26 thoughts on “Bible Study

  1. I think this is a warning and a caution given by the Lord. He says, ‘I set before you life and death.’ Then He advises us…’choose life”. In another place, Luke 9:62, Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back, (or draws back in fear of the assignment or of leaving worldly pleasures behind) is fit for the Kingdom of God.
    Is He saying that He not only has no pleasure in the one who looks back or draws back? But I think that that phrase, no pleasure, is an euphemism for incurring the wrath of God and certainly not outfitted and able to enter the Kingdom of the God.

  2. The dictionary said that draw back meant to avoid an issue or commitment. So it would seem that if we do that than we displease God according to the scripture. If you give into the fear or the trial (it could be a something or a someone) then you fail to confront/resolve an issue or carry out a committment and that does not please God.

  3. Sara,
    You have asked what do you think of this, so I looked this scripture up, in the NIV, to see how it reads in that version…read with me: “”But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”

    I believe God is saying that we must have faith, in Him. (no matter how bad things are) I guess the “shrinks back”…. means faithless or being without faith, in Him? And if we are faithless………God is not pleased? (Boy, I wished my Bible with the footnotes wasn’t in my car, and it wasn’t late at night, I’d go read and post the footnotes, for this scripture. Well, I guess I can read and post them tomorrow?)

  4. I wonder how many plans God has given to man to advance His kingdom have been stopped due to the fear of man or a belief that man could say or do this or that causing one to a drawing back and not following what they believed God had told them to do. How many who have gone on wish they had not shrunk back. How many souls could have been brought in to the kingdom.

    It is said in Psalm 25:12
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. In saying this – Do we fear man more than God?
    In Luke 1:50 it says His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. What a promise!

    In Luke 8:25
He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” The winds will surely come. Satan surely will not be silent when we choose to follow Jesus. We ask Jesus to silence the roaring wind, roaring anything so that the storms in our minds and around us wil be silenced so we might walk on calmly within our souls with Him for Acts 10:35 says (God) accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. Surely this pleases the Lord God.

  5. If we shrink back, avoid the commitment as Debi wrote that means we do not have enough faith to believe that God will see us through this commitment/trial/assignment. And without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to PLEASE GOD. Hebrew 12:28-9 says ,…let us have grace whereby we may serve God accptably with reverence, godly fear and faithfulness. For our GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE!!

  6. Am I understanding that just to say I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, go to church on Sunday and do a few other good things is not enough? Does this shrinking back mean from ‘my responsibilities’ to read, study and DO the Word of God as i gain knowledge and wisdom?

    Is is like husband and wife shrinking back from commitments they have made to one another and to their relationship? Like those BIG LONG VOWS some of us make at a wedding ceremony! If we don’t keep our commitments to one another in marriage our souls seems to shrink from that relationship?

    And, MG, does putting one’s hand to the plow mean, saying I will but I don’t. Hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing. Maybe having good intentions but to busy to intent and not attend?

    Hum, maybe this scripture means just have enough faith to believe in God and worry not about the walking out of it!

  7. I looked up the footnotes for this verse and my Bible actually gives footnotes for verses 35-38. “The Bible gives us a clear choice between two life directions. Because life often forks off in two directions, you must take the higher road, even though it looks more difficult and treacherous. That road gets steep in places. The climb takes a toll on your energy. It gets lonely. Not many on it, but more than you imagined, and some because of your example. It gets slippery; the devil blows ice on the narrow passages. Despite its dangers, the higher road is bound for the peak, and you’ll make it–God has a lifeline around you. When you are tempted to falter in your faith or to turn back from following Christ, keep focused on what he has done for you and what he offers in the future. Then keep climbing.”

    I guess we could add to FAITH, here….PERSERVERANCE?????????????

  8. Fruitful Growth in the Faith

    ” But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)

  9. Oh ho! One of Sara’s favorite scriptures, Needles! You hit the jackpot with perseverance and also, diligence. She is always ADDING AND ADDING (like the Lord is always Multiplying and multiplying. (2Pet. 1:5-8)
    But “putting your hand to the plow”, I found in one definition means…..”ready to work the fields” So if we “put our hand to the plow” because we SAID we wanted to work for the Lord to harvest the fields as He commanded us to do, and we look back, shrink back in longing for the material life, or if we shrink from the assignment, like Needles notes say…..it looks too treacherous, or a hard plow, then He takes no pleasure in that, nor in us!
    I just heard a short commentary on the radio, this aftenoon. Can’t remember all the details but the lesson it taught stayed with me. When a now famous young man questioned his pastor about why God wasn’t doing anything about the deplorable conditions of his homeland the pastor replied
    “He did do something. He created you!.” This young man did go out and change many things in his nation and around the world for the good.
    Like Gary keeps preaching, we are created unto good works. So we need to put our hand to the plow and go for it.

