Tag Archives: bramlett

Away With the Accuser | Bible Gleanings – September 24-25, 2022

My eyes consumed hours of daytime television when school was out during the summer. But, while most kids my age were watching the Disney channel or Nickelodeon, I was glued to “reality court” shows like Judge Judy, The People’s Court, and Judge Joe Brown. I always found it uniquely satisfying when the judge ejected unruly and disruptive litigants from the courtroom. The case had been settled, the gavel had been slammed, but there was always one defendant or plaintiff who would snivel and chatter about how unfair the trial had been—until the judge finally snapped. And then, in a commanding tone, they would exclaim, “Alright, that’s enough! Get out of my courtroom!”

Satan, the foremost accuser and counteragent of God’s people, has met the same fate at the hands of the Judge of all the earth. The devil lost his privileged position in God’s heavenly courtroom after Jesus paid the sin debt of believers and ascended to glory as the triumphant Lord. The Scripture says,

“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God” (Revelation 12:9-10).

The devil was formerly granted special access to God’s tribunal, where he would slander believers and attempt to tarnish God’s glory. He attempted to slander Job of old before the bench of heaven, saying, “Job is too wealthy. He’ll curse you if you let me have him” (cf. Job 1:6-12). He sought to discredit Joshua, the high priest, alleging, “Joshua is too wicked. He should be cursed” (cf. Zechariah 3:1-5). But now that Jesus the Advocate has inexorably settled the case for believers, Satan has been expelled from God’s court, and the Lord will never hear another of his allegations (cf. 1 John 2:1). All those whose sin debt has been paid may thus join Paul in saying,

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

“Down to the earth was Satan thrown,

Down to the earth his legions fell;

Then was the trump of triumph blown,

And shook the dreadful deeps of hell.

Now is the hour of darkness past,

Christ has assumed His reigning power;

Behold the great accuser cast

Down from the skies, to rise no more.” —Isaac Watts (1674–1748), “Let Mortal Tongues Attempt to Sing.”

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Holy Hatred | Bible Gleanings – September 17-18, 2022

Christians should be filled with hate. That’s right—there is a kind of hatred that should characterize all those who love God. As a matter of fact, it is a hatred that God loves. It is a holy hatred for evil, and God expects all of His children to possess and express it. As the Scripture says, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9b). 

To abhor evil is to be nauseated and appalled by wickedness, whether it is committed by the evil society or the evil sinner looking back at you in the mirror. Holy hatred entails running from iniquity rather than toward it. Abhorrence involves looking away from sin instead of upon it. It is possessing the same “righteous repulsion” that arrested David’s heart: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil” (Psalm 101:2-3). 

Those who love God with all their heart will naturally detest and despise what is unholy because it is impossible to love God and evil at the same time. As John the apostle wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Moreover, the more you love God, the more you will love what He loves and hate what He hates—and He loves righteousness and hates evil. As the psalmist declared, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4).

And, in order to hate what is evil, we must “hold fast to what is good.” That is, we must be cleave to all that is good and never let it slip from our hands. We must clinch onto the good word of God, the holy Scriptures (cf. Psalm 119:103-104). We must cling to good people, the holy saints (cf. Hebrews 3:12-13). And we must clasp the hands of faith onto the holy God who is good (cf. Psalm 34:8).

May the stance of our hearts be the first stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “The Things My God Doth Hate,” which beautifully says: 

“The things my God doth hate,

That I no more may do,

Thy creature, Lord, again create,

And all my soul renew;

My soul shall then, like thine,

Abhor the thing unclean,

And sanctify’d thy love divine,

For ever cease from sin.”

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

God’s Free Gift | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] December 11-12, 2021


There is something tender and heartwarming about a child’s unbridled anticipation as they race down the stairs to see what gifts await them beneath the Christmas tree. Giving and receiving gifts has been a Christmastime custom observed for hundreds of years, but how did this tradition begin? Many speculate that the tradition is based on the wise men who gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Others believe that gift-giving follows in the boots of the historical Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to poor children in his neighborhood. Whatever the historical roots of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, the tradition can remind us of God’s gift to us on Christmas Day: eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Paul famously said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is a gift, and this conveys several wonderful truths about the nature of eternal life. First, it cannot be earned. You can’t buy it with works of righteousness. You can’t earn it by baptism or church membership. You cannot do anything to deserve it. It is God’s free and gracious gift to you (Acts 8:20; Ephesians 2:8).

