TWITW: Digging Deep (Bible Study)

TWITW stands for ‘The Word In The Word’. This part of the blog is a platform dedicated to digging deep into the Word of God.

The Promise – When Honesty Trumps Hard Questions!

First of all, Happy New Month! Can you believe we are already in the month of December? It feels like it was just yesterday, I wrote ‘A Space of Optimism – New Year’s post. Nevertheless, here is to many more to come this month.

Earlier this week, the inhumane atrocity that is the news of modern day slavery in 2017; where black people were being sold into slavery in Libya came to light. The anger and burden I felt was so heavy that I spent the day convincing myself to contribute more than just a 30 second ‘God, help them’ prayer as I carry on scrolling through my unending Instagram feed. I say convincing because ‘sometimes, we can find ways of denying the struggles that other people face as something we ought to not care or be burdened by’. Yet, we must help those who are unable to help themselves.

With that being said…

There are many promises in the Bible. One of which stood out to me in a very unusual way. I, like this world is in a very weird place at the moment. We are in a state that very much resembles the saying ‘you have to go through Hell to get to Heaven’. It is in times like these, I like to remind myself of the promises of God. To build my faith, to latch onto, to hope. For I don’t believe this is it for this world, there must be more and indeed there is.

Growing up, my siblings and I would always hide the shoes of family members and guests we liked. We, for whatever reason did not want to see them leave our home. I remember the liked ones would always try to bribe us to get their shoes for them. They would say things like ‘if you bring my shoe for me, when I come again next time; I will bring gala for you’ or ‘do you want me to buy biscuit for you? – okay, let me go and buy it for you’ or ‘next time I come next time, I will come and sleep here and spend more time with you’. After a while, we would cave in and get said person shoes. Usually, we caved in because after about 15 minutes of our antics; our parent would usually steps in and instruct us to get the shoes in a ‘nice but stern’ manner.

There was always some sort of promise attached to our act of obedience.

In my time with God, I asked the question, ‘is there anyone in the Bible who has had a promise attached to their obedience?’ He took me to the story of the Queen of the South herself, the queen of Sheba. Her story can be found in 2 Chronicles 9 and 1 Kings 10.

The story begins with this inquisitive queen, who heard of the fame of king Solomon. A king who had been blessed by God with ‘a wise and understanding heart. That there would be no one like him; before and after Solomon. He was also blessed with riches and honour, that there shall be no one like Solomon among the kings of his days’ (1 Kings 3:5-15).

She travelled all the way to Jerusalem to test King Solomon with hard questions. She met with King Solomon and spoke with him concerning everything that was in her heart. He answered all her questions; in fact, there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain to her (2 Chronicles 9:1-2).

When she had seen the wisdom of King Solomon, the house he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiter, his cup bearers and their apparels and his entry way by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. (2 Chronicles 9: 3-4).

‘…. There was no more spirit in her?’ Another translation describes it as ‘she was breathless’.

Her response to the king was “it was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However, I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed, the half of your greatness was not told to me. You exceed the fame of which I heard” (2 Chronicles 9:5-6).

At the end of her visit, King Solomon gave the queen of the South all she desired. Whatever she asked for and much more than she brought to the king. At the end of her visit, she turned and went to her own country (2 Chronicles 9:12).

**If you’re like me, at this point, I still didn’t see how this answered my question.**

Jesus, in the new testament referenced the queen of the south. He applauds the fact that she travelled from a distant land to Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of Solomon; yet He said, someone greater than Solomon is here – but you refuse to listen (Matthew 12:42).

** I still didn’t see how this answered my question.**

Leaving no stone unturned and trying to find out more information about this queen. I found out that according to its origin and the Hebrew language, Sheba actually means Oath/Promise.

** It still didn’t answer my question.**

Then, I was reminded of the ‘promise’ in Matthew 6:33 which many of us chorus so frequently; and it reads “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.

**Lightbulb Moment**

To answer my question ‘is there anyone in the Bible who has had a Promise attached to their obedience?’ The story of the queen of Sheba demonstrates the promise foubf jn Matthew 6:33 so well. How? – I hear you asking.

She, queen of the Sheba (Oath/Promise) travelled all the way to Jerusalem, to SEEK for herself (to test everything she had heard about the king) only to find out that the report she had heard was not only the TRUTH but also that she had ONLY heard about HALF OF THE GREATNESS of the king’s wisdom. Her encounter EXCEEDED the fame she had heard. She had even brought with her camels that bore spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. *rich people talk* Yet she left with ‘all she desired, whatever she asked and much more than she had brought to the king’s’.

