Fight For Your Brethren

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Nehemiah 4:14

Nehemiah had a passion for Jerusalem and the returning captives from the captivity. Ezra had already come and was in the process of rebuilding the Temple and had been for a few years before Nehemiah arrived.

Sanballat and Tobiah were two who opposed the work of the now free people of Israel, and they had threatened, and tried with all they could do to stop the work of God. One thing godless people who hate God and His work through His people need to know and to realize is that once God sends His people with a passion for His work, it will not be stopped.

When threats come from without or within it is a good word to hear the words “Be not afraid” and then put your hand to the work with your tools in one hand and your weapon of self defense in the other (Nehemiah 4:16-18).

They fought for themselves, for the brethren, and for the cause of the LORD God Most High, awesome and holy in all His ways.

We Christians today must remember what the apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare and not of the flesh, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4), and many times, much of the time these strongholds are within ourselves.

Be not afraid, stand and fight the enemy. How we stand will be a stand for the brethren too.

The ultimate battle was won when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He bodily arose and came out of that grave alive forever more. Believe Him, repent of your sins, calling on His name and you become a victor.

Forsaking God

And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.  For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, “And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.  For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. 2 Chronicles 28:22-23

Ahaz is one of the kings of Judah who did not do right in the sight of the LORD. It very much appears by this verse  he had no clue as to what loving God, knowing Him, and serving Him was about.

GOD is not the servant of mankind. He is to be worshiped, revered, and held in great awe and we are to be obedient to Him, and walk in holiness. Ahaz wanted a god he could elicit his wants from any god he chose.

Please note the words of Ahaz: “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me.”  He was only about “Me” and these idols became his undoing, his ruin. God who is Holy, Righteous, and Just is also a Jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5; Nahum 1:2). Being Jealous means only that there is no other that is worthy of our worship, praise, and laud but Him. He alone is also worth obedience, and devotion; even our lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

Revering GOD begins by believing His word about His Son, His only begotten Son who is Jesus Christ. We must come to GOD through the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial and resurrection, believing Him and calling on His name. We are bought with a price ( 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We are no longer our own person; we are His and He is worthy of our total devotion, commitment and praise.

Letter from a Prophet

And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself:  Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.      2 Chronicles 21:12-15

Asa was a king of Judah who did right in the eyes of the LORD, but his life ended as being a selfish tyrant. His son Jehoshaphat also had done right in the eyes of the LORD though he aligned himself with Ahab, the evil king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Then along comes Jehoram, and he does wickedness in the eyes of the LORD.

The letter is from Elijah who is the prophet who warned Ahab of his wicked ways, challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and ended their lives with their heads being removed.

Why would Elijah send a letter to the king of Judah? Probably because he had a word from the LORD for Jehoram to know his plight and the tragedy coming on his family and himself.  Jehoram was going to die a horrible death because of his sin and the evil of his heart.

Death is the result of sin. Sin came into the world by the first man, Adam. Because Adam sinned, every one who has been born into this world is a sinner there is no escaping sin. There is, however, One who was born of woman who never sinned. His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Jesus, being sinless, without any guilt, shame or remorse died on the cross becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), being buried, and rising again from the grave alive forever more. Sin, death, Hell and the grave are defeated, and hold no power over those who come to God through Jesus Christ. In Jesus we have everlasting, that is eternal life.

Help Us, O LORD Our God

And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.”
So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.     2 Chronicles 14:11-12

Asa was one of the godly kings of Judah. Judah, the southern kingdom was being attacked by Ethiopians whose army counted over one million. They were greatly out numbered, yet Asa led his troops to the battle.

Many would have sought opportunity for surrender, but not king Asa. Instead, he surrendered to the King of kings, and prayed to Him for help, and the enemy was defeated – “So the LORD smote the Ethiopians…”

What can the child of God face when we are walking with the LORD God through His Son Jesus Christ? Who can defeat us when we are serving Him faithfully? The answer to the first question is Anything the enemy puts in our path. The answer to the second is No one can defeat us because we are children of the King of kings.

Fear comes with failure to obey and do the commands of the LORD. Fear is the result of a lack of trusting faith. Faith will face fear head on.