Secondly, it should be received with gratitude. You must come to God with empty hands in order to receive the gift of eternal life. All you must do is open your hands to receive it. Once you are “justified by his grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24), you can’t help but exclaim in gratitude, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Finally, it was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. Every gift has a cost paid by the buyer. Likewise, the gift of everlasting life came at a cost. It comes freely to you, but it was paid for by the blood of Jesus on Calvary. That is why Paul explained, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

If you have received the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, rejoice. Sing the words of Jessie B. Pounds’ little-know hymn, Blessed Gift:

“O Thou blessed gift from Heaven,

Words Thy worth can never tell!

Sweetest boon to mortals given,

Is our Lord Immanuel.”

Who in your life has not yet received God’s free gift? There is no better gift you could give them than the message of the gospel this Christmas. If you want to learn more about the traditions of Christmas, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Better Than Santa | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 4-5, 2021

Santa Claus is slightly judgmental. He only brings presents to good boys and girls. Those who misbehave are on the naughty list and will receive only coal in their stockings. As J. Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” Only youngsters most deserving of gifts can expect to find presents underneath the tree.

Jesus is the polar opposite of Santa: He gives the greatest gift to those who are the least deserving. He came to grant salvation and eternal life to evil people, not good people. As He Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Furthermore, He came to erase your name from the “naughty list” and write it in His book, the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). 

The fact that shepherds were the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth embodies Christ’s mission to save the undeserving. The glad tidings were announced by the exalted angels of heaven, not to kings or emperors, but to some of the most insignificant people in Judean society. Luke wrote, “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them” (Luke 2:8-9a). Shepherds were thought to be insignificant and contemptible. Jews considered them to be unclean, deceitful, and uneducated. Nonetheless, they were the first to hear the wonderful news that the Savior had been born.

The Gospels reinforce the idea that Jesus came for the low-ranking people of the world. The first disciples were fishermen. Jesus healed social outcasts: lepers, paralytics, and the demon-possessed. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He cared for widows and the sexually immoral. There’s no question about it—Jesus came to save the least qualified.

You don’t have to be outstandingly competent to receive His gift of eternal life. The Lord Jesus will grant salvation to you, no matter who you are or what you have done. Eternal life can be yours even if you are sexually immoral, idolatrous, adulterous, greedy, or addicted (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus is the significant Savior who came for insignificant people. That is why Jesus is better than Santa. If you want to learn more about the significance of Jesus’ coming to earth, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: “Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.”


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Heaven’s Christmas Celebration | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – November 27-28, 2021

Thanksgiving is behind us and that means Christmastime is near. Christmas is the grandest and greatest celebration of the year. Unlike other holidays, Christmas has its own decorations, music, foods, traditions, characters, and colors. It is even a worldwide phenomenon, with thousands of cultures across the globe anticipating Christmas Day. How did Christmas become so extravagant and why is it celebrated?

It may seem surprising, but Jesus did not issue a command to celebrate His birthday with holiday carols and hot cocoa. Instead, most modern-day Christmas traditions originated in Europe and parts of the ancient world which were predominantly pagan. During the winter solstice, the Romans honored the god of agriculture during Saturnalia by feasting and exchanging gifts. To appease the wrath of Oden, the Germans adorned their trees with fruit and candles. Other such polytheistic cultures “decked the halls” with greenery during winter because their sun god was ill and needed wreaths and garland to cheer him up.

It appears that early Christians celebrated Christmas to protest such paganism. They “Christianized” the symbols and customs, giving them Christological meanings. They even adopted the Roman holiday commemorating the birthday of the god, Mirtha, which was observed on December 25. Instead of complaining about the pagan festivities of their society, they simply replaced them with new meaning.

According to historical accounts, Christians also out-celebrated pagans because, in their eyes, Jesus was far more deserving of praise than the gods of wood and stone worshipped by their society. They were proclaiming a bold message by celebrating Christmas: only the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of worship.

Apparently, the angels in heaven agree. Heaven erupted in acclamation and praise when Jesus was born: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13). Once the angel announced that Christ had come (Luke 2:9-12), myriads of angels joined him in the celebration. Heaven’s exuberant joy at Christ’s coming couldn’t possibly be expressed by only one angel—it took millions. So, the early Christians weren’t the first to celebrate Christmas—heaven was.

Heaven had a jubilee that blessed Christmas morn’ because Jesus deserves the highest praise, honor, and glory. And that is why many Christians have observed Christmas for centuries—Jesus is worth celebrating. This season offers a unique opportunity to glorify Jesus and boldly declare that He alone deserves our allegiance, affection, and adoration. Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” invites you to joyfully celebrate with the heavenly host:

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies;

With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King!”


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Coals in the Fireplace | Bible Gleanings – Nov 13-14, 2021

He arrived bright and early every Sunday to greet each churchgoer with an inviting handshake. You could hear him from the back pew each time the sermon stirred his heart, too. “Amen, pastor. Preach it!” he’d say. He gave generously to every offering and served on every committee. That’s why, after missing church for four weeks in a row, his absence was obvious to all. Something wasn’t quite right.