She even said to king Solomon, “blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne to be king for the Lord your God! Because your God has loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore He made you king over them to do justice and righteousness”.

Her story spells out the promise in Matthew 6:33 so well. She legit sought the king’s fame and his kingdom and she left with everything she desired and much more. This story represents an exemplary tale of seeking after God. The queen of Sheba had questions about this king, she has heard so much about and went to seek for herself. At the end of her visit, King Solomon gave her everything she desired and more. And So also God promises to give those who seek His Kingdom first.

I have come to realise that honesty trumps hard questions. Being honest with God about those hard questions only exposes you more to His greatness. Knowing God just through the words of your mum, dad or even pastor, prophet is walking in the knowledge of HALF OF THE GREATNESS! Imagine if the queen of the south, only ever relied on that which she heard from others, she would have only known HALF!

Just deep it.

We are invited to someone much greater than Solomon and like the queen of Sheba, we too have a promise attached to our obedience; if we would only seek first the kingdom of God.

Discount. Discount. Discount.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation, [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].” – 1 John 4:10

Funny enough this verse had me reminiscing on my ‘caring too much about what the world thinks of me’ days. Days where I would happily walk into a clothing store, pick out a few items that caught my eyes, proceed to the checkout counter and happily pay FULL PRICE for items that I could have bought at a discounted price. Majority of the time, it wasn’t because I didn’t know the shop offered discounts but I was more concerned about portraying myself as able to afford everything I wanted without the assisted help of discounts. I honestly should have just taken the discount, saved a few pounds and use that money towards something else. That would have been the smart thing to do.

**It’s interesting because I believe out of God’s love for every one of us, we can obtain ETERNAL LIFE at a price in Jesus Christ. **

It’s simple. Believing in Christ Jesus is the golden ticket we need to obtain eternal life. Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was crucified, who died for our sins and was buried, who rose again on third day from the dead, ascended into Heaven and is seated on the right hand of God Almighty.

Nothing sinful or evil can exist in God’s presence. He is absolutely goodness. He cannot overlook, condone or excuse sin as though it never happened. He loves us, but his love does not make Him morally lax. If you trust in Christ, however, you will not have to bear the penalty for our sins…. (extract from NLT study Bible).

**(He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became our healing – 1 Peter 2:24) **

… But you will be acquitted by His atoning sacrifice.

** (Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone – Romans 5:18) **

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid in blood to buy men and women from all over the earth and back for God (Revelation 5:9). His blood washed our sins from our lives (Revelation 1:5). It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb (1 Peter:18-19). His blood poured out as a sacrificial confirmation of the covenant between God and His people for forgiveness of sins for many (Matthew 26:28). For at one time, you were far away from God, but now in Christ Jesus, you are brought near to Him. You are bought near to God through the blood sacrifice of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

Christ’s blood is part of God’s love that drives out fear from your heart and causes you to live free of condemnation and in confidence that the price of your sins has been paid and you can come boldly before God and into His presence.

You don’t have to live in fear of judgement day as this dreaded event that is yet to take place but instead you can be excited at the thought of being in God’s holy presence. All-expense PAID! But….

If you’re currently living a life that pretty much saying to God ‘Thank you for the blood of Jesus that frees me from condemnation and into eternal life but I’m not going to take it’. I encourage you to look within yourself and answer this …

‘Do you believe YOU are ABLE to PAY the PRICE for ALL YOUR SINS by YOURSELF?’

** Because God cannot overlook, condone or excuse sin as though it never happened. Understand that those who believe in Christ Jesus have the luxury of being acquitted from facing punishment for their sins because they BELIEVED in Him. Those who chose NOT to believe in Christ Jesus have only themselves to stand before Christ to answer for themselves. **

If you trust in Christ, you don’t have to bear the penalty for your sins, but if you don’t, you are pretty much saying to God ‘I can bear the penalty of my sins’.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t chosen to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I greatly encourage you to come to Jesus, grow to know Him more and more and live in great confident that His blood covers all your sins and in Him you have eternal life and you are saved.

If you want to give your life to Jesus in this moment, I urge to pray with me ……….

