The Good News For All Who Will Hear

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.’
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 10:34-44

Thousands of Witnesses

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.”  Revelation 7:4-8

In these verses, we find that God names a specific group of people and a specific number of them. This is referring specifically to the nation of Israel. Some would like to spiritualize this and come to the conclusion that these and the “Numberless multitude” mentioned later represents all redeemed people of all the ages. There is nothing said about these being the Church, however. If we keep in mind that the Scriptures deal with three distinct people groups we will not spiritualize the text. The three groups are the Hebrews, the Gentile, and the Church of Jesus Christ.

It is quite evident that both groups mentioned here are groups who will be in the “great tribulation”. This group of Hebrews who number 144,000 are identified by their tribes. It seems two tribes are omitted and two added in their place. The two tribes omitted are Dan and Ephraim. In the book of Hosea “Ephraim” is another name given to the Northern Kingdom, and Dan was located within that kingdom. Jeroboam set up two golden calves; one in Bethel and the other in Dan. Ephraim never had a godly king who trusted the Lord God. This could be the reason, at least, a partial reason for their apparent absence. SEE Deuteronomy 29:18-21.

Most likely, there is no Hebrew living who knows to which tribe they belong. Some would ask, “If that is the case, how will they be brought together for this purpose?” That is a good question. The answer is rather simple. Although the genealogical records have been lost, God knows the genealogy of every living being. He will bring it to pass.

Who are these 12,000 times 12 tribes which equal 144,000 Hebrew men? “Watchtower” people say they are. Seventh Day Adventists say they are. Mormons say they are. Herbert W. Armstrong used to say that the people of the Worldwide Church of God were. They are all wrong. None of them are unless there is a Hebrew male among them who will not leave in the rapture, and they are appointed and called by God as such. These are people chosen from the nation of Israel whom Jesus refers to as the “Elect” in Matthew 24 -25. In “The Olivet Discourse” of Matthew 24 and 25, it could be, that, Jesus is speaking of the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” we know as the “great tribulation”. The “Elect” He mentions is possibly the 144,000 and possibly others who will believe at that time.

What is this seal in these messenger’s foreheads? These 144,000 are sealed with the name of God “In their forehead” (14:1).

There would appear to be a problem with this interpretation. The Holy Spirit removed with the Church at the rapture seems to be invalid if people are going to be saved during the tribulation. Keep this in mind. People were saved before the coming of the Holy Spirit taking up residence in the Church. People will be saved in the same way after the removal of the Holy Spirit present in the Church. Even in the time of great sorrow God has a people, the 144,000, who will preach the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom is the Kingdom of Jesus’s rule and reign on earth. It is the long-awaited and promised kingdom of David.

We end up with confusion when we spiritualize Scripture and try to make the Church Israel, or Israel the Church; except where Scripture does so. Romans 9 – 11 deals specifically with the nation, the people called Jews, and Paul writes there that, “…all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). Verses 4-8 are the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise.

We are presently in the period of grace, and the Church Age.  No one who is born again in Christ Jesus today is part of the 144,000.  We will be gone with Christ into His presence and stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Thank the Lord for His mercy, grace, and love in every age; and for the redemption of mankind by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Roar from Zion

Many times looking at Scripture, even looking at the prophets of the Old Testament we get a rather gloomy picture of Judah and Israel.  However, gloom and doom is not the total picture.  We must see from the beginning to the end, and that is why God gave us the Scriptures and His only begotten Son.  He does have a purpose, and an expected ending.

Today we hear from the prophet Joel…

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”  Joel 3:15-17

To those who love this old earth, and all its ways the above verses sound gloomy, and believe me, if you do not know the LORD God, then it will not only be a gloomy day for you, but it will be your doom as well.

One of the things we can learn from the Bible is that God will have people know that He is the LORD God of hosts.  That is what He is working toward today.

The following is the study note form The Prophecy Study Bible page 939…

“3:15-16  The earthquake and blackout seem parallel with events described in Zechariah 14:4-5, which describes an earthquake that restructures a valley near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This remodeling of Jerusalem will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, as God powerfully defends and vindicates His people Israel.”

Get ready.  Jesus is coming soon.

There is chaos, pain and sorrow in the world today; but through Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection there is hope for the future.  Hope in this life, and then, eternal life with Him.  That “Roar from Zion” will be the voice of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” the returning Christ Jesus.

Troubler of the Land

Are there any people or any one person who is the problem when a country, or land is troubled, and plagued by drought, famine, hunger, poverty, or disasters?  Do these things just kind of happen?  I think there are a lot of things we need to consider.  One is, does that nation or people group call themselves a people of God? Do they claim to live by the laws of God?  In the case of which we look at today the answer to those last two  questions is “Yes!”

Let us hear from God’s word…

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.”  1 Kings 18:17-20 (KJV)

Because of the godlessness of Ahab and Jezebel, and their leading the northern kingdom of Israel into rebellion against the LORD God, Elijah had prayed for a period of no rain.  It was a 3.5 year period without rain.

That poses the question; “Who is really a troubler of a land or country?”  The answer to that question with a Biblical answer is the one or one’s who depart from God’s law and His word.

Elijah was accused by the king of being the troubler, but Elijah turned that back around telling the king, “…You and your father’s house have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and have followed Baalim”.  They departed from the living God, to follow a fake God, who had no power, no life, nothing to give, but destruction.

Who troubled Israel?  The one’s who departed from the word and law of God.  Who troubles our land?  The one’s who have departed from the word of God, and the law of God fulfilled in His Son Jesus Christ.

Let us return to the LORD our God with all our  heart.

Glory

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

The book of Exodus begins with the word “Now” (Exodus 1:1), and is a recap of what has taken place at the end of Genesis – the family of Jacob goes into Egypt, and the family increases greatly while there.

The Bible is not a book so much that tells us about ourselves, or how to live;  it does that, but that is not its purpose.  The book we call the Bible is about GOD our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, our Strength, our Sword (or Defense), and He is definitely our Song.  That is nowhere more evident than in God’s deliverance of His people from bondage and slavery.

There is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament “They shall know that I am the LORD” and sometimes it uses the words “You shall know…” and “…the LORD of hosts”.  The prophecy of Ezekiel uses it at least 63 times.  The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used at least five times in Exodus (6:7;  7:5;  14:18:  16:12;  and 29:46).

The One who made us all desires that we know Him and that we know He is the LORD of hosts.  He desires that we have a personal relationship with Him.  He desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29-30), and in loving Him we will love others (Mark 12:31).  For no one is being honest who says, “I love God”, and then they hate their neighbor (1 John 2:9;  4:8, and 4:20).

