Why Did the Philistines and Israelites Constantly Fight, and What is the Christian’s Fight Today

The Philistines are a constant nuisance and danger to the people of God.  Why is that?

The Philistines were an ancient people, listed in the records of those who descended from Noah’s son, Ham, after the time of the flood (Genesis 10:14).  But it was during the time of the Exodus that the Lord promised that the land of Israel would include the territory of the Philistines (Exodus 23:31).  This promise meant that some kind of conflict would have to take place for Israel to displace the Philistines. 

When Joshua was old, he mentioned the land of the Philistines as one of the areas that still remained to be defeated by Israel (Joshua 13:1–3). Because the Philistines were not completely removed, Israel faced them as perennial enemies. 

The conflict between the two countries comes to a head in 1 Samuel.

In 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines defeated the people of God.  Israel illicitly brought out the ark to the battlefield, and Israel was decimated.

In 1 Samuel 7, the people of God defeated the Philistines.  “The LORD thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they fled before Israel” (7:10)

In 1 Samuel 13, the Philistines defeated Israel.  Saul asks Samuel to offer a sacrifice.  When it takes Samuel 7 days to get there, Saul offers an unbiblical sacrifice.

In 1 Samuel 14, Saul’s son, Jonathan defeats the Philistine’s, but because Saul said no one was allowed to eat until the Philistines were defeated, the whole battle falls apart and the Philistines are not entirely wiped out.

And of course, all of this comes to a head in 1 Samuel 17, the Philistines send Goliath, their champion, to find the champion of Israel.  David steps forward and defeats Goliath.

Biblically, this conflict goes on and on and on. The basis of the conflict between Israel and the Philistines is that Israel advanced into Philistine territory and took their land and that conflict always goes back and forth.

So now in the New Testament, we don’t live in the context of taking physical property on behalf the kingdom of God. But in the New Testament context in the light of Jesus in the arrival of the kingdom of God that he brings there still is territory for the Christian to take it is only spiritual.

Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

That means that you are constantly called to advance and take spiritual territory for the kingdom of God in this world, and that means that if you live that out you will be constantly hated by the world.

If your expression of Christianity in the proclaiming of Jesus Christ is not putting you in some conflict with the world that is the equivalent of an Israelite soldier who just doesn’t go into battle.  It doesn’t mean that the world doesn’t hate you, it just means that the world can’t distinguish you as a representative of the kingdom of God

But, so many years later, Paul understood the struggle of being a good soldier of Christ.  There are so many challenges and potential distractions.  He prays against them, and he asked others to pray for him as well.  In that, we see our hope (and a slight nod to David as well).

2 Timothy 2: 2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.  8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.

May the Lord bless you and make you strong for the battle at hand.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

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5 Steps to Build a Better Legalist

Jesus directed a large percentage of his teachings in the Gospels against the legalism of the Pharisees and other religious teachers of the day. A legalist is a person who thinks they have earned God’s love and affection based upon either how much they know, how many good things they do, or how many bad things they don’t do.

Now, legalism is the human heart’s problem.  Non-Christians can be legalists but unfortunately Christians are the worst legalists.

Despite the definition of a relationship with God as salvation by faith alone, human hearts are always going to be tempted to look at how good they think they are and think that even if God’s not impressed at least, everyone else should be.  The alternative to the life of legalism of course would be making your lone hope for forgiveness the work of Jesus, trusting only His righteousness and His goodness.

Now, when hearing the two side by side (trusting your goodness or trusting Jesus’) you might ask, “Why would anyone trust their goodness when Jesus’ life of love and perfection is so infinitely better?”

Simply:  we don’t see as God sees.  God sees our heart clearly, and we don’t.

He sees our sinful motives clearly, and we don’t.

And He sees Jesus’ work on our behalf constantly, and we don’t.

You would think that the church would fight harder against legalism, especially when Jesus uses such harsh language against legalists, calling them “a brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33) and “white washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27).

But I’m afraid the church in America is a legalist factory.  We just keep churning them out.  In fact, we are good at it.  Let me show you it’s done.

Here is the 5-point plan for building a better legalist.

One:  Withhold affection when someone sins or makes a mistake.

Two:  Invent rules for Godliness without either the desire to explain your reasoning or explain their benefit.

Three:  Care more about other’s opinion of your performance than you do God’s opinion.

Four:  Assume what you say or what you do gives you a place of superiority or authority.

Five:  Speak often of others who used to be really good but aren’t any more.

We are so prone to these 5 things, we often don’t see that those types of actions actually blind us from grace and inhibit compassion towards other.  We don’t see that those types of actions are traps that lead to self-righteousness, Christian ghettos, and hardness of heart.  Unfortunately, we are all susceptible to these types of thoughts and actions because we just don’t see our hearts and the hearts of others like God does.

1 Samuel 16:7 For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart

Thankfully, God sees differently than you and I see.  That means that God not only knows the things we think and do in secret, but He can also see all the great things that He is going to do in our lives.

