Day 60 – Knowing the LORD God

Reading the prophecy of Ezekiel can lead a person to only one good conclusion, and that is that GOD wants people to know Him.  Some of the reading sounds harsh, deadly, and judgmental; however we are speaking of our Creator; and who are we to question how He works.  Can the clay say to the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing”.  Not at all.  The God of creation has one thing in mind, and that is the glory of His name; and He will accomplish what He has started to do – that the people of the earth know Him.

My reading this morning was Ezekiel 24 – 37.  I have mentioned it in passing, but today I will spend some time with the phrase, “…Know that I am the LORD”.  In looking at this phrase and its use in Ezekiel we find it at least 24 times in today’s reading.  I will only give you a few of those references.

First in today’s reading I read these words being spoken to Israel of Ezekiel’s service,

“Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:24 (KJV)

Ezekiel’s wife had died.  He was not to weep or mourn publicly because of her death.  By this Ezekiel was a sign for Israel and their captivity; no time for grief and mourning over the dead.  The second time in my reading this morning is in verse 27,

“In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.” 24:27

Previously, Ezekiel had been unable to speak, but now the LORD was going to open his mouth, and he would speak, and by this the people would know that Jehovah/YHWH is the LORD.  Remember the LORD is proper and just, Righteous, and holy and can do how He pleases to bring people to the one conclusion the human race needs to know; and that is that He is the LORD.

“And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  25:11

The LORD of hosts speaks these words through Ezekiel and to other people; not just to Israel.  He desires the nations to know Him.  He desires Moab to know that He is the LORD.  One day at the final day of judgment the world will know that He is the LORD.  That however does not mean, that all will be with Him in His glory.

To the land of Tyre [Tyrus] God says,

“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.  And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  26:4-6

Many an arrogant nation have exalted themselves over what GOD had for them.  Many of these nations will be removed from the earth, their lands left desolate; and never restored.  It is to the king of Tyrus that we find him to be filled with the evil of Satan himself (28:12-15).

The Nile River is a very important river in Egypt.  However the nation’s leader had exalted himself to the point of being Egypt’s god, claiming to have made the river himself and it being his river.  To this arrogance the Lord says, through the prophet,

“And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.”  29:9

God is especially grieved when His people; the one’s He has chosen to be His light, and the glory of His name; when we turn our backs on Him to other gods [idols made by the minds and hands of men in their own images].  This was the guilt of Judah and Israel. God says to Israel again,

“For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.   Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.”  33:28-29

God will not leave His people without judgment.  In fact He will judge His people first and foremost.  The arrogance of Israel was so bad, so gross they had been secure in the temple, also made by the hands of men; in thinking and saying, “God will never destroy this nation, or this temple.  It is the Temple of  the LORD”.  They found out differently.  God is more involved and careful that we might know Him, than He is in our security, survival or success.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.  As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.”  36:37-38

God will not leave His people without hope.  In their captivity He continually reminds them of their return to the land.  It will of course be after the land has been restored its sabbaths lost by the years of neglect of sabbaths by her  people.  A final promise I want to leave with you is that,

“And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant David shall be their prince for ever.”  37:24-25

“David My servant” is none other than the King of kings, born in Bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem, buried, and bodily raised from the dead; justifying all who will believe in Him.  The world will know that Jesus Chirst is LORD.  Bow now; or bow later.  It is your choice.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 59 – GOD and the False Prophets

Someone might say, “There are no false prophets today.”  My action toward that remark would be to tell that individual to remove the blindfold.  In reading the prophets of God we find the example of false prophets, and they are quite plentiful today as well.

The true prophet of God seeks first, to glorify God and His message; and second to warn God’s people of their sins; and third to call them to repentance; at whatever the price – even his own life.  The false prophet seeks to ease the hearts of the people through encouragement in their trials and pains that are actually for their chastisement.  I agree that there are times the preacher of God needs to encourage the people; the encouragement we give needs to be according to the Word of the LORD, not fanciful, psychological, mumbo-jumbo seeking to the ease of pain and trial.  The encouragement from God will be to get people to love the Word of God; and loving Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

In my reading this morning – Ezekiel 10 – 23 – I noticed several instances of God’s rebuke of the false prophets and teachers, and this is what I believe needs addressing.

One of the things I read in Ezekiel is the continued use of a phrase, “[they, you,] shall know that I am the LORD”.  Throughout the prophecy, beginning in chapter six, that phrase is used over sixty times.  The reason, Ezekiel stresses, for Israel’s captivity and judgment is so that they will know that God is the LORD.

God says to the prophet Ezekiel,

“Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.  Therefore say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done,’ saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:26-28 (KJV)

Also hear what the LORD says of the prophet who is deceived, and deceives the people,

“And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of My people Israel.  And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; that the house of Israel may go no more astray from Me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be My people, and I may be their God,’ saith the Lord GOD.” 14:9-11

If you will notice the people who went seeking the false prophet and his prophecy would be held to the same end as the prophet himself.

At least twice God tells the elders who come to Ezekiel to inquire of him, “I will not be inquired of by you.” (20:3, 31)

Also notice what God says to the priests and the prophets in chapter 22.  I will let you get out the Scriptures and read that for yourself.  Notice the “daubing… with untempered mortar”.  Have you ever seen whitewash.  Can you imagine laying brick, or even patching brickwork with whitewash, yet that is what the false prophets do.

The LORD will not long tolerate the wickedness of the false prophet/preacher.  He will not hold him guiltless who leads people astray, making the evil believe they will live, and making the righteous feel they will die.  The false preacher calls evil good, and good evil.

Turn to the Lord Jesus Christ today.  Repent of your sins, believe and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 58 – A Different View

From a different setting of things two people can see the same thing or event in a slightly different way.  That is the way of the gospels of the New Testament.  It is also the way of the prophets we will look at today.  Jeremiah and Ezekiel were men in two different locations.  They are contemporary with the other.  One, however, Jeremiah is in Judah or Jerusalem preaching and calling the people to repentance; while Ezekiel in in Babylon as a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom; along with king Jehoichin.

Jeremiah’s message in Lamentations seems to have taken place after the city of Jerusalem is defeated, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and the precious articles for temple worship taken away.  We can see Jeremiah’s being known as “the weeping prophet” as we read the laments that are written there.  Ezekiel speaks to the people as God gives him visions, and acts for illustration.  Ezekiel’s message would be mostly to the people who are captive in Babylon, or the written message to be taken back to those still in Jerusalem.

My reading, if you have not figured it out by now, was Lamentations 1 – 5 and Ezekiel 1 – 9.  These prophets being contemporary with the other are coming from different perspectives, yet pretty much with the same message.  Jeremiah wrote his prophecy trying to save as many lives in Judah as possible, calling people to turn from their idolatrous worship, by turning back to the LORD of hosts.  Ezekiel sees the need for the people of Israel/Judah to realize that the LORD is the LORD.

Jeremiah was allowed to stay behind with a remnant of people, and the laments are written as he sees the city broken down, destroyed and forsaken;

“How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!  She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.  Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.   The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.  Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.  And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.  Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.   Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.   Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.  The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.   All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.”  Lamentations 1:1-11 (KJV)

The prophets heart is grieved because of the cities destruction, but he knows it is due to her transgressions.  She has sinned against the LORD, been given many opportunities to repent and change, yet has continued in debaucherous rebellion against the loving, merciful LORD of hosts.

The prophet Ezekiel is taken by the hand of the LORD, in a vision to Jerusalem, and sees the wickedness going on there in the face of judgment,

“And He put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.”  Ezekiel 8:3 (KJV)

By way of a vision the LORD took Ezekiel back to Jerusalem and showed him the evil that was taking place at that time in their previous “glorious city”.  The “Ancients of the house of Israel were saying, “The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”

We do see in these to priests and prophets that there perspective is different, their views are different, but  the message of God is still the same.  The people of the land have forsaken the LORD.  There is a need for cleansing, healing and renewing.

A different view?  One was viewing from Jerusalem [Jeremiah].  The other was viewing from Babylon [Ezekiel].

The LORD of hosts, who holds the world, the universe in His hands will not tolerate evil in His people.  He will not allow His children to live successfully in sin.  He will judge our sin.  It has already been judged in His Son Jesus Christ.  However, when a Christian sins willfully, there remains no more sacrifice for sin.  As it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 57 – The King, Whose Name is the LORD of Hosts

The reading of the prophecy of Jeremiah can be a difficult read; and even difficult to write about; especially if you focus on the judgment part of the prophecy.  Jeremiah lived through much of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel.  He also wrote many promises of God.

My reading today was Jeremiah 38 – 52 finishing up this portion of the prophecy of Jeremiah.  I say this portion, because we have Lamentations to read yet, which is part of his prophecy.

“As I live,’ saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.'” Jeremiah 46:18 (KJV)

One of the things I learn as I read the Bible, and that I am reminded of everyday is that God is the Supreme Ruler over the earth.  The phrase in the verse above, “…the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” is used in two other verses in today’s reading – 48:15 and 51:57.

The LORD of hosts is King of every nation, tribe and tongue, and His will will be done.  His name will be glorified.  Egypt of the above verse was prideful.  The remnant of Judah who had been left behind by Nebuchadnezzar, had asked Jeremiah to seek the LORD and they would follow His guidance about what they were to do.  They were to stay in the land of promise; yet they disobeyed the LORD, and chose to go into Egypt seeking security from Babylon.  They would, instead of finding security, find themselves a part of another captivity, because Babylon was going to come to Egypt conquering them.  He is the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

In the second verse the word is against Moab,

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” 48:15

Moab, thinking themselves strong, mighty, and secure would fall by the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts”.  Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Bozrah, Edom, and even Babylon would fall by the decree of the King; “the King whose name is the LORD of hosts”

No king or president or senator or congressman or any leader can stand long against the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  He is the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  One day every tribe, tongue and nation will bow before Him.  The One whose name is above every name.  The One to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 56 – Diminish Not a Word

The prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet to Judah and Israel was a hard word to preach.  It was especially so for a man who loved his people, and his nation; however, it was the word of the LORD, and Jeremiah was going to proclaim it, and it would be better for the people to have listened.  It is still so in the 21st century among God’s people; good to listen to the Word of the LORD.

Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”  Jeremiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

He was also to never cut short or lessen the words of promise given by the LORD.  This prophecy is full of promises from God as well as warnings.  There are so many who lessen the promises of God to Israel.  Make them only good for them as long as the nation believes like they think they ought to believe; lives as they think they ought to live.

Let us look at some of those promises.  My reading this morning took me from chapter 25 – 38.

The nation had forsaken the LORD and His Word refusing to hear the words of the prophets, including the warnings of Jeremiah; and they would suffer for it by going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being burned to the ground, the temple being destroyed, and defiled.  It happened just as Jeremiah, by the Word of the LORD, said it would.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, ‘that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.'” 31:27-28

Despite the fact that God was going to judge them, He wanted to assure them, that just as surely as He was going to tear down, He would also bring them back,and build them up again.  He goes on and says in verse 34, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Just how good, how strong, how enduring is the covenant of God with Israel/Judah?

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” 31:35-37

And the prophet by the Word of the LORD says again,

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.” 33:19-22

Just as the Word of the LORD for punishment, chastisement cannot be diminished so too is it true of His promises.  Hear again,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.'” 33:25-26

The Word of the LORD is sure, it is true, it is eternal; and not one word shall be diminished.  The LORD will accomplish every word of it.  He will be glorified, and all the world shall know that He is GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 55 – The Unsocial Prophet

“The preacher who does not mix with people will never make much of a preacher;” at least that has been said or thought by many.  One thing needs to be understood by many preachers of the 21st century; if a preacher has been called by God to preach the Word of God, then we just do not make our lives, or build our lives around social activities, nor what the people may expect of us.  The preacher is God’s preacher, not man’s smooth talking, easy listening, socially active, friend to everybody servant.

Rantings of a mad preacher?  Maybe.  My reading today was from Jeremiah 11 – 24, and I guess I noticed some things that got a fire burning.  Jeremiah is one of my favorite Prophets of the Old Testament to read, study, and I have rarely preached from the book.

In my title I call it “The Unsocial Prophet” for a couple of reasons.  Jeremiah was a man called by God from a family of priest to be a prophet to the nation of Judah; during the days when Josiah was king, then his son Jehoiakim, and finally the king Zedekiah when Jerusalem was carried away captive by Babylon.

Why I call him “The Unsocial Prophet”.  One of the things God says to Jeremiah is “Do not pray for this people”.

“For thus saith the LORD, ‘Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away My peace from this people,’ saith the LORD, ‘even lovingkindness and mercies.'”  Jeremiah 16:5 (KJV)

The  people of Judah have refused to listen to the Word of the LORD through the prophets He has sent; they have violated the land in not giving them their sabbath rests every seven years, they have violated the weekly sabbaths by continuing to do business, conducting deals and selling as on the other six days, and they have brought idols into their worship, and continue to act in worship to Jehovah/YHWH.

The prophet is sad concerning the plight of his people (9:1), however, his sadness is because they have forsaken the LORD.  He knows that God’s plan for them is the best plan for them.  He is even attacked and hated by his own family, and people.  Another reason I call him “The Unsocial Prophet” is;

“Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.  For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.'” 16:8

The prophet is to be an influence to the people; not letting the people influence him.  He is to be led by the Spirit of God, His Word, and not the social activities of the day.

Let me give a clear Biblical definition of a “Prophet”.  The prophet of God is a preacher, an expositor of God’s Word.  He is first and foremost a student of Scripture; a man of prayer; an obedient servant of God.  He proclaims what God declares to Him, and then proclaims it to the people.  That in itself can make him an enemy to the people.  Who is going to invite a guy like this to their parties, or even to preach their funerals, or invite him to mourn with them?  In the last verse above we see that God tells Jeremiah that joy and gladness will cease.

Men and women are so deceived today.  Even professing Christians live as though any belief is okay as long as you believe something; have faith in something; as though “faith” is all you need.  There is only one way to approach God according to His Word, but the heart of men have devised alternative ways which lead to death and destruction.  These are other gods, false gods, which lead to death.

God spoke to Jeremiah saying,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” 17:9

You can continue believing as you believe, contrary to God and His Word, and you will receive the just judgment of God. “According to the fruit of his [your] doings” you will receive all that you have coming to you.

Many of the people of Anathoth hated Jeremiah because of his preaching.  They plotted against him to do him harm, but God’s hand of protection was on him (1:19);

“Then said they, ‘Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.'” 18:18

Jeremiah even says that the problem of Judah is due to the smooth talking false prophets who had the hearts of the people;

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.'” 23:15

Pastors and preachers of today need to hear the Word of the Lord. Stand and preach the word, not the desires of the hearts of the people.  It is not a popular opinion that matters to the preacher of God, but rather a saved, cleansed, pure live that will glorify God.  God is the center of the preacher’s preaching.  Are you afraid of being called “unsociable”?  Would it not be better to be deemed “unsociable” by the masses than to be deemed an unholy, false preacher by God? And receive the judgment that comes from God for such activities?

Most of this post today seems somewhat negative, but I pray instructive, correcting, and guiding to many who read it.  There is hope and encouragement within what I read today.  Hear the encouragement of God’s Word –

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  23:5-6
“For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.  And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.” 24:6-7

The hope for Judah and Israel is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS; and that is none other than the Messiah who was to come, and give His life a ransom for many, and then return one day and establish His eternal kingdom.  The people of Judah will return to the LORD with their whole heart.  Because of Jesus their is hope for all have a “wicked heart”, and that is all of us.  “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10)  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  However Christ died for our sins.  Trust Him, and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 54 – Judged by Sin

I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin.  According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law.  Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law.  Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”.  So there is a wrong?  Who determines what is wrong or right?  You?  There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.

If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today.  When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.

My reading this morning was finishing the prophet Isaiah 63 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.

Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.  Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12).  Jeremiah is told by God,

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJV)

The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them.  He must preach what God declares unto him.  The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope.  The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not.  They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” 2:19

The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it.  They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.  ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.'” 7:1-4

It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy.  Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days.  God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place to worship Him.

Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1

We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily.  Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God.  He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing.  Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 53 – The Word of God Shall Prosper

There are many times there is debate over the meaning of God’s Word.  Even Christians, at times, debate over whether something is “Literal” or “Figurative” or allegorical.  For me if God was speaking literal about the first coming of Jesus, and He came just as He has proclaimed; then when He speaks of the second coming of Jesus; it too will be just as He proclaimed.  There is no argument, or debate about it; it is already sealed.

My reading this morning was Isaiah 49 – 62; and my what an exciting read it was; and it is.  By the time I was finished with my reading I was anxious for the return of Christ, and I am waiting and living just as if it might be today.  How about you?

My verse of thought today is,

“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (KJV)

I have heard people; even some preachers tell that the second coming of Jesus is when a person is has their new birth experience with Jesus Christ; or maybe when that person’s body ceases to live, “Jesus has come again to take them home”.  Now that could partially be true; however, if that is all there is to the second coming of Jesus we have truly missed something.

I know people and religions which believe that Jesus Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth, He has returned.  My question to those who believe that is, Where is Jesus?  Where is the Righteous rule of the King?  Where is Justice that is promised by the verses I read today?  Why is Israel still being threatened and attacked, almost daily?  Why has Israel not repented, believed in Jesus Christ and followed Him if Jesus is here?

The LORD’s purpose in casting Israel away, was not to forsake them but to redeem them.

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,’ saith the LORD.  ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ saith the LORD; ‘My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed,’ saith the LORD, ‘from henceforth and for ever.'” 59:20-21

“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.  Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” 60:15-16

When Jesus Christ comes again what a wonderful blessing God has in store for Israel and the whole world of those who will humble themselves before Him, trust Him and believe;

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.” 57:15-16

We can look at our world today and see that there is no peace; and if we are honest in believing the Word of God we can also see that there will be no peace on earth until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace comes, and fully redeems His people, for all time and eternity.  The word of God shall not return to Him void, and it shall prosper in the thing where He sends it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 52 – The Sovereign Holy One of Israel

There is one phrase which keeps coming up in the prophecy of Isaiah.  It is more than a phrase, it is a statement of the character of God.  In Isaiah, as well as in other parts of Scripture we hear of “the Holy One of Israel”.  It is a good term, a great reference to the character of the Creator of all that is; both seen and unseen.  As I read chapters 35 – 48 of Isaiah this morning I noticed the presence of God in the nations around the tiny nation of Israel.  You really cannot help but notice that God is God of the world when it gets right down to it.

If God reigns, and he does, in Israel; then, He also is reigning throughout the whole world.  He is, though, not often recognized as being the one who is reigning.

In chapters 36 – 39 we hear about Hezekiah, and his struggle against the pride, and arrogance of Assyria, and her king Sennacherib (36:1).  No army had been successful against the Assyrian army, and the king wanted Hezekiah to know it.  In his arrogance he blasphemed the God of Israel, seeing Him as nothing more than the idols of the fallen nations he had conquered.  However, since God is defensive of His own glory, and Hezekiah had a heart for God, then God was not going to let this arrogant king get by with it.

We also see in the reading that God is not at all well pleased with Israel, and that they are going into captivity because of their rejection of God, His Word, and His ways. Babylon was God’s source of captivity and judgment upon Israel, however Babylon showed them no mercy, and in their arrogance they brought judgment of God upon themselves to destruction;

“I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.  And thou saidst, ‘I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.’  Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, ‘None seeth me.’ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I am, and none else beside me.’   Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.   Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah 47:6-13 (KJV)

If you will notice this announcement of judgment is due to “thou didst shew them no mercy”.  Because of this Babylon would fall to a king that God names in chapers 44 and 45;

“That saith of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.” 44:28

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…” 45:1

The LORD is THE SOVEREIGN HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL; however He is Sovereign of the whole world, yea, even of the Universe.  A final word in the reading for today says this,

“There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)

The wicked are all those who refuse to submit to the Lordship and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and His finished work on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 51 – The Cornerstone

It has been said, that in the building of a building with stone that a “cornerstone” is needed.  The size of the cornerstone determines the size of the building, the shape of the building and so forth.  So without a cornerstone there is not much direction.

My reading this morning was Isaiah 21 – 34.  In reading these verses there is much “Woe” presented to nations; Israel, and Judah included, but to them, also very much hope.