Is the enemy in your heart and your mind? Is he causing you to be afraid, even crippling you to the point of unbelief, causing you to fall and fail? The enemy is strong. The King of all kings is mightier; as a matter of fact He is the Almighty.

Call on the name of the One who died on the cross for your sins, and He was buried, and He rose again. He forever lives, and makes intercession for us daily, even moment by moment (Romans 8:26-27, 34; Hebrews 4:16; 7:25). He is coming again. Are you ready?

GOD Knows Your Heart

If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness; what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: then hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) that they may fear thee, to walk in Thy ways, so long as they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers.      2 Chronicles 6:28-31

GOD knows my heart too. He knows my motives for the things I do, both the good and the bad. I do not know anyone’s heart. I can see their actions and work that they do, as they can of myself.

I make judgments of others actions, sometimes those judgments are not a condemnation, but rather a good judgment for when I see them do a kindness to another person or persons. Sometimes my judgment is not at all kind, but can be mean and hateful (God forgive me), and the word of the LORD pierces my heart (Hebrews 4:12), and convicts me of my sinful thought and act; and that leads me to repentance.

Only GOD knows the heart of man or woman, boy or girl, and everyone of us will give an accounting to the LORD for the condition of our heart (which is the seat of our will), and from our heart, the LORD knows those who are His.

We must remember that Jesus said, “There is none good but God” (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18). Remember, also we do not see as God sees.

When an individual comes to God in repentance of sin, calling on the name of the LORD for salvation, and that only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; because He alone was perfect and without sin, and too the wrath  of the Father for us that we might come to God through Him. Then, God sees a redeemed heart, and the heart of the Redeemer too.

The heart of Adam kind is only evil continually (Jeremiah 17:9), and no one can know their own heart, little lone knowing someone else’s. So, today open the door of your heart to God through His Son Jesus Christ repenting of sin and calling on His name.

Fear Not

And David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.”         1 Chronicles 28:20

King David had the desire to build a house for the glory of the LORD, but GOD would not allow him to build because his reign in Israel had been filled with much warfare, thus bloodshed. God told David that his son Solomon would be permitted to build the house of God.

The verse from First Chronicles 28:20 is some of the final words the king spoke to Solomon before he assigned the reign of the kingdom to him. They are words of encouragement. Words that build faith and courage for any task, and the grief and pain that might come along with it.

Be strong and of good courage, and fear not are encouraging words for God’s people today, as well. Just as Solomon had a large task ahead of him, so does the Christian. There is a life of faith, hope, and love to live to honor and glorify Jesus Christ. We can only do so faithfully as we stand on the trues of the word of God, and do not falter from them.

God’s word is faithful and true, because God is faithful and true. We can be encouraged, emboldened, strengthened, and fearless as we live according to His holy word.

Let us commit ourselves to the word and will of God in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus came as God’s gift to Adam’s race to save us from our sins and condemnation; He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Praise the LORD, He is coming again (Acts 1:9-11).

Now is the time to call on the Holy name of Jesus for salvation, deliverance from your sin.

What Is Missing?

And she said, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.” And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.” And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.        Judges 16:20

What is missing Samson? He did not realize that he no longer had the LORD with him.

There are a lot of things Samson did that was a sin against God. Eating things that his Nazarite vow forbade him to eat, such as the honey from the dead carcass of the lion he had killed with his bare hands. He loved a Philistine woman which was not even the right thing to do for any Israelite, and he took up with all sorts of womanizing. Yet, God was with him… at least until his hair was cut by a deceitful, lying, schemer named Delilah.

Now, I am not approving of Samson’s actions, but of the presence and power of God on him, until God was not there, as he sadly assumed.

Samson is like many of us. He is a popular Biblical character, even today. Maybe that is because we can identify with him too much.

There are many cases in the Bible where people assumed that God was with them, and they found out in a very frightful way, that He was not. For example Numbers 14:40-45 where after rebelling against the LORD to enter the land of Canaan, they rebel again by trying to enter after they have been forbidden to do so.

We never do things like that do we? Ha Ha! When the LORD leaves us it is not so much that the LORD leaves, it is that we have left Him.

As Samson’s hair began to grow and he was growing nearer to the LORD in his blindness, the LORD gives him victory over the enemy of Israel (Judges 16:23-31) when he called on the name of the LORD (Judges 16:28), and the LORD heard him.

