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

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022611

Reading today from Deuteronomy 17 – 19.

People of our world today are searching for answers.  They want answers concerning their future.  Who will be my spouse?  How will this investment I am about to make turn out?  Will it make me wealthy, or will it leave  me in bankruptcy?  We all have this inkling to know what tomorrow holds.  Some turn to horoscopes, also known as astrology, reading of signs, and forms of witchcraft and sorcery.

God forbids His people to have part in these things.  The LORD even tells us that He is driving out the Canaanites because of this very thing.  Their abominations/evil practices.

Yet, there are professing Christians who dabble in these “dark arts”.  They say things like, “What does it hurt?” or “I just do it for fun” or “It doesn’t affect my fellowship with God or other Christians”.  In this study today we will make some observations which will show  us that even the early church shows us that these were evil things, and are not for the dabbling of those who love Jesus Christ.  Today we look at…

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”  Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (KJV)

There are nine practices which are named in the above text.  The first of which is the offering of one’s child in the fire.  The Canaanite worship had involved the worship of  at least three deities which were Baal, Moloch, and Ashtoroth.  I am not going to get into their worship practices because they are vile, immoral and not worthy of any recognition.  All we need to see is that first one listed involved the offering of children to the fires, and this was to Moloch.  It is amazing how we can make laws or gods convenient for out beliefs.  I heard it said, “Man makes god after his own image”; and there is a small element of truth to that.

Those who worship false deities have made these gods to suit their own hearts.  They fashion the gods to find their pleasure, comfort, and convenience.  Isn’t it amazing that in the Canaanite forms of worship they had a god like Baal who offered them all the sexual immorality in worshipping this deity and that of Ashtoreth; and children were born as a result of all this immoral conduct; then, they didn’t want the children and offered them to Moloch.  How convenient.

The GOD of heaven; who created all things created mankind in His own image.  That image has fallen into sin and no longer glorifies Him.  He called out the people we know as Jews or Hebrews, and through them has sent a Savior into this world as an offering for our sins.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes for these verses tells us,

18:9-12 the abominations of those nations. Moses gave a strict injunction not to copy, imitate, or do what the polytheistic Canaanites did.  Nine detestable practices of the Canaanites were delineated in vv. 10, 11, namely: 1) sacrificing children in the fire; 2) witchcraft, seeking to determine the will of the gods by examining and interpreting omens; 3) soothsaying, attempting to control the future through power given by evil spirits; 4) interpreting omens, telling the future based on signs; 5) sorcery, inducing magical effects by drugs or some other sort of potion; 6) conjuring spells binding other people by magical muttering; 7) being a medium, one who supposedly communicates with the dead, but actually communicates with demons; 8 ) being a spiritist, one who has an intimate acquaintance with the demonic, spiritual world; and 9) calling up the dead, investigating and seeking information from the dead.  These evil practices were the reason the Lord was going to drive the Canaanites out of the land.”

From page 276 NKJV edition.

Christians, listen to the Lord here.  It was forbidden by God for the Israelites to take part in this evil.  It was at least part of the reason God drove the Canaanites from the land, and gave it to Israel.  If Israel participated in the evil they then would be chastised, sent into captivity, and suffer much until they returned to the Lord.

There is a portion of Scripture in the book of Acts which tells us what some new believers in Christ did with books concerning sorcery and such;

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  Acts 19:17-20

I am not advocating the burning of books.  I am, however, asking Christians to forsake these dark arts; and trust only in the LORD.  He alone knows our tomorrow.  It does make a difference what you believe.  Your beliefs will have a part affecting your morality and life.  I am advocating for a fire of passion for our Christ, our Lord and Savior.  One of the verse of Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God”.  Jesus even said,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

The only way of “perfection” with God is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  He is perfect and by His death, burial and resurrection we are made perfect before the LORD God.  Obedience is not optional.

Please read Deuteronomy 17 – 19

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022511

Reading from Deuteronomy 14 – 16.

We will focus on chapter 16 and verses 18-22.

Fair judgment seems to be quite fickle among the courts of human governments.  Even in the USA, it seems sometimes that the ones who have the money for a good lawyer can get off from even serious crimes, while those who don’t have the time or money to pay a good attorney can be found guilty, even of a crime they did not commit.  That is not how God desires His people to conduct themselves.