In chapter 28 God speaking through the prophet shows how the leadership has fallen.  Where they had been known for their beauty they were seen as a “fading flower” (vv. 1, 4), and the day was coming when the LORD of hosts would “be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty…” (v. 5).  The present leadership to whom Isaiah was speaking were drunken with wine and strong drink, making faulty judgment, and hating the word of the LORD.

The word of the LORD was not hidden to them.  The prophet had made it known to them over and over again “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little there a little…” (v. 13) where it seems they had grown tired of hearing it.  That did not stop the prophet.  He kept on preaching.  Go get ‘um Isaiah.  Go get ‘um preacher.

We need to understand; God’s Word does not promote us, our comfort, our peace, even our salvation.  The center, the promotion of the Word of God is God, His glory, His salvation.  I do not want to burst your bubble…  wait a minute – Yes I do.  This world is not about you.  This Word of God is not about you – it is not about us.  It is about Him, and He tells us,

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.'” Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)

These words are referenced in the New Testament describing the person of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 3:11-13; 1 Peter 2:6; Matthew 21:42-44).  This is truly a “precious corner stone”.

There are a couple of final verses I will leave with you today;

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them.  And He hath cast the lot for them, and His hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” 34:16-17

Though these words are spoken for the previous few verses; they are also true for the whole of God’s written Word.  Particularly, “…No one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate…”  God’s Word will come to pass just as He has said,  not one word will fail.

Jesus is the Corner stone.  He is coming.  He will reign.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 50 – Israel, Egypt and Assyria

My apologies for my inability to count in yesterdays title.  It was day 49 not 48; and if you noticed it was not until the end of the day that I noticed the error.

My reading today was Isaiah 7 – 20.  That reading is interesting, full of Messianic prophecies, and hope for the rest of the world.  The language toward Judah and Israel is quite strong and warns them of their need to return to right worship of YHWH [the LORD].

In chapter 7 we have the prophet telling the king Ahaz to ask the LORD for a sign, he refuses, and the LORD gives him the sign of a virgin conceiving and bearing a son (7:14), of course, ultimately prophetic of the coming Christ hundreds of years later.  There are also more prophetic pictures of Jesus’s coming in chapter nine.  In verses 1-2 we have Him coming as a Light; and in verses 6 and 7 a ruling Prince of Peace; whose rule will be forever.

A personal word is given to the prophet Isaiah, by the LORD in 8:11-18 and I want you to note especially verse 13;

“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” Isaiah 8:13 (KJV)

The prophet of God was not to walk in the way of “this people”.  They were fearful, and afraid of enemies conspiring against them.  The LORD tells Isaiah to fear only the LORD.  Set Him apart in your heart alone and when you do that you will fear nothing else.  When a person fears nothing but God; there is nothing that will be impossible to that individual.

Though God has warned Judah and Israel of their future captivity, He also gives them hope of a future back in the land of Promise, and the envy between the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah will be over;

“And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.   The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.  But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.” 11:12-14

What is taking place in the Middle East today with the nations of the world trying to bring peace to Israel is a part of prophecy; and God still forever reigns, and is accomplishing His purposes in this world.  There is also coming a day when Israel, Egypt and Assyria will be united in Christ the Messiah of Israel.  Hear the word of the LORD:

“And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.  In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.  In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.” 19:21-25

Let those of us who know the LORD through the Son of God trust and believe that one day every knee will bow to God and every tongue will confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The SBC and/or the GCB

Some of you who come here are probably more in the know than I on the proposed “name change” or whatever you want to call it of the Southern Baptist Convention.  I, myself, have no problems with the Southern Baptist Convention name.  Why change it?  How many times has that been asked?

It seems to me we are proposing the change for those who hate God and Jesus Christ to call attention to the idea that we are willing to change to get them come and see what we are about.  Now, that could just be a gross misstatement, or mis-understatement; if anything to me it is understated.   It says to me that we are willing to change our name that we might just be willing to change some other things in order to accommodate the masses.  Now I probably will be unable to attend the convention in New Orleans in June, but I know some of you, at least, will do the right thing and vote against the “change”.

By the way keep in mind that ABC television has a new show coming out that is called the GCB, about what I understand to be about professing Christian women who are nothing more than hypocrites.  Mockery of Christ and His own.  GCB for ABC means Good Christian B_ _ _hes (the word for a female dog).  Used in that context I refuse to use the term.  I find it very disrespectful to women of any class.  Even if some do not mind being called “female dogs”.

It has been some time since I posted here at ALL THINGS BAPTIST, but I think this is about as Baptist as you can get.

-T.A. Blankenship

Day 48 – From Love to Love and Salvation – excuse me day 49

If there is one thing that the Bible declares to the follower of Christ and to any who will read it it is that God loves the world.  However, we also will find within the pages much of the fact that God is holy and righteous and will not overlook our sin.

My reading today, this morning, took me through the Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, and chapters 1 – 6 of the prophet Isaiah.  Now there is contrast.  From a love story to prophetic warnings; however, after some thought on the matter I see these chapters of Isaiah as the love of God toward His wife (Judah), warning and wooing her back to Himself; and that He will do whatever it takes to bring her back to Himself.

To be perfectly honest with you I enjoy reading the Song of Solomon, but I do not see a whole lot to say about the matter except that we can see in this love story; God’s love for His people, and when she is right with Him, her love for Him.

Here is how the young Shulamite woman feels for her groom –

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”  Song of Solomon 2:4 (KJV)

She has been taken to what she call “the banqueting house” and all she senses is his love for her.  If you will notice in reading the Song, all the words she has for her groom is love and admiration.  She adores him; and that should be what the Bride of Christ feels for Him as well.  After all He purchased us with His own blood; redeeming us from our sin and condemnation.  Should we not be loving, admiring, and adoring Him; even worshipping Him always.

One can learn much from reading the Song about how a man should love, and adore their girlfriends; and their wives.  There are several times it mentions too, about waiting for “love”; most likely referring to the sexual relationship.  Waiting for the time when there is a lifelong commitment to one another through marriage (8:4).  Marriage is about our commitment to Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32).

The prophet Isaiah was a man who loved the LORD.  He was a prophet from the nobility of his day.  The time was one of wealth and prosperity, but the people had forsaken the LORD of hosts.  They had turned to idols from the living God.  The prophet says to them –

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.  The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider.’  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” Isaiah 1:3-4 (KJV)

The prophet found it difficult to see owners of oxen and donkeys able to use them for plowing, hauling things and such without any problem; the donkey and the ox being obedient to their masters commands, and guidance taps; yet the people of God did not know God in obedience; the One who had delivered them from Egypt; provided them with many judges who delivered them from tormentors and persecutors.

Yet, here too is a love story.  One of a wonderful salvation.  The prophet’s name means, “The LORD is salvation”.  The salvation of Israel is a direct result of the love of God for them.  Their salvation does not mean they are a perfect people; just a delivered people.  The same is true for the Christian of today.

It is the love of God; and the fact that He is holy and righteous; that will not allow His children to be a success at sinning.

“But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” Isaiah 5:16

The Lord loves you today.  Christian do not continue in your sin.  Repent and obey Him.  If you are still in your sin that love has been shown to the world by the death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection.  The goal for the child of God is to sin no more; and one day that will be accomplished through the return of Jesus Christ in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 48 – Trouble with Life

Who does not have troubles in life and with life.  It begins with questions.  Questions like; “Where did I come from?”;  “Why am I here?”;  “What is my purpose in living?”  There is only one place we can find the answer for those questions and that is from our Creator.

I cannot tell you the answer to those questions you will need to find them for yourself.  You might even have some of the same thoughts as Solomon in Ecclesiastes.  My reading this morning was the final three chapters of the Proverbs 29- 31, and all the chapters of Ecclesiastes.  I do not know about you, but reading Ecclesiastes can be very discouraging.  At least, up until you get to the final verses.

If you have read Ecclesiastes, and think you have the problem of life solved, then let me say this as kindly as possible –  That is the thought of a fool.

Solomon, the wisest of men who ever walked on earth never solved the problem of life, and its troubles.  I know that I cannot; and I am not going to spend a lot of time with this book trying to explain what Solomon means when he tells us “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.  I know vanity means “vapor”, or “breath”, and comes down to meaning, “Meaningless”.  You would not think that you would hear that coming from the mouth of a wise man, but it does.

Let me give you a word of warning.  Do not build a doctrine or belief from this book.  It raises far more questions than it substantiates; with the exception of its conclusion.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.   For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV)

The answers to life’s troubles, and questions are for you to find on your own, but let me give you a heads up.  For me and all who have eternal life, life begins with God.  You came from the mind and heart of God.  We are here to glorify God, to be His lightbearer in a dark world.  Our purpose is to love God and enjoy Him forever.

You will find the answers to these questions when you believe God, believe and trust His word and work through Christ Jesus death, burial and bodily resurrection; and submit to Him, and walk with/in Him.  Walking with and in God makes the problems of life more sensible, and bearable.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 47 – The Wisdom of Proverbs

There is much we can learn from reading the proverbs of the Bible.  I am not commenting about the verses I post today except to show them to you for your perusal, and pray you will go to the book itself, and read them.  There is much wisdom to gain by reading and applying them.

My reading today was Proverbs 15 – 28.  I post some of the verses I marked as I read.

From chapter 16 –

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

Chapter 19 –

 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” 19:21

Chapter 20 –

“An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.”  20:21
“Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” 20:24

From 21 –

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” 21:1
“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” 21:3
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” 21:5

From chapter 22 –

“The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.”  22:2
“The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” 22:12
“The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” 22:13

Chapter 23 –

 “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” 23:4-5

From 24 –

“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” 24:17-18
“These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.” 24:23-25

Chapter 26 –

“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” 26:12
“The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.'” 26:13
“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” 26:20-22

Chapter 27 –

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” 27:12

and the final chapter of the day 28 –

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.” 28:2
“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” 28:21
“When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.” 28:28

May the wisdom of Solomon and Hezekiah lead you to a closer walk with our Creator through faith in His finished work of Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 46 – Proverbs of Wisdom and Fear

Many wise men have written wise sayings for people to follow.  The wisest of men was King Solomon, because God gave him the wisdom to rule his people that he asked for.  Then, because of his wise prayer and requests God gave him what he did not ask for; and it was many of those blessings which caused him to fall.

