Seek Good, Not Evil

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:14-15 (KJB)

In the year of 2019 and beyond it seems that it is getting more and more difficult for some to discern the difference between “Good” and “Evil”.  Our definition of each word will depend upon our source for making that determination.

If our source is the political system, Hollywood, the News media, or any other media then we will have varied, and wide, and wild interpretations of good and evil. These forms of information are dependent upon the ideologies, and hearts and minds of sometimes not so clear thinking individuals who have only love for themselves; and not truth.

Good and evil in the best understanding must be defined by God’s Word; the Person of God’s word is the Truth and He defines what is good and what is evil.  The Person of Truth is none other than the only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ.

If God’s Word tells us that something is “Good”, then it is good.  If He tells us that something is “Evil”, then it is evil.

It is quite clear from the reading of Scripture that God is good. It has been said, “God is good” and “God is good all the time” and “All the time God is good”.  Since He is good, then everything He says and does is good.

It becomes then quite clear that since God is good He is the only One who can truly define evil, what it is, and where it comes from; so when God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desparately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then we can rest assured that God knows what He is saying, that it is the truth.  We also can safely conclude that we are in need of a Savior; since we have a deceitful and wicked heart.

Amos by the word of the LORD says to “Seek good, and not evil”.  What are you seeking today.  There is good and there is evil.  Anything contrary to God and His Word is evil.  When you put your faith and trust in the work of Jesus Christ and His finished work of His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection; then your definition of good and evil will change to agreeing with God. Seek good, and not evil.  God is good.

Hear and Hold On

Hearing and Holding On – Proverbs 4:1-27

Verses 1-13 –  Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom.  Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother.  It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught.  Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.

When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error.  If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father.  Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.

Verses 14-19 –  There are two paths which each individual must choose from.  “The way of wisdom” is mentioned in verse 11.  We are shown that there are two  paths people can take.  “…The path of the wicked…” (v. 14), and “…The path of the just…” (v. 18).

The just and wise person is warned not to enter the path of wickedness.  It is the path of darkness and the way of evil men.  The path of the just is “…as the shining light…”.  The way of darkness is filled with dangerous, headlong, falls, that lead to death, destruction, deception, and eternal despair.  Most of all eternal darkness, separated from God, and His grace, mercy and love.

The path of the just is light filled with visibility.  There are falls, but the righteous can fall and rise again to continue in the way of light (Proverbs 24:16).  Decisions are made with clarity, and with a cause that will glorify the LORD.

Verses 20- 22 –  The child must give heed to the teaching of the parent’s wisdom received from God.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35 KJV

There is life and light for all who choose wisdom, justness, and righteousness.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8;  also see Psalm 16:11).

Verses 23-27 –  From the e-Sword edition of the Pulpit Commentary we find,

“WHAT IS TO BE KEPT. The heart. In the Bible the “heart” represents what we call the “head” as well as the affections and conscience to which we confine the word “heart;” i.e. it stands for the whole inner nature, the life of thought, feeling, and will. This is the “Town of Mansoul,” and it has the various constituents of a town.
1. Entrance gates. The soul is always receiving thoughts and impulses from without. It is important to see that no adulterated article, no poison, no subject of infectious disease comes in. Debased, false, and immoral impressions must be warded off.
2. Ways of exit. The broad river bears on her bosom argosies from the busy city to many a distant port. Let us see that the cargo is of good wares, in good measure, honestly realizing professions, containing no injurious things. Some hearts export only sham products, some deadly poisons. Deeds, words, even smiles and glances carrying thought and influences out of the soul must be carefully guarded.
3. Internal thoroughfares. The town is a network of streets and passages. Busy thoughts run to and fro in the heart. Let the traffic be orderly, the road well preserved, lest pure thoughts should be smirched with the mire of an unwholesome mental habit.
4. Storehouses. Memory has her treasuries, warehouses, granaries. Let us see that they are not crowded with rubbish, left in disorder, made fever nests by the corruption of any unhealthy contents. Nourishing truths and beautiful ideas should stock them.
5. Factories. In the heart we weave fine webs of fancy see that the pattern has the beauty of holiness; there, too, we forge great engines for future work see that they are constructed on safe and serviceable principles.
6. Halls of amusement. Let them be places of recreation, not of dissipation.
7. Shrines for worship. See that no idol takes the place of the true God, no hypocrisy does service for the incense of spiritual prayer and praise.
8. Graveyards of dead hopes and loves; keep them beautiful with flowers of tender memory. Are there also graves of dead sins? Plant weeping willows of penitence over them.” Pulpit Commentary; e-Sword edition

