Covenant Keeping GOD

“Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 16:60-63 (KJV)

The covenant God had given to Israel was through Abraham. Though the nation had been judged, was being judged, and would be judged some more God would not forget His covenant with Abraham.

The following is quoted from the Jeremiah Study Bible notes for the above verses:

As fierce and catastrophic as the coming judgment would be, God reiterates His commitment to Jerusalem to one day restore her, give her a new heart that would follow after God, and bring her once more to regional pre-eminence. We see here both God’s commitment to keep the covenant He had made with Abraham to give his descendants the Promised Land forever, and also His lavish grace in restoring Sodom and Samaria to Jerusalem as daughters, not sisters. God would provide atonement for Israel’s sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ His Son.

May all Christians rest in the peace of knowing that God is a Covenant keeping God. What He has said will not fail to come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Jesus Christ is coming again. Not to die, but to reign on the earth.

Unaltered, Unbroken

“If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments; if they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.” Psalm 89:30-34 (KJV)

The Psalm has much to do with God’s promises to the Davidic line of the kingdom of Israel. Written by Ethan the Ezrahite; possibly a Levitical singer mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:43, and 15:17-19 (From the MacArthur Study Bible note on Psalm 89: Title).

One of the things that I have noticed in the study of Scripture over the years; that there is one thing that truly stands out; and that is that God loves His people, and receives us just as we are; but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are. That is why He chastises, disciplines, and corrects us.

No one of us would ever think or say that the discipline or chastisement of the LORD is a pleasant thing; no more than we would say that when our father took us out behind the wood shed that that was a pleasant thing. We learn from our Father’s chastisement; and we should be grateful for it.

Even though God chastens His children He will never forsake us. His covenant will not be broken, neither will the thing that has gone out of His lips be altered.

Something those who claim to be Christian and God’s people need to realize in our day. God, neither His Word, neither His covenant changes with the times or the seasons. He does not change to fit the culture; neither does His Word.

God’s word is sure, stedfast, relevant for the day, and it is still powerful; and every jot and tittle will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). Stand with God, and His Word; or fall for anything.

The Paths of the LORD

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10 (KJV)

There has been much said by the Psalmist of the “paths” of the LORD. The paths, of course, are the ways we go in God’s plan for our lives. All of us go in His way. Many of them are in different ministries, and ways of serving the LORD, but they are right.

Note that the Psalmist writes that “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth…” None of them are without those two items of grace.

Contrary to some beliefs there is no separation between fact, and truth. It is in fact true that Jesus died for your sins. It is in fact true that God the Father loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins.

Note also, that “Mercy and truth” is given “Unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies”. For you to walk outside of His covenant of grace, doing your  own thing, your own will, in rebellion against God’s covenant; thumbing your nose at God and His word you are not walking in the path of the LORD, and there is no mercy or truth for you.

I choose the path the LORD has given me. I choose to walk according to His covenant, and His testimonies. I choose to live by His testimonies. After all He sent His Son Jesus to die for me. I am His.

Break Down the Barriers

“And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’S people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.” 2 Chronicles 23:16-17 (KJV)

Jehoiada was a priest of God who was zealous to bring back a son of David as king in Judah. Athaliah was an evil daughter of Omri who had tried to kill all the sons of David, because her son had died.

The proper thing to do for a Christian is to get back to God’s Word, and calling for our lives. That will mean breaking down every wall and barrier that keeps us from God, His Word, and His way for our lives.

The care of anything in our lives that distracts us from the love and worship of the only true God through His Son Jesus Christ is a “Baal”; a false god, and idol; that is used by the enemy [the devil] to ruin our fellowship with God.

If you have a “Baal” in your life destroy it. Put it away. Break down the altars and its images and go to the only One who is the image of the invisible God. That One is Jesus who bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from death. Check out these New Testament passages: 2 Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 4:25, 31)

The Redeeming Love of God (2) continued…

GOD Pursues the Redemption of His Wife (Continued…)

The conclusion of this study will include verses 14 – 23 of Hosea 2.

 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.  And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me Ishi; and shalt call Me no more Baali.  For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.  And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.  And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.  I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.”  Hosea 14-20 (KJV)

There are many times that we think of God’s judgment as only being punitive – to punish.  It is so much more.  It is also redemptive.  It is God’s desire to have His people in the place of blessing, and He gets His people to blessings by both punitive and redemptive judgment.

In verse 14 God says He will “allure her”.  This is  to attract her to Himself (Romans 2:4).  Why would God, who is “Beautiful in holiness”, rich in glory, and worthy of praise, want to attract this people who were in effect, in a state of whoredoms against Him?  That is what His grace is all about.  Loving the unlovable.  Cleansing the unclean.

How would God “allure”, attract her?

  1. By taking here as His “Wife” again;
  2. By speaking “comfort to her”  [these would be words of love, romance, telling her of her beauty. This loving comfort would even cause her to forget her former lovers];
  3. By restoring her fruitfulness.

“The Valley of Achor” is the place of Achan’s sin (See Joshua 7).  God had commanded Israel not to take any accursed thing for themselves; as they conquered Jericho.  The silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron were for the LORD’S treasure house.  Achan disobeyed and kept a “Babylonish garment” and a “Wedge of gold” which he buried in his tent.  Because of this rebellion by one man, and his family the nation lost a battle that should have been won.

We learn from this story that harboring sin is futile to God’s people.  Taking to ourselves what God forbids is harlotry against God.  Yet God says through Hosea, that “The Valley of Achor [is] as a door of hope”.  “When Israel embraced the Baals, she took what God had cursed just as Achan did in taking the spoils of Jericho.  Their sin had brought terrible destruction upon them, their children, and their land.  Its transformation would be a token of the eternal blessings they would enjoy from now on.”  (From Hosea: God’s Reeeming Love by John Traylor pp. 23&24).

A place where a man and his family judged for sin becomes “A door of hope”.  There was a man who was judged that is our place of hope.  The cross of Jesus, and ugly, despicable judgment, is the only hope mankind has.  Because Achan died Israel became victorious.  Achan died for his own sins.  Jesus “Became sin” for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and died, making victory possible for all who will believe.

What love God has for His people.  In verse 2 God said, “She is not My wife, nor am I her Husband!”  In verse 16 He says, “You will call Me ‘My Husband’ and no longer “My Master’.  Before Israel in their harlotries were recognizing God equally with the Baals.  Baali equals “master”, making her a slave [a slave to sin] (See Romans 6:16).  God says, “You will no longer be a slave, you will be My Wife, and I  your Husband.”

God was going to make their love for Him so great that they would forget about the Baals, and their names.  God’s covenant with Israel would be an eternal covenant.  Their land would be blessed.  The beasts of the field would even be a blessing to them (v. 18).

She would no longer be unfaithful, but holy and righteous unto God.  It is God’s work, and they would know that God is the LORD (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.  And I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, ‘Thou art My people; and they shall say, ‘Thou art my God.'” Hosea 21-23 (KJV)

God declares that He is God over the earth.  He controls the rain, the wind, the plague, and the harvest – good and bad.  For some reason many Christians have stopped believing this, and it is partly due to our technology; whereby  we are sadly mistaken.  Technology is good as far as it goes; but God is still God.  Not one meteorologist or scientist can make our weather or take it away, they can only make predictions and maybe explain how it happened; nothing more.

Because of Israel’s departure and adultery God had withdrawn His blessings, mercy and grace so they might see His grace, and their evil ways more clearly.  Now, God is preparing to return His blessings upon them; the blessings of mercy and grace.  They had no mercy, but they will;  they experienced no grace, but now they would receive it and see it.  They would be His people; who were not a people.  They would proclaim “You are my God.”

“The love of God is greater far, than pen or tongue can ever tell.”

The ultimate and final blessing for Israel is yet to come.  Even so Come Lord Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Once a Curse… Spurgeon

The following is from Bible Gateway daily,

Once a curse but now a blessing

‘And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.’ Zechariah 8:13

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:13–24

In the dark ages, to be a Jew was to be deserving of all scorn and cruelty, and of no pity or consideration. To what exactions, to what fines, to what imprisonments and tortures, have not the sons of Jacob been subjected by the professed followers of the Messiah? It is perhaps the greatest of all modern miracles, that there should be one Jew upon earth who is a Christian, for the treatment they have received from pretended Christians has been enough to make them hate the name of Jesus; it has not been simply villainous, but diabolical. Devils in hell could not be more cruel to their victims than professed Christians have been to the sons of Abraham. They have been a curse indeed. Among all nations they have been a hissing and a byword. But the day is coming, and is dawning already, when the whole world shall discern the true dignity of the chosen seed, and shall seek their company, because the Lord has blessed them. In that day when Israel shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for their sins, the Jew shall take his true rank among the nations as an elder brother and a prince. The covenant made with Abraham, to bless all nations by his seed, is not revoked; heaven and earth shall pass away, but the chosen nation shall not be blotted out from the book of remembrance. The Lord has not cast away his people; he has never given their mother a bill of divorcement; he has never put them away; in a little wrath he has hidden his face from them, but with great mercies will he gather them.

For meditation: We should thank God for the Jews; through them he gave us his Word (Romans 3:2; 9:4) and his Son (Romans 9:5); he still has blessings to give to the world through them (Romans 11:12). If you blame them for Christ’s death, remember that he died for sinners, and that you, as a sinner, were also responsible.

Sermon no. 543
6 December (1863)

O what a blessing the Jewish people have been to the Christian and the world.  They have been used by God to provide us the Word of God, and our Lord and Saviour has come through them.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Know the LORD

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know Thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.  They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”  Hosea 8:1-4 (KJV)

Hosea is speaking to the people who claim to be God’s children.  Those who claim to know God, “My God, we know Thee.”  Yet, they do not keep His law.  They do not heed His word.

The LORD counts it a vile, wicked and unruly thing for those who claim to know Him, and do not obey His law, nor keep His Word.  There is judgment for those who claim to be God’s people, yet live as the people of the earth.

GOD is full of mercy and grace which is found and received only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Be saved today.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081512

And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD; ‘If ye can break My covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.’  Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the LORD hath chosen, He hath even cast them off? Thus they have despised My people, that they should be no more a nation before them.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.”  Jeremiah 33:19-26 (KJV)

-T.A.

Day 56 – Diminish Not a Word

The prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet to Judah and Israel was a hard word to preach.  It was especially so for a man who loved his people, and his nation; however, it was the word of the LORD, and Jeremiah was going to proclaim it, and it would be better for the people to have listened.  It is still so in the 21st century among God’s people; good to listen to the Word of the LORD.

Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”  Jeremiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

He was also to never cut short or lessen the words of promise given by the LORD.  This prophecy is full of promises from God as well as warnings.  There are so many who lessen the promises of God to Israel.  Make them only good for them as long as the nation believes like they think they ought to believe; lives as they think they ought to live.

Let us look at some of those promises.  My reading this morning took me from chapter 25 – 38.

The nation had forsaken the LORD and His Word refusing to hear the words of the prophets, including the warnings of Jeremiah; and they would suffer for it by going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being burned to the ground, the temple being destroyed, and defiled.  It happened just as Jeremiah, by the Word of the LORD, said it would.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, ‘that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.'” 31:27-28

Despite the fact that God was going to judge them, He wanted to assure them, that just as surely as He was going to tear down, He would also bring them back,and build them up again.  He goes on and says in verse 34, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Just how good, how strong, how enduring is the covenant of God with Israel/Judah?

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” 31:35-37

And the prophet by the Word of the LORD says again,

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.” 33:19-22

Just as the Word of the LORD for punishment, chastisement cannot be diminished so too is it true of His promises.  Hear again,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.'” 33:25-26

The Word of the LORD is sure, it is true, it is eternal; and not one word shall be diminished.  The LORD will accomplish every word of it.  He will be glorified, and all the world shall know that He is GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 53 – The Word of God Shall Prosper

There are many times there is debate over the meaning of God’s Word.  Even Christians, at times, debate over whether something is “Literal” or “Figurative” or allegorical.  For me if God was speaking literal about the first coming of Jesus, and He came just as He has proclaimed; then when He speaks of the second coming of Jesus; it too will be just as He proclaimed.  There is no argument, or debate about it; it is already sealed.

My reading this morning was Isaiah 49 – 62; and my what an exciting read it was; and it is.  By the time I was finished with my reading I was anxious for the return of Christ, and I am waiting and living just as if it might be today.  How about you?

My verse of thought today is,

“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (KJV)

I have heard people; even some preachers tell that the second coming of Jesus is when a person is has their new birth experience with Jesus Christ; or maybe when that person’s body ceases to live, “Jesus has come again to take them home”.  Now that could partially be true; however, if that is all there is to the second coming of Jesus we have truly missed something.

I know people and religions which believe that Jesus Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth, He has returned.  My question to those who believe that is, Where is Jesus?  Where is the Righteous rule of the King?  Where is Justice that is promised by the verses I read today?  Why is Israel still being threatened and attacked, almost daily?  Why has Israel not repented, believed in Jesus Christ and followed Him if Jesus is here?

The LORD’s purpose in casting Israel away, was not to forsake them but to redeem them.

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,’ saith the LORD.  ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ saith the LORD; ‘My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed,’ saith the LORD, ‘from henceforth and for ever.'” 59:20-21

“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.  Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” 60:15-16

When Jesus Christ comes again what a wonderful blessing God has in store for Israel and the whole world of those who will humble themselves before Him, trust Him and believe;

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.” 57:15-16

We can look at our world today and see that there is no peace; and if we are honest in believing the Word of God we can also see that there will be no peace on earth until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace comes, and fully redeems His people, for all time and eternity.  The word of God shall not return to Him void, and it shall prosper in the thing where He sends it.

-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

 

Charles H. Spurgeon 081411

The following is the evening reading from C. H. Spurgeons MORNING AND EVENING devotional readings for August 13.  It is about God’s memory.

Evening …

Genesis 9:15
‘And I will remember My covenant.’

Mark the form of the promise. God does not say, “And when ye shall look upon the bow, and ye shall remember My covenant, then I will not destroy the earth,” but it is gloriously put, not upon our memory, which is fickle and frail, but upon God’s memory, which is infinite and immutable. “The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” Oh! it is not my remembering God, it is God’s remembering me which is the ground of my safety; it is not my laying hold of His covenant, but His covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! the whole of the bulwarks of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we may imagine might have been left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget, but our Lord cannot forget the saints whom He has graven on the palms of His hands. It is with us as with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all His elect, since it is impossible for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in Him. No, it is not left with us even to be saved by remembering the covenant. There is no linsey-wolsey here-not a single thread of the creature mars the fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, but of the Lord alone. We should remember the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our safety does not hang there-it is God’s remembering us, not our remembering Him; and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant.

I pray it is a blessing to your heart and life today

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Renewed Covenant

Abraham’s faith is really amazing.  He believes God to within inches of taking the life of his son Isaac.  We must not overlook, though, the faith of Isaac; the trust he places in his father, and in God.  The two, father and son have gone that journey up the mountain which the LORD told Abraham of, and they have gone alone.

The man of faith built the altar, tied the hands and feet of his son, laid him on the wood, then took the knife to slay his only promised son.  His hand is stayed by the angel of the LORD; and the LORD speaks to Abraham:

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” Genesis 22:15-19 (KJV)

The “angel of the LORD” speaks as being the LORD Himself.  “By Myself have I sworn…”.  The beginning covenant is renewed.  His son has been restored to him, and totally given to the LORD at the same time.  He gave up what he could not keep to gain what he could never lose.  This “angel of the LORD” is most certainly, again, the preincarnate manifestation of the Living Word of God; the Son of God who would become flesh and dwell among us.  He spoke as God, for God, because He is God.  This was no created being who was speaking; this was God speaking.  This was God who spoke with authority.  It was God who made, and renews the covenant with Abraham.

It is sad to see that in our day many nations are turning against Israel, the people who have been given this covenant.  In the end it will mean certain judgment upon any and all nations who will not be a blessing to Israel.  All the nations have been blessed through Israel.

It is through Israel that we have the written word of God; from Genesis through the Revelation these have been written and preserved by the people of Israel; their priests, prophets, kings, fishermen, with the exception of maybe one; and that is the doctor Luke who penned down the Gospel of Luke, and the book of  “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” or “Acts”.  We have also received from Israel the One who has done more for Israel and the nations of the world than all the men and women who have ever lived; and done more for every individual who has ever lived – He is Jesus.

The final verse of our text for today tells us that only Abraham returned to the servants who were left while Abraham and Isaac went to the mountain top alone.  Where is Isaac?  There is another picture given us here by the silence, and the absence of Isaac in the text.  He is not mentioned, nor seen again until chapter 24.  There Isaac is mentioned as father Abraham and his servant prepare to find a bride for him.

The picture given is of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ from the grave, ascended to glory in the  presence of His Father, while the Father and the Servant who glorifies our Lord, seeks for Him a bride.  Isaac is not seen again in the text until Genesis 24:62-67, and it is when Rebekah is brought to him to be his bride.

The Father  and the Holy Spirit are working today in the absence of our Lord Jesus preparing a Bride for our Savior, the Son of the Living God.  While He is absent from us in body, we; those of us who know Him; have the promise of His soon appearing to claim His chosen Bride.  We are daily being prepared to appear before Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jerusalem… The Throne of the LORD

Jerusalem… The Throne of the LORD

The LORD in the previous verses has spoken through the prophet to plead with Israel to return to Him. It will require them to put away their idolatry, to renew their hearts and their lives in Him. The LORD even says, “I am married to you.” (v.14). The promise is for them when they return. The problem is they have not yet returned to Him. They one day will; by God’s own promise and assurances.

“Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,’ says the LORD, ‘that they will say no more, ‘ The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore. At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.” Jeremiah 3:16-18 (NKJV).

If you will note this promise is conditional upon their return to Him, from their state of a backsliding heart. I have stated it before and will state it again here, though this is not my own: I think Charles H. Spurgeon has been credited with this statement, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.” The southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel, since the reigns of Rehoboam and Jereboam, are the children of God, or the nation of God’s choosing. If you will read all of the Old Testament from the Exodus through the book of Malachi, you will find God’s hand of correction, and discipline on the two kingdoms. In them we have examples of what the Christian’s life should be like and God’s discipline upon us when we rebell and sin against Him.

The LORD’s words spoken through the prophet are spoken as an already completed thing. It is completed in the mind of God. When God says something is going to come to pass it is as good as done. You will notice that He says, “When you are mutltiplied and increased in the land…”. It is an already decided and an already accomplished event; it just needs worked out in the people’s hearts and lives. There would be coming a time when the people were going to be carried away to Babylon, and in 70 years they would return. In this return they would return as one nation once again, but this promise has much more prophetic influence than just that fulfillment. The children of the nation of Israel, are still missing the ark of the covenant; they are even looking forward to the return of the ark of the covenant.

Even when Cyrus king of Persia made proclamation for the “house of the LORD” to be built in Jerusalem, and after Nehemiah was given permission to go and rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem, the people were still in bondage to a foreign power. Even in the day of Jesus they were still under the powers of the Roman government. Since the Babyloninan captivity they have not really been free. In our day, though they are supposedly a free nation, they are still under the rule of Gentile governments. The United Nations and the United States of America are pretty much their ruling nations.

There will come a day when Messiah reigns in Jerusalem. That in the time and the day they will no longer be depending on the representative power and presence of the Lord, ie., the ark of the covenant; but they will have the real, full, and glorious power and presence of the LORD in person. He will be their king. How is it that some Christians want to take these promises and spiritualize them, and make them for the church? This promise has not happened yet. It has not been fulfilled. It is yet to be fulfilled; and to the letter. The amillennialist would have us believe that these events have already occured and the promise is fulfilled in the Church. The thing is, this prophecy had nothing, has nothing to do with the Church. It has to do with the people of Israel. It is dealing with a real people, in a real land, with a real city of Jerusalem; not a figurative one.

The children of Judah and Israel did come back from Babylon, after seventy years, just as Jeremiah had prophesied; but they have never had free rule of the land. It has been ruled by other nations for centuries. When, however, Jesus sits as king on “The Throne of the LORD”, then will all the nations be gathered into it. It won’t be so that they can rule, but so that they can worship the King. Jerusalem will be The Throne of the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Walk of Faith

The Walk of Faith

“And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.” Genesis 17:23-27 (KJV).

Abraham follows the LORD in the obedience of faith. Faith is not to gain favor with God, but is the gift of God, and because of favor with God. God always takes first initiative. If it were left up to us we would never reach up to Him.

Abraham’s faith was an implicit obedience. He did as God had said to Him. He asked no reason why.

It was a speedy obedience. It was done “in the selfsame day”. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When we have God’s direction to do something that is the time to act, and do it. Do not let the sun set on your God given direction.

It was total obedience. He did not excuse himself – he too was circumcised. He passed the seal of the covenant of faith to the rest of his family and all those who would follow him.

The head of the Christian family, who is faithful to Christ, will lead his family, and his associates in the ways of the faith.

Walking with God is of great importance for the Christian. We can learn much about this walk by this portion of Scripture dealing with the eternal covenant of God. Earlier there was mentioned four different types of “Walking With God”. You can see them in this text. 1. Walk before God; 2. Walk after God; 3. Walk with God; 4. Walk in God. The first as that child running ahead of the father closely watched and protected, and the last being to walk in union with God – His thoughts being our thoughts, His ways being our ways, His desire being our desires. All Christians are somewhere in these walks with God. If you are not walking with Him you are not on His journey. Get on it.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A New Name

New Names

“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Genesis 17:2-5 (KJV)

“And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” Genesis 17:15-16 (KJV)

These verses belong together due to the name changes and the life changes of both Abraham and Sarah. We have been told that one day all who are in Christ will receive a new name (Revelation 2:17; 3:12).

Worship was not something that was unfamiliar with Abraham. Most of the places he settled in for any length of time had the altars he had built. The first one we have record of was when he first entered the land of Canaan. It was a place God came to him with promise (12:6-7). He built another altar between Bethel on the West and Hai (Ai of Joshua 7) on the East. Bethel is the “house of God”, and Ai is the flesh. The Spirit verses the flesh. We are, as Christians, constantly at battle against the flesh. We find ourselves in this world fighting, struggling, and sometimes feeling defeated, yet we are victors through our Lord Jesus Christ. When one comes to faith in God through His Son a new name is given. The worship of God for the believer is not unfamiliar. It is, in fact, an everyday occurance.

This is God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that they are going to be the proud parents of a bustling baby boy. He will indeed be one to make them laugh. He is the son of promise. “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12; Romans 9:7). Thus, God has renewed the covenant He made with Abraham from the beginning. God has made all things new through His Son Jesus Christ.

When an individual comes to Jesus Christ, trusting Him and Him alone as their personal Lord and Savior, they are given a new name.  It is written down in heaven, and no one knows it at the present but the Lord.  It will be given to those who believe when we see Him face to face.  A New name that gives the glory to the Lord Almighty.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Noah

Noah, and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

The covenant God made with Noah was also for the earth, and all of creation. At the end of the covenant God says, “This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” It was in fact a promise of redemption for all the earth.

We also have this passage of Scripture in the New Testament letter, written by Paul, named Romans. In the eighth chapter, Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ writes,

“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that he whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (vv.20-23)

Since the sin – the fall – of Adam and Eve the earth, and all creation has experienced death pangs. What so called scientists are using to measure the age of the earth, are mostly signs of an earth that has been under judgment for six to ten thousand years. Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, high straight winds, the crumbling of the ice packs are all signs of an earth that is groaning in its death pangs. It is all due to the sin of mankind, and it will one day be redeemed by the coming of the Lord Jesus back to earth.

Before we continue with this let’s back up and look at the beginning of the historic life and journey of Noah. In Genesis five we find Noah in a genealogical line from Adam, and ends with Noah. Of Noah we find these words, “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth.” Noah’s name means rest. It was in the days of Noah that the Lord would pour out His wrath on a sinful and disobedient world. It was revealed to Enoch who is mentioned in verse 24, and his son Methuselah’s birth was most likely the means by which God got Enoch’s attention and devotion.

Since this is about God’s covenant with Noah we need to get back to the issue of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Is the Millennial reign of Christ mentioned in the covenant? Not in the clearest way, but maybe in type, and by the promise. It is not specifically named as a “Millennial reign” or “one thousand years” or “a thousand years”, but by example.

In the first place why would God choose to save humanity, and mankind? It was due to His promise to Adam and Eve, and according to His eternal plan to deliver mankind from death, and evil. This would take the birth of a man who would live solely for God, fulfill His Word and will for His life; and then, even obey God to the extent of providing a substitutionary death for the redemption of mankind and all of creation. God created all that is for His own glory, and the man was His crowning achievement.

In the beginning when God was creating; He began with the planets and stars. He made a space for man to dwell, before He made the man. Some might think, “God sure wasted a lot of space”. I cannot see it that way at all. God waste nothing. The open space is there for us to see, to enjoy and to stand in awe of the Creator who is Himself so vast and huge, that we could possibly know someone so amazing, and worthy of worship. When God placed all the planets in place, giving them the correct and desired order of orbit, rotations, and revolutions. Placing the earth within just the right distance from the sun to warm the earth for the life which would be created here. Plants were created after their kind. Animals were created after their kind, and last of all one made in the image and likeness of God was made from the dust of the earth. And God made him a living soul. An eternal being who was not meant to die, but live forever. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). It was intended that man was to have dominion over the earth. The millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be the fulfillment of all of the promises.