What does the title “Glory” have to do with Exodus and all this other stuff?  God’s glory.  His glory is radiated through His temple.  Flesh of man cannot reside in the presence of God.  Even Moses even had to leave, because he could not bear it.

The glory of God rest in His tabernacle.  Ultimately the Tabernacle is in Christ Jesus.  The glory of God was and is in Jesus Christ His Son; and that glory resides in those who trust and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  The Lord is driving out the flesh in us so the glory of God is seen.

If you are still in darkness then come to the Light.  His name is Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.  The Personification of the Glory of God.

Jesus Through the Bible – What Is It?

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.” Exodus 16:15

The question above is the meaning for the word “Manna”. It means “What is it?” This was a new thing for the delivered children of Israel. This “Manna” is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the time Moses and the children of Israel experienced this wonder from heaven it was an actual substance which the LORD provided to satisfy the needs of His people. It only appeared six days of the week – Sunday through Friday – with none on the seventh day; the Sabbath for Israel. They were to gather plenty on the sixth day for the Sabbath day.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31

The name manna stuck. Even after 4000 years or so it is still called by that name. It was to supply a means of sustenance for the children all forty years of their journey through the wilderness, until they reached the Promised Land of Canaan.

Jesus Himself refers to this and calls Himself the bread come down from heaven.

“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51

For all who will follow Him there is sustenance and strength through our life’s journey until we reach heaven, the abode of our Savior and Lord.

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 362

What do I want for Christmas?

For the Christians of the United States of America to know, understand, to see, and recognize the judgment of God when His judgment is here and present with us.

Part of our getting right and being right with Him is recognizing His judgment, and  falling on our knees in repentance, and asking His forgiveness.

“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)

 

 

Revival

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.” 2 Chronicles 31:1 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a godly king, and did that which was right in the sight of the LORD (29:1-2). He called the remnant of the northern kingdom to join with the people of the southern kingdom to restore the Passover, and proper worship to the Lord in Jerusalem; and many of the people came (30:1-12).

Both kingdoms were guilty of godless kings, leading the people away from God and the proper worship of Him who alone is worthy of worship. Ahaz; Hezekiah’s father was one of the worst of Judah.

As a result of the people of the remnant of the northern kingdom coming to Jerusalem and worshipping with the people of the southern kingdom was that they all returned to their lands, and destroyed the idols, images, high places, and done what was right and godly. They had a revival in the land.

People of God of any day when they get right with God will rid themselves, their land, their homes of anything that is an offense to God, the LORD. The greatest enemy to God’s people – To the Christian today is harboring, hanging on to that sinful thing that we want to hang on to. What is it? That thing that keeps you from a right fellowship with God.

Pride, greed, lust, lying, shedding innocent blood, wicked mind and thoughts, sowing discord among brethren: you can apply your own there. What is our greatest enemy? See 2 Corinthians 10:5. Throw it down.

Putting Away Evil

“He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.” 2 Kings 18:4-7 (KJV)

Hezekiah, a king that did right in the sight of the LORD (v. 3). He was the son of an ungodly king (Ahaz), and “did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (16:2).

Hezekiah loved God, the LORD with all that he had. He even destroyed an article which Moses had made in the wilderness – the brazen serpent (Numbers 21:4-9). He called it “Nehushtan” believed to mean “that bronze thing”. The people of Judah had gone to worshipping it making an idol of it, even burning incense to it. It is believed that they may have taken on the Canaanite demonism of believing that serpents were fertility symbols.

A symbol that had been lifted up in the wilderness portraying sin being put to death on a tree (John 3:14-15); and looking to it to live; made a source of grief to a godly king.

Evil in any form should be scorned, despised and held in contempt by any child of God. It is evil to worship any God, but Jehovah. He is worshipped solely though the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God, God the Son Jesus Christ.

As Hezekiah “clave to the LORD”; so too must we who are called Christian. To be Christian is to be “Christ like” or “Like Christ”; and He hated evil. He hated it so much He went to the cross in our place and took the punishment for our sin; even becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); and taking the wrath of the Father in our place.

Believe Him today, and be saved for eternity.

Word Performance

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it.” 1 Kings 6:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD will perform His Word.  Not one jot or tittle shall pass away (Matthew 5:18) till all shall be fulfilled.

Just as Solomon needed the assurance of the LORD, and to be reminded of his calling, and responsibility; so too does the child of God, who has been cleansed by the blood of the crucified, buried and risen Jesus Christ; today.

Fear Not the gods of America

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.” Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

We need to remember what God had done for Israel. Israel needed to remember what God had done for Israel; and to see what He was doing for Israel. God does not forsake His covenant with His people. God’s people often forsake Him, though.

There had been several years from the previous Judge of Israel. A Judge was simply a leader chosen by God to deliver Israel from their oppressors. He or she was chosen by God when the people were crying out for God to help.

In this case God sends them a prophet. God will very often not make a move until He sends a prophet to let the people know of their sins, and what He is about to do.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Note the message of the prophet to Israel, “…Fear not the gods of the Amorites…” They had turned their backs on the One who had blessed them to the surrounding deities which put them into the bondage of the surrounding populace.

Just for thought. Has that happened to today’s professing Church?  Turn back to GOD the Lord of the Universe who has made all things.  Repent of your sins, believe Him.

O, how we need to turn to Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God; believe Him, and He alone will deliver us.

When the Enemy is not Driven Out

“And an Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice. Why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the Angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” Judges 2:1-5 (KJV)

“Bochim” means weeping, thus the title. When you read these verses you see the reason for their weeping.  When the “Angel of the LORD” makes an appearance with a message such as this, then, we should know that we need to be weeping.

The “Angel of the LORD” is most likely a theophany. A pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. He was, He is, and He always will be (Revelation 1:4, 8, 18).  That is why He would be speaking authoritatively the word of God. The Israelites had violated the word of God in disobedience (Exodus 23:32), and now they were beginning to suffer the consequences for it.

The above verse says “I will never break My covenant with you”, thus the disobedience of the people is their own judgment. The failure to drive out the enemy would be a snare to them. It is so with the follower of Jesus Christ today as well. This is cause for weeping.

The prophet Jeremiah tell us of this too (Jeremiah 2:19). Paul the apostle tells us,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

When the unredeemed are living their own lives, their own way they reap the harvest of what they have sown. When the redeemed turn from walking with God, disobey His word, we too will reap the harvest of what we have sown. Disobedience reaps thorns, sorrows, and snares.

It is a time for weeping. Weeping over our disobedience; our sin.

Not That the Sun Stood Still

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14 (KJV)

This deals with a great miracle. This was a miracle of cosmic proportions. We are asked in Scripture “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” For the one who believes the Bible to be the Word of God we must say “Nothing is too hard for the LORD.” Nothing.

