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What the Bible says about Family Problems
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 14:23

The feasts of God are events that we look forward to with a great deal of positive anticipation. And well we should because they are enjoyable physically and can be tremendously spiritually rewarding. However, experience has shown that, due to spiritual immaturity, there can be a kind of enjoyable dark side to Tabernacles, since it can easily be perceived as a vacation or a "godly" substitute for Christmas.

On the other side of the emotional ledger, there is also a share of trouble preparing for and traveling to them. Tabernacles, especially, can be wearying, and people have sometimes even become quite sick from the stress and consequently had a miserable time. On occasion, the Feast can even be a matrix for motivating family problems.

Overall, though, most of the time we enjoy God's feasts immensely, cherishing the memories we have of the activities, the fine meals, the nice locations, and the time we spent with our spiritual and physical families—things we do not always have either the time or money to do at home.

Yet, we have to be somewhat cautious of this because we can enjoy doing similar kinds of things apart from the Feast—in fact, such experiences apart from the Feast happen frequently. The inherent danger is that, though God wants us to rejoice in keeping His Feast, it is easy to think that, because the Feast is indeed enjoyable, we had a "good" Feast.

Judgment of things like this is highly variable from one person to the next. People can attend the same site, hear the same messages, take part in the same activities, and all have a quite different evaluation of the quality of the Feast. We have all experienced this.

I can look back on one particularly bad Feast—it was not disastrous because no particular "bad" thing occurred—but in my evaluation, the 1974 festival I attended in St. Petersburg, Florida, was an all-time low. The site was not the problem, nor did anybody I attended with give any trouble. It was bad because I did little or nothing positive to make it a great Feast. I was just there soaking up the good times.

Deuteronomy 14:23 and Deuteronomy 16:15 seem to be the verses we turn to most frequently when we refer to the Feast of Tabernacles. However, they primarily emphasize the potential for the enjoyable physical aspects. True, it does say we are to go to learn to fear God, but other scriptures focus more strongly on the spiritual aspects of the Feast, and they are considerable. Though little specific detail is given, there is enough to know that God expects the Feast of Tabernacles to be the year's spiritual high-water mark.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles

Isaiah 3:5

Isaiah reveals a society that can be aptly described as "upside down." Those who should be leading are not and those who should not are. A central factor in this is that the immature are leading. A free-wheeling, laissez faire, hedonistic, immoral, and irresponsible culture exists. Verses 5 and 12 confirm that family governance and leadership are greatly affected.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment (1997)

1 Corinthians 10:11-13

The high-achievers of this world have many of the same run-of-the-mill problems that everybody experiences. Going to the moon did not change the kind of person that Neil Armstrong would have been anywhere: withdrawn and enigmatic, a puzzling person who just wanted to be alone, as he was described.

It is the same with others. Their fame, the fortune, the academic and professional accomplishments have not proved to be an advantage to help them avoid the very kinds of things that trouble us, so all of their accomplishments, their fame, and their money are not the solutions. They have these things, yet they face the same kinds of problems. In most cases, they cannot meet them well. So, having more brains, money, ease, and fame has not insulated them from divorce, withdrawn and alienated children, emotional breakdowns, and health problems.

By "common," used here in verse 13, God means that the problems are nothing exceptional. They are not beyond the powers of endurance. The word translated "taken" or "overtaken" adds to our understanding of the kind of problem. It is written in the perfect tense and indicates a lasting condition—something one has to deal with every day, a chronic problem. It just does not go away.

"Escape" indicates a way out of a defile, a tight spot, as if surrounded. The word "temptation" is one of the more interesting ones in this whole series of verses because, interestingly, it indicates something designed and unavoidable. It suggests a trial that could become a temptation—something that has been designed and is unavoidable rather than being merely a difficult happenstance, such as a "time and chance" occurrence. It is a test such as a teacher would give. One cannot avoid tests when a student in school.

Overall, because God is faithful, it shows that we can successfully meet our difficulties in life, so there is a great deal of assurance here for those whom God has called. It leaves those He has not called out of this assurance. Life is difficult, but being a high-achiever in this world does not guarantee that one will escape difficulty.

The lessons of the Feast of Pentecost have a great deal to do with pointing us in the right direction to enable us to endure and overcome these lasting, chronic problems common to mankind.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Rejoice in What We Are

Ephesians 2:19

Formerly, before God began to work in this way, there were two kinds of people on earth: the converted and unconverted. However, let us be a little bit more specific. In the context of Ephesians 2, the two kinds of people were Israelites and Gentiles. When we understand verses 16-20, He is saying now a third class of people is arising. There is the Gentile, the Israelite, and the Christian—the new man.

This is what God is creating, a family, a nation. He is creating something that is unique on the earth: a family that gets along with each other. Such a thing is unseen in the history of men. There are no wars (considering nations being families grown great) that are more vicious and terrible than inter-family wars, which we call "civil wars."

God is creating a family that gets along with each other, and this harmony begins with the acceptance of the blood of Jesus Christ. However, God expects that it will not end there. Because of the fellowship that we have with Him through Jesus Christ, as we begin to have more things in common, it will begin to expand out to others whom He is calling. It begins with the Spirit of God working with the person and eventually in him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 4)


 




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