Archives For Discipleship

Job was a married man who was neither a Christian nor a Jew. God testified on two occasions that he was the most righteous man of his day (Job 1:8; 2:3).

Job did not live in a Christian or Jewish country, and we have no evidence that Job lived under a theocracy. What Job therefore tells us should be the role of civil authorities is profoundly important for a biblical understanding of what civil governments should and should not do.

In Job 31:9-11, Job speaks of what he believed would be the case had he as a married man committed adultery with another woman:

Job 31:9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door;

 10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.

 11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.

12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

Job specified that his having relations with a woman other than his wife, including his neighbor’s wife, would have been a heinous crime. As a righteous man, Job believed and taught that adultery was a horrific crime.

Job also made known that he believed that adultery was an iniquity that was “to be punished by the judges,” which shows that Job believed that civil authorities would rightly punish any such adulterous relations that he would have had. Because Job did not live in a Jewish country and as far as we know, he did not live under a theocracy, his giving this teaching provides vital revelation for what righteous people are to believe that civil authorities in any nation should do with those who commit adultery.

Based on this revelation that preceded the giving of the Mosaic Law by many hundreds of years, we learn that the Bible teaches that adultery is a heinous crime that civil governments are to punish. The Bible does not teach that adultery is a sin but not a crime.

“Always the Same” is a beautiful hymn by Ron Hamilton that extols how Jesus is unchanging. Recently, four of us from my church ministered this hymn as an oboe, cello, viola, and guitar quartet.

Ezekiel 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

What a sobering thought it is to have God tell us that He was broken with the “whorish heart” of His people who had departed from Him and with their eyes that had gone whoring after their idols!

When we think of the pain that we who are His people can bring to the heart of our God who loves us perfectly, how prayerful ought we to be that God would keep us from sinning against Him!

Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases even more, on building athletic and other recreational facilities, churches all over this country should be investing in having their own cemeteries so that they can provide for their own people and others to be buried both at much lower costs and with their brethren with whom they have shared so much of their lives.

John the Baptist, Jesus, Ananias and Sapphira, and Stephen were all buried by other believers who ministered to them at the ends of their lives. This biblical evidence points to a vital facet of how believers are to minister to one another.

Christians today should not choose cremation instead of burial because they are concerned about or unable to pay the expenses of burial. Instead, based on the biblical record, other believers should step in to provide for the burials of their brethren, whenever it is needed.

Churches, in particular, should take it upon themselves to see to it that they minister to all their members concerning the burials of their own who go to be with the Lord. Churches should have funds specifically set aside to help people in their congregations with their burial expenses, as needed. Special offerings can also be taken, with wealthier believers giving generously to help meet the final expenses of their brethren.

Scripture speaks of burial in at least 140 verses. An analysis of these verses reveals the profound importance of a proper burial.

The following listing is not in the order of the importance of each point.

Divine Commands for Burial

Deu 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

God commanded that a criminal who was hanged had to be buried. He did not authorize cremation of the criminal’s body—the criminal had to be buried.

Mat 8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Luk 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Jesus commanded that the people of whom He spoke about in this statement must bury their dead.

Divine Example of Burial

Deu 34:6 And he [God] buried him [Moses] in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

God did not bury the body of Moses to fulfill the cultural expectations that were prevalent at that time. God could have dematerialized Moses’ body in an instant, but He chose to bury him instead in a sepulcher.

Divine Favor of Burial

1Ki 14:13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.

Of all of Jeroboam’s children, only one would be buried because God judged him to be someone in whom there was found some good thing toward God. No one else of Jeroboam would be favored with the privilege of being buried.

Divine Judgment of Being Denied Burial

2Ki 9:10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.

As part of God’s fierce judgment on Jezebel, dogs would eat her and no one would bury her.

Jer 14:16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

God’s judgment on these wicked people would resulting in their being denied a burial.

Burial as the Proper Ending of Life

Ecc 6:3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.

Without a life of goodness that fills one’s soul and is consummated with a burial as the proper ending of a long life where one has begotten many children, it would be better to be miscarried than to ever have been born and lived.

Renown Bestowed on Providers of Burial

Eze 39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. 14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. 15 And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.

God specified that His people who would bury the vast hordes that He would slay would do so to their renown in the day that He would be glorified.

Divine Commendation of One Who Prepared Jesus’ Body for His Burial

Mat 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Jesus promised that Mary would be commended all over the world for what she did in preparing His body for burial.