Yet there is something greater here than the sun standing still for about a whole day. “Something greater?” Yes!

Verse 14 for instance. The importance is not that the sun stood still; we ought not be so awed or wondering about that, but “…that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man”. As I read this I also thought of what Jesus told the disciples after they returned from their mission:

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 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 10:17-20

We are unworthy of approaching the Lord GOD, except through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just as the Jehovah answered Joshua, and extended the day we ought to be in more awe that the Creator of all that is would even hear our prayer. Bless the name of the LORD.

That Thing Which No One wants to Deal With; Must Be Dealt With

“And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.”

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” Numbers 31:8, 16 (KJV)

Are we grieved by our sin? Are we brokenhearted by our sin and the sin of others? Will we obey God concerning how we deal with sin? To the minds of humanity in our current days, some of these, or even all of these judgments are harsh, even cruel, and inhumane.

Sin in the eyes of holy God are trespasses against Him. He must deal with sin. In all truth He always has; since the garden of Eden, and through our own day; He still deals with our sin. Humanity today are the ones who are not addressing the matter of personal sin.

GOD has paid our sin debt through the violent, bloody death of His own Son Jesus Christ. He has shown how He hates sin even to the death of His Son.

The above event in the Bible takes place shortly before Moses’ own death, because of His sin of disobedience. The event takes place due to Balaam’s counsel to pervert the children of Israel, through the pagan, ungodly practices of Moab (Numbers 25).

Remember Jesus’ words,

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

God has already dealt with the sins of those who believe Him. He will ultimately deal with all sin. Trust Jesus, and be saved.

Condemning Law; Saving Grace

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” Numbers 27:18-23 (KJV)

The verses preceding these tell us of Moses being commanded by God to go onto Mount Abarim from which he would look over into the Promised Land, and see the destination of the children of Israel. Moses would die there, because he had rebelled against the LORD and struck the rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-11).

We can see in the reading of the books of the Law that the Law is unable to deliver. It teaches, it convicts, it provides not salvation, except in perfection of keeping it; which no one is able to do. So the Law condemns, and leaves with no hope. The apostle Paul says of the Law,

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galations 3:24-25

Moses represents the Law, because he is the Lawgiver. Joshua represents the salvation of the LORD which is by grace. Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus which means “Jehovah is salvation”.

Jesus Christ is our Victor, not the Law.

Blossomed Authority

“And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.” Numbers 17:6-9 (KJV)

Following God’s judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram in chapter 16 because of their rebel hearts; and questioning of Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership, and authority God tells Moses to collect the “rods” of the “Prince” of each tribe, with Aaron’s among them. Their names were placed on each rod.

This was done to stop the murmurings of the people (v. 5). The LORD also said, “The rod I choose shall blossom” and it did far more.

These rods were not separated one from another, but put before the ark of the covenant. The Testimony was the Ten Commandments of stone within the Ark.

We can see from the above text that Aaron’s rod is the one that blossomed,and bear fruit of almonds. Now cut, dead, rods just do not bear fruit, little lone, blossom. It was the authority of God showing the people of Israel who was His chosen High Priest. That was what God said. That is what would stand.

The rod, budding, and blossoming, then bearing fruit is also a picture of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Risen from death to life, blossoming, and bearing the fruit of the glory of God.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26). Believing, trusting Him you will never die. Do you believe this? Will you believe this?

Let Us Go Up At Once

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:30-33 (KJV)

Before these verses we find Moses sending twelve men to check out the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb have returned with the other ten, excited about what they have seen. To them the possibilities are wonderful. Look a the cluster of grapes they have returned with; so large it is carried between two men on a pole.

God had promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants that had become a great number of people. At the time of this venture, they had been in the wilderness about two years. Had they came back believing as Caleb and Joshua; rather than in unbelief they would have crossed into the land much earlier than they did.

God gave them a promise. The ten did not believe it. Two saw the promise and the possibility. Ten saw the problems, and the power of the enemy.

I have been often quick to judge these people, but now I have discovered that I tend to be like the ten who were unbelieving. The giants are too big. The mountains are too tall. I am too small. I tend to forget that my God makes all things possible. Jesus even said,

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

Because of the majorities unbelief they would not enter the Promised Land. None of the adults 20 years and above would be allowed to enter the Land; and they were condemned to 38 more years in the wilderness. The Hebrew Letter says,

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Let us walk in the promise of the Christ who loved us unto death, even the death of the cross that we might do all things through His name, and glorify Him. For as the angel Gabriel said unto Mary,

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

The LORD Bless You

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

This blessing was given to the Priests of Israel to bless the people. It was not an earned blessing, but a blessing from the hand of God’s mercy and grace. Of this blessing it has been said,

Here is a benediction that can go all the world over, and can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it: it is the speech of God: every letter may conclude with it; every day may begin with it; every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing—keeping—shining—the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems. D. L. Moody, Notes from My Bible, pg. 41
from BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Lord Jesus Himself is our greatest blessing and the greatest fulfillment of this blessing. It is however a blessing in which we can be a blessing to others.

From this preacher,

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

They Pitched by Their Standards

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.” Numbers 1:54 (KJV)

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.” Numbers 2:34

The book of Numbers is rightly titled. It is the numbering or counting of the people, and organizing them in their encampment in the wilderness as they journey. That is clearly noted as we read the first few chapters of this book of the Law.

When we read in the noted verses above we need to realize that when it says to us “the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” that it is dealing with the matter at hand; that is the counting of the people, and in chapter two their placement in their camp in proportion to the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

The number of men 20 years of age and above; and not counting the Levites; was 603,550 men. We see a great mass of humanity in the wilderness. With women and children this number could easily reach 2 to 3 million people total. And these “did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.”

In reading these two chapters and the setting up of their encampment you should also note the position of the Tabernacle with the position of the tribes. The Levites; the caretakers, spiritual leaders; were in the midst of the camp with the Tabernacle in the midst of them. That is just where GOD wants to be; in midst of the lives of His people.

GOD has made it possible to be right in the hearts of His people through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus. All of these journeys, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the covenant, etc. are pictures of the Christ, the Son of God. He desires to be the center, very being of your life.

Holy God; Unholy Me

“And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD. Therefore shall ye keep My commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 22:29-33 (KJV)

At least four times in the above verses above it is written, “I am the LORD”.  Do you have a problem with God being “the LORD”?

One of the things that stands out to me as I read Leviticus is that since God is holy He demands holiness from His people.  Holiness is nothing less than perfection.  Well!  I do not meet God’s requirements.  I do not know anyone who does.  That leaves me in terribly bad shape with God.  That is probably not good English, but I am not perfect there either.

