Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (2)

God Has No Pleasure…

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,  What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?  As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.  Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,  And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,  And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in My statutes, and hath kept My judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,  And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,  Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.  Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,  That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in My statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.  Yet say ye, Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.  The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?  When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not My ways equal? Are not your ways unequal?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:1-32 (KJV)

The Fear of the LORD

The Fear of the LORD – Proverbs 9:10

Within the Wisdom/Poetry Literature of Scripture the phrase “Fear of the LORD” is mentioned 18 times.  Fourteen of those are in Proverbs.  The remaining four are in Job and Psalms.
“And unto man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (KJV)

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” Psalm 19:9

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”  Psalm 111:10

Then, we will look at the verses in Proverbs,

1:7, 29;  2:5;  8:13;  9:10;  10:27; 14:26, 27;  15:16, 33;  16:6;  19:23;  22:4;  23:17

You will notice that the verse in Job 28:28 uses the word “Lord”, and it is speaking of God, but with a different name – Adonay.

When we look at the previous verses in Proverbs we read, “The fear of the LORD…”  “…is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7);  People who hate knowledge… “did not choose the fear of the LORD” (1:29).  We see also, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” (2:5).  In chapter 8 verse 13 we read, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil…”.

In our verse today we read, “The fear of the LORD  is the beginning of wisdom…” (9:10).  In chapter 10 verse 27 the writer says, “The fear of the LORD prolongeth days…”

In the entire Bible the term “fear of the LORD” is used only thirty times, from 1 Samuel 11:7 through Acts 9:31.

Is the fear of the LORD relevant to society of our day?  Most certainly, and probably never more needed than it is today.

Where does the fear of the LORD begin?  Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom comes from the fear of the LORD.  Hearing Him, believing what He says, through His Son Jesus, and doing His Word.

Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)  Upon receiving the grace of God you receive the fullness of God in His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  That will be the “fear of the LORD” in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Surely the Lord GOD…

“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:6-8 (KJV)

Amos was a contemporary prophet with Isaiah, Hosea, and others.  It is not known if they all knew one another or not, but I would not be surprised if they did.  They were burdened for their people.  I want us to think about these words written by Amos.  Like most of the prophets of God no one wanted to hear what they had to say, but a prophet of God has a mandate from God to speak the word of God, whether anyone will listen and hear or not.

Trumpets were used in Jerusalem for various reasons.  Warning for which the prophet speaks above.  Calling assemblies.  Calling the tribes together, and they would give a distinguishing sound for each purpose; and the people recognized and knew which sound was for what.

Warning was what the prophet Amos was giving.  He was the sound of the trumpet.  There is a time to be afraid.  The time for the people of God to fear is when we get away from God, because we no longer love Him, His Son, and no longer hear and do His commandments; in that order.  Hear what Jesus the Son of God, God the Son; our Savior says about this…

If ye love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. John 15:10

It is not good for the child of God to fear; but when we get away from God, loving Him and His commandments, then we had better fear, be afraid, and get on our knees in repentance; then we can get up and face the wicked world without fear.  We can know that God has it all in hand.  We will know that the evil, and calamity, afflictions, injustices, lack of peace, are all in His hands, and that He will work it all out for His glory and our good.

We can know too, that everything that God will do, or is doing His prophets will will be speaking forward to His people.  Besides that; most of what God; if not all of what God is doing in the world is revealed to us through the written book called the Bible.  There is no new word from God.

People of God… It is best that we fear God, or we will fear everything else.  When we fear God, we will fear nothing else.

God has made a way for us to enter His holy, righteous presence; and that is through the death of Jesus His Son on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.  You have sinned against holy God.  Receive His gift of salvation, and come into His presence.

Hard Hearted and Hard Headed

I must admit; I have been accused of being “Hard headed”.  I may have even been accused a few times of being “Hard hearted”, and at times I would probably agree that I can be both.  But I do pray that never toward God and His Word.

I have personal Christian convictions; not preferences which I will stand on til death if I must.  If that is hard headed, then so be it.  I can also be hard hearted; at least seemingly to others; in my actions and words toward people. I really do not intend to be.  If I am not hard at times I will weep, and seem weak.  I have said these things to point you toward some verses in Ezekiel, and God’s word to him concerning his message to the captives in Babylon.  Hear the word of the LORD…

‘And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”  Ezekiel 3:4-11 (KJV)

I have meant in no way to put myself along side this man of God, the prophet Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon along with the others of Judah.  He was a prophet in captivity with his people, and was to preach to them; to call them back to God while being held by the enemy.  His purpose was to call them to repentance and to GOD.

The Lord GOD was telling him that this was a hard hearted, hard headed people, and He was going to make the prophet so as well; only to stand against the ungodliness of the people.  In the people they were refusing to hear the word of God, even after seeing the word of the LORD fulfilled by their city being overthrown, their king taken captive, his sons killed before his eyes, and them dragged against their will to Babylon.  Now, Ezekiel was to prepare them for the years ahead.  Captives in a foreign land; and they were not going to listen to God “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”

When Christians are captive in an evil society we must hear the word of God over the words of men.  When we refuse to hear the words of judgment, and only listen to the words of promise we refuse it all.  The words of judgment are also words of promise.  If God said it; it will come to pass.

Let us; those of us who call ourselves “Christian” or “Born again” be hard hearted toward those who reject the word of God; and be hard headed for the word of God, loving God more than we do things or people.  If we care more for what people say or think of us, than we do God; then we are loving people more than we love God, and His Son Jesus.  Do you love Jesus Christ and His word more than you do the thoughts of humankind?

You better change your heart and mind.

Man of God – A Man of Prayer (2)

 “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel 9:19-23 (KJV)  Please read to the end of the chapter.

We continue Daniel’s Prayer with Daniel 9:19-27 –

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;

Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;

Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;

Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;

Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted. Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

 The sixth thing we see is, that while DANIEL PRAYING, THE ANGEL GABRIEL CAME AND GAVE HIM UNDERSTANDING (vv. 20-23). Daniel prayed; confessing the sins of the people of Israel and his own sins, and lifting up supplications unto the Lord for their land. While he was praying the angel Gabriel appeared to him once again.

Gabriel said he had come to give Daniel “Skill and understanding”. I do not think it is too bold of a statement to say that it was because of Daniel’s devotion to God and His Word that God chose him for “Skill and understanding”. Daniel was fervent in prayer. He was consistent in his prayers. He was devoted to the Word of God. He was an obedient servant to God. He fasted. He wept. He mourned. I find it no surprise that God chose Daniel to give “Skill and understanding”.

Notice, the angel said, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee..” Daniel’s prayers were heard from day one. His faith was strong in the Word of God.

The angel also tells him, “Thou are greatly beloved…” What a decree to come from the mouth of one of God’s angels.

 In the seventh thing we see the angel giving DANIEL THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS (v. 24). This is the thing Daniel read from Jeremiah concerning Israel. In the prophecy each seven day week represents seven years, thus the seventy weeks would represent a total of 490 years. What was the purpose of these years – one week of which or seven years, has not yet come to pass.

The purpose of the seventy weeks has a six fold purpose; 1) “To finish the transgression” ie., to bring an end to Israel’s transgression – their sin and rebellion against God in worshipping idols; 2) “To make an end of sins”; 3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity”, ie., that is to reconcile the nation to God; 4) To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) To seal up the vision of the prophecy; and 6) To anoint the most Holy.

 In the eighth place we are told of THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM UNTO THE MESSIAH – WHO IS CHRIST JESUS (vv.25-26a). A decree would go forth for the restoration of Jerusalem from a Gentile king. There was such a decree that went forth from a king to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2).

The restoration of Jerusalem was done in 49 years. This period of time equals the ‘seven weeks’. There are 7 days in a week times 7 weeks equals 49 days. Each day equals 1 year. After the restoration of Jerusalem it would be 62 weeks until Messiah was ‘cut off’ this would equal 483 years. The Messiah, that is Jesus Chris, would be crucified on a cross in Jerusalem.

NOTICE – Seventy (70) weeks times 7 equals 490 weeks. This means that only 69 weeks have been fulfilled. The first 483 have been fulfilled exactly as God told Daniel. There has been approximately 2000 years since the completion of the 483 years. There remains 7 yet to be fulfilled. That seven years is known by at least two different titles; first, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); secondly, we know it better by “Tribulation period” – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:22). It is also known as the “Day of the LORD” in many Old Testament passages.

 In the ninth place we see the SEVENTIETH WEEK; THE PRINCE TO COME; AND HIS COVENANT OF PEACE WITH ISRAEL (vv. 26b-27). The ‘prince that shall come’ is speaking of a deceiver. Some time following the disappearance of the saints of God, this man will come on the scene and make a peace covenant with Israel for seven years “One week”.

In the midst of the week – 3.5 years – this prince will break that covenant,a nd set himself up in the temple of God – “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

He will desolate the temple. Really just his presence in the temple will be worse than the pig which Antiochus Epiphanes placed on the altar. In his desolation he will call for the people of the world to worship him. That is when he begins running into problems. The last 3.5 years will be a time of judgment upon the earth such as no one has ever seen.

Not only will Israel be delivered during this time, but when Jesus comes to put an end to sin, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Rev. 1:7). In John 19:37 it says, “And again another scripture saith, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced”.

The seven years of ‘tribulation will end with Jesus coming in the clouds with His saints, conquering the rebellious nations of earth, ‘the inhabitants of earth’, cleansing the land; and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 The Blessed Hope of Titus 2:13.

COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS. MARANATHA.

Christmas Day Ninety and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be mindful of the negatives and the positives in God’s Word; and I want Christians all over the world to realize that without the negatives the positives do not have any use; keeping in mind “The Day of the LORD”

“Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.” Zephaniah 1:7 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Ninety and Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be aware, watching and knowing that the answers God gives to life’s perplexing questions are of greater value than any that men, women or their philosophies can give.

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Three

“When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.” Ezekiel 33:18-20 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas Today?

I want to live, walk, and stand in the righteousness that is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and to live in His power, glory, and strength; and I want you to join with me; because the righteousness of mankind is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and will keep us from GOD.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Four

“And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 29:16 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always trust in the LORD and to be a reason for others to trust in Him too; to not be distracted by blessings, but to rest confidently in the Blesser who is GOD through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Five

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to My servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.” Ezekiel 28:25-26 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the world to know that …The LORD is God, and that there is no other; that He has revealed Himself in His creation, and in His written Word and in the Living Word which is His Son; and that no man, woman, boy or girl is without excuse, and without Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you stand no chance for eternal life in the presence of God; and that you may know that God will fulfill every word He has spoken.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Seven

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be a pleasure to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit of God; and when the body that I am living in dies I want God to be pleasured by it; so I want my life and my death to glorify Him, and I know, I trust, and I believe that God sent His only begotten Son, and that whosoever believes in Him (and that “whosoever” is you and me) shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Also see Psalm 116:15.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Eight

“For thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘How much more when I send My four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it,’ saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 14:21-23 (KJV)

Jerusalem, Judah, Israel were being judged because of their rebellious, hard  headed, hard hearted actions against God, His Word, and His ways.  They were being disciplined by a loving, caring Father who loved them deeply, but loved them too much to let them go to eternal destruction.

He does not judge, or discipline without purpose or cause.

What do I want for Christmas today?

It seems to me that our nation, and much of the world is given to idols of our own making; recreation, entertainment, are two of the most popular; and to be clear; there is nothing wrong with those, except when they take us away from God and His Word;  So I want that my heart and mind be on Jesus, His Word, His way for my life, living for Him, and Him alone, and the knowledge, wisdom, and power to live with joy, and praise in my heart and life solely because of Him; and I want all others to know this same joy, power and praise, and to have the same assurance of eternity with Jesus, due solely to the fact of the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Nine

“Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” Ezekiel 11:16 (KJV)

In their captivity God is giving His people who are known to have rebellious, hard hearts, a promise of His presence, peace, safety, and security in a foreign land.

What do I want for Christmas today?

There is an absence of the presence of God in many lives, because they do not know Him; I want all to be aware of the presence of God, and His love for you shown on the cross of His Son Jesus where He bled and died, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, coming out alive conquering sin, death, hell and the grave, and gives peace with God, and everlasting life.

 

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to understand the true meaning of Easter; that it is about the death, burial and bodily resurrection of the Lord and Savior of all creation; that the only hope for our world is Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, eternally alive, and reigning as the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” [Jesus Christ] Revelation 1:17b-18 (KJV)

Also see Isaiah 41:4 and 44:6

Christmas – Day 281

What do I want for Christmas?

On this Palm Sunday, remembering the last days in the life of our Savior before His death on the cross, burial, and bodily resurrection; I want to grow more in love with my Lord and Savior, and to appreciate everyday as a day He has given me to celebrate Him.

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto Me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:1-11 (KJV)

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want a leader who will walk in righteousness; who will be impartial to all; who will visit the orphan, aid the widows, and give strength to the weak and the helpless; who will make all people equal in his purview of power.

Even so come Lord Jesus.  Because He is the only One who can fulfill this desire.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)

GOD Does Not Turn Away My Prayer

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.” Psalm 66:18-20 (KJV)

Have you ever noticed a time when it seems as though you are not getting through to God, as you pray? It just seems to feel as though your prayers are not even getting past the ceiling? That is; should I say; a painful, sorrowful feeling.

When God hears our prayer it is due solely to His mercy and grace. He hears your prayer, my prayer every time we pray. Yet, it seems as though He does not.

Part of the problem is addressed by the Psalmist when he writes, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…” To “regard iniquity” is to hold on to it; refusing to let it go; even to the point of rejecting God, His word and His direction for our lives.

There are things which is within the realm of “regarding iniquity” which hinders our prayers. One is for the husband not to treat his wife well (1 Peter 3:7), and I am almost certain that that would include the wife not treating her husband well. Another thing is praying with lustful desire which would include greed for things (James 4:3).

The prayers God hears are those we pray in His name. Jesus said, “What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24). Also, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7. When we have received the change which comes with receiving Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour our heart’s desire changes too. We desire what God desire, and so pray accordingly “In His name”.

Jesus said, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

God hears the prayer of His people whose hearts are directed toward His heart by the cross of Jesus Christ.

Greatness of the One

“I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations. For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds. Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Thy glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57:9-11 (KJV)

The Psalmist David was hiding from King Saul in a cave when he wrote this Psalm; or possibly shortly there after. You can see by this Psalm that he was still trusting in the LORD his God.

He was praising the Lord, and he would praise Him among the people of his nation. He would sing unto Him among the Nations of the world around him.

He recognized the greatness of the mercy of God, and proclaimed it. He bragged about God. We can, and we get to brag about His greatness as well; when we know Him.

The LORD God is exalted above all the earth. He is the most glorious of all. Even the stars in their astrological signs cannot hold candle, or light to the glory of their creator. Above the heavens [stars, planets, etc]; above the earth; that is the Lord our God.

He came as a Man.  His name is Jesus.  He bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.  He is returning some day soon.  Believe Him. Trust Him with your whole being.  There is no life apart from Him.  He is the One who holds all things together (John 1:3;  Colossians 1:17).

Spend time today in contemplation of the greatness of the One who is above all things; and exalt Him.

Better Than Gold

“Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:8-12 (KJV)

There is an attitude in the minds of many people; and it affects us all at times; that we are “it”. We are what God is about. He has an obligation to love us, care for us; and to bring it down personal; He has an obligation to love me, care for me. Is that about how we are? I see it in me. I see it in others.

Something we need to realize is that God is about His own glory. He has no obligation to love us, or to care for us. He is about getting His people into His glory; and He will do it His way, not my way; and He will do it in His time.

Look at Job. He was a wealthy, healthy, family man who was loved by his family, the servants of his household, and his neighbors. Then, he lost everything; even his self-respect. He did not lose his faith in God.

Job did not understand his dilemma; yet he trusted, though he would have liked to appear before the Court of God, and present his arguments on his own behalf.

Job states in the text above that he had not witnessed the presence of God, could not feel the presence of God, nor seen His work. Yet, we hear this testimony, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold”. Though he had no understanding of the events that happened in the court of heaven Job knew, believed, trusted that the trials he was going through was as the refiners fire, and that God was perfecting him, fitting him for the glory of God.

How can this be? How can it be that even though we may have no understanding of the troubling events of our life, of life, that we can still trust that God is working in us to make us “come forth as gold” tried in a furnace of fire? Note Job’s words, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food“.

That reminds me of Jesus’s own words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Remember this dear believer. We are not called to understand; we are called to be faithful.

The Secret Place of the Most High

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (KJV)

I will let John Gills commentary speak with you concerning this verse today.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High,…. Or the Supreme; a title of God, who is superior to all beings, the Creator and Preserver of them, God over all, higher than the highest of angels or men; see Gen_14:22, “his secret place” is his heart, his bosom, where his only begotten Son lies; and into which he takes his people, where they are set as a seal, and who enjoy intimate communion with him; which is no other than his gracious presence, called “the secret of his presence”, Psa_31:20, which none but saints are admitted to, when his everlasting love, which was a secret in his heart, is made known unto them, and in which they also dwell, 1Jo_4:16, as they likewise do in the eternal decree of election; which perhaps is meant by “the clefts of the rock, and secret places of the stairs”, where the church is said to dwell, Son_2:14, unless rather Christ the Rock, and who may be signified by the cleft of that Moses was put into, when the goodness of the Lord passed before him, is intended; and who is the hiding place from the wind: mention is made of “the secret” of God’s “tabernacle”, Psa_27:5, in which he hides his people; alluding to the tabernacle, or temple, and the most holy place in it, called his secret place, Eze_7:22, and may refer to the ministry of the word and ordinances, where saints dwell, and enjoy much communion with God; and who are particularly under his special providence, protection, and power; which may here be designed:

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty: who is able to do all things for his people, and is “Shaddai”, all sufficient, as this word is thought to signify; has a sufficiency of happiness in and for himself, and of provisions for all his creatures, and of power and grace for his own children: his “shadow” may be the same with his secret place, his power and protection, often in this book of Psalms called “the shadow of his wings”, Psa_17:8, in allusion to birds that overshadow and protect their young with their wings; though perhaps the allusion here may be to the shadow of a tree, and design the word and ordinances of the Lord’s house, which are a delightful, refreshing, reviving, and fruitful shadow, Son_2:3, where gracious souls dwell, and abide with great delight and pleasure. Christ, the Son of God, is sometimes compared to the shadow of a rock, or tree, which screens and shelters from heat; as he preserves his people from the heat of a fiery law, the flaming sword of justice, the wrath of God, the fiery darts of Satan, and the fury of persecutors: under this shadow do they abide or lodge all night, safe and secure, as the word (o) signifies: the Targum calls this shadow the shadow of the clouds of glory; the Arabic version, “the shadow of the God of heaven.”

From e-Sword John Gill Commentary.

It is in the heart of every believer to desire to dwell in that Secret Place.

Dwelling in the Lord

“Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” Psalm 90:1-2 (KJV)

This Psalm is called “A prayer of Moses the man of God”.  Though I cannot prove it; I personally believe that Psalms 90 -100 are Psalms of Moses, because of the way they are written and references to the wilderness, and to God; that only a man who lived there would know.

The best place for any generation, for any individual to dwell is in the Lord.  He has made that possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  How was Moses, the children of Israel able to dwell in God?  Today we are saved, and dwell in God because we look back to the cross, and believe.  The children of Israel, Moses, and all the believers of the Old Testament looked ahead to the cross of Christ and believed., and dwell in God

Moses, and all who believe in Him, dwelling in Him, knows that He is everlasting; that He is God, and we dwell in Him.  He is the Sovereign; the Almighty.  In Him we can trust.  In Him we dwell.

Cause of Prayer – There is a Fervent Need

“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:19-27 (KJV)

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;
Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;
Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;
Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;
Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted.

Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

Cause of Prayer – Recognizing Our Offenses Against God, and His Righteousness

“O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, I beseech Thee, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.” Daniel 9:16-19 (KJV)

In the fourth point we see DANIEL RECOGNIZES THE OFFENSES AGAINST GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS (vv. 16-19). When the people of God are disobedient to Him we become a reproach to Him and to the nations or people around us. The Israelites lost their witness to surrounding nations, because they were rebellious to God, His prophets, and His Word. They began living like the world around them, they built and worshipped idols, they practiced temple prostitution, and by doing these things they committed spiritual adultery against God. Notice what Daniel prays. First, that God’s face might shine upon His desolate sanctuary; second, to purpose His ear to hear this prayer; third, open His eyes to behold the people’s desolation; and fourth, that God answer them according to His own righteousness and mercy.

Prayer is for the purpose of the glory of God. It is not a wishing well, a genie in a bottle where you get three wishes. It is not akin to tea leaves, tarot cards, or palm reading. Knowing God’s will, then praying for it to come to pass is the prayer that glorifies God. Daniel knew God’s will. He prayed God’s will, then, what he prayed came to pass. This gets us in on God’s will; rather than expecting God to get in our will. David Jeremiah said,

“Our prayers really ought to be prompted out of our deep understanding of what the will of God is”. From ‘THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL’ pg. 175.

He also went on to say,

“The biggest waste of time in Christendom is praying about things that God already said we shouldn’t do.” IBID.

