Sexual Perversion and Idol Worship

idol worship

Idolatry pervaded Judah and Israel under their first Kings, Jeroboam  from the beginning and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, at the end. In 1 Kings 14, God details the decline.

22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.

23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

The idols reside at the top of hills so that they can be seen and worshipped from a distance. Groves is the translation for Asherah, the fertility goddess. Why the fertility goddess? Because ritual sex had become part of the idolatrous service. One of the stone idols in the figure below is called an Asherah pole.  Notice the phallic shape. The same form is achieved by trimming the branches from a tree.

asherah stone

24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

Continuing the sexual theme, there were male and female prostitutes integrated into the religious services. Perverted sex during idolatrous service is described by God as part of the “abominations of the nations”.

King Asa, Rehoboam’s  son, eradicated the idol worship but left the high places in 1 Kings 15.

And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.

10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.

The good kings by doing what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” , but the wicked kings do what is “evil in the sight of the Lord”.

12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

King Asa drove out the male and female prostitutes in addition to destroying the idols. Even his mother, the Queen, had to be removed and her idol burned, a wood idol in the grove.

13 And also, Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless, Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.

The places of worship remained but the images and people were gone.  This pleased God greatly.

Idolatry and sexual perversion recur regularly in the Old Testament.

 

 

Dimensional Perspective

solomontemple

Solomon built his palace adjacent to God’s temple, dwarfing the house of God. The height was the same, but the front porch was 2.5 times wider and the footprint of the building was over 8 times larger than the temple. Visitor’s eyes were captivated by the palace first.

The temple was only 1340 sq. /ft., which is the size of a small 2-3 bedroom ranch style house. Our first home was about this size originally. The side view of the temple was shaped like a saltine cracker, 45 feet by 45 feet. A 45-foot ceiling  magnifies the height in a footprint this small.

Reference 1 Kings 6:2 for the dimensions of the temple

Solomon’s house was massive. It contained over 11,000 sq. /ft. on the ground floor (1/4 acre), along with a 45-foot ceiling. The awestruck visitors were engulfed by the copious accommodations.

Reference 1 King 7:2 for dimensions of Solomon’s house

For perspective, I compared the dimensions of Noah’s ark to the temple and Solomon’s house. The ark was 450 feet long (1.5 football fields in length) by 75 feet wide by 45 feet tall. Notice the height of the ark is the same as the temple and Solomon’s house. The main deck of the ark was about 34,000 sq./ft (3/4 acre). Since ship decks are not rectangular the number would be smaller, but less than 10%. He probably had 2-3 decks under the main deck. If he had two decks below the main then there was 1.25 to 1.5 acres for animals and food for 40 days. If he had 3 decks below, then there were about 2 acres available. How he separated the wild animals from the tame animals on the ark to prevent some of the predators being predators is another story.

When reading the bible it’s interesting to relate the dimensions and scale to our reality.

Note: My calculations are below. If you see any errors then let me know.

 

Solomon’s house L- 100 x W- 50 x H- 30 (cubits) 150x75x 45 (cubit = 1.5 ft.)

Temple – L- 30 x W- 20 x H-30 (cubits) 45 x 30 x 45 (cubit = 1.5 ft.)

Footprint

House – 5000 sq. cubits 11,250 sq. /ft. (about ¼ acre)

Temple – 600 sq. cubits 1350 sq. /ft. (about .03 acre)

House was 8x the footprint of the temple

Noah’s ark – L- 300 x W- 50 x H- 30 (cubits) 450 x 75 x 45 (feet)

Footprint of main deck – approximately 34000 sq. /ft. (about 3/4 acre)

Hearing Heart

hearing heart

In 1 Kings 3, God visits King Solomon in a dream. This discussion will set the tone for how he will reign as king. God asks him a poignant question, “What do you want from me?”

In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

Solomon is honored and humbled to be King David’s heir.

And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

Solomon reflects on his weaknesses, shortcomings, and overwhelming responsibilities.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

Solomon asks for an understanding heart, which literally means hearing heart. Solomon is asking God for the ability to hear from Him so that he can obey His instructions and directions. He’s requesting God’s revelation. Solomon is hungry for God’s thoughts and ways.

10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

God grants him the desire of his heart because he was pleased with Solomon’s response.

13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

14 And if you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

The blessings of riches, honor, and a long life resulted from his answer are conditional on obeying God’s word. Solomon was a blessed man, one of the wisest that ever lived. Later in life he stops obeying God which culminates in the Kingdom of Israel is dividing after he dies — never to be reunited.

 

Samaritans

Good Samaritan

Where is Samaria and who are the Samaritans? We’ll first explore the history of Samaria and then the significance of the people.

Samaria

Israel was a united nation under King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. Solomon was one of the wisest men that ever lived, but possessed a weak character. He violated God’s commandments in Deuteronomy 17:16-17 by indulging in idolatry, wealth, and women (300 wives and 700 concubines). In 1 Kings 11:4, Solomon’s wives turned his heart after other gods. They came from gentile nations, maintaining their idolatrous ways, which influenced Solomon. He incurred the wrath of God for idolatry resulting in the punishment of a divided kingdom after his death. In 1 Kings 11:30-34, God removes 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Ten of the tribes revolted against Rehoboam, David’s son, as the King of Israel. This revolt resulted in a split of the kingdom. The northern kingdom composed of ten tribes is called Israel. The southern kingdom composed of two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) is called Judah. (See map below).

Israel-Judah map

Jeroboam, the king of Israel, corrupted the worship of God by turning to idolatry. His infamous legacy became the standard for all future evil kings in Israel. All kings were either more evil than him or less evil than him. This caused a spiritual division between the northern and southern kingdoms.

Judah’s capital was Jerusalem and Israel’s capital was Samaria.

Samaritans

All that hailed from Israel were known as Samaritans because of the capital. The nation practiced idolatry and corrupt religion for centuries, following the practices of their founder, Jeroboam.

The people of Judah were called Judeans, later a derivative of Jew.  The Judeans despised the Samaritans including using the slur dog to reference them. In Matthew 15, Jesus uses this figure.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Since Jesus ministry was to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, let’s consider the meaning of Acts 1:8.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost comes upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

It is the day of his ascension, ten days before Pentecost. Jesus is giving his disciples his final instructions while on earth. This is a power verse. He gives them two commandments.

  • You will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you
  • You will be witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria, and the rest of the earth.

What does Jerusalem, Samaria, and the rest of the earth mean? The kingdom is still split during Jesus ministry. His instructions mean to be witnesses at

Jerusalem – to all of the true worshippers in the nation of Judah

Samaria – to all of the false and corrupt worshippers in the nation of Israel

Uttermost parts of the earth – to all of the remaining nations (called the gentiles) on the earth

This verse does not make sense without understanding the split of the kingdom. Your enriched understanding will help with the following,

John 4:1-28 – Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Notice the disciple’s thoughts in v. 27 after observing Jesus talking with the woman.

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

 

The Delegate Process

Constitution

Inquisitive, curious, and demanding journalists continue to question the election process. In addition candidates, surrogates, and voters have picked up the torch. People, the process is the process. There is no stealing, breaking of laws, or disenfranchisement. It’s called campaigning and organizing. The founding fathers were brilliant men who understood corruption and manipulation.

1- Why doesn’t the candidate with the plurality become the nominee? This means that the majority of the voters did not vote for the plurality candidate. If the delegates remained committed to the popular vote then we may never have a nominee chosen. Therefore, the delegates need the flexibility to arrive at a majority for one candidate by representing the people.

The US is a republic with a representative government. We vote for city councils to decide on city issues, which require a majority. We vote for state senators, representatives, and governors to decide on state issues, which require a majority. We vote for a president, congress, and senate to decide on federal issues, which require a majority.

Our president is selected by a majority of the Electoral College. If there is no majority after the first ballot then the US Congress decides from the top three vote-getters.

At the GOP convention, a similar process is followed. The nominee must earn a majority of the delegates. Majority rule, not a plurality, is a democratic principle.

2-Why do the delegates select the candidates? If the candidate has a majority of delegates then there is a clear mandate from the electorate for the nominee. The delegates vote as the people voted and the convention becomes a coronation for the nominee.

The delegate selection process is the second layer of the election. Winning 1237 delegates from winning elections is the primary goal but ensuring that campaign friendly delegates are selected is the secondary goal. This is only needed if 1237 is not attained on the first ballot when most of the delegates are pledged to vote according to the state’s results. However, there is a secondary campaign to win the votes of delegates who change from pledged to unpledged. Persuading enough of these free agent delegates to vote for your candidate is the key to winning a contested convention.

Serious candidates must accrue delegates by campaigning for votes and engage in the delegate selection process in case they do not reach 1237 on the first ballot. This is not cheating or stealing. It’s called democracy.

Abraham Lincoln trailed Seward 100-170 heading into the 1860 convention. On the third ballot, Lincoln had 230+ and Seward had 100. The process works. Seward was subsequently Lincoln’s secretary of state and negotiated Seward’s purchase, the acquisition of Alaska from Russia.

3- How do states conduct elections?  Some have primaries, caucuses, conventions, winner-take-all, proportional by state or district, etc. Every state has unique rules and processes. The candidates are expected to be organized and informed enough to compete. If all states are treated like primaries then the candidate will lose delegates. If all states are treated like caucuses then the candidate will lose delegates. You can’t win the decathlon if you bring a shot put for each event.

Our election process, as well as our legislative process, is meant to be cumbersome. This avoids a populist, disorganized candidate winning the White House. The constitution provides the framework for how our country operates. Don’t listen to candidates, surrogates, journalists, pundits, talking heads, or neighbors criticizing our constitution. Adherence to it is the glue that has kept American diversity thriving for 250 years.

 

David’s Cover-up

whiteout1

King David’s story is inspiring, rich, and detailed. Chosen by God to be the King of Israel when still a lad, pursued by King Saul, lived in caves and in the wilderness with his band of not-so-merry men, rose to the throne after Saul’s death, subdued his enemies, raised his successor, King Solomon, and turned over a peaceful kingdom to his son.

In 2 Samuel 11, we see David during his darkest hour, which is self-inflicted due to poor judgement.  We can profit from David’s experiences by observing his downward path.

1And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

  • “the time when kings go forth to battle” – This is the beginning of David’s troubles. He should be out at the front, leading his troops in battle. Instead, he stays behind in the safety of the kingdom with an idle mind.

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

  • Since the men were fighting, then this woman should have been safe bathing on the roof, far from the wandering eyes of a man.
  • David was captured by her beauty.

And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

  • David pursues his desire to meet Bathsheba.

And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

  • David “hooks up” with her at his palace to gratify his adulterous desires by impregnating Bathsheba.

And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

  • David schemes on how to cover-up his illegitimate child.

And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.

And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

  • David returns Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, from battle to meet at his palace. After a discussion about the front line, David sends Uriah home with a feast with the intent to spend the night with Bathsheba. This would provide the perfect whitewash for her pregnancy.

But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? Why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?

11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah abides in tents; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou lives, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

Uriah is an honorable man as expressed by his loyalty to his fellow warriors.

12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here today also, and tomorrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

  • David now turns to plan B. After filling Uriah with food and wine, David expects that Uriah will go home, but he sleeps with David’s servants instead. Uriah is proving to be stronger and more disciplined than David expected.

14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.

17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

  • David’s final solution to send Uriah to the riskiest, hottest fighting results in David murdering an innocent man.

