Mark’s Remarks

I had a good week at Yellowstone Bible Camp. It was not a very large camp, which helped to have a more relaxed atmosphere. The lessons from Isaiah were well received and appreciated. I even spent some time in Yellowstone National Park and saw bison, elk, deer, a black bear, a grizzly bear and cub, and seven wolves.

I appreciate Jakie Gibbs and Lorn Benson for preaching and teaching in my absence. I also appreciate Mike Ewing for taking over the online access to the worship assembly.

We are embarking on a short series concerning “desire.” As I delved into the subject, the direction of my study took some turns that I did not expect. Those turns challenged me, and I will share some of them with you. The plan for the desire series is:

July 11          The Realm Of Desire

July 18          The Desires Of God

July 25          Human Desires

The Bible uses several Hebrew and Greek terms to express both good and evil desires. Two Hebrew roots shape the concept of desire in the Old Testament: אוה (ʾwh) generally expresses a neutral or good desire, whereas the numerous terms derived from the root חמד (ḥmd) describes the desirability of an object or person. The Old Testament often deems desire expressed through the root ḥmd as a negative form of desire. In addition, the Old Testament employs other verbs and nouns to specify the nuances of desire in relationships with both humans and God (חָשַׁק [ḥāšaq, “to desire”] and שָׁאַף [šāʾap, “to pant for”]). In the New Testament, the concept of desire is frequently communicated through Greek terms related to the will or wishes of a person or God. The verbs θέλω (thelō, “to will”) and βούλομαι (boulomai, “to wish”) frequently occur regarding the concept of desire. Desire can be morally positive or negative based on the context. The New Testament authors typically employ the verbs ἐπιθυμέω (epithymeō) and ἐπιποθέω (epipotheō) to illustrate the positive aspect of desire. At the same time, the noun ἐπιθυμία (epithymia) often refers to the destructive effect of lustful desires.

The Bible mentions all kinds of desires and longings that are fundamental to human existence. The biblical texts characterize some of these desires as good and thus to be pursued, while others are viewed as sinful and therefore to be avoided or resisted. When uncontrolled, passion can become overwhelmingly excessive or misdirected, turning people away from the Lord and toward selfish and harmful thoughts and actions.

As we think about “desires,” let us adopt the mindset the psalmists communicated in the following texts:

Psalm 40:8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

Psalm 119:174 I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.

Mark Johnson

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