No matter what we may do in life that causes us to separate from God He is working to bring us back to Himself.

If you do not know God through His Son Jesus Christ you have no idea what I am writing about. You can by calling on the name of Jesus  who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. He will then be with you everyday from now through eternity.

We Have Sinned

And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, “We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.”  And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Judges 10:15-16

When was the last time you heard the preacher say, “We have sinned”? The mention of sin conjures up all kinds of thoughts in the hearts and minds of all of Adam’s race. We have sinned. Not one of us can say that we have not sinned. If there is a soul that says such a thing calls God a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 1:10).

The children of Israel, during the days of the Judges would live for God while a good Judge was alive, yet, as soon as that Judge died they, as a nation turned from God to idols, and lived accordingly. These things are written for our example; ways that we should not live (1 Corinthians 10:6-11), and learn to practice the good things as they  yielded their lives to the LORD.

I am so thankful for the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who lived without sin, and went willingly to the cross taking my place and yours in paying the sin debt that we owed to God. He took the wrath of His Father, that was due us, and died, was buried, and He then rose again declaring the victory over sin, death, and the grave for our justification.

We have sinned. There is a Savior for all who will call on the name of Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

The Positive and Negative Promises of GOD

And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.                 Judges 2:13-15

We love the promises of God. There are many who have plaques hanging on the walls of their homes and their offices; maybe even the dashboards of their cars.

Let me ask a question here. It is a question I have asked myself as I read the Scriptures. Aren’t the promises of God everything He has said? Doesn’t the promises of God include the curses God will bring on His people because of our disobedience? I guess that is two questions, but are they not very much linked together.

Yet it seems to me that we neglect these negative aspects, thoughts, and power of His promises. No one that I have ever seen hang the negative promises on their fridge, or the dashboards of their can; and you never see a bumper sticker with one of those.

What we need to do is hear all the promises of God, because just as we see GOD judging, punishing, disciplining the children of Israel – according to His promises – so will He keep His promises, negative and positive for His children today.

You can read some of the blessings and curses of God’s promises in Leviticus 26, and Deuteronomy 29.

The writer of the book of Hebrews said, “If you are without chastisement… then you are illigetimate, and not sons” Hebrews 12:8. That itself is a promise that I love. It assures me of God’s unending , enduring love.

Atonement For Sin

And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.  It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.    Leviticus 16:29-31

This morning I read Leviticus 10 through 16 as my daily reading of the Scriptures. One thing I can say about the Old Testament, and especially the books of the Law – Genesis through Deuteronomy is this; the books make me especially thankful for the atoning work of Jesus Christ through His death, shedding of His blood on the cross for our sins.

We read in the New Testament that the blood of goats, lambs, and bullocks cannot take away sin (read Hebrews 9), it is seen in that they had to offer daily blood sacrifices; and the annual day of Atonement; a special Sabbath day; was to take place every year on a specified day of each year. Jesus offered His own life’s blood once and for all. The one sacrifice for our sin that is finished.

What does God require of us? That we come to Him by way of faith in His Son Jesus, and that we follow Him.

 

They Fell On Their Faces

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.   And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.       Leviticus 9:23-24

Leviticus is probably not my favorite book of the Bible, and not of the five books of the Law. It does clearly show us the need of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of us all. It is also clear that the blood, of lambs, goats, rams, and bullocks are not adequate for the taking away of sin. These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all, and all time, put away our sin.

What Leviticus declares to us is the sinfulness of Adamkind, and our need for a Redeemer. We do know today, that the only redemption for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary’s cross where the wrath of the Almighty was put on His Son, and He was judged on our behalf; so that all who come to Him through faith would receive eternal life.

As the people in the days of Moses, and Aaron and his sons fell on their faces when they saw the glory of GOD; we have an even greater reason and privilege to fall on our faces before the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Fall down before Him in repentance and faith; call on His name.

As the LORD Commanded

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.   And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.                    Exodus 39:42-43

Reading these chapters of Exodus dealing with the commandments of the LORD of the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its furniture, from the ark of the covenant to the brazen altar; and then all the skins that make up all the coverings is almost mind boggling. Then, to read that the men who did the weaving following the heavenly pattern, and Moses checking it and it was all done correctly; just as the LORD commanded. WOW!