I was born into this world in a condemned, unholy state with God.  When I look at His law, His Word I am condemned by it, and find myself totally separated from holy God.  By these laws I see what God commands, and I realize my need.  My need is God.  On my own I cannot have Him.  I also find that He loves me.  Why else would He give these laws?  Most of all why would He, with all these sacrifices, show us that there is a way to Himself, except that He loves us?

All of these sacrifices of lambs, bulls, goats, etc. are pictures, shadows, types of the anti-type who is Christ Jesus.  I no longer am condemned by the law, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, but through the death of Christ, and His bodily resurrection, I have access into the very throne room of holy God.

“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

Now if I were to tell you that I do not know Him; if I were to live my life as if I did not know Him, then I would profane His name.

The following are the written words of Matthew Henry on the above verses,

That the flesh of their thank-offerings should be eaten on the same day that they were sacrificed, Lev_22:29, Lev_22:30. This is a repetition of what we had before, Lev_7:15; Lev_19:6, Lev_19:7. The chapter concludes with such a general charge as we have often met with, to keep God’s commandments, and not to profane his holy name, Lev_22:31, Lev_22:32. Those that profess God’s name, if they do not make conscience of keeping his commandments, do but profane his name. The general reasons are added: God’s authority over them – I am the Lord; his interest in them – I am your God; the title he had to them by redemption – “I brought you out of the land of Egypt, on purpose that I might be your God;” the designs of his grace concerning them – I am the Lord that hallow you; and the resolutions of his justice, if he had not honour from them, to get himself honour upon them – I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. God will be a loser in his glory by no man at last; but sooner or later will recover his right, either in the repentance of sinners or in their ruin.

from Matthew Henry Commentary

Without Jesus Christ you are a condemned, dying soul, headed for an eternity of torment and away from God.  Is that really what you desire?

Know That I Am the LORD

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” Exodus 29:45-46 (KJV)

After spending time with Moses giving him direction and commandment concerning the priestly garments, their materials, making, and anointing God gives Moses the above words.

There is a woven theme throughout all the Old Testament, and that is that GOD desires that the world may “know that I AM the LORD.”  Everything that is written in the Bible is written that the world may know Him, and that He is the LORD.

The ultimate gift of GOD to the world that we might know Him, and that He is the LORD was sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross in our place; and that when we look upon Him, to Him, trusting Him we might have redemption through His blood.

Do you know today that God is the LORD?

God’s Glory in the Sight of the People

“And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Exodus 24:17 (KJV)

Moses had gone up on the mountain and Joshua had gone part of the way with Him.  Moses alone had gone into the cloud of God’s glorious presence.  It was here that Moses would receive instruction for the pattern of the ark of the covenant, all the furniture of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle itself with its “wall” around it.

I have asked for years within my own heart and mind, “What is the glory of GOD?”  I do not know that I have received a clear answer or not; but one that gives me peace is that it is the fullness of God.

While Moses and Joshua were gone all the people could see was this cloud with fire and smoke.  It seemed to be a “devouring fire” to them.  We have record that Moses went into it; and Moses alone was allowed to do so.  Except for the covering of God’s hand Moses would perish.  For anyone approaching God without that protecting hand they will perish.

God has provided us a covering for entering into His presence by His Son Jesus.  The writer of Hebrews has written,

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV)

Notice, if you will, who is the “brightness of His glory”.  It is also written that Jesus is the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  When we see Jesus; when we come to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we are coming to and into the glory and glorious presence of GOD.

The Purpose of Judgment

“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 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. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.” Exodus 7:2-6 (KJV)

In these verses we know the children of Israel have been enslaved in Egypt for around 400 years.  This was foretold by GOD to Abraham back in Genesis 15:13; and now God is about to fulfill His promise of deliverance.

Egypt has been a cruel taskmaster to Israel in the midst the land.  Forced labor, unrealistic standards for making brick, and building numbers, and living conditions.  God had heard their cry, their pleading for help.  Now help has come.

God sends His messengers; Moses and Aaron to deliver God’s word to the Pharaoh of Egypt.  He does not hear nor does He intend to let the people go.  The Lord of all creation has given Pharaoh opportunity to release the people without pain, sorrow, judgment; and he has refused.  Now GOD will show Himself strong to the Pharaoh, to Egypt and to His own people.  They will know that “I am the LORD” God says.

When I read the Scriptures that is a continued theme throughout the Bible.  God works, He moves, He judges, that we might know that He is the LORD.

The greatest way that was and is shown us is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The wrath of God upon sin was poured out upon His Son.  His love for mankind was shown in that He judged Jesus His only begotten Son in our behalf.

O hear the word of the LORD today.  Believe Him.  Call on Him and He will hear you.

The Ever-Present One

“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And He said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:11-15 (KJV)

The Scripture above gives us Moses’ account of his call of God to return unto Egypt to free the children of Israel from bondage.  This is his first encounter with GOD, and it is awesome.

Moses sees God as holy, all powerful, and all present, and even all knowing in one event.  He also learns His name.  The name says that He is eternal.  Where He is is the present.  He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  You will notice it does not say that “He was the God” but “the God of…”  That strongly implies the living, resurrection power of God; the eternalness of God, past, present and future.

His name, I AM, also reveals to us that He is Self-Sufficient; that He is in need of nothing.  It also reveals to us that we need Him.  We do not exist without Him.  We do not breathe without Him.  We do not move without Him.  There is no sunrise without Him.  He gives us each day, each beat of our heart, each step we take.  He is the One who holds all things together.  If He were to remove His hand from this world, and this Universe it would fly into pieces (Colossians 1:16-17).

This Self-Sufficient One desires to come to you today.  Call on Him.  He is the One who provides your salvation, through the cross of Jesus.

I Will Not Cast Them Away

…I Will Not Cast Them Away…

Leviticus 26:44-46

1.  After reading the first 25 chapters and hearing about the benefits of holiness we now hear God’s Word concerning unholiness and its consequences.
2.  God promises great reward to those of His children of Israel who will obey Him as a nation, a priesthood.
3.  There are also grave consequences for disobedience for the people and the land; so that the land can heal.
4.  Even though the LORD may punish or discipline His people He does not forsake them.