My reading today was Proverbs 1 – 14.  I will not spend a whole lot of time here going through these chapters.  There are two or three things about the “fear of the LORD” I do want to point out.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Proverbs 1:1-4 (KJV)

Solomon gives us the purpose for the Proverbs; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive [discern] words of understanding; to receive instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; or as the New Living Translation says it –

“Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.”  Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)

One thing we need to understand about these proverbs is that they are “Proverbs” not “Promises”.  They are basically a general rule of things.  God has given us many precious promises in His Word, these are not them.  There is much to learn in Proverbs.  How we deal with God, our fellow man, knowledge, understanding, wisdom – there are many individual verses of Proverbs dealing with wisdom, however, there are two complete chapters of Proverbs which personalize wisdom (chapters 8 – 9).

Let us proceed with a couple of more sets of Proverbs.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” 1:7

Of this verse Matthew Henry has written –

To make young people such as they should be,
I. Let them have regard to God as their supreme.
1. He lays down this truth, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (v. 7); it is the principal part of knowledge (so the margin); it is the head of knowledge; that is, (1.) Of all things that are to be known this is most evident, that God is to be feared, to be reverenced, served, and worshipped; this is so the beginning of knowledge that those know nothing who do not know this. (2.) In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him. If any man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine, Jn. 7:17. (3.) As all our knowledge must take rise from the fear of God, so it must tend to it as its perfection and centre. Those know enough who know how to fear God, who are careful in every thing to please him and fearful of offending him in any thing; this is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.
2. To confirm this truth, that an eye to God must both direct and quicken all our pursuits of knowledge, he observes, Fools (atheists, who have no regard to God) despise wisdom and instruction; having no dread at all of God’s wrath, nor any desire of his favour, they will not give you thanks for telling them what they may do to escape his wrath and obtain his favour. Those who say to the Almighty, Depart from us, who are so far from fearing him that they set him at defiance, can excite no surprise if they desire not the knowledge of his ways, but despise that instruction. Note, Those are fools who do not fear God and value the scriptures; and though they may pretend to be admirers of wit they are really strangers and enemies to wisdom.  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY, LibronixDigitalLibrarySystem

The final verses I would point out in my reading for the day are,

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  14:26-27

Of these verses I have written previously.  There is strong confidence for the children of the LORD who place their trust in the LORD.  When we truly fear God there is absolutely nothing else to fear.

When we know the One who has taken all the wrath of God upon Himself, and that is Jesus Christ; then we have perfect peace with God, there is no condemnation, and we have an eternal resting place with the Creator of all that is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 45 – Thoughts from Psalms; Mercy

Today marks our halfway point in 90 days of reading through the bible.  We will have 45 more to go.  It has been a blessing, and a challenge.

My reading today took me from Psalm 136 through Psalm 150 finishing the reading of the Psalms, and by reading 15 Psalms today.  There is much mention of the term “Mercy” in the Bible; and in Psalm 136 it is framed in every verse; with the phrase, “For His mercy endureth forever”.  And so it does.

There are two acts of God that are confused at times; and they are mercy and grace.  There is much said of both.

I know an individual who frequently uses the word “Mercy” when someone says something that might be considered shocking.  Both mercy and grace are needed by humanity.  We need to receive both, and we need to practice both; but only God can give them in all their fulness.

Let me give you a definition of each one, then, we will deal with the mercy of the Psalms.  First, “Mercy”, the way I understand it is; not receiving what we justly deserve – which is the wrath of God.  Secondly, “Grace” is receiving from God what we do not deserve – that is His love, His mercy, His presence, power, glory, His Son, His redemption.  Only those who submit to Him, His Word and the work of His Son Jesus on the cross experience His grace.

God gives the human race His mercy everyday.  If He were to become unmerciful He would destroy the whole of creation, and there would not be one living person left.  Because of the gift of His Son we can be assured that will not happen.  Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt that humanity owed to God.

In Psalm 136 all 26 verses give tribute to the mercy of God.  His mercy endures forever.  There is nothing like His mercy.

We find that we are to give thanks for His mercy,

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever.”  Psalam 136:1-3 (KJV)

We find His mercy in the wonders that He performs; and in the Universe He has created –

“To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:4-9

In His mercy God gave Egypt the chance to “Let My people go”, but they would not; so His mercy was displayed in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt –

“To Him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for His mercy endureth for ever: and brought out Israel from among them: for His mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him which divided the Red sea into parts: for His mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for His mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:10-15

God was merciful when He was leading His people through the wilderness.  There was many a time He would have destroyed them, but His mercy endured, and He delivered them, and took them to the land He had promised.  Read verses 16 – 22.

The psalmist even goes on to state for all who are under His purview are provided for by Him –

“Who giveth food to all flesh: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 25

All of creation, God’s created order; whether they believe in Him or not; whether they are good or evil, are recipients of the mercy of God.  O, wicked man; you deny God’s mercy and grace, yet you breathe His air, you walk on His dirt, you experience His gift of your beating heart; when He could at a word, stop it, and send you into a dark and Christless eternity.

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 26

As the Psalm began,so it ends.  With thanksgiving to the One who is merciful.  How will you thank Him today.  Begin by receiving His gift of grace given us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Major Moral Issue

The following is an article from Kairos Journal

The Pansexual Appetite

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.”

Genesis 19:4-7 (NIV)

Sociologically speaking, homosexuality ultimately leads to predatory activity. Research has shown that male homosexuality specifically is associated with a ravenous “pansexual” appetite that spawns other, even more heinous perversions. As psychiatrist and physician Jeffrey Satinover has demonstrated, “What we call the ‘gay lifestyle’ is in large measure a way of life constructed around unconstrained sexuality.”1 Wherever homosexuality flourishes and the cultural limits of sexuality are broken, not even children are safe from the effects.2

When the wicked men of Sodom approached Lot’s door and demanded access to his two male visitors, their intent was clear. The phrase “so that we can have sex with them” is synonymous with the rendering “so that we can know them.” The Hebrew verb “to know” used in this context carries with it the connotation of sexual relations (e.g., Gen. 4:17, 25). In verses 7-8, Lot clearly understands the word to be used with a sexual meaning. He calls their desire to “know” the men a “wicked thing” and offers his virgin daughters as a substitute. If their desire were simply to get acquainted with the men over a drink, Lot’s response would be absurd. Seeking to dismiss the matter of homosexuality as the sin in this passage, one modern interpretation insists that evidence in Ezekiel 16:49-50 suggests that God actually judged the Sodomites for their pride and lack of hospitality. But this explanation is weak if not laughable: both of these sins were bound up with a whole city engulfed by a drive for same-gender sexual relations. The sin had been compounded to such an extent that every man of the city viewed mere visitors as prey (v. 4).

Other pro-homosexual biblical interpreters argue that the sin of the Sodomites was not homosexuality per se, but the violence that they coupled with it—that is, their intention of gang rape. Jude 7, however, simply states that the sin of Sodom was that they “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued ‘strange flesh’”—the typical language Scripture uses to refer to homosexual activities. But what those who would seek to find something exceptional about the homosexuality in Sodom do not recognize is this: homosexuality in general opens the floodgates for all sorts of other deviant behaviors. They are inextricably linked. The men of Sodom who had given themselves over to same-sex intercourse eventually became the men who preyed on innocent visitors to their city.

Those calling for the normalization of homosexuality in modern cultures may not realize what they are asking for. Although many homosexuals are not predators like the men of Sodom, the truth is that the general practice always opens up a Pandora’s box to other kinds of deviancies such as pedophilia. Again, Satinover reports that “careful studies show that pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals.”3 For this reason, those who seek to prevent special “rights” being given to same-sex relationships do not do so out of spite, bigotry, or hatred toward any persons. Rather, they act in the interest of the social good; they realize that if homosexuality is given a “free pass” in society, a host of attending evils will follow in its wake. Long before the fire and brimstone fell, the judgment of homosexuality had already begun within the walls of Sodom and Gomorrah. The same will occur in any culture that permits the practice to spread unabated.

Footnotes:
1     Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 61.
2     Satinover warns that the acceptance of homosexuality results in a “general lifting of sexual constraint, which the philosophy that undergirds gay activism necessarily promotes.” Such an environment, he goes on to explain, produces an environment in which pedophilia becomes more acceptable. Ibid., 62-63.
3     Ibid., 64.

You can find other interesting articles on spiritual and moral issues here and you can receive free email updates from them.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Day 44 – Thoughts from Psalms; Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem on the East shore of the Mediterranean Sea is a city which is the source of much conflict; yet its name means, “city of peace” or “teaching peace”.  Yet Jerusalem has no peace.  It is a source of much conflict because there are three religions which want to claim it as their own city.  Of course, the Jewish people claim it, they have since David claimed the city, after he conquered the Jebusites, and it was called then, “the city of David”.

Jerusalem was called Jebus when David conquered it.

“And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.  And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, ‘Thou shalt not come hither.’  Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.” 1 Chronicles 11:4-5 (KJV)

And David changed the name to Jerusalem.

My reading for today was Psalm 122 through Psalm 135.  The city of Jerusalem is named six times in these 14 Psalms.  It is named three times in Psalm 122; verses 2, 3, and 6.

What is it that makes one historic city, in a historic country, and of very little real estate such a “hotspot”?  One thing is that it is the place one of the most well known men of history was born near the city, died there, was buried there, and He arose bodily from the grave in which He was buried.  Another thing in its history is that the temple of Solomon was at Jerusalem.  Solomon’s time as king of Israel was known as a time of peace, prosperity, and glory for the Jewish  people; as well as the glory of Solomon’s temple.  There has never been another like it.  There is another religion which holds Jerusalem to be a sacred place and that is the Muslim religion.

Jerusalem was held for years by Islamic people; and the Christian religion of Catholicism thought it good to start a war over the city, to conquer it and return it to “Christian” ownership.

Enough of my “history” lesson.

The psalmist prays for the peace of Jerusalem,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.  For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, ‘Peace be within thee.’  Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.”  Psalm 122:6-9 (KJV)

I believe we could put this to practice in our day.  Christian; we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, because when Jerusalem is at peace our Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,  will be on the throne ruling in this world.  The world leaders of today are trying to bring peace to Jerusalem, and the world by doing everything, except what God in His word says we are to do.

