 also says there was to be no honey with the grain offering. Honey was not allowed because it was a favorite thing to sacrifice to pagan deities. God did not want to be worshipped in the same way that false, pagan gods were worshipped.

Leaven can make things artificially sour, and honey can make things artificially sweet. God did not want either of these in sacrifice. We must serve God with the real person we are, without artificially making ourselves more sour or sweet.

Present your service to God – and do it without leaven or honey!

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Handle With Care

Handle With Care

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here is a thought for your Monday, following a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world…

Do you know the story of how the parents of Moses put him in a basket and set on the Nile River so he could be found by Pharaoh’s daughter? They did this to escape the command to kill every Hebrew boy at birth. It’s all in Exodus 1 and 2.

Handle With Care

There was one ancient Christian writer who had a fanciful and allegorical way of interpreting the Scriptures. What he did with this account of Moses and Pharaoh’s daughter is a good example of the danger of over-allegorizing the Bible. Here is how he taught the story of Exodus 1-2:

  • Pharaoh represents the devil.
  • The male and female Hebrew children represent the animal and rational aspects of the soul.
  • The devil wants to kill the rational character of man but keep alive his animal character.
  • The two midwives are the Old and New Testaments.
  • Pharaoh wants to corrupt the midwives so that the rational character of man will be destroyed.
  • Because the midwives were faithful, God builds houses of prayer all over the earth.
  • Pharaoh’s daughter represents the church, and gives refuge to Moses – who represents the law.
  • The waters of the Nile represent the waters of baptism.
  • When we come to the waters of baptism and take the law into our heart – the royal palaces – then the law grows up into spiritual maturity.

Does that really make sense to you?

I think that Adam Clarke was right when he said of this kind of interpretation: “Every passage and fact might then be obliged to say something, any thing, every thing, or nothing, according to the fancy, peculiar creed, or caprice of the interpreter.”

There is definitely a place for the allegorical understanding of the Bible. But we should never present such allegories as the primary meaning of the text, as the most important meaning of the text, or as the deepest meaning of the text.

It’s God’s word – handle it with care!

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Challenging, Confronting, Correcting

Challenging, Confronting, Correcting

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

As pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers, we value the Bible, the word of God. The time we spend studying, thinking about, and meditating on the words of God recorded for us in the Bible bring a great reward. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a reward; sometimes God’s words challenge us, confront us, and correct us.

I thought about this in connection with Genesis 22:2:

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac,
whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah,
and offer him there as a burnt offering
on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Challenging, Confronting, Correcting

When we read, “your only son Isaac, whom you love,” we come to a special place in the Bible. Counting from Genesis 1:1, this is the first mention of love in the Bible. This first mention comes in the context of the love between father and son, and it relates to the idea of the sacrificial offering of the son.

Yet when we think of what God said to Abraham, every phrase of God’s command to Abraham was like a knife cutting into his soul.

  • Take now your son – do it now.
  • Your only son Isaac – your only son of promise, the one named “Laughter.”
  • Whom you love – the son you cherish and love so greatly.
  • Offer him there – bring him to a real place, a specific place, to present him to God.
  • As a burnt offering – come to present your son completely, with nothing held back.

When we think carefully through the words of Scripture, there will be many blessed promises for us to believe and receive. There are times when we will sing for joy over the words of a Romans 8:28 or an Ephesians 1:3, and countless other places.

Yet there are also times when the specific words of the Bible will confront us, challenge us, and correct us. As we prepare to preach and teach God’s word, we must let it first confront, challenge, and correct US. Then, faithful to God’s word, we can pass the message on to those to whom God has allowed us to preach and teach. We need to hear and preach God’s challenging words, not only His comforting words.

For Abraham, it turned out wonderfully. He left the place of offering knowing that God did not want or accept human sacrifice, and he knew God would one day – at that same place – provide the ultimate offering of the Father’s Son. When we listen to God’s words to us, it will also be wonderful.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Angels Teaching Evangelism

Angels Teaching Evangelism

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

God doesn’t give angels the work of evangelism. That He leaves to His people, and especially to pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers.

Yet, angels can sometimes be an example to us of effective evangelism. We see this in Genesis 19, where two angels tried to persuade the family of Lot to escape the judgment about to come upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry,
saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here,
lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.”
(Genesis 19:15)

 

Angels Teaching Evangelism

Tragically, Lot’s sons-in-law had already rejected the warning of the angels. They would be left behind as the angels urged Lot to escape the coming destruction and judgment on Sodom.

