A New Level

You can prepare for persecution now… Or you can learn about it like the Chinese church learned about it…

It takes one level of faith to say, “Our God can rescue us.”

               It takes a whole new level of faith to add “But if not, we will not bow…”

It takes one level of faith to preach the Gospel…

               It is something altogether different to look at the people who are killing you and pray ““Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

It takes one level of faith to approach a great project and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

               It takes something completely different to be beaten, stoned, imprisoned, persecuted, cold, hungry and naked and then write, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is one thing to learn about persecution from a kind brother in a Bible Study…

               It is something very different to post watchmen out front, meet in a darkened room, pray for your Pastor who is in prison and plan the funeral of your chief elder, his wife and five kids who were gunned down by soldiers as they were leaving last week’s service.

You can prepare for persecution now…

               Or you can learn about it like the Chinese Church learned about it…

Think about it…

David…

Real Faith

If getting ill and dying of the disease would cause you to lose your faith and your testimony, you just might catch it…

But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:18)

Reality would tell us that faith-filled, genuine, Spirit-filled Christians get sick, suffer and die. That is a fact that no Name-it-claim-it preacher can deny. However, they have not been shy about preaching and teaching a lie. That lie goes something like this: “Learn this verse, say it over and over, send me money and you will become invincible… no demon can touch you!” That, friends, is a lie, and the Evangelist, lounging with his girlfriend at the pool behind his mansion knows that it is a lie…

Paul wrote to Timothy: “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” (1 Timothy 5:23)

Perhaps Timothy didn’t have a magic verse, or maybe he forgot to send Paul a check… Who knows?

In John 5, when Jesus healed the man by the pool in Bethesda, we are told that there “lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed” there… Jesus healed one man and left the rest lying there.

Acts 3:6 tells us, “But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” That man had laid there for years. Hundreds of times he had watched as Jesus walked in and out of that gate… but Jesus had never healed him… It was on this day, after the ascension that God decided to use Peter to heal him… Perhaps he had memorized a magic verse of Scripture and sent his tithe to the Disciples?

It isn’t about a magic verse… it is about a real relationship with a living God!

Perhaps it takes faith to stand up, quote your favorite verse in church and testify as to how God is not going to let you get sick. But what if you, like so many others, get COVID-19? What happens to your testimony? What have you done to God’s reputation?

I like the faith of the Three Hebrew Boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their faith was genuine, not fake and it took death as a serious possible outcome… Even if you know the story well, take a minute to read it again…

Daniel 3: 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Emphasis mine)

“But if not”, I love that quote!!! They believed that God would save them, but there was a real possibility that He might have chosen them as Martyrs instead of survivors… Yes, there was and they knew it! With that reality in mind, they testified and showed that the strength of their faith included death!

I will insist that if your faith is not strong enough to handle death, it is not strong enough to bring healing. If you are not willing to die of COVID-19, maintaining your testimony to the very end, your faith is probably not strong enough to gain divine intervention and supernatural protection from the virus… and, that is a fact! If getting ill and dying of the disease would cause you to lose your faith and your testimony, you just might catch it…

Can we not offer a testimony of faith that takes reality into account? Paul and James lost their heads, Stephen was stoned, Peter crucified upside down and Spirit-filled Christians will die from COVID-19… No matter how often they have quoted those magic verses and irrespective of how much money they have sent to Benny Hinn. That is a fact!

Would it not be better to stand in front of the congregation, or post on Facebook a testimony that says: “My God is able to deliver me from COVID-19 and I believe that He will, But if not, even if He takes me home, I will serve him to the end and praise him forever in Heaven.”

That is the kind of real, strong and honest testimony I continue to look for, but never see…

Oh, for Christians who will demonstrate a real, honest and fearless faith… Please God, we need Christians who are not afraid to die…

David…

CALVIN AND THE PROBLEM OF ROMANS 9

“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Calvin, probably due to a personality disorder often apparent in his writings, latched onto this passage as if it were the key to all of Scripture. His belief that this passage is the center and key to all of Scripture caused him to warp, distort, twist and misinterpret almost all of Scripture, forcing every verse and every passage to conform to his understanding of Romans chapter nine and this passage in particular.

Based on Romans nine, his interpretation of John 3:16 becomes so convoluted as to be hilarious… The word “world” refers only to the predestined Elect. “Whosoever” applies only to a tiny group of the Elect. “Believes” is not the result of a choice but rather a forced response over which the Elect “believer” has no choice. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Calvin, based on his belief that Romans 9 is the focal point of all Scripture, insisted that both the word “all” and the word “any” in that passage must be limited to the Elect and that we must understand it to mean “…not wishing that any of the Elect should perish, but that all of the Elect should reach repentance.”

