Wednesday, July 29, 2009

GUEST POST: God’s Exaltation of His Godhood and Solitariness in His Judgment Against His Mockers

by Sheila Marie Andales

Scripture:2 Kings 19:8-19, 35-36


The context of this passage is primarily the hostilities between Judah and Assyria during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah and King Sennacherib of Assyria.

Judah (Southern Kingdom) was ruled by King Hezekiah, a king who did what was right in the sight of the Lord. He is known to have trusted in the LORD so that after him was none like him among all kings of Judah, nor who were before him, for he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments. The Lord was with him and he prospered wherever he went.

On one hand, Assyria, led by King Sennacherib was a very powerful nation able to conquer the neighboring nations of Israel and Judah.

Before King Hezekiah of Judah became king, his father submitted to Assyria. But King Hezekiah rebelled against him and asserted independence. Thus, Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, sent messengers to demand Hezekiah’s complete surrender.

Sennacherib, through his messengers, threatened King Hezekiah and reproached Judah’s living God, saying:

“Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria’. Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed…?” (vv.10-12)

Two Observations on Sennacherib’s Threat:
From this, I gleaned two observations from Sennacherib’s threat:

First, Sennacherib and his messengers falsely accused God. Through Isaiah, the prophet, the LORD assured Hezekiah that He would deliver him. Hezekiah trusted the LORD and he encouraged the people of Judah. He gathered them together and said,

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all te multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles”.

Sennacherib, on one hand, accused God of deception. He accused God of deceiving Judah in promising victory for them. He accused God of being powerless to give victory for his people.

The second observation is that Sennacherib and his messengers mocked God. They did this by equating and likening the One True God with the gods of the surrounding nations. They placed God at the same level with the gods of the gentile nations. They likened Him to the powerless gods of the Gentiles.

Hezekiah’s Response:
As a response, Hezekiah sought the LORD and pleaded for the exaltation of God’s Godhood through victory over Sennacherib and his army. In his prayer, he affirmed the power of God, by saying: “You have made the heavens and the earth”(v.15). He pointed out the non-existence of Gentile gods as the reason of the Gentile nations’ defeat while affirming the existence and power of God as the ground of his hope for deliverance. He says in vv15b and 19:

“You are God , You alone of all the kingdoms of the earth.. Now, therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, YOU ALONE.”

God’s Response to Hezekiah:
God exalted His Godhood in His judgment against Sennacherib and the Assyrian army. The Angel of the LORD slaughtered 185,000 men of Sennacherib’s army. In Psalm 76, the slaughter was attributed to the LORD Himself

“[God] broke the arrows of the bow, the shield and sword of battle… The stouthearted were plundered; they have sunk in to their sleep; and none of the mighty men have found use of their hands. At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse were cast into dead sleep”.

Moreover, God’s Word regarding the death of Sennacherib came to pass. He was assassinated by his sons while worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god. God punished His mockers.

Instructions Gleaned from the Passage:
Certain instructions can be gleaned through this passage.

First, this account instructs us about the God who demands our worship. The God who demands our worship is a God of truth who promised punishment on His mockers. He is mocked when people persist in their evil ways, waywardness, and unbelief. He shows Himself strong for those whose heart is loyal to Him but shows Himself just and powerful to the rebellious and unbelieving. He deceives not. What He promises will surely come to pass. His promised punishment will surely come to pass.

The God who demands our worship is also the Only True God. He is solitary in His ESSENCE and BEING. No one can be compared to Him. We could not liken him to gods made of wood or stone. We could not reduce Him to something He is not. He is unequal. He cold not be likened to any created things or beings. Thus, he has the right to demand a bowing before His SUPREMACY and INCOMPARABILITY.

Second, this account instructs us about proper attitude in worship.

Since the God we worship is a powerful God who punishes His mockers, we should fear Him. In Ps. 76, a psalm believed by most scholars to have been written after God’s slaughter of Sennacherib’s army, the psalmist exhorted Judah to fear God (Ps. 76:7 “You, Yourself, are to be feared; And who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?”). This fear has two results. First, it results to resolutions to fulfill one’s obligations to Him. Second, it results to expressions of homage and gratitude (Ps. 76:11 “Make vows to the LORD your God , and pay them: Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be found.”). Worship, which is manifested trough godly living and yielding of one’s self, has the fear of God as its foundation.

Since the God we worship is also SUPREME and INCOMPARABLE, our worship should likewise be SUPREME and INCOMPRABLE. Our worship should match His supremacy and incomparability. May our affections be devoted wholly to the ONLY TRUE GOD. May our devotion to Him be unrivaled just as He Himself is unrivaled.