Although the pastor wrote him letters, the back pew remained empty. Members of the church encouraged him to come back when they saw him in the grocery, but to no avail. “I’ll visit him at home. I’ve got an idea,” the pastor thought.

The minister was warmly welcomed inside after knocking on the door. The two exchanged pleasantries and then sat by the fireplace. “I’m sure you understand why I’m here,” the pastor added. “It’s not good for you to be absent from church.” The pastor then listened patiently as the man rattled off excuses for why he had missed church for so long.

The pastor then reached for the fire poker and pushed one of the coals away from the fireplace. Without saying a word, they both sat watching the coal slowly burn out. “Would you look at that?” asked the pastor. “The heat of the coal goes away if it’s not in the fireplace, surrounded by other hot coals.” The man’s eyes welled up with tears as he realized the object lesson: his spiritual fire was burning out because he had spent too much time away from church, the Christian’s fireplace.

This story has circulated for many years because it conveys a timely truth: Christians need the church to stay on fire for the Lord. We should gather each Sunday with other hot coals in the local church to rekindle our own flame for the Lord and His work. The kindling we need to stay on fire is available every Sunday: fellowship with the saints, preaching from the Bible, and the exercise of our spiritual gifts. The flame of our zeal for God will burn out if we are absent from the fireplace. The pouring rain of life’s trials and the strong wind of Satan’s temptations threaten to extinguish it, too.

The Lord commands us all to congregate with His people so that we can burn for Him rather than burn out: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, KJV). Are you a coal in the fireplace or a smoldering ember?

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Weeds Disguised as Flowers | Bible Gleanings – Oct 23-24, 2021

A thicket of royal blue flowers caught my attention. The matte green leaves swayed in the breeze, calmly holding elegant azure petals with a tiny yellow stigma in the center. How had they gone unnoticed? They did, after all, blossom atop the mulch beside my porch. The foreign flowers must have been planted by the wind or a cardinal. 

“Dakota will think I planted these,” I reasoned. She will say that I’ve got a knack for flowers when she sees their splendor. “I need to figure out what these are so I know what to call them.” Unfortunately for me, the research destroyed my boasting. Although they had the appearance of lovely orchids, they were dayflower weeds—a nuisance! Dayflower weeds are pesky, invasive, nutrient-stealing gremlins that have no place in a flower bed. They sure fooled me. The reality is, some weeds look like flowers. 

One of Scripture’s most grim teachings is that many outwardly righteous people appear to be flowers—true believers. But they might be weeds disguised as flowers—unbelievers. Your outward appearance may be elegantly beautiful. You may draw everyone’s attention by your impressive good works. You may check every Christian box with a bold mark. And you may fool every passerby, but you will not fool the Lord God (Gal. 6:7a).

The staggering truth is that you are a weed waiting to be burned if you have never truly exercised repentance and faith toward Christ alone for salvation (Acts 17:30; Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus once spoke about this in Matthew 13:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn” (vv. 24-30).

Everyone’s true spiritual condition will be revealed on the Last Day when God reaps the field of the world. It is God’s job to do the reaping—not ours. Our job is to see that everyone becomes wheat by faith in Christ, so that they can be gathered into the barn of God’s kingdom. Until then, false believers may look like true believers. Weeds will grow among wheat, and weeds may imitate flowers.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

The Return of the King | Bible Gleanings – Oct 16-17, 2021

Atlanta’s traffic was unusually quiet. The hum of engines and hollers of expletives had simmered down. The once-thundering interstate was eerily tranquil. Except for a swarm of police motorcycles and SUVs, the southbound lane was barren. Seconds later, an army of black sedans and Suburbans with blacked-out windows trailed behind. Moreover, police were stationed at every exit, ramp, and overpass to ensure that no one could enter or exit the interstate. As Dakota and I drove home from a sunbaked Florida vacation, we were mystified by the absence of drivers and the presence of police.

Someone important must have been passing through to require an escort like that. After doing some research, I discovered that Vice President Mike Pence was headed for the airport after speaking at a rally in Atlanta—and we had just missed him. The Secret Service paused everything to protect him. Downtown Atlanta literally hit the brakes because of the presence of the world’s second most powerful man.

A day is coming when the sovereign King of the universe shall return in glory and judgment—and everyone on earth will slam their brakes at His glorious and terrifying presence. The normal traffic of everyday life will come to a halt (Matthew 24:36-44). An army of angels will be His heavenly escort (Matthew 24:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7). There will be no road of escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). It will not, however, be eerily quiet, as there will be both joyous shouting and horrific screaming (Revelation 1:7). And when this King returns, it will not be a brief visit to one city, but a final visit to earth to judge the wicked, reward the righteous, wage war on Satan, and dissolve our cosmos to make way for a new one (Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:1-13; Revelation 20:7-10).