  10. Sara asked, “Does this shrinking back mean from ‘my responsibilities’ to read, study and DO the Word of God as i gain knowledge and wisdom? ”
    I would say yes and one reason is that II Tim 3:16 says: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    This puts a great value on understanding and accurately applying scripture for growth and fruit.

  11. MG I love the story about the man who after hearing the pastor went out and did something for the Lord. It occurred to me the man gave of his time and also of his finances. Perhaps people know what to do but if it hits their purse strings it not appealing to them anymore. In Luke 18 It tells of a man who knew all the laws of God (Luke 18: 22) When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man could not because he had great wealth.
    He stayed with what he valued.

  12. Rena, I had to chuckle @your comment, even though it is not funny. It so reminded me of my days as a realtor. I learned in my ‘sales’ that many could show homes, talk about homes, even write a contract, but closure was the only thing that mattered. The key to selling was to get a signature while @the negotiating table. People would say we will call you back in a few hours. They would go and your guess is as good as mine. 🙂 Jesus said a very hard thing to this man of wealth. I wonder what happened to this man’s wealth?

    As Needles says, here are the notes from my Bible on this issue:

    Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary Luke-18:18-30 “Many have a great deal in them very commendable, yet perish for lack of some one thing; so this ruler could not bear Christ’s terms, which would part between him and his estate. Many who are loth to leave Christ, yet do leave him. After a long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions, their corruptions carry the day. They are very sorry that they cannot serve both; but if one must be quitted, it shall be their God, not their wordly gain. Their boasted obedience will be found mere outside show; the love of the world in some form or other lies at the root. Men are apt to speak too much of what they have left and lost, of what they have done and suffered for Christ, as Peter did. But we should rather be ashamed that there has been any regret or difficulty in doing it.”

  13. wish I too had my bible with me as All I could hear through this blog is “The Road that leads to death is broad and many there be that find it but the road that leads to eternal is narrow and hard few there be that find it…this also seems to say many are called but few are chosen…….and without faith no one can please God……like what Gary has been teaching…faith with out works is dead……work to go forward….to grow no work no growth=shrink=death…right”?”

  14. Dorothy, I think this is the scripture you are looking for:
    “Enter through the narrow gate.For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

    Now Dorothy, you sure have given a new thought on shrink?

  15. When Jesus was on earth He was totally obedient to His Father even though He was in human flesh bone/blood. That obedience elicited from the Father in a great voice, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I Am well-pleased. Hear Him” It wasn’t just because Jesus was smart, and wise, and brilliant and loving and faithful and compassionate and fun and intelligent, sensitive, discerning…although He was all those things and more…it was because He was obedient to the Father’s Heart. And that was what made the Lord God Almighty PLEASED and Taking Pleasure in Jesus the Son.

  16. Instead of drawing back or away from God, we are to draw near to Him. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
    The devil would like to keep us eternally away from God and one of the tactics he uses to drive a wedge is fear and or trials. But rather than allow the wedge we can allow these things to drive us to God. I think the context of James 4:7-10 can help overcome rebellion or resistance to God’s will and authority for our lives.
    “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

  17. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day” (Habakkuk 2:3, AMP)
    It seems we must train our minds to trust God for appointed times on our behalf. The promises will come @God’s appointed time.

    If we shrink (draw) back God’s soul has no pleasure in us. Think about this; God plans and works with and through people to bring about the promises He has for us and we shrink (draw) back and have no desire to wait for God’s timing. We just don’t want His goodness to us. We just can’t wait on Him forever, can we?

    A good test may be our credit cards? Our second mortgages on our homes that should be paid off but we increase to try and satisfy our desires because we cannot wait for God. Marriages, we can’t wait because lust leads the way? A new car/truck is nothing to wait for, it is now or never. New not used, just get it NOW! If we go down our list we might find just how much shrinking back is happening right now in our lives. Well, maybe it’s just mine!

    Waiting on God is just not an option when it comes to material things, is it? Why? Because He might just say NO! Not NOW! Timing is not right.