So, when we are discouraged or sad, we can trust that God sees things and knows things that we don’t, and that gives us a great hope as we have faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

 

Can You Divorce Because of Physical Abuse? The “This is Gonna Hurt” Podcast

The most recent, “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast takes up the controversy surrounding Paige Patterson’s, the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, comments about counseling an abused spouse to stay in her relationship.  Some of the questions we answer are:

What are the biblical reasons for divorce?

Is physical abuse biblical cause?

What are the responsibilities of the pastor?

What is Gordon’ opinion?

If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Patterson’s comments you can find them at:  https://baptistnews.com/article/sbc-leader-under-fire-for-comments-about-divorce-abuse/#.Wud7JUxFw2w

Essentially, he tells a story of counseling a wife to stay in an abusive relationship and stating to be “happy” when she comes back abused.  As the furor erupted over his comments, he issued a response.  You can find that below.

Paige Patterson’s Response: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/04/29/southern-baptist-leader-pushes-back-after-comments-leak-urging-abused-women-to-pray-and-avoid-divorce/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9518447f091b

In the podcast, I give my opinion on the issue and discuss the related bible verses: Matthew 19:3-9, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.

Correction:  I believe at one point I say, “Matthew 7”, but I intended to say, “1 Corinthians 7”.

In reading this or listening to the podcast, I hope these links might be helpful.

Signs of Domestic Abuse:  https://helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

Domestic Abuse Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/

This is Gonna Hurt can be found on six different platforms.  You can find them all linked at:

https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Gospel Rich Books Celebrates the Release of Pocket Spurgeon – The Gospel Cordial

Thank you, everyone, who read “Pocket Spurgeon – The Hold Fast”.  It has been met with a greater response than perhaps any other Gospel Rich Books release.  “Joy in Trials” is probably the only book that has received a greater response. 

I hope this means two things.  I hope it means that “Pocket Spurgeon” is designed in such a way to make Christian classics more accessible, and I also hope it means that people have enjoyed the content.

Gospel Rich Books plans on releasing at least a dozen more “Pocket Spurgeon” titles, and we also are editing works from other classic authors.   Look for them soon.

Excitedly, we are ready to announce our newest release:  “Pocket Spurgeon – The Gospel Cordial”.  Taken from Proverbs 31:6-7, the focus passage reads: “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

We will write more about this release soon, but for now, just know this sweet book focuses on Christ as the better drink for the hurt of our souls.

You can find “Pocket Spurgeon – The Gospel Cordial” on Amazon

Thank you so much for supporting Gospel Rich Books and Christians classics.  We hope all of our releases are encouraging and edifying to you.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

Gospel Rich Books Wants To Help Pastors Publish Their Books

I love writing and publishing books, and what I’ve learned over the past few years is that lots of pastors would like to publish a book or two themselves. 

Helping Pastors Publish Their Books

Here is an interesting stat.  Most pastors write the equivalent of a novel every year in just their sermon’s alone, and I think the church would benefit greatly if they could read their pastor’s books.

But the challenge for most pastors is not the writing.  It is the formatting and publishing. 

Where I want to help.  My passion for writing and publishing is now turning into a passion to help others publish as well, so towards that end, I have created the Pastor Publishing Pack

Everything a pastor needs to find inspiration and information to begin publishing books is right here (and a few bonuses thrown in as well).  It only costs $29.99.

Here is what you will receive for $29.99

First: “5 Steps to Publishing Your Own Books” is a step by step guide to formatting, publishing, and even advertising your book.  You can read this in less than an hour, and you will be on your way toward publishing your first book.

Second: “BestSeller Template” is the essential tool you need to get your books “Amazon-Ready”.  Once you are finished writing, all you have to do is cut and paste your book into this re-usable word document, and it will be ready to submit to Amazon.  There is even information in this book about how to get professional covers designed.

Third: “Simple Sermon Solution” is a great book to help you write, organize, and deliver your sermons.  For most pastors, their books come from their sermons, and this book helps you create sermons with depth and clarity.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth: “Simple Sermon Solution:  Micah, Christmas, and Easter” are three books that were written directly from sermon notes.  What these books do (aside from being kickbutt devotionals) is demonstrate the simplicity of taking a sermon from notes and turning them into books.  This is how I write the majority of my books.

These e-books would typically cost $60 or more if you bought them individually, but we have put them in the Pastor Publishing Pack for $29.99 just for you.

Maybe you aren’t a pastor, but you know your pastor would like to publish a book.  Just purchase these books, and then email them over to your pastor as a gift.  Maybe it is just thing he needs to get that book on Amazon.

I hope this will help lots of pastors publish books in the next year or so. 

If you would like help beyond these books, just email me at gordon@jgordonduncan.com.  I plan on launching a Pastor Publishing Academy soon to help pastors close the gap between idea and publication. 

I can’t wait to read all of those newly published books.  Let me know when they go live.

Gordon Duncan

Editor, Gospel Rich Books

www.gospelrichbooks.com

https://gumroad.com/l/pastorpubpack

 

I Am My Father’s Stage Name

Today (April 18th) marks 6 years since my father passed. 

