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.

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

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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

WhatsApp: 

Deven Contact Info

 

 

A Blessing There

A Blessing There?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

And He blessed him there. (Genesis 32:29)

You know the great story of when the “Man” wrestled with Jacob, recorded in Genesis 32. It’s a wonderful preaching and teaching passage, full of deep truth and application.

I would like you to focus on one word in half a verse. The half verse is the second half of Genesis 32:29: And He blessed him there. The one word is there.

A Blessing There

We often want to tell God not only that He must bless us, but we also tell Him where He must bless us. “Lord, put me into a great place. A place of influence, prosperity, comfort, and success. Put me in that place and bless me there!”

Where did God bless Jacob? At Penuel, the place where God Himself wrestled with Jacob, defeated him, and put Jacob in his place.

When we read, and He blessed him there, surely, this was the blessing of being defeated by God. It was the blessing of the passing of the old life (the Jacob life), and the coming of a new life, (the Israel life).

At that place, notice that God blessed him there – at that particular place.

God blessed Jacob there, at the place of special trial and testing.
God blessed Jacob there, at the place of intense pleading to God.
God blessed Jacob there, at the place of seeing the face of God.
God blessed Jacob there, at the place of conscious weakness.

Does God have you in that kind of place right now? Don’t think for a moment that you have to go somewhere else to receive profound blessing from God. You may be in the place of blessing right now – you just thought it would look different.

Make it your prayer: “Lord, You blessed Jacob there – You can bless me here. I surrender to You just as Jacob surrendered to You and received Your best.”

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Compassion for Weak Faith

Compassion for Weak Faith

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I pray that as this email reaches you on a Monday (or whenever), you are finding some rest and recovery after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world.

Today I have a brief thought for you from a familiar passage, Matthew 9:20-22 which tells the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed. Here is the text:

And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Compassion for Weak Faith

I wouldn’t be surprised if you have preached a pretty good sermon on this passage. After all, it is a great story, and it has a powerful application. I just want to point out one thing: the compassion of Jesus to the woman, despite her superstitions.

The woman of Matthew 9 had her own reasons for secrecy, but basically she wanted to “steal” or “sneak” a blessing from Jesus without attracting any attention to herself. She reached out to touch the fringe of Jesus’ outer garment and believed that touch would bring her healing.

The way I see it, there was a lot of superstition in this woman’s thinking. To the best of our knowledge, there was no promise or pattern that touching the garment of Jesus would bring healing.

Yet even though her faith had elements of error and superstition, she believed in the healing power of Jesus and His garment served as a point of contact for that faith. There are many things that we could find wrong with this woman’s faith. Yet her faith was in Jesus; and the object of faith is much more important than the quality or even quantity of faith.

We read the wonderful words: the woman was made well. Her faith, though imperfect, was enough to receive what Jesus wanted to give her. Her 12-year disease was immediately cured.

Friend, I am sure that you deal with many people with weak or superstitious faith. Maybe that is frustrating to you. If so, I understand! Yet, Jesus didn’t despise this woman, even with her weak and imperfect faith.

I’m praying that God gives to everyone who reads this an extra measure of patience and compassion for the weaker, superstitious ones that we deal with. When we serve others with the heart and strength of Jesus, we will find that extra measure.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Learning from Hypocrites

Learning from Hypocrites

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday to you! Today I want to draw your attention to a familiar story, found in Matthew 9. What Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day caught my attention for what it says to us as those serving the Lord.

But go and learn what this means:
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
(Matthew 9:13)

Did you know that religious leaders can be hypocrites?

I don’t mean that in the way most people mean “hypocrite” today. If you hold standards that you don’t fully live up to, that doesn’t make you a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is pretending you keep a standard when you don’t or having one standard for yourself and a stricter standard for others.

Jesus had strong words for the hypocritical religious leaders of His day. As pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers I think we can learn something from these words of Jesus to the hypocritical Pharisees of Matthew 9.

Learning from Hypocrites

First, we learn God’s priorities: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Here Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6. In Hosea’s day, God’s people were still good at bringing sacrifices (as in Hosea 5:6), but they had forsaken mercy, and they abandoned mercy because they gave up the knowledge of God and truth (as seen in Hosea 4:1). God would rather have right hearts, full of truth and mercy than religious acts such as sacrifice. Remember, they will know we are Christians by our love, more than by our “religious” acts and events.

Second, we learn God’s focus: I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Jesus didn’t come for those who already consider themselves righteous and in no need of a savior. Jesus came to save those who recognize their need, and know they are sinners.

Finally, we learn shallowness of the religious leaders: But go and learn what this means. These words of Jesus show the shallowness of the leaders’ knowledge of God and His word. These were men who thought of themselves as experts with God’s word. When Jesus said, go and learn what this means these men were probably insulted and shocked that Jesus dared to say, “Go and learn what the Bible says.”

Friends, we don’t want to make the same mistakes these hypocrites made. We need to understand and do ministry in light of God’s priorities, aligned with His focus, and with a deep knowledge of God and His word. With God’s help and humble hearts, we can.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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