God will answer the prayers that are prayed to glorify Him. That is how Daniel prayed. NOTE; Daniel prayed, “For we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies…” We do not deserve it, O God, but remember Your promise. It was God’s integrity Daniel was concerned with. He knew Israel did not deserve to go back to Jerusalem; but God must keep His Word. Daniel simply knew God never broke a promise. He was demanding nothing. He was merely standing on God’s own integrity and power.

HAVING RECOGNIZED, FROM READING JEREMIAH THE PROPHET, OF THE SEVENTY YEAR CAPTIVITY; DANIEL PRAYS FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE ACCORDING TO GOD’S MERCY (v. 18).

Shepherd

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1 (KJV)

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus sweetest name I know.  He fills my every longing.  He keeps me singing as I go.

The Shepherd of Israel is none other than Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  Jesus can be seen as the Shepherd as He feeds the five thousand men (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10), and as He fed the four thousand men (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).  Notice in those verses where He commanded that they sit down on the grass.

His glory is seen as the one who dwells betwee the cherubims.  They were the ones who are formed bowing on the mercy seat facing one another with their faces toward the ark of the covenant, which represents the presence of GOD.  The ark itself is the representation of the fulness of the Godhead.

“The LORD is my shepherd;  I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1

Is the Lord Jesus your Shepherd today?  He will give ear to you when you call on Him.

Cause of Prayer – Confession of National and Personal Sin

“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments…” Daniel 9:3-5

The second point we see is HIS CONFESSION OF SIN – HIS AND HIS NATION’S (In vv. 3-5, 8-9,11,14,15). Note, how many times Daniel mentions, “We have sinned”. He does not say, “They have sinned”, but “We have sinned”, “We are a sinful nation”. Any time a preacher/prophet only points out “Their sins” he is failing to communicate the whole truth. “We have sinned” is the message of every prophet of God. If we are to get right with God it must be the confession of every prophet first of all. So many times we talk about the sins of the world, when in truth it is the sins of God’s people that hinders His work; if there is a lack confession, and not repented of.

Not meaning to jump ahead – take a look at verse 20. Daniel says, “And confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel”. We cannot blame others for our spiritual decay, and captivities. It is our sin that brought us to the place of captivity we are in.

Daniel confesses God’s righteousness. Without God’s righteousness He would not be God. In His righteousness He gave us His Son Jesus; He gave us the cross; that a holy, sinless person might die to pay the sin debt that was ours.

When we walk in disobedience to God we have “confusion of face” or “open shame”. In other words, “We have disgraced our God, our identity as the people of God, and have lost our power with God”. When that happens God will do whatever is necessary to get His people where He wants us to be.

Recognizing that our time is short here on earth. Recognizing there are many lost people who need Jesus we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, the study of God’s Word, that we might be equipped for service, and to witnessing of God our Savior to every one possible. We are going to glory. If we tell them of Jesus; they at least are warned of coming judgment, and possibly may come to faith in Jesus and be in glory also.

Words for Instruction

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Psalm 78:1 (KJV)

We all need instruction.  Some of us are not always open to instruction.  We can see that as we read the first five books of the Bible; the writtings of Moses as he is inspired by the Spirit of God.  This Psalm is once again the writing of Asaph.  Called a Maschil of Asaph.  Of this Psalm Spurgeon has written of the title:

“This is rightly entitled an instruction Psalm.  It is not a mere recapitulation of important events in Israelitish history, but is intended to be viewed as a parable setting forth the conduct and experience of believers in all ages.  It is a singular proof of the obtuseness of mind of many professors that they will object to sermons and expositions upon the historical parts of Scripture, as if they contained no instruction in spiritual matters: were such persons truly enlightened by the Spirit of God, they would perceive that all Scripture is profitable, and would blush at their own folly in understanding any portion of the inspired volume.”

from the title. –Maschil of Asaph. THE TREASURY OF DAVID

Even though these are Asaph’s words to the people of God they are also God’s word for His people of all ages.

Asaph’s law would have been God’s law for Israel.  The “words of my mouth” which Asaph writes would have been the words of God.  Asaph speaking according to the word of God.  Christians are to give ear to the law of God.  The Christian is to always have an ear to hear the words of God which proceed from the teachers and preachers who preach the whole counsel of God.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This could even imply that we are to hear the wise, godly, Biblical counsel of the founding fathers of our nation.  Something to think about.

The Scriptures speak clearly of who Jesus is.  He is more than a teacher. He is more than a prophet.  He is more than a good man.  He is the Son of God, and God the Son.  He is the Lord and Saviour of all the world.  Hear His word.