What a Way to Treat the Word of God

“Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.” Jeremiah 36:24 (KJB)

My thoughts as I read through Jeremiah 34 – 36 this morning is the title – “What a way to treat the word of God”.  It is the word of God.

It was from God, given to Jeremiah, to have read before king Jehoiakim.  To this present time the king had paid no heed to the word of the LORD.  God is merciful, and kind, and patient with His people.  He will not allow evil in His people to go unanswered.

How can a king who is leading God’s people be so spiteful, hateful, and just downright wicked toward God, His word, and His prophet? It seems like a frightening thing to me.

Yet, notice in the verses before and after the text above. The king cut the written words up into pieces, then threw them into the fire; not even willing to hear what God says. Some plead with the king not to do it; and he does not hear them.  “They were not afraid” neither did they “tear their garments” in remorse.

I am seeing things similar to this in many who call themselves “Christian” today.  Maybe not actually taking a Bible and cutting it up, throwing it in the fire; but just out and out rebellion, unbelief, and making statements such as “The Bible is antiquated and unnecessary for our day”. There are even a few religious “churches” who have no respect for the word of God. They allow what God condemns; even to ordaining leaders who commit abomination against God and His word.

When professing Christians are believing that there are other ways to God and Heaven, and that Jesus Christ is only one of many ways, they are shunning the word of God, and declaring the words of men just as valuable as the word of God.  That accusation is against the word of God, tears it to shreds, and throws it into the fires of the false prophets.

Jesus Christ Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)  Through Jesus Christ alone is the salvation of those in Adam’s race. You can believe that, and trust Him, or you will perish.

Elijah and Elisha

It has been several weeks since posting anything on Elijah.  I will finish up with this post and one more following.

As you recall the ministry of Elijah was as a prophet of fire.  It seems that the fire of the LORD was upon his life.  He heard God.  He spoke what God commanded him to speak; without fear or favor; and was not intimidated by kings or princes.  You might say he was a bit intimidated by an evil queen; shown by his running for his life, rather than by confronting her.

After Elijah ran from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-3) he is told by God to anoint Hazel king over Syria, and Jehu king of Israel; and lastly to anoint Elisha prophet “…In  thy room.”   Meaning of course; to take the place of Elijah.  The ministry of Elijah may have been cut short due to his fear and running from the evil queen.

Let’s look a little at the man whom Elijah anointed in his stead.  Elisha was plowing with a dozen yoke of oxen.  He was probably in charge of his father’s field; and himself had command over one yoke in particular; but was the leader of 11 [eleven] other yoke.  There was a total of 24 head of oxen, and at least twelve men, including Elisha.  It is quite clear that Elisha was a farmer and evidently a fairly well to do one at that with twelve yoke of oxen; and hired servants.

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.  And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’  And he said unto him, ‘Go back again: for what have I done to thee?’  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:19-21 (KJV)

First of all Elijah would have known that his ministry was nearing an end.  Second, he would have known that the word of God would continue to be proclaimed.  Third, this was probably God’s way of showing Elijah that he was not the only one who could or would preach the word.

Notice some things about Elisha.  First of all he was busy doing the work of his life’s training – he was busy at laboring.  Secondly, he recognized the messenger of God’s word and was willing to leave all for God’s sake and for God’s glory.  Third,  he was showing responsibility in “burning the bridges” behind him to show his commitment to the service of Elijah and the LORD.  In the sacrifice of the oxen, he committed himself to the LORD’s work, and following the life of the  prophet of God.  In short Elisha did what needed to be done, and he did it with the haste that was necessary.

May the God of all glory and power get the Christian of the 21st century to be committed to serve the LORD with such devotion and diligence.

-Tim A Blankenship

Day 23 – Of Kings and Prophets

In the reading today we begin the reading of a king of Judah by the name of Asa (1 Kings 15), and it is said of him, “Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father” (15:11).  We are also told previous to Asa of Abijam whose “heart was not perfect with the LORD his God as the heart of David his father” (v. 3).

Asa is Abijam’s son, and Asa walks with God.

In reading 1 Kings 15 – 22 we continue to see this phrase of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, “And he did evil in the sight of the LORD…” or something similar.  We are told of two kings at least for Judah who were walking with God like David, who is the standard, for the walk of kings.

If kings are to do their kingdoms well; it would do them good to walk with God.  Those who do not walk with God will lead their people to destruction.  I would dare say the economic and moral collapse of a nation is due to the lack of godly, spiritual leadership in that nation.  Including the United States of America.

Thank God for prophets of God who will stand for the truth, no matter what.  In chapter 17 we are introduced to Elijah, often called the “prophet of fire”.  When we are introduced to Elijah we have him saying to one of the most wicked kings to ever live – Ahab –

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”  1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

Wicked kings need a prophet of God who will get in their face and call their sin and rebellion against God what it is.  Elijah did just that, and God proves that Elijah is His prophet by answering Elijah’s prayers, sending drought, with no morning or evening dew, or rain.  We learn later that this drought lasted for 3.5 years.

One thing we need to realize is that when this prophet pronounced this drought upon the Northern kingdom, it was a drought that affected the evil as well as the righteous, even Elijah.  That is why we see Elijah being sustained by God through ravens providing meat and bread a the “brook Cherith”  (17:5).

Elijah was a man of fire and faith.  He believes God; acts for the glory of God; and challenges the false prophets of the wicked queen Jezebel on Mount Carmel.  He does something unheard of.  The prophets of Baal had been known to put fine under their altars and deceive people into thinking that Baal was actually lighting the fires on their altars; but Elijah says, “Put no fire under” (18:23), and he himself “put no fire under” the altar, but both he and the prophets of Baal would be totally dependent upon the one who would answer by fire.  Elijah upon the GOD of creation and glory.  The false prophets upon the foolish hopes of false teachings.

Could it be that the reason there is no one challenging the prophets of finance, health, technology, science, is because we have not any who are really confident in the power of God as Elijah was?  Why not?  Do we not have the power of Jesus Christ.  I am only saying that our financial problems are related to spiritual bankruptcy, our health decay is spiritually related; the only reason for our technological growth is given us by creative thinking that was originally given to man by God; and true knowledge [science] comes from God.  The rest is bunk and leads to spiritual decay and death.

When Christian churches across our land are lighting the fires of the altar with entertainment rather than preaching the word of God; it is of little wonder why we are so spiritually bankrupt.  Those who are dependent upon drawing a crowd; and not preaching the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ are similar to the prophets of Baal who put fire under the altars.

The answer to the sins and all ills in the world is Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020111

Reading today from Leviticus 4 – 7.

In the reading for today we read about the “sin offering” and its laws; personal sins; trespass offerings; and laws of holiness.

There is within the commandment concerning the fire on the altar, that it is to be ever burning.  It is to never go out.  This is the place of the burnt offering.  Every offering was offered here and was to be completely burned to ash.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.'”  Leviticus 6:8-13 (KJV)

This brazen altar is to have special care taken with it.  It is the place where the blood of the sacrifice is shed.  The blood is poured out here as an offering to God for sin, trespass, peace.  We must keep in mind as we read the Old Testament that all these are shadows of what was to come.  These are only earthly pictures of the heavenly person who was to come and die; shedding His own blood for our sins, trespasses and to give us peace.

The fire ever burning shows the way God is always waiting for the sinner to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.  He has planned for all the years of earth; at least sin the fall of Adam and Eve; to redeem all who will come to Him believing through His Son Jesus.

In the first epistle [letter] of the apostle John we read,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 (KJV)

The sin was placed figuratively on the sacrifice; by the laying of the hands of the priests on the head of the animal; then the animal was slain, its blood shed, then, burned on the altar.  This showed that the sin was forgiven, and there was cleansing and forgiveness from God.  This, of course, looking forward to the cross of Jesus.

God’s consuming fire is still burning.  His grace is still large and is much larger than our sin.  His mercy is everlasting.

Remember to read Leviticus 4 – 7

-Tim A. Blankenship

Precious Faith In The Fire

PRECIOUS FAITH IN THE FIRE

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (KJV).

Precious is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Precious can mean rare, and when you number the people of the world to the number of people who are in Christ Jesus it will be seen just how precious it is.

The word “Precious” is described in THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary as being, “Of great value”. Valuable, costly, etc. By this definition surely we have reason to rejoice in and out of sorrow, tribulation, and all our trials.

There are many trials and temptations within this world and in our daily lives. This faith that is “More precious than gold” can and will endure the fires that will try us. These trials and temptations often become heavier than we ourselves can bear. Rejoice in knowing that these trials are only for “a season”, and that the promises of God for glory will come to pass. It is quite assuring to know that even though “gold that perishes”, but our faith in Christ Jesus though tried with fire will be “found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. This is talking about when our Lord comes again to receive His own unto Himself.

The word of Jesus is being fulfilled when He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV). It is the faith that endures trials and tribulations which will glorify Jesus. If your faith is in faith then it will be a misplaced faith, as well as a foolish faith. Faith does not make what you believe to be true. Faith is believing what is true to be true, and carrying out what you believe. Let me try and illustrate; If you believe that you make the teachings of Jesus to be true because you believe them to be true, then your faith is in error. On the other hand if you believe that the teachings of Jesus are true, because Jesus said them, and He said they are true, then, your faith is genuine, and that faith is able to stand in the fires of trials and rejoice

It is the faith in Jesus Christ that is “More precious than gold” which will endure and glorify Him. Gold put through the fire becomes more pure, thus, the faith which endures the fire is made pure, and strong. “If your faith cannot be tested, then, it cannot be trusted” (Unknown). In the fire the “Wood, hay and stubble” (1 Corinthians 3:12), Paul mentions will be burned up. The precious things like, gold, silver, precious metals, and gems will be made purer, and will glorify Jesus. How is your faith? If you are trusting anything (such as your faith in faith), or anyone other than Jesus, it will not stand in the fire.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Dry Wind

“At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, ‘ A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people–Not to fan or to cleanse– A wind too strong for these will come for Me; Now I will also speak judgment against them. Behold, he shall come up like clouds, and his chariots like a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are plundered!” Jeremiah 4:11-13 (NKJV).

The prophet continues to warn of coming judgment if there is no true repentance. The heart of God is grieved, and the heart of the prophet grieves as well. He does not speak these words with glee as a child rejoices in a new gift, or a teen rejoices in receiving a new car; or an adult male who has just gotten married and is going on the honeymoon. The prophet is practically in a begging mode, as to say please repent before the judgment comes.

Jeremiah is known as the “‘Weeping prophet”, because of verses like chapter nine verse one. We will look at that later, but we can tell this man’s heart is broken for his people. It does grieve the man or woman of God when they see judgment coming on the people and the people don’t see, or want to see it, and they refuse to repent.

The judgment that was coming was like a dry desert storm, a sand storm, coming relentlessly, and anything that got in its way would be devastated; and it was coming toward the people of God, “My people…” (v. 11). This storm that was coming was not to provide a refreshing breeze to blow away chaff from wheat, nor for cleansing. This was for judgment. In this storm, with this storm would be such strong winds that it is too strong to stand against, because it is for the name of the LORD; “These will come for Me;” and it is the voice of God who is proclaiming judgment, because of their hardened and cold hearts toward Him.

The one Jeremiah refers to as coming “…up like clouds…” is Nebuchadnezzar, and his military might, coming with great speed, and power. It almost seems that Nebuchadnezzar and his force was almost right outside the city, and if not they were coming with great speed and would be to Jerusalem very soon. When the watchman sounds the warning, there is little time for repentance; it is time, however for repentance. The prophet describes the horses of the king of Babylon as being “swifter than eagles”. The description of the coming is almost as though it had already taken place, yet it is a future event, but not to distant future.. Notice the prophet’s words, “Woe to us, for we are plundered.” They have waited too long to repent to avert the judgment. It is, however, never too late to repnt and receive the cleansing, forgiveness and favor of God.

We live in a world, especially the United States of America, where no one ever sees the judgment of God. Some frown on the thought that AIDS could be the judgment of God upon our nation, and the world because of the “innocent who suffer from it”. Babies, the spouse who was infected due to an unfaithful spouse, a bad blood transfusion all considered to be the “innocent ones”. I wonder how many babies, and innocent spouses died in the flood? God is righteous and just, and He can judge however He chooses, and still be righteous and just in doing so. I am angered by what is happening in the State of California, however, with the allowance of marriages between same sex couples, I find that to be God’s judgment, and that there have been hundreds of fires started the week following the States verdict, were started by lightning, as a warning to repent. Not only that but there have also been a few earthquakes. God is not judging??? What about the floods in the midwest, and the thousands of acres of farmland that is under water??? What about the tornadoes that have touched, destroye, and devastated many lives, homes, cities, and States??? A Dry Wind dries things out, and makes them right for burning. At the time of this writing (June 25, ’08 ) there is a real “dry storm” brewing on the coast of California, and they need some wet rain. Lord, “In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2.

God is calling for the repentance of His Church, His people; and for His people to be faithful in proclaiming His Word. If you are a Christian, you are a watchman. That requires faithful attention to the calls for repentance and judgments of God. If God’s people are blind to them, we can never expect the unrighteous to repent. God’s judgment is coming, it is already here, and it is real. God is patiently awaiting, but for how much longer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Put No Fire Under…

It is amazing the numbers of people who fall for that which is sensational. Sensational is exciting, enthusiastic, and life changing, at least for that moment.

We have Christians wanting to add something to a worship service by yelling, screaming meaningless thoughts and words, and doing deeds that belong in the zoo. Then, we hear the attenders/spectators say, “Wow! Now that was a great worship service”. Was it, or was it a fire that was encouraged by a motivator of men to actions which can come solely from excitement which are not necessarily godly, or even Christian?

When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, he charged them, “But put no fire under…” (1 Kings 18:23-24). It seems that the prophets of Baal, in order to entice more followers to Baal, had the tendency to put fire under their sacrifices in order to give the appearance of something miraculous. Elijah’s challenge suddenly became a real challenge. “And the God who answers by fire, He is God.” (1 Kings 18:24).

There were two priests, sons of Aaron who offered strange fire; “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1-2. As the writer of Hebrews writes, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29.

It is sad to think that what we have in a lot of churches that is seen as an exciting, fiery worship is something instead that is motivated by fleshly emotions, and human feelings, that get no one in touch with God. All the ranting and raving of the prophets of Baal got them nothing but bloody, sore, and tired aching muscles; and finally death.

Beware of false fire. Let us who are Christian leaders be sure to let the true fire of God fall at the Holy Spirit’s direction, and not according to our own desires and the flesh.

-Tim A. Blankenship

False Fire

It seems we live in a world of entertainment.  There must be excitement, or fire as I would call it.  Since I was a child I have been fascinated with fire; in the good sense. Fire can be used for good or for evil, and when the Bible speaks of fire you can find it in both cases.

One of those cases is in Leviticus 10 where two of the sons of Aaron offered “Strange fire” against the call of God (See Lev. 10:1-2).  Now what that “Strange fire” was is of no consequence concerning this article.  What matters is that they offered the wrong fire.  It was not God’s fire.  It was God’s fire that came out and “devoured them”, because of their disobedience.

When Elijah was on Mount Carmel challenging the prophets of Baal; he said in his challenge, “And put no fire under…” (1 Kings 18:23).  They used  a means of deception to make people believe that Baal was god, and the prophet of God – Elijah knew it.  When this challenge was finished Elijah, the prophet of God, ran for his life from the queen Jezebel, and was thinking that he was the only one.  This was after the great fire of God had fallen, consumed the offering and brought the rain that had been gone for three and one half years.

God brought Elijah to a place and there he showed him  a mighty wind, but God was not in the wind.  God showed him an earthquake, and God was not in the earthquake.  God showed him again a fire, and again He was not in the fire.  The still small voice which followed was the appearance of God. 

Isn’t it amazing that people today look for the profound, the loud, the excitement, the fire, the wind, and the earthquake, and God is not there.  They have all the excitement and miss God.

Where do we find God?  Where do we genuinely worship Him?  In the quietness of His “Still small voice”.  God says to us, “Be still, and know that I am God”.  Is God really in all the noise that people must make to worship God?  I am afraid that most miss Him, because there is False Fire being offered.