The men who were the artist of these works received the commendation of Moses too.

We all enjoy words of appreciation. A question I think of and direct to myself first is this: How often do I speak words of appreciation, and/or show appreciation for those who are ever faithful in doing the Lord’s work? I know we need to express appreciation in all aspects of our lives; let us do that. Let us also show and express our appreciation to those who are faithful in serving the Lord, no matter who it may be. The elderly who can no longer attend church, but were faithful in the work of the church before, and are now continually praying for the church, the pastor and deacons, the secretary, the maintenance, sound people, children’s teachers, and on and on.

To all of you who are faithful to serve the Lord and are doing what the Lord commands in the Church you serve. Thank you and keep up the good and godly work you are doing. God is blessing you.

I also thank all of you who come here to read this blog. You are a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you.

The Problem with Pluralism

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”             Exodus 32:5

The above text is from hearing that Moses has been gone for a few days, and the people are desiring to have some semblance of spiritual leadership. They decide to set up a golden calf. It is probably so that Aaron feared for his life if he rejected their requests so he request their golden ear rings and such other that they have, and makes this object of rejection of holy GOD.

In an attempt to keep the people reminded of Jehovah/YHWH, Aaron builds an altar, it seems, to worship the true God. It falls short of what God calls for. He is a Jealous God. There can be no other that His people worship. His jealousness is named in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5), and it is mentioned once again in Exodus 34:14,”For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…” That is exactly what Aaron had led them to do.

There is only One God and He is known by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He can only be known through His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who died on the cross to redeem us from sin, He was buried not only to show that He died but to carry away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and He rose again and came out of the grave for our justification. Through Him alone can we know God, and worship Him as we ought.

The One Keeping Them In The Way

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.   Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him.              Exodus 23:20-21

Who is this One, this One called “Angel” in these verses. In the verses which follow He would be like hornets to those who opposed Him and His people (v. 28).

This One was named by Stephen in Acts 7:30 as an angel who spoke in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and He calls Himself “I Am”.

It has been said, by more intelligent, and Biblical scholars; that you can see Jesus on every page of the Old Testament; and I believe that is true. Jesus Christ the Son of God is also God the Son.

Jesus in His pre-incarnate Person was with the children of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness.

Since He came as Man and died on the cross for the sins of the world, and was buried, and He rose again for our justification, then we can know God, with the forgiveness of our sin, being born again becoming His sons, and inherit all that is His.

He is called Immanuel [God with us], may we who name that holiest of all names, live like Him.

They Stood Far Off

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.   And they said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”   And Moses said unto the people, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”   And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.                 Exodus 20:18-21

God had given a boundary to which the people could approach near Him, and at first they pushed the edge of the border, but when they saw the smoking mountain, thundering and lightening, and the sound of the trumpet, they were fearful and backed away; they “Stood afar off.”

I find it amazing in reading the book of Exodus, how the people are so like people of this day and time. There are many who want to draw near to God; but in their own way, in their way they view God. However, when they get a glimpse of His power and glory, even in a veil of darkness, they back away and stand far off. “That’s not the God I want to know, love and serve,” they might say in their hearts and minds; therefore, keeping their distance from true God and worship of Him.

The people above wanted Moses to be the veil between them and God; there spokesman; when they could have been themselves it they would have seen the Divine and His glory rather than the thunder, lightening, trumpet and smoking mountain.

We are told by the half brother of Jesus, who is James to “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”  (James 4:8).  God’s desire and will is for His people to come near to Him. The only way to do that is not through obedience to the Law; but through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.

 

They Shall Know…

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”     Exodus 6:6-7

But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.   And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.     Exodus 7:4-5

I use two different text from my reading this morning for the purpose of this message…

The people of God need to know and believe that the LORD is their God before we can expect the world around us to know and believe it. So let’s start believing with our heart, our mind and our lives through our obedience to Him; not to gain His favor, but because we have His favor.

It is quite apparent to me that the LORD God wants all the world to know.

Repent people of God. Turn to Him and know Him. The world will one day know who He is, but do you know Him today. GOD has made it possible through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on Him in repentant faith.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

The Longevity of Guilt

And Joseph said unto them the third day, “This do, and live; for I fear God: ‘If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” And they did so.   And they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.”
And Reuben answered them, saying, “Spake I not unto you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”   And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.   And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.        Genesis 42:18-24

Joseph, betrayed by his brothers many years before this event, and sold into slavery was now a ruler in the land to which he had been sold for twenty pieces of silver. It was to Joseph the brothers had to see in order to get the food and grain they needed in Canaan, which was suffering from the famine which was affecting all the world.