This murder is not covered up by God.

In 2 Samuel 12 David is confronted by the prophet Nathan about God’s extreme disappointment and consequences with David’s decisions.

For the remainder of David’s life, even after David marries Bathsheba, she is referred to as “the wife of Uriah”. I think that this is a reminder of his sin.

 

 

(Election) Tipping Point

tipping point

The next two weeks are critical for the Republican candidates. Donald Trump will possess a 300 delegate lead by 27 April. The Cruz campaign will survive this ebb as Trump adds an additional 150 delegates to crest 900. Then the Cruz campaign will ascend as the contest moves west. Indiana is a critical state. Is there any polling data? It should be favorable to Cruz and Kasich.

The Cruz bashing will end. He will no longer end up in third place after the campaign leaves the northeast except possibly New Jersey.  With a strong showing in Indiana and California, Trump will be 70- 100 delegates short arriving at the convention. The Cruz ground game has dominated the Trump ground game consistently and persistently.

Trump has resorted to accusations to put his opponents on the defensive. Mike Huckabee reveals Trump’s strategy in this video.

http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/video/video-huckabee-trumps-playing-delegate-controversy-brilliantly/

at around 4 minutes, Mr Huckabee says  “That’s where you always lose politically, when you have to explain something”.

Trump’s populist message appeals to his supporters, but inflames them by attacking the Constitution. He opposes states’ rights and the election process.  Trump’s attacks include this incomplete list.

  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Megyn Kelly
  • Ted Cruz
  • Marco Rubio
  • Charles Sykes
  • Reince Priebus
  • Roger Ailes
  • Jeb Bush
  • Heidi Cruz
  • The RNC
  • Michelle Fields
  • Scott Walker
  • Rick Perry
  • Ben Carson

Then Trump threatens to: spill the beans on Cruz’s wife, calls Cruz a liar, accuses Cruz of felonies – coordinating with Super PACs, alleges the delegate system is corrupt, and even proposes that the election should be by popular vote, and threatens delegates and officials. Ben Carson, a Trump surrogate, has been questioning the need for the electoral college.

This two-prong offense (attacking people and processes) produces the following results:

  • Provokes the media to pursue the rumors
  • Dominates the news with Trump stories
  • Drives his spox talking points to stay on the attack
  • Keeps his opponents in a defensive stance
  • Arouses his supporters passions by constant repetition of “unfair” treatment
  • Forces reasonable people to consider his threats

The options for his opponents are tough. Do they ignore his attacks? Do they punch back? Do they introduce new attacks to put him on the defensive? Trump and his team excel at brawling and mudslinging. Most of the candidates and their teams are not equipped for low brow gutter fighting.

The best roadmap is to follow the high road when attacked, answer the reporter’s questions, and stick to the message. Continue working the air game (voters) and the ground game (delegates). The rules will not change significantly this election. However, taking advantage of the rules is the way to win, especially against a popular front runner that hasn’t won a majority of votes in ANY state after 34 contests. He may win over 50% in his home state of New York this Tuesday.

I believe that Cruz and Kasich will keep Trump from winning on the first ballot. If so, then Cruz is well positioned to win on a succeeding ballot. Trump recently showed his trump card by mentioning Rubio and Kasich as possible running mates. If either accepts the offer then Trump will probably win on the first ballot. Would either of them accept his offer? Could they serve with him? Former candidates Huckabee, Christie, and Carson chose to support him after his vicious attacks.  In the timeless words of the Grateful Dead, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”.

Note: Trump’s  51 SC pledged delegates are in danger since he violated his pledge to support the eventual republican nominee. This will be challenged by the Cruz campaign before the convention. The SC penalty for violating the pledge is non-specific, requiring a court to judge the validity and penalty. Here is a link to Trump rescinding his pledge.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/03/29/wisconsin-gop-town-hall-donald-trump-rnc-pledge-07.cnn