One Key Point 2

The roots of Christianity come out of deadly adversity…the emphatic rejection of Jesus Christ demonstrated through the cross at Calvary…and not from the broad gate of Matthew 7:13…not from a peace-seeking compromise with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…not in a coronation of the King of Isaiah 9:6…to be fully actualized in the near future at the second coming of Christ.

When Paul gives his final testimony to his fellow countrymen in Jerusalem…Paul receives a total and complete rejection as the people throw their garments and dust into the air in violent protest against Paul…saying: “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22).

It would unquestionably appear that there is a key element within the biblical narrative stories of faith…of death to self-direction and self-reliance in terms of pursuing the worldly conventional tenets of the American Dream­…a totally unconventional strategy of application to human lives…of a seed that must fall into the ground and die (Jn. 12:24)…before springing up into a new, transformed, and totally different lifestyle from its previous life-form as a seed.

This is a concept that is universal in every God-composed adventure of faith life-script recorded in the Bible.

There are two important takeaways from this observation…central to the argument for the divine origin of the Bible and Christianity.

First, this initial and preliminary time-period of adversity that produces the outward appearance of failure and set-back in terms of worldly conventional norms…that sets aside or removes all-together the pursuit of individual success toward the popularly accepted direction of the American Dream…as will be discussed in multiple variations-on-a-theme throughout this book…would never originate out of humanistic literary fiction.

Second, only God could and would compose life-scripts that contain a specific set of events and circumstances…that correctly rearranges the vertical order of authority in the relationship…of God rightfully being above us…rather than us incorrectly and foolishly above God.

Apparently…as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…a large dose of adversity is the remedy to cure the malady of self-sovereignty…that will mar and block our ability to walk with God through a journey of faith.

The biblical narrative stories of faith contain the one element that would never originate out of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the correct displacement of our ways with the higher ways and thoughts of God (Isa. 55:8-9)…of God rightfully sitting upon His throne as King…correctly positioning Himself above us…His detailed short-term and long-term plans for specific life-missions taking priority over our plans.

I did not make this up.  This is what we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

The concept of a seed falling into the ground to die…before being able to spring up from the ground into a tree, bush, or plant that produces grains, fruits, and vegetables…as applied in unprecedented fashion to real human lives through God-composed life-scripts…having the enormous practical consequences of risk playing out in the events of our lives…is clearly and openly revealed to us in Judges 7:3.

The proper arrangement of God above us as leader and guide in our expedition through a God-composed journey of faith…is brilliantly and succinctly described in God’s instructions to Gideon…in reducing the numerical size of Gideon’s army to go out in battle against the overwhelming force of the Midianite army…producing circumstances that could end in either miraculous success…or utter catastrophe…creating a divine plan of attack that falls far outside of the imagination of Gideon…and far outside of conventional thinking:

“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me” (Judg. 7:3).

This incredibly innovative and unconventional idea of a seed…falling into the ground to die…then springing up into life…managed entirely within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…has as one of its primary goals to reverse the vertical priority of the personal relationship…with God as leader…and us as followers.

This divine use of the negative ingredient of temporary adversity skillfully puts our worldly dreams and aspirations…conventionally based on our internal perception of our in-built, innate gifts and abilities…into the ground to die…only to spring up into new, better, and different life-missions as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…confirming the divine origin of these biblical narrative stories of faith…and validating the truth of the Bible and of Christianity.

No human writers could or would invent a new religion having this unique concept of a seed first needing to die in the ground…in order to rise up out of the ground in the new form of a tree, bush, or plant…bearing edible good fruit or vegetables…as part of the complex, God-composed life-scripts for human beings.

To depict God as the active agent in setting up…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…this previously unheard of and completely exclusive feature of God turning upside-down the autonomous individualism of worldly conventional thinking…placing Himself correctly in the leadership role in our lives…introducing the elements of risk and faith into our life experience…through the vehicle of a journey of faith (Heb. 11:1)…as pure inventive human literary fiction…is entirely nonsensical.

This insight into the depth of the underlying issues…and the creative artistic genius of these biblical stories…well outside of the parameters of human invented literary fiction…put a kibosh on the false assertion that the biblical narrative stories of faith are nothing more than human invented religion.

In the Sermon on the Mount…Jesus says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).