Can we apply this verse to the church today?  Only in praying for our churches.  David was not asking for prayer for the church, but for Jerusalem, the city,

Notice what he says of those who will pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the city of peace. First, “They shall prosper that love thee”  When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem I believe we are praying for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  He is the Prince of peace.  There will be no peace on earth until the Prince of peace comes in all His glory.

Before He comes, however, you need to know the “peace of God” that only Jesus can give.  When He comes it will be too late.  To know about Him, His life, death, burial and bodily resurrection today; and to reject Him opens your mind to all forms of deception for the days ahead.

Secondly, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for peace in individual lives to prosper.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and experience peace, today.  (See Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 43 – Thoughts from Psalms; Enemies

Of all things for me to write about.  Enemies?  I really feel as though I have no enemies within the human race; at least as far as someone just out to destroy or hurt me.  However, I know that as a believer in Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior I do have enemies who would like to hush the message of Christ; and of God.  Therefore because there are enemies of Christ, His cross, His God and eternity they are and must be my enemies as well.

Have I noticed these enemies of the cross of Christ?  Most definitely.  They are those who hate God, hate righteousness, Justice, genuine peace and love, and all that is holy.  They are those who hate the way of God, and choose their own way.

My reading today took me from Psalm 108 through Psalm 121.  I found the word “enemies” seven times in those fourteen Psalms.  What is the deal with the Psalms and enemies?  It is quite apparent that David, and the kings of Israel had enemies.  You have enemies as well; especially if you are a Christian.

For the most part we need to realize that our enemy is the Devil, otherwise known as Satan, the Old serpent. He is also known as the “Accuser of the brethren”.  All conflict between human beings is because of sin and Satan.  Those people who hate God, God’s word and God’s people are full of hate for God because of the deceit of the devil.

I want us to look at what the seven verses have to say about “enemies”.

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.” Psalm 108:13 (KJV)

This comes from a Psalm which is called a Psalm or Song of David.  David of all people knows the strength and power of God to deliver from enemies, and from trouble.  He also knows that it is God who will give him the ability to do “valiantly” and that  God is the one who will “tread down our enemies”.

“The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.  The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.'” 110:1-2

Two uses of the word “enemies” is found in one Psalm and the first two verses.  It is a Psalm of David as well, and is directed as the LORD speaking to the Lord.  This, of course, has Messianic wording, and is speaking of the Messiah who is Jesus Christ.  This is not an argument.  It is a clear statement that the LORD – Jehovah, YHWH [YaHWeH] – has a Son and that He is deity.  The Messiah is being told by the Father, “Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies Thy footstool.”  Jesus’s former state before He was born a babe in a manger was a seated position at the Father’s right hand.  Following His death on the cross, burial and bodily resurrection He was given back that position, and all enemies were placed under His feet; where ultimately all the enemies of God and Christ will be destroyed.

“His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.” 112:8

This Psalm is speaking of the “man that fears the LORD” (v. 1).  The heart of such a man is stable, trustworthy, and is not afraid of anything that enemies can throw at him.  He is a man who will see his desire come about upon his enemies.  Now for the Christian we pray for our enemies; our prayer being that they might have their eyes opened, their hearts opened to Christ, and be saved.  Then they would no longer be our enemy, but our brethren and friends.

“Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.” 119:98

Because the Christian has the commandments of God, trust them, believes them, and lives by them he/she will be wiser than the enemy of Christ.  The commandments of the LORD are forever, and they are forever with the one’s who love God, and His word.

“My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten Thy words.”  119:139

The following is from the TREASURY OF DAVID on Psalm 119:139;

In Psa_119:137-138 David spoke concerning his God and his law; here he speaks of himself, and says, “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words”, this was no doubt occasioned by his having so clear a sense of the admirable character of God’s word. His zeal was like a fire burning within his soul. The sight of man’s forgetfulness of God acted as a fierce blast to excite the fire to a more vehement flame, and it blazed until it was ready to consume him. David could not bear that men should forget God’s words. He was ready to forget himself, ay, to consume himself, because these men forgot God. The ungodly were David’s enemies: his enemies because they hated him for his godliness; his enemies, because he abhorred them for their ungodliness. These men had gone so far in iniquity that they not only violated and neglected the commands of God, but they appeared actually to have forgotten them. This put David into a great heat; he burned with indignation. How dare they trample on sacred things! How could they utterly ignore the commands of God himself! He was astonished, and filled with holy anger.
FROM the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon.  e-Sword

We will end these thoughts from Psalms with the final verse in the reading today.

“Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from Thy testimonies.” 119:157

Sometimes it seems we have all kinds of persecutions and enemies; but in all these things we are to be victors.  We are to never decline from the testimonies of our LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 42 – Thoughts from Psalms; Creator

When it comes to the Psalms we find much to sing and say about our Creator.  Some of the intellect of our day believe that all that is just came to pass by chance, or cosmic explosion alone; but where, O where did the materials come from that “caused the explosion”?

My reading today was Psalms 94 – 107 for my 14 chapters for the day.  My reading in the Psalms is not taking me as long in time as previously reading in Genesis through Esther; however, it is still quite fulfilling, and a great learning adventure.

The Bible speaks much about GOD, and His creating of all that is.  We seem most of it in the reading of the first two chapters of Genesis, but the rest of the Bible reveals things about creation as well.  We will today, look at the Creator, rather than His creation.

“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.  Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; shew forth His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.  For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.”  Psalm 96:1-5 (KJV)

The psalmist sings “unto the LORD  a new song”, and calls on “all the earth” to sing unto the LORD.  Is there some reason for the psalmist to sing out and call for the earth to “Sing unto the LORD”?  Most certainly it is because the Creator is worthy of our song and singing.  The one’s who sing this “new song” unto the LORD are people who have experienced “His salvation” and we are to show it forth to all the earth every day.

There are far to many people who profess to know God, and who will give Him honor one day a week, but then, will live solely for themselves the other six days in a week.  They are ruthless, ungodly, cruel, and demeaning in the business place, and are indeed no blessing to the LORD during those days.

Those who sing the new song unto the LORD speak of His wonders among all the people.  We speak of the wonderful salvation He has provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ.  We speak of the glories of the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection; that He still lives, and is our intercessor daily before the throne of God.

Some might say, “Well the Bible recognizes that there are other gods”.  Oh really?  It recognizes that there are idols that people through deception have chosen to worship, but that is not a recognition of other gods.  It is a recognition of the frailty, rebellion and sin of the human.  It could also be seen as the need of the human to worship something greater than one’s self.  However, idols are man made, and are patterned after something GOD created.  As the psalmist has said elsewhere, “They that make them are like unto them” (Psalm 115:8; 135:18).  The only thing on earth that is supposed to be in the image of GOD, is the human race; and due to sin that image has been greatly marred.

That is why Jesus Christ came, bled and died on a cruel, rugged cross; was buried, and bodily rose from the grave, and eternally lives.

“Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” 96:12-13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 41 – Thoughts from Psalms; Home

To me, “Home” is a pleasant word, but much more than that a place of shelter, warmth.  Home is a place of family; the place you lay your head at night.  The place you dwell, and abide.  In a ship sort of way home is the anchor of your life.  You can leave home for a while, but you always come back.

The old phrase, “Home is where the heart is” is a true phrase; at least for many people it is.

My reading this morning was Psalms 80 – 93.  My comments this morning will rest in Psalm 91.  Psalm 91 makes me think of home.  I am blessed to have an earthly home.  I grew up in what many might call the “traditional family” where the father works providing for the family, though his work was mostly farm work, and I worked along side him when I was old enough to start; and the mother stayed home, tending children, and caring for the house.  Mom, also did more than housework, she even killed the chickens we raised for a good chicken dinner at times; made homemade butter, and cottage cheese.  O my, that was gooooood stuffff.

Look with me at the first two verses of Psalm 91 –

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.'” Psalm 91:1-2 (KJV)

I have already written of “Wings” in a previous post, and that being a place of safety, and rest.  Home is the place we live, we dwell there, we abide there.  It is indeed where the heart is.

The  psalmist says to us, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High…”  That “dwelling” is where we stay.  It is a place of shelter; a place of comfort; a place of protection.  This “secret place” is more than home though.  It is the place where God is; the most holy place.  It is the holy of Holies. The place of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.  The place for only those in intimate relationship with God the Father can dwell.

This “secret place” is the place the intimate ones never leave; but if they ever do they will quickly return.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

The treasure, the dwelling place, the abiding place of the intimate ones with the LORD is in the “secret place of the Most High”, and those who dwell in that “secret place” are abiding “under the shadow of the Almighty”.  It is a place of shelter from the darkness of the world.  One thing we might think of as we think of “the shadow of the Almighty” is that His shadow most certainly would be a shadow of greater light.  Just as the light of the sun overpowers the light of a light bulb, so too does the light of the glory of God overpower the light of the sun.

The home of the Christian is in the presence of God, the Almighty.  He is our refuge and fortress.  Let us say with Moses, or whomever the human author of this Psalm is, “In Him will I trust”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 40 – Thoughts from Psalms; Riches

Riches are often what many of us think about at times, especially when we are having financially difficult times.  What would we do if we had wealth and riches?  Most of the people I know would end up not having any of it left after they received a big lump sum of money or things; myself included.  I started to write here that I no longer have a desire to be wealthy; however, that would have been a flat out lie.

Millionaire is the word that used to be the catch phrase for being wealthy.  Now it is Billionaire.  There are several Billionaires in the United States of America, and around the world.  Two of the most prominent ones in the U. S. of A. are Bill Gates who has prospered from the founding of the Microsoft corporation; and the other is Warren Buffet,  and I guess Donald Trump is now in the Billionaire category as well.

There are times that those who have not are envious and angry with those who have.  The Psalm I am going to look at today shows that in the heart of a man named Asaph, the writer of this Psalm and the ones that follow through to Psalm 83.  My reading today was Psalms 66 – 79.  Psalm 73 will be our focus for this morning.

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:1-3 (KJV)

Asaph realizes that his envy has been to his own detriment.  Envy profits us nothing.  There are many of the wealthy who have worked hard to gain what they have, and of course, have prospered because of good timing, and good planning.  I still believe that is possible for anyone in the U. S. of A.  I do not believe that a person who has their heart set on wealth is going to get wealthy.  Hard work, and willingness to help others have a share go a long ways in this world.