“For if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Prayer of Salvation:

Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. You said in Your Word that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) Father, I am calling on Jesus right now. I believe He died on the cross for my sins, that He was raised from the dead on the third day, and He’s alive right now. Lord Jesus, I am asking You now, come into my heart. Live Your life in me and through me. I repent of my sins and surrender myself totally and completely to You. Heavenly Father, by faith I now confess Jesus Christ as my new Lord and from this day forward, I dedicate my life to serving Him. In Jesus name. Amen.

The Answer Is Closer Than You Think.

There is a Yorùbá adage which says ohun ti a nwa lo si Sokoto waa l’abe sokoto “. This adage simply means “what we are travelling to Sokoto (a northern city in Nigeria) to get is inside the pocket of our trousers”.  Quoted by my Pastor to further emphasise his teaching which he titled ‘there is water in the desert’ on ‘Hagar and her son’ (Genesis 21:14-19).

See, Sarah, Abraham’s wife had a maid named Hagar, who bore Abraham a son with Sarah’s permission of course. One day, Sarah saw Hagar’s son, Ishmael poking fun at her son Isaac and asked Abraham to send Hagar and her son away; in which he did even though it brought him great pain to do so but God spoke to Abraham about it and pretty much told him ‘I’ve got your son, Ishmael’. (Genesis 21:9-13). Morning comes, Abraham packs a to go bag for Hagar and Ishmael and sends them on their not so merry way.

In their nomadic journey into the desert of Beersheba, they ran out water and Hagar left her son, Ishmael under a tree. Crying, she said ‘I cannot beat to watch my son die’ as she walks out. God through his angel graciously reaches out to her and asked her ‘What’s wrong?

**at this point of the sermon, in my head while giving God the side eye like ‘You know why she crying’**

Anyways God’s angel then said to her ‘God has heard the BOY crying, and knows the FIX he’s in. Get up; go get the BOY. Hold him tight. I’m going to make of him a great nation’. (Genesis 21:17-18). God then opens her eyes to see a well of water. She filled her container with water and gave Ishmael a long cool drink.

**In that moment, my pastor said something so profound. He said ‘the well of water was probably there all along but she was blind to it. She could only see the problem in front of her which was ‘they ran out of water’ among many other things. She had given up and saw no way out for them and proceeded to thinking of DEATH! She did not realise that the answer she should have been looking for was closer to her than she thought’. The fact that she was crying but scriptures says God heard Ishmael’s crying and reached out to Hagar’. Therefore, Ishmael was her answer!

Honestly before this sermon, I also have been searching for answers. Feeling rather lost in the sauce, I thought I’d ask the big man upstairs for some direction and guidance. Also during my devotional, I embarked on reading through the book of Daniel.

Later that Sunday evening, surfing through YouTube as you do, I noticed that the ‘Elevation Church’ Sunday service was going on and I being a fan of Pastor Stephen clicked to hear what the sermon was about. I noticed he was preaching on a new series titled ‘Seven Mile Miracle’ which sounded interesting and being taught in anticipation of Jesus’s death and resurrection (Easter).

He explored the story of two individuals. One named Cleopas, and the other; unnamed. Walking to the village of Emmaus which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were in deep conversation about recent events of Jesus’s crucifixion. In the middle of their conversation, Jesus pops up and walks alongside them. Unable to recognise who he was, they pretty much had a conversation with Jesus about Jesus. (Luke 24:13-18)

**‘Can you imagine they told Jesus about Jesus’. I just think that is hilarious **

Jesus proceeded to asking them ‘Oh so what happened?’ and they continued to giving Jesus the lowdown about himself. They said ‘Jesus was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. He was sentenced and crucified to death. They had hopes that he was the One; the Messiah who would deliver Israel. (in that moment, the penny dropped for me). Continuing, they said it was now the third day the One, the messiah should have been walking ‘these streets’ but the only things happening was confusion from some of the women who said that they had seen a vision of angels who proclaimed Jesus was alive and others even went to check and found the tomb empty. (Luke 24:19-24).

Jesus then schooled Cleopas and his companion. Starting with the book of Moses, and went through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to Him. They still didn’t see it. Finally, grazing the edge of Emmaus, they invited Jesus to come in and break bread with them; which he did. He sat down to eat with them, blessed the bread and gave them to eat. (Luke 24:25-31).


They realised that the man they so kindly invited in was Jesus. The ‘answer’ they have been hoping for all this while. The answer they were searching for in life ‘the messiah who would come and rescue God’s special people’ was indeed Jesus. The man who is dynamic in works and word.