I deal with personal guilt at times. I have guilt in my thoughts and my heart due to some deed I have done to someone in the past, recent, and sometimes over a thing, or thought that just comes to my mind. It seems that we have been told over the past few years that guilt is a bad thing, and I totally disagree. Guilt is a good thing if it leads us to repentance and renewing.

It is Reuben who speaks of the deed the brothers did to Joseph years before; and keep in mind they do not recognize the brother they had betrayed and sold. Do you see the guilt they are feeling. As well that they should, and suffered from it, probably for all those years keeping the secret from their father Jacob.

Guilt is bad only if you allow it to fester, and make you cold and hard as steel, and never make right the wrong you have done. Sometimes, just confessing it to God, and repenting of the thing or deed is all you can do and that will release you from the debt you owe. I say “debt” because it is a debt or a trespass against God or someone else that needs to be paid.

Joseph was in the process of testing his brothers to see if they were genuinely sorrowful for the wrong they had did. I am certain that when he saw them that he desired to run up to them, revealing who he was, and to show them the fulfilling of his dreams he had shared with them years before as a boy in Canaan. But he was wiser than that.

Guilt is a helper or it can be a crippler. A helper to show us our wrong and lead us to repentance. A crippler that causes the heart to grow stone, steel hard, and cold if we do not cry for forgiveness.

We have sinned against God. In His love He gave us His Son who was despised and rejected by His brethren, by the world even, and was sold for 30 pieces of silver, a guiltless, sinless man, condemned to die on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and He came out being raised to life He forever lives. Bring all you guilt and condemnation to Him, praying, confessing your sins, believing Him for full redemption and forgiveness. He will hear you and He will save.

Faith In Praying

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, ‘Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:’   I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.   Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.   And Thou saidst, ‘I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”             Genesis 32:9-12

Jacob was about to come in contact with Esau, his brother who had threatened to kill him twenty plus years before when Jacob had deceived their father Isaac out of the family blessing. Rebekah had urged Jacob to flee to her homeland of Haran to her brother Laban which he did.

After these years of working with Laban, raising cattle, sheep, and goats, the LORD tells Jacob to return to Canaan the land promised to Abraham and Isaac, and now promised to Jacob as well. He is still fearful of his brother, and after some time planning Jacob, Rachel, Leah, their handmaids, all of Jacob’s children, other servants, and all the livestock head for Canaan.

God has called Jacob to return, yet there is distress, fear of meeting Esau. “How will he receive me?”, must have been in his thinking, “Will he forgive me or kill me, and all that is mine?” He prays the prayer above and expresses his faith by reminding God of what He has said.

When the Christian is facing distress, fear or any other problem of anxiety, doubt, or trouble of any kind it is good for us to go to God with the fear and anxiety the trouble and express it to Him. If God has called us to do something that has caused this fear and distress, we must keep heading toward what He has called us to do while reminding Him of His calling, which most times on my part is a reminder to me that God has said, and God has promised, and He will do and accomplish all that He says.

When God told Jacob, “I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea,” then Jacob, and all who have came to Him can trust that He will do as He says.

Only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grace through faith that saves us, and answers prayer.

On The Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Keep the word of faith spoken by Abraham in mind which he spoke in verse 5, and Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was certain of God’s delivering power.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

The LORD’S Visit

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.      Genesis 21:1

The LORD had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. God had promised them that Abraham would be a father of nations, and through him all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Much time had passed when this promise is fulfilled.

At the age of 86 Abraham had gone along with the scheme of Sarah to have a son with Hagar. This was not what God had promised. Maybe in concocting this plan Sarah thought they would be fulfilling the will of God. God’s promise to Abraham for a son was for Sarah too.

When Abraham was 100 years of age, and Sarah was 99 the promise of God was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac which means “Laughter”, because she had been laughing. Just as nothing was too hard for God to do for Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:14), so it is for the Christian today. Also for the lost soul to receive forgiveness and peace and rest.

