What Is The Purpose Of Your Sacrifices?

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

I really cannot begin to imagine how angered the Holy One is by all the sin and hypocrisy that is seen on the streets of our cities. Surely they are very similar to Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of their destruction. How much further will the Holy One let us go?

O rulers of Judah, religious and political; you must hear the Word of the LORD. You are in the same shape as Sodom, you are an odorous scent to the name of the LORD our God. How it grieves my heart to see such pretense in the sacrifices that are made. The blood of all those innocent animals; and for what, when it comes from an evil heart, which is given to rebellious, wicked, evil, idolatrous living.

For what purpose is a sacrifice if it is given in hypocrisy? A sacrifice is given to one you love, and at a cost to the giver, out of a deep devotion, trust, commitment, and for the glory of the One to whom it is given. Our people have become so extravagantly wealthy that they no longer know what sacrifice is. They continue to slay the lambs, bulls, goats and such, but they know nothing of God, His Word, or His way for their lives.

The Holy One is sick of these empty sacrifices which mean absolutely nothing to the giver of them. Offerings of sacrifice without a right heart with GOD is an abomination to Him. This is what is totally detestable to Him.

We have these feast days, and they have meaning and purpose only when the hearts of the one’s remembering them, are given completely to the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.

Our men who are supposed to pray to God for mercy on God’s people, and plead for the people to honor, obey, trust, depend, and look only to God; the priests; are no different than the political leaders. They take the peoples “Sacrifices”, and make a mockery of what it is, because of unrighteousness in their hearts and lives. When they offer praise God will hide His eyes, and when they offer a prayer, God will not hear. Their hands are bloody.

What does the Holy One want of those who are His? To be washed and made clean. To put away pretense, especially in their sacrifices. Cease your evil actions. Do good things for no other reason than to glorify the Holy One. Seek and do that which is just. Help those who are less fortunate than yourself – orphans, and widows; see that they are defended, protected, and cared for. This is right in the eyes of the LORD. The godly religion is the way – we must minister to the orphans and widows in their need, and keep ourselves from the evil practices of those around us.

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.  To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.  When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?  Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.“ Isaiah 1:10-17 (KJV)

From September 09, 2008.

He Only is My Rock and My Salvation

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:5-6

The following is from John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible of Psalm 62 verses  5 and 6.

My soul, wait thou only upon God,…. Be silent and subject to him, acquiesce in his providences, rest in him patiently and quietly, wait for his salvation; See Gill on Psa_62:1; perhaps some new temptation might arise, and David’s soul began to be uneasy and impatient; for frames are very changeable things; and therefore he encourages it to be still and quiet, and patiently wait on the Lord, and on him only:
for my expectation is from him; or “my hope”, as the Targum; the grace of hope is from the Lord, and the thing hoped for is from him; he is the author and the object of it; and his word of promise encourages to the exercise of it; or “my patience”; as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. The grace of patience is from the Lord; the means of it is his word; and it is exercised, tried, and increased by afflictions sent and sanctified by him; and “expectation” is nothing else than these graces in exercise, a waiting patiently for things hoped for Old Testament saints expected the first coming of Christ; New Testament saints expect his second coming; and all expect good things from him in time and eternity; nor shall their expectation fail and perish; and therefore is a reason why their souls should wait only on the Lord.

He only is my rock and my salvation,…. See Gill on Psa_62:2;
he is my defence; these epithets of God are repeated, to strengthen his faith and hope in him, and to encourage a patient waiting upon him;
I shall not be moved; neither greatly, nor at all; his faith gets fresh strength and rigour, the more he considers God as his rock, salvation, defence, and refuge; See Gill on Psa_62:2.

For God to be your rock and salvation you need to come to Him by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus paid our debt that we could not pay and have everlasting life, Jesus was buried taking away our sin, our guilt, our condemnation and death, then Jesus came out of the grave alive forever more. Come to Him. Call on His name in faith and repentance.

The Redeemed

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me. Selah. Psalm 49:15

Every man, woman, boy and girl is condemned to an eternal, excruciating death. Unless there would be a Mediator step in and pay the price of our sin. We are all born into this world condemned by sin, spiritually dead, and seemingly without hope.

Many people try to redeem themselves by good works. Many of those same people think they have lived a good life therefore God owes them an eternity with Him. They just work themselves into Hell and eternal damnation, because they do not believe God’s word.

The Psalmist says that it is God who will redeem my soul. When Isaiah the prophet saw the LORD, high and lifted up, he fell on his face  crying “Woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lip and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). It is God who convicts and convinces us of sin, and it is He who draws us to Himself in humility and faith.

God receives us only through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection. In His death He has paid the sin debt of all who will believe Him.

O will you hear Him today? You are not good enough to please God. All our goodness, and righteousnesses are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can redeem us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has paid the price. Will you receive Him?

…The Days of the Upright…

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Psalm 37:18-19

This is one of the most comforting and encouraging of the one hundred fifty Psalms.

While we know that the LORD is all knowing (Omniscient), it is great to know that He cares for those who are His even in, and especially in times of darkness of evil.

I will share today from Spurgeon’s  TREASURY OF DAVID…

“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright.” His foreknowledge made him laugh at the proud, but in the case of the upright he sees a brighter future, and treats them as heirs of salvation. Ever is this our comfort, that all events are known to our God, and that nothing in our future can take him at unawares. No arrow can pierce us by accident, no dagger smite us by stealth; neither in time nor in eternity can any unforeseen ill occur to us. Futurity shall be but a continual development of the good things which the Lord has laid up in store for us. “And their inheritance shall be for ever.” Their inheritance fades not away. It is entailed, so that none can deprive them of it, and preserved, so that none shall destroy it. Eternity is the peculiar attribute of the believer’s portion: what they have on earth is safe enough, but what they shall have in heaven is theirs without end.

“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” Calamities will come, but deliverances will come also. As the righteous never reckoned upon immunity from trouble, they will not be disappointed when they are called to take their share of it, but the rather they will cast themselves anew upon their God, and prove again his faithfulness and love. God is not a friend in the sunshine only, he is a friend indeed and a friend in need. “And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Their barrel of meal and cruse of oil shall last out the day of distress, and if ravens do not bring them bread and meat, the supply of their needs shall come in some other way, for their bread shall be given them. Our Lord stayed himself upon this when he hungered in the wilderness, and by faith he repelled the tempter; we too may be enabled not to fret ourselves in any wise to do evil by the same consideration. If God’s providence is our inheritance, we need not worry about the price of wheat. Mildew, and smut, and bent, are all in the Lord’s hands. Unbelief cannot save a single ear from being blasted, but faith, if it do not preserve the crop, can do what is better, namely, preserve our joy in the Lord.

I pray you know the All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful One through His Holy, Righteous Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again, proving the word of God to be true including every word He has spoken. Jesus is the Son of God, God the Son.

The Eye Of The LORD

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Psalm 33:18-19

It is very comforting, encouraging, and motivating to hear the above words of David. One of my favorite verses of the Old Testament is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” and I know in its text it is telling king Asa what he is missing out on due to his rebellious heart.

For those who have a perfect heart toward God; those who fear Him and hope in His mercy, He will deliver from horrible eternal death in eternal torment, and give them food to eat when things are hard.

Now, whose heart is perfect toward God? Those who look to God through His Son Jesus, who took our place on Calvary’s cross, dying for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. When we realize our lost, and hopeless estate, and call on His name believing in His finished work we are delivered from death, and can know that His eye is ever upon us perfecting, protecting, and providing our every need.

The work God starts in us, He will finish (Philippians 1:6).

The Righteous LORD

For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.  Psalm 11:7

It is plain for all to hear and see and understand from the above verse that the LORD (Jehovah/YaHWeH) is righteous. All of Scripture shows us that is true. I will let John Gill speak of this verse today.

For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness,…. The Lord is righteous in himself, and in all his ways and works; and therefore righteousness, as it lies both in punishing the wicked, and in maintaining the righteous cause of his people, must be loved by him, it being agreeable to his nature: he loves to exercise righteousness in the earth, to administer it to and among men; this he delights in. He is well pleased with the righteousness of his Son, it being satisfactory to his justice, and that by which his law is magnified and made honourable; and he is well pleased with his people, as they are clothed with it: and he approves of their righteous actions, as they are done in obedience to his righteous law, in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to his glory; these are acceptable to him in Christ;
his countenance doth behold the upright; whom wicked men privily shoot at, Psa_11:2; God looks with pleasure upon them, and takes delight in them, and takes care of them, protects and defends them, and at last saves them; and which, with all that goes before, was an encouragement to David to trust in the Lord; see Psa_7:10; and moreover, the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance on such, and indulges them with his gracious presence, than which nothing is more comfortable and desirable. Some choose to render the word, “their countenance” (y), meaning the trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, who all have a gracious regard to such: others render the clause thus, “the upright shall see his face”, the face of God; so the Chaldee paraphrase and the Arabic version; see Psa_17:15.

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible.

I pray that if you do not know Jesus Christ that you will in faith call on His name today.

 

The Blessed

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2

The Blessed individual, man or woman is blessed negatively and positively. Blessed negatively in what he or she does not participate in; and blessed positively  in what he or she does to honor and glorify God.

I will share today what Charles H. Spurgeon wrote in the Treasury of David concerning these two verses of Psalm One.

Blessed” – see how this Book of Psalms opens with a benediction, even as did the famous Sermon of our Lord upon the Mount! The word translated “blessed” is a very expressive one. The original word is plural, and it is a controverted matter whether it is an adjective or a substantive. Hence we may learn the multiplicity of the blessings which shall rest upon the man whom God hath justified, and the perfection and greatness of the blessedness he shall enjoy. We might read it, “Oh, the blessedness!” and we may well regard it (as Ainsworth does)as a joyful acclamation of the gracious man’s felicity. May the like benediction rest on us!
Here the gracious man is described both negatively (Psa_1:1) and positively (Psa_1:2); He is a man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. He takes wiser counsel, and walks in the commandments of the Lord his God. To him the ways of piety are paths of peace and pleasantness. His footsteps are ordered by the Word of God, and not by the cunning and wicked devices of carnal men. It is a rich sign of inward grace when the outward walk is changed, and when ungodliness is put far from our actions. Note next, he standeth not in the way of sinners. His company is of a choicer sort than it was. Although a sinner himself, he is now a blood-washed sinner, quickened by the Holy Spirit, and renewed in heart. Standing by the rich grace of God in the congregation of the righteous, he dares not herd with the multitude that do evil. Again it is said, “nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” He finds no rest in the atheist’s scoffings. Let others make a mock of sin, of eternity, of hell and heaven, and of the Eternal God; this man has learned better philosophy than that of the infidel, and has too much sense of God’s presence to endure to hear his name blasphemed, The seat of the scorner may be very lofty, but it is very near to the gate of hell; let us flee from it, for it shall soon be empty, and destruction shall swallow up the man who sits therein.

When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God – the evil is rather practical than habitual – but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who wilfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed, and are looked up to by others as Masters in Belial. But the blessed man, the man to whom all the blessings of God belong, can hold no communion with such characters as these. He keeps himself pure from these lepers; he puts away evil things from him as garments spotted by the flesh; he comes out from among the wicked, and goes without the camp, bearing the reproach of Christ. O for grace to be thus separate from sinners.
And now mark his positive character. “His delight is in the law of the Lord.” He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. “The law of the Lord” is the daily bread of the true believer. And yet, in David’s day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in all our houses! But, alas, what ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures. How few among us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you – Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God’s Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand – your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you.

Have a Blessed day walking with the One who loved you so much He gave His only Son Jesus for our salvation. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. He will come again, as He said He would (John 14:1-4).

When The Almighty Answers

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

We are at the ending words of the book of Job. Job has been asking for a visitation from the Almighty, and now he gets one.

Many of us who preach and teach the Scriptures think we know God pretty well, but when it comes to the truth of the matter of knowing God we know very little. All we know about God is what we learn from His word.

We hear some people think and say things like, “If I were God…” The point is none of us are the Almighty.

We live now in an era where many are thinking that they know better than God what is good and right for themselves. So, you elevate yourself over the knowledge and will of God. You are on your way to a rude awakening one day.

Job did not like the way God had handled his life with loss, grief, sickness and disease. Job also did not know what went on in the courts of  Heaven between Satan and God Most High. Neither do you or I.

When we face sorrow, whether it be by the loss of a family member, a friend, a job or career let us say and let us live like and believe this, “I do not know what God in His good counsel is doing; but I trust Him.”

In all his pain and loss Job never cursed God, sure he questioned what was going on; as would and  do most of us. Always and I say again, always keep faith in the One who has all things in His hands.

Why? Because He loves us so much He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That is when the Almighty answers.

Do We Ever Really Know What Is Going On Behind The Scenes?

Oh that one would hear me! Behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.  Job 31:35

Job had no idea what had gone on in the throne room of Heaven (Job 1 and 2). He had been blessed by the Almighty, and now suddenly there was nothing but loss.

No one ever alive suffered as much as Job did, with the exception of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Job lost his family, all ten of his children, all his livestock, all his wealth, his health, and the respect of his wife, friends and others too.

He feels deserted by the Almighty. He feels that he is not heard when he prays, because there is no healing, no renewing; and his friends are telling him that he is an unrighteous man, and has treated the poor badly and widows too.

He even feels like the Almighty might even be his adversary, rather than his Advocate. No one was listening, he says, and that included the Almighty. Job’s conversation with his “friends” is coming to a close. He is longing for someone to listen to him not condemning him as these three men have  done. He especially desires that the Almighty would answer him.

We know with Job what was going on, but when hard times come to us do we ever stop and think of Job’s life? Sometimes bad things come to us because of some sin or unrighteous deed we have done, and sometimes it is a test, and the Teacher is silent. If it is due to a sin or sins then, as a follower of Jesus Christ we have His Spirit abiding in us, and He will show us the sins we have committed, and lead us to repentance. If it is a test He will be silent.

Christ Jesus gave up the glories of Heaven, became flesh, dwelt among us, died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. We have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). His name is Jesus. We do not need to know what goes on behind the scenes of Heaven, because the Almighty has it under control, and does all that He does for our  good who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28).

High Esteem for the Word of GOD

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 23:11-12

How important is food to you? Most of us in the United States of America eat three meals a day and without fail. We know there are many children and adults in this nation who do without far too many days, and that should not even be happening here.

How important is the word of GOD to you?

Job says in the above verses that holding to His steps, walking in His way, obeying His commandments as more highly esteemed than even his necessary food.

Why should we highly esteem the word of GOD? Why do we highly esteem our food we eat  every day? It is necessary for our sustenance, for life, for living in this world. I we do not eat food we grow weak, sickness sets in, and eventually we die. The same is true for our spirit and soul as well.

The redeemed spirit and soul of man will desire the word of GOD, hunger for it, will be one of our highest desires to know and grow in faith in the Lord our God and Savior. Through the word of God we learn about God, His love, mercy, grace, righteousness, holiness and justice. We learn of His sending His Son Jesus; and when we start in the book of beginnings we learn the book is about God loving the world that He would send His Son to die for the sins of the world.

If you do not have high esteem for the word of GOD, for reading, studying, and for personal application of the word in your life, you are most likely not His.

Trust the Lord Jesus Christ, believe Him, repent of your sins calling on His name and He will hear you. Through faith in Him you will have a high esteem for what He says.

He died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. Believe Him.

In Bad Circumstances

Then said his wife unto him, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.”  But he said unto her, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10

In bad circumstances? Are you suffering from some sickness, disease, financial chaos, family issues that are tough? You are not alone.

Job was a man whom God proclaimed, that Job was “perfect and upright” and that he feared God, and shuns evil (Job 1:8; 2:3). Yet if we look at his life he suffered unlike any man or woman ever has, or ever will; with one exception being that of God’s only begotten Son who died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Let us look at the above two verses from Job two. It concerns his wife who is unnamed in the book. Her faith was evidently unlike that of Jobs. Job and his wife had lost their ten children, though they were evidently grown. They had died in a great wind storm (Job 1:18-19); and that would be quite sorrowful to any mother and father.

“Why don’t you just curse God and die”, was the wife’s response. That probably cut to the heart of Job, but in faith he responds, “You speak as one of the foolish women. Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not hardship as well?”

It would hurt the heart of a man who loves his wife, and he seeing her as a woman of faith as well, to have her come to him and say what Job’s wife said.

The past two years have been very difficult for many  people. Having lost loved ones that in our minds seems too soon. “They were so young. They didn’t deserve to die.” That is really one of those statements that come from pain of sorrow, but holds no authority.

Did Job’s children deserve to die? “It is appointed unto all people once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). So we are all going to die. It is not in our purview to know how or when anyone dies, including ourselves.

Some very somber thoughts, I know. Let us think about this for a moment. You do not know when you will die. You do not know when your spouse will die; or when a single one of your children will die. So what can we do?

The One I spoke of earlier who suffered worse than Job, is the One who loves Job and you and me.  We can be ready to meet death without fear. Without fear of when or where it will take place, and without fear of where we will spend eternity.

When you receive God’s free gift of grace in salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ death is defeated, and you will have everlasting life.

Are you in bad circumstances? Call on the name of the Lord.

The Stroke of the Pen and the Sword

Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.  Esther 9:5

Mordecai, is now the second in command under king Ahasuerus. The king’s command given through Haman could not be reversed, but with the stroke of a pen Mordecai with the authority of the king wrote another command that allowed the Jews to protect and defend themselves.

And, they did. If you will notice the law that was given the evil ones attacking them could be killed, and all their possessions taken as well, but they did not take possessions.

This shows us that when evil flaunts itself against God’s people to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people have the right to defend themselves. That is so in any era of time. Not to provoke a fight, but to fight when they are provoked and life and property is on the line.

Jesus even told His disciples at one point to get some swords (Luke 22:36-38). We do not go looking for a fight. We are to be faithful to God in doing what He has given us commandment to do, and commissioned to do as well.

Remember Nehemiah while building the wall armed the workers even while they worked. They were working, not looking for a fight, just being faithful to do the work of the Lord.

Be faithful to do the work of the Lord, and do not fear, be courageous, and stand and fight if you must. In the name of our blessed Savior who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again. He fought that battle for us, and when we are faithful in service to Him  He is faithful to fight for us now.

The Scepter of the King

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.  And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Esther 5:1-2

The Agagite Haman was seeking to destroy the Jews who were in the provinces of the Mede/Persian empire. Haman hated the Jews probably for at least two reasons. Haman was a descendant of the king of the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15 who was Agag.

Samuel had given Saul, the king of Israel, word to destroy all the people, and all their livestock and to keep nothing. Saul had disobeyed the command from God’s servant, thus from God. Thus it came down for Samuel to kill Agag. Evidently someone of Agag’s people escaped death that day and thus we have Haman trying to destroy the Jewish people of the  Mede/Persian empire. Read the book of Esther for the second reason. It involved Mordecai.

Esther had not seen the king for a month, and Mordecai sends her a message that she needed to act in defense of her people; remember  Esther is a Jew as well. She needs to approach the king on a busy day, and she puts on the proper attire, and she has called for Mordecai, and other Jews to fast and pray. Though the name of God is never used in Esther, He can definitely be seen.

Esther breaks protocol for visiting the king. He life hangs in the balance. She comes through the door of the palace. The king sees her, has mercy on her and holds out his scepter to her, which grants her privilege to enter without further fear. She touches the top of the scepter in recognition of the favor she has been granted.

Though God may be silent, He is still Sovereign in all.

It is by the grace and mercy of our King Jesus that He gave us the scepter of His cross, and anyone coming to Him in faith believing Him and touching that cross, believing in His death for our sins, His burial, and resurrection will live eternally in His presence. That scepter of the cross is still held out to all who will come to Him.

 

 

Confession and Repentance

And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.  Nehemiah 9:2-3

The people who had returned to Jerusalem, first with Ezra, and with Nehemiah a few years later had finished the task which they had came to do. Ezra’s task was to rebuild the Temple; Nehemiah’s task was to rebuild the wall.

Both of the jobs were completed. The wall had been rebuilt in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15) and they were celebrating by reading the Law of God. People wept because of their sins. When was the last time we wept over our sins against God; and believe me they are quite numerous. These people spent a whole week in reading Scripture, hearing the word of God, and confessing and repenting of their sins.

What happened first? They separated themselves from “all strangers” that means their foreign wives and children, all alliances that had been made with foreigners, especially buying their goods on the Sabbath.

Then, they confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers who had caused them to stray away from God and led to their captivity of seventy years in Babylon.

When their sins had been dealt with then, they worshiped the Most High and Holy, Holy, Holy God.

None of this took place without the reading of God’s word and hearing it; doing it.

Confession of sin and repentance is needed by God’s people today. John the apostle wrote, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.