This is nonsense… Nothing in all of Scripture would indicate that Romans chapter nine should force such odd interpretations of passages from Genesis to Revelation…

Arminius, on the other hand, believed Romans nine to be in error and believed that it should not be included in Scripture. But it is in Scripture and it must be dealt with…

Most Christians have rejected the views of both Calvin and Arminius, deeming both doctrinal systems to be heretical. So, what do we, as Christians, do with Romans nine?

First, I must insist that Romans nine must be interpreted in the light and context of the rest of the Scripture and not the other way around. When you find a difficult passage, you do not use that passage to warp, twist and bend clear and plain Scripture. You must explain the difficult and obscure in the context of the clear and the plain. To force John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9 and a hundred other clear and plain Scriptures to agree with Romans nine is backwards. To redefine words like world, all, whosoever, any and none in order to make the Scripture agree with your perceived “Key Passage” is a clear indication of ignorance and mental instability.

God is omniscient or all knowing. God knows the beginning from the end. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Predestination must be understood in the light of the foreknowledge of God. It is not those whom he predestined that he foreknew, it is those whom he foreknew that he predestined.

Understood in the light of Romans 8:29, Romans chapter nine makes perfect sense and does not disagree with any other Scriptures… In other words, by allowing plain Scripture to interpret the difficult, the Bible becomes a straightforward and clear record. Understood in the light of Romans 8:29, a very clear passage, you can understand Romans nine in a way that does not require you to redefine simple words and twist Scripture.

Yes, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. But that love and that hate were not simply the result of a random choice, devoid of any reason. When you understand that God knew, absolutely knew the DNA, the character, the personality of both men and could predict, infallibly, the actions both men would take under the same circumstances, along with how their descendants would act, it makes sense. God knew both men, inside and out, before they were born and God decided to love one and hate the other, based on that knowledge. If you follow the descendants of both men and compare the Israelites with the Edomites, you will see that God did indeed make a wise decision.

Joshua gave the people of Israel a choice. Joshua 24:14,15 reads, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That choice was real. God calls all men, not desiring that any should perish but that all should come to repentance… That call is real. With the call comes the faith and power to believe. The choice is real, and God respects that choice… When Jesus said, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He meant “the world” in the most common sense of the word. He meant “whosoever” in the most common sense of the word. “Believes” is the result of a clear and plain choice. God predestines those whom He foreknew would accept him to be conformed to the image of Christ. Nothing would indicate that God predestines some to Heaven and others to Hell based on a random and mindless choice.

When God says that it is his will that none should perish, but that all should reach repentance, He means that in the simplest and most straightforward way, “none” means “none” and “all” means all. But God has given men the power to choose and that includes the right to reject him. This is consistent with all of Scripture. Even the angels have free will. When Lucifer rebelled, God let him go. One third of the angels chose to go with Satan, two thirds choose to stay with God. God honored their choice. When Jesus called the Rich Young Ruler, he walked away… Jesus let him go and honored his choice…

Romans nine, understood in the light of the whole of Scripture, does not oppose that. It is Calvin’s interpretation of Romans nine that opposes and contradicts the Scriptures, not Romans nine as it is written.

David…

God is Dog Spelled Backward

If long dead pagans and ancient gods threaten you and offend your conscience, don’t celebrate Christmas…

1 Corinthians 8:1 8 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.

God is dog spelled backward. Why is that important? For exactly the same reason that it is important to note that, in English, Santa is Satan misspelled… something I have seen on a dozen memes and read in an unbelievable number of comments in my Facebook Feed.

Not only are many Christians ignorant, many of them have, through dedicated practice, become accomplished at the art of ignoring. They concentrate on the silly and the insignificant while ignoring that which is important.

This year, more than ever before, there has been a movement of Christians against Christmas. For years, Satan sought to use ugly and nasty pagans to ruin Christmas. He was successful in removing a number of manger scenes, but he never accomplished more than that.