In Mark 8:36…Jesus says: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

God can craft people like Abraham into the father of faith, like the Hebrew foreigner Joseph into the governor in ancient Egypt, Moses the shepherd in Midian into the great deliverer of the nation of Israel out of bondage as slaves in Egypt, the young man David of lowly background into the King of Israel, Peter the fisherman into the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and the persecutor Paul into the premier Christian evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world…to name only a few from the Bible.

But all of the people of faith in the Bible…achieved their success not by aiming directly at the American Dream…but aiming instead at the specific goals of their God-composed mission-plans…eventually arriving at the top of the heap in terms of human achievement…but achieved by way of the cross of Christ…the Holy Spirit guided tour into the discovery of the all-truth of John 16:13.

I have seen both sides of this in my life.  Most people have.

I have seen people who went straight for the money…in pursuit of wealth and all that it brings in terms of recognition, pride of accomplishment, and worldly esteem.

But these people would do anything to get ahead…cut corners illegally in terms of not following laws and regulations…lie to people…have no care whatsoever about improving operations and doing things right in order to cut costs…and despitefully use other people as means-to-an-end rather than developing healthy relationships built upon respect and the placing of value on the contributions of subordinates.

We can aim directly at obtaining wealth with the goal of actualizing the end-points of the American Dream in our lives…but even if we gain the whole world…we can lose our own soul.

Salvation and eternal life is a gift from God that is of inestimable worth…offered freely to mankind through repentance of sins and faith placed in Jesus Christ (Mt. 4:17)…and is the possession of all Spirit-born Christians past and present.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script for Christians today is also a gift from God…designed to take us through life the right way…focusing on goals and aspirations that are eternally important and of priceless value.

What is incredibly interesting here…is that the standard and traditional morals and ethics of the Christian life…transcending above and being so fundamentally different in their aim and aspirations…from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…for twenty-plus centuries of human history now…that this would in modern-day hindsight make the sophisticated and rational case…that this deep and complex reality of the direction of where we aim our priorities and aspirations…in journeys of self or in journeys of faith…could not have originated out of worldly conventional thinking…and therefore must have a divine origin coming from the creative mind and heart of God.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

One Key Point 1

Abraham is a wealthy herdsman in Canaan.

But the people in Canaan who know the personal facts about Abraham…despite his worldly wealth and success…might still look down their noses at him for failing in this one culturally all-important area of not producing a male heir.

In the eyes of the people who are totally ignorant of the promises of God to Abraham…who are unaware of the divinely crafted program that Abraham is walking in…that displaces all other consideration in importance…the inhabitants in Canaan might think there is something wrong with Abraham…that he is going about life all wrong…in that he has not been able to contrive the culturally accepted way…of taking-in additional wives to Sarah…to produce a male heir that is suitable to pass along his wealth to…and that will continue his name forward for posterity.

This issue of producing male heirs is important to everyone at that time-period in history…yet Abraham outwardly appears to be curiously inactive in an effort to procure more wives and produce children.

Yet the real truth…behind the scenes…of the storyline of Abraham is that the Creator of the universe…God…ascribes to Abraham righteousness based upon the faith and patience of Abraham in trusting…through adverse appearing outward circumstances unknown to other people…in the truthfulness of God’s promises to him (Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:19).

The key point here…is that it is God…not Abraham…who is the intentional author of this adventure of faith life-script dilemma for Abraham.  It is God who has purposely set this all up…this twenty-five year detour around worldly conventional expectations…within the dramatic storyline details of the life-script calling of Abraham to become the “father of faith” (Gen. 17:17).

The big question for biblical scholarship…and for practical Christian discipleship today…is why God would do this?

What is so important about a long time-period of waiting for the birth of Isaac…inserted by God as a fundamental element into the life-scripts of Abraham and Sarah?

Completely contrary to popular conventional normalcy and thinking…the narrative story of Abraham does not go in the direction of an ancient version of the American Dream…of Abraham and Sarah in Canaan starting a large family according to conventionally normal expectations.

The God-composed journey of faith life-script for Abraham…goes intentionally against-the-grain of conventional expectations for normal life (Gen. 17:1-8, 17)…against-the-grain of our supposed entitlement to pursue the worldly universal aspirations of the American Dream of success, fame, and fortune…however we culturally and socially define this.