I.  GOD DESIRES TO DWELL AMONG HIS PEOPLE WHOM HE HAS REDEEMED UNTO  HIMSELF (v. 11; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

II.  THE LORD DESIRES TO BLESS THE LAND, HIS PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD (vv. 1-13).

III.  WHEN GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NOT HOLY; HOW CAN A HOLY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS; EXCEPT BY CLEANSING (vv. 14-39)

IV.  THOUGH THE PEOPLE HAVE DISOBEYED, REBELLED, AND BECAME UNHOLY; THE LORD SAYS, ‘I WILL NOT CAST THEM AWAY’ (v. 44).

Application –

i.  God dwells in His people through the antitype who is Christ Jesus Himself – He lives in those who are redeemed through His precious blood.
ii.  The land could be a type of the spiritual blessings of those who are in Christ Jesus; spiritual gifts, life lived and given to the LORD.
iii.  Even the Christian who is not walking with God suffers grave consequences (Galations 6:7-8), and must come back into a right and holy walk with God.
iv.  He has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) and He will not cast away His redeemed people (John 17:11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church February 2011.

Thus saith the Lord GOD 013014

“And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.’ And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.'”  Ezekiel 2:1-5

Thus Saith the LORD God… 012414

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10

Thus saith the Lord GOD… 012314

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions. And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.  And this shall be the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad; Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which is by the coast of Hauran. And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And this is the north side. And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side.  And the south side southward, from Tamar even to the waters of strife in Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And this is the south side southward.  The west side also shall be the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This is the west side. So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance,’ saith the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 47:13-23

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:1-3)

God’s Controversy With His People 1

As we begin our study of Hosea 4 we find Hosea speaking in the gates of the city.  This is the place where civil and religious meetings were held.  There were probably some who were from the Southern kingdom present here as well.

The LORD is presented as having a “Controversy” with the people.  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Controversy” as being “a clash of opposing views: DISPUTE”.  It must of necessity be concluded that the one who opposes God is the one who is in error.  The New International Version of the Bible uses the word “Charge”.  The New American Standard uses the word “Case”.  These latter two imply court actions.  If then this is a court scene we see GOD as the offended party; and He is also the Judge, the Prosecutor; and since there is no defense mentioned He would also be their Defense.  God has a legal case against Israel.  It is a case He will win.  A case where the guilty will in brokenness confess their guilt, turn from their evil, and seek His face, receiving His forgiveness.

In verse one through three God says all are guilty, then the priests and prophets are responsible for rejecting the Word of God, rather than teaching it, living it, and proclaiming it (vv. 4-6).  They are all condemned for leaving God to follow the harlotry of Baal (vv. 7-10).  The men are then told of their responsibility for the corrupting of their wives and daughters (vv. 13-14).  Judah [the Southern kingdom] is then called on to heed the Word of Go, and not to forsake God and His ways following other gods (vv. 15-19).

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.  Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.”  Hosea 4:1-3 (KJV)

The land is greatly polluted.  Sexual perversion and immorality always pollute the land of any nation.

God still contends with evil.  He is contending with evil even now across the United States of America, and in all nations of the world.  Sin is just as destructive today as it was in Hosea’s day; maybe more open and with greater influence; but “where sin abounds grace does much more abound”.

“Truth” is faithfulness.  Faithful to God, His Word, and His ways.  To walk in them is to walk in truth.  To walk in truth is to be faithful to His Word.  To depart from truth is to cease being kind.  “Mercy” is kindness.  When God’s people forsake His way sexual immorality increases, murders increase, all crime and criminal activities increase, and education slips into amorality.  Evil becomes good, and good becomes evil.  Because of this there is no knowledge of God in the land.  God is seen only as non-existent, unavailable, or contained in a box to be used at our own discretion and for our own pleasures.  Because of evil god is made in our own image.  He is viewed as tolerating evil, and never judging it; putting Him on equal basis with the gods of men’s hearts.  His Holiness, Righteousness, mercy, and grace are forgotten.  What need is there of mercy and/or grace if God tolerates all kinds of evil?

When people depart from God to serve the gods of their hearts “Everyone does that which is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25), the land becomes “Bloody”.  The commandments of God become useless, despised, and rejected; tossed aside as fables.

In verse two Hosea declares that at least five of the Ten Commandments had been severely broken.

There are also ecological consequences to sin.

The land cries out to God for mercy (Romans 8:22).  The man of God’s creation willfully sinned against God.  Sin causes the creation to groan.  Unless God keeps His hand of mercy on the land, then the land judges us.

The environmental crises that are known today; the upheaval of weather  patterns, in the USA, and around the world; are evidences of a gross spiritual problem.  God’s people have forsaken Him to serve the idols of pleasure, entertainment, and the sirens of comfort.  Many of the gods of our day are science, technology, money and finance.  All idols of man’s own making; leading to our destruction.

The world may laugh at such a simplistic answer, but the Bible is clear on the matter, and it is right.  Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.” (Matthew 15:16-20).  The heart of man can only be righted when man confesses his sin/departure from God, repents, and asks for, and receives God’s forgiveness.

It is not gun-control we need to stop murders, or condoms to stop STD’s and/or AIDS.  It is self-control, and especially Holy Spirit initiated self-control.  To make it real the world needs the grace, mercy, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness only His atoning death, burial and resurrection supplies.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:4-5)

No Love Like God’s Love 3

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their King; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5 (KJV)

The children of Israel are still in this stage of being without a king or a prince.  From the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon Israel ahs not been given to idolatry, they have not had a king or a prince; since the destruction of the temple (70 A.D.) their sacrifices have been abolished, and they have not had a Levite or a priest.

Hosea had placed Gomer in the disciplined lifestyle:

  1. Providing circumstances for her to respond to his love;
  2. “To convey through prophetic symbolism the deprivation into which God would bring Israel.”  From the STUDY BOOK.

This would make it possible for Israel to respond to God’s unconditional love.  While there is enjoyment in sin there is no opportunity of turning to God.

God would remove the false as well as the true.  “For many days” in verses three and four, imply a long period of time.  Probably as long as would be necessary to prepare them to return to God.

There is victory in God’s redemption.  Each of these first three chapters speak of Israel returning to God for full and completer redemption and forgiveness.  This is God’s purpose and plan for Israel and for His Church.

“Afterwards” – after the days of discipline.  After days, years, centuries, even millenniums “Israel shall return.”  There are not “Ifs” or “buts” about it.  They shall return.  They will “Seek the LORD their God”, and turn to “David their King” [fulfilled in Jesus Christ].  See Luke 1:32-33.

This prophecy has yet to take place.  It will in the Lord’s appointed time come to pass just as the prophecies forth tell.  When?  “In the last days.”

Jesus is the King of kings; rules over all the earth.  He is Lord of lords and has all things in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 012713

Introduction of I AM

Exodus 1 – 18 (6:1-8; 3:113-15)

1.  “LORD” is used 212 times in Genesis; 406 in Exodus; 1,890 times in the first five books of the Bible;  “I am the LORD” is used 17 times in Exodus; the first 15 are in the first 16 chapters.

