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I like Bob's discussion about Paul's leadership on the ship en route to Rome for his trial.

"To Paul, the sovereignty of God was not an excuse to avoid his human obligations or his personal responsibility; it was the motivation for him to live responsibly."
'... The sovereignty of God is no excuse for us not to work, but the assurance that our work is not in vain, in the Lord."
_____________

Yes, I also believe just as Bob ended his discussion on "the storms, the gospel and salvation" that the storms or trials/tribulations of our lives are there not to weaken or destroy us but to turn ourselves to God, to look deep into our hearts and make that connection once again!
"To whom much is given much is also asked."


I Chronicles 10 (Amplified)
14
And inquired not so of the Lord [in earnest penitence]. Therefore the Lord slew him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

NOTE:
I think of King Saul, who lost his kingdom because of sheer, persistent disobedience.

Why did he do such a foolish thing? Though not specifically stated, I am certain it was because he did not follow his own advice -- and the advice of others-- in the book of Proverbs.

The Holy Spirit breathed through Solomon and others to write the book of Proverbs, yet Solomon allowed his heart to be distracted and enticed.

PROVERBS
"My son give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding..." (5:1)

"For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is a light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman [i.e., or man], from the smooth tongue of the adulteress [i.e., or adulterer]" (6:23 and 34)

"My son, keep my words, and treaure my commandments within you..." (7:1)

~~~

Contrast this with Paul, who-- in all of his failings -- continually gave himself to the Lord and His grace

Psalm 8 (Amplified)
5
Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6
You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet

NOTE:
We were created in the image of God Himself -- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. "Let US make man in OUR image..." (Genesis 1)

We were created to be like God and to represent God on the earth-- to give glory to the Lord and, in doing so, reach our full potential of humanness.

Yet, sin and the deceitfulness of sin can keep us from that.

Proverbs 18 (Amplified)
23
The poor man uses entreaties, but the rich answers roughly.

24
The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

NOTE:
Thank God for the grace of the Lord Jesus who became our Friend who always sticks the closest to us-- unless we through foolish persistence over many years push Him away.

I choose to use poor in the passage in the sense of "poor in spirit"-- which is to apply to all of us.

I like this quote from a book called "With Open Hands" by Henri J.M. Nowen:

"But whenever you do come upon this silence, it seems as though you had received a gift, one which is 'promising' in the true sense of the word."

"The promise of this silence is that new life can be born. It is this silence which is the silence of peace and prayer, because you are brought back to the other who is leading you. In this silence you lose the feeling of being compulsive and you find a person who can be himself along with other things and other people."

"Then you realize that you can do many things, but it isn't necessary. It is the silence of the 'poor in spirit', where you learn to see your life in its proper perspectives. In this silence, the false pretenses fade away and you can see the world again with a certain distance, and in the midst of all of your cares, you can pray with the psalmist:
If Yahweh does not build
the house, in vain the
masons toil;
if Yahweh does not guard
the city, in vain the
sentries watch. (Psalm
127)"

Vance

Just want to add these verses, which I have the honor of meditation upon:

Romans 6

(NKJV)
verse 1

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

(Amplified Bible)
verse 1

WHAT SHALL we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?

(J B PHILLIPS Translation of the NEW TESTAMENT)

Righteousness by faith, in practice

verse 1

Now what is our response to be? Shall we sin to our heart's content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God?

Vance

Jan,

Re: concubines and polygamy

I have heard only one explanation that comes remotely close to "being acceptable" about multiple partners.

In Genesis before the fall - it was supposed to be one man - one woman.

After the fall everything was broken. Pure love was tainted by lust and carnal desires, desire for wealth (more children - more workers), and with a "wicked heart" man rationalized multiple partners. The spirit came and went, and while some were righteous by faith - they still had the battle of the "flesh" to deal with in earthly life.

With Christ's death on the cross - mankind had the chance for regenerated heart and salvation. Things went back to one man - one woman.

Originally, if no one was going to die than one man - one woman would be enough to populate the earth.

When "death" came on the scene - multiple partners ensured the growth of the different nations. Primarily I am thinking of Abram and his relatively little tribe that became Israel. Of course non-believers were going to do what they wanted anyway.

God's silence on this is deafening, but perhaps it is the case that man was given his "free will" choice in this area. God simply used what man had already decided to do, to fulfill his purposes and plan - i.e. rapid growth of Israel. In fact, if I remember correctly there were even some "Laws" regarding treatment of concubines and other wives in the Torah - and rules of inheritance(?).

This seems much like the case of slavery and divorce. Nowhere condoned by God, but certainly regulated.

We don't know how much - if at all - the choice of multiple partners limited the rewards of some of the Old Testament saints.

Perhaps this is a weak argument, but it is the "best" explanation I have heard on the subject. The idea may have suffered in my effort to recall the thought process.

Anyway - on my list of ten questions to ask God in Heaven: this one is on the list :)

Some links:
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/121-what-the-bible-says-about-polygamy

http://www.tektonics.org/lp/polygamy.html
(Don't necessarily agree with everything said here.)

http://www.rationalchristianity.net/polygamy.html

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