Reviewing Dr. White's "LIVING OUT SOLA FIDE"

Nakakatawa ang mga sinabi ni James White bago niya ipangaral ang kanyang sermon. Buti na lang daw at may mahaba-habang break sa pagitan ng pagsasalita niya at ang pagsasalita ng naunang speaker na si Steven Lawson para magkalimutan nang kaunti. Sa husay ni Lawson sa preaching, magmumukha daw siyang kawawa kung paghahambingin sila… hahaha…

Mas kilala nga naman si Dr. White bilang apologists at debatista, hindi niya forte ang preaching. Pero sa pagkakataong ito, maganda ang pagkakahatid ni Dr. White sa kanyang sermon na pinamagatang “Living Out Sola Fide

As an introduction, Dr. White asked the listeners why were they not afraid of the wrath of God when they woke up in the morning. There are many persons who wake up daily without the fear of the wrath of God because they don’t think about the wrath of God; they don’t know the gravity of their sins. On the other hand, Christians know they are deserving of God’s wrath because of their sins, but why are we not afraid of God’s wrath?

The answer is because someone died on the cross on as a substitute for us, and by his merits, we were declared righteous by God. If we look within ourselves, we are looking at the wrong place.

He used several texts in this sermon. The first one is Romans 5:1. I guess Dr. White uses the 1995 update of the NASB so I will use it in this review.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

He asserts that the gospel of Rome with the introduction of sacramentalism, merits, mediators, etc. offers no peace. Roman Catholics are unsure of their standing because they are not sure if they have fulfilled “all the requirements necessary for justification”.

Contrary to the Roman Catholic system, biblical peace looks back at God’s finished act of justification. Justification is something that God has done in the past. “Having been justified” is past tense.

Dr. White also tackled a textual variant on this verse since some Catholic apologists used it. On same manuscripts, there is a one-letter difference:
a. The widely accepted reading is in the indicative mood: “we have peace with God”
b. The other reading is in the subjunctive mood: “let us have peace with God”

The first reading is preferred but even if it is in the subjunctive mood, it is simply an exhortation to the effect “let us enjoy peace with God”

He also tackled the meaning of the Greek word eirene translated as “peace” in the verse. It is the counterpart of the Hebrew word Shalom. It is not merely a ceasefire. It is a wellness of relationship. He likens the Roman Catholic system with the situation of Israel and Gaza where there are tanks and other weapons are lined-up along the border. For in the Roman Catholic system, one mortal sin could eradicate justification. He recalls one of his debates with Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, a Jesuit scholar who is very knowledgeable in languages. Even Dr. Pacwa admitted that he doesn’t know how to reconcile the Roman Catholic system with the Hebrew concept of Shalom.

He also laments the inroads of inclusivism and pluralism within evangelicalism. According to the polls, over 50% of evangelicals believe that there is another way of salvation aside from explicit faith in Jesus. We cannot compromise on this issue because if we do, we are saying in effect that God sacrifice his precious Son when there are other ways.

He informs the listeners that in the modern Roman Catholic catechism, there are more sections on indulgences that on justification. They can no longer sell it but they can still obtain it.

There are other texts that he tackled but to make this post shorter, I will go immediately to James 2. This is where a Roman catholic will go to once he learns that you believe in Sola Fide. The Roman Catholic apologists will be quick to point out that the phrase “by faith alone” only appears once in the Bible,

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)

He stressed the importance of reading James with its main purpose: “an exhortation for believers to live according to their profession of faith”.
The key to understand this is to start at verse 14, “if someone says”. Someone makes a claim that he possessed faith, yet there is no evidence in his life.

Dr. White used an illustration of a man who claims before airport authorities that he has a passport. “ I have it”. Yet he is unable to show it. The claim is not enough. A man who claims to have faith yet have no love for God does not possess faith at all.

He says that the proper translation is found in NASB and ESV, “can that faith save him”. I found that NIV has the same effect with “can such faith save him”. The answer is obviously NO. We cannot be save by a faith that cannot demonstrate its existence because God has a purpose in saving us—that is Christlikeness.

Naturally, upon discussing James 2, he proceeds to address a perverted version of Sola Fide called Easy Believism, those who believe that a mere intellectual assent to the gospel secures salvation for a person. WALANG PAGBABAGO sa BUHAY. He quotes 1 John 2:25, “but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:”

He concludes: “ When we talk about the solas, we talk about the gospel… God has a purpose in building his church and the only way he does it is throught the proclamation of the gospel.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Could Have Been More Blessed

“And if all this had been too little,
I would have given you even more.”

2 Samuel 12:8 (NIV)

What we are and who we are today is because of God’s sovereignty. We are here right now because we have received countless blessings from the Lord and we should thank him for all our benefits.

Subalit hindi natin maaalis ang panghihinayang sa mga nasayang na pagkakataon sa mga lumipas na panahon.

  • Sayang! Kung di sana ako nagbulakbol nang ako ay nag-aaral, ngayon sana’y…
  • Sayang! Kung nag-ipon lang sana ako noong panahon ng kasaganaan, ngayon sana'y may krisis ay…
  • Sayang! Kung nakinig lang sana ako sa payo ni Tatay, ngayon sana’y…
We regret bad decisions and bad acts we have made in the past for we know that we could have been better if we have done otherwise. Kaya nga may kantang "Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang" eh... hehehe

Proverbs 13:13 says, “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded”. It is clear from this that listening to the Lord brings reward; and if we don’t, we have to pay for its consequences.

We are blessed. But if we have only listened to God in the past, we could have been more blessed.

Isa sa mga eksena sa buhay ni David na masasabi nating dapat panghinayangan ay ang kanyang pakikiapid kay Bathseba at ang kanyang pagpaplano sa kamatayan ni Uriah. Dahil doon, ipinadala ng Panginoon ang Propetang Nathan upang sawayin si David.

Nang siya ay sawayin, ipinaalala sa kanya ng Panginoon ang mga pagpapalang kanyang natanggap:

1. Siya ay iniahon mula sa pastulan patungo sa trono
2. Iniligtas siya mula sa mga banta ni Saul
3. Ang kahariaan kasama ang mga luho ng buhay ay ibinigay sa kanya

At kulang pa raw yan, anya: “And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” (2 Samuel 12:8). Nakahanda sana ang Panginoon na ibuhos ang higit pang mga pagpapala.

Because he despised the word of the Lord (verse 9), punishment came instead of blessing. Despising the word of God is despising the Lord himself because his word is a reflection of who he is. And those who despise the Lord must pay for the consequences.

David is blessed. But he could have been more blessed if he had not despised the word of the Lord.

Looking forward
But since we cannot turn back the hands of time, the best we can do is to learn from the past. We should look forward with this mindset:

Do you want to be more blessed in the future?
Then love the word of God now

Do you want to be more blessed tomorrow?
Then obey God’s voice today.

Monday, July 20, 2009

49th Wedding Anniversary ng Parents Ko Ngayon

Noong Hulyo 20, 1960, pinakasalan ni Bernabe Rosario si Emeliana Ambanloc. Biniyayaan sila ng walong supling at ako ang pang-anim.

Ang nakakatuwa pa nito, sa tulong ng National Statistics Office, nakita nila sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ang kanilang marriage contract. Sila ay ikinasal ng isang paring nagngangalang Teofilo Aquino. Ang tumayo bilang mga saksi ay isang pares ng ninong at ninang: sina Ginoong Ignacio Fajardo at Ginang Placida Menor. Nasa baba ang dokumento. If you want a larger image, just click on it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Godly Way to Success

Read Joshua 1:1-9

Everybody desires success. Nobody wants to be a loser.
You don’t take an exam with the desire to flunk it.
You don’t invest with the desire to lose money.
You don’t play a game with the desire to be defeated. (maliban na lang kung perde-gana ‘yan)

It is embedded in the soul of man that some of the most popular sayings are about success:
Patience is the key to success
Try and try until you succeed” ("Try and try until you die" was meant to be a joke)
Even our very own “Kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga” exalts patience as a virtue that will ultimately lead to something good.

But if we will not be careful in our pursuit of success, we may walk on the same road where the world walks. We may take ungodly paths to success. We may emerge successful in the eyes of men but a failure in the sight of God (and please do not read this post through the lens of the erroneous prosperity gospel).

God’s formula for Joshua
What is the emotional state of Joshua when God talked to him? Verse 9 indicates that he is frightened and dismayed. We should understand that his beloved mentor for 40 years is now dead. That fact alone could affect him tremendously. Add to it the heavy burden placed upon his shoulders with this new role as the leader of an stiff-necked people. He has to step into the shoes of the great Moses. He is the new commander-in-chief of their armed forces and they have to fight many battles against more powerful peoples in order to acquire the Promised Land.

On this scene God speaks to promise success. He assures Joshua of the following:
1. Moses is dead but the promise is alive. The Land is for them (verses 2-4)
2. They will be unbeatable; their foes cannot stand against them (verse 5)
3. He promises his presence. Just as he was with Moses, he will be with Joshua (verse 5)

What he requires of Joshua
1. God requires Joshua to be strong and courageous (verse 7)- If we shall review Joshua’s track record, we will find that this man is not a coward. In fact, his record is impressive. He was the leader when they fought the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9, 10, 13-14).Out of the 12 spies who were sent to Canaan, only two (Joshua and Caleb) were not intimidated by the giant descendants of Anak (when others felt like grasshoppers, Numbers 14:6-10, 30, 38).

But there are times when the circumstances are so overwhelming that even the strongest and bravest among us needs the exhortation to be strong and courageous. All of us are fighting our own daily battles. Battles against life-threatening diseases, financial crisis, family problems and many others. This is God’s word for us: “Be strong and courageous”.