Sadly there is much evil within the gaining of riches.  When one becomes wealthy they can become weaker in faith toward God, if they had it to begin with.  I think it was Jerry Clower who once said, “There is no temptation like wealth to turn your heart away from God”  or something similar to.

Asaph does realize that he is falling, losing his footing because of his envy.  His envy, and any envy you and I may have is an enemy of our heart, soul and life.

A few years ago, a couple I think, Bill Gates challenged all the Billionaires to give away one half of their wealth.  Bill Gates at the time was; on paper; worth over 50 billion dollars, and Warren Buffet about the same.  Giving away half of their wealth would really be a sacrifice to them, would it not? 🙂  The reason I am a bit sarcastic about their giving effort is because the media played it up like they were really making a huge sacrifice.  I saw no sacrifice.  Real sacrifice is when your giving hurts; it cost you something.  I applaud their giving, if they did; but their wealth has not suffered by their generosity.

I applaud even more the husband and wife, or individual who have given faithfully to the LORD, through their local church; and steadily, faithfully given at least ten percent of their wealth.  They are the real bulwarks of our society.  Some have given even more from annual incomes of 10,000 dollars; 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, and they are blessed by their generosity.  Not only that many of these people also give when the community suffers loss due to storms; or give to a friend or neighbor who has lost their jobs, or their homes to a fire.  Those are the real people of wealth and generosity.

Asaph realizes his need is the LORD, and realizes the plight of the ungodly wealthy,

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.   Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  vv.21-24

He realizes he is a recipient of the greatest wealth and richer that can be had by mankind.  That wealth is having the peace of God that passes understanding, and all the wealth of Heaven at our beckoned call; and to know that when we speak with God He hears us.

Asaph ends the Psalm with,

“For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee.  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.”  vv. 27-28

It is good for all men, even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to draw near to God.  The only way made available to us by God, to Him, is through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  All the giving in the world will not buy Heaven.  It has already been purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cruel, killing cross of calvary. (See 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Sin Offering

The following is from BibleGateway.com

‘If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish, unto the Lord for a sin offering.’ Leviticus 4:3

Those who would preach Christ, but not Christ crucified, miss the very soul and essence of our holy faith. ‘Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him,’ is the Unitarian cry. Anything but a crucified God. But there, indeed, lies the secret of that mystery, and the very core and kernel of our confidence. A reigning Saviour I do rejoice in: the thought of the splendour yet to come makes glad our eyes; but after all, it is a bleeding Saviour that is the sinner’s hope. It is to the cross, the centre of misery, that the sinner turns his eyes for comfort rather than to the stars of Bethlehem, or to the blazing sun of the millennial kingdom. I remember one joining this church, who said, ‘Sir, I had faith once in Christ glorified, but it never gave me comfort: I have now come to a faith in Christ crucified, and I have peace.’ At Calvary there is the comfort, and there only. That Jesus lives is delightful; but the basis of the delight is, ‘He lives who once was slain.’ That he will reign for ever is a most precious doctrine of our faith, but that the hand that wields the silver sceptre, once was pierced, is the great secret of the joy. O beloved, abide not in any place from which your eye cannot behold the cross of Christ. When you are thinking of the doctrines of the gospel, or the precepts of the Word, or studying the prophecies of Scripture, never let your mind relinquish the study of the cross. The cross was the place of your spiritual birth; it must ever be the spot for renewing your health, for it is the sanatorium of every sin-sick soul. The blood is the true balm of Gilead; it is the only catholicon [remedy] which heals every spiritual disease.

From a sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle #739, March 10 (1867)

Preacher, we ought always preach the cross of Christ.

-T.A.

Day 39 – Thoughts from Psalms; Wings

Men have thought of flying for all times and generations.  We have watched the birds of the air, and wondered what it would be like to fly through the air and the skies.  Of course in the age we live now there is not too many people who have not experienced flight within the confines of a passenger plane or an airplane of some sort or other.  Some have flown on hang gliders, using air currents to stay up in the air, and those who are good at it can stay up for as long as they want or until they get too tired to continue.

Well this is not supposed to be about flying, but about “Wings”.  The shelter which our God provides us is often likened to wings and we see plenty of evidence of that in the Psalms.  My reading today was Psalms 52 – 65, and within those 14 chapters the word “Wings” is mentioned four times.

The first of the day is Psalm 55:6,

“And I said, ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.'” Psalm 55:6 (KJV)

Now, when we think of a “dove” we think of the symbol of peace.  The psalmist is thinking of a peaceful flight to get away from his enemies who were oppressing him.  He wanted peace, and the first thought was having the “wings like a dove” who would find no rest except in the ark of God (Genesis 8:6-12).  David’s thought must have been that the wings of a dove to fly away could only find rest in the hands of our faithful Creator.

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” 57:1

Of this verse, particularly the latter part, Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“‘Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge.’ Not in the cave alone would he hide, but in the cleft of the Rock of ages. As the little birds find ample shelter beneath the parental wing, even so would the fugitive place himself beneath the secure protection of the divine power. The emblem is delightfully familiar and suggestive. May we all experimentally know its meaning. When we cannot see the sunshine of God’s face, it is blessed to cower down beneath the shadow of his wings. ‘Until these calamities be overpast.’ Evil will pass away, and the eternal wings will abide over us till then. Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. When we are under the divine shadow, the passing over of trouble cannot harm us; the hawk flies across the sky, but this is no evil to the chicks when they are safely nestling beneath the hen.”  From THE TREASURY OF DAVID by Charles H. Spurgeon

When we write about “Wings” one of my first thoughts was where Jesus says,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”  Matthew 23:37

A mother hen protects her young by calling them under her wings.  She protects them there from rain, or predators.  Of course as we contemplate the matter of God having wings we do need to understand that these are speaking metaphorically, at least as far as we know.  We can and do know that the LORD desires to protect and help those who trust in Him.  We can know too, that even when the wrath of God is in open display we can be sheltered beneath those “Wings” for all time and eternity.  Nothing can touch or harm us except that that the LORD Himself allows under His wings.

God’s “Wings” are as a “hiding place” as we read the psalmist say,

 “I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.”   61:4

The place of safety, security, and for hiding from the enemy is under these mighty wings of the Almighty.  We are not to flee from the enemy, but let us face the truth, there are times we get tired in the battle, we need to hide, we need to get away, pray, seek the face of God, and recuperate.  There is no other place for the child of God, the Christian to be than in “The covert of Thy wings”.

“Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” 63:7

Our place of rejoicing is in the shadow of His wings.  He stands between us and the world.  He stands between us and all harm that could come to us.  In being between us and the harm and danger His wings form a shadow of light from the darkness of the  world outside.

You may find this peace, this place of safety, this place of rejoicing only when you come to the One who took your place on Calvary’s cross, died for your sins, was buried, and was raised bodily from the grave after three days, and now He lives.  Because He lives you too can live eternally with Him.  Believe Him, trust Him and be saved today.

Christian, if you are fearful, struggling with problems in this life, and who is not; then you can flee to His sheltering “Wings” and rest from the battle, renew your strength, then be strong for the battle ahead.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 38 – Thoughts from Psalms; Help

Have you ever cried out for “Help”?  You found yourself in a very needy situation, fear was creeping in, and you find yourself overwhelmed by the moment?  I have no shame or fear in admitting that I have.  I am a very needy individual; and when I realize I need help I will call out for help; especially to my God and Savior.

As I was reading Psalms 38 – 51 this morning that is one word that seemed to leap of the page at me.  H-E-L-P!  There are only seven uses of the word “help” in these 14 chapters, and they all have to do with God being our help or the psalmist crying out to Him for help.

I found myself at the age of 17; having just graduated from High School; on a trip to Florida with a friend and two other boys; swimming in the huge Atlantic Ocean just South of Jacksonville.  None of us had ever been in the Ocean; I had never even seen it until that day.  We put on our swim shorts, and we ran right in until we had to swim, and we swam, and swam, and swam, and swam; out away from the beach.  When we tired we turned to look back.  I had never been so far from land, as I was at that moment; and fear set in.  I knew better than to panic, but I began to swim back to shore; or so I thought.  All four of us were in trouble, and we were separated by short distances, and a whole lot of water.

I began to wear out physically, would stop, tread water to rest a bit, then swim some more.  In my heart I knew at that moment my only help was in God; and I cried out to Him.  The other boys were in as big a mess as I was, and they needed help too.  I knew there would be no help coming from them.  They needed help too.  God did help me that day, and the other three boys.  We all made it back to shore and home.  Thanks to the good LORD who made the land and the seas, the stars, the planets, and everything there is.

The psalmist knows that his only help is in the LORD, and he cries out,

“Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.” Psalm 38:22 (KJV)

He knows that he is ready to fall, and that he cannot make it unless the LORD intervenes, give him strength, and “help”, and he even admits his iniquity and sin.  He cries out for the Lord to help him quickly.  And he acknowledges the Lord as his salvation.  We are all in need of His salvation.

“Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.” Psalm 40:13

In this verse the psalmist asks that the LORD “Be pleased” even in delivering him; and again asks that the LORD act quickly to help him.

“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.” Psalm 40:17

This  Psalm is attributed to David.  We would not think of David as being “poor and needy”, but that is how he identifies himself.  No matter what our lot in life; our health, our finances, our investments, or lack thereof; our whole life situation; we are all “poor and needy”.  If you fail to admit that you will never fully give yourself to the LORD of all.  Again the psalmist asks the LORD to act quickly “Make no tarrying, O my God”.  We often see our need as immediate; do we not.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:5

“Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake.” Psalm 44:26

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” Psalm 46:5

I will not write any further comments on the remaining verses in the reading this morning.  I do post them for your perusal and encouragement.

The Lord has given His help to all who will call on His name.  The name that we need to call on is the person of His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried carrying all the guilt and condemnation of sin away, and His bodily resurrection which justifies us forever.  Now that is the help we all need today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 37 – Thoughts from Psalms; Waiting

The word wait is use nine times in the reading for today.  My reading was from Psalms 24 – 37.  Waiting is not a pleasant thing to do; especially in today’s fast moving world.