“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.  Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.  That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.   Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.  Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.”  Deuteronomy 16:18-22 (KJV)

I will never cease to be amazed at the number of Christians, even preachers who spend time preaching, who labor to make the Word of God relevant and/or applicable to the times we live in.  The more we labor at it the less relevant and applicable it may become.  It is already relevant and applicable.

In lands/countries where they have dictators ruling masses of people; it is most often unjustly.  We have heard the horror stories of Hitler, and more recently Saddam Hussein of Iraq.  Even more recently the now “former” President of Egypt Mubarrak, evidently took billions of dollars that were meant for the aid of the Egyptian people; and has even been allowed to leave the country with it.  The people are probably more happy to have him gone than they are concerned about the billions.

Every Christian should be concerned about just judges in judgment.  Murderers go free because they have powerful, high price attorneys who know how to manipulate courts, judges, juries and they whole legal system of the USA.

The text above tells us the cities of the Promised Land are to have judges at the city gates [“Gates” implies one’s with authority in a city].  These judges were to make just rulings.  They were not to determine a case by the money or material offering one might give or offer the judge, but by the evidence in the case; and each case on its own merit.  They were not to pervert judgment.

There is much perverted judgment today.  In some cases men and women are tried because of accusations by children that they were molested by this adult; when in fact they were not; but this adult, which is their mother or father merely disciplined them; taking the keys of the child’s car, preventing them from going out; or of some nature as that.  “If you will only plead guilty they are told, then, you will get a lighter sentence.”  they are told.  Some actually follow through with the “lighter sentence”, and it ruins their lives.  Perverted justice.  For sure.  It is especially perverted when a judge receives a payment from a former spouse or lawyer to bring a certain verdict.

A perverted system that allows drunk drivers to walk free after killing innocent individuals is going to come under the judgment of holy God.  It happens more times than you or I would like to think.  You can probably think of other injustices that happen in our USA.

The second  part of our text has to do with “trees” near the altar of God.  God was cutting off the practice of worshipping of idols near the place where He is worshipped.  The LORD hates the worship of idols; which is the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21).  Therefore the follower of Jesus Christ is not to worship anything except the LORD God of hosts.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 14 – 16 today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022411

Reading for today Deuteronomy 11 – 13.

It is shocking sometimes how quickly God’s people can be led astray.  Led away from the true worship of God unto the worship of the man made, or earthly creatures.  Some years ago I read some articles in Midnight Call magazine concerning finances in the last days.  He named three gods or idols which citizens of the USA worship;  MOFI, GLOBO, AND SCITE.  To give you an understanding of what these are they are related to Money/Finance; Global Organization and union; and Science and technology. I personally think we could add another idol to that; and that is our children.  Have you ever seen a parent who believed their child could do no wrong?  Every ounce of time goes into children.  We hear about our children’s health, our children’s education, our children’s well being, and we ought to be for those things; but they are carried to an extreme; at least in my opinion.

There is a domonic move which has been present since the beginning of mankind to keep mankind from God.  There are teachers, preachers, dreamers and prophets who are demon inspired who direct hearts of men and women; boys and girls away from truth and God unto lies, deception and destruction.  Now who in their right mind is going to go plunging into destruction?  It is not done in the light.  Satan and his legions use deception; deception is one of those cases where a “fridge” is sold to an Eskimo living at the North Pole.  Or, ocean front property in Arizona is sold to some poor soul.  That is the line of work Satan and his minions are in; and he has people in that line of work to lead people away from God and His Son Jesus.

Hear what God says in His Word;

“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)

There might come into our midst some great worker of miracles who with those wonders call people to worship some being from outer space.  He/She claims they have found the answer that will change there lives, because they have found that “we are all gods” or some silly thing like that.

There is a growing tendency within our own nation [USA] that “If it works, then it must be good and right”.  NOT!  If it works it could be from the devil if it falls short of our LORD’s expectations and calling.

Since the United States of America is now a multi-cultural society being made of of many ethnic groups and religions and such; then we are being told to guard our speech.  We are being told we can no longer refer to Christianity as the only way to heaven and God; that there are really many ways to God.  There are many roads to the Post Office, but the one that gets you there is the one that leads to the front door.  The front door to heaven is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even tell us, Himself, that He is the door.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

It doesn’t matter what you dream, or what wonders you may do; or that preacher, prophet, dreamer, or teacher made do; if they lead you away from God and His Word, they are a deceptive leader to your death, and destruction.  The Old Testament law calls for their death; most likely by stoning.

Hear God through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Fear Him.  Keep His commandments.  Turn away from every false way.  Jesus is the way to life and eternal life.  Hear Him and live.

Read Deuteronomy 11 – 13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022311

Reading today from chapters 7 – 10 of Deuteronomy.

Why did the LORD choose Israel as a people?  Were they at all strong, numerous, or for what reason would He choose such a people?

Why  has He chosen me?  Is it because I am some wonderful personality, wonderful to look at, wise or obedient?  My answer to those questions are “none of those things”.  Why would the holy God of Heaven choose anyone of the human race? I think those are some wonderful questions, and they are invited by the Scriptures.

“The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

These verses tell us that GOD did not set His love upon them because they were more numerous; because they were but few.  The answer He gives us through Moses and Deuteronomy is “…Because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…” meaning of course Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Doesn’t this beg another question?  How can a holy God love that which is unholy? and another, Just whom does God love?  We are told in the New Testament,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

In my opinion John 3:16 answers those two very important questions.  God came down to man in the Person of His Son, lived without sin, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our atonement.  “Our sin” atonement because we were sinful, worthy of death, unholy, unrighteous, unjust.  When Jesus came He became our sin, took the wrath of God for us on the cross of calvary, had the Father turn His back on Him, the darkest day in the life of our Savior.  It did not end there, however, Jesus carried our sins away in His burial, and rose bodily from the grave on the third day.  It doesn’t end there.  Jesus; when that sinner turns to Jesus as His Lord and Savior; gives to us His righteousness.  Now, isn’t that the greatest love you ever heard about?  YEAH!  It is.  You cannot deny it.  Or deny it all you will and it still doesn’t negate that truth.

There is a second reason we are told God chose Israel.  “Because He wold keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…”  I will never cease to be amazed that our GOD is a covenant keeping GOD.  He is love.  He is trustworthy and faithful.  If God says it, you can be 100 percent sure that God will keep every word He has spoken.  When He has said, “I have called you, and redeemed you unto Myself” You can be assured you are His for all time and eternity.

Jesus said again,

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

You can be assured today that because God loved Israel, He still loves Israel, and He loves you too.  He loves us all so very much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world.  That includes me and you.  Call on the name of Jesus today and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 7 – 10 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022211

Reading Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

In reading these chapters it seems quite apparent to me that GOD desires to speak with and to His people.  The people of God should count it an awesome and glorious thing that GOD would desire to speak with a people who are sinful.

In chapter four GOD gives us decree not to “add unto” or “diminish aught from it” (4:2)speaking of His commands – His word.  It is holy, separate, set apart, different, peculiar.  That is the way His people are as well.

When Israel heard the voice of God speaking from the darkness of the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, they were so overwhelmed that they were fearful.  They had heard God speak once, but if they heard Him again they might die.

“And ye said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.  Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.”  5:24-25

GOD has called on His people to hear His voice.  He is holy.  We are unholy.  The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews wrote,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

The best place to be is in the hands of the living God.  We can only be in His hands of grace through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, His holy Son Jesus Christ.  When we are in His hands; no man, no peril, no sword, no trial or fire, no spiritual entity can snatch us from His hands (John 10:29;  Romans 8:37-39), that comes by hearing His voice.

Adam and Eve having sinned against God in the garden of Eden, heard the voice of GOD walking in the garden, hid themselves; and GOD called unto Adam, “Where art thou?”.  GOD knew Adam’s whereabouts, but Adam didn’t.  He was afraid of the voice of God.  When you are fearful of the voice of GOD it is due to a lack of fellowship with GOD.

To the credit of the Israelites they did promise to do what ever the LORD commanded them, through the leadership of Moses (5:27).

The voice of the LORD is personified in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We can come into the throne of God and petition Him, worship Him, be silent before Him (Hebrews 4:16); because of the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s cross.

Hear the voice of God today.  He is calling you to come to Him through His Son.  There is no other way.

Please read Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022111

Reading Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

As I was reading this morning I noticed that the phrase “Fear not” or something similar was used at least four times.

Chapter 1 verse 21 says,

“Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”  (1:21)

Fear is a thing that greatly handicaps many of us.  When we allow fear to have a hold in our lives it will rule, and cause us to live in defeat.  That is not something that is needed by God’s people; neither is it necessary.  When we consider all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross we have much to be bold, brave and courageous for and about.

Another one says,

“Then I said unto you, ‘Dread not, neither be afraid of them.'” (1:29)

The word “dread” above means to fear with trembling, affrighted, afraid, or terrified; and the other “fear” or “afraid” could be a form of reverence.  Certainly we need neither fear of the enemy of God when we have God’s promise of victory. His victory.

Chapter 3 has two more verses with the phrase,

“And the LORD said unto me, ‘Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.'” (3:2)

Deuteronomy is a reminder to the children of Israel of God’s mighty power and acts for the forty years they have wandered in the wilderness (1:1-3).  The Bible is not only a historical account of all that God has done for His people down through the history of mankind; but it is also a living word from God which gives life, encouragement, and strength for the journey through God’s Spirit.  The person of Jesus Christ is the central being of the Scriptures.

When we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior by believing He came, lived a sinless life, and died for our sins, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose bodily from the grave; then we can live in Him without fear.  When there is fear in our heart it is a sign that we are not right with Him.

The final verse for today;

“Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you.” (3:22)

We, as God’s people are assured that the battle is the LORD’s.  How can we fear, when we have God with us.  Moses was assuring Israel and her people that just as the LORD had led them through the wilderness, and fought the battles; then He would even do so in the Promised Land which they were about to enter.

Child of God neither fear, nor be afraid, nor dread what lies ahead.  Trust the LORD.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When You Go To Battle

It could be said, that you and I have either been in a battle, will be in a battle, are presently in a battle, or are just getting through a battle.

There are many times in Scriptures when God says, “Be not afraid…” or something equivalent to that phrase, like, “Fear not”.  These are meant as words of comfort, encouragement, and trust in the Lord.

One of those verses is found in the twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy and in the first verse.  “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them; for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”  Now isn’t that a wonderful verse of encouragement and hope.

As you read this you may think, “Well, I am not in battle.”  Maybe you are thinking of a physical battle where blood is being shed, and that is not exactly what I mean.  As Christians we face an enemy every day, and that enemy is also the enemy of God.  He hates God, and hates God’s people and will attack the God of creation through His people.

Everyday we enter a battle.  The word here is “Be not afraid of them”.  The “Them” of course being the enemy.  The reason we need not be afraid is because the LORD our God is with us, and He is the one who delivered us from our Egypt – the world of sin and its condemnation.

Do not fear; trust the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Love For Jehovah

OUTLINE for Deuteronomy 5:6-21;

I.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).
II.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).
III.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).
IV.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15)

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).  God [YHWH or YaHWeH] is the One and only One who delivered Israel from Egypt.  Delivered from the house of bondage He calls His delivered people to trust only in Him.

To LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART is to love only Him.  When a man is  in love with a woman, he grows more in love with her with each passing day.  The same is true with knowing and loving God.  In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy we are told, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart…” (v. 5); and in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus is quoted saying the same thing (Matthew 22:37;  Mark 12:30;  Luke 10:27).

When God speaks here He is not authorizing us to put Him at the top of the list of gods to worship.  His heart’s command is to worship Him alone, and there is no other.  Would a man tell his wife “As long as you have me at the top of the list, you may see all the other men you want”?  No man in his right mind, and with any moral character would say that.

The heart is the seat of who we are.  The heart of the one who worships God alone will have his/her heart filled with God.

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).  Mankind is the only one of God’s creation which is made in His image and after His likeness.  We are told that when God had made Adam, “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (KJV).

When we LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR SOUL we are loving Him from who we really are.  He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and that is not said of any other creature of creation, but mankind.

When we worship and love gods of our own making we denigrate ourselves.  Even when we worship self through selfishness, atheism, agnosticism, or in science, technology, or any other means of self worth garbage; we do not lower God we lower ourselves.

It is certain, at least in my mind, that everything which God has made obeys the ordinances and laws of God set down for each of them with the exception of one; and that one is man.  The one made in His image has sinned, rebelled, and seeks other things as their god.  The worship of other gods is demon worship;

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

Man is the only part of God’s creation of which God has said is made in His image and after His likeness. Remember, everytime you look at another human being you are looking at the image of God. Though this image is darkened by sin; there is light for thier soul. To murder the unborn in the womb is to murder the image of God. To curse another human being is to curse the image of God. To lie about another is to lie about the image of God.

The greatest, purest, and clearest Image of God was the One who walked on earth as God’s Son.  His name is Jesus.  He said, “If you have seen Me,  you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).  It is certain, at least to me, that many people of our society need a renewed mind. I know that Jesus also said that, “…From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45), but is it not the mind that gives the mouth the ability to speak. And, we do often “Speak our mind”. We say things like, “…I will give them a piece of my mind…”, and usually when we cannot afford to give them any.

God’s name is often used, even by professing Christians who use His name without thought. It has been said that the Hebrew scribes, when writing the Scriptures would change “pens” to write the name of God. It was so special that the name of God is not even clearly revealed in the original languages. In the Hebrew language all we know of the name God is YHWH. That name has been transliterated to Jehovah or YaHWeH. The best name we have for God is J-E-S-U-S. And, how often we hear His name used vainly.

The heart that is abundant with the things of God and Jesus His Son will speak from that abundance. An abundant heart will have a clear, thinking mind. The abundant heart will speak things which will glorify the Father and the whole God-head. When your heart and soul are filled with God, are you going to speak vainly of God? No way.

There are those who use God’s name in vain by cursing and swearing. What about those who speak God’s name, seemingly in a reverent manner on Sunday at church, but the rest of the week live like the world in the way they speak? It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Not just a hypocritical act but the act of a Hypocrite.

There is nothing that turns off a someone away from God quicker than someone who professes Christianity on Sunday, but imbibes in the world the rest of the week. This is a taking of God’s name in vain as well. God help us to guard our minds, by always speaking reverently of God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9).

What about those who do all the churchy, traditional things, but overlook doing right toward their neighbor?

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13).

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9).

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:46-48).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15).  This is the fourth and final commandment having to do with our relationship with God. It is important to have this relationship. We are born into this world with that relationship in deadness. There is no spiritual heart for God. The law is pure evidence that this is so. There is no human being who has obeyed the law of God completely, except the Son of God Himself – Jesus Christ.

In the first place the Sabbath was initiated by God after the sixth day of creation when His work was finished.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3).

In creation God established a work cycle for mankind. Contrary to some beliefs work is not a part of the curse. Laziness is a sin and is a part of the curse. God made it where every hard working person would have a day of rest and worship. It is still necessary to have a day to rest and to worship the Lord our God. It is a shame on our society in which people work seven days a week and never give God a thought. The only god some people worship is the “Greenback” which can do absolutely nothing for peace or joy.

For Israel it was a day for renewing their strength after six days of laboring, and for worshipping God. The Christian is not bound by this commandment. We find our strength and rest in Him. He is in fact our rest and strength. That does not mean that we are to forsake the day of worship. It does mean that our worship is to be everyday, and when we join with our brothers and sisters on Sundays to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior, and God.

The Christian and the Sabbath is shown us in Hebrews 4:1-11. There we are told,

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief…”.

Because Jesus fulfilled this and all the law by His complete and perfect obedience to God, His Father, we are privileged and honored to join together on the first day of the week to do so, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7). “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6). The reason we worship on Sunday is because of the fulfillment and completion of the law in Christ Jesus and His resurrection on Sunday morning. The Christian’s rest is in Jesus Christ, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus said this before He died and was buried and rose again. That means it was so in the beginning as well.

Our strength is God’s.  He gives every breath we breath.  He gives every beat of our heart.  He gives us every step we take.  Our sole allegiance ought to be to Him and to Him alone.

Loving God We Love Our Neighbor

OUTLINE vv. 16-21

I.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).
II.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).
III.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).
IV.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).
V.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).
VI.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).  Without our mothers and fathers we would not be present in the world.  That should be a good thing for us.  It is a sad thing that many a child grows up never knowing their dad, and sometimes their mom.  One of the most dreadful things is that some of those who do grow up with both parents is the disrespect many have toward them.

Usually, when a child does not honor and respect their parents, they have less respect, if any respect, for law enforcement, and for any in places of authority; thus getting themselves into a multitude of troubles.  God intended children to have their parents.  Mom’s and Dad’s; you are not ordained by God to be a friend to your child; you are called, ordained to be a parent, giving them guidance, correction, love, care, providing for them as they are growing and learning.  Friendship with your son(s) or daughter(s) will come when they are grown, then, you will have a friendship which you will cherish.

This is the only commandment of the ten with a promise.  One reason for the Babylonian exile was Israel’s disrespect for parents;

“In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow”. (Ezekiel 22:7);

“Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 22:13-16).

Could it be that many of the problems of the society within the United States is much related to the disrespect of children toward parents, many authority figures, and God Himself?  That may have started with adults having a disrespect for human life.  Which would have began with a turning away from God.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).  This sixth commandment is given to protect life, human life.  We are to cherish, and respect all human life.  The human baby in the womb of his/her mother, or even the embryo in the glass dish, or frozen in storage.  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Pocket Dictionary defines “embryo: a living being in the earliest stages of development–”,  and we have “Scientist” who want to cut up and destroy human embryoes for the purpose of “life saving” stem cell research.  These are not “Scientist”; they are butchers.

Let me get one thing straight.  This commandment is a commandment against cold-blooded murder.  Willful, pre-meditated, planned taking of a human life.  It is not commandment against protecting one’s own life.  It is not commandment against the execution of a murderer.  The execution of a murderer is surely the surest form of respect for human life.  Capital punishment of the murderer shows all that every human being is equal before God.  When we allow a convicted murderer to live; we count her/his life more precious than the one they killed.  When we put to death the one who killed maliciously; we  show not only respect for human life, but also show the respect that is due God’s commandments.

Here is some Scripture to reconcile the sixth commandment with capital punishment –

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’ brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5-6).

“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” (EX. 21:15).

“And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” (EX. 21:18-19).

Then a New Testament passage,

” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7).

All human life is precious.  Our neighbor’s life and all in his/her household are precious in the sight of our Lord.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).  This commandment, the seventh, is a decree of respect and honor for the marriage of every man and woman.  Marriage is not a right it is an institution of God.  It is decreed by God that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24), and this definitely means a man and a woman.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by charging them more  taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).  For some reason there are many  who think society owes them something so they take what they want, when they want it, and often at great cost to someone else.  Some people who work in some business think they have a right to take a little something which belongs to their boss.  It could be “just a box of paper clips”, or only showing one’s self busy when the boss is watching.  It is theft.  It is stealing.

* Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation.
* This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).
* There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.

If we love God and one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).  This commandment is a decree against lying against your neighbor.  Bearing false witness to condemn, to elevate one’s self, to unjustly bolster one’s self image over another, or to bring condemnation before a court.

The Truth is precious, and we should be truthful with our neighbors, with our families, and most of all with God.  When we love God and our neighbors the truth will be precious to us.

The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

J. Vernon McGee writes,

“Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150).

That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.  Should we not consider that when we are guilty of that it is almost certain that it will not be long and they will come back to get us.

Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination.

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament,

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).  When we have real desire for others [our neighbors] to be blessed we will not have the audacity to desire, lust for, covet the property which belongs to them; or the persons which are in their love and care.

Though this commandment is the final of the ten, it could be the KEY COMMANDMENT.  Think about this; if we disobey this commandment we can very easily and are breaking every one of the other nine.

James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

The following verses are the words of Jesus:

”Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV).

Again Jesus says,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV).

Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV).

If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

When our treasure is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, then we have these laws written in our hearts, and our desire is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  No one I know of wants any of these negative acts conducted against them.

-Tim A. Blankenship