After Samuel had anointed Saul, he uttered a striking prophetic declaration of what would shortly happen to Saul:

1 Samuel 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

Concerning what it reveals about music, this passage is significant for several reasons.

First, it shows that more than two years (cf. 1 Sam. 13:1) before David came to the forefront as a uniquely skilled musician in Israel (1 Sam. 16:14-23), God already had a group of prophets among His people who were sacred musicians who ministered with music for Him! As prophets, these men were specially chosen, anointed, and empowered servants of God on whom He had put His Spirit; these musicians undeniably therefore knew fully how to play sacred music that pleased God.

Second, the verse speaks about the prophetic use of three different kinds of instruments: stringed (psaltery, harp); percussion (tabret); and wind (pipe). The verse, therefore, shows the legitimacy of using each of these kinds of instruments for sacred uses.

Third, the verse mentions two stringed instruments but only one each of the other two kinds of instruments. The greater number and variety of stringed instruments versus percussion or wind instruments points to the greater importance of stringed instruments in sacred activities.

Fourth, the verse does not make any mention of singing. Although the lack of mention of singing does not definitively show that there was no singing by those in this prophetic company, the explicit mention of multiple musical instruments and no mention of singing stresses the importance of the use of musical instruments in sacred ministry.


See also A Prophet, A Minstrel, and Resolving Today’s Worship Wars

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Let all mankind hear and heed what God has said:

Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Rev. 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Gathered church worship is our offering up together to God the Spiritual, devotional responses of which He alone is worthy.

—Pastor Mark Minnick

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture reveals a vast number of comparative statements and superlatives that instruct us in various ways to hold that there are things that are superior to other things in their same categories. Meditating on such statements has provided me with several important insights that I hope to present in at least one future post.

I encourage very careful examination and contemplation of the following compilation of such statements.

Gen. 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

Num. 18:12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

Jdg. 8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?

Ps. 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Ps. 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Exodus 30:23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels

Cant. 4:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

Cant. 7:9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

Ezek. 27:22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

Gen. 47:6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

Gen. 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

Exod. 22:5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

1 Sam. 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

1 Ki. 21:2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.

Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:

 

Num. 18:29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.

Num. 18:30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.

Num. 18:32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

1 Sam. 2:29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

1 Sam. 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

1 Sam. 15:15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

1 Ki. 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

2 Ki. 5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

 

1 Sam. 21:9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

2 Chr. 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

Lk. 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

2 Kings 20:13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Amos 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Est. 2:9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.

 

1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Heb. 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Heb. 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Heb. 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Heb. 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Heb. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Students in a college math class take an exam that has many story problems that they must solve correctly. Getting back their graded tests, many students in the class go the dean and complain that the teacher (who wrote all the problems herself) has a wrong understanding of what the problems say and what the right answers to the problems are.

The students say that what the teacher says the problems set forth is only her interpretation and argue that her interpretation of the wording of the problems is wrong. What’s more, the students even disagree among themselves what the story problems mean and what the right answers to the problems are.

In her defense, the teacher says that she has been giving the same test with the same problems for 15 years. She points out that no students prior to the students in this class have ever tried to say that the teacher’s understanding of the meaning of the story problems is wrong and that her answers are wrong.

The dean says that he agrees with the teacher but tells the teacher that she must also accept as correct the differing understandings and answers of the current students who disagree with her interpretation of the wording of the problems. He says that she has to do that because these students are all top athletes in the school’s athletic programs and their families donate vast amounts of money to the school every year.

The teacher refuses so she is fired because the dean does not want to have problems with the wealthy donor parents of the students who complained. Even the local and national media go along and make an example of the teacher by mocking her as unable to understand the meanings of the wording of the problems.

A Revealing Comparison to What Many Seek to Do in Biblical Interpretation

The hypothetical scenario presented above has many plain parallels to what I believe routinely takes place among many professing believers concerning the interpretation of many passages of Scripture. It also points to the absurdity of the claims of many that those passages could actually correctly mean all the differing things that the people with differing interpretations of them say that they mean.

Most importantly, consider what believers who take such approaches are ultimately saying about God, the perfect Teacher and Author of all Scripture. Was God really not able to say clearly and exactly what He wanted to say in the Bible? Are there really many different correct interpretations of many passages of Scripture?

Application

We must take great care not to be intellectually dishonest before God in our handling of Scripture. God has said what He wanted to say.

We must approach biblical interpretation with the unassailable belief that He intends for us to know what He has said. There certainly are not many different correct interpretations of Scripture passages.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

A friend recently called my attention to a blog post by Pastor Brian Fuller, “A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle.”1 In the post, he assails certain fundamentalists whom he has judged to be in sin because of their efforts to direct people’s attention to certain highly disputed theological and practical issues.

Having read his piece several times, I am compelled to make what I believe is a necessary response to his post. I am going to limit my response to him in this post to the one point that I believe most needs to be made prior to my possibly addressing in the future other issues with his post.

Unhelpful and Unedifying Use of Inflammatory Rhetoric

Choosing to title his piece, “A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle,” and speaking of believers as using their “dog whistles” to “screech” plainly shows that Pastor Fuller was not properly mindful of how his words would come across to the very people to whom he apparently thinks that he has made a substantive and gracious (?) appeal.

Immediately upon encountering this title, it was clear to me that this post was not the edifying offering of an obedient servant of the Lord who had given much careful thought to vital divine instruction about how to engage in such ministry:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

I urge Pastor Fuller to give serious attention to his unhelpful and unedifying use of such inflammatory rhetoric in his post and to take whatever public steps are needed to make right this unrighteous public conduct by a minister of Christ.


1A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle (scriptureandplainreason.com)

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

As a Christian, I passionately hate the practice of cremating human bodies. God’s people should hate and reject cremation for many reasons, including the following:

—Cremation is a horrifically unnatural and unfitting approach to the final disposition of the bodies (especially the bones) of our dead loved ones.

—Christian acceptance of cremation is teaching God’s people to devalue the sanctity of the bones of their dead loved ones.

The proper disposition of human bones is not to burn and smash them in the horrifically gruesome and dishonoring practice of cremation.

God’s people should not cremate their loved ones!


See also Ezekiel 39: A Test Case for Certain Notions about Cremation versus Burial | A People for His Name

Burial Was Not a Jewish Cultural Practice in the OT

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

While working on a project today, I ran into a problem with data in a spreadsheet that had the names of states fully spelled out instead of abbreviated. A brief search on the internet for a vba macro to do the task did not produce any results in the first page of hits.

Not finding such a macro, I decided to write my own using Select Case . . . End Select, and it worked perfectly!

VBA Macro to Abbreviate State Names

Sub AbbreviateStateNames()

‘Created by Rajesh Gandhi apeopleforhisname.org 4/5/2024

‘State names in column 5

Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Application.EnableEvents = False

lrow = ActiveSheet.Cells(Rows.Count,1).End(xlUp).Row ‘finds how many rows have data in the spreadsheet

For i = 2 To lrow

sn = Cells(i, 5).Value2

Select Case sn

Case “Alabama”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “AL”
Case “Alaska”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “AK”
Case “Arizona”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “AZ”
Case “Arkansas”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “AR”
Case “California”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “CA”
Case “Colorado”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “CO”
Case “Connecticut”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “CT”
Case “Delaware”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “DE”
Case “Florida”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “FL”
Case “Georgia”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “GA”
Case “Hawaii”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “HI”
Case “Idaho”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “ID”
Case “Illinois”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “IL”
Case “Indiana”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “IN”
Case “Iowa”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “IA”
Case “Kansas”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “KS”
Case “Kentucky”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “KY”
Case “Louisiana”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “LA”
Case “Maine”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “ME”
Case “Maryland”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MD”
Case “Massachusetts”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MA”
Case “Michigan”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MI”
Case “Minnesota”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MN”
Case “Mississippi”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MS”
Case “Missouri”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MO”
Case “Montana”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “MT”
Case “Nebraska”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NE”
Case “Nevada”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NV”
Case “New Hampshire”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NH”
Case “New Jersey”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NJ”
Case “New Mexico”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NM”
Case “New York”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NY”
Case “North Carolina”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “NC”
Case “North Dakota”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “ND”
Case “Ohio”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “OH”
Case “Oklahoma”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “OK”
Case “Oregon”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “OR”
Case “Pennsylvania”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “PA”
Case “Puerto Rico”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “PR”
Case “Rhode Island”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “RI”
Case “South Carolina”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “SC”
Case “South Dakota”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “SD”
Case “Tennessee”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “TN”
Case “Texas”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “TX”
Case “Utah”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “UT”
Case “Vermont”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “VT”
Case “Virginia”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “VA”
Case “Washington”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “WA”
Case “West Virginia”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “WV”
Case “Wisconsin”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “WI”
Case “Wyoming”
Cells(i, 5).Value2 = “WY”

End Select

Next i

Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Application.EnableEvents = True

End Sub

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Acronyms are useful tools for conveniently and repeatedly referring to longer expressions. Through my intense biblical and theological studies over the past 12 or so years, I am convinced that we can only come to greater unity and work toward ending the so-called worship wars by rigorously examining what Scripture says that pertains to what we should believe about two key realities that apply to all human beings: the image of God in man and common grace.

To that end, I think that a good way to speak about the combined force of these two realities is to speak about all people as being “commonly graced image bearers.” Instead of using this long phrase repeatedly, I am going to start using the acronym “CGIB” in my writing and speaking.

Thoughts?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Calculating how fast you need to walk a certain distance on a treadmill in order to walk at a certain average speed can be challenging to figure out with just a calculator. I created a chart that makes some of those calculations unnecessary: “Aerobic Fitness Time and Speed Chart“!

The chart covers times from 36-60 minutes (in 1/2-minute increments) and distances of 2-4 miles (in increments of 1/10 of a mile). (The top row shows how many laps you have to walk around a 1/4-mile track to walk the distances listed in the Distance (in miles) row of the chart.)

The following examples show some of the ways that you can use the chart.

How Far You Need to Walk in 50 Minutes on A Treadmill to Average Walking at 4 MPH

Suppose that you want to walk on a treadmill for 50 minutes, including 6 minutes each for your warm-up and cool-down times. You want to average at least 4 mph for the entire 50 minutes.

In the row for 50 minutes, go to the right until you find a speed that is as close to 4 mph as possible (4.08 mph in the column for 3.4 miles). According to the chart, therefore, you would have to walk at least 3.4 miles total in those 50 minutes in order to average at least 4 mph for the entire 50 minutes.

Seeing How Fast You Walked 2.7 Miles

Suppose that you walked 2.7 miles in 43 minutes. On the first column go down to the row for 43 minutes. Then go across that row until you are in the column that has 2.7 miles in the top row to find that you walked at 3.77 mph.

Walking 50 Minutes at 4 MPH

Suppose that you have an hour for exercise and want to walk briskly on an 1/4-mile outdoor track at 4 mph. Not counting 3-minute warm-up and cool-down times, you have at the most 54 minutes that you want to walk at 4 mph.

According to the chart, you would have to cover 3.6 miles on the track in 54 minutes. Since it is a 1/4-mile track, you would have to do about 14 1/2 laps around the track in that time.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.