Jesus said, ” But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 (KJV). The Lord will not allow this earth to continue in wickedness, and rejection of Him. Right now sin is its own judgment. Jeremiah the prophet speaks of one’s personal wickedness correcting them; “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee…” (Jeremiah 2:19). Jesus will come again when evil has reached its peak, its heyday, its worst, and chaos has ruled the day. Deliverance will come by Jesus Christ in His glorious appearing, with His saints, evil will be crushed, and His kingdom on earth will be established; with His reign from Jerusalem.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come soon.

by Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Covenant with Himself

God Covenants with Himself

“And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” Genesis 15:7-21 (KJV)

This is a rather lengthy passage of Scripture, but I hated to separate, because they are on one great event in the life of Abram. God here reassures Abram that this land of Canaan would be his heir’s possession. His question was “How shall I know that I shall inherit it?” The LORD tells Abram a way to receive a sign from Him in order that he may be assured of the promise.

A three year old heifer, a three year old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon were to be brought before the LORD with the heifer and the ram cut in half, and the birds not divided. This was a sacrifice with which God was going to do something special.

After Abram gets these animals divided and the birds laid out as per the LORD’s requirements, then, some birds descend down on the sacrifices. In my thinking it would seem to be vultures which are always after an easy meal, and in fact, are designed by God to be the clean up birds of nature’s dead. It could have also been ravens or eagles of some kind. It does not matter what kind it was. Abram knew that these sacrificial animals was not for the birds, they were for an offering to the LORD. Abram drove them away.

There are all kinds of vile and evil “birds” who flock around to steal away the sacrifice of God. The sacrifice of a devoted heart and life can be ruined by the bird of distraction. It is the vile and evil birds who like to nest in the kingdom of our Lord, and blow up the numbers of the membership of the local church. It is the evil birds who will try and take the devoted hearts with comfort and good works and steal away the true worship of the Creator (Matthew 13:31-32). It is the man of Gods’ position to stand guard over the sacrifice of God to keep the vile and unclean birds away.

Evidently, after the birds had all left, and the sun was going down, Abram went to sleep. It was different kind of sleep than just normal sleep. This sleep is likened to the sleep the LORD put on Adam as Eve was made from his rib. It is also likened to the sleep which Jonah took when he fled from the LORD on board the ship to Tarshish. The Scripture says, “A deep sleep fell upon Abram”, and an “Horror of great darkness fell upon him”. We are not told what this great horror is, but it could be what he saw in the vision. In the vision Abram learned what was going to happen to his posterity in the following few hundred years. Abram’s heirs would be strangers in a foreign land, and would be the servants of this foreign land; and would be afflicted in servitude for 400 years. Would any of us like it if the LORD were to show us what was going to happen to our posterity over the next few hundred years?

In giving Abram this vision, God was assuring him that they would possess this land of Promise. It would not be without affliction though. Abram was also assured that the land of their captivity would also be judged, and the people who came from Abram would leave that land of servitude with much wealth. Abram is given assurace that he will die in peace in a good old age. In the fourth generation of his people in the land of captivity they would come out as God has said. God is the God of grace and mercy. With the Amorites; the one’s who are at this time present in this land; God gives them several hundred years to change their ways, repent and turn to Him. When they do not their time has been filled, then, the descendants of Abraham will come and, cleanse and possess the land.

The present condition of the land of Canaan with Abram is vile, and wicked, and awaits the day when holiness shall come in. This land also represents the hearts of mankind. The land of our hearts need redeemed, cleansed, and possessed by pure hearts, right with God. Hearts made right and pure only by the grace of Almighty God.

There was a “smoking furnace”, and a “burning lamp” which passed between these pieces. This in a substantive picture is the very presence of God walking in the midst of these pieces making covenant with Himself concerning His promises to Abram. It is possible that the “smoking furnace” and “burning lamp” are symbols of the affliction of the children of Israel in bondage. Though it is not mentioned in this text it is quite possible that these two fiery items burned up the sacrifices, and sealed the covenant with God and Himself. In this promise of the land there is nothing required of Abram. Though this covenant is made on Abram’s behalf the covenant is with God, and certainly God will not go back on a promise He has covenanted with Himself; nor will He with us. ” For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” Hebrews 6:13 (KJV). You can trust the LORD, His Son and His Word. There was another covenant made between the Father and the Son; and that was the covenant of the cross. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is our guarantee of Heaven. The eternal reward for all who believe His Son.