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”  Matthew 12:35

The point of verses 25 – 27 is for the just to keep their eyes open so as not to end up on the path of darkness and wickedness.   See Deuteronomy 5:32.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Will of Mercy

God’s Will Of Mercy

Romans 9:14-24

Is God unrighteous because He chooses some and not others? NO! NO! NO! NEVER! He is God. He is the Creator of all things. He is not limited in any way. If He cannot choose whom He will, then, He is not sovereign and is not God.

God told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (v. 15; Exodus 33:19). Pharoah was even chosen by God to be an instrument of God’s glory by his hardened heart (v. 17; Exodus 9:16).

Anyone rejecting God’s way will be an instrument of His glory and a vessel of His wrath. Pharoah had rejected the word of God through His servant Moses, therefore He was used in His rebellion to fulfill God’s will and glory.

God is the potter, we are the clay. If God chooses to save some, then, we ought to rejoice rather than question His character. Honest questions due to lack of understanding and knowledge are acceptable, but bringing charges by frivolous questioning; against our Maker; of unrighteous conduct is blasphemous.

God is patient and waits for “Vessels of wrath” to repent. He does this to show the “Riches of His glory”. From every tribe, tongue, and Nation He does this.

v. 14 — There is no unrighteousness in God because He chooses one rather than another. His grace and His mercy is far beyond our understanding. The only thing we should say is, “Thank You Father”;

v. 15 — Paul here quotes Moses from Exodus 33:19 establishing the Old Testament link of God’s mercy and compassion on whom He chooses;

v. 16 — Paul is reasserting the fact of God’s grace fully given in salvation. No one wills on their own to be saved. No one can pick the day they choose for salvation; that is of God alone – If you aren’t saved the day He calls, then, you could be condemned forever;

v. 17 — God chose Pharoah for His own glory to be a vessel of wrath; God had given Pharoah ample opportunity to do the right thing and let the people go, but he would not;

v. 18 — Mercy had been extended to Pharoah in God’s offer, through the word spoken by Moses, “Let My people go, that they may serve me”. God did not have to go to Pharoah in this manner, but he did in order to show mercy; after Pharoah hardened his heart to God and His Word, God hardens his heart;

v. 19 — If God does this, why are we charged with sin? If this be so does that, then, mean that God is the author of sin? NO!!! It means that sin has no authority over God; it can also mean that our own sin will be our judge (SEE Jeremiah 2:19); We are all guilty of sin. We all stand accountable to God;

vv. 20-21 — Making charges of such foolishness against God is unrighteous in itself; If you built a house and that house could question you and ask you, “Why did you make me a quarter inch off square?” It would not have a right to do so. Maybe a better question would be, “Why did you spend so much time in building me, and then, decided to live elsewhere?” God is as our potter, and we are the clay; He has power to appoint us as He wills and chooses. One can be chosen for honor, and another to dishonor;

vv. 22-24 — Within Paul’s question is much to think on. It is a lengthy question. The answer is within the question, and the previous remarks. By His mercy, He has extended the opportunity to others to come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has extended long periods of patience in mercy toward the evil ones, and given them ample opportunity to repent and believe, but they have not.

Mercy has been extended to all the world. Many seem to believe that God is not merciful, but if you could see through the eyes of mercy you could see that mercy is everywhere. When you have experienced mercy, there is mercy for others from you. God has called and chosen not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and upon whom He wills He will have compassion. Mercy = God’s not giving to us what we truly deserve; and that is His wrath.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“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.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship