TEEN TREE            OF LIFE

God’s Goodness  –  Part 5

May 2, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that  you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In last week’s Teen Tree, we learned that in order to learn God’s Word, you MUST do it the right way. With that in mind, we looked at the importance of isagogics which is the study of the literary history. Isagogics is part of I.C.E. which is an acronym that describes the way in which God’s Word must be interpreted. With that in mind, our study of God’s Goodness has us exploring the literary history of the city of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Learning about this fascinating metropolis plays an important part in understanding the depth of God’s Goodness toward those who love Him and follow His Commands.

 

Nineveh is well-known because of its important role in ancient history. Today, major museums around the world proudly display larger-than-life Assyrian sculpture, fueling our imagination about this ancient foe of biblical Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom).

 

As we learned early on in our study, it’s featured prominently in the story of Jonah. (See Parts 2 & 3, dated April 11 & 18, 2021) The Book of Jonah was written over a hundred years after Nineveh’s destruction. It teaches us about the rapid repentance of the city’s king (along with its citizens) and stands today as a great example of God’s Goodness to all people – even those who are completely out of His Plan for their lives.

 

To recap, The Book of Jonah follows the story of a wayward prophet who wants nothing to do with God’s Goodness and Mercy toward others. Jonah wrote about Nineveh no later than the third quarter of the eighth century B.C. Other biblical writers also made the city the setting of their stories – like the prophet Nahum (see Part 2, April 18, 2021). The Book of Nahum focuses on a country that receives news of its coming destruction. Nahum prophesied Nineveh’s fall. His prophecy was fulfilled in 612 B.C.

 

The ancient Greek historian Diodorus described Nineveh’s legendary last king – Sardanapalus – and his extremely wild behavior – which included having concubines and eunuchs in the palace. As we learned in last week’s Teen Tree, a concubine is a marital companion who has a lower position to a wife. Concubines enjoyed the same rights in a house (or palace) as legitimate wives did. Back then, a concubine would often provide a male heir when a wife was unable to have children. She was also supposed to provide additional children in order to enhance the family’s workforce and wealth. Eunuchs were typically defined as neutered men placed in charge of a king’s harem of wives and concubines. So, as you can see, Nineveh evolved into a satanic mess long after God had forgiven them back in Jonah’s time!

 

Diodorus also wrote that Nineveh’s King Sardanapalus piled his wealth into a mountain, climbed on top of it with his eunuchs and concubines, and torched it all with a fire that burned his palace to the ground. This is some pretty heavy craziness. But you probably recognize that this is eerily reminiscent of the sinfulness going on in the cosmic system in our lifetime.

 

Based on the Godly lives we strive to live as Christians today, having many wives and concubines sounds very disturbing and immoral; but Biblical history teaches us that among the Old Testament Israelites, men commonly acknowledged their concubines. In fact, King Solomon himself “…had 700 wives who came from royal families. And he had 300 concubines.(1 KINGS 11:3 New International Reader’s Version)

 

But despite Solomon’s lifestyle choices, look at what’s written about him in 1 KIN 4:29-34 (The Message Bible): God gave Solomon wisdom—the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts. There was nothing beyond him, nothing he couldn’t handle. Solomon’s wisdom outclassed the vaunted wisdom of wise men of the East, outshone the famous wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, wiser than Heman, wiser than Calcol and Darda the sons of Mahol. He became famous among all the surrounding nations. He created 3,000 proverbs; his songs added up to 1,005. He knew all about plants, from the huge cedar that grows in Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows in the cracks of a wall. He understood everything about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Sent by kings from all over the earth who had heard of his reputation, people came from far and near to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

 

Look at what Solomon wrote in PROV 10:1-14 (The Message Bible):

 

The Wise Sayings of Solomon

An Honest Life Is Immortal

1 Wise son, glad father;

stupid son, sad mother.

 

2 Ill-gotten gain gets you nowhere;

an honest life is immortal.

 

3 God won’t starve an honest soul,

but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.

 

4 Sloth makes you poor;

diligence brings wealth.

 

5 Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart;

go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.

 

6 Blessings accrue on a good and honest life,

but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

 

7 A good and honest life is a blessed memorial;

a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.

 

8 A wise heart takes orders;

an empty head will come unglued.

 

9 Honesty lives confident and carefree,

but Shifty is sure to be exposed.

 

10 An evasive eye is a sign of trouble ahead,

but an open, face-to-face meeting results in peace.

 

11 The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,

but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

 

12 Hatred starts fights,

but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.

 

13 You’ll find wisdom on the lips of a person of insight,

but the shortsighted needs a slap in the face.

 

14 The wise accumulate knowledge—a true treasure;

know-it-alls talk too much—a sheer waste.

 

Isn’t Solomon’s writing amazing?! The Message Bible gives us such a wonderfully current translation of his talents and insight.

 

We’re going to see next week that Solomon eventually displayed extremely bad behavior by making really horrible free-will choices and decisions. In order to get a better idea of just how incredible God’s Goodness is, you have to recognize and be aware of how out of control people can become. This includes all people – believers and unbelievers.

 

You also have to remember that man’s original sin is what led to the existence of evil and suffering – NOT God! That’s an extremely important lesson to focus on, especially in this day and age. In His Goodness, The Lord Jesus Christ created the world perfect in every way, with no evil or suffering. But human beings rejected Him and His Father and as a result, brought sin and evil into the world. As we look more closely at Solomon’s life, you’ll understand that he’s the perfect example of a great believer who made bad choices. Always remember that what eventually happened to Solomon (AND his father, David) could happen to ANY believer!!

{to be continued}

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