Category Archives: Sodomy

God’s Call to Holiness

Monday, July 17, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 16-18

After addressing the issue of leprosy (Leviticus 13-14), the opening verse of Leviticus 16 reminds us of a tragedy that occurred in the priesthood when two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, “offered strange [foreign] fire before the LORD, which He commanded [charged] them not” (Leviticus 10:1) and were slain for their sin against the LORD (Leviticus 10:2).

Reminding us the office of high priest was a holy office and Aaron’s ministry before the LORD on behalf of the people was a sacred duty; the LORD instructs Moses the high priest was only to enter the holy place, the “holy of holies”, once a year (16:2) on “the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month” (16:29).   The Day of Atonement, known as “Yom Kippur” and the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, is the most holy day on the Jewish calendar and was the day the high priest offered sacrifices for nation’s sins against God.

The pattern of blood sacrifices was necessary to remind all sinners the penalty of sin is death and there is no forgiveness of sins apart from the shedding of blood, for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

Once a year and every year, the high priest offered sacrifices for the sins of the people.  Under the new covenant, this annual ritual is no longer needed following Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for sin, His burial and resurrection from the dead. We read in the Book of Hebrews,

Hebrews 9:24-28 – “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

Leviticus 17 continues the LORD’s instructions to Moses concerning sacrifices the priests were to offer for the people before the door of the tabernacle.   Thirteen times in chapter 17 the centrality of blood sacrifices for sin is mentioned and explicit instructions are given regarding the offerings to the LORD, including the prohibition regarding the consumption of blood (17:10-14).   For those curious regarding the meaning of “Kosher” meats; they are meats derived from animals slaughtered and the blood drained according to Biblical guidelines.

Morality and the sanctity of marriage is the subject of Leviticus 18:1-30 and one that should be a subject of teaching in the 21st century church.   Several moral issues are addressed including the prohibition of incest (18:6-19), adultery (18:20; Exodus 20:14), homosexuality (18:22), and bestiality (18:23).

The wicked immoral practices the people might remember from Egypt and the immorality that might observe in the new land were prohibited.  In other words, the world was not to be the standard of God’s people in conduct and lifestyle.  Israel was to not follow in the ways of Egypt and Canaan (Leviticus 18:3; 24-29).  The LORD commanded His people, “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God” (18:4).  Excommunication from fellowship and living among the people was the judgment against any who chose to walk contrary to the law and commandments (18:29).

Friend, there was a time the church and God’s people set the moral standard for these United States and defined a godly lifestyle according God’s Word, law and commandments.   It troubles me to observe the average Christian home in America has an appetite for the world and looks to society, politicians, judges, and liberal media for their moral judgments.  Our homes, churches and schools will not be blessed until we allow our consciences to be disciplined by God’s Word, law and commandments (18:30).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Christian Leaders are Often No More Than a “Flash in the Pan”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Daily reading assignment: 2 Samuel 1-4

As we open our Bibles to 2 Samuel, we find David and the nation of Israel entering into a new era.  King Saul and his son Jonathan are slain in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 31) and news of their deaths reach David in Ziklag a Philisitine town where he and his men had found refuge from Saul’s threats.   An Amalekite soldier came to David fabricating a claim that he had slain Saul in an act of mercy to spare him the indignity of falling into the hands of the Philistines (2 Samuel 1:1-10).  The truth was that Saul had fallen upon his own sword (1 Samuel 31:4).

Three times David lamented the deaths of King Saul and his sons (2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27).   Rather than rejoicing in the death of Saul, David mourned the death of the king and ordered the man who claimed to have slain him put to death (2 Samuel 1:11-16).

The closing verses of 2 Samuel 1 express in poetic tones the grievous loss of Jonathan, David’s confidant and friend (2:25-27).  There are some who try to paint David’s lament for the loss of his friend as a twisted validation of sodomy…it is not!   The Old and New Testament scriptures condemned homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Romans 1:26-27) and it was surely not a practice to put to music for people to sing.  David’s love for Jonathan was one of mutual trust; such a friend is rare indeed!

Israel has been a divided nation and David has waited more than a decade to be king. With Saul dead, David turned to the LORD for wisdom, asking, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” (2 Samuel 2:1). With the LORD’s blessing, David went up to Hebron and the men of Judah crowned him king (2:2-4).

David faced opposition immediately from Abner, Saul’s nephew who moved to make Ishbosheth, a surviving son of Saul, king (2:9-10).   Abner’s opposition to David coupled with Ishbosheth’s weak character plunged the nation into a civil war (2:10-11) that would last over 7 years.  In spite of the opposition, God blessed David and he “waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker” (2 Samuel 3:1).

Three principles are evident in David’s patience in the midst of conflict. The first, time is always on the side of the righteous. The prophet Isaiah assured God’s people:

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed [fashioned; made] against thee shall prosper [succeed]; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn [show to be in the wrong]. This [triumph of righteousness] is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [vindication; victory; success] is of me, saith the LORD.”

The second principle, truth will triumph!  Men like Abner and Ishbosheth play the fool and when they oppose the will of the LORD are doomed .

A third principle is an admonition: Lust for power, position, and influence is self-destructive…whether it is in politics, business, or religion.

Three manner of men rise to power and position in our world: the weak who, like Ishosheth, have connections; the strong who, like Abner, are driven by greed and manipulate others to promote themselves; the third, God’s anointed who, like David, are called, equipped, and dependent on God for promotion.

It is my experience that churches and Christian institutions fall prey to a fallacy in leadership that bloodlines (a man’s sons) or relationships (a man’s friendship) somehow assure success.  Too often churches and boards of Christian institutions look for flashy, well-spoken, charismatic leaders and learn too late they chose the proverbial “flash in the pan” and failed to choose God’s anointed.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Every Man Did That Which Was Right In His Own Eyes”

situation-ethicsTuesday, February 28, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Judges 17-21

Today’s reading in the Book of Judges marks the end of that period when Judges ruled in Israel. It was not God’s plan for Israel to have a king because He would Himself be the benevolent King of His people.  To instruct and communicate His will to the people, the LORD appointed judges in the land. Some judges, like Samuel ruled well (1 Samuel 7:15), but others like Eli and his two sons (1 Samuel 4:10-18) brought disgrace to the office rousing the people to demand “a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5-6).

When Samuel prayed, the LORD instructed Him to “hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).  The Apostle Paul would observe in the New Testament, “[the LORD] gave them judges until Samuel the prophet” (Acts 13:20).foundry

Five times we read in today’s scripture, “In those days there was no king in Israel: but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25).  To illustrate the wickedness and depravity that had taken hold in Israel, we are introduced to a man named Micah. Micah was guilty of stealing 1,1000 shekels of silver from his mother; however, learning she had uttered a curse on the thief, Micah returned the silver excusing his theft on the pretense of religion and his desire to have an idol shaped from the silver and revered in his “house of gods” (17:3).  After returning the silver, Micah’s mother rewarded him with 200 shekels of silver, which he melted at a foundry and poured into a mold of the image that would serve as one of his idols (17:4-5).  Increasing his wickedness further was Micah’s decision to employ a Levite priest to serve him and his gods (17:7-13).

In Judges 19 we learn the wickedness and immoral nature of Israel had become so great that the concubine (a woman of less stature than a wife) of a Levite priest had “played the whore against him” (191-2).  Seeking and locating his concubine, the Levite priest journeyed toward his home, but along the way found it necessary to lodge in the home of an elderly man in the city of Gibeah that was of the tribe of Benjamin.  The moral decadence of sodomy had become the practice of the men of Gibeah and that night they surrounded the house of the old man and demanded he put the Levite priest out of his house so they might sadistically rape him (19:22-23).sodomy  To satisfy the immoral demands of the sodomites, the old man offered his daughter and the Levite’s concubine whom they took and violently raped until the morning light (19:24-26).

The Levite, finding his concubine dead at the threshold the next morning, returned home, took a knife and cut her corpse in twelve pieces that he sent as a rebuke to the twelve tribes of Israel (19:28-29).

Learning of the great wickedness in Gibeah, warriors of eleven tribes were stirred with indignation (20:1-11) and demanded the tribe of Benjamin deliver the sodomites of Gibeah into their hands (20:12).  When the men of Benjamin refused, the tribes determined to go to war against Benjamin (20:13-17).  At first, the battle went in favor of the rebellious tribe of Benjamin (20:18-25); however, after weeping, prayers, and offering sacrifices, the LORD assured Israel of victory (20:26-46).

Consider the cost that the tribe of Benjamin paid for tolerating sodomy in Gibeah:  The tribe of Benjamin was decimated and only 600 men remained after the war (20:47-48).  The Benjamites were also isolated from the other tribes who had determined their daughters would not be allowed to marry any men of Benjamin (21:1).   Though victorious, the tribes of Israel were broken over the sin and wickedness that had taken hold in the land, leaving one of the twelve tribes nearly destroyed (21:2-6).

landmarksThe book of Judges ends with this statement: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Those words describe our day for we are living in the midst of a nation that has rejected God, His Word, Law, and Commandments.  America’s pulpits are filled with preachers who deflect the responsibility of declaring the Word of God and people who love the world sit in the pews and classrooms of our churches and schools (1 John 2:15-17).  Like the mother of Micah who complimented his pretense of religion though he worshipped idols, too many Christian parents have compromised their homes and families accommodating the sinful carnality of their sons and daughters.  Such compromise will inevitably lead to God’s judgment on our nation, homes, churches, and schools.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Ever Wonder Why Wickedness is Parading in Our Cities?

womens-marchWednesday, February 1, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalm 12-14

My focus for today’s devotional is Psalm 12:8.

Psalm 12:8 “The wicked [ungodly; evil; immoral] walk on every side [encircle; surround; unrestrained], when the vilest [worthless; weak; i.e. gluttoness] men are exalted .”

madonnaToday, more than at any time in my lifetime, the essence of Psalm 12:8 is on full display for the world to see. Permit me to put the words of Psalm 12:8 in my own words:

The wicked, immoral, and ungodly are embolden, proud, and unashamed of their sin when worthless, undisciplined, narcissistic men and women are applauded, admired, and promoted.

hillaryWonder why lawlessness, depravity, and wickedness parade shamelessly in our cities?   Wonder no longer!  The pleasures of sin and the debauchery of sexual depravity is a consuming passion of the American public because we have put on political pedestals, stage, and theater screens the purveyors of immorality and rebellion.   Wickedness and rebellion are cancers eroding the moral fiber of our homes, churches, schools, communities, and nation. Consider the following as supporting evidence.

When a villainous, lying woman receives the majority of the American vote for president, “the wicked walk on every side”.judd

When Hollywood stars and Rock musicians swear and curse the nation’s leaders, “the wicked walk on every side”.

When college campuses promote the wicked and despise the righteous, “the wicked walk on every side”.

Is the same not true of the church?  When carnality is the entertainment diet of church members and immorality is tolerated in her leaders, “the wicked walk on every side”.

Christian friend, God has called us to be Salt and Light in the world.  Salt is a natural preservative; however, when contaminated, salt becomes in the words of Christ, “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Mt. 5:13).  light-of-the-worldSadly, I find that statement is true of many church members; too many Christians tolerate sin and have “lost their savor”.

It is easy to condemn the world’s sinful darkness, but I remind you, if the church were Light, there would be less darkness (Mt. 5:14-15)!

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Standing at the Precipice of God’s Judgment

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Isaiah 1-6

The Book of Isaiah is the first prophetic book in our yearlong “Read-Thru the Bible” challenge. The prophet Isaiah lived in the 8th century BC during the final days of Israel before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation and the Jews were taken captive to Babylon.  His prophetic ministry was directed to a rebellious people who had maintained an outward formality of religion; however, whose hearts had turned to idols and rejected God and His Law.

