Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Catch the Foxes

Title: Catch the Foxes

Interpretive Summary: A request is made from one person to another, “Catch the foxes for us…that are ruining the vineyard…while our vineyards are in blossom.” The request is made in the form of a poetic metaphor. “She was probably speaking poetically about their relationship rather than about literal foxes and vineyards.” (Walvoord, P.1015)1


1. The speaker at the beginning of the verse apparent urgency says, “Catch the foxes for us.” The danger is immanent and threatens something of importance that is about to come to fruition. “Foxes were noted for their destructive tendencies in crop fields.” (Walvoord, P. 1015)2

2. “The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards.” The little foxes are symbolic of sin and distractions. And the vineyard is symbolic of relationships. Just as the foxes were ruining the vineyard, if the lover and beloved allowed sin and distractions to go un-checked it would ruin the relationship. “ The vineyards, beautiful with fragrant blossom, point to her covenant of love; and the foxes, the little foxes, which might destroy these united vineyards, point to all the great and little enemies, adverse circumstances, which threaten to gnaw and destroy love in blossom, ere it has reached the ripeness of enjoyment.” (Delitzsch, P.53)3

3. The request shows a desire for their relationship and actions to be godly and upright. “She requests that anything which would spoil the vineyard of their lives must be caught and eradicated. Let love be pure and undisturbed. There is no place here for lust, adultery, fornication, cheap sentimentality, or anything else which would spoil true love between man and wife.” (Guthrie, P. 582)4

4. “Even in ideal courtships and marriages most couples encounter some potentially destructive problems. Their willingness to solve them together is an evidence of their maturity.” (Walvoord, P. 1015)5 In every area of life there are things that are hazardous. The courage and integrity displayed in confronting and solving problems shows extreme maturity.

5. This passage relates to more than just couples. It holds insights for believers whether in a relationship or single. “This charge to take the foxes is, A charge to believers to mortify their own sinful appetites and passions which are as foxes…that destroy their graces, crush good beginnings, and prevent their coming to perfection.” (Henry, P. 815)6

Big Idea: Distractions cause destruction.

Application: While this is a request between two lovers, it holds truth for those who are single, perusing a relationship, or married. No matter how little or great, sin always causes damage, especially in our relationships. We need to “catch…the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards.” Pursuing our relationship with God and following Him wholeheartedly are the most important aspects of our Christian walk. Paul cautioned Timothy saying to“[keep the] faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” (1 Timothy 1:19) Paul recognized the danger of leaving sin un-checked as did the writer of Song of Solomon.

1 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.

2 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.

3 Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, p. 53.

4 Guthrie, The New Bible Commentary Revised, p. 582.

5 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.

6 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p.815.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prayer Requests

It's been a little over two month since I moved to Washington to attend Moody Bible Institutes Spokane Campus.

I am very excited to be here studying God's Word so that I can be better equiped for the God's work!

A few prayer request I have are...

- Finances: I am barely surviving on what I am making at Red Robin. Please pray for perseverance. And for God's provision.
- School: I am extremely enjoying my classes. However, I want to continue to have be intersted and do well.
- Friends: I want to be a blessing to my house mates, and friends!
- Eyes on God: It is very easy for me to become discouraged and take my hearts off of God. Please pray that God would be the center of my focus! And that I would give glory to God in every single aspect of my life!!!!

"Blessed to be a Blessing!"

Don't be a Pansy Gideon, God will be with you!

Title: Don’t be a Pansy Gideon, God will be with you!

Interpretive Summary: The Lord gives Gideon two commands. The first command, “Go.” And the second command, “deliver Israel.” Sadly, Gideon makes excuses. Even through Gideon’s excuses God continues to say, “I will be with you.”

