Category Archives: Old Testament

4 Quarantine Lessons from Judah

Judah spent 70 years in enforced confinement. You are spending weeks in quarantine, which is like enforced confinement. It’s not as bad but still restrictive. Ancient Judah has four lessons for you.

Things Don’t Always Go Your Way

Judah, and Israel before them, thought the future was bountiful. They lived in relative peace and went about their daily tasks in a comfortable routine (Amos 6:1). Suddenly, their expectations and hopes crumbled. Their hopes for a quiet life changed drastically.

Today, things are not going the way you expected, either. Three months ago, we were thinking about spring break, the end of the school year, graduations, and summer vacations. Major surgery only requires 6 to 8 weeks of recovery, but this is still dragging on.

Trouble Comes When You Don’t Expect It

Judah should have seen trouble coming; they missed it. Their northern cousins went into captivity over a hundred years earlier. Enemies attacked, but God always prevented their capture. Not this time. Their faithlessness was overwhelming. Babylon rolled into Judah and began resettling the people.

We should have seen this pandemic coming. Experts have warned of such an event for generations. The world has suffered through many devasting, illnesses including the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) of the 14th century. Smallpox killed half a billion of us before we conquered it in 1977. We were surprised, even though we shouldn’t have been.

Don’t Take the Presence of the Lord for Granted.

Babylon took Judah into captivity; separating them from the Temple. Since the Temple’s construction by Solomon in about 1000 BC, the people had enjoyed a strong visual reminder of the presence of God. It was the place of God’s high and holy name (2 Chronicles 6:18). Moses had commanded three visits to the Temple annually (Deuteronomy 16:16). They would be reminded of the Lord’s presence each time.

It is different for Christians. Our bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Christ lives in us (John 17:23; Galatians 2:20). We don’t have a Temple. The church building is just that, a building that meets the needs of the Christians. It is neither holy nor divine.

Still, the assembly together of saints is a vital part of our lives. We see the Lord living in the lives of one another in a way that is impossible with the disassembled assembly. Weekly worship assemblies become common. We may have been guilty of taking them for granted. I hope we will never do that again.

Reunion Will Be Sweet

Judah eventually left their restricted domicile. They returned to Jerusalem, rebuilt the destroyed Temple, and worshipped God according to his plan (Ezra 6:13–18). The Bible says they celebrated with “great Joy” (vs. 16).

When we assemble together physically, and we will, it will be a time of great joy and happiness. A day doesn’t pass that someone doesn’t mention how they miss the assembly of the church. Jesus wants his people to be together. In Acts 2, they were together and “from house to house.” That day is coming again.

We must remember these lessons and teach them to our children.

Government Is Not What It Is Supposed to Be

Government is not what it is supposed to be.

You are probably not shocked by that statement. Corruption, self-serving agendas, and widespread narcissism are so common that we barely notice when they arise. In Alabama, we are finding that some Sheriffs are pocketing money supposedly given them to feed inmates in the local lockup. At the state level, we’ve seen corruption scandals affecting our state representatives and senators. Nationally…we’ll not even go there.

Government is not what it is supposed to be.

Government is not what God wants it to be either.

It is not that laws, rules, or regulations are bad. They are needed. The Law of Moses provided both civic and spiritual laws so that the new nation, Israel, could survive, function and thrive. The problem comes from the people who make and enforce the laws.

The original plan – God’s plan – was simple. He, alone, would be their King. They would live in harmony with each other and would turn to faithful Judges to resolve disputes. One of those Judges was Deborah. She held court under a palm tree in central Israel (Judges 4:5).

This system probably had its origins in the days of Moses when, at the advice of his father-in-law, he appointed respected men from among the community to adjudicated cases brought by the people. A system of appeals was created with Moses at the top to hear only the most complicated cases (Exodus 18:17-27).

Things worked well for a long time. But then something changed.

The people decided that God’s plan was not right for them. They wanted a King to lead them. Samuel tells the sad story in 1 Samuel 8. Part of the problem was that Eli’s sons and now Samuel son’s were not faithful to God.

When Samuel laid the people’s request before God he received an unexpected reply:

“Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”

(1 Samuel 8:7 – emphasis mine).

Wow! Their rejection of God’s plan of governance was a rejection of God himself! The Lord continues to charge them with forsaking him and serving idols.  He warns them of what will happen:

  • Involuntary conscription into the King’s service (vss. 11, 13, 16, 17)
  • Swelling government bureaucracy (vs. 12)
  • Growing taxation (vss. 14, 15, 17)
  • Regret over their chosen governance (vs. 18)

Nevertheless, despite the warnings, the people wanted a king. Guess what? Every one of the warnings came true.

When God is no longer the king, trouble comes.

Today, God is no longer king. Today, God is even being pushed out of the public square. The result is corruption and evil at every turn.

So, what is a faithful Christian to do? Paul was clear:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

I will be the first to say that I do not always like the laws and rules we live under. But, as a Christian, I am bound to follow those laws so long as they do not interfere with my faith. It gets a little sticky here because so many of things big government does are anathema to me. I look to the example of the original Christians who lived, worked, worshiped, and evangelized under the heavy hand of Rome.

If the church could grow and prosper under rampant persecution from a pagan government, we can grow today too.

Government is not what it is supposed to be. Pray the church will be.

Psalm One

The beloved book of Psalms begins with a brief description of two kinds of people: the wicked and the righteous. Standing at opposite poles of humanity the sweet psalmist, David explains the blessings and the curses that befall each.

He notes the blessings of the righteous man defined negatively. The righteous is not like the wicked. Indeed, the two are so far apart as to be impossible to confuse. For David, there is no middle ground with a little good and a little bad. He is either/or, but not both.

The righteous man rejects the guidance of the wicked and gives no heed to their proddings. He will not conduct himself as a sinner nor occupy a place among the evil. No one will associate this righteous man with the wicked nor will he allow himself to be so grouped. There is no confusion for the righteous is unlike the wicked in every way (Psalm 1:1).

Positively, what marks the righteous? What sets him apart from the evil? The righteous have an intense love for the word of God. Of Psalm 1:2 the Septuagint translation says of the righteous that “his will is focused on the law of the Lord.” Other translations say that he “meditates” on God’s law day and night. The psalmist echoes this idea in Psalm 112:1 when he observes that a man who “delights in his commandments is blessed.” John, writing centuries later, said the man who keeps his commandments “abides in God” (1 John 3:2-4).O, that we all would come to love the gentle words of the Lord!

David also sees the righteous man as ever stable against the storms of life. “He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:3). This moving illustration is of a great tree that is always green and ready to give forth abundant fruit in its time. Whether in season or out,  this man is always stable and sturdy. James rebukes the faithless man who doubts and is splashed about like the waves of the sea. Then he declares blessings on the steadfast man (James 1:5-12). Likewise, our goal is to be firm and unwavering like this mighty tree. This tree remains fruitful because it is always supplied by life-giving water. There is no fear of drought, only a certainty of constant sustenance from the streams of water. This water is the “living water” of which Jesus spoke in John 4:10 ff. Like the constant, ongoing meditation and focus on God’s word, this constant watering brings strength and stability to the righteous.

Yet, more than stability, the righteous man prospers in all his work (Psalm 1:3). He will not prosper in any wicked endeavor for he does not pursue evil. His prosperity comes from his station within the law of the Lord. Apart from that law, there is no good to be had.

See now that David turns it all back upon the wicked who are not like this blessed man (Psalm 1:4). They are unstable, blown about like leaves before a spring breeze and cannot stand stable before God in judgment. We recall the words of David’s son, Solomon who said, “the way of the transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15, KJV). We do not want to be like the wicked who will perish!

When life becomes so difficult that we are sure to fail, we should consider if we have fallen into transgressions.

Notice again how David turns the discussion back upon the wicked. In Psalm 1:1 he says the righteous will not be found among the wicked. Now in Psalm 1:5 he says the wicked will not be found “in the congregation of the righteous.” You see, the Lord knows his people (John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19) and does not confuse them. And, because he knows us, he knows our paths and always watches over us. I find this first chapter of Psalms to be both an encouragement and a challenge. Remember, these are the words of God given through David’s inspiration. Listen! Hear his voice!


Deadly Ignorance

New TestamentNo activity or human pursuit equals Bible study. In no other field of human endeavor do we find such benefits as one discovers from studying the word of God. No field of study offers more hope to mankind than the Scriptures. Yet, few works are more neglected than personal Bible study. Likely there are many reasons, but none are valid. The lack of Bible knowledge is staggering. To make matters worse, American pulpits are full of shallow streams of spiritual thoughts which promote the drift away from God’s word toward a blend of man-centered thought and empty platitudes. The time to return to God’s word is now.[bctt tweet=”American Pulpits are empty of knowledge and full of empty platitudes. ” username=”Preachers_Study”]

      My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I also will forget your children (Hosea 4:6).

The beleaguered prophet spoke this message from the Lord. Israel, once a powerful people, were now reduced to servants. Why? Because they had forsaken a knowledge of God. As a result, they deserted His loving kindness and blessings for lawlessness. While there is “no knowledge of God in the land” (vs. 1), there is “swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery.” (vs. 2). God’s word is no longer the standard of truth. Instead, they “inquire of a piece of wood and their walking staff gives them oracles: (Hosea 4:12). Instead, Hosea says, they have “left their God to play the whore” (Hosea 4:12)!

The resulting punishment for their idolatry is the reason he declares Israel and Judah destroyed. The root of it all is their lack of knowledge.

Others before me have decried the illiteracy that plagues God’s people today. In an age where knowledge is so accessible, we starve for a basic understanding of The Lord’s plans, intents, and directives for our lives. We have become infected with good sounding false teachings because we do not know enough to discern truth from error.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

While cursing and punishments follow the ignorant, blessing falls upon those who hunger for God’s righteousness. In Psalm 63:1, David cries, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you.” Later in Psalms, we read of the satisfied soul, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9). As if foreshadowing the Beatitudes the psalmist declares that God satisfies the hungry.

All we know of God’s love, mercy, and grace, we know from the Bible. Salvation is unknown apart from the revealed word of God. In our joy and thanksgiving let us turn to the Scriptures to deepen our knowledge of him. Let us drink deeply from the ever flowing waters of truth and be filled with his knowledge. Only then will we truly appreciate his love. Only then can we discern good from evil. Only then will our lives become saturated with his truth.


Upside Down Christianity

upside down christianityChristianity is struggling because we have turned our understanding of God upside down. God no longer reigns but is relegated to a genie in a bottle that we call on when we are in trouble. Today, God serves Christians instead of the other way around. Deep divisions exist within Christianity. Worship is performance directed at the pews instead of heaven. God should appreciate our worship, no matter how we give it to him!

Israel had a similar problem and was rebuked by Isaiah:

You turn things upside down!

shall the potter be regarded as the clay, 

that the thing made should say of its


“He did not make me”;

or the thing formed say of him who formed it,

“He has no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16)

The modern brand of Christianity will never be approved by God as long as it targets men and not the Divine.

Until we set things aright with God, Christianity will continue to decline. There will be fewer adherents exerting less and less influence in a devilish world. We are the servants of the Most High. Not the other way around.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.

Books of Samuel (1 Samuel & 2 Samuel) – Know the Book

The books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel follow Ruth in the Old Testament canon. Understanding Ruth as a break in the flow of the Israelite chronology, we see the Books of Samuel continuing the sad story of Israel’s movement away from God. However, 1 Samuel opens with a hopeful story of change. Unfortunately, that change doesn’t bring the needed change of heart. Judges closes with the comment, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). 1 Samuel opens with the coming birth of the priest, prophet and judge, Samuel.

Samuel soon replaces the weak priest, Eli, and his corrupt sons. For a moment it seems as though Israel is back on track. But Samuel stumbles in much the same way as Eli. He is a weak father and raises rebellious sons. The people ostensibly are fearful of accepting his sons as their future judges so, as Samuel ages, they demand a king “like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). terribly displeased by the demand Samuel is told by God to allow  them a king. In a foreboding comment God tells Samuel, “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). In my judgment, this is the key verse of 1 Samuel. The implications of their rejection of God would lead to immediate consequences but to problems humanity faces today.

What follows next is the story of King Saul, the first monarch over a united Israel. 1 Samuel traces his humble beginnings, his rise to royal superiority, his two major sins which cost him and his family the kingdom, and finally his death in the final chapter. It is in 1 Samuel that we meet David, son of Jesse. Herein, David is anointed by Samuel to be king after Saul. But David is forced to flee when Saul directs his rage at David and seeks to kill him. As the book of 1 Samuel comes to a close, David is still an exile and living among the Philistines. Saul and his son Jonathan are killed in battle and their bodies disgraced by the Philistines. 1 Samuel is an unhappy picture of Israel’s first experience with a monarch.

2 Samuel

2 Samuel Bible2 Samuel could have been named “David.” The book is a continuation of the history of the monarchs begun in 1 Samuel. This book deals almost exclusively with David, his rise to power and the consolidation of his rule. We also are shown the dysfunctional nature of David’s own family.