2. God requires precise obedience-
Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you” (verse 7)
so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (verse 8)
This is the exact equivalent of the the New Testament’s “Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

We are not to twist God’s word in order to justify ourselves. God’s word is for us to obey, not edit: “do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (Joshua 1:7). We have to take God’s word precisely as it is.

3. God Requires Diligent Scripture Intake- “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night” (verse 8). If we are to heed God’s word with precision, this is essential. It must fill our mouths. It must saturate our minds. We must immerse our whole being with what the Bible says.

Our desire to be successful is not in conflict with God’s desire to be glorified. Instead of suppressing our desire for success, he wants us to excel in our chosen fields (Proverbs 22:29). He will be with us in our pursuit of success. Just as God is present with the preacher in his desire to be successful in his ministry, he will also be present with the businessman provided that both the preacher and the businessman follows God’s requirements.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sa Lahat ng mga Parents at Nangangarap Maging Parents: Reviewing Mohler's HOW NOT TO RAISE A PAGAN

This exposition of Deuteronomy 6 was delivered by the SBTS president to students of another seminary, SEBTS. Albert Mohler, being an expert on cultural and contemporary issues begins with a lament that by the time American students leave high school, they also leave the Christian home. And when they do, they manifest that they think not as Christians but as pagans.

He also observes that the media repaganizes not just the culture but the church as well. What is happening in the church is similar to Israel's experience of paganization-- that is when they imitated their pagan neighbors in religious practices such as idol worship .

Mohler reminds us that since the family is God's gift, it must be ordered with biblical priorities. And if we will not heed the word of the Lord, we would raise pagans by default.

From Deut. 6, he draws three points:
1. Doctrine
2. Diligence
3. Discipline

1. DOCTRINE- Deut 6:7 "and you must teach them to your children" (ESV)
The first priority for parents who do not want to raise pagans. The particular mode of teaching in view here is Didactive teaching-- one that has doctrinal content. The Shema of verse 4 is not just a declaration of monotheism but a declaration of monotheism as a matter of allegiance to draw them away from the gods of their pagan neighbors.

2. DILIGENCE- Deut 6:7-9 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Biblical teaching for our children is not a once a year thing (Vacation Bible School); it is not a once-a-week thing (Sunday School). Parents should make the most of every oppurtunity to tech their children. If parents will not be diligent, other voices (TV, Internet, friends) will teach them.

3. DISCIPLINE- Deut 6:24 "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day."
We must teach our children that violation of biblical teaching requires punishment.

Other interesting things Mohler brought up is are:
i. the trans generational responsibility of a Patriach- a father must not not stop with his wife, children and grandchildren. Rather, they must look forward for the generations to come. If we will get it wrong in this generation, there will be devastating consequences for the generations that follow.

. When we will live differently from our non-Christian neighbors, our children will eventually ask why. We should tell them that we are different because we are a people that belongs to someone. We have been redeemed. He will judge our neighbors but we will be spared-- not because we are better than them but because we are saved by grace.

You can find the video here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sa Pagdating ng Araw na Ipagluluksa na Ninyo Ako

Halos hindi ako makapaniwala nang aking mabasa ito. Hindi ko tiyak kung mapagkakatiwalaan nga ba itong source na sinasabi nila. Pero Papatulan ko na rin. Ayon sa ulat, 12 katao na raw ang nagpakamatay dahila pagpanaw ni Michael Jackson.

Hindi naman masamang magluksa lalo na kapag mahal na mahal natin yung namatay. Umiyak nga ang ating Panginoon sa pagpanaw ni Lazarus.

But the Bible discourages grieving "like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thess.4:13). Ang pagluluksa ang mga Kristiyano ay hindi tulad ng pagluluksa ng sanlibutan.

Mula sa 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, pupulot ako ng ilang mga prinsipyo tungkol sa pagluluksang Kristiyano. Kung sakaling darating na ang araw ng ipagluluksa ninyo ang aking pagpanaw, ito ang nais kong mangyari.

1. "we do not want you to be ignorant" (1 Thess.4:13)- I want you to mourn with biblical knowledge. The more you are informed about the truth, the more you can mourn correctly. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do (including weeping), do it all for the glory of God. (1 Cor.10:31).

2. When you mourn for me, keep in mind that my my death will not dissolve my union with Christ. I have just "fallen asleep in him" (1 Thess.4:14). Rest assured that I will be in a better place by then. If it were not so, Paul could not have said, " I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" ( Philippians 1:23)

3. Keep in mind that if you are in Christ, we will be reunited soon. You will like me better by then because all things sinful about me will be gone. And best of all, we shall be with the Lord forever (1 Thess.4:17)

4. Kapag nagkita-kita kayo sa lamay ko, I want you to encourage each other ( 1Thess.4:18)

Photo taken from