Sister to Sister: 17 Prayers that Will Make You Better

crumpled-bed003Yep, I Believe I’ll Be Okay…

As I pillowed my head last night I realized that I’d slept approximately 2 hours the previous night. Then, due to traveling through some time zones, I was up for about 21 hours straight. I had a speaking engagement in that 21 hours along with a couple of flights. I started to think a bit about how tired I was and I started wondering about how long I can go on doing this sort of ridiculous schedule. I wondered that for about about five seconds there on that pillow and I have no memory of what happened after that. =) This morning I am back in the book of Jeremiah and, when I think about the dungeon of mire, the dank prison, the hunger—then the one piece of bread per day, the scoffing and the loss of those dear to him, I believe I’ll be okay here in this soft bed in this  nice hotel room where gifts awaited my arrival, transportation was graciously provided, supper was prepared for us in a fellowship hall, and someone is coming to clean my quarters while I am out today. In fact, when I look at these prayers of Jeremiah, I think I’ll be okay till I reach the gates of the eternal home place. Here are the prayers. I’m glad we looked at the prayers of Jeremiah in our Digging Deep study. It was a much-needed exercise for me. He is one of the greatest men of scripture.

(…AndI hope, if you have fallen behind in your study, (as is easy to do), you won’t skip Jeremiah, because he will make you more fit for heaven!)

Digging Deep Study

Prayers of Jeremiah:

  1. 1:6 —The “I don’t think I can do this” prayer.
  2. 4:10—The “Lord, You said this, but do you really mean it?” prayer.
  3. 5:3—The “Lord, this is worse than I thought” prayer.
  4. 10:6-8–The “You can do all things” prayer.
  5. 10:23-25—The “Please correct me, but be patient with me” prayer.
  6. 11:20—The “Please avenge my enemies” prayer.
  7. 12: 1-4—The “How long will bad people prosper?” prayer.
  8. 14:13—The “But Lord, there are so many false prophets” prayer.
  9. 14:19-22—The “Is there no hope for Judah?” prayer.
  10. 15:15-18—The “Lord, pick me out and save me” prayer.
  11. 16:19—The “Gentiles will have their day” prophetic prayer.
  12. 17: 13-18—The “ Remember, I have been true to You” prayer.
  13. 18:19-23—The “ Please do something about this persecution” prayer.
  14. 20:7—The “I’m about done” prayer.
  15. 20:12—The” But You will make this right” prayer.
  16. 32:16—The “There is nothing too hard for You” prayer.
  17. 42:3—The “Can they start over?” prayer.

Sister to Sister: ToleRANT?

images-15I guess you have to get old to start putting it together about who gets to express opinions in this tolerant society. I’m starting to get it. If you think anything is black and white—if you think there any activities that are sinful all the time—if you think there are indeed choices that can be characterized as wrong choices—you must either keep your “intolerant” secrets or you call down the “rant world” around you. Even if it’s your personal blog (you know, that cyberspace where everybody gets to say her unique personal opinions about stuff, express her own passions and air her inner grievances)…even that space is not rant-protected for people who delineate between truth and error, right and wrong. The moment you begin to speak about the wrong candidate, the wrong apparel, the wrong priorities, the wrong speech, the wrong media choices, the wrong parenting ideas, or the wrong sexual behavior, you invite the rage of the “tolerants”.

The “tolerants” get to rant. They get to rant about how the “intolerants” are hateful and judgmental (no matter that the “intolerants” may be speaking logically and from hearts of conviction. It doesn’t matter. It only matters that someone has dared to use the “w” word: wrong.)  Intolerance anymore just means “believing some things are wrong and yes, that some things are even “sinful”—that word that we used to hear from pulpits and commentaries before it pretty much dropped from our vernacular. The “tolerants” are the only ones who get to be intolerant, but they do have the privilege. The “tolerants” get to be intolerant of intolerance.  So just get ready if you believe in black and white, truth and error, right and wrong. You will be placed in the “intolerant” category and you will fall victim to the rant; and, unless you surrender all convictions about right and wrong, you will likely continue to be subject to the rant.

Someone wisely said “When tolerance is the primary virtue, it soon becomes the only virtue.” I would go further than that. When tolerance becomes the primary virtue, it is no longer virtue at all. It is the enemy of courage. It is the enemy of strength. It is the enemy of self-discipline. It is the enemy of accountability.  It is the enemy of righteousness. It is the arch-enemy of truth, because truth implies error. And there is no room for error in the camp of the “tolerants.”

But that’s just it. Tolerance was never meant to be primary. It was never meant to rule the virtues. Love is primary. “The greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13). Love, the queen virtue, is a demanding ruler. According to this chapter, love suffers long and is kind, but it cannot rejoice in iniquity. INIQUITY? How long has it been since you’ve heard anyone describe any behavior as “iniquity”? But perhaps the translation in the ESV is even more apropos. That version says love does not rejoice in “wrongdoing”.  Even the great inspired description of love forces our admission that certain behaviors…certain “doings” are wrong. They are “wrongdoings” and we cannot be happy about them.

Love doesn’t envy and it is not boastful. But it does rejoice in the truth. There we go again. The greatest virtue demands an acknowledgement of truth, and thus, by implication, error. Fleshing it out, love has to be kind and gentle, meek and humble, but love has to be unhappy about sin and sad about error. I can express sorrow over sin in the society around me and still be loving. I can call out error and still be ruled by the greatest virtue. It is possible and it is even important for God’s people to be vocal about sin…iniquity…wrongdoings in the world around us.

Sometimes, a mere restatement of a clear passage calls down the rant of the “tolerants”. If I say, for instance, that a woman, according to I Timothy 2:9,10, Matthew 5:28, Mark 9:42 and  I Timothy 5:22 can be a partaker in the sin of lust when she dresses immodestly, I sometimes call down the rant. If I say that a woman must be a homemaker (Titus 2:3-5), I call down the rant. If I say that homosexuality is vile affection (Romans 1:26), I call down the rant.

And should we ever begin to try and make application of general commandments to the culture in which we find ourselves, we almost always call down the rant. If I classify any specific popular activities of  teenagers (or adults, for that matter) in current America as lasciviousness (Galatians 5:19-21), and thus works of the flesh, even by an examination of the behavior in light of the Greek meaning of the word, I call down the rant. If I try to talk about forsaking the assembly as a “wrongdoing” from Hebrews 10:26 and Matthew 6:33, I may call down the rant.

In the blogosphere, it’s generally not okay to say any of the things that people do nowadays are wrong or sinful. But let me tell you, once someone does call behavior “wrong”, then suddenly it becomes okay to call that someone hateful, judgmental, “holier-than-thou” (whatever that means) and self-righteous. Could it just be possible that, sometimes, people who attempt to identify sin around them really are trying to meekly follow the Savior to heaven and take other people with them? Could it ever be that they really are trying to diligently apply the Word to the world in which we live? Could it just be that they are convicted in conscience and thus are following the dictates of a convicted mind to speak truth in love?

As I think about this, I have to remember Jesus’ words in Luke 6:22,23:

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!

Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

If there is no black and white, no right and wrong, no truth and error, no absolute standard for my choices and behavior; if it is true that “everyone must make the choice that works better for  her life and/or family and no one has the right to judge the choices of other people,” then why would anyone ever be excluded, spurned or reviled on account of the Son of Man? If there ever was such an exclusion, it certainly would not be because of Jesus!

It takes making a stand to receive persecution. It takes deferring to a standard to be reviled. It takes vocalizing a conviction to ridiculed for that conviction. It takes all of these things to have the great reward in heaven. Perhaps calling down the rant,  though a minor form of persecution, is sometimes a sign that one is doing something right. “All who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” II Timothy 3:12. We shouldn’t go  searching for the rant. But, when and if it comes as a result of conviction by the Word…as a result of humbly submitting to that Word ourselves and calling others to do the same, we should be okay with it. In fact, if the rant should be coming your way “on account of the Son of Man,” go ahead and start practicing your leap…for joy.

 

Sister to Sister: Desperate Prayers

bigstock-Crying-In-The-Dark-1502471-e1353984194512Jeremiah was desperate. He was called to speak for God to the people of Judah when they had sunk to the abysmal bottom of a state of abandon. Their homes were steeped in idolatry. Their prophets and priests were full of lies as they promised prosperity and peace (14:13). Chapter seven tells us that the men were assembling themselves in troops in the houses of prostitutes and, like fed horses, every one was neighing after his neighbor’s wife. It was a raunchy kind of city, Jerusalem, once the hub of devotion to Jehovah; now a ticking time-bomb waiting for divine detonation. It was, in reality, all over but the terror and tears of Babylonian bondage.

“Shall I not visit thee for these things? saith the Lord; and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this (5:9)? ”

Jeremiah’s job was to give a final warning, but it must have seemed desperately hopeless to this young prophet. There have been times already this year when I have felt a bit like Jeremiah; like last Monday when, in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, 60 marriage licenses were issued to homosexual couples. Or like last weekend when, according to people.com, my home state of Alabama had the dubious distinction of containing one of the top five largest fan-bases for “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the blockbuster porn movie that took in over  $173 million dollars internationally in its first weekend. Or like when I look around in the body of the Lord and see sisters sponsoring activities that are blatantly indiscreet and immodest or speak to couples who are attending all the services of the church, but are allowing sin to privately wreak havoc in their homes—a havoc that will, one day, no longer be contained within the walls of their homes, but will inevitably bring reproach on God’s people.  Or when I look in my own life and see the temptations of selfish sins that, all too often, overtake me. I have to be on guard constantly. I am so weak that discouragement can tempt me to throw in the towel when it comes to speaking to others or even praying about the way the devil is influencing people in my world. Yet, I know that when we give in to discouragement about sin, we are just one step away from involvement in the sin itself. Perhaps most tragically, when our children see us caving to the culture by being silent about sin, they lose their own moorings and tolerance turns to apathy which soon becomes experimentation and, finally, full participation. We, as parents, “wake up” to the wails of destruction and sorrow, but, alas, it’s too late to “save Jerusalem.”

So Jeremiah’s job was thankless and tiresome; daunting and disappointing. He was constantly going from fellowship and conversations with the Almighty to the gates of Jerusalem, where people…the people who had seen the salvation of the Lord…people who knew the history of His amazing deliverance, were repeatedly scoffing at his revelations and rejecting his warnings. He was, at various points in the book, languishing, afflicted and then revived.

I am not a Jeremiah. Never have I been truly persecuted for the sake of the Word. But, in Jeremiah’s words, particularly in His words of Messianic prophecy, I find the revival. As I look for prayers this month, I am also looking for hope. I know you will want to find the hope of the Messiah in Jeremiah, as well. (Hint: The principal Messianic announcements are in chapters 23, 31, and 33)

So , here’s a little “cheat sheet” for you to check and see if you are on a plausible track for listing the prayers of Jeremiah. Be sure to remember you are looking only for words of Jeremiah and only those words that are addressed or spoken to Jehovah. Okay, here are the first five of my prayers with my personal titles. Your titles, of course, will be different.

1:6—Jeremiah’s confession of his own inability.

10:6-8—Jeremiah’s praise of God’s relative greatness.

10:23-25—Jeremiah’s prayer for a deflection of God’s anger.

11:20—Jeremiah’s prayer for vengeance on His enemies.

12:1-4—Jeremiah expresses discouragement about the prosperity of the wicked.

So we can do this! I’m going to have to work hard this week to be finished in time for the podcast. (I am at my daughter’s house for the remainder of this week, so there is a sizable distraction [about 19 pounds or so…and the nineteen pounds rolled over for the first time yesterday…at MY house!]…AAaand, obviously this parenthetical note could get way out of hand.)

I’m very happy to announce that there’s a brand new study group forming in North Alabama. The first meeting of this group will be next Monday night at the West Huntsville building at 6:30—5:45 or so if you want to bring a sack supper. Come join us if you are in our area. We’re excited about the number who have expressed interest in the dig! You are the best.

And finally, this came to my attention after having completed the above paragraphs. My friend Daniel Gaines, who is working for the Lord in Tanzania, Africa received this notice from the Cinemax in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa:

”Dear Customers, It has just come to our attention that the movie “50 Shades of Grey” has been banned from Public Screening by the Filming Board of Tanzania thus we are forced to discontinue showing the movie. Apologies for the inconvenience caused….Century Cinemax Arusha. “

Perhaps we, in the U.S. may need the missionaries more than they do in Africa.

Sister to Sister: Fifty Shades: Five Excuses…Ten Reasons

Unknown-7Shocking is what it is to absorb the conversations among some of those who wear the name of Christ…women who see nothing wrong with being entertained by the erotica fiction of the 2011 romance novel and the new movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I do not have to read the books or see the movies to know that Christian women have no business anywhere near the “Grey” zone. Here are five of the top excuses for partaking in the evil of a blatantly pornographic form of entertainment:

  1. “It’s literature…a literary phenomenon.” Yes. It is. The original book has sold over 100 million copies, making in excess of 95 million dollars for the author. A sad commentary on our culture.
  2. “Just because I watch it doesn’t mean it will affect my behavior or my thinking.” Studies have already been done. One at Michigan State University found that women who have read the book are more likely to have abusive partners, be binge drinkers, and participate in unsafe sex, and eating disorders. I’m not sure if women who do these things are more likely to love the movie or the other way around. But, either way, the study results, in themselves, wave a big red flag to people of morality. It’s like the Good Book says: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
  3. “I’m just curious.” You could follow the link below if you’re curious about the content. My friend, Tom Holland used to say “You don’t have to stick your head in a trash can to know what trash is.” You will, for the sake of curiosity, put some images in your head that are not erasable.
  4. “I want to make our sex life better.” Would you like for your husband to work to make your sex life better by watching pornographic videos? Perhaps he does. If so, how does that feel to you? Besides, pornography does not enhance sex in the long run. It destroys relationships and cheapens what God has sanctified. The trump card is that it’s a clear violation of God’s commands. (Matthew 5:28; Titus 2:3-5)
  5. “It’s fun.” At least you’re being honest on this one. Sin is selfishly pleasurable in the short term. Satan loves this reason and, truth be told, it’s probably the reason we make up all the other excuses to sin.

And here are ten of the top reasons you should stay away from “Fifty Shades.”

  1. BDSM. If you do not know what that is, you may be fortunate. It is “Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masechism, all of which are strong thematic elements in the movie. It is a portrayal of a perverted attraction to an extremely sexually abusive man who keeps Ana, the main female character, in sexual bondage using abuse, expensive gifts and confidentiality agreements.
  2. Your money. Do you really want your movie/book dollars to be included in the 95 million-plus that E.L. James has made/is making from her self termed “expression of a mid-life crisis”? Do you think God is pleased with that sort of stewardship?
  3. Christ is coming back. Do you want to be reading/watching “Fifty Shades of Grey” when He does return? And, if not, then are you okay with Him seeing you read/watch from His seat beside the throne?
  4. Your children. This movie is phenomenally huge. The book, sadly, has become the #1 seller in the world. The book has also now surpassed Harry Potter as the fastest selling paper back. It became the first book ever to sell  more than a million copies on Amazon Kindle.  James was named by Forbes as the 2013 best selling author in the world. Your children, even if they are small or not yet born, will likely one day hear about this book and ask if you have read/seen “Fifty Shades”. Do you really want them to know that you have? If so, you are not the kind of parent I’d hope you want to be. You should love your children enough already to be protective of your influence over them. (Kids have a way of thinking that, no matter what it is, if Mom and Dad have done it, it must not be too bad.)
  5. The rating. The film has an R rating for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language. Christians cannot claim ignorance as they go to see “Fifty Shades.” We have been fairly warned. And when the movie industry puts out a rating because content will be offensive to some audiences, which audiences do you think those would be?…Christians, maybe?
  6. The woman who wrote the books (i.e. thought up the perversions of plot and sexuality) is also working as a producer of the movie. The movie promises not to be better or tamer than the book.
  7. The male lead in the movie, Jamie Dornan, actually visited a sex dungeon in preparation for his role as Christian Grey. Right. This is for Christians?!
  8. Producers are also planning a release of an NC-17 version of the movie, which will include more of the sexual content. (hard to believe there could be more.) They are doing it because   “the fans want it dirty.” Do you want to be a part of such a fan base?
  9. Evangelism: Do you believe, should your lost friends know about your viewing of the movie, that it would enhance or damage your ability to bring them to a life of purity in Christ? Which?
  10. Scriptures. Commands. Just a couple, though numerous ones come to mind. Philippians 4:8 Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report. If anything is virtuous or worthy of praise, think on these things.” Imagine these words appearing at the bottom of the movie screen during a trailer of “Fifty Shades.” Would those words “fit” there? Would they, in any sense, be descriptive of this movie? What about I Thessalonians 5:22?—“Abstain from the very appearance of evil.”  This book…this movie, my sister friends, is evil come to your community.

Information obtained from www.covenanteyes.com/…/50-fast-facts-fifty-shades-grey/.

Alabama: So Proud and So Ashamed

images-14I’m proud of what’s been happening in Alabama this week. Judges, for the past three days, have been refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples after Federal Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Federal District Court in Mobile declared Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Monday was the effective date of her ruling. On Sunday night, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore, instructed Alabama’s probate judges to refuse to honor the order of Judge Granade and refrain from issuing the marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It is difficult to take a moral stand in opposition to the ruling of a federal justice and the judges who have made that decision deserve the support of Christians. They have acted in Daniel fashion and may face some of the lion’s-den consequences that come with standing against such an edict.

I’m ashamed of what’s been happening in Alabama. More specifically, I am ashamed of what’s happened in my home district of Madison County where sixty marriage licenses were issued on Monday alone to same-sex couples. By the end of that day, 42 same-sex ceremonies had been conducted at Huntsville’s Big Spring Park alone.  I doubt there’s been a Monday in recent history when so many “marriages” have taken place. I’m ashamed of Madison County’s Probate Judge Tommy Ragland, who commented “We’re issuing them. It’s just another day to me.” (All of this in a state in which 80% of voters recently voted to ban same sex marriage.)

It was not, in reality, just another day. It was a day for God’s people to mourn; a day when a segment of society fraudulently  took something that does not belong to them. God is the creator and owner of marriage. He created its constituents (male and female), defined it (Genesis 2:24) and performed the first marriage ceremony in the Garden of Eden. It is not a light matter to mock God as was publicly and blatantly done in Big Spring Park on Monday. In fact, it is not successfully done in the long run. (Galatians 6:7). There will be negative consequences, sorrowful ones…some in this life, and unthinkable ones in the life to come. Sometimes, in my spiritual immaturity, I wish that people could get a temporary foretaste now—just a little sample—of eternal punishment, so they could, knowing the stored-up wrath of God, repent of their evil deeds before it is too late. The experience would be an awakening. Listen to the context surrounding the discussion of the sin of homosexuality from Romans 1.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them…Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them.

This is still the very clear word on the subject of homosexuality from the Creator of marriage. It is un-get-around-able for people who believe in the veracity of the Scriptures at all. No matter how politically correct we become, no matter how many television shows glorify the sin, no matter how many times the “heroes” of our culture tell us that  “sexual orientation” is not a choice, no matter how many churches ordain homosexual priests, the God of this universe still describes homosexuality as “vile affection,” a sin “worthy of death.”  The celebrations in Big Spring Park and elsewhere around the state on Monday were jubilant parties centered around a sin that takes people to hell. I Corinthians 6:9 places the centerpiece of those celebrations squarely in a list of sins  which, without the washing and justification of penitence and baptism, keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God. I understand that “sin” is an old-fashioned word. But sin and it’s ramifications for our eternity will, on one final day, be startlingly relevant.

I have known and loved people whose lives have been ruined or lost in consequence of the sin. My husband and I have counseled with young people who have been tempted by or participated in the sin.  Our hearts have been broken as we have seen the hurt that has accompanied it. But just because we are touched by the plights of those who’ve been overtaken in this sin, does not mean we can stop calling it sin. When we stop calling it sin, we stop helping people resign it.  Love demands that we do all within our power to help those involved find a space of repentance and forgiveness (even if the culture hates us for doing so.) We do not love those who commit sin when we fail to warn them of its consequences. Because of the price our God paid at Calvary to atone for sin, we must realize its blackness, humbly work in our own lives to overcome it   and do  all we can to enable others to defeat sin of all kinds. We cannot, as Christians, support same-sex marriage. To do so is to take liberties with something that does not belong to us.

It’s late. Who would have thought, even one year ago that in 2015 there would come a day in Huntsville, AL in which 60 marriage licenses would be issued to same-sex couples? Not I. Some have warned that this judge’s ruling  will open the front door for our ministers to face lawsuits due to their refusals to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. We must pray, vote and speak out responsibly at this critical juncture. I believe that front door is only a few steps away. In fact, we are already on the porch.

 

 

 

Sister to Sister: Why Are We Not Embarrassed?

images-13It’s hard to even imagine the splendor of the ancient priests of Israel as they appeared before the people of Israel and approached the holy place:

“And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him” (Ex. 28:40-43).

Why did God put this modesty safeguard right here at the close of a blockbuster chapter on consecration? I do not know all of the reasons, but I believe it says something huge about how God views the responsibility of humans to cover their nakedness. Here, nakedness represented iniquity. When the priests ministered, they had to be covered so that they would not bear iniquity and die. Whatever the reasons were, they were accompanied by some pretty serious implications. Does this command have a figurative implication? Does it mean that there was a sense in which the covering of the priest’s body was to hide the carnality of the priest, who was, after all, a mere man? Perhaps God was to see the “Holiness to the Lord” engraving and not to see the carnal or fleshly man.

Perhaps. But I believe this admonition had more to do with the fact that God did not want others to see the nakedness of his priests. I believe Exodus 20:26 bears this out because, in this passage, God required a certain covering of all of his people and the reason stated was “that thy nakedness be not discovered.” Since God does not “discover” anything (all is naked before his eyes [Hebrews 4:13]), I believe this command was about modesty in front of other people.

At the very least, we can discern from this passage that God has always believed that nakedness was something that should embarrass his people. I’m still not sure why we have such a problem figuring this out today. So many times today, our facebook pictures of vacation at the beach or honeymoon in the tropics reflects that we have no shame whatsoever about our nakedness before others. We rather flaunt it. While I do not believe these verses give us a hard, fast rule for how much of our bodies must be covered today to be modest, I believe they say a lot about the sobriety with which we must be characterized as we strive to keep what is the New Testament injunction about modesty and chastity (I Timothy 2:9,10; Titus 2:3-5).

One final question. Considering the shoulder covering (ephod), the breastplate, the forehead plate, the turban, the crown, the robe with its bells and decorated hem, the coat, and the girdle that Aaron was already to be wearing, do you think that the “nakedness” that God wanted covered in verse 43 was just about not being totally nude? “Well,” you say, “Of course not. The breeches were in addition to lots of other coverings. Total nudity was not really akin to what God was addressing here.”

Then why, pray tell, do we today believe that we are not naked in the eyes of God when we have on the very next thing to nothing at the beach (or at the cheer competition, the volleyball tourney, or wherever we are showing what amounts to our underwear)?…And why are we not embarrassed?