As the book opens, David learns of the death of Saul. Although Saul pursued David and sought to kill him, David always showed humility towards God’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:6; 2 Samuel 1:11, 12). David is next make King of Judah, not the entire nation. A son of Saul would serve as the puppet King of Israel. Son, the puppet king was killed and David was made King over all 12 tribes (c.f. 2 Samuel 5:1-5).

After an abortive attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, David succeeds. Israel has peace all around (2 Samuel 7:1). The peace is short-lived and Israel again battles the Philistines and the Ammonites.  This later war is the background for a tragic milestone in the life of David. While the battle rages, David consorts with Bathsheba and to this adulterous union a child is born. To cover his sin David resorts to scheming which eventually leads to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. David thinks his sin his covered but is soon confronted by the courageous Nathan, a prophet of God. The consequences of the sin cause the death of the child and a never-ending conflict within David’s own family.

Soon comes the incestuous rape of David’s daughter by his son Amnon (half-brother to the victim Tamar).  Another son, Absalom (brother to Tamar and half-brother to Amnon) avenges the rape by killing Amnon two years later. Absalom flees but later returns to Jerusalem. In time, he will lead a civil war to dethrone his father David. David briefly flees Jerusalem but soon Absalom is killed and the kingdom restored to David. We note that despite his sins, David was still a man after God’s own heart. His penitent heart, although imperfect, pleased God. As 2 Samuel ends, David is found worshiping God and being blessed by Him.

Technical Details

1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were often included with 1 Kings and 2 Kings. In fact, the similarity between the four books produced a division once labeled as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kingdoms. ((Archer, Gleason, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 1994))

1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were written somewhere between the 8th and 10th century BC. The books offer no direct claim of authorship. However conservative scholars generally hold that Samuel, perhaps along with prophets Nathan and Gad worked together to author the books. Jews assert the authority of the books from ancient times. Whomever the physical author(s), the Holy Spirit is behind the authorship. Some non-canonical sources may have been used at the direction of the Holy Spirit. 2 Samuel 1:18 references the book of Jashar. ((Bergen, Robert D. 1, 2 Samuel. Vol. 7. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary)) Use of existing sources is not troublesome and his common across both the Old Testament and the New.  Scholars with a low view of Scripture frequently assert that Bible books are little more than collections of various community writings and oral traditions. We do not deny the use of sources but, again, any material used would have the approval of the Holy Spirit.

These two books offer strong historical reporting of the earlier days of the monarchy. But they also show Jehovah working carefully in human history to bring about his will and his plans. The pattern of blessing and cursing is instructive to Christians today.

Your comments are welcomed and desired.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.





What Has Been Done, Will Be Done


Solomon nailed it:

      “What has been is what will be,

      and what has been done is what will be done,

      and there is nothing new under the sun. “ (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Everything we see and marvel at today is old news. It has happened before and will continue to happen over and over.  Irish statesman Edmund Burke expanded the idea with his famous statement that “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  The Old Testament, with its history of the ups and downs of God’s people, is more important in light of Solomon’s and Burke’s assertions. By observing the Israelite successes and failures, we learn to avoid the bad and accentuate the good.

One feature of Israelite life was the infamous cycle of disobedience. Although present from their Sinai beginnings, the cycle is most evident during the period of the Judges. In Judges 2:11-23 we see a divine explanation of the problem. Israel departed from God’s law and began to serve idols. God punished them by the hand of the remaining pagan nations. They would cry out to the Lord for deliverance and he would raise up judges to deliver them. Typically, they remained faithful for many years and then drifted back into their old ways. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Over and over.

The pattern is seen again in Judges 3:7-11 and in passage after passage. A reader is inclined to think that Israel must have been mentally deficient in some way. Why else would they persist in behaviors they knew were sinful and would bring the wrath of God upon them and their children?

“what has been done, will be done”

Solomon’s message explodes with meaning now. The Israelite sin is our sin! They are us and we are them! The only difference is that our punishment does not come as quickly and as obviously as theirs. In a sense, Israel was blessed because their sin and punishment were constantly before them. We are lulled into a deadly sleep of comfort that soothes our conscience. Danger lies ahead just a certainly as wicked nations lay in wait for Israel.

Paul says we are not to sleep for we are children of the day. We are to be alert, sober and prepared for the coming of our Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:5-11).

History is repeating itself. Each day the same struggles arise. Let us learn from the troubles of those before us and let us resolve to be prepared for those same troubles when they come our way.



Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Monday Memo – Enoch

I guess that of all Bible characters, Enoch is the most curious. We know little about him but what we do know is exciting and encouraging.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.  Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24)

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5)

These two verses tell us just about everything we know about this great man. However, there is plenty here to consider and contemplate.

Enoch was a real, mortal man.

Enoch lived during a period when mankind reached extraordinary ages. His father lived 962 years and his son, Methuselah, 969 years. “Young” Enoch lived on earth a paltry 365 years. While these ages are extreme they should not be so surprising to the Bible student. If God can create the world from nothing, he can sure create old men! But we note here that Enoch had a very human beginning in his father Jared. He had a wife and he fathered a son. Enoch was not an angel and possessed no superhuman abilities. He was no more divine that anyone else who lived in his day.

His humanity is important because we share the same design. Like Jared, Enoch and Methuselah we are all flesh and blood. We are born in the natural way through the joining of a man and woman. We struggle with physical and spiritual ailments just like they did. Yet we do not share in the same end. Despite his human frailties, Enoch did not taste death!

Enoch was pleasing to God

There is nothing better on a grave marker than “He pleased God.” Such was the epitaph of Enoch (Hebrews 11:5). I try to please my wife, my children, my neighbors and my church family. But the single most important act is to be found pleasing unto God. Nothing matters more. James is pretty clear, “…whoever chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4, TNIV) Enoch cast his lot with the Creator. As such, he is  the one bright spot between his ancestor Abel and the Great flood.

If Enoch could be pleasing to God during a time of deepening depravity (c.f. Genesis 6:5,6), we can be pleasing too. While we are busy making excuses about how busy we are and how demanding our jobs are, the world is spinning away. People are dying without Jesus and culture becomes more and more corrupt. What if the modern world had a few Enoch’s around?

Enoch was not

That phrase in Genesis is unexpected; it hits you square in the face with its implication. Enoch was not. Enoch stopped. Enoch ceased to exist here. All of the others in the chapter 5 genealogy end with the phrase, “and he died.” But not Enoch. Enoch was not. What does that mean? The text simply says that God took him. Enoch did not face death and all of its attendant pains. God was so enthralled with Enoch that he took him on home. Someone, not me, once remarked that Enoch and God walked together. One day, they were closer to heaven than earth and God said, “why don’t you come home with me?” And Enoch agreed.

Enoch was one of only two people in the Bible who did not see death. The other was Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). ((No, Melchizedek is not a third. The passage in Hebrews 7:3 does not mean that Melchizedek was eternal, but that’s another post.)) It is a stunning honor to  be counted worthy of avoiding the darkness of death. One day, Enoch was just gone.

Enoch walked with God

Here is the answer to all questions about Enoch. He walked with God (Genesis 5:24). It’s such a simple compliment. But what exactly does it mean? How does one walk with a spirit? God is pictured in Eden as walking in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). God promised to walk among the Israelites (Leviticus 26:12). How does one do that?

We walk with God when we spend time talking with him. We must be in agreement with him and we must be willing to follow him where he leads us. If the Lord points to the south, we cannot walk to the north. Walking to the east or even the southeast will put more distance between us. We must walk precisely where he goes and where he leads.

That is the secret of Enoch’s life. He stayed always with God. He did not veer off but remained in step with his Creator. As such, he was abundantly rewarded.  What does God have in store for those who walk with him today? I leave you with the words of Isaiah:

For of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4 / 1 Corinthians 2:9)


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Desperately Seeking Vashti: Three Lessons from a Deposed Queen

351px-Paolo_Veronese_-_The_Banishment_of_Vashti_-_WGA24786Vashti was beautiful to behold but today is overlooked and stands in the shadow of Esther. We must give Vashti her due.

Vashti is only mentioned in the first part of Esther.  Yet she leaves a legacy worthy of imitation for women today. ((I know modesty applies to men too but Vashti is especially well suited for women. ))

Vashti is queen to King Ahasureus of the Persian Empire. She lives about 500 year before the coming of Jesus. It is speculated that she was a granddaughter to one of the prior Medo-Persian kings but that cannot be verified. She gives a feast for the noble women of the kingdom while her husband does likewise for the men. Days of drinking and debauchery accompanied such parties especially for the men.