Examining some additional biblical narrative stories of faith will help here.

Joseph possesses the innate capacity to manage the nation of Egypt as governor during a great famine…but he finds himself at the age of 30 in Pharaoh’s prison…as a result of being falsely accused by the wife of Potiphar of sexual assault.

What could be going worse in terms of outward appearances for Joseph…just a few months prior to Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph’s interpretation…just before this supernatural insertion of massive events that changes Joseph’s life…and that miraculously confirmed his two dreams as a teenager in Canaan (Gen. 37:5-11)?

Why this extended time-period of years of adversity in the life-script of Joseph…in his unusual version of graduate management training in leadership and humility…before being elevated up into the position of governor in all of Egypt?

As Moses tends sheep in Midian…he has essentially become a “nobody.”  Moses is no longer a prince in Egypt.  Moses is a colossal failure in worldly conventional terms…as he and Aaron walk towards Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Hebrew slaves…with nothing more than a shepherd’s wooden staff…the strength of God’s word at the burning bush…and the promise of an old and faded reputation.

David is the youngest and therefore the least culturally valued son of Jesse…when the prophet Samuel arrives to find and anoint with oil…the next king for Israel.

But as David is pursued for his life by the current and established King Saul…with several near misses…people looking at David from age 20 to 30…might consider him a disappointment and a failure.

How can this adversity be the case for the man who killed Goliath, is anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the next king…and is the son-in-law of King Saul?

Esther and Mordecai have the best of positive intentions for their current capitol city Shushan…and for their people the Jews…in their deadly struggle against Haman the Agagite…and are locked into a totally unanticipated combination of circumstances in a battle for their lives…that is not anything like pursuing the American Dream…in terms of worldly conventional normalcy.

Again, why is God the author of this challenging life-script for Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews in exile…not as the source of the evil that first propels the storyline…but as the brilliant scriptwriter finding the perfect finale response…for the end of the story?

Is there a good explanation behind this storyline theme of adversity that precedes victory…that is universal in the biblical stories of faith?

The great prophet Elijah bitterly complains to God that he appears to be all alone…in his criticism of the evil king and queen…Ahab and Jezebel…in their apostasy of worshipping the idol-god Baal.

Elijah faces adversity like few others in the Bible.

The prophet Jeremiah is certainly going against-the-grain in denouncing the wayward condition of Israel at that time…a condition so bad that it resulted in the eventual removal of the nation into foreign exile.

Daniel is a faithful, loyal, and exemplary civil servant in exile…yet he finds himself spending a long night in peril in a den of lions…as the result of a deadly scheme of revenge powered by the jealous envy of a small group of men high up in the government…colleagues of Daniel.

Jesus is the Son of God…the Savior…the light of the world.

Yet without the wide separation from worldly conventional thinking that fueled the violent rejection of the person, the teaching, and the ministry of Jesus by the religious and political leadership in Jerusalem…as well as a portion of the populace siding with this leadership group…then there is no cross of Calvary, no Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for lost sinners, no glorious resurrection on Easter morning, and no redemptive salvation for mankind.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

The Mission of Jesus had nothing to do with the American Dream

The temptation in the wilderness of Jesus as recorded…in greater detail…in Matthew’s gospel in verses 4:8-10 and in Luke’s gospel in verses 4:5-8…was a seemingly misdirected, apples-to-oranges, nonsensical approach by Satan that missed the mark…regarding Jesus…in a key, fundamental way.

The power and the glory of the kingdoms of the world…was not anywhere in-the-ballpark of what would be tempting to the Son of God Jesus.

This appears on the surface to be a complete misunderstanding of the mission of Jesus Christ…an appeal to Jesus of the American Dream…on steroids.

It demonstrates a total misconception or a total under-estimation of the character of God…either by a very clever initial probing of the character of Jesus the Son of God in the opening sparring contest between darkness and light…or instead is a genuine ignorance about the un-susceptibility of Jesus Christ to the allures of the glory and power of the kingdoms of this world.

Either way…the mission and ministry of Jesus was not to validate the autonomous individualism that can be a component of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…by leisurely sailing the Greek Isles in the Mediterranean Sea in a carefree manner…for His own enjoyment.

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

His unique life-script mission transcends above any worldly conventional goals, dreams, or aspirations…however commendable when these goals are part of our God-composed, journeys of faith that crossover into some of the tenets of the American Dream.