2.  What is the significance of  “…But by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them” have in our text? (6:1-3)

A.  JEHOVAH had never revealed Himself to so many in so powerful a way as He is about to do in Egypt.

B.  Though the name was known, the character, power and glory was yet to be seen.

3.  First Moses and the children of Israel would realize His power (6:6-8; 15:26; 16:12);

4.  The Pharoah and the Egyptians will know that GOD is the LORD (7:5; 7:17; 8:22; 10:2; 14:4, 18; ).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Those Who Walk With GOD

Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.  Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?  Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? Shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?  Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.  The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”  Amos 3:1-8 (KJV)

Walking with the LORD might be considered a difficult endeavor; however, there is only one thing that it takes; and that is believing God.  Believing Him means that I agree with what He says; and without doubt, without wavering, without fear I trust everything that He says.  We must remember that He is the One who has even made it possible for man to walk with Him.

The LORD stepped down from heaven; in the person of His Son Jesus, and died for our sins.  By His death on the cross He bridged the gap that was between GOD and mankind, making it possible to walk with Him.

One of the blessings and fruits of walking with God is that He reveals “His secret” to His servants the prophets.  We are not all prophets, but through the prophets of Scripture, such as Amos we can better know GOD and walk with Him.

-T.A.

 

God’s Word Today 082112

“In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, ‘the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.  They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, ‘Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.’  My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.  All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, ‘We offend not,’ because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.  Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.” Jeremiah 50:4-8 (KJV)

For many years I have heard people talk about the “Ten lost tribes of Israel”.  That seems; with the above verses in mind; that there is no such thing.  God has the people of the Northern kingdom of Israel, and the Southern kingdom of Judah as one.  It would seem to me that they have been one since they returned from the Babylonian captivity.

-T.A.

Elijah, and the Challenge by Fire

As a young boy I can remember being fascinated by fire.  I took matches, and would set old brush piles on fire, while I got up the milk cows for milking, and watch it burn.  I never deliberatly burned anything that did not need burned, but I was still moved by watching the flames as they flickered and flared upwards.  As a teenaged boy I would go camping with friends, we would build fires for the light and the heat; and even then I was enthralled by the flames, watching it devour the wood fuel which was put on the flames.  It would seem that I am still fascinated by fire.

The name of this blogsite “FIRE” and Hammer’, which comes from Jeremiah 23:29.  And my prayer, and heart longs to see the fire of God fall on His people; and for the glory of the LORD to be revealed to the world; and it one day will.

I wrote all this to lead us to the prophet Elijah’s challenge of fire to the prophets of Baal, and the Northern kingdom of Israel.  The drought had been on the land now for about 3.5 years according to the apostle James (5:17) and Jesus (Luke 4:25); and God had told Elijah it was time for some rain (1 Kings 18:1).  The nation, however, needed to know who was sending the rain.  They could not possibly go on thinking that it was Baal who through temple prostitution, illicit behavior, music and deceptions was doing the provisions for the people.  The drought would prove nothing for the glory of the LORD to just send rain.

Elijah gives word to king Ahab,

“Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.’  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.” 18:19-20 (KJV)

Now the stage is set, the challenge is issued; the faith of Elijah is on display for all to see.  I am sure there were those who were thinking, “What is Elijah doing?  God does not work like this.”  My thoughts are “Oh Really!”  One thing Elijah was sure of and that was that those prophets of Baal were deceivers, masters of deception; and in the challenge of fire he put at least one stipulation on the trial;

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.’  And the people answered him not a word.   Then said Elijah unto the people, ‘I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.   Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:   And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.’  And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.” 18:21-24

Notice, if you will the stipulation of the challenge; “…Put no fire under”  which indicates that Elijah was pretty positive that deception was at the heart of any power the priests or prophets of Baal had.  They would put a hidden flame under their altar, than call for fire, and with some oil, fire would arise from the altar; thus amazing and deceiving the people.  He too would “put no fire under” and would depend solely upon the presence, power and glory of the LORD for the fire to come down.

The prophets of Baal built their altar without any deceptive fire; killed their sacrifice; danced and shouted with all their might; all their heart; maybe they were sincere in what they believed, but what they sincerely believed just was not true.  They finally ended up cutting themselves, bleeding they continued to plead with the god who could not hear; because he is only the god of human imagination, human evil, human greed and lusts.  The sincere efforts of the worshippers of Baal failed; they wore themselves out physically; trying to appeal to this deity of the human heart (18:25-29).

Now, it is Elijah’s chance.  He is confident in Jehovah.  Why?  Because Jehovah/YaHWeH has sent him.   He does not build a new altar, but repairs the “altar of the LORD that was broken down”.  The altar of the LORD had been neglected, and rejected, and now was being repaired by the man of GOD, and He was going to be glorified again in Israel.  You can read the rest of the story.

Let me tell you, that Elijah simply calls out to GOD; after having the altar and the offereing and the wood drenched in water; and God answers by fire from the heavens,

“Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.’  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” 18:37-38 (KJV)

“The fire of the LORD fell”  it came down from above.  The LORD He is God.  Elijah knew that.  He was much more than sincere, he was faithful to believe the word of the LORD.  Christian, revival will not come by dancing, cutting, music, and alternative styles of worship.  Revival will not come through evangelism or evangelistic efforts; which are usually nothing more than human effort, with fire under the altar; rather than the fire of the LORD.

We are called on to be faithful in worship to the LORD, loving Him through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour; the reading and study of the Word of God and prayer.  When God’s people get right with God, then there will be great preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and many trusting Him.

The fire of GOD will fall.

-Tim A. Blankenship

YAH is God

I have become fascinated with the prophet of Elijah in the past few years, and maybe so in the past few months.  He is known as the prophet of fire, and the reason for that title becomes apparent as you read the Scriptural accounts of his ministry and life.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah [YHWH]” or “YAH is God”,  and thus the title of this post.  I want to spend some time looking more into the life of Elijah who seems to just appear on the scene in the days of the rule of Ahab and Jezebel over Israel; the Northern kingdom.

“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)

The above verse is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible, but certainly not the last.  According to my check, Elijah’s name is mentioned at least 108 more times through the New Testament with thirty in the New Testament.  Being a “Tishbite” and since it seems that no one knows the location of a city by this name, then maybe the Strong’s application may be of service to us,

“tishbı̂y  tish-bee’  Patrial from an unused name meaning recourse; a Tishbite or inhabitant of Tishbeh (in Gilead): – Tishbite.”

Notice the word “recourse”, and that could apply more to the person’s; the prophet in this case; interest and heart.  Recourse meaning,

“1: a turning to someone or something for assistance or protection: Resort  2: a source of aid.”  MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

So could this not mean for us that Elijah was from Gilead, and had a burden for the children of Israel to turn to the One whom they were refusing for the protection and aid they really needed?  I think it is a great possibility.  The  prophet was a man who had a heart for God and for the Northern kingdom to turn to God.