1. God reassures Gideon in verse 14. The Lord looks at him and says “Go in this your strength…deliver Israel…Have I not sent you?” When God tells Gideon to, “Go in this your strength.” God is basically saying the same thing He said to Joshua, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
2. The Lord is not telling Gideon to go and do everything on his own. He is reassuring him. “Go, in not thy might, but go in this thy might, this which thou hast now received, go in the strength of the Lord God, that is, the strength with which thou must strengthen thyself.” (Henry 250)1 In other words, “The strength Gideon possessed was a promise of the Lord’s presence with him. Gideon could exchange his weakness for God’s strength.” (Gaebelein 420.)2
3. Unfortunately, even though God has given him a job to do, Gideon makes excuses. He doubts his ability, qualifications, and possibly, even his calling to save Israel. Thus Gideon does not immediately rise to the task God has given him. I love this excerpt from the book The Greater Men and Women of the Bible “Don’t allow your heart to hold or utter such a thought as that you don’t trust God. Though you feel weak in faith don’t give way to distrust, don’t permit it in yourself. How often is that call given as a needful one…Hold fast the beginning of your confidence without wavering; for He is faithful that hath promised.” (Hastings 456.)3
4. "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man." (Judges 6:16b) Once again the Lord reiterates His protection and blessing. “God’s reassurance reaffirmed His presence with Gideon…and the ease of which he would accomplish the victory over the Midianites.”(Walvoord and Zuck 392.)4

Big Idea: God’s strength is sufficient.

Application: God will never ask us to do something that He will not give us the strength to accomplish. As Christians we can calmly rise to God’s call knowing that He is in control and will never leave us or forsake us. He will be glorified. In fact His strength is often perfected in our weaknesses and insecurities. As it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Another way to explain it is, “But in the ways of the Lord, Gideon’s inadequacy allows room for what is most important and determinative in this mission: God’s presence and God’s strength.” (Keck 796)5

1 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, p. 250.
2 Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 3, p. 420.
3 James Hastings D.D. The Greater Men and Women of the Bible Vol. 2, p.456.
4 John F, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p.392.
5 Leander E. Keck, The New Interpreter’s Bible, p.796.

Joseph Used by God to Bless the Nations

Title: Joseph Used By God to Bless the Nations.

Interpretive Summary: The story of Joseph and his rise to power in Egypt after his brothers sell him into slavery. He is brought to Egypt and is sold to the head of Pharaoh’s guard, Potiphar. However, God is with Joseph giving him success. Joseph quickly rises to a prominent position in the Egyptian’s house.

Several notes on this episode:

1. Joseph was brought to Egypt as a slave. “Though a slave, he accepted his position with cheerfulness, and entered into his new life, doing his duties so well that he soon became overseer in his master’s house.” (Hastings D.D. Page 494.)1 It is remarkable to note the integrity and persistence he must have had. I wonder how he came to have such integrity? Joseph’s father, Jacob, and his brothers were not very good examples. And I can not help but wonder if the experiences in Joseph’s life played a large roll in creating integrity.
2. “And so Joseph found favor in his sight…his personal servant…made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned.” (Genesis 39:4) Joseph was given incredible responsibility and he did not abuse that responsibility. In fact Joseph’s time in Potiphar’s house helped prepare him for God’s plan to use him, to save many, as ruler of Egypt. “Joseph was sold to an officer of Pharoah, with whom he might get acquainted with public persons and public business, and so be fitted for the preferment for which he was designed. What God intends men for He will be sure, some way or other, to qualify them for.” (Henry Page 59.)2
3. “The LORD was with Joseph.”(Genesis 39:2) It can be easily be assumed that by God being with Joseph, God was blessing Joseph. The next part of the verse confirms this assumption by saying: “so he became a successful man.” Genesis 39:3 goes on to say: “Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Potiphar could see the hand of God in Joseph’s life. God continues to affirm with promise to Abraham. Joseph is being both a spiritual blessing and a physical blessing to Potiphar.
4. Joseph quickly rises to a prominent position in the Egyptian’s house. “This is not a story of the success of Joseph; rather it is a story of God’s faithfulness to His promises.” (Gaebelein 234.)3 Abraham was Joseph’s great-great grandfather. And the continuance of God’s promise to Abraham, “And I will make you a great nation… And so you shall be a blessing.”(Genesis 12:2), can be easily seen in the Genesis 39:2-5.

Big Idea: God keeps His promises.

Application: No matter where we go or what happens in our life God is always faithfull. He will use us to fullfill His promises and plans. I am sure that Joseph did not understand why he was sold to Egypt. But through it all Jospeh was faithfull. And even though the Davidic line was carried through Judah, God used Joseph to both save and bless many.

1.James Hastings D.D, Greater Men and Wemon of the Bible, P. 494.
2. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, P. 50.
3. Frank E. Gaebelein, P. 234.