What reaches a level of inconceivable depth…light-years beyond what could be the product of human inventive, literary fiction…is that Jesus is the most wealthy and the most successful person in all of human history…being the divine Son of God in a human body…the Creator and mastermind of everything in the universe including ourselves…who owns literally everything…yet is in the humble outward appearance of a lowly carpenter from the outlying and insignificant small town of Nazareth in first-century Israel (Jn. 1:46).

If the sin-free, unblemished Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice…Jesus Christ…foreglimpsed in the ram caught in the bushes on Mount Moriah that became the substitute for Isaac (Gen. 22:13)…and depicted in the ancient prophecies of Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 53…if Jesus can perfectly live a divinely elevated life-script…being the Son of God while enjoying none of the outward advantages of the American Dream (Mt. 8:20)…this then opens up to every believer who will accept God’s invitation to follow Him by faith into a biblical-quality adventure of faith…to experience life to the fullest according to God’s perspective…within a divinely composed journey of faith for each of us…regardless of social, cultural, or economic status.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script is in an entirely different category…going in a different direction…entering in at the narrow gate of the cross as described in Matthew 7:13-14 as spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount…in a fundamentally different way of life…from pursuing the American Dream through our own efforts.

This is one of the most important…possibly the most important message coming from the Bible to modern, sophisticated mankind today…that Jesus Christ is not only our Savior and King…but also that He is the way, the truth, and the life…because He is the only person in all of existence who can craft journey of faith life-scripts for us that transcend above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Jesus can do this not only because He is our Creator God…who knows each of us intimately…but also because He lived just such an unconventional life-script Himself.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible are therefore of enormous and incalculable worth.

For this reason they have been under attack for the last four to five hundred years…for their supernatural accounts of the interactions between people and God…and for their accounts of supernatural events that were and still are today incorrectly criticized for being outside of the supposed closed-system of naturalistic materialism…a philosophical paradigm that no longer holds water in this new, Information Age time-period.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible go way beyond being thrilling bedtime stories for children, covering issues that are deadly serious in their sophisticated applications to life.

The fundamental difference between going our own way in pursuit of the American Dream…and instead partnering with the living God within a journey of faith that may result in an outcome that exceeds the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the American Dream (Gen. 41:37-44; Ex. 12:31-36; Josh. 11:23; 2 Sam. 2:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:6-8)…is a discontinuous gap of two choices for human life…that far outpaces  the inventive imagination of human literary fiction writing.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

A God-Composed Journey of Faith Transcends above the American Dream 2

In the Bible…the people who become caught-up in a God-composed adventure of faith life-script mission…discover along the way that their personal relationship with the living God becomes more important and more valuable than anything else in life…even the attractiveness of the American Dream of material wealth, the culturally acceptable validation of ourselves, and achieving through our own efforts a sense of personal security.

The acceptance and validation coming from God…in valuing us enough to call us by His Spirit into a unique and individual life-plan…of having faith in us to the point of calling us individually into a specific mission that only we can perform…with His assistance and partnership…is entirely different from the self-satisfaction of achieving the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the American Dream according to the Frank Sinatra song “I did it my way”…of self-autonomous individualism…that is typically found within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Phil. 3:4-10).

The parable of the nobleman away on business…and the instruction of Luke 19:13 to “occupy till I come”…is the commendable, baseline guide for all Christians to be about our Father’s business in whatever capacity we may be assigned in the caretaking of the estate…in this parable…trimming the walkway shrubs, sweeping the exterior walkways, picking the fruits and vegetables from the orchard, caring for the livestock, preparing the meals for the staff, and the general interior and exterior cleaning and up-keep maintenance of the estate buildings and grounds.

Realizing the American Dream can be achieved entirely through self-effort…through the application and exploitation of our natural, innate abilities…through autonomous individualism.

Experiencing a biblical-quality journey of faith…by intentional design…requires the direct participation of the living God…within a personal relationship.

These two realities for life are not the same…although they can and do overlap in some areas.

What this means…in a practical applied sense…for Christians today is that God can guide and channel life events and circumstances …and insert unique and individualized life-scripts into the lives of plumbing contractors, stay-at-home moms, auto mechanics, high school teachers, lawyers, accountants, engineers, professional athletes, journalists, small town mayors, church pastors, Christian foreign missionaries, Bible college professors, and Christian book writers…after the pattern of the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.

For some people…their individual gifts and talents are either outwardly apparent…or internally revealed to them.  Some people know early in childhood that they want to become a medical nurse, or that they possess the athletic ability to play professional sports, or that they have the gift of exceptional intelligence to be able to earn a PhD in mathematics.

For these people…the addition and inclusion of an actively interested and participating God into the mix…enhances the life experience of pursuing their goals with their very best effort…giving it their all…because these unique gifts and talents derive from their Creator God in the first place.

A personal relationship with God can actualize…can come to life…can translate into any conceivable career path, geographical location, personal circumstances, political environment, and economic situation.

Jesus famously said that He came to earth…that we might have more abundant life (Jn. 10:10).

This more abundant life is based upon the strength of the foundation of a fulfilling relational walk-of-faith with Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit…and not on the satisfaction of the self-works of achieving the American Dream on our own…apart from God…and outside of a brilliantly unique, divine calling for our lives (Mk. 8:36).

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

A God-Composed Journey of Faith Transcends above the American Dream 1

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”                                                                                               (2 Tim. 2:4)       

The American Dream…in modern terms might be defined to include things like going to the finest college, earning an advanced degree, getting a high-paying job we enjoy working at, having a happy marriage, successfully raising a family, buying a large mansion in a great location, driving a Bentley or Aston Martin convertible automobile, having good friends, enjoying hobbies, playing sports, having good health and a long life, sending our children to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Oxford, or other prestigious colleges, having a healthy stock portfolio, taking European vacations, enjoying our grandchildren, and having a secure retirement.

What could outwardly appear to be more popularly sensible…more conventionally appealing as goals, dreams, and aspirations for life…than the list of things described above?

Yet the narrative stories of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are entirely different…in terms of goals, dreams, and aspirations…from any imaginable ancient version of the American Dream translated back in time.

This is one of the unique facts about the Bible that argues for its divine origin…because this transcendence above popular conventional thinking…would never originate from popular conventional thinking.

This observation…counter-intuitively…is one of the most positive features of the biblical gospel message of God’s very real and very rational offer to us of an alternative choice…into an elevated, purposeful life on a higher moral, ethical, and spiritual plane…to become a willing enlistee of God into a divinely-composed journey of faith life-script…full of risk and adventure…having the most profound meaning, purpose, and fulfillment imaginable for human beings.

Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and life (Jn. 14:6)…not only because He is the Savior, Redeemer, and Light of the world…but also and of equal importance…Jesus Christ is the only person in all of existence who can compose divinely-crafted  journey of faith life-scripts for every believer in the Old Testament…in the New Testament…and for Christians today…that are an attractive, alternative option that transcends above popular conventionality…yet may encompass some of the goals of the otherwise commendable American Dream list described above.

One of the key biblical concepts that is still missing today in contemporary orthodox Christianity…that has not yet been fully recovered following the Protestant Reformation…is that the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible…have little or nothing at all to do with the American Dream.

The calling of Abraham the “father of faith” as long ago in history as 2,200 B.C., recorded as beginning in the 12th chapter of Genesis…the first book in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament…as well as the callings of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David…all the way through the Bible to the calling and ministry of the Apostle Paul…are not anything like the America Dream as outlined above.

As Abraham walks from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step he takes God is displacing whatever conventionally normal life Abraham might have lived in Haran…with a completely different, elevated life based not upon the American Dream…but upon an entirely unique walk of grace-through-faith…that opens up the context in which to get to know the real living God on a personal basis.

Instead of becoming the city mayor of Haran, or becoming its international trade ambassador, or serving on the school board, or coaching an ancient version of a youth soccer team…and thereby exiting quietly from history as an unexceptional person living an unexceptional life…Abraham’s calling and life-mission as brilliantly composed by God…was to become the singular “father of faith” example of an elevated life…that has had a huge and beneficially incalculable impact upon human history for thousands of years…to our present day.

This is the common through-line theme of every biblical story of faith…repeated in variations of the storyline for the benefit of multiple generations…and for our benefit…as the new normal for all relationships between people and the living God…starting with Abraham’s walk of faith.

The narrative stories of faith…as recorded in the Bible…are so different from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that they invent an entirely new frame-of-reference for human life.

This frame-of-reference has as its goal the establishment of a personal relationship…between people and God…set-up through the creative mind of God…and on His terms…that must be the new reality if our life-stories are to be elevated up and out of worldly conventional, popular normalcy and thinking (Jn. 8:36).

The biblical narrative stories of faith are not for or against the tenets and aspirations of ancient and contemporary versions of the American Dream. 

The biblical narrative stories of faith simply transcend above these universally popular goals, dreams, and aspirations in a way that makes them curiously inapplicable, unimportant, and no longer the chief desire of our hearts and minds.

The life events and circumstances…the goals…and the end-point outcomes in the storylines of the biblical people of faith…have nothing to do with making a success of ourselves in terms of worldly conventional standards…according to the American Dream as translated backwards into every century of time and every cultural setting from the ancient books of Genesis through Acts…in the Bible.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

God Has Our Back 1

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”  (1 Cor. 2:10)

            God has our back in a crisis.  The only way we would know this for sure is by actual experience…by being in the middle of a shooting war.  

            This has to be true…because it cannot be fiction.  It does not hold up as fiction.  Once it rises to the level of becoming recorded in writing…put down on paper…it enters the arena of being universally testable and falsifiable over time. 

            The interaction between the living God and David….memorialized forever in David’s 23rd Psalm…is true because it cannot be otherwise…it cannot be fictional writing.  Once David writes about walking through the valley of the shadow of death with God at his side…then fiction-writing as the source of its inspiration and origin becomes nonsensical. 

            The uniquely biblical concept of the living God participating in our lives to this extent of personal interaction…at the very center of our life-scripts…is too far outside of the default, conventional worldview thinking of sitting atop the thrones of our lives in self-sovereignty…to make the huge leap across to the other side of the spectrum in placing our lives on-the-line in sacrificially following by faith the living God.

            According to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, David should be telling us how great and powerful he is…not about successful faith in God…because self-adulation surrounding his achievements would be the normally expected outer limits…the extent of his possible experience.

            What would be the point…the motivation…the inspiration…for David making this Psalm 23 up…if the actual boundaries of human experience stop at the edge of self-sovereignty, self-reliance, and autonomous individualism? 

            Following God into an adventure of faith would not hold water for any period of time within actual lived experience…unless God is real…and that we can experience His active participation in our lives.

            Religious “faith” that is still rooted in self-reliance and self-rulership is not biblical faith.  Biblical faith will connect us with the real God…who according to the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible…will displace our ways with a higher life-script that reflects His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).

            This is the root of what was so threatening to the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first-century that led to crucifying Jesus Christ.

            The religious leaders in Jerusalem were exposed by Jesus as being blind hypocrites. 

            They said they were the authorized representatives of God (Jn. 8:33, 39, 41) when in fact they were the deadliest enemies of biblical faith. 

            They were firmly committed to the default worldview of self-sovereign self-rulership…of maintaining complete control over their lives…to the point of instigating the death of Jesus through Roman crucifixion…in order to remove the threat of having to surrender this self-guided, self-sovereign status quo (Jn. 11:47-48). 

            They knew roughly about biblical faith…had been exposed to it as they studied the Hebrew Bible…but did not want any part of it themselves (Lk. 11:39-54).    

            This is a component of the “mystery” of iniquity…the conflict between self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty in our lives that produced the radical outcomes of the cross, the resurrection, and our salvation.

            The risk-factor involved in the novelty of voluntarily and willfully walking through a genuine journey of faith following the living God…is on its own a powerful and persuasive evidence that supports the divine origin of the Bible…because as human invented literary fiction…the concept of God-sovereignty displacing our self-sovereignty cannot and would not exist…for any length of time in real practice. 

            Minutes, hours, or days of actual tested experience would quickly expose this concept…if fiction…as empty fantasy…and be discarded as functionally worthless.

            If God is in actuality “not home,” then His brilliantly imaginative solutions in the biblical narrative stories of faith…that soar above human creativity and invention…would not only be inaccessible as real experience…to be recorded as life-history on paper…they would be beyond the creative imagination of human contemplation altogether. 

            David…or someone else inventing the 23rd Psalm…as fiction writing…has no motivational or conceptual legs…it does not take us anywhere within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.