In the way they urged Lot, we see that these angels may serve as a pattern of evangelism.

They went after Lot, going to him and his house. Evangelism should be willing to pursue the lost sinner and their family.

They warned him of what was going to happen, and in plain words. As preachers, we should not be afraid to warn people about God’s coming judgment. When we do, we should speak plainly and directly.

They urged Lot, urging him to flee destruction. When we speak to others about eternal things, there should be a sense of urgency. We speak with great love, but with urgency.

Lot and his daughters survived this judgment. May God give us the energy, the wisdom, and the urgency to preach the gospel so that others may escape God’s ultimate judgment!

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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The God Who Sees

The God Who Sees

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Do you remember the story of Hagar? We often don’t dwell too long on her as we read and teach through Genesis. However, consider this from Genesis 16:13:

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her,
You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said,
“Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”

In a terrible home situation, all Hagar could do was run. Hagar thought her circumstances needed transformation; in fact, she needed transformation. The God of transforming power met her at a well. There she came realize that she met with Him who sees me.

The God Who Sees

Dear brother, sister, co-laborer in God’s work: God sees you. He is with you. No matter how discouraging, troubling, or difficult your situation is right now, please know that even as God saw and helped Hagar, God sees and will help you.

In Jesus Christ, we have an even more clear and wonderful promise of this than Hagar had. We have the promise of Jesus: Behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

  • If you must submit in difficult circumstances, God sees.
  • If you ache under the pain of ministry, God sees.
  • If you just feel like running, God sees.
  • God has met you, sent Jesus near, and gives you new hope.

El Roithe God Who Sees – is with you today.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Waiting a Long Time

Waiting a Long Time

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Good Monday Morning to You! I pray this finds you receiving some rest and refreshment from the Lord after a busy weekend of serving God., His people, and a needy world.

Here’s a short thought from God’s word for you, dear servant of God.

Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian,
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife,
after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.
(Genesis 16:3)

Waiting a Long Time

It had been more than ten years since God promised Abram and Sarai a son. By most accounts, ten years seems like a long time to wait for the promise of God.

Abram and Sarai were discouraged enough that they approached the problem of no children by leaving God out of the matter. It was as if they said, “With God out of the equation, how do we solve this?” This was wrong for many reasons.

– God is never out of the equation.
– Men and women of faith must walk in faith – not in unbelief.
– Men and women of faith must see things mindful of the realm of the spirit, not only mindful of the material world.

When we impatiently try to fulfill God’s promises in our own effort, it accomplishes nothing and may even prolong the time until the promise is fulfilled. It is much better to receive God’s help than to try and help Him with our own wisdom and acting out of unbelief.

If God has you in a waiting place right now, don’t lose heart and don’t despair. Step forward boldly in faith, refusing to take matters into your own hands. God will prove Himself worthy of all your trust.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Pastor, Can You Help Us?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Many of you have shared with me how much you’ve been helped by using the Enduring Word commentary in your preaching and teaching ministry, and I wanted to take a moment and share how grateful I am for your encouragement.

I am also excited to share with you that the Enduring Word team has now completed translations of my New Testament commentary in the Arabic and Chinese (Simplified) languages, and the entire Bible commentary in Spanish.

I recently read that 95% of the world’s Christian pastors have no formal Bible training. Our heart at Enduring Word is to provide these leaders with the Enduring Word Bible commentary for free wherever the Lord opens the doors, particularly with leaders of the underground church – and, we want to ask for your help.

Can you help us connect with your missionary and Christian leader friends who teach in these languages worldwide so we can share the commentaries with them in their native tongue?

We are open to file sharing in any format that will help get the commentaries out in these languages. Any contact with these pastors, Christian workers, and ministries will be with absolute discretion to protect their safety and well-being. Accordingly, please contact Deven Berryhill at Enduring Word per the contact information given below, who is overseeing the global implementation. 

Thank you once again for your fellow service in the Gospel. As the Apostle Paul said many years ago to his ministry friends and colleagues: 

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  2 Corinthians 9:12

With gratitude and appreciation,

David

 

Here is Deven’s Contact Information:

Email: deven@enduringword.com

Mobile: +1 949-244-4407

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deven.berryhill

Instagram: @devenberryhill

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