  18. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress… – James 1:27

  19. Jesus taught in the SERMON ON THE MOUNT..NOT to acquire and compile mounds of treasures on earth where they are soon out of style, or gas or vandals can steal or destroy them; play trinkets that take lots of time and big bucks to maintain, upgrade, and accessorize. If we put all our energies on researching some new thing to titlilate our senses and assuage our feelings of insecurity…a bigger or new-fangled (archaic) car, a bigger boat that collects bigger barnacles, a new pair of sneakers that cost pennies to make and hundreds to purchase, etc, then when will we have time to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”?
    The Message Bible puts it like this; “Has anyone, by fussing in front of the mirror, ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All that time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes all that much difference?”
    God doesn’t want us to fuss about where and what to eat, ad infinitum…that is fuss and deliberate and stress out over food and clothing and hair styles and TV’s and cars and boats , ad nauseam. God doesn’t want us to idolize our mates our children or our jobs or our pets or stress out over “unrequited love(s) or lover(s).
    Now here’s the ticket to all that. Of course those things are important and have proper place in out lives. ‘Your Heavenly Father knows you need ALL these things in some capacity or other.’ He knows exactly what and how much and which ones and how many. HE ALONE KNOWS. He will reveal it to us so that we can be in His perfect will at all times. How will we know? Because HE will reveal it to the God who lives inside our hearts…His Holy Spirit. How can we do this? The answer: SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD. And ALL THESE THINGS shall be ADDED unto you. How do we seek the KINGDOM? Recieve Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior if you have not ever done that specific act. Believe that He will do it and pray to Almighty God and ask Him. Read His Word and search it out. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) and see what INSTRUCTION Jesus gives us. Determine to put them into your heart and life. Repent when you mess up. Ask Holy Spirit to show you where you need to repair your behavior. The with all your heart, correct it. Go forth and help someone in need and don’t ask for recognition for it. Set aside your contributions and love gifts for the work of God, that is, to bring others into His Kingdom and to further extend His teachings and Word revelations to fellow Christians.
    Put Jesus first in your life. Ask Him how He wants you to act on certain situations.
    What a Friend we have in Jesus! This is a freeing life. He has come to set us free from entaglements with worldly frustrations. He has come to set us free from our-SELVES!! Seeking the Kingdom of God is the only way to go!

  20. In ‘think about’ what you asked us to Sara, it seems that either running ahead of God (because of compulsion, dissatisfaction with your current situation, greed, etc) or lagging behind God (because of laziness, fear, procrastination, avoidance of confrontation, etc) keep us from walking with God which please Him.
    Enoch was a man who walked with God in faith. He must have kept in step with Him, not running ahead or behind, trusting Him. And when you walk with the Lord Jesus you walk in life because God is Life and full of Life.
    “Enoch walked with God 300 years …Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. ” Gen 5:21-23

    “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:5,6

  21. Amazingly enough I felt led to write the above comment this morning BEFORE I even went to my Bible for my morning reading. And when I finished the blog comment (above Debi’s) I opened my BIBLE reading for this day and it was Isaiah 2 where the Lord God Almighty is giving a complaint against His people through the prophet, for their hokey religion, wallowing in a world stuffed with things, no end to its machines and gadgets and “gods”, idols in all shapes and sizes; people who fashion their own gods and then bow down and worship the work of their own hands. HE grieves that He is matched against pretentious egos, big-talking and swaggering big-names; against big swelled heads and luxury schooners!!
    The Lord says, ‘quit scraping and fawning over mere humans and stuff and people so full of themselves with great swelling words about their accomplishments…HOT AIR. Can’t you see? There’s NOTHING to them!!”
    I think that Sara was right on when she opened this “can of worms” in her admonishment to us all about…”what in the world are we doing as lovers of Christ and Father God?” Are we lovers of Him or lovers of ego and id and so narcissistic that we can’t see beyond our computers and cell phones and our STUFF? Seek ye first His Kingdom……

  22. I think it’s NOT that the Lord doesn’t want us to have things. It has more, really a LOT to do with our attitude toward that thing(s) and how we conduct ourselves before the Lord concerning them.

  23. I read this devotional and thought Joel hit the enemy on the head with shrinking back…
    …If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, KJV)
    “TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
    So often when difficulties come, people tend to feel overwhelmed, unequipped, or outnumbered. They shrink back or look for an easy way out or a place to hide. But that’s not God´s best for us. He never intended for us to be consumed by our challenges; He intends for us to overcome our challenges!

    If you´re facing a difficulty today, it´s time to dig your heels in, stand strong, and show the enemy what you´re made of!”

  24. Paul the apostle wrote these words from a prison in Rome to his dear friends in Philippi as a response to their generosity in meeting his needs. Philippines 2:12,13, “Dear friends, you always followed my instruction when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

    Paul did not know whether he would live or die in this prison. If he lived he would continue to serve God but regardless he would continue to rejoice because of Christ Jesus.

    Once Paul set his mind to follow Christ Jesus he would not be found guilty of shrinking back.

  25. Ruth, the Moabitess, was an example of someone who did not shrink back from following God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of her mother-in-law, Naomi. She could have. She had lost her husband and her mother-in law had little to offer her but a trip to Bethlehem where she would glean in the fields just to get enough to eat. Afterall, her sister-in-law went back to follow her people and her gods.
    But Ruth chose to follow.

    Ruth 1:16-18 “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

    Ruth’s faithful following resulted in a marriage to a good man from Bethlehem. From that union came Obed, father of Jesse, the father of David. And it was through the line of David that our Lord Jesus Christ came to be born in a stable in Bethlehem.

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