We wait in traffic.  We wait for that job interview and job that is going to put us in a higher income bracket, and maybe on “easy street”.  We wait at the doctor’s office.  We wait in the Emergency Room.  We wait for news of family and friends to come.  It seems when we are anxiously waiting that it takes forever coming; whatever it is we are waiting for.

We are admonished by Scripture and these Psalms,

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

Expectantly is the idea of “Wait on the LORD”.  Trusting Him in the time when things do not seem to be happening.  What are we to do while we are “Waiting on the LORD”?  We do what we know to do, keep on going, keep on trusting, but by His directives and plan; not our own.

“Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” 25:3-5

There will be no shame for those who are waiting on God; ie, trusting in Him.  Too many times we jump ahead of what God wants us to do, and we end up making messes of our lifes situation.  That is seen in the business world, and the spiritual lives of people.

A Christian business man may know to trust the LORD in his business situation, yet a need may arise for a certain type of qualified individual who can get the job done, and he takes the first one who comes along, and things end up in a mess.

I fear there are far too many churches, and Christians who are having worship services that are geared to fleshly activity rather than divine worship; because they want to “prime the pump” so to speak, getting ahead of what God’s word teaches, and instilling their own devices.  In this we end up with a mess; outside God’s directive and plan; where He is not truly worshipped and praised.  We feel good, but God does not.  No shame will come to those who wait on God.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” 37:7-9

The word “wait” and “patiently” are used together in the first part of these verses and the idea is a bit different.  It seems that it is almost a painful thing, sort of like an exercise of building strength, character, or patience.  I do not know if you have ever prayed for patience, but I can almost assure that if you have, or when you do, something will come along which will build up patience in you; a trial of great pain and sorrow.  It was the apostle Paul who said,

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience…” Romans 5:3

“Waiting on the LORD” means also that we are living His way, not our own.  Let me end this commentary today with these words,

“Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” 37:34

His way is found in Scripture, the Bible, and these words tell us of the One who would come to take away our sin and its condemnation.  That one is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  He told us, after His death, burial and bodily resurrection that He would return.  Let us who believe Him, and trust Him wait patiently for that blessed hope and glorious return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 36 – Thoughts from Psalms

With my reading yesterday I ventured into the first nine Psalms.  First, let me clear some things up. When we speak of the “Book of Psalms” it is used in the plural.  If we speak of one Psalm it is “Psalm”.  Such as Psalm 1, Psalm 50,  you get the idea.  Psalms has no chapters, they are referred to as Psalms.  There are 150 Psalms in this great Bible Hymnbook.

The Psalms are written by a few different men.  David is the most noted one; then there is Moses who could have  written Psalms 90 – 100; he is noted as having written Psalm 90.  There is a possibility that Daniel wrote Psalm 137, or at least someone who had been taken captive to Babylon.  There is also a fellow by the name of Asaph who wrote some of the Psalms.

The longest Psalm is 119 having 176 verse; and the shortest Psalm is 117 having only 2 verses.

Of course it makes no difference who the human author is; they are here by the inspiration of God; and they are both a corrective instrument of God as well as words of encouragement to all who read them.  It would be great to have heard them sung from the mouths and hearts of those who wrote them.

My reading today was from Psalms 10 – 23.  I am going to rest at Psalm 19 for this post today.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.    The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.   More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.   Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”  Psalm 19:7-11 (KJV)

This Psalm of course, especially in these verses magnify the Law and Word of God.  Notice the words used to convey to us the emphasis of God’s Word.  “Law of the LORD”,  “testimony of the LORD”, “statutes of the LORD”,  “commandments of the LORD”, “fear of the LORD”, and “judgments of the LORD”.  Perfection is the word used by the psalmist speaking of the power to convert.  Its “testimony” makes the simple wise.  Its “statutes” are right and rejoices the heart.  The commandment is “pure” “enlightening the eyes”.  “The fear of the LORD is clean”, and endures forever.  His “judgments”  are true and righteous, and that makes me think of 2 Peter 1:20,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Included verse 21.

The Word of God is more important for the Christian and their daily walk with God than are three meals of food per day, which is good for the body we abide in.

You will notice too, that the one who walks with God will find that the Word of God is desired more than gold, even the finest gold.  It is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; now that is sweet, and it is for the soul who is in a just state with God.  It can become bitter to the soul who is not righteous in God’s sight.  There is also warning for the “servant” of God; and there is “great reward” for those who keep His Word.

Jesus Christ Son of the Living God said,

“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.'” John 6:29

The One whom God has sent is, of course His Son Jesus Christ, and He came to die for your sins and mine.  He died on the cross, was buried taking our sin’s guilt, and condemnation away, and arose bodily from the grave justifying those who believe Him, by the Father in Heaven.

Believe the Word of God for they are what testifies of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 35 – Job Rebuked by GOD

I would probably call it “sarcasm”.  The voice of the LORD answers Job, “Out of the whirlwind”; and asks Job a lot of questions which seem to have a lot of sarcasm in them.  “Sarcasm” is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as “1 a cutting, contemptuous remark: 2 Ironical criticism or reproach”.  The latter one being the better understanding of God’s rebuke of Job.

My reading today was from Job 38 – Psalms 9.  We will comment on Job alone.

Chapter 37 ended all the comments by the friends of Job.  Job’s comments have ended as well.  God has been silent up until chapter 38, then He speaks with sarcastic rebuke.  I say it is sarcasm because of the way God questions Job.  For instance,

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” 38:2

The LORD is clearly speaking to Job.  It is not even clear if his friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are still around; or their friend Elihu.  Another question God asks Job,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.” v. 4

Of course God knows the answers to these questions and Job’s final response is found,

“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,  ‘Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.’  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”  Job 40:1-5 (KJV)

Job had spent hours defending himself before his friends; what he would do if he were given a chance to stand before the LORD, and argue his case with Him.  Now God is speaking to him, and he clamps his hand over his mouth to silence himself.  There are many questions we all have stated that we would like to ask the LORD when we see Him face to face.  My thought on that is; especially after looking at Job’s response; is that ours will be very similar.  Just His sight and His presence will answer it all for us.

There have been, and some just recently; tornadoes and storms which have wreaked out devastation throughout the U. S. of A.  Lives have been lost.  One whole family of five lost their lives in one city.  Questions abound.  One of which in these cases is, “Where was God when all these tragedies took place?” or “Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos, even of evil?”  If you will notice; From where did God speak to Job? “Out of the whirlwind”.  At least twice this is said in 38:1 and 40:6.

Where was God in all these tragedies?  He speaks from out of them.  We need to listen.  Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos and evil?  I used to ask that question a lot, then one day in a still small voice I heard the Lord say in my heart, “If I ridded the world of evil, I would rid the world of you.”  I have not asked the question since, except of course to tell about it.  I thank Him for His wonderful grace.  His grace and mercy has allowed that more have not died, than could have.

God reminds Job of two creatures He has made.  The “behemoth”, and the “leviathan”.  Now some interpreters interpret these creatures as being a hippopotamus and a crocodile.  The description it gives is too immense to be either.  There are some scholars who put the book of Job as written earlier than the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  There are some; of whom I am one; who believe these creatures are of the time of, what we call, the dinosaurs.  The behemoth could be that one large one with the long neck reaching to the tops of trees, with the large tail dragging on the ground some of the time.  The other sounds like some sort of creature which breaths fire.  These are both extinct now, as far as we know.

Some of you may laugh, but God’s word is true.  And, if God gives us evidence that men were on earth with the dinosaurs, then we better take heed to it.

In the end Job is back, right with God and with his friends.  His friends are told by God to take a sacrifice for themselves, Job would pray for them, and God would forgive them too.  We are also told that God gave Job twice what he had before.  He even had seven more sons and three more daughters.

A point is made in verse 15 of chapter 42,

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

Even Job was able to see the plan of God to make all one in Christ Jesus,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galations 3:28-29 (KJV)

Job was soundly rebuked by God, and shown the ridiculousness of his questions and charges.  Trust God, believe Him.  He sees a larger picture than you or I do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 34 – The Confidence of Job

Confidence is a good thing to have.  Confidence is defined in The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as, “Trust, reliance”; 2. SELF ASSURANCE, BOLDNESS; 3. a state of trust or intimacy”.  Job had confidence that he was in the right with God, and no one was going to change his mind.  Not his three friends. Not the young man who comes on the scene later [Elihu]; and it would almost sound as though, even God would have a hard time convincing Job of any wrong doing on his part.

Today’s reading consisted of Job 24 – 37.  There are only three characters who speak in these 14 chapters.  Job’s speech following Eliphaz’s final address continues in chapter 24.  In chapter 25 Bildad gives us a final speech of short duration.  The friends have run out of steam it seems.  The remaining chapters are taken by Job (26-31), and we see some words of wisdom and knowledge from his words; such as involving science;

“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” 26:7 (KJV)

I include this to show that his faith in God has not wavered, and that it was known at that time that the earth was not suspended by some guy holding the earth on his shoulders, standing on a turtle, swimming in some cosmic sea.  Job even goes into some details about the clouds and rain in chapter 26; and the oceans of the world, and their boundaries.  He attributes these things all to the hands of God. “But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (26:14b).

Job knows from whence all things come.  He even attributes wisdom and knowledge as coming from God, the LORD.  That wisdom is greater than “rubies” (28:18).  He assures the reader that the fear of the Lord is wisdom,

“And unto man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'” 28:28

Chapters 32 – 37 are given to a young man who has evidently been standing by listening to  the words of all four of these elder men; keeping silent himself, and waiting for an opportunity to speak.  His name is Elihu; and he does seem wise for his younger years, yet he is probably ignorant of Job’s life and works.

Elihu seems a bit arrogant in some of his talk.  Of course you can see an arrogance in the four elder men and their responses as well.  It is amazing how when men get together, myself included, that talk keeps on getting louder, bolder, and more braggadocios.  Often when stories are being shared and told, the next one has to be even better.  It can be that way with the spiritual matters as well; if we are not cautious.

Were Elihu’s words helpful?  In his words he does magnify the LORD.  He shows us the difficulty of knowing God, especially in our own ways in 37:23,

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict.” 37:23

By the word of God we are told that no man can see God and live.  If we were to turn our opened eyes toward the glowing, glaring noon day sun we would be blinded by its rays.  How can we see God?

Job was confident that he would one day see God, through a mediator, and dear reader our Mediator is Christ Jesus.