Elijah told the king Ahab that there would be no rain, or dew until he called on the LORD God to give it.  We know from the epistle of James that was three and one half years without dew or rain (James 5:17).  Oh, how the people of God today need a heart like Elijah who will spend time with the LORD, know His heart, preach His Word, even to the kings of the earth; and tell them what God is about to do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 54 – Judged by Sin

I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin.  According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law.  Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law.  Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”.  So there is a wrong?  Who determines what is wrong or right?  You?  There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.

If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today.  When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.

My reading this morning was finishing the prophet Isaiah 63 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.

Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.  Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12).  Jeremiah is told by God,

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJV)

The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them.  He must preach what God declares unto him.  The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope.  The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not.  They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” 2:19

The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it.  They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.  ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.'” 7:1-4

It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy.  Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days.  God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place to worship Him.

Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1

We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily.  Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God.  He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing.  Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 32 – Providence

My reading today consisted of the last five chapters of Esther, and the first nine of Job.  The commentary this morning will deal solely with Esther.

Esther is a book of the Bible that never names the name of God.  God is not even mentioned in person; however the work, power and presence of God is clearly seen by those who have the eyes to see it.  There are many times in Christian life where it feels as though God is nowhere to be found; and all we have to go on is faith.

I have heard the term “Providence”, and usually speaking of the work of God in the events of mankind.  Well, if there is a Biblical case for providence, then, it can certainly be seen throughout the book of Esther.

Let me give you a list of the characters in Esther.  First there is the king, Ahasuerus, “Xerxes” in newer translations; there is the queen who is not in the story very long, but plays a prominent part in the development of the story; there is Mordecai – a Jewish captive from Jerusalem; there is Haman – an Agagite; and then there is Esther – who will be queen.

One thing that can be seen by this event in the story of Israel, its captivity, and return is that even though we may mess up, sin, and seemingly ruin our lives through disobedience we do not thwart the plan and will of God.  That can be seen in the story of Esther as well.

Let us first find out about Haman – the Agagite.  Haman was a descendant of Agag whom king Saul of Israel was disobedient to God in letting him live.  Samuel eventually kills Agag (1 Samuel 15).  For many centuries this hatred for the Jewish people had been stewing in the hearts of the family of Agag; and in this story it came to fruition.  Haman had it in his heart to rid the Persian Empire and the world of the Jewish people.

Though God is not mentioned; He had another plan.  God’s plan was to bring the children of Israel back to their Promised land; so that the Messiah and Savior of the world would one day come, and die for our sins.

Haman sets a course of action after his appointment as prominent leader in Persia.  All others were to bow to him; however Mordecai would not bow to him.  Mordecai knew who Haman was, and saw his heart.  Mordecai had also overheard a plot to assassinate the king, revealed it and the perpetrators were hanged (2:21-23).

One verse that stands out in the book of Esther is one that is well known to many of us –

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (KJV)

This occurs following the murderous plot of Haman to exterminate the Jewish people.  It is not yet known that Esther is Jewish, and Mordecai, as the uncle of Esther, is telling her that it is time to reveal the truth of her identity, for the salvation of her people.  Mordecai is asking Esther to enter the throne area of the royal house without invitation, and that in the Persian courts could be deadly, meaning immediate and sudden death, if the king did not recognize the one entering by holding out his scepter (4:11); and after three days of fasting she enters the throne room, and the king holds out the scepter (5:1-2).

The night before the banquet of Esther the king cannot sleep remembering what Mordecai had done saving his life from the plot of the two who were hanged for their assassination attempt.  Haman’s plot is known by the king, he has even given him the authority to send the message with the kings signet ring seal on the documents authorizing its execution.  The following day, however, Haman is put to humility by walking Mordecai around the streets of Jerusalem, exalting him for the great deed he has done in exposing the plat of assassination.  Haman probably realizes by now that “his goose is cooked”.

It becomes even more apparent when Esther reveals it to the king at the banquet.  Haman has built a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged; and finds himself hanging on the device of his own imagination.

God, though not named, is also a prominent presence in the book.  His hand of Providence is seen, in the elevation of Esther, a Jew, to the seat of the queen of Persia; the man despised by the Agagite is exalted to the Agagites position after his plot is foiled.  God’s people do return to Jerusalem; and the Messiah is born, dies on the cross for the sins of the world, is buried, and rises bodily from the grave conquering sin, hell and death.

Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God ever lives; that those who trust in Him might live too.

Christian take note of the Providence of God; even when you do not think He is present and working; take another look.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 31 – The King’s Cupbearer

I only wrote a bit of Nehemiah yesterday, so since my reading this morning was the rest of Nehemiah this writing will only deal with the King’s cupbearer.

My reading today began in Nehemiah 5 and extended to Esther 5.  I will deal with Esther, the Lord willing, in tomorrow’s commentary.

We are told that Nehemiah was a captive of Israel in Shushan the palace (1:1) of king Artaxerxes of Persia.  Nehemiah was the king’s “cupbearer (1:11).  This task was more than just simply carrying the cup of the king’s wine and drink.  Nehemiah was to taste the drink, then if he did not die from drinking it; because someone might be trying to assassinate the king; then, he would know that it was safe for the king.

Nehemiah was a man who had a heart for his home and people.  We see in verse 3 of chapter one that he had received word from Hanani who had returned from Judah that the remnant who had been left of the captivity were in great affliction, and it crushed his heart.

“And they said unto me, ‘The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.’  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, and said, ‘I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments: let Thine ear now be attentive, and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel Thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against Thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.'” Nehemiah 1:3-6 (KJV)  (This prayer continues to the end of the chapter).

One day as Nehemiah is serving the king his countenance was sad (2:1-3).  He receives the king’s favor, and is allowed to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.  When he arrives in Jerusalem he arises in the night and surveys the walls of the city to investigate the walls condition, and the work that would be needed to restore them.  When he tells the people of his plans.  There is some reluctance to the plan, and some outright mockery of the plan (2:19).  He tells them that “The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in  Jerusalem”; the latter part speaking to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, of course.

The work is started with the gates and the wall.  One of the things that must be doe when rebuilding something is to get the trash out of the way (4:10).

Once the work was squared away, and assignments made, and materials gathered the work on the wall was done in quick order.  They had to work with weapons on their sides and nearby.  They had a trumpeteer with Nehemiah at all times.  Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem hated the work of the Lord and His servants; and they were set to stop it.  That is the case with the servants of the devil in every age.  He is like a lion walking about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The wall is finished in 52 days (6:15).  They had a heart to work and to get the wall erected.