I miss him greatly, but thankfully, most of my mourning has passed, and my heart has moved on to celebration. 

I attempted that transition mere months after he passed when I wrote the book, “I am my father’s son”.  There I wrote this small tribute to him entitled, “I am my father’s stage name”.  I hope you enjoy it…

Somewhere in the mid to late 60’s, my father packed up the family (I was not born yet) and moved to California.  Reportedly, Dad did this for two reasons:  my mother’s asthma would improve on the West Coast and Dad wanted to be an actor.

Hearing these stories and looking at the pudgy, balding man who told them, I always scratched my head.  

Actor?  Are you kidding me?

But he gave it a shot.  Though he doesn’t have an IMDB profile, he did some modeling (???) and had a few gigs.  But one of the things his agent told him was that he had to change his name.

Thomas Duncan was taken. Thom Duncan was taken.

For a while, he went by the name Duke Duncan as we had an uncle who played pro baseball by that name, but his agent said that Duke was John Wayne, and dad couldn’t use it.

So, my father became Gordon Duncan for a period of time. 

Legend has it, my parents were at a swanky dinner party one night, and over the course of the evening, Mom called him “Thom”, “Duke”, and “Gordon”.  She couldn’t keep up.

At this point in the storytelling, Mom would always say that she was sure that everyone at the party thought she was some floozy that Dad picked up because she didn’t know his name.

Dad always smiled at this and kept telling stories.

Well, the acting career didn’t work out, and the Duncan crew moved back across America.  A few years later, I was born.  They named me Gordon.

I am my father’s stage name.  

I’ve always thought of it as something pretty cool, but somewhere in my twenties, I realized that my naming was something that I needed to live up to and not just be nostalgic about.

Honoring my father meant honoring the name he gave me.  It meant joyfully living out some of his dreams.  Now, my father never pressured me into any job or endeavor.

Never.  I mean it.

He didn’t place on me the “Be a pastor like me” or “Be a musician like me” or any of that.  I was free to be who I wanted which is pretty rare these days.

But as I matured, and I saw God draw similar lines in my life like He drew in my father’s, I gladly walked in paths that my father frontiered.  

I am happily my Father’s stage name.

I ask God to enable me to honor both my heavenly Father and my earthly father in the doing…

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me.  If you would like to hear more about Sam, as I called him, I recently recorded an episode of my podcast about him, and as always, you pick up a copy of “I am my father’s son” on Amazon.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

“The Hold Fast” Makes a 150 Year Sermon a BestSeller

Recently, Gospel Rich Books released the first of a series of books in our “Pocket Spurgeon” series.  This series takes the sermons of Spurgeon and edits them into readable and carriable editions for the intention of enabling more people to read Christian classics. 

For far too long, these classics have been locked away in dusty, overly large tomes that are both intimidating and hard to find.  “Pocket Spurgeon” hopes to remedy that.

Our first edition, entitled “The Hold Fast” comes from Proverbs 4, and wonderfully, has become a bestseller on Amazon (reaching #10 on the Old Testament Wisdom Literature chart this past weekend).  I’ve included another snippet from it for your encouragement.

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.”—-Proverbs 4:13.

Faith may be well described as taking hold upon divine instruction. God has condescended to teach us, and it is ours to hear with attention and receive his words; and while we are hearing faith comes, even that faith which saves the soul. To take “fast hold” is an exhortation which concerns the strength, the reality, the heartiness, and the truthfulness of faith, and the more of these the better. If to take hold is good, to take fast hold is better. Even a touch of the hem of Christ’s garment causeth healing to come to us, but if we want the full riches which are treasured up in Christ we must not only touch but take hold; and if we would know from day to day to the very uttermost all the fullness of his grace, we must take fast hold, and so maintain a constant and close connection between our souls and the eternal fountain of life. It were well to give such a grip as a man gives to a plank when he seizes hold upon it for his very life– that is a fast hold indeed.

We are to take fast hold of instruction, and the best of instruction is that which comes from God; the truest wisdom is the revelation of God in Christ Jesus: of that therefore we are to take fast hold. The best understanding is obedience to the will of God and a diligent learning of those saving truths which God has set before us in his word: so that in effect we are exhorted to take hold of Christ Jesus our Lord, the incarnate wisdom in whom dwelleth all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We are not to let him go but to keep him and hold him, for he is our life. Does not John in his gospel tell us that the Word is our light for instruction and at the same time our life? “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The more we abide in the Lord Jesus and the more firmly we take hold upon him, the better will it be for us in a thousand ways. I intend at this time to speak as the Holy Spirit shall enable me upon this fast-hold; and I reckon that the subject is one of the most important which can occupy your attention at this particular crisis in the history of the church. Many there be around us who believe in Christ, but it is with a very trembling faith and their hold is unsteady; we need to have among us men of tighter grip, who really believe what they profess to believe, who know the truth in its living power, and are persuaded of its certainty, so that they cannot by any means be moved from their steadfastness. Among the vacillating crowd we long to see fast-holders who are pillars in the house of our God, whose grasp of divine truth is not that of babes or boys, but of men full grown and vigorous.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968