Divinely Commissioned Proclamation of Burial as A Part of the Gospel Message

1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

The burial of Jesus Christ is a divinely ordained part of the gospel message that we are commanded to proclaim to the whole world. We must be faithful to proclaim the gospel that God has commissioned us to preach and testify.

Divine Instruction about Burial

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

When we are baptized, we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Those who have been buried with Him are the ones whom the Father raises to walk in newness of life.

In keeping with the spiritual realities of what God does when He saves us, we should be buried at the end of our physical lives in entrusting ourselves to be raised from the dead by our Father who judges righteously, even as Christ did.

Conclusion

As these many biblical considerations show, a proper burial is a profoundly important teaching of Scripture. Christians should not have anything to do with the pagan practice of cremation. As much as it is possible, they should honor God by being buried and by burying their own.

 

As an aged man, Daniel the prophet bravely faced the prospect of being thrown in a den of lions because he would not stop praying to God when a law had been passed that outlawed his doing so. When he was thrown into the den, God miraculously protected him all night long so that none of the lions harmed him in any way.

King Darius eagerly went to the den very early the next morning to see what had happened to Daniel. Daniel testified to the king that God had protected him from the lions:

Dan 6:21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

What Daniel testified to the king provides us with vital instruction that goes counter to what many believers today emphasize. Instead of emphasizing to a pagan king how gracious God had been to him to deliver him in spite of his continuing sinfulness as a believer, Daniel declared that God had spared him because Daniel was innocent of any wrongdoing before both God and the king.

Daniel thus gave what many believers today would regard as a shocking testimony that his own excellence in living a righteous life before God and man was the basis for why God spared him. We should learn from this shocking testimony of this exceedingly godly prophet that striving to live a blameless life before God and man is an essential matter for every believer, especially for those in public service.

We should also learn that it is a proper thing to testify to lost people that God has been good to us in part because we have striven to live righteously before Him. Giving such a testimony does not mean we are touting our own goodness in an ungodly way nor does it mean that we depend any less on the grace of God than do those believers who are always talking about the grace of God and constantly deprecating their own righteousness before God and man.

“Old MacDonald” is a favorite kids’ song that many children learn at an early age. “David Learned to Play the Harp” is sung to the same tune, but it teaches some biblical truth.

This PDF provides the melody notes, lyrics, and guitar chords to play this song in the key of C. You can practice playing and singing the song using the audio provided below.

David Learned to Play the Harp

David learned to play the harp;
Little did he know;
That one day God would use him to
Make a demon go.

With a note, note here,
And a chord, chord there,
Ev’rywhere, ev’ry day,
He would play a psalm, psalm.

David learned to play the harp,
pleasing his God so.

Copyright © 2017 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Hezekiah, Josiah, and Nehemiah were three of the greatest leaders ever over God’s people. Each was a prime mover on religious occasions of such a striking nature that those occasions featured God’s people recovering aspects of their worship that had been lost for many years.

Under Hezekiah, the Passover was observed in a manner that had not taken place since the time of Solomon:

2Ch 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.

Under Josiah, an even more noteworthy Passover was celebrated that hearkened back to the even earlier days of Samuel:

2Ch 35:18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Under Nehemiah, the people observed the Feast of Booths in a manner that had not been done since the even earlier time yet of Joshua.

Neh 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

Nehemiah thus recovered something of great value that neither Hezekiah nor Josiah did, even though both Hezekiah and Josiah were great, godly kings.

Interestingly, each of these leaders successively recovered aspects of proper worship that went back to an earlier time than the time of the aspects of worship recovered by those who preceded him.

Let us learn from the examples of these three great Jewish leaders that there may be aspects of proper worship that we need to recover in our day, aspects that hearken back to periods long ago when God’s people rightly worshiped Him in those aspects. Let us also be alert for situations in which we can recover aspects of the true spirituality of God’s people in even greater ways than our predecessors have who similarly recovered aspects of worship that God’s people have not properly observed for many years.

In the entire Bible, there is only one woman who is explicitly called a virtuous woman—Ruth (Ruth 3:11). The glory of her being such a woman provides glorious encouragement for all people in the following way.

When we consider that she was not born into a family that was among the people of God, but was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4) who was born into a family of idolaters (Ruth 1:15), how glorious is it that she yet became a virtuous woman in spite of her heritage, background, upbringing, etc! Ruth is thus a wondrous testimony of what God can do with the life of someone who was not born into highly favorable circumstances but yet came to trust in the true and living God!

Regardless of who you are or what your circumstances in life have been, trust in God and let Him glorify Himself through your life however He sees fit.