Isaiah stands out as the foremost among the Old Testament prophets; however, in his lifetime his people viewed him as a traitor. He was a fearless preacher, courageously confronting the sins of Judah’s kings and boldly calling the Jews to repent.  His preaching was powerful, his style soaring, and his prophesies vivid.

isaiah-5-20Isaiah foretold the judgment of God in a series of “Woes” pronounced against the nation should the people not repent of their sins (Isaiah 5:20-23, 26-30). In a parallel to our own day, the first “woe” condemned the nation for rejecting God’s Laws leaving the people with the dilemma of no moral absolutes. We read:

Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Such is the condition of our nation and world. I will illustrate with one example, “Gay Marriage”. Our nation’s leaders, judicial courts, secular schools and liberal churches have rejected God’s definition of marriage, condemned those who embrace the biblical and historical definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and now promotes the lunacy of men marrying men and women marrying women (Romans 1:26-27)! Condemning moral virtue, our society has embraced wickedness and depravity.

A second “woe” describes the people as unteachable.

Isaiah 5:21 – “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent [wise, shrewd] in their own sight!”

Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome described the same in these words, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

A third “woe” illuminated the narcissistic nature of the people and the “pay to play” sin of 21st century politicians.

Isaiah 5:22-23 – “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine [drunkards], and men of strength to mingle strong drink [boasting of their drunkenness]23 Which justify [acquit] the wicked for reward [bribe], and take away the righteousness [innocence; justice, rights and liberties] of the righteous from him!”moral-absolutes

I close with a fourth “woe” stated by Isaiah of himself.  Shaken by a vision of the LORD sitting on His heavenly throne (Isaiah 6:1-4), the conviction of his own sinfulness overwhelmed the prophet:

Isaiah 6:5“…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

When God asked, “Who shall I send [i.e. to preach to the nation], and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered God’s call, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Good morning and Happy New Year! – A Bible Reading Challenge for a New Year

daily-bible-reading-planJanuary 1, 2017 –  Daily reading assignment: Romans 1-2

I am challenging my church family to take up the discipline of reading through the Bible this New Year. There are several Bible reading plans and programs available; however, the one I am following will study the Scriptures under seven divisions corresponding with the days of the week. The divisions are: 1) Sunday – The Epistles; 2) Monday – The Law; 3) Tuesday – History; 4) Wednesday – Psalms; 5) Thursday – Poetry; 6) Friday – Prophecy; 7) Saturday – The Gospels.

As a pastor, it is my goal to shepherd the flock God has entrusted to my care and use this “Heart of a Shepherd” blog as a platform to amplify and write a devotional thought or challenge that corresponds to each day’s devotional assignment. I invite you to join me in this daily discipline.

Today’s devotional reading is Romans 1-2. Rather than write a devotional, I will amplify a few verses from Romans 1 that paint a portrait of man’s rebellion and sinful depravity.

romans-1-20Romans 1:20  For the invisible things [those things which cannot be perceived with the physical senses] of Him [God] from [since; by means of] the creation of the world are clearly seen [General or Natural revelation; manifest perceived], being understood [His person and power understood by the evidences of His creation] by the things that are made [Creation is a display of God’s power and gives testimony of God’s person], even His eternal power and Godhead [deity; divine nature]; so that they are without excuse [no excuse for idolatry; reveals the folly or worshipping dumb idols – Isaiah 44:8-20]:

Romans 1:21  Because that, when they knew [had a knowledge of the Person, Power and Presence of God] God, they glorified him not as God [refused to honor and reverence Him as God], neither were thankful [ingratitude; hard hearted]; but became vain [full of pride; conceited] in their imaginations [thoughts; reasonings; exercising foolish opinions because of their unwillingness to acknowledge God], and their foolish heart [mind; lacking understanding] was darkened [incapable of comprehending Truth].

Romans 1:22  Professing [asserting; declaring] themselves to be wise [“philosophers” – lovers of wisdom; wise in their own estimation], they became fools [void of understanding; lacking any moral sense; incapable of discerning between good and evil],

Romans 1:26  For this cause God gave them up [commended; delivered] unto vile [disgraceful; dishonorable; shameful; degrading] affections [passions; lust; i.e. evil desires]: for even [also] their women did change [exchange; transform] the natural [instinctive; physical; inborn] use [employment; occupation; i.e. sexual intercourse] into that which is against [opposed to; contrary] nature [mankind; the nature of things as God created]:

Romans 1:27  And likewise [similarly; moreover] also the men, leaving [cease; forsake; romasn-1-27abandoned] the natural [instinctive; physical; according to nature] use [employment; occupation; i.e. sexual intercourse] of the woman, burned [inflamed; to set on fire; i.e. raging lust] in their lust [desire; longing; craving] one toward another [continually]; men with men working [doing; performing; committing] that which is unseemly [shameful; indecent; obscene], and receiving [what is due; retribution] in [quickly; shortly; afterwards] themselves [in their own bodies and/or souls] that recompence [penalty; compensation] of their error [straying; delusion; deceit] which was meet [due; binding; necessary; required; inevitable; i.e. must needs be as an exacting of God’s justice].

Romans 1:28  And even as [insomuch as; that] they did not like [refused; did not approve; i.e. were not able] to retain [possess; have; hold] God in their knowledge [memory; recognition], God gave them over [commended; delivered] to a reprobate [worthless; rejected; unworthy; abandoned] mind [thought; feeling; will; understanding], to do those things which are not convenient [becoming; proper; fit; right];

Romans 1:29  Being filled with [satisfied; saturated with] all unrighteousness [wrong; iniquity], fornication [all manner of sexual immorality, including adultery and incest], wickedness [depravity; malice; evil desires], covetousness [greed; extortion; desire to have more], maliciousness [evil; desire to injure]; full of envy [jealousy; wishing ill on another], murder, debate [quarreling; contentiousness; strife], deceit [guile; craftiness; lie], malignity [bad character; dishonorable; attributing to others evil intent]; whisperers [gossips; slanderer; ],

Romans 1:30  Backbiters [slanderers; speaking against another], haters of God, despiteful [insulter; violent aggressor; treating others shamefully], proud [haughty; arrogant; treating others with disdain], boasters [braggart; i.e. swaggerer], inventors of evil things [harmful; depraved; morally wrong], disobedient [hard; not pliable; unteachable] to parents,

Romans 1:31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Romans 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE”?

christians-under-attackA recent article published in the Evangelical magazine Christianity Today and titled “Fairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights”, evidences why I refuse to be associated with the label “Evangelical”.  The Evangelical crowd is rife with compromise and many of its members are at best nominal Christians.

I am not at war with members of the LGBT crowd, but only a fool believes there is room for compromise when the leaders of that movement oppose and are at war with Biblical Christianity, traditional marriage and family values.

I have engaged with members of the LGBT movement on a personal level and in political skirmishes.  Contrary to the assertions of LGBT militants, I have the same love for them that I do for all sinners.  My heart goes out to their struggles with their sin as much as it does to those struggling with other enslaving sins.militant-gay-houston-mayor

However, the militant LGBT crowd is another story!  They have a fervent passion for their “cause” and an unbridled hatred for any who will not bow to their demands.  Make no mistake, militant members of the LGBT movement will accept nothing less than capitulation and accommodation of their sin, even at the sacrifice of your moral values, innocence of your children, Christian family owned businesses, and Constitutional liberties (freedom of religion and free speech).

Adherents of the militant LGBT crusade are seeded in all levels of government, including judicial activists who will punish and annihilate any who dare oppose their demands (including Christian family-owned businesses that refuse to participate in “Gay weddings”).  While politicians trumpet the LGBT cause under the guise of “Rights”, liberal educators rob our children of their innocence using secular classrooms as a platform for opposing Biblical moral values.

A warning to Evangelicals:  “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32)?  Moving his family into Sodom and sitting among the elders of that wicked city did not work out so well for Lot, did it? (Genesis 19)

2 Peter 2:7-8 – “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith