Change Is Possible For All

I remember an episode of Bonanza from years ago. It seems there was a man who had been in prison, and Ben was giving the man a chance, after getting out, and someone made the comment, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” to which Ben replied, “We are dealing with a man, not apples”. What ever happened to shows like this, where change is possible.

In seeing episodes of “Law and Order” and hearing comments on news shows like Fox and Friends, and them making comments such as, “Child sexual abusers cannot change” it certainly gives no hope. I must agree that left to ourselves, there is no hope. We are a depraved people.

The answers to the following questions will show how big of grace you believe God has:
1. Can God save and change a murderer?
2. Can God save and change a rapist?
3. Can God save and change a kidnapper?
4. Can God save and change a sodomite/homosexual?
5. Can God save and change a child molester?
6. Can God save and change a parent killer? (This one could fit with the first.)
7. Can God save and change a God/Christ-hater? and

8. Can God save and change you?

Now how will you answer that?

Here is the Bible’s answer –
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Notice the “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

All who come to Jesus are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit given to all who have called on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

He Only is My Rock and My Salvation

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

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

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

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

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

The Redeemed

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

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

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

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

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

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

…The Days of the Upright…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eye Of The LORD

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

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

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

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

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

High Esteem for the Word of GOD

My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined.  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.   Job 23:11-12

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

How important is the word of GOD to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Bad Circumstances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scepter of the King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Confession and Repentance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fight For Your Brethren

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Nehemiah 4:14

Nehemiah had a passion for Jerusalem and the returning captives from the captivity. Ezra had already come and was in the process of rebuilding the Temple and had been for a few years before Nehemiah arrived.

Sanballat and Tobiah were two who opposed the work of the now free people of Israel, and they had threatened, and tried with all they could do to stop the work of God. One thing godless people who hate God and His work through His people need to know and to realize is that once God sends His people with a passion for His work, it will not be stopped.

When threats come from without or within it is a good word to hear the words “Be not afraid” and then put your hand to the work with your tools in one hand and your weapon of self defense in the other (Nehemiah 4:16-18).

They fought for themselves, for the brethren, and for the cause of the LORD God Most High, awesome and holy in all His ways.

We Christians today must remember what the apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare and not of the flesh, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4), and many times, much of the time these strongholds are within ourselves.

Be not afraid, stand and fight the enemy. How we stand will be a stand for the brethren too.

The ultimate battle was won when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He bodily arose and came out of that grave alive forever more. Believe Him, repent of your sins, calling on His name and you become a victor.

Forsaking God

And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.  For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, “And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.  For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. 2 Chronicles 28:22-23

Ahaz is one of the kings of Judah who did not do right in the sight of the LORD. It very much appears by this verse  he had no clue as to what loving God, knowing Him, and serving Him was about.

GOD is not the servant of mankind. He is to be worshiped, revered, and held in great awe and we are to be obedient to Him, and walk in holiness. Ahaz wanted a god he could elicit his wants from any god he chose.

Please note the words of Ahaz: “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me.”  He was only about “Me” and these idols became his undoing, his ruin. God who is Holy, Righteous, and Just is also a Jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5; Nahum 1:2). Being Jealous means only that there is no other that is worthy of our worship, praise, and laud but Him. He alone is also worth obedience, and devotion; even our lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

Revering GOD begins by believing His word about His Son, His only begotten Son who is Jesus Christ. We must come to GOD through the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial and resurrection, believing Him and calling on His name. We are bought with a price ( 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We are no longer our own person; we are His and He is worthy of our total devotion, commitment and praise.

Letter from a Prophet

And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself:  Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.      2 Chronicles 21:12-15

Asa was a king of Judah who did right in the eyes of the LORD, but his life ended as being a selfish tyrant. His son Jehoshaphat also had done right in the eyes of the LORD though he aligned himself with Ahab, the evil king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Then along comes Jehoram, and he does wickedness in the eyes of the LORD.

The letter is from Elijah who is the prophet who warned Ahab of his wicked ways, challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and ended their lives with their heads being removed.

Why would Elijah send a letter to the king of Judah? Probably because he had a word from the LORD for Jehoram to know his plight and the tragedy coming on his family and himself.  Jehoram was going to die a horrible death because of his sin and the evil of his heart.

Death is the result of sin. Sin came into the world by the first man, Adam. Because Adam sinned, every one who has been born into this world is a sinner there is no escaping sin. There is, however, One who was born of woman who never sinned. His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Jesus, being sinless, without any guilt, shame or remorse died on the cross becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), being buried, and rising again from the grave alive forever more. Sin, death, Hell and the grave are defeated, and hold no power over those who come to God through Jesus Christ. In Jesus we have everlasting, that is eternal life.

GOD Knows Your Heart

If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness; what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: then hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) that they may fear thee, to walk in Thy ways, so long as they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers.      2 Chronicles 6:28-31

GOD knows my heart too. He knows my motives for the things I do, both the good and the bad. I do not know anyone’s heart. I can see their actions and work that they do, as they can of myself.

I make judgments of others actions, sometimes those judgments are not a condemnation, but rather a good judgment for when I see them do a kindness to another person or persons. Sometimes my judgment is not at all kind, but can be mean and hateful (God forgive me), and the word of the LORD pierces my heart (Hebrews 4:12), and convicts me of my sinful thought and act; and that leads me to repentance.

Only GOD knows the heart of man or woman, boy or girl, and everyone of us will give an accounting to the LORD for the condition of our heart (which is the seat of our will), and from our heart, the LORD knows those who are His.

We must remember that Jesus said, “There is none good but God” (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18). Remember, also we do not see as God sees.

When an individual comes to God in repentance of sin, calling on the name of the LORD for salvation, and that only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; because He alone was perfect and without sin, and too the wrath  of the Father for us that we might come to God through Him. Then, God sees a redeemed heart, and the heart of the Redeemer too.

The heart of Adam kind is only evil continually (Jeremiah 17:9), and no one can know their own heart, little lone knowing someone else’s. So, today open the door of your heart to God through His Son Jesus Christ repenting of sin and calling on His name.

We Have Sinned

And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, “We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.”  And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Judges 10:15-16

When was the last time you heard the preacher say, “We have sinned”? The mention of sin conjures up all kinds of thoughts in the hearts and minds of all of Adam’s race. We have sinned. Not one of us can say that we have not sinned. If there is a soul that says such a thing calls God a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 1:10).

The children of Israel, during the days of the Judges would live for God while a good Judge was alive, yet, as soon as that Judge died they, as a nation turned from God to idols, and lived accordingly. These things are written for our example; ways that we should not live (1 Corinthians 10:6-11), and learn to practice the good things as they  yielded their lives to the LORD.

I am so thankful for the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who lived without sin, and went willingly to the cross taking my place and yours in paying the sin debt that we owed to God. He took the wrath of His Father, that was due us, and died, was buried, and He then rose again declaring the victory over sin, death, and the grave for our justification.

We have sinned. There is a Savior for all who will call on the name of Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

They Fell On Their Faces

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.   And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.       Leviticus 9:23-24

Leviticus is probably not my favorite book of the Bible, and not of the five books of the Law. It does clearly show us the need of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of us all. It is also clear that the blood, of lambs, goats, rams, and bullocks are not adequate for the taking away of sin. These sacrifices are a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all, and all time, put away our sin.

What Leviticus declares to us is the sinfulness of Adamkind, and our need for a Redeemer. We do know today, that the only redemption for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary’s cross where the wrath of the Almighty was put on His Son, and He was judged on our behalf; so that all who come to Him through faith would receive eternal life.

As the people in the days of Moses, and Aaron and his sons fell on their faces when they saw the glory of GOD; we have an even greater reason and privilege to fall on our faces before the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Fall down before Him in repentance and faith; call on His name.

The Problem with Pluralism

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”             Exodus 32:5

The above text is from hearing that Moses has been gone for a few days, and the people are desiring to have some semblance of spiritual leadership. They decide to set up a golden calf. It is probably so that Aaron feared for his life if he rejected their requests so he request their golden ear rings and such other that they have, and makes this object of rejection of holy GOD.

In an attempt to keep the people reminded of Jehovah/YHWH, Aaron builds an altar, it seems, to worship the true God. It falls short of what God calls for. He is a Jealous God. There can be no other that His people worship. His jealousness is named in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5), and it is mentioned once again in Exodus 34:14,”For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…” That is exactly what Aaron had led them to do.

There is only One God and He is known by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He can only be known through His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who died on the cross to redeem us from sin, He was buried not only to show that He died but to carry away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and He rose again and came out of the grave for our justification. Through Him alone can we know God, and worship Him as we ought.

They Stood Far Off

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.   And they said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”   And Moses said unto the people, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”   And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.                 Exodus 20:18-21

God had given a boundary to which the people could approach near Him, and at first they pushed the edge of the border, but when they saw the smoking mountain, thundering and lightening, and the sound of the trumpet, they were fearful and backed away; they “Stood afar off.”

I find it amazing in reading the book of Exodus, how the people are so like people of this day and time. There are many who want to draw near to God; but in their own way, in their way they view God. However, when they get a glimpse of His power and glory, even in a veil of darkness, they back away and stand far off. “That’s not the God I want to know, love and serve,” they might say in their hearts and minds; therefore, keeping their distance from true God and worship of Him.

The people above wanted Moses to be the veil between them and God; there spokesman; when they could have been themselves it they would have seen the Divine and His glory rather than the thunder, lightening, trumpet and smoking mountain.

We are told by the half brother of Jesus, who is James to “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”  (James 4:8).  God’s desire and will is for His people to come near to Him. The only way to do that is not through obedience to the Law; but through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.

 

They Shall Know…

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”     Exodus 6:6-7

But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.   And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.     Exodus 7:4-5

I use two different text from my reading this morning for the purpose of this message…

The people of God need to know and believe that the LORD is their God before we can expect the world around us to know and believe it. So let’s start believing with our heart, our mind and our lives through our obedience to Him; not to gain His favor, but because we have His favor.

It is quite apparent to me that the LORD God wants all the world to know.

Repent people of God. Turn to Him and know Him. The world will one day know who He is, but do you know Him today. GOD has made it possible through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on Him in repentant faith.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

The Longevity of Guilt

And Joseph said unto them the third day, “This do, and live; for I fear God: ‘If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” And they did so.   And they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.”
And Reuben answered them, saying, “Spake I not unto you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”   And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.   And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.        Genesis 42:18-24

Joseph, betrayed by his brothers many years before this event, and sold into slavery was now a ruler in the land to which he had been sold for twenty pieces of silver. It was to Joseph the brothers had to see in order to get the food and grain they needed in Canaan, which was suffering from the famine which was affecting all the world.

I deal with personal guilt at times. I have guilt in my thoughts and my heart due to some deed I have done to someone in the past, recent, and sometimes over a thing, or thought that just comes to my mind. It seems that we have been told over the past few years that guilt is a bad thing, and I totally disagree. Guilt is a good thing if it leads us to repentance and renewing.

It is Reuben who speaks of the deed the brothers did to Joseph years before; and keep in mind they do not recognize the brother they had betrayed and sold. Do you see the guilt they are feeling. As well that they should, and suffered from it, probably for all those years keeping the secret from their father Jacob.

Guilt is bad only if you allow it to fester, and make you cold and hard as steel, and never make right the wrong you have done. Sometimes, just confessing it to God, and repenting of the thing or deed is all you can do and that will release you from the debt you owe. I say “debt” because it is a debt or a trespass against God or someone else that needs to be paid.

Joseph was in the process of testing his brothers to see if they were genuinely sorrowful for the wrong they had did. I am certain that when he saw them that he desired to run up to them, revealing who he was, and to show them the fulfilling of his dreams he had shared with them years before as a boy in Canaan. But he was wiser than that.

Guilt is a helper or it can be a crippler. A helper to show us our wrong and lead us to repentance. A crippler that causes the heart to grow stone, steel hard, and cold if we do not cry for forgiveness.

We have sinned against God. In His love He gave us His Son who was despised and rejected by His brethren, by the world even, and was sold for 30 pieces of silver, a guiltless, sinless man, condemned to die on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and He came out being raised to life He forever lives. Bring all you guilt and condemnation to Him, praying, confessing your sins, believing Him for full redemption and forgiveness. He will hear you and He will save.

On The Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Keep the word of faith spoken by Abraham in mind which he spoke in verse 5, and Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham was certain of God’s delivering power.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

The LORD’S Visit

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.      Genesis 21:1

The LORD had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. God had promised them that Abraham would be a father of nations, and through him all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Much time had passed when this promise is fulfilled.

At the age of 86 Abraham had gone along with the scheme of Sarah to have a son with Hagar. This was not what God had promised. Maybe in concocting this plan Sarah thought they would be fulfilling the will of God. God’s promise to Abraham for a son was for Sarah too.

When Abraham was 100 years of age, and Sarah was 99 the promise of God was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac which means “Laughter”, because she had been laughing. Just as nothing was too hard for God to do for Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:14), so it is for the Christian today. Also for the lost soul to receive forgiveness and peace and rest.

When God the LORD shows up He will do all that He has said.

He has told us that He loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That Son is Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. That is the LORD’S visit today. Call on His name repent and believe.

Staying Where God Leads

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.                 Genesis 13:1-4

God had led Abram to the land of Canaan, but when a famine had come he set his eye on Egypt for the provision of his family. We have all done it. We know we are where God wants us to be, but suddenly we find things going opposed to what we think they ought to be and we think there are “greener pastures” over there somewhere.

Abram had set up an altar of worship at Bethel; a place of worship; and then he goes down to Egypt.

Abram comes back to that place when he returns from Egypt, and he calls on the name of the LORD once again.

Have you strayed from where God wants you to be? Return to the place where you left Him. No! He has never left you, and He never will. That is why we, the child of God, always come back to the place where we left Him.

If you have no clue as to what I am writing about, then maybe you do not even know GOD. He loves you. He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again. He says to you, “Come to Me and I will give you rest and peace.” Do so today.

The Pleasant Name

Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.       Genesis 4:22

I began reading through the Bible this year, and my schedule is to read it through in six months. I did not read it through in 2021, but I read the Gospels through every month with the exception of combining them with the book of Acts in January and February.

It does a Christian good to his heart, soul and mind to read the Bible on a regular basis. Some think one through reading should be enough. I disagree with that sort of thinking due to the fact that there is no way the mind or heart can grasp all of what you read. Another thing is it is God’s love letter to His people. Why not read again and again and again.

I tell you all of that to say that the above verse caught my attention while I was reading this morning and I do not think I had noticed it before. The statement, “The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah” is what caught my eye. Tubalcain was a son of Zillah the second wife of Lamech in the lineage of Cain, the man who killed his brother Abel, and was marked by God. Lamech was the first mentioned to marry two wives, and they were blessed with children.

What is so special about this and particularly Naamah? First of all there is nothing known of her Scripturally. There is much conjecture from legends and such that she was Noah’s wife, and others that she was Ham’s wife (Ham the son of Noah). It is quite likely that Moses knew who she was and what she did and whose wife she was, but there is no Biblical record, so evidentiary proof.

Her name means “Pleasantness” so she may have been a beautiful woman. Let us be assured that there is no hope in beauty, or even in pleasantness, or being pleasant.

I hear the names of children today given to them by their parents and I think, “What?” A name has meaning. Naamah’s name should reflect one who is a pleasure to be with, enjoyable, and one giving pleasure to others. Those all depend on the heart.

Was there salvation available for the line of Cain? How about Naamah and the others in the line of Cain? Only by turning to the One who would die on the cross for their sins, and His name is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Our only was of salvation today is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Now there is a pleasant name. Jesus.

Discern What You Hear

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, “He shall not die;” but, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  John 21:23

On this eve of a brand new year may we who are Bible reading, Bible believing, blood bought, redeemed believers in Jesus Christ be sure we hear Jesus, and all of Scripture rightly. Let us ask God to enable us to let the Bible say what the Bible means, and not what we think or feel that it means.

The above verse is the conclusion of Jesus’s conversation with the apostle Peter in verses fifteen through twenty two; which began with Jesus asking Peter “Do you love Me” and finishing up by telling Peter “Follow Me.”

O how we often miss what Jesus is saying. I am praying that I am a better listener to the words of all of Scripture, Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through the Revelation. That I might rightly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.