When No One Else Does…

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 (KJB)

Micah saw many who professed the name of the LORD who were not faithful to the LORD in His word.  They were afflicted yet turned to other sources of help. Micah says,

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD…” The Lord GOD is my help. He is my Salvation. I will wait – I will trust in Him, even if no one else does.  God will hear me.

 

Therefore I will look unto the Lord — as if no one else were before mine eyes. We must not only “look unto the Lord,” but also “wait for Him.” Having no hope from man (Mic_7:5, Mic_7:6), Micah speaks in the name of Israel, who herein, taught by chastisement (Mic_7:4) to feel her sin (Mic_7:9), casts herself on the Lord as her only hope,” in patient waiting (Lam_3:26). She did so under the Babylonian captivity; she shall do so again hereafter when the spirit of grace shall be poured on her (Zec_12:10-13).” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

“Things had come to an awful pass in the favored city. Oppression, bribery, and bloodshed, were everywhere in the ascendant. Men wrought evil with both hands. Husbands could not trust their wives. At such a time there is no refuge for God’s children save in God, Mic_7:7-13.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY by F. B. Meyer on Micah 7:7-13

Your only hope and help for salvation is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Call on His name today. He will hear you, save you and change your life for His glory.

Would You Like a Visit From The LORD?

“Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me, saith the LORD.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of My people? Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: ‘shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?'” Jeremiah 9:6-9 (KJB)

My answer to the title question is; Not the kind of visit verse 9 is speaking of.  I enjoy and I am blessed when I really see that God has come visiting me. Yes! I know He is with me always.

We need to see a few things about the above verses…

  1. God is speaking to Jeremiah in verse six of the kind of people he is living among;
  2. God is grieved with the people of Judah and Israel because of their lies, deceit, their hypocrisy in worship;
  3. God is grieved because of their personal hypocrisies with one another;
  4. God says that He will come visit them (meaning of course in judgment) if they do not change their ways.

These thoughts lead me to ask,,,

  1. What about the people where I live and what about me; How is my relationship with God and my neighbor?
  2. Do I live honestly with my neighbor, and remember that they also are a people made in the image of God?
  3. Is there anything in our lives that resembles false worship? Do we have a passion for something else more than God; forsaking the assembling of ourselves with other believers in Christ Jesus; or maybe assembling but living a different life the other days?
  4. Do we want the visitation of God on us for the kind of living that does not honor and glorify Him?

No! We cannot live a sinless life. We can live a redeemed life because of the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is God’s greatest, and gracious visitation to all Adam kind.

What To Do When Evil Surrounds Us

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (KJB)

Christians who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Have you ever been laughed at because of the simplicity of your faith in  Christ, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to cleanse, to heal, to redeem, and get us into the presence of Holy God? Have you ever been threatened for your faith in Him? How about beaten and maybe left for dead?

Evil abounds in this world. Anyone who has eyes and ears knows there is evil in this  world; and it is in the hearts of the people who live on this planet.  As Christians we must guard our own hearts and minds through the word of God and prayer.

The Apostle tells us that “Evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse…” The evil ones are not only those who would do us physical harm; but also those who would do us spiritual harm by teaching lies, deceiving, and themselves being deceived.

So what do we do when evil surrounds us?

  1. Remember the things you have been taught from Scripture;
  2. Continue in those things applying them to your life, living for Jesus Christ and standing on His word;
  3. Always remember that those teachings you have learned in the word are the words of wisdom and for your salvation;
  4. There is absolutely no instruction to identify (to participate) with the world around us.

Always remember the gospel – the good news is – that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and He rose again.

Except In the Cross

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teaches in all good things.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.  For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
You see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.  As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Galatians 6:1-18

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 4:22; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Romans 2:6; 6:6; 12:3; 15:27; Galatians 2:3; John 9:4; Matthew 24:13; Job 13:9

From Whence does Your Strength Come?

Shiloah Baptist Church

Read about Samson in Judges 14 – 16…

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, ‘O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'”  Judges 16:28 (KJB)

The man knew from whence his strength came.  Do you?  We often give credit to our physical health, and weight lifting, and exercise. We have even been known to give all the credit to doctors and such. Samson may have thought it came from his hair.

Samson was probably a strong man physically, but he was not a “Super power”.  He had been give a gift from God, and from birth.

His parents only child.  He was promised to them by the LORD, and they took the Nazarite vow for him, which included never cutting his hair, and…

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Deception

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 7 – 9 today…

“…And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.” Joshua 9:25 (KJB)

Please be sure you read all of chapter nine.

Part of the responsibility of the deception lay in the hands of the leaders of Israel.  A deception from a people of the land of Canaan, Hivites from Gibeon, plotted this deception to be at peace with Israel.

God’s word was for Israel to destroy all the inhabitants of the land.  So far doing this had been no problem for them.  Now, however, some Hivites from no too far away in the land had come with deception of living far away – out of Canaan – and sought peace with God’s people for fear of destruction.

What could these people of Israel, Joshua and the leaders of Israel, have done?  The…

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Check Things Out – Pray

Making decisions involving others is not an easy task.  There are people out to take advantage of you, to get all they can get from you.  The Great and Awesome God who has made all things gave us a mind and heart to use, but we do need help at times.

I want to take  us today to an event in the life and leadership of Joshua and Israel after they had conquered Jericho, been defeated by Ai due to their sin, conquered Ai after dealing with the sin in their midst.

There was a tribe of people from Gibeon who were inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and tried to deceive Joshua into believing they were from a land outside of Canaan.

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: and these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:11-14 (KJV)

These Hivites had heard of the victories of Israel on the other side of Jordan; the defeating of Sihon and Og.  They were frightened for their lives, and practiced deceit to win their lives.  Not any different than many people today.  “Whatever it takes”  we will often do to save our own lives, and that of family.

The sentence of the verses above I want us to focus on is verse 14…

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders took their word, their food, as a gift of assurance that they were from outside Canaan.  Had they prayed, and asked the LORD’S counsel the outcome would have been much different.

These Gibeonites would eventually be found out; made servants for Israel; and would be a pain, sorrow, and thorn in the side of the people of God.

When it comes to dealing with others; making deals, promises, and such we ought always go to God in prayer first.  Prayer should not be the last resort; it should be the first thing we do when making decisions of life’s importance.

Jesus said…

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Pray.  Seek God’s counsel.  Always.

The Value of the Mind when Dealing with People and Things

“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Proverbs 20:12-17

Some thoughts on these verses from Proverbs 20…

Verse 12 – While verse twelve seems to stand alone by telling us who made the ear and the eye verses 13 – 17 deal with wealth. The ear allows us to hear and learn. The eye allows us to see, learn, and enjoy what we see.

One who loves sleep will never be wealthy; nor will they ever be a happy, satisfied individual (v. 13).

In order to get something at a lower price the buyer will make little of an article they desire; then after the purchase build up the item, and make much of the value, and his/her cheap purchase (v. 14).

There is value in rubies; there is “Precious” value in the “Lips of knowledge” (v. 15).

The use of collateral was a part of early systems of finance; even one’s garment. Receiving collateral is good advice if one secures a debt for another; especially if the other person is an immoral individual (v. 16). The wisest thing to do is to refuse to be a co-signer for someone, especially one you may see as foolish with their money.

Deceit may be “sweet” at the beginning but in the end it will be like “gravel” (v. 17).  Neither deceiving, or being deceived is pleasant; so let us be wise in being truthful.

When a man or woman is truthful with God, that is, trusting Him, believing Him, His Word and His Son; then we will be also with others.  We can trust the Lord. He has given us the greatest gift; and that is our redemption through the cross of Jesus.

Believe Jesus, and you can begin trusting God to have His way with you in this world.

The Human Heart

Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.”  You can; if you have eyes to see; look around and see that there is a heart problem in the human race.  I am not speaking of the blood pumping heart, but the heart of feeling, that fears, that grieves, that loves and hates.

The prophet Jeremiah said…

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)

The answer to the prophets question is – Only God knows.

The verses in Proverbs for today…

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:1-9 (KJV)

Some words and thoughts to consider.

– “Preparations of the heart in man” and “The answer of the tongue” are both “from the LORD”. V. 2 – “Ways of man…” but “The LORD weigheth the spirits”.

All the plans of men (James 4:13-15) are only successful through the directions of the LORD. Good plans are from the LORD, and will be successful. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).

There are many times we think we are doing good and clean things; but our hearts may yet be doing an evil deed. God alone, and maybe, the individual knows the heart and motives.

– “Commit”, “Works”, “Thoughts”, “Shall be established”. Some words to think on in verse 3.

“Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,” YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Verses 4-6 – “The LORD has made all things for Himself”, “The wicked”, “Proud in heart”, “Abomination to the LORD”; “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged”, and “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

On a certain day in time all that have refused God’s Christ will glorify God in their judgment. Departing from evil because one sees it as offensive to the holiness and righteousness of GOD. It [Evil] is seen, by one who fears the LORD; as being a sour and bitter thing.

Verse 7 – See Revelation 3:9; Isaac and Abimelech, Genesis 26; Jacob and Esau, Genesis 33. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Hebrews 11:6

Verse 8 – The attitude of the heart of man with “Little” of material things, righteous in the LORD; contrasted to “Great revenues” without righteousness.

Verse 9 – “The word rendered “deviseth” implies, by its spectra, intensity of thought and care. Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour. (comp. Gen_24:12, etc.)” From the Pulpit Commentary note.

“Deviseth” can mean scheming, to fabricate, to weave. It can also mean to carefully plan out “His way”. The wise man knows that “The LORD directeth his steps”.

When we believe God’s Word concerning His Son Jesus, trusting His finished work on the cross, then we receive brand new desires – a new heart.  Our thoughts, our feelings, our love and our hate will be directed by God’s Spirit who lives within us.  That is right even “our hate”, because we will begin loving what He loves and hating what He hates.

He loved us so much He gave His only Son.

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 351

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the lotteries in our States and Nation to cease.  They are, in the end a tax on the poverty stricken people of the nation, through the deceit and lust for more.

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” Luke 12:15 (NKJV)

Archery

“And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not Me, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:3
“Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.” Jeremiah 9:8 (KJV)

Archery is a popular sport in our time and day. It is not the most popular, but there are archery ranges throughout the U. S. of A. and children are even learning to properly use the bow and arrow.

Throughout the Bible the Scriptures show us that it was also a much used weapon. Using the bow and arrow can still be deadly. The archer should never see this instrument as a toy, but a weapon: a weapon which can maim or kill.

We live in a day of deadly use of the tongue. Many think that an evil tongue is not deadly; neither does it maim, but is that true?

In reading chapter 9 of the prophet Jeremiah we read of Jeremiah’s heart for his people, weeping even for them. The LORD says they are an adulterous people; I suppose spiritually and otherwise. He also says, “They bend their tongues like their bow for lies…” they also do not stand for truth, and they grow in their evil, and it is because they do not know the LORD.

There are some people who see truth as only a personal philosophy. That one individual’s truth, is not another individual’s truth. Truth is much more than the philosophies of men and women; truth stands. Truth is truth no matter what home you are in. No matter what culture you are in. Truth is truth even if you or I stand alone with it.

The people of Judah had a problem with their tongues. Speaking lies, hating the truth. Speaking deceit; with it flying forth from their lips and tongue like an arrow released from its bow. Like a released arrow cannot be called back; neither can a word spoken.

There is much said in Scripture of the tongue and its power:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21

In the New Testament book of James read James 3:5-8.

Speaking peace to a neighbor while at the same time plotting and scheming to harm them is the arrow flying to kill.

O Christian be careful with your tongue. Writing is the use of your thoughts and tongue too. So keep that in mind, and let us do as the apostle Paul has said,

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” Ephesians 4:15

Knowing the Judgment of God

“Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the LORD.” Jeremiah 8:4-7 (KJV)

Along about Spring, and usually days before the official arrival of Spring, Robins begin showing up in our backyard. A while before Spring the bald eagle leaves, and is not seen until about October in our backyard. It is amazing how one can learn from God’s creation and created order. My how much we can learn from what we call “Nature”.

The prophet being used by the LORD speaks of three different birds of the Palestinian area. The stork, the turtle dove, the crane, and the swallow. They are all what we might call migratory birds, which show up in the Spring, then probably in the Autumn of the year they fly away to a suitable climate for the rest of the year.

How is it that these birds, and others like them know when to go? It is given them by their Creator. We call it “Instinct”; but it is a God-given instinct. They know.

The lesson Jeremiah is giving us, and the question being asked is this: Since the birds know their timing for going; why do God’s people not know the judgments of the LORD? We can be under God’s discipline, and justice, and blame it on weather activity, or inactivity. We experience great numbers of animal attacks on humans, and we call it a “Freak of an animal”, or “animal anxiety” or something, but never the judgment of God.

Humankind is blind to the judgment of God. It has been upon us because we have turned our backs on God, and His Son Jesus. Let me tell you something about the judgment, or justice of God. In Washington, D.C. stands and idol unto “Lady Justice”, she is blindfolded with a set of scales in her hands; symbolizing to us that our justice is blind; meaning it is supposed to be fair to all. Well! God’s justice is much different. He judges with His eyes wide open, and it is just still. Just as He judges with His eyes open; He also forgives with His eyes wide open.

When God judged our sins upon His Son; His eyes were open. When we come to Him broken and contrite (and that is the only way we can approach Him), seeking forgiveness He forgives with His eyes wide open.

We do not have to fear the judgment of God; today’s, tomorrow’s or in eternity. We/You can seek His forgiveness today through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ His only, holy and blessed Son.

In Distress

“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and He heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Psalm 120:1-2 (KJV)

We all experience distress.  Distress is defined as; “great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.”  It had the same meaning to the Psalmist; probably David.

Being slandered, falsely accused; we have all had it happen one time or another.  If you have not; then you will.  It is not pleasant.  It can make you want to just curl up in a corner, and never see anyone again.  That is what the culprit who spreads it wants.

Christian, when it happens to you do as David.  Cry unto the LORD.  He will hear you.  Look the enemy, the liar, the culprit in the face; in the midst of others, and make them come clean.

The LORD will hear your cry.  He will deliver you.  Liars, slanderers, can never stand up to the truth.

One thing for certain; Christian, those things best not be coming out of your lips or mouth concerning someone else.  Be an encouragement even to those who might be  your foes, your enemies; but especially to those who are your friends.

In your distress cry unto the LORD.  In your distress praise the LORD.  In your distress stand your ground, and pray for those who offend you.

When Others Speak Against You

“Hold not Thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.” Psalm 109:1-2 (KJV)

How do we respond when we hear others speaking against us? When we  hear that others have said something against us?  It happens, it will happen, or it is happening now.  None of us are immune to this.

David’s response was by going to the One who holds us in His hands.  Lies often fall empty on a life that is lived for the glory of God.  The truth will win out.  If not in the courts  of men, it does in the courts of the guiltless heart of the individual; and in the Court of heaven.

I will go to God of my praise, and rely on Him for my defense.  He will not be silent.  He will defend; He will oppose; He will destroy the lying tongues that oppose Him.

When others speak against you; PRAY to God through His Son Jesus Christ.  He will hear you.

The True and Just Judge

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  Psalm 43:1 (KJV)

On this verse I will let Charles H. Spurgeon do the commentary.  O how we as followers of Christ Jesus need to trust God’s judgment of us, and plead His grace and mercy, and then trust it.  We also must needs trust His judgment upon others.

“Judge me, O God.” Others are unable to understand my motives, and unwilling to give me a just verdict. My heart is clear as to its intent, and therefore I bring my case before thee, content that thou wilt impartially weigh my character, and right my wrongs. If thou wilt judge, thy acceptance of my conduct will be enough for me; I can laugh at human misrepresentation if my conscience knows that thou art on my side; thou art the only one I care for; and besides, thy verdict will not sleep, but thou wilt see practical justice done to thy slandered servant. “And plead my cause against an ungodly nation.” One such advocate as the Lord will more than suffice to answer a nation of brawling accusers. When people are ungodly no wonder that they are unjust: those who are not true to God himself cannot be expected to deal rightly with his people. Hating the King they will not love his subjects. Popular opinion weighs with many, but divine opinion is far more weighty with the gracious few. One good word from God outweighs ten thousand railing speeches of men. He bears a brazen shield before him whose reliance in all things is upon his God; the arrows of calumny fall harmlessly from such a buckler. “O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.” Deceit and injustice are boon companions: he who fawns will not fear to slander. From two such devils none can deliver us but God. His wisdom can outwit the craft of the vilest serpent, and his power can overmatch the most raging lion. Whether this was Doeg or Ahithophel is small matter, such double distilled villains are plentiful, and the only way of dealing with them is to refer the matter to the righteous Judge of all; if we try to fight them with their own weapons, we shall suffer more serious injury from ourselves than from them. O child of God, leave these thine enemies in better hands, remembering that vengeance belongeth not to thee, but to the Lord. Turn to him in prayer, crying, “O deliver me,” and ere long you shall publish abroad the remembrance of his salvation.
TREASURY OF DAVID e-Sword edition

W4CL – Faith

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth He it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”  Galations 3:1-5 (KJV)

The Church of Galatia was foolish enough they were beginning to rely on works, maybe it was sacraments – baptism, the Lord’s Supper [Communion], etc. – for salvation.  Paul calls them “Foolish” and “Bewitched” or deceived.

It is faith that moves mountains.  It is only the grace of God through faith that saves, and it is God alone who gives faith.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

Note that grace and faith are a “Gift of God”.  The gift that has been given us the death of God’s only Son Jesus Christ on the cross.  His burial and bodily resurrection confirms the work of grace.  Faith believes God, and lives for Him and His glory.

The Word for Christian Living to day is Faith.

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 11:1 – 12:14

GOD’S Compassion for His People

Hosea 11:1 – 12:14

Concern and Compassion took a cruise on an ocean liner.  While they were out looking over the outer railing someone fell overboard.  Concern cried out, “Man overboard”.  Compassion cried out, “Man overboard”, and dived in to rescue the imperiled man.

The above story shows the difference in concern and compassion.  One cries out, but does nothing.  The other cries out gets involved, and commits themselves to the task.  God’s greatest compassion was shown to us by Jesus Christ His Son dying on the cross.  He [Jesus] was committed to t he task of dying for your sins and mine; redeeming us forever unto GOD.

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”  Hosea 11:1-4 (KJV)

God’s love and compassion is demonstrated in His care for Israel despite their deceit and departure from Him (Romans 5:8).

Verse one of this text is mentioned in Matthew 2:15 as a prophetic verse pointing to Jesus Christ coming out of Egypt. The life of Jesus is a kind of parallel of the journeys of the descendants of Abraham – except of course for their doubts, fears, and unbelief, their sin.  Jesus’s life showed them; and us that life can be lived for GOD.

As Israel came out of Egypt, though, they determined to turn away from God and to worship Baal.  It was God who led them by their arms (as a father teaching his child to walk).  It was He who healed them, and delivered them out of the bondage, and slavery of Egypt.

GOD worked in the life of the nation drawing them to Himself through human bondage.  “Cords of a man” while loving them to bring them out to be His own purchased possession.  He would remove the yoke of bondage, and feed them in His grace and mercy (v. 4).

“He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt Him.” vv. 5-7

Despite Israel’s rebellion deceit and fraud toward God He still promises not to completely destroy them; but to restore them.

In these verses we see the results of Israel’s rejection of God’s love.  First, they would go into Assyrian captivity (v. 5).  Those who would flee to Egypt would die there (See 9:6).  The second result was the continued desolation of Israel, and their land (v. 6).  They had rejected God and chosen to seek the foreign gods.  The third and most tragic was their rejection of God’s love led them to a persistent and fixed state of rebellion (v. 7).

Every time a person hardens their heart against God, by rebelling against His authority, His Word the heart only gets harder.  Remember Pharoah of Egypt!  He hardened his heart for the last time, until God hardened it.  Woe to the one whose heart is hardened by God.

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. They shall walk after the LORD: He shall roar like a lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.”  vv. 8-11

God’s love is persistent and consistent toward His people.

God’s thoughts had somehow been toward destruction.  His heart was/is broken with compassion.   These questions are powerful.  We do not understand the mind of God, so let us not get in a titther over these thoughts.  He could have destroyed Israel, but the thought of it brought compassion, and would cause Israel to stop and think.  They, like the rest of humanity, deserved destruction.  They did not deserve God’s compassion.

God says that His is not like man.  Man’s ways are to destroy all that is against him and his way.  God’s way is to change the heart of man.  In His compassion, grace and mercy He would bring them to Himself, and  put them back in their own land (v. 11).

“Ephraim compasseth Me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints. Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”  Hosea 11:12 – 12:6

GOD calls for a change.  There is nothing new with God.

There is still a spark of faithfulness in Judah.  Israel has gone too far.  They have gone beyond “the point of no return”, but for God’s grace.  When sin is finished, and life is ruined God’s grace continues (Romans 5:20).

The wind (12:1) offers no nourishment, just as surely as there is no spiritual life in worshipping idols.  There is no hope for Israel/Ephraim in Assyria.

Israel practiced deceit and treachery against God.  There is a horrible portrait of Israel in Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus to be crucified.  They would rather live without God than to obey Him.  They would find out the tragedy of life without God.

God remained faithful as He always does.  He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).

Jacob was born rebellious and deceitful.  His name means “Supplanter” or “Deceiver”.  He used deceit and trickery to take that which he wanted from his brother Esau (Genesis 25:24-34).  “Jacob prevailed with God and men only when he yielded himself to God.”  TRAYLOR

God changed Jacob from deceiver; seeking God his own way to Israel meaning “Prince of God”.  The nation of Israel was spoken to by God through the man Israel, formerly Jacob.  As God changed Jacob’s heart to trust the Lord He also would change the heart of the nation.

There are three truths stressed in verse six about being changed:

  1. Turn from sin to God;
  2. God’s expectation is that those who turn to Him live with kindness [mercy] and justice [judgment]. Practicing the qualities of God;
  3. Have a personal relationship and experience with God.

“A merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin. And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields. And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall He leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.”  vv. 7-14 (KJV)

The nation had reached a point where being a “Kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6) counted as nothing to them.

What happened?  They had gotten so engulfed in being an economically blessed nation they became more concerned with business, rather than a personal relationship with the God of heaven.  A merchant rather then priestly they even practiced deceit with one another in order to grab all they could [“balances of deceit”]. They then added denial to their sins (v. 8).  Their goals of life were corrupt.  They had changed from the incorruptible to that which corrupts.

God says that He will still make them “…To dwell in tabernacles”.  This is a promise of return.  He has spoken so through His prophets.  Their Feasts would be restored, and there would be joy in the land, and they would walk in God’s ways.  The prophets of God always warned of impending judgment, and with the words of judgment they also included words of promise and hope.

Because of his iniquity Jacob fled to Paddan-Aram to escape the wrath of his brother Esau.

Just as surely as Jacob suffered for his sin the nation of Israel would be chastised, and rebuked, and learn of the emptiness of self-seeking, serving ways.

Jacob became a “Slave” of his uncle for a wife, and  he was deceived.  You do reap what you sow.  He served his uncle Laban, then as a shepherd to get the wife he had chosen.

The nation of Israel would go into Assyrian bondage in order to become the people God desired them to be.

Moses was the prophet who delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage.  By this same prophet Israel was fed, protected, and refreshed.  The is a greater Prophet who will deliver all from the bondage of sin when He is believed and followed.  This greater Prophet is Jesus (See Deuteronomy 18:15;  Acts 3:20-23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Word Today 081312

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; “Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.  For they prophesy falsely unto you in My name: I have not sent them,” saith the LORD.  For thus saith the LORD, “That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ saith the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you,’ saith the LORD: ‘and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you,’ saith the LORD; ‘and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”  Jeremiah 29:8-14 (KJV)

-T.A.

Day 15 – Prayer versus Prayerlessness

Let me get something straight.  Prayer is to the Creator of all that is through His Son Jesus Christ.  The prayers of the Old Testament which were answered by GOD were answered by looking forward to the cross in faith.  They believed God, and it was counted unto them for righteousness.

In the reading this morning I read Joshua 9 – 22.  There was deceit, fraud by the Gibeonites out of fear for their lives; and there was a failure to pray on the part of the Israelites.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.”  Joshua 9:14 (KJV)

The leaders of Israel looked and saw the food and drink the Gibeonites had with them, believed them to be a distant people, and made a covenant with them.  Had they prayed they might have avoided a lot of headaches later on.

We see an example of a man calling on the LORD; Joshua in particular and seeing one of the miracles of the Bible come to pass;

“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

You will note that Joshua spoke to the LORD, and gave command for the sun to stand still.  Now from a human point of view that would be impossible; but our God is not limited to the possible.  He is the God of the impossible.  That is, afterall, because He is GOD.  This was due to one man whose heart was faithful in calling on the name of the LORD, and believed the GOD of the impossible made it possible.  Joshua, by the power of GOD spoke to the sun and moon to stop in their course through the universe, and provide a few more hours to accomplish the work that was before them; and God did it.

The we see a couple of times when there must have been a lack of prayer and faith.  When we are not given to the word of God and prayer; faith will be in short supply.  The enemy will be most difficult to overcome; and we will find ourselves accommodating them.

“As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” 15:63

and another time;

“Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.” 17:13

This is tied to the matter of obedience as well.  Had they been faithful in prayer, obedience to the commands of the LORD, they would have been faithful to driving out the inhabitants of the land, destroying the evil of the land.  In their disobedience they brought trouble into their camps.

There is a lesson here for the children of God today; the Christian, the follower of Christ.  Rid your hearts and lives of the evil.  Make no compromise with all that is vile and evil in your heart and life.  Be swift at the destruction of evil within.  Stay in prayer and the Word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Friends and Enemies

It seems that we are all a bit fickle.  We love our friends; as long as they are kind and never say a harsh or critical word to us.  Yet that is not friendship.  I will not spend a lot of time or words with this, but really, a true friend should be someone who will tell you your weaknesses, when you have done something wrong.  A friend is someone who will sharpen your ax blade, so to speak; or at least aid you in doing so yourself.

Is it a friend who is always telling you the good things you do?  How bright you are?  How handsome or beautiful you are?   A friend will appreciate the good and great things about you, and tell  you so; however the friend will also pick you apart, and cut away, and may hurt you to help you.  There; I said it. Now let us see what the wise man of Proverbs says.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:5-6

There will be those who call themselves friend, but never really help you shine.  They are really your enemy; never wanting you to improve; wanting you to remain in their league.  Their kisses are venom, poisonous and deadly.

Let’s hear what Matthew Henry has written of these two verses;

Note, 1. It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults, by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, not only than secret hatred (as Lev. 19:17), but than secret love, that love to our neighbours which does not show itself in this good fruit, which compliments them in their sins, to the prejudice of their souls. Faithful are the reproofs of a friend, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that our friends are faithful indeed if, in love to our souls, they will not suffer sin upon us, nor let us alone in it. The physician’s care is to cure the patient’s disease, not to please his palate. 2. It is dangerous to be caressed and flattered by an enemy, whose kisses are deceitful We can take no pleasure in them because we can put no confidence in them (Joab’s kiss and Judas’s were deceitful), and therefore we have need to stand upon our guard, that we be not deluded by them; they are to be deprecated. Some read it: The Lord deliver us from an enemy’s kisses, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
From the Matthew Henry Commentary – Libronix Library

Remember too, that a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).  Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God is your dearest friend.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Cautious Eye

In a day when there are people who think they are doing good by deceit and fraud; though they definitely would not see it as deceit and fraud; it is imperative that the people of God; those who are Christians be prudent in their lives.

The word means Cautious or discreet, cunning is even a good definition of prudent.

The wisdom of Solomon is found in Proverbs 22:3,

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”  Proverbs 22:3 (KJV)

Of course this is mostly having to do with having an eye against that which is evil, and not just letting it creep up on you.  Be aware, be alert; and that is probably what Peter had in mind as he was inspired to write,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8

I will let a couple of the sages of the past give their comments on this verse:

See here, 1. The benefit of wisdom and consideration: A prudent man, by the help of his prudence, will foresee an evil, before it comes, and hide himself; he will be aware when he is entering into a temptation and will put on his armour and stand on his guard. When the clouds are gathering for a storm he takes the warning, and flies to the name of the Lord as his strong tower. Noah foresaw the deluge, Joseph the years of famine, and provided accordingly. 2. The mischief of rashness and inconsideration. The simple, who believe every word that flatters them, will believe none that warns them, and so they pass on and are punished. They venture upon sin, though they are told what will be in the end thereof; they throw themselves into trouble, notwithstanding the fair warning given them, and they repent their presumption when it is too late. See an instance of both these, Ex. 9:20, 21. Nothing is so fatal to precious souls as this, they will not take warning.

Matthew Henry Commentary.

and now John Gill,

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself,…. A wise man, whose eyes are in his head, who looks about him and before him, and is cautious and careful of his conduct and behaviour; he foresees the evil of sin he is liable to be drawn into by such and such company, snares, and temptations; and therefore he keeps from them, and abstains from all appearance of evil, or what would lead him to it; and he foresees the evil of punishment, or the judgments of God that are coming on for sin; and he betakes himself to the Lord, to those hiding places and chambers of retreat and protection he has provided for his people, till the indignation be overpast; see Isa_26:20;

but the simple pass on, and are punished: foolish persons, devoid of the grace of God and the fear of him, go on careless and unconcerned in their sinful course of life, transgressing the law of God; they proceed from evil to evil, from lesser to greater sins; they go on in the broad road to destruction, and are punished with temporal judgments here, and with everlasting destruction hereafter.

John Gill’s e-Sword Commentary

Be watchful, but trusting the LORD through it all to protect and keep you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Unclean Hands, Lips – From The Heart

We have in these verses further explanation of the “washing with unclean hands” issue which the scribes and Pharisees had attacked Jesus and His disciples. It seems that the men were thoroughly offended by Jesus’s remarks, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man”, and His disciples noticed. Does anyone ever give thought to what might “offend” Jesus? Just a thought.

“Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:12-20 (KJV)

Jesus is the Son of God, the Prophet of God foretold by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18); and not a bit concerned about offending the disgusting arguments of manmade doctrines. He even goes on and tells His disciples that “Every plant not planted by My Father will be uprooted”. He is probably speaking of these foolish doctrines, and He could be speaking of the Pharisees themselves, or maybe both. Doctrines that are false will one day be revealed as being false. The doctrines of men are usually false doctrines which bind men, rather than setting them free, as the doctrines of God do.

This part of the verse which speaks of the “blind leading the blind” somewhat reminds me of the Financial chaos of our nation [USA] and that of the world. One bankrupt nation, asking loan from other nations who are nearing bankruptcy, sounds as though the blind are leading the blind, at least to me. Enough of that. The doctrines of men will fall, and those who follow the doctrines of men; unless they are drawn by the Spirit of God to Jesus; will also fall into the ditch, because; in essence they are blind.

Jeremiah the prophet said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” 17:9 (KJV). We often think that we know what is in our “heart”, and then when we get too assured about it something will happen, and bring us down from our perch. Understand, that when we speak of the “heart” here we are not talking about that blood pump in our chest. The “heart” could also be rendered as our “Innermost being”. It is the seat of our being, our soul and our spirit. It is that within us that is eternal, and that will never die. God/Jesus Christ is the only one who can know our hearts.

Some of the men and women who are in prison for murder, negligent homocide, manslaughter, and some other things, never thought they would be there. They had better plans than spend a good portion of their lives in prison. They were full of themselves, and not God. When you get to thinking, “I know what’s in my heart” you may find yourself in trouble. The only way to know your heart is to know the One who knows your heart, and that is Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus says comes from our hearts – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…”; these He says, “Defile the man”, and “man” here is generic for all of us; male and female.

We can so easily become carried away by teachings of men which empower us over others, and that is what the Pharisees were trying to do with Jesus. By showing themselves more knowledgeable than Him; by showing themselves more holy than Jesus they thought to prove Him a blasphemer. Since Jesus was who He claims to be, then their words were empty and powerless. They were the words of men and not of God. They were defiled in their hearts, and thus could only give “lip service” to God.

 

How is your heart today?

 

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Heart of Pretense

A Heart of Pretense

“Pretense” – a claim, not supported by fact; mere display or show. A false show. So is the meaning of the word. It would not be a pleasant or comfortable thing to be charged with. However, as we look into the book of Jeremiah we see that the nation of Judah, the Southern part of the divided kingdom since Rehoboam, is charged with this exact thing. “Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:10).

The Northern kingdom has been charged with adultery against God. God has called for their repentance (3:7), to return to the LORD. They had prostituted themselves against their faithful Husband and God, and become an immoral nation.

“…Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:8-10 (NKJV).

This was a prophecy given during the reign of Josiah (3:6), who was considered a godly king. Josiah became king at the age of eight years (Read 1 Chronicles 34 – 35). You will read of Josiah that he purged the land of Judah of the “high places”, of “carved images”, and of “molded images”, and that “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…” However, it appears that much of what was done during Josiah’s reign was done with pretense. It does not seem to have been pretense on the kings part, but on the peoples hearts. Legislation, whether done by a monarch or a president cannot change the hearts of people. The hearts of the people of Judah were moved by Josiah, but not by God. Therefore, there was much pretense in the land of Judah.

Pretense or hypocrisy cannot be hid from the omniscient eye of the LORD. It is said quite often in Scriptures that “God looks on the heart”, and that seems to be something that all people tend to forget. Pretense and hypocrisy never fools, or deceives the Lord Almighty. It didn’t work in Judah or Israel, and it will not work in today’s world either.

If you will notice God even calls this act by Judah “treacherous”. Three times in verses seven through ten God calls Judah the “treacherous sister” of Israel. The word “Treacherous” is defined as ‘Characterized by treachery; untrustworthy, unreliable’ and “Treachery” is defined as ‘a violation of allegiance or trust’. According to Strong’s Concordance it is ‘to deal deceitfully’; and certainly the heart’s of the people of Judah were endeavoring to deal deceitfully with God.

At a time when our own nation is at war, and the hearts of people are growing more and more spiritual, but not according to the knowledge of God; there is much pretense and hypocrisy. There are religions on every corner that use the name of God, but know Him not. When religion denies Jesus Christ, they deny God. Jesus Himself said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). There is truly only one true worship of God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death, burial and resurrection. Any other presumed worship is a treacherous and pretentious worship.

-by Tim A. Blankenship