When God the LORD shows up He will do all that He has said.

He has told us that He loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That Son is Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. That is the LORD’S visit today. Call on His name repent and believe.

Staying Where God Leads

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.                 Genesis 13:1-4

God had led Abram to the land of Canaan, but when a famine had come he set his eye on Egypt for the provision of his family. We have all done it. We know we are where God wants us to be, but suddenly we find things going opposed to what we think they ought to be and we think there are “greener pastures” over there somewhere.

Abram had set up an altar of worship at Bethel; a place of worship; and then he goes down to Egypt.

Abram comes back to that place when he returns from Egypt, and he calls on the name of the LORD once again.

Have you strayed from where God wants you to be? Return to the place where you left Him. No! He has never left you, and He never will. That is why we, the child of God, always come back to the place where we left Him.

If you have no clue as to what I am writing about, then maybe you do not even know GOD. He loves you. He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again. He says to you, “Come to Me and I will give you rest and peace.” Do so today.

The Pleasant Name

Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.       Genesis 4:22

I began reading through the Bible this year, and my schedule is to read it through in six months. I did not read it through in 2021, but I read the Gospels through every month with the exception of combining them with the book of Acts in January and February.

It does a Christian good to his heart, soul and mind to read the Bible on a regular basis. Some think one through reading should be enough. I disagree with that sort of thinking due to the fact that there is no way the mind or heart can grasp all of what you read. Another thing is it is God’s love letter to His people. Why not read again and again and again.

I tell you all of that to say that the above verse caught my attention while I was reading this morning and I do not think I had noticed it before. The statement, “The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah” is what caught my eye. Tubalcain was a son of Zillah the second wife of Lamech in the lineage of Cain, the man who killed his brother Abel, and was marked by God. Lamech was the first mentioned to marry two wives, and they were blessed with children.

What is so special about this and particularly Naamah? First of all there is nothing known of her Scripturally. There is much conjecture from legends and such that she was Noah’s wife, and others that she was Ham’s wife (Ham the son of Noah). It is quite likely that Moses knew who she was and what she did and whose wife she was, but there is no Biblical record, so evidentiary proof.

Her name means “Pleasantness” so she may have been a beautiful woman. Let us be assured that there is no hope in beauty, or even in pleasantness, or being pleasant.

I hear the names of children today given to them by their parents and I think, “What?” A name has meaning. Naamah’s name should reflect one who is a pleasure to be with, enjoyable, and one giving pleasure to others. Those all depend on the heart.

Was there salvation available for the line of Cain? How about Naamah and the others in the line of Cain? Only by turning to the One who would die on the cross for their sins, and His name is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Our only was of salvation today is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Now there is a pleasant name. Jesus.

Discern What You Hear

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, “He shall not die;” but, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  John 21:23

On this eve of a brand new year may we who are Bible reading, Bible believing, blood bought, redeemed believers in Jesus Christ be sure we hear Jesus, and all of Scripture rightly. Let us ask God to enable us to let the Bible say what the Bible means, and not what we think or feel that it means.

The above verse is the conclusion of Jesus’s conversation with the apostle Peter in verses fifteen through twenty two; which began with Jesus asking Peter “Do you love Me” and finishing up by telling Peter “Follow Me.”

O how we often miss what Jesus is saying. I am praying that I am a better listener to the words of all of Scripture, Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through the Revelation. That I might rightly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him,
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”
And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Answerest Thou the high priest so?” Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?”
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.                        John 18:19-24

Just because the officers did not know whom they were striking does not mean they are without charges themselves. They had just struck the face of the Creator of all that is (Genesis 1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17). They thought they were doing God service by protecting the honor of a high priest who knew who He is (John 11:49-52).

Jesus, of course, spoke no evil. He simply gave an answer that should have been known. It was the blindness, and the darkness of evil that was working in the heart of the high priest Caiaphas that was the real issue. Willful ignorance, especially, is not bliss when it comes to knowing who Jesus is.

If you have came to this site, and have taken the time to read any of the information posted here on Jesus Christ I pray that you will hear the Holy Spirit of the Lord speaking to your heart and mind, and that you will have your eyes opened to the truth of who Jesus is – the Christ, Son of the Living God. He died for our sins, was buried and He rose again; and He is coming again. Repent, believe and receive Him.