Then, he tried to over commercialize the holiday and make it all about money, gifts and parties. This had a huge effect on the mindset of the worldly and the pagan, but it did nothing at all to change the heart or the celebration of the born again child of God… Christians continued, as always, to worship God and remember the birth of their Savior on Christmas Day…

Recently, Satan has recruited a large number of Legalists and Judaizers, servants of Moses and the Law, to ruin Christmas for the Christian. This has not only turned out to be the most successful demonic campaign in history but the greatest recruiting tool the Judaizers have ever come across in history! Through this campaign they have been able to sever thousands of Christians from Christ and cause them to fall from grace. By the tens of thousands, they are abandoning Jesus Christ, the cross and the Blood to embrace Moses and the Law… Once free in Christ, they now make decisions based entirely on Law, guilt and fear…

Christians who have spent a lifetime free in Christ; celebrating Christmas in Christ, reading Scripture, praying and remembering the birth of their Savior are sitting at home, alone, miserable and frightened to death of dead pagans and ancient gods… They are paralyzed and useless. They have done exactly what Satan wanted them to do… they have taken the day out of the hand of God and given to him… That which they once considered to be holy… That which they had once dedicated to God is now given over to the enemy of their souls.

The first time I heard this cry to abandon Christmas, I was overwhelmed with guilt, fear and anxiety. But I know the voice of the Spirit of God… the quiet conviction that what I have done is wrong and the awareness of my need to repent and change… What I was feeling was not that… it was the screaming condemnation of the Devil…

No, Christ was not born on Christmas. No, Christmas is not in the Bible. Yes, pagans worship their gods on the Winter Solstice and yes, the Winter solstice this year, in Northern Hemisphere will be at 11:19 PM on Saturday, December 21 and that is close to Christmas. That is close enough to Christmas to make those who live in fear of ancient gods and dead pagans tremble.

What of the poor child actually born 11:19 PM on December 21st? Is he to be denied a birthday by the Law?

There are many people who do not know the date of their birth… Many Chinese orphans were abandoned by their mothers. No one knows the date of their birth. The Legalist and the Judaizer would argue that they should never be given a birthday party because if they get the date wrong, they will offend Moses… However, in fact, most of these people have chosen a date for their Birthday and they are not at all afraid to attend the party given in their honor or to receive the gifts given them. I do believe that God receives the gifts and the Worship afforded him on Christmas in like manner.

Let us speak of grace, the New Covenant and Scriptural principle…

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.

There is arrogance, superiority, assumed authority and bragging to be found in abundance among the Christmas Haters… They have found new truth and, by means of that truth have gained a moral superiority that grants them the right to condemn those who celebrate Christmas, pouring guilt, condemnation and fear on their heads, demanding that they join the Christmas haters in their self-imposed misery…

But two passages of Scripture talk to the freedom of the believer in this case.

Romans 14:

2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

All meat in Rome (and Corinth) was sold through butcher shops attached to pagan temples. Most of it had been offered in sacrifice to pagan gods… The weak in the faith… the baby Christian could not eat it because, to him, the gods were still very real, and the meat tainted. The strong in the faith understood what Paul teaches in…

1 Corinthians 8:

4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

The ancient gods and the long dead pagans have no authority over the Christian. They have no power to taint, change or ruin anything.

Paul teaches an important, New Testament truth in both Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8; that which is sin for one Christian may be perfectly okay for another. Under the New Covenant, God deals with the individual!!!

Romans 14:22 … Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

1 Corinthians 8: 7 However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.

That which is not of faith is sin… That deals with food but in the same place Paul writes:

Romans 14: 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

This principle applies to days and to many other issues…

This can and should be applied to the celebration of Christmas. If you have the faith to celebrate it, do so. If long dead pagans and ancient gods threaten you and offend your conscience, don’t celebrate Christmas…

There is a real rule here… The fact that the fear of dead pagans and ancient gods has offended your conscience and ruined the holiday for you does not now and never will give you the right to condemn those who can, in all good conscience, celebrate Christmas and worship God on that day…

Romans 14: 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,

And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

If you cannot celebrate Christmas, suffer in silence… you have absolutely no right to judge, pound, harangue, or pile guilt on the heads of those who have found freedom in Christ…

Think about it…

David…

Scriptural Principle and Christmas

Romans 14:2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Let me paraphrase that, change the subject while maintaining the principle…

One person’s faith allows them to celebrate Christmas, but another, whose faith is weak, celebrates only Hanukkah.

To those who would judge those who celebrate Christmas as being weak, let me say that the Scripture says that you have it backward.

The argument against eating meat was exactly the same kind of religious garbage and Paul rejected it. You will find that in Rome, every single butcher shop was attached to a pagan temple. All of the meat available had been sacrificed to a pagan deity. Those who were weak in the faith could not eat it because it was connected to idols. Having full faith in God, the strong in the faith realized that meat is meat, is meat and that for the Christian, the connection to the idols was of none effect; it was meaningless because God saw the heart, not the meat.

I would make the same argument that the strong in the faith can celebrate Christmas because God sees the heart and the ancient connection to pagan gods is of none effect.

I would highly suggest that even if you fear the spirits of Christmas, you refrain from condemning those who have the faith to celebrate the day. Paul goes on to write:

14:5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.

If I am convinced that God sees my heart and not the pagan connection, you have no right to judge me…

14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand…

Nonetheless, if you do fear the pagan connection, you would want to heed the final warning of the chapter…

14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin…

That speaks of food but the principle applies fully to the celebration of Christmas…

If you can, do. If you can’t, don’t…

That is the strongest of New Testament doctrine and principle…

Think about it…

David…

Israel Return Scriptures

Because I seem to have collected a few Antisemites who believe that Israel is the Devil’s work, a nation full of fake Jews and a people that God would never use and a place that will never see a Temple, a place apart from and unconnected to God or his Word, I repeat this article. I invite them to refute these passages one at a time until they have called them all a lie…

ISRAEL’S HISTORY

God is very, very, very clear that in the end days, He will gather the Jews from every corner of the earth and bring them back to the physical land of Israel… God, in no way is referring to Jews in various nations. He is saying that He will bring them back to the Land that He gave them, that that will be a miracle that leaves people in awe. It is the reestablishment of Israel that is the clear Biblical sign that the end is less than seventy years away. It is this Physical Israel… the political entity called Israel that all of prophecy speaks to… it is this physical and political entity that you will be blessed for blessing and cursed for cursing.

Israel’s history perfectly follows God’s plan as indicated in Deuteronomy 30:2-4, “And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: including the dispersion due to disobedience and regathering into the land because of the unchanging nature of the covenant.”

“Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, the baby will be born; the nation will come forth.” Isaiah 66:8

“He will raise a flag among the nations for Israel to rally around. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 11:12

“The time is coming when my people will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with her fruit!” Isaiah 27:6

“‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west and from north and south. I will bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. All who claim me as their God will come, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Isaiah 43:5-7

“‘But the time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.” Jeremiah 16:14-15

“For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it and live here again. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 30:3

“I will surely bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety.” Jeremiah 32:37

“Therefore, give the exiles this message from the Sovereign Lord: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile. I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you were scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.” Ezekiel 11:16-17

“When I bring you home from exile, you will be as pleasing to me as an offering of perfumed incense. And I will display my holiness in you as all the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:41-42

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. They will live safely in Israel and build their homes and plant their vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the Lord their God.” Ezekiel 28:25-26

“I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in lush mountain pastures.” Ezekiel 34:12-14

“And give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. I will unify them into one nation in the land. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations.” Ezekiel 37:21-22

“So now the Sovereign Lord says: I will end the captivity of my people; I will have mercy on Israel, for I am jealous for my holy reputation! They will accept responsibility for their past shame and treachery against me after they come home to live in peace and safety in their own land. And then no one will bother them or make them afraid. When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, my holiness will be displayed to the nations. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God – responsible for sending them away to exile and responsible for bringing them home. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my back on them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon them, says the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 39:25-29

“In that day I will restore the fallen kingdom of David. It is now like a house in ruins, but I will rebuild its walls and restore its former glory. And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do these things.

‘The time will come,’ says the Lord, ‘when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God. ‘Then they will never be uprooted again.'” Amos 9:11-15

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.” Zechariah 8:4-8

Ezekiel 16, more than any other chapter, speaks to God’s relationship with Israel. He speaks of Jerusalem as an Adulterous Wife but in the end, He goes back to His covenant and promises that in spite of all Her sins, He, God, will honor His covenant!

16 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. 5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a] 7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.

8 “‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.

9 “‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.

15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty.[b] 17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you—the flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord.

20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? 21 You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. 22 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood.

23 “‘Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign Lord. In addition to all your other wickedness, 24 you built a mound for yourself and made a lofty shrine in every public square. 25 At every street corner you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. 26 You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity. 27 So I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were shocked by your lewd conduct. 28 You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. 29 Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia,[c] a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied.

30 “‘I am filled with fury against you,[d] declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! 31 When you built your mounds at every street corner and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment.

32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.

35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, 37 therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see you stark naked. 38 I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. 39 Then I will deliver you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you stark naked. 40 They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. 42 Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.

43 “‘Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?

44 “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

53 “‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, 54 so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. 55 And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before. 56 You would not even mention your sister Sodom in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered. Even so, you are now scorned by the daughters of Edom[e] and all her neighbors and the daughters of the Philistines—all those around you who despise you. 58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the Lord.

59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on the basis of my covenant with you. 62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

David…