Job had confidence in God.  His faith was in God.  There is yet one character in this story of Job to speak; His name is the name that is above every name. He is GOD.  The Lord willing we will hear those words next time.

Be careful to listen as He speaks to you today; hear Him and do His will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” 19:25-27

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 32 – Providence

My reading today consisted of the last five chapters of Esther, and the first nine of Job.  The commentary this morning will deal solely with Esther.

Esther is a book of the Bible that never names the name of God.  God is not even mentioned in person; however the work, power and presence of God is clearly seen by those who have the eyes to see it.  There are many times in Christian life where it feels as though God is nowhere to be found; and all we have to go on is faith.

I have heard the term “Providence”, and usually speaking of the work of God in the events of mankind.  Well, if there is a Biblical case for providence, then, it can certainly be seen throughout the book of Esther.

Let me give you a list of the characters in Esther.  First there is the king, Ahasuerus, “Xerxes” in newer translations; there is the queen who is not in the story very long, but plays a prominent part in the development of the story; there is Mordecai – a Jewish captive from Jerusalem; there is Haman – an Agagite; and then there is Esther – who will be queen.

One thing that can be seen by this event in the story of Israel, its captivity, and return is that even though we may mess up, sin, and seemingly ruin our lives through disobedience we do not thwart the plan and will of God.  That can be seen in the story of Esther as well.

Let us first find out about Haman – the Agagite.  Haman was a descendant of Agag whom king Saul of Israel was disobedient to God in letting him live.  Samuel eventually kills Agag (1 Samuel 15).  For many centuries this hatred for the Jewish people had been stewing in the hearts of the family of Agag; and in this story it came to fruition.  Haman had it in his heart to rid the Persian Empire and the world of the Jewish people.

Though God is not mentioned; He had another plan.  God’s plan was to bring the children of Israel back to their Promised land; so that the Messiah and Savior of the world would one day come, and die for our sins.

Haman sets a course of action after his appointment as prominent leader in Persia.  All others were to bow to him; however Mordecai would not bow to him.  Mordecai knew who Haman was, and saw his heart.  Mordecai had also overheard a plot to assassinate the king, revealed it and the perpetrators were hanged (2:21-23).

One verse that stands out in the book of Esther is one that is well known to many of us –

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (KJV)

This occurs following the murderous plot of Haman to exterminate the Jewish people.  It is not yet known that Esther is Jewish, and Mordecai, as the uncle of Esther, is telling her that it is time to reveal the truth of her identity, for the salvation of her people.  Mordecai is asking Esther to enter the throne area of the royal house without invitation, and that in the Persian courts could be deadly, meaning immediate and sudden death, if the king did not recognize the one entering by holding out his scepter (4:11); and after three days of fasting she enters the throne room, and the king holds out the scepter (5:1-2).

The night before the banquet of Esther the king cannot sleep remembering what Mordecai had done saving his life from the plot of the two who were hanged for their assassination attempt.  Haman’s plot is known by the king, he has even given him the authority to send the message with the kings signet ring seal on the documents authorizing its execution.  The following day, however, Haman is put to humility by walking Mordecai around the streets of Jerusalem, exalting him for the great deed he has done in exposing the plat of assassination.  Haman probably realizes by now that “his goose is cooked”.

It becomes even more apparent when Esther reveals it to the king at the banquet.  Haman has built a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged; and finds himself hanging on the device of his own imagination.

God, though not named, is also a prominent presence in the book.  His hand of Providence is seen, in the elevation of Esther, a Jew, to the seat of the queen of Persia; the man despised by the Agagite is exalted to the Agagites position after his plot is foiled.  God’s people do return to Jerusalem; and the Messiah is born, dies on the cross for the sins of the world, is buried, and rises bodily from the grave conquering sin, hell and death.

Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God ever lives; that those who trust in Him might live too.

Christian take note of the Providence of God; even when you do not think He is present and working; take another look.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 31 – The King’s Cupbearer

I only wrote a bit of Nehemiah yesterday, so since my reading this morning was the rest of Nehemiah this writing will only deal with the King’s cupbearer.

My reading today began in Nehemiah 5 and extended to Esther 5.  I will deal with Esther, the Lord willing, in tomorrow’s commentary.

We are told that Nehemiah was a captive of Israel in Shushan the palace (1:1) of king Artaxerxes of Persia.  Nehemiah was the king’s “cupbearer (1:11).  This task was more than just simply carrying the cup of the king’s wine and drink.  Nehemiah was to taste the drink, then if he did not die from drinking it; because someone might be trying to assassinate the king; then, he would know that it was safe for the king.

Nehemiah was a man who had a heart for his home and people.  We see in verse 3 of chapter one that he had received word from Hanani who had returned from Judah that the remnant who had been left of the captivity were in great affliction, and it crushed his heart.

“And they said unto me, ‘The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.’  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, and said, ‘I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments: let Thine ear now be attentive, and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel Thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against Thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.'” Nehemiah 1:3-6 (KJV)  (This prayer continues to the end of the chapter).

One day as Nehemiah is serving the king his countenance was sad (2:1-3).  He receives the king’s favor, and is allowed to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.  When he arrives in Jerusalem he arises in the night and surveys the walls of the city to investigate the walls condition, and the work that would be needed to restore them.  When he tells the people of his plans.  There is some reluctance to the plan, and some outright mockery of the plan (2:19).  He tells them that “The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in  Jerusalem”; the latter part speaking to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, of course.

The work is started with the gates and the wall.  One of the things that must be doe when rebuilding something is to get the trash out of the way (4:10).

Once the work was squared away, and assignments made, and materials gathered the work on the wall was done in quick order.  They had to work with weapons on their sides and nearby.  They had a trumpeteer with Nehemiah at all times.  Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem hated the work of the Lord and His servants; and they were set to stop it.  That is the case with the servants of the devil in every age.  He is like a lion walking about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The wall is finished in 52 days (6:15).  They had a heart to work and to get the wall erected.

We need to remember that Nehemiah was a contemporary of Ezra, and we find Ezra present in the reading of the Law,

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6

In the 10th verse of chapter eight we find a verse which is very familiar to many Christians,

 “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The people had heard the Law of the LORD, and began weeping, and mourning; and they are told to not weep nor mourn, but to rejoice in that day.  It was a day to celebrate because they had returned to the worship of the LORD of hosts.

There is a need among Christians today to rejoice in the wonderful grace of the Lord.  His work of grace is more than amazing; it is glorious.  We have much to rejoice in.  The joy of the LORD is our strength.  That is what The King’s Cupbearer was rejoicing in.

Nehemiah’s final prayer is short, but shows his dependency on the God of grace and the grace of God; “Remember me, O my God, for good” (13:31).

Come to the grace of God through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus.  There is the source of joy and strength.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 30 – Inspirational and Encourageing

Today marks the thirtieth day for the journey through the Bible in ninety days.  I have been thoroughly blessed, inspired, and encouraged.  I have also learned things I did not know, helping me to realize even more that “The more I know; the more I realize I do not know.”  I am now one third of the way through this journey and looking forward to the next 6o days.

I was greatly inspired and encouraged by reading through Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah this morning; thus, the title for today’s post.

In yesterday’s reading, finishing 2 Chronicles we were left with Judah going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being destroyed, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and all the vessels, gold, silver, bronze, taken to the storehouses of Babylon; just as the prophet Jeremiah warned and foretold.  The prophet Isaiah had warned of this destruction, and captivity at least one hundred years before it happened.

Some may ask, “Why do you put so much stock in the Bible?”  and my answer to that is, “Because, when God speaks, it comes to pass; just like He says it.”  There is not one word God speaks that has been diminished, is being diminished, or will be diminished.  That is why I was so inspired and encouraged by Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah.

Someone has said, and I believe it was written by Charles H. Spurgeon; “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.”  Reading the Bible sure helps us see that.  God pulls no punches.  We can see clearly that God deals with sin.  We see also that He is gracious, and slow to anger and wrath.  He is also merciful in not giving us what we truly deserve.

According to Jeremiah’s prophecy the nation of Israel would be in Babylonian captivity for seventy years.  At the time of Ezra that seventy years has been fulfilled, and we read –

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, ‘Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place helpa him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”  Ezra 1:1-4 (KJV)

Now here is a catcher for you.  The prophet Isaiah names the king that will do this probably 150 years or more before Cyrus is born.  How can this be?  The prophet, being inspired by God; God who knows all things; who knows the past, present and the future, and knows your name; and knew you before you were born; told the prophet what was going to happen, and to write it down.  Isaiah did –

“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.’ Isaiah 44:28

‘Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.”  Isaiah 45:1-4 (KJV)

In Ezra God has  put it in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to fulfill His word of promise to Israel/Judah and have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt, even to providing the precious metals and all necessary costs at Persia’s expense.

God’s purpose in the captivity was to drive Israel from her sins, and to give rest to the land for the sabbath years the people had avoided to observe (2 Chronicles 36:21), and to restore their faith in Him.  In reading Ezra we read of much opposition from people of the area, even putting the work of the temple to a standstill until the king finds that it had been ordered by Cyrus years before, then the work is continued with the approval of Persia.  Haggai, and Zechariah were two prophets  who prophesied during this time, and encouraged the people to continue building without the approval of the king of Persia, until they did receive it (chapters 5 – 6).

Ezra went to encourage and lead in the temple’s rebuilding and to teach the word and law of the LORD –

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Ezra 7:10

There are some things I read in Ezra about their divorcing the foreign wives and sending them away that poses some problems. However, the problem was their sins and disobedience to the word of God, not God’s causing.  How seriously should God’s people take the matter  of holiness?  Very seriously.

Nehemiah had a burden for the building of the walls of Jerusalem.  He is sent by the king to go and rebuild the city.  He surveys the city walls, the city (chapter 2:12-20), then he challenges the people and they comply joyously with his requests.  Now see what God has wrought in the Old Testament with Judah.

Now, think of what God can do with you if you would surrender yourself to the way of Salvation which is found only through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial where all our sin, guilt and condemnation was carried away as far as East is from West, and then He arose bodily from the grave; and is today seated by the Father’s right hand as our Great High Priest.  There is no one but Him who can deliver you from your sin.

Inspirational and Encourageing?  To me it definitely is.

– Tim A. Blankenship