A week into the feast the king demands that Vashti come before the men to display her beauty. Some Jewish rabbinical writings assert she was to present herself nude or perhaps dressed only in her crown. The Bible is not that specific but it is clear she was to present herself in some immodest way before a room full of drunks.

Vashti refused.

Such a refusal is stunning in the 5th century BC. Women had almost no rights and the King was sovereign. Her refusal could cost her life. Instead, she was removed as queen and she disappears into history. But let’s give Vashti credit for standing up to the wicked intents of a powerful King.

There are at least three lessons here for women today.

Vashiti Knew That Modesty Never Goes Out of Style

As Queen, Vashti would have been the most beautifully dressed woman in the nation. She was a trend-setter of the day. It is clear from Esther 1:16-18 that her conduct was watched by other women in the kingdom. She set the standard. By refusing the King’s order she sent a message that the style of the day was modesty.

It’s clear today that others think the opposite: Immodesty never goes out of style.

Rising hemlines, plunging necklines and revealing clothes are the standard for our day and have been for many years. We have allowed the godless to set the rule for our daughters and the result is an ever increasing sexuality among younger and younger children. A modest, well dressed woman is beautiful and need not make a spectacle of herself in order to be attractive. Modesty must be our standard.

Vashti Knew That Someone Is Always Watching

Vashti was a queen and we are not surprised the women were watching her. People watch celebrities today and dress like them. But even among us common folk, people watch what we wear and will take cues as to what is acceptable.

Vashti was brave enough to set a standard for the nation. She was on the world’s stage and she knew how to influence the women of the kingdom. She knew more would be watching her than the King and his drunken buddies. She chose to send a message to them all.

You are sending messages by what you wear. And ladies, please remember, you are sending a message to your daughters too.

Someone once said that it was not her problem if a man lusted after her. She could wear what she wanted. Yet that attitude runs afoul of a multitude of clear Biblical teachings including the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and Paul’s discussions of loving the brethren (Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33). Someone is always watching.

Vashti Would Bow to No Man

The idea that a woman is to be submissive to her husband is Biblical. But submissive does not extend to humiliation or sin. No man has a right to demand that his wife do anything that humiliates her or causes her to sin – not in public and not in private.

Some men demand their wives dress in revealing clothing as if to display their trophies to the world. A woman is under no compulsion to parade about publically in an immodest way. The Bible teaches that husbands are to loves their wives “as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ would never demand sin of his people would he?

Your body, your beauty, belongs to you. Vashti would not share her beauty with the drunken company of the King. Let’s learn from her.

 Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Chasing Nothing

360px-Vetrny_mlyn_Stary_PoddvorovSolomon knew something about vanity. The third king of Israel repeatedly declared almost everything in life to be a “vanity of vanities” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He knew that most things in life bring only brief pleasure. Even good things like hard work only produces goods for someone else to enjoy (Ecclesiastes 2:18). His thoughts, in Ecclesiastes, seem dismal and depressing to the modern mind. There is nothing good to be done except to serve God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Anything else is vanity.

More than just the end results, it is the pursuit of all these things that is futile. Solomon describes those pursuits as a chasing after the wind. Nine times in the book he speaks of “chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:4, 17, 2:11, 17, 26, 4:4, 6, 16, 6:9, NIV). It is the idea of chasing something that cannot be caught. A man can never catch the wind and if he could he could never hold on to it. It is ever moving and always shifting. To chase wind is a fool’s errand.

So many of our pursuits are empty. Even if we achieve our goals we are often left with a sense of futility. We discover that our efforts have yielded nothing worthwhile. Consider our modern pursuit of wealth. We work harder and longer to earn more money and but never reach contentment. “He who loves money will not be satisfied” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

While some work hard, others play hard. They seek fulfillment through wine and good times. Solomon tried that too and found it lacking. He says he allowed himself whatever his eyes desired and yet, it too was vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:11). So many today like to work hard and play even harder but they too find only short term enjoyment. Even sin brings brief enjoyment (Hebrews 11:25) but there is always the consequence of our actions.

Solomon was spot on when he finally figured it out. There is only one thing that matters: “Fear God and keep his commandments.” That comes from Ecclesiastes 12:13. Notice the reason for his conclusion in verse 14. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” We pursue the one thing that has value, the one thing that has everlasting purpose. We pursue God.

Keep these thoughts in mind the next time you take a pass on Bible study or on serving God. It could change your pursuits drastically.