Do a little research in the Book—this is what it will tell you:

“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, [he will inflict] vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10).

Only God knows when this day will come, and no one is allowed to see His calendar. Therefore, prepare yourself now by embracing this King as your only Savior and Lord. As the psalmist graciously counseled, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12).


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Building and Building On | Bible Gleanings – Oct 2-3, 2021

“It’s about time you showed up!” Jordan was already hard at work when I arrived at the jobsite. He asked for a helping hand earlier that day on the way to lunch. “Why don’t you come by after school and help me build my garage?” I obliged and drove over in my 1995 Thunderbird. When I pulled into the driveway, I was surprised to see a garage nearly finished. The bulk of the work had already been done; all I did was put the finishing touch on a project he had been working on for weeks.

Whether you are preaching the gospel to the lost or encouraging someone to walk closer with the Lord, remember this: God is always at work long before you get there. God often uses you to finish a job He’s been working on for weeks, years, or even decades. Many times, you are merely building on a foundation God has already laid through the work of other believers. As Paul said, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5-7).

Who knows how many sermons your neighbor has heard before you arrive at the doorstep? Who knows how many gospel testimonies your coworker has heard before you share yours? Who knows how many prayers have been uttered for a lost soul before you pray for them? Who knows how deeply God has tilled the fallow ground of a sinner’s heart before you sow the gospel seed?

Maybe your neighbor needs to hear the gospel one more time. Maybe your friend needs to hear one more testimony. Perhaps your relative needs just one more earnest prayer. Your witness, encouraging words, or prayers could be the final drop of water necessary for the gospel seed to germinate in a sinner’s soul. You might be laying a foundation for someone else, but you might be finishing it off, too. 

Philip the evangelist would agree. Multitudes were saved when he preached the gospel in Samaria (Acts 8:5-13), and his success was largely due to the fact that he built on a foundation Christ already laid when He visited Samaria. The Samaritan leper who fell at Jesus’ feet was on his feet spreading the gospel before Philip showed up (Luke 17:16). Likewise, the Samaritan woman testified about Jesus long before Philip arrived (John 4:39). Philip simply poured water on thousands of gospel seeds that had already been sown.

Friend, never pass up an opportunity to share the gospel or encourage someone to mature in the faith. You are always laying a foundation or building on one. You are always planting the seed or watering it.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

The Death to End the Duel | Bible Gleanings – Sept 11-12, 2021

According to plan, both men appeared on the plains of Weehawken to settle their squabble in a duel. The first shot rang vociferously. Alexander Hamilton fired his custom-made pistol and missed Aaron Burr, trimming off a nearby branch. The second shot produced two sounds: one was gunfire, the second was a thud from Hamilton’s body collapsing to the ground. The physician darted toward him, but there was nothing he could do, for as Hamilton declared, “This is a mortal wound, Doctor.” The bullet struck him above his hip, bounced off his rib, cut through his liver, and cracked his lower spine. Hamilton died the following day on July 12, 1804.

Hamilton’s death was not according to plan, however. Neither Burr nor Hamilton expected to walk away as the last man standing. They both intended to simply wound—to make a statement with a bullet—rather than kill. The resulting public humiliation forced Burr to flee to Georgia, which proved to be a saving grace for our fledgling nation. A conspiracy was afoot for the northeastern region of New England to secede from the rest of the country, with Burr as president. Hightailing it to the south destroyed those plans. You could say that Hamilton’s death, albeit accidental, saved the entire nation in its fragile infancy.1 

The political salvation obtained by Hamilton’s blood pales in comparison, however, to the spiritual salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, whose grim death also saved an entire nation—the nation of God’s people. Jesus of Nazareth achingly ascended the hill of Golgotha, bloodied and bruised from Roman whips, but He had not come to duel. He came to end the greatest duel of all: the war between God and man. As Jesus drank the whole cup of God’s wrath against sinners, the sound from the cross was not a gunshot, but a piercing cry of anguish: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). And His death was not an accident; it was according to God’s plan. “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him,” said Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 53:10).

Although Burr’s story ended in humiliation, the story of Jesus Christ did not. God raised Him from the dead, exalting Him at His right hand (Acts 2:32-33). We are saved, then, not only by His humiliation on the cross, but by His exaltation from the tomb. As Paul perfectly stated,

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10).

The duel is over if you have believed in Christ for your eternal salvation. The fight died when Christ died; now you are God’s friend.

  1. No one narrates the famous story of Hamilton vs. Burr like Joseph J. Ellis in Founding Brothers (New York: Random House, Inc., 2000).
Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).