When King David was old, he had trouble staying warm. His attendants solved that problem by finding a hot girl to lie next to him in bed. Her name was Abishag, but he didn’t shag her. One day, David’s wife Bathsheba came to his room with a complaint.
She said David had promised that her son Solomon would be the next king. But now another son of David, Adonijah, had made himself king. Then David had Bathsheba come to his room, and he declared Solomon to be the new king of Israel.
When Adonijah heard about that, he was afraid Solomon would kill him. Solomon decided not to kill his brother for trying to become king. But then when Adonijah tried to marry Abishag, Solomon did kill him, because he thought that meant Adonijah was trying to become king. After David died, Solomon also killed a man David had sworn would not be killed, because Solomon was a wise man.
One night, after Solomon sacrificed at an unauthorized altar, God offered to give him anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom, because he was young and inexperienced and ignorant and didn’t know right from wrong. God was so pleased that Solomon hadn’t asked for money that he made Solomon the richest king of all time, and he also made him the wisest person of all time. Solomon later asked God to let him live as long as the sun and moon endured. But apparently God didn’t like that request as much.
After he became wise, Solomon suggested cutting a baby in half. Then he wisely decided not to let the baby be raised by a prostitute who thought his idea was a good one. (He gave the baby to a different prostitute instead.)
King Solomon ruled over many other kingdoms in addition to Israel. During his reign there was peace for Israel, except when there wasn’t. He wrote thousands of songs and proverbs, and studied plants and animals. People came from all over the world to hear his wisdom. But wisdom was beyond him.
Continue reading The Story of King Solomon—
The Wisest Man in the World
God was feeling angry at his people, and needed an excuse to punish them. So he told David to take a census of Israel. David’s commander Joab thought God’s idea was repulsive for some reason, but he helped David count the Israelites anyway.
After taking the census, David decided that Joab was right, that what he had done was foolish and sinful, and God agreed. God sent a prophet to ask David how he would like to be punished for obeying God. David didn’t fear God as much as he feared men, so he said he would prefer God to punish him himself, rather than sending David’s enemies to punish him.
Continue reading The Story of David’s Census—
Morning by Morning He Dispenses With Justice
One time when God was telling his people why he wasn’t happy with them, he assured them that it had nothing to do with them not sacrificing enough animals to him. He explained that he didn’t need anyone to give him animals for food, because he doesn’t eat the flesh of bulls. And anyway, all the wild animals in the world belong to him already. So even if he did get hungry, he wouldn’t have to demand food from someone else.
So God doesn’t need to be fed. God doesn’t need anyone to make him a house, either. In fact, God doesn’t need anything from anyone. Why would he? He’s the all-powerful creator who provides everything humans need, not the other way around.
God needs food. He demanded, many times, that his people regularly give him food offerings, which are the food of God. (And don’t forget the salt!) When his people don’t do what he wants, he just devours their fields. God also needs water. He needs to drink from a brook, so he’ll be refreshed enough to continue heaping up the dead.
Jesus, who the Bible says is God, ate food during his days on earth. And he got hungry when he went without food. Even now, Jesus expects people to let him into their homes so he can
eat them eat with them. But does he actually need food? Yes, he said he plans to send people to hell for failing to give him free food, drink, shelter, clothes, and healthcare when he needs it.
God also needs money. He once cursed his chosen nation for “robbing” him because they weren’t giving him as much of their wealth as he wanted. I’ve never heard of God actually buying anything with money, but he must need money for something. Why else would people be telling people to give their money to God? I mean, unless “giving money to God” was some kind of scam, or something…
Continue reading Does God need anything?
No payment is ever enough to get God to let someone live forever, so your money will fail to save your life eventually. There’s nothing you can give in exchange for your soul. There is something you can get that will save your life permanently, but it’s not something you can buy with money. But what about when someone’s life gets cut shorter than normal? Can money help prevent that?
No, the wicked can’t save themselves with their treasure. God’s law does not allow murderers to bribe their way out of the death penalty. It doesn’t allow accidental killers to bribe their way out of being killed if they leave the city of refuge. And it doesn’t allow people to bribe their way out of being murdered if someone has decided to “give them over to the Lord” by “devoting them to destruction“.
Having money isn’t as good as having wisdom and knowledge, because money doesn’t preserve those who have it. Wealth is not what will save you from death. It’s worthless for that. So the rich shouldn’t put their hope in wealth. Those who trust in their riches will fall.
Continue reading Can money save your life?
One time, when David was trying to get God to stop killing thousands of innocent people to punish David for obeying God, David decided he had to make God a sacrifice. When someone offered to give David some free oxen to sacrifice, David said that wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be right to offer God something that cost him nothing. That wouldn’t be a real sacrifice at all! So he paid for the oxen and then sacrificed them, and God accepted his offering and stopped killing innocent people.
But what about that other time, when Abraham had just passed God’s test by showing how easily he could be convinced to murder his own children? In that story, God provided Abraham with a free ram, just so he could offer it right back to God. Here God certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with people giving him things that cost them nothing. Instead, he’s actively encouraging it.
And when Joshua had the Israelites destroy the city of Jericho, he said God wanted them to plunder all its people’s valuables and put them in God’s treasury. The Israelites certainly didn’t pay for those stolen goods, but apparently God wanted to have them anyway. As long as you’re giving him valuable stuff, God doesn’t seem to care how you got it.
Continue reading Should people offer God things they got for free?
In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that he expects to be rewarded for his work. And not just by God after he dies. He thinks his followers owe him a material reward for his spiritual work, just like any other worker would get. And he says that isn’t just his opinion. God’s law (at least the way Paul interprets it) commands that people pay others for their work, including preachers.
But then he claims that he’s not preaching for profit, that there’s nothing wrong with not paying a preacher, and that he’s not trying to convince anyone to give him anything. So why was he just telling people they owed him, then? Even though he thinks he has a right to be supported by his followers, he now says he would rather die than use that right, because he’s proud not to be a burden to the people he’s preaching to.
Then he says he doesn’t even deserve a reward, because he can’t help preaching. So why was he just saying he did deserve it? For Paul, preaching the gospel for free is its own reward, and other than that, he doesn’t want any reward.
Continue reading Did Paul think he should get a reward for his work?
Righteous people give without sparing. God rewards those who give to the poor by making sure the givers lack nothing. If you invite guests over for a meal, never invite your friends and relatives; only invite poor and disabled people. One of the requirements to gain eternal life is to sell everything you have and give the money to the poor. If you do that, you will be perfect, and God will reward you in heaven. Even if you’re poor yourself, you must work your way out of poverty, just so you’ll have something to give to the poor.
But if you refuse to listen to the pleas of the poor, your own pleas will be ignored and you will be plagued with curses. If you ever keep anything to yourself when poor people want it, the love of God is not in you, and you deserve to lose an arm.
Continue reading Should people give everything to the poor?
It is written: Workers deserve their wages. Payment for work is not an optional gift; it’s an obligation. After all, the whole point of working is to be able to reap the benefits. If even people who don’t work have a right to be fed, how much more those who do? God does not approve when people make other people work for nothing. You must pay your workers without delay, or God will take away everything you have.
Continue reading Do workers deserve payment?