We need to remember that Nehemiah was a contemporary of Ezra, and we find Ezra present in the reading of the Law,

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6

In the 10th verse of chapter eight we find a verse which is very familiar to many Christians,

 “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The people had heard the Law of the LORD, and began weeping, and mourning; and they are told to not weep nor mourn, but to rejoice in that day.  It was a day to celebrate because they had returned to the worship of the LORD of hosts.

There is a need among Christians today to rejoice in the wonderful grace of the Lord.  His work of grace is more than amazing; it is glorious.  We have much to rejoice in.  The joy of the LORD is our strength.  That is what The King’s Cupbearer was rejoicing in.

Nehemiah’s final prayer is short, but shows his dependency on the God of grace and the grace of God; “Remember me, O my God, for good” (13:31).

Come to the grace of God through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus.  There is the source of joy and strength.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 27 – The Glory of the LORD Filled the House

I love reading the events where the glory of God comes down like fire, fills the house, and even the priests cannot enter, because the glory is so bright no human being can enter it in the flesh.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 24 – 2 Chronicles 8.  The seventh chapter is well known among Christians for verse 14.  A verse many of us like to memorize, quote, and pastors and preachers like to preach, but I fear it is often applied in the wrong way.  It is often applied as though it applies to the United States of America.  I do not want to destroy anyone’s hopes and dreams for our nation, but there are no promises of God in the Bible for the U. S. of A.  None.

Enough on that for now.

When we look at the first three verses of chapter 7 of Second Chronicles,

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, ‘For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.'”  2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (KJV)

King Solomon had closed his prayer, and God shows up.  Fire came down from heaven, consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  There was no room for anyone else.  Now, is it not the glory of the LORD  that all God’s children desire?  I think so.

In chapter seven when the glory of God comes down God speaks with Solomon, appearing to him (v. 12) and saying,

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (vv. 13-14)

This word from God is to Solomon and the people of Israel.  Let us be not ignorant of this; there is no promise of God to any nation on the earth, previous to today, today, or after today; other than Israel.  There is one thing for certain; the people of God are the people of God through their faith in God, and through His Son Jesus Christ.

There is certainly a principle given us in these precious words.  Promise we can rest on and apply to life.

We need the hope these words give us.  We can rest in God that He will do what is best for His people, but not necessarily for a nation.  Let us be clear on this matter;  the hope of the world is not the United States of America, Democracy, our Constitution, Bill or Rights, the Amendments to the Constitution, our President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Congress, Senate, Supreme Court or State governments.  The hope of the world lies in the hands of God through faith in His Son.  Our hope is not in the liberal agenda, the conservative agenda, the stock market, or the economy.  All of these things can and will fail and fall; but our God lives forever.

When the heavens are shut up and what we have is drought, cattle are dying, crops will not grow, wells are drying up, lakes and reservoirs are drying, and people are dying of thirst; then we had better be praying, and seeking the face of God and His glory.  When diseases are running rampant, pestilences, and plagues are destroying the land; and afflicting the people; then we better be seeking the face of our Creator, humbling ourselves before Him.  Seeking government aid is not seeking God.  That is seeking an idol

The only hope for the U. S. of A. is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and risen again bodily from the grave, seated at the Father’s right hand.  The only  hope for the world is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and bodily raised from the grave, and seated at the Father’s right hand.  He is coming again.  Be ready.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 20 – Kings Rise and Fall

The reading today was from 1 Samuel 29 thru 2 Samuel 11.  Quite interesting reading of wars, strife, the death of one king and his family; the rise of a new king, and his fall.

We see battles where people are killed.  People of Israel are destroyed by foreign kings, and by their own people.  The Bible does not “paint” us a very pretty picture of Israel, nor of mankind  in general.  That is what is so clearly a god thing concerning Scripture.  We can see clearly what we are as people.  Yet, we see that we are not without hope.  Sometimes battles are not men against men; but, rather man against himself.  Most of us if we are honest first with ourselves have inner wars and strife which we must win, before we can win the outer battles of life.  We see that in both of these kings which we look at today – Saul and David.

In chapter 29 Achish king of the Philistines goes to war against Saul and Israel.  David has befriended Achish and is about to go to war with him against Saul; but God has other things in mind.  The princes of  the Philistines reject David for fear that he could turn on them, and fight for Saul.  Achish sends David back to Ziklag where they are living with their families; and there they find the camp has been invaded by Amalekites, their women taken captive, and their goods taken as booty, and tens burned with fire.  David’s men are practically ready to stone him (30:6).

Do you not just love the heart of David?  He does not boil with rage, and run after the invaders blindly; but rather goes and seeks the face of God concerning the matter;

“And David enquired at the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.'” 30:8 (KJV)

He pursues the Amalekite raiders, found them, freed his people, recovered their goods, and we are told that “David recovered all (30:19).

King Saul and his sons, including Jonathan, are killed in the battle against the Philistines.  David’s honor is maintained throughout all this ordeal with Saul.  Remember Saul has hated David since “David killed his  ten thousands and Saul his thousands” (18:7).  Saul is now dead, and there are those who would seek David’s favor by taking the honor of killing an enemy of David.

In 2 Samuel we are told of a man who is an Amalekite who tells David, that he killed Saul (1:8-10).  David is not pleased,  and we read,

“And David said unto him, ‘How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed?’  And David called one of the young men, and said, ‘Go near, and fall upon him.’ And he smote him that he died.  And David said unto him, ‘Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, ‘I have slain the LORD’S anointed.'” 2 Samuel 1:14-16

In my understanding I see David not desiring the death of Saul, but rather his repentance and restoration to God.  Saul was God’s first anointed king of Israel.  Though he was what others including myself  might call a rascally king; he was still God’s anointed, and that is how David viewed him and why David refused to lift a hand against him.  Even to the point of distributing justice to those who claimed to have killed Saul.

David now rises to the position of God’s anointed king.  He still honors the king Saul’s son Jonathan by remembering him through Mephibosheth, and giving him all the lands of Saul (chapter 9).

The final chapter of today’s reading ends with this sentence,

“But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” 11:27b

God has promised David that He will establish his throne forever (7:12-17).  This forever kingdom will be one day realized in the return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His eternal kingdom; Jesus will rule and reign forever and forever, just as GOD had promised.

The fall of king David is not the end of God’s promise to Him.  It is not David’s goodness, his power or prowess in war, his character, his wit, or any of his works for which God rewards him; it is the grace of God that makes David’s heart;  “after God’s own heart”.

You may have fallen, but God’s promises are still true.  His grace is sufficient to redeem you, and to reclaim you.  King’s do rise and fall.  “Commoners” do as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship