Great and Awesome GOD

What happens when we do not fear God?  Do we really want an answer?  I will answer it.  We will fear everything else, and be crippled by that fear even though there is only a perceived notion, or a shadow in the darkness ahead.  BOO!

This is something the LORD has been revealing to me for the past few years.  If I fear God, there is absolutely nothing I need to fear.  If I do not fear God, then I will fear every thing, every dark shadow around me.  I have noticed the “Fear not” passages and the “Do not be afraid” ones too.  The Almighty does not desire that we be fearful, and when we are walking with Him there is nothing to fear.

Hear what the LORD says to the children of Israel when they were near to crossing into the Promised Land…

“If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a Mighty God and Terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.” Deuteronomy 7:17-22 (KJV)

If you will notice verse 21 (you will need your Bible to figure that out) says, “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”  The phrases “Mighty God and terrible” are translated “Great and awesome” in the NKJV.  I have always love the word “Awesome”.  I think it is greatly overused.  There is no one individual I know that is “Awesome” – except Jesus my Lord and Savior.

God’s instruction to the people was not to fear the people of the Land they were about to enter.  He is the Great and Awesome GOD.  There is none like Him.  There is none beside Him.  Anything man has made and declared a deity is set for destruction.  GOD is set forever.

The Psalmist has written…

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” and  “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:3, 11

Yes there are fears that will come our way, but the Christ honoring, God fearing believer will turn that fear to faith, will trust and believe the LORD is with us; and not fear what lies ahead; neither what is behind us.

This kind of faith comes through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.  If you have not trusted Him you have much to fear; not the least of which is being outside the will and way of God.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Greater Prophet

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’ And the LORD said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.’” Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Jesus, a prophet? Yes! But so much more than just a prophet. He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke. Deuteronomy 34:10 tells us that when Moses had “died” (no man knowing his burial place) that “…There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” No one after Moses except for Jesus could have laid claim to speaking with God “face to face”.

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

He was spared death as a baby (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-23);
He renounced a royal court (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-27);
He had compassion on His people (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36);
He made intercession for the people (Deuteronomy 9:18; Hebrews 7:25);
He spoke with God face to face (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7);
He was the mediator of a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7). These are from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus a prophet? Definitely. So much more than a prophet; the Prophet, the Lord, The Savior, the Redeemer of mankind; the Son of God, God the Son. The Mediator of a Greater Covenant – The Gospel of grace.

Christmas Day Twenty and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want that person, man or woman, boy or girl that is on that slippery slope of sin and death and hell, to have their eyes of the heart, mind and soul opened to see their desperation, and doom; to know and understand there is no escape from that slippery slope except through the cross of Jesus Christ, and cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and deliverance from an eternity of torment and darkness.

“To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” Deuteronomy 32:35 (KJV)

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:12-13

It Is Not Hidden

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

There is nothing secret about the word of God. Something I do not understand is why some want to seek out some “code” to “hidden things” or whatever; especially since we do not practice much of what we do know of God’s word.

The verses for today tell us that we do not need to go to heaven to know God, or to find His way. It is near. He gave it to Moses, revealed it to the people, and Christians have it today as well. It is easy to understand. All it takes is to read it, to hear it, and to heed what God says.

If this holy word of God was in the mouths and the hearts of the children of Israel; how much more is it in the hearts of those who are born of the Spirit of God today – the Christian.

There are some who say, “If God would just reveal Himself to me I would believe Him.” Really? He has done that, and we crucified Him. Yet you will not believe.

The apostle Paul quotes these verses in Romans 10:6-8. These words; all the words of Moses speak of the One to come; He came, He bled, He died, He was buried, and He arose bodily from the grave, and forever lives. He will save you as you cry out to Him.

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 That is how very near He is to you. His name is Jesus.

The Revealed Things

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)

There are many things which belong to God that He has not revealed to us in His word or in any other way. We have been given the things we need to know that we may obey Him and His word.

Someone has said, “It is not the things I do not understand about the Bible that causes me problems; it is the parts I do understand.” At least something similar to that, and with that I sympathize. The parts we do understand are the ones we do not practice as we ought.

So why should we spend time trying to understand the “secret things that belong unto the LORD”, and leave undone the things we do understand? That is to our shame.

God has revealed to us His Son Jesus Christ. He [Jesus] is the fulness of God revealed to creation . Let us follow Him, walk in His footsteps and by the power of His Spirit within us be like Him in our living; in our words, our walk, our witness.

When Stones Cry Out

“And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: and thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee.” Deuteronomy 27:1-3 (KJV)

These are stones which the children of Israel are being commanded to place on the other side of Jordan, after they have crossed over into the promised land. They may be the stones which John the Baptist addresses in Matthew 3:9.

They were to remind the people that they were a people of the word of God, and it was to have a firm place in their hearts and lives. It was not to be just in their mouth, but come from their hearts, and lived, shown in their lives. Ditto for the Christian today.

It could also be the stones of which Jesus referred when we read,

“And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as He went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when He was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke Thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:35-40

The word of God is the source of our spiritual food.  Even we do not eat it we grow weak, sickly, and poor.  Will you make the Word of God your most important meal today?  Will you hear God; or will the stones cry out?  Creation still declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1).

Caring for the Stranger, the Orphan, and the Widow

“When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.” Deuteronomy 24:19-22 (KJV)

It is said elsewhere that they were to even leave the corners of their fields (Leviticus 23:22); and in these verses it includes the widow. It is called “gleaning” for the widow, the orphan and the stranger of the land to go out into the fields and the orchards, and the olive groves, and the vineyards to harvest what they could find.

This was a command of the LORD, and was a blessing from God to do so. The commandments of the Lord are not grievous (1 John 5:3). We are blessed by God in keeping His commandments. We bless others by keeping these commandments. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The above is a good thing for a Christian business man to follow today.  Sure the practice of the law above involved agriculture, farming, sowing and reaping; however these same principals can apply to any legitimate business.  There are many businesses who have more profits than they need; many CEO’s who make exorbitant salaries, bonuses, etc. why not make some of that available to their employees, and neighborhood people in need?  Gleaning does not need to be just agricultural.

If you are a Christian business man consider this way, and when you do I can see you being blessed by God greatly.

Things and People

“Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.” Deuteronomy 22:1-4 (KJV)

Jesus has combined the Ten Commandments into two. He said,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

Loving our neighbor means that we will take care of his/her livestock and belongings in the same fashion we would want them to watch out for our own things.

It all begins with how we love God.

For further study on the Ten Commandments follow this link.

The Prophet of God, and God’s Word

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (KJV)

Moses has just spoken to them of a Prophet to come (verses 15-19) and that Prophet was one who was more than a prophet. He would be the Son of God; the promised and coming Messiah of Israel. We know Him as Jesus Christ. We know that He spoke all that the Father gave Him to speak; even unto His life.

The above verses are guidance to the people of God for all ages to discern the true from the false prophet. It makes no difference if they speak in the name of God. What matters is that what they speak come to pass even as they spoke it. If it fails that test; it is not, and they are not from God.

We have been given a two fold test thus far to determine whether a prophet or a preacher is from God. Yesterday’s post (Deut. 13:1-5) deals with the prophet who speaks, what he speaks comes to pass, but he leads people away from God. Today of the prophet who claims to speak for God; or not; and what he says does not come to pass. The words the prophet of God speaks comes to pass, and do not fail.

God will always fulfill His word. Not one word will fail (Matthew 24:35).

Putting Evil Away

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

The prophet or preacher of God, the man of God is to speak the word of God. Anything contrary to the word of God is a lie. The man or woman who says God said something which God has not said is worthy of death.

I would say that God gave these verses partly due to men like Balaam who sought reward from Balak the Moabite king and people who sought to curse the children of Israel, and to lead them astray at Baalpeor (Numbers 25).

I have in my mind another prophet who stood against the prophet of God, Jeremiah. Hananiah stood against Jeremiah, and the word of God. Jeremiah pronounced that Hananiah would die within the year; and Hananiah the false prophet died that year (Jeremiah 28:11-17).

Putting evil away is through the preaching of the Word of God, and doing what God says.  The man of God has a great responsibility with the word of God. We are not to twist it to please people; including ourselves. We are to proclaim it as God has spoken it. Pleasing the people to draw a crowd does not please God. The word of God is written for us to read, to hear, and to heed. See 2 Timothy 2:15.

God’s Requirements

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.” Deuteronomy 10:12-14 (KJV)

You, nor myself can meet these requirements.  We have no heart for God, except by God’s grace He give it to us.

This is one of the reasons we so need grace. When we by grace receive the gift of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then we have a heart to fear the LORD, to walk in His ways, and love Him. Without a changed heart through the work of Jesus Christ there is no hope of loving God.

If you have no heart for these things, then, it is due to the fact of you walking in darkness of sin, not in the light of Christ. Call on Him now; believe Him, trust Him with your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength.

Here are a couple of verses that come to my mind as I read the above text:

“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8

Follow the link of Psalm 24 for a few more thoughts.

What Is In Your Heart?

“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him.” Deuteronomy 8:5-6 (KJV)

The book of Deuteronomy was written shortly before Moses would go upon the mount to die; and shortly before the children of Israel would cross into the Promised Land. It is basically a book, not of new laws, but a reminder of the past forty years; and their journey in the wilderness.

God’s heart for His people is that they walk with Him, that they love Him. It has greatly grieved the heart of God when He sees His people violate His standards of holiness and righteousness.

When God’s people love Him they will walk with Him, and fear Him. We need not, as Christians, struggle with the matter of obedience to the law. It has been written in our hearts, because of the work of Jesus Christ. The Christians greatest desire is to love God, obey Him, and walk with Him. When we fail, and our heart reminds us of our failure; and many times before our hearts remind us; the LORD disciplines those who sin.

The writer of Hebrews addresses this matter of discipline or chastening;

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:5-8

We ought to rejoice in the fact that we are chastened. It is one evidence that we are God’s child. Like the presence of the Spirit within the life of the Christian (Romans 8:9); so the presence of the chastening of the Lord is evidence of your faith in God.

The heart that loves God does not seek to excuse sin, personal sin, nor to condemn others who may oppose their sin; but rather submits to the word, way and law of God.  That heart that loves God confesses their sin, repents of the sin, and hates their sin.

Listen to the law of God written in your heart, and obey Him. Not to gain His favor, but because you already have His favor through grace, by His Son Jesus Christ.

Adding and Taking Away

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (KJV)

Learning mathematics is a good thing for helping one deal with life situations; such as financial matters, building equations, and such other things. However, addition to the word of God, or the taking away from it is a dangerous matter.

When Jeremiah the prophet was told to deliver the word of God he was told,

“Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word…” Jeremiah 26:2

When people, preachers, prophets, add to the word of God, and His commandments it is cheapened giving undue authority to the one adding to it. The Christian has no authority above that which God has given us. To diminish from the word of God withholds from those who need to hear it, those things that are diminished.

We have assurance from Jesus, that no matter what man may do with the word of God;

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

And in the final analysis we find John the apostle inspired by Jesus and the Holy Spirit warning us:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Though these verses are written for the Revelation, I do not think it would be in error to say it involves the whole of the Word of God.

As followers of Jesus Christ we must hear only what God says; and teach only what He says. The words of men do not have the same authority.

The Dread of Nations

“Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle. This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.” Deuteronomy 2:24-25 (KJV)

It is not for the children of God; it is not for Christians to walk in fear. We are to walk in God, and to fear Him. To walk in fear is not walking in love (1 John 4:18).

You will note in the above verses that God does instill fear in people who do not know God, or love His people.

As a Christian I do not want or need people to fear me; I do want them to fear God; but most of all to come into a personal relationship with Him. The people of the world whose habitation is of this world will not understand God, His holiness, righteousness, or His love and grace until they by the grace of God are led to Him, receive Him and believe Him.

Of the above verses we can think of Jericho. We are told that they had shut up the city as the children of Israel were preparing to cross the Jordan River; for fear of Israel, and their GOD (Joshua 5:1; 6:1). They had heard of all that God had done for Israel in the wilderness and the drying up of the Jordan River for them to cross.

For you Christian we have the word of Jesus Christ which He told the disciples as He sent them out,

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

In the Proverbs it is written,

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

Remember this, When the Christian walks in the fear of God she/he needs to fear nothing else.

All That Your Eyes Have Seen

All That Your Eyes Have Seen

Deuteronomy 11:1-9

1.  Israel had seen the loving hand of God (v. 2).

2.  Israel had seen the miracles of God (v. 3).

3.  They had seen how God deals with rebellion (v. 6).

4.  They are called to keep the commandments (v. 8).

 

I.  THE CHRISTIAN CANNOT BEGIN TO NAME ALL THE THINGS WE HAVE SEEN OF GOD (1 Cor. 2:9; Isaiah 64:4).

II.  THE CHRISTIAN COUNTS THE GREATEST MIRACLE TO BE THAT OF NEW BIRTH IN CHRIST (John 3:1-8).

III.  THE CHRISTIAN IS COMFORTED, CONVICTED, AND CORRECTED BY THE ABIDING PRESENCE OF GOD’S SPIRIT (John 16:7-11).

IV.  THE CHRISTIAN IS CALLED TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).

 

1. We ought to always be watching – on look out for the working of God.  If not in ourselves in the lives of others and places and things around us.

2.  We need to be open for God to work a miracle in our own hearts and lives every day.

Having a “Bad day” is that opportunity for God to work.

3.  We ought to always have our hearts and ears and eyes open for the comforting, convicting, correcting work of God’s Spirit in us.

4.  We are to always keep the commands of our Lord.

Loving God; loving one another is the work of God in us.

Watch always for the “Great acts of the LORD”.

Jesus Through the Bible – Greater Prophet

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’ And the LORD said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken.  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.'”  Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Jesus, a prophet?  Yes!  But so much more than just a prophet.  He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke.  Deuteronomy 34:10 tells us that when Moses had “died” (no man knowing his burial place) that “…There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.”  No one after Moses except for Jesus could have laid claim to speaking with God “face to face”.

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

  1. He was spared death as a baby (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-23);
  2. He  renounced a royal court (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-27);
  3. He had compassion on His people (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36);
  4. He made intercession for the people (Deuteronomy 9:18;  Hebrews 7:25);
  5. He spoke with God face to face (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7);
  6. He was the mediator of a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7).  These are from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus a prophet?  Definitely.  So much more than a prophet; the Prophet, the Lord, The Saviour, the Redeemer of mankind.  The Mediator of a Greater Covenant – The Gospel of grace.

Words for Christian Living 061413

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’ But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14  (KJV)

Remember from yesterdays words; the search is over.  You no longer need to search for the word or will of God.  If you have a Bible you have the word and will of God before you.  You do not need to ascend into heaven.  You do not need to cross the oceans; unless, of course you live somewhere the word is forbidden then, you are most likely not reading this.

God’s will for you today is be saved through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; His burial by which all our sins condemnation, guilt was taken away; His bodily resurrection by which we are justified in the sight of GOD our Creator.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 13 – The Curse of the Tree

In reading Deuteronomy 15 – 28 today I came across these familiar verses,

 “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

To hang a man on a tree was a form of what we call “capital punishment”; an offense worthy of death.  A penalty that today is frowned on by many.  The arguments go something like this; “It doesn’t make sense to kill one human being because they killed one.”  or maybe “Violence begetteth violence.”  Some might even say “The death penalty is not for a cultured, modern, educated people.”

When we, however, consider the Word of God and His commands for the death penalty and why we can have no legitimate argument against God for this divine punishment.  God says every human being is made in His image.  There is not one who is more or less in the image of God.  For one to take a human life maliciously, with hatred, and forethought is murder; and God says this requires “Life for life”.  If the murderer is allowed to live it broadcast to the community that this life is of more value than the life that was maliciously taken.

Of course, there is also the requirement of evidence of guilt.  A murderer can only be found guilty by the testimony of at least two witnesses.  We read these things in the reading of God’s laws; as recapped in Deuteronomy, and previously in Exodus and Leviticus.

One of the things we learn from this is that each human life is valuable.  None less and none more so than another.

Now, back to “The curse of the tree”.  This verse is even mentioned in the New Testament from Paul’s epistle to the Galations;

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:'” Galations 3:13

We are all guilty of offending God, His holiness, His righteousness, and His law.  We are guilty and worthy of death.  We are just as cursed as the man who hangs on a tree.  We read, however, that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”  When Jesus Christ died on that cross [the tree] he became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and because He became the curse of sin for us; we were given His righteousness, thus we now have access to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

Through His burial the guilt and condemnation of sin was carried away; and by His resurrection He bodily arose victorious over death’s condemnation and overcame the curse of the tree.

Blessed be the name of the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 12 – Remember God is Gracious

Remembering that God is gracious should not be too difficult of a matter.  However, when we as human beings and as Christians get side tracked from the obvious, ie., God’s grace; it is generally due to blessings we have received.  We tend, at times, to be side tracked, and caught up in the blessing rather than the Blesser.

My reading for day 12 consisted of Deuteronomy 1 – 14.  The reading of Deuteronomy is of Moses reminding the children of Israel of the events of the past 40 years wandering in the wilderness.  He reminds them of their deliverance from Egypt; of times when God supplied them water; when there appeared to be no water.  How God supplied them bread when there was none to be had; and He, the LORD, gave them Manna – bread from heaven; and they ate it each day.  He reminded them of their past failures; particularly of their sin with the golden calf.  He also reminds them of God’s grace; and His promises to give them a land “flowing with milk and honey”.

“Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, ‘For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land:’ but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.  Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” Deuteronomy 9:4-6 (KJV)

In the four hundred plus years since Jacob entering Egypt God was providing grace to the people of the land of Canaan.  Someone may ask the question, “Does scripture tell us that anywhere?”  I do not have a particular verse or verses in mind, but scripture always assumes and promotes the wonderful grace of God; so that is what I stand on here.  While God is preparing Him a people, a nation of people He is also giving the nations in Canaan opportunity to repent; but rather than repent their sin escalates toward destruction.

God reminds Israel of His grace by reminding them that He is giving them this land, and driving out its inhabitants; not because Israel is a righteous people, but because of the “wickedness of these nations”.  God does know that the children of Israel are a “stiffnecked” people – a stubborn, obstinate, rebellious people.  Yet, God in His grace blesses them with His grace.

God has blessed the world with His grace.  It is available to all who will believe in, trust His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried – carrying our guilt and condemnation away, and rose bodily from the grave to ever live making intercession before the Father for all will believe.

Grace is God’s undeserved favor toward those who believe in Him.

People today are a stiffnecked, obstinate, stubborn and rebellious people.  We are undeserving of God’s grace, yet He offers it freely to all who will trust in His Son and His finished work.  Jesus said,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”  John 6:29

The presence of God, His glory, and righteousness is for us because of the cross of Jesus, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Remember God’s Grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

B F & M – Education

In Baptist life education is important.  The education of our children concerning the Bible, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is a part of Christian growth.  The Bible is very clear concerning education.  God is for education and not ignorance concerning Himself.

Hear the words of the prophet Hosea:

Hear the word of the LORD you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.”  Hosea 4:1 (NKJV).

And he continues in the sixth verse:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of God, I also will forget your children.”  Hosea 4:6 (NKJV).

The idea of ignorance in a Baptist family, church, or institution of learning should be anathema.  Further Paul wrote to Timothy,

“Study, to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Any Christian man or woman should give themselves to the education of God’s Word.  That begins first of all by one’s own personal commitment to Jesus Christ, then a commitment to the daily feeding of God’s Word in private and personal devotions.  If the Christian man or woman is following God’s call for ministry then, that should include the study of God’s word from those who have been trained to teach it.  If that is in a Bible School, Seminary, or elsewhere, then that individual should be sure that the education they receive will be sound in the truth of God’s Word.

The Christian man and woman should be the intelligent ones in any conversation.  I am not saying “Know it all”.  Just to be wise and sensible; espcially in the things of God.

Here is our Statement of Faith on Education:

“XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.”

Fathers and mothers be sure to teach your children the way of the Lord. The Bible should not be a strange book in your house.  It should be opened, read from, taught, and practiced.  It is the life of the child of God, that will lead your children to follow your God.

-T.A.

The Scarlet Thread – The Rock

Moses stood in the “cleft of the rock”  (Exodus 33:22); and there is much of the Rock which followed the children of Israel through the wilderness on their 40 year journey.  The Rock is a very important part of the Old Testament history and of our LORD.

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” Deuteronomy 32:18 (KJV)

It was the Rock which Moses was commanded to strike which followed them:

“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”  Exodus 17:6

It was also the Rock which Moses struck when he was commanded to speak to it that was with them in the wilderness.  The Rock a source of survival, life, living, hope, sustenance.  The image of God’s presence and sovereign power.

“Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, ‘Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?’  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:8-11

So many times the children of Israel rebelled against the leadership of God and Moses.  So many times God in His grace and mercy reached down to Israel and supplied their every need in a dry and thirsty land.  Always, God is working to supply the needs of His children.

Those who know God through His Son Jesus are His children; and are children of this Rock.  This Rock is Christ Jesus who died on the cross in our stead.  He had no guilt, but suffered with our guilt, shame and sin on Him.  He became our sin.  He became unjust; the Just for the unjust.  His righteousness is imputed to you and I who trust and believe in Him; and all our unrighteousness was imputed to Him.  Which goes along with what the Psalmist wrote:

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.   Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”  Psalm 32:1-2

Jesus is our salvation, our strength, our defender; He is our sustenance;  by Him “all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).  Jesus is that Rock.  Hear what the apostle Paul says of the Rock –

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.   But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”  1 Corinthians 10:1-5

Just as Moses said, “…thou art unmindful”.  So does Paul mention this; but the real picture is that “That Rock was Christ”.  It was Christ who was with them in the wilderness.  It was Christ who was with the Jew all through their journeys; in the wilderness; and throughout all their years of blessing; and He is their Rock even today when they look upon the One who was pierced for our sins.

That Rock is Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030111

Today’s Bible Reading is from Deuteronomy 26 – 28.

In Deuteronomy we find, as you remember, that Israel is nearing the day they will enter the Promised Land.  The Lord is giving them final instructions for their entrance into this new land.  There are laws, commandments, ordinances, statutes, judgments, etc. which they are to follow.

There is many a time I have heard someone; even professing Christians; say something like this, “If it looks good, taste good, feels good, then it is a sin.”  Now, that is being cynical or sarcastic to say the least; if not downright disrespectful to God and His clear teachings on sin.  If God calls something sin it is sin.  Every time God forbids something it is due to His care and caring for us.

The following are the verses that we will look at today,

“This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.  Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.”  Deuteronomy 26:16-19 (KJV)

The best  place for the people of God to be is in close communion with our LORD.  When He sets boundaries, gives us commandments, judgments, statutes, ordinances, laws it is for our well being and protection.  It is never to deprive us of life or its pleasures.  He has made us to experience pleasures, however, they must always be within the parameters He has given.

One of the things we can learn today from the laws and commands the LORD gave to Israel is that they failed to keep and obey them.  We are no more perfect than they.  We have sinned.  God is full of grace and mercy.  There are several times through out the Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that the children of Israel say, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do”.  Well they failed to do it.

We must realize, as a Christian, we are empowered by the Spirit of God within us to overcome sin, and disobedience to God; however, we still live in a body of flesh and bone that is still encumbered by the dead corpse of sin.

The reason we are to obey God and keep His commandments is because of His love for us; and our love for Him.  We praise Him, we honor Him when we love Him and keep His commandments.  If we labor to keep the laws to gain His favor, however, we will fail miserably.

In the New Testament we hear this,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:4-10

Only through the grace of God in Christ Jesus can we be saved, delivered from the condemnation of sin and death, and given eternal life.

Read Deuteronomy 26 – 28

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022811

Reading today from Deuteronomy chapters 23 – 25.

In the reading today we find many different laws.  Some dealing with those who cannot enter the congregation; and matters of holiness concerning possessing of material things which are considered unclean.  We also find laws concerning divorce and remarriage of women.  Matters of usury [interest] from members of the tribes, and family are include; and laws of gleaning crops.  Laws concerning payment of hired servants are to be made at the end of the day, because of the poor and their great need.  Laws concerning  judgment that is to be fair and just for the stranger, orphan and widow.  There is also the law of levirate marriage where a brother was to take his belated brothers wife, if that brother had gone childless, and raise up a child in that brother’s name.

I want us to look at one verse,

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

Most people in the world of today would agree with this law.  Why should the parents of a disobedient, rebellious, murdering, raping child be “put to death” for them?  There are many parents who would lie for their murderous, child; and even go to prison for them; and possibly even die for them.  God says that each one is guilty for his/her own sin.  There are not many children who would be willing to die for a parent.

Truth be told this is just and right for all people.

This is further stated in the book of Ezekiel,

“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.” Ezekiel 18:4

“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.”  v. 20

For some reason there are many cruel, and unreasoning people who believe God is only out to get; out to punish; out to be a vicious and cruel lord over all who are against Him; however, if we continue in Ezekiel we read this,

“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?”  Ezekiel 18:23
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  v. 32

The LORD does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they might turn to Him and live.  He has made it all possible through the death of His Son Jesus Christ; His burial and resurrection.  The Just for the unjust.

God’s wonderful gift of grace.

Read Deuteronomy 23 – 25 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022711

Reading today from Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

The people of the day in which we live often think of hanging as a rope around the neck.  That is my thinking as well, however, I do know that Scripture speaks of hanging on a tree in a much different light.

We are told in the following verses of hanging,

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

As I read these verses the first thought I had was of the death of Jesus Christ.

In this Old Testament law when a man was judged worthy of death by hanging on a tree it was because of some grievous sin he had committed against God and man.  If he were hanged he was “accursed of God”.

Jesus Christ had done no evil to GOD or man.  His life was without sin.  He had no blemish or mark on His life, yet He was found guilty by guilty men who were jealous of His power, and influence with people; and there were many  who called out for Him

The text above says, “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death…”  All those who accused Jesus, plucking the hair from His face, beating His face, whipping His back and finding Him “guilty” of blasphemy were the ones guilty of sin against GOD and man.  They were the ones worthy of death and hanging on a tree.

The Accused never spoke a word for His defense.  Heaven never said a word for His defense.  However, when He died the earth groaned and shook with great intensity.  While He was hanging there all the earth turned black as dark night in the middle of the day.

What do other Scriptures say?

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.   And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”  Isaiah 53:4-10

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”  John 19:31-37

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree’: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galations 3:13

The salvation provided to us by God is truly gracious.  We can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  He has done it all; even to the point of having Jesus His holy and righteous Son become our curse; that He might redeem us from the curse of sin.

Believe God today, and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

-Tim A. Blankenship