** I believe these two like many others search for answers one way and because we are so blinded like Hagar, to see or not see what is in front of us **

They like you and I are going to the ends of the earth, searching for answers that are literally inside our pockets, answers that is walking alongside us to our purposeful destinations, answers that can already be found in the Word of God.

It was in my penny dropping moment, I realised I didn’t need to go searching for the answers I already had. The answers I was in pursuit of was all along in the word of God I had been reading.

**Once again, I was blown away by the message, especially because I had the same mind as Cleopas and Cleopas’s travelling friend. I was Hagar, who didn’t realise that the answer I was searching for was closer to me than I thought’ and was so adamant on receiving my answers a certain way. **


When God chose Moses as His vessel in liberating the Israelites from the wicked hands of King Pharaoh of Egypt, His very intention for them was of good; so much so that the nation of Israel was called the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and the people of Judah, His pleasant garden (Isaiah 5:7a). But what happens when a vine’s wood tries to be as useful as the wood of a cedar tree? Or a pine tree? Or a douglas-fir tree? It STOPS living for its intended use and purpose.

The people of Jerusalem were like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest (Ezekiel 15:6b). They didn’t see themselves in that light, rather they coveted what other nations had. For example, when the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss with Prophet Samuel. They told Samuel ‘look give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have’. Although displeased by this request; Samuel went to the Lord for guidance and God told Samuel ‘do everything they say to you, for they reject me not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer’ (1 Samuel 8:4-7). They failed to realise the depth of their exception with God. To God, they were the nation among every other nation to be the chosen exception that God wanted to govern; Himself. His very own unique people. It honestly does not get any more special than this. There they were thinking they were less than because they didn’t at the time have a human king to govern them; when the entire time, God was like ‘I am not even going to give you a human king of limited abilities but I will give you MYSELF, the King of all Kings!

Anyways anointed by Prophet Samuel in comes King Saul to rule over the people of Israel. He started off great as King but lost the throne out of disobedience to God. The spirit of God left him and he ended up committing suicide (1 Samuel 13,15,16, 31).  The people of Jerusalem didn’t realise that they did not need a human king, but they probably imagined having a human king will validate them as a nation.

**Sidebar** What is it that you think you need to validate WHO YOU ARE? **

**Sidebar** We need to be careful when we ask from God when we ask for what we think we need, because out of ignorance we may ask Him for what He already is to us. Realise that everything He is and all that we are, is all that we NEED! **

To me, it’s like God did not trust anyone to be King over his people, He brought out the big guns; Himself. He had chosen these people to be exactly what Christ came into this world to be. They were the intended example to show the world, God’s glory and how God intended everything to be. But unfortunately, they never saw themselves as that. They never saw themselves as leaders by the example others ought to follow but instead they wanted to be like every other nation that surrounded them. They never saw themselves as vines connected to the Father in comparison to Christ, who remained rooted in God through his entire life on earth.

When Christ announce himself as a Vine, He understood His position as the Vine, not a cedar tree, not a pine tree but The Vine. He was rooted in God; therefore, He bear fruits.

God promised His people a new covenant. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors, He said, for they broke that covenant, though I love them as a husband loves his wife. In the new covenant, He will put His instruction deep within His people and write them on their hearts. He will be their God and they will be His people (Jeremiah 31:31-34). I believe today we are the third attempt of this example. The people of Jerusalem being the first attempt, failed in being the example to the world. Then in comes Jesus Christ, who demonstrated perfectly what God’s intention for live is; the second attempt but first to get it right and now it’s our turn. To follow Christ’s example in displaying our lives as God’s very good intentions.

In simpler terms, the grapevine represents you, the trees represent everyone else and the forest represents the whole world. God’s very intention for you is of good, so therefore, don’t look at what others have and hope to be just as they are, don’t strive to function as a cedar tree, pine tree, douglass-fir tree in the forest but stand in the entirety of God’s intended purpose for you as a grapevine.

I declare the possibility that who I am is the stand I take. The stand I take is: ‘I am like the grapevine growing among the trees of the forest (Ezekiel 15:6). The vessel of light in dark places. The representation of God in my generation. A Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

Love Only

“If you love only those who loves you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax payers do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?” (NLT) -Matthew 5:46-47

As God’s people, we are representatives of the difference He has made in our lives. If we behave the way nonbelievers do, how does this glorify God? It’s often difficult and ironic to love those who have hurt you in some way, whether it’s a coworker or even your father or mother. However, it’s amazing how much peace comes to you when you learn to replace resentment with love.