You Knew Not the Time

And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying,
“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. Psalm 104:24

When the Lord came the first time many who knew the prophecies of His coming did not know Him when He arrived. Prideful of empty religion, their rules and wrong understanding of mercy and grace kept them from seeing “The Desire of Nations” (Haggai 2:7) when He visited them.

Has the Spirit of God visited you and you have not yielded to His drawing you to the Lord Jesus Christ. He went to the cross and lay Himself down on it; He died, was buried, and He rose again. He is speaking to you. Do not reject Him.  Call on His name and be saved.

He called His name JESUS

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.”  Proverbs 1:24-27

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.”   Matthew 1:24-25

Taken

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”  Matthew 24:40-41

The above verses are from Jesus’s Olivet Discourse or the Sermon of Olivet. Jesus is answering the questions asked by Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Matthew 24:3 and Mark 13:3). The questions asked were at least two, but I call it three questions – 1. “When shall these things be?”,;  2. “What shall be the sign of Your coming?” and 3. “What is the sign of the ending of the age?”

The first question is answered in verses 4 – 14, and is referencing the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem that would take place in 70 A.D. and is also a reference to the beginning of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” referenced by Jeremiah 30:7.

Verses 15 –  28 are probably speaking of an event and time that have yet to happen, in the midst of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” for the making of the righteousness of the people called Israel.

Verses 29 – 35 speak of our Lord’s second coming and making of things right on earth declaring that not one word which God has spoken will fail to come to pass.

The verses shared above (40 and 41) may speak of the taking of some out of the way who are not believing, and leaving the believing one to live in the kingdom.

The whole point our Lord Jesus is making is that we all need to be ready for He is coming. We do not know the day or the hour; so we must stay in touch with Him through prayer the reading, study, and application of His holy word in our daily living.

Jesus died for our sins, was buried in a borrowed grave, and He arose alive and forever lives interceding for us, before our Father.

The Mouth and The Scripture

“He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”  Proverbs 13:3
“They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be’, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, ‘They parted My raiment among them, and for My vesture they did cast lots.’ These things therefore the soldiers did.”  John 19:24
“For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘A bone of him shall not be broken.’ And again another Scripture saith, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced.’ ”  John 19:36-37

Let us all pray for the wise use of our mouth and lips; especially in this day when people are spouting all kinds of vulgar, mean, and rude things; and in doing so show no respect for our fellow member of Adam’s race.

Let us rather speak words that will glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loved us so much, as God Incarnate, laid down His life on the cross and died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. In doing this thing of grace He fulfilled Scripture. There is no better thing we can do that tell others that “Jesus died for our sins…”.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

To show that since the coming of the Lord is a certain event those who are born again will not be surprised at that coming, but will be prepared and ready, by being prepared by God for that great day.
INTRODUCTION:
In the last chapter, the final six verses, we saw the blessing of being in Christ, whether we are alive at His coming or dead.
It is exciting thinking of our Lord’s certain return. There may be many who name the name of Jesus, but call this teaching myth, or someones wild imagination run wild. Jesus, our Savior said that He was returning or “I will come again…” (John 14:3). If He lied about this how can we trust Him for salvation; because this event is a part of our redemption/salvation. We would not be able to trust Him if He does not return. His coming again is further evidence of His bodily resurrection; especially when He raises those who have died as His followers. The only way He would not return is if He did not rise bodily from the grave. He will come again, just as He said.
In this chapter, and the final chapter of Second Thessalonians we find more encouragement for the born again child of God, but it is also a warning to those who do not know Jesus. Verses 1 – 11 tell us of the “Day of the Lord”. The “Day of the Lord” is also mentioned in the Old Testament books of Joel 2:1, 2ff.; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 2:12-21. It is also called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. This is a day of darkess for the reprobate, unbelievers alive in that day. A day of struggle, catastrophe, chaos, torment, and sorrow; unlike any event ever seen on earth.
In verses 12 – 22 we are instructed in our daily lives, how we ought to live. It involves respect to our spiritual leaders, warning those who reject authority, beiing thankful, rejoicing, praying, our responses to the preaching [prophecy] of the Word and other such things.
Verses 23 – 38 is the conclusion of the letter. There is much to this conclusion – our sanctification; the faithfulness of God (v. 24; see also Philippians 1:6), a request for prayer, and the way we are to greet one another.

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (KJV)

Paul had evidently spoken to the Church concerning times and seasons before he was ran out of town, but here is a friendly reminder.
Why should the teaching of the rapture of the Church and “The day of the Lord” be preached and taught? 1.) For comfort and encouragement to Believers; 2.) For the purity of the Believer (2 Peter 3:14); 3.) For a zeal in the hearts of Believers for those who are lost (2 Peter 3:9, 10); 2 Corinthians 5:11); 4.) “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
Jesus will come like a thief when He comes in the clouds. Only those who know HIm will rise to meet Him in the air. When people suddenly realize a co-worker, a wife, or husband, son or daughter, a friend, the driver of an automobile, the pilot of an airplane (Private or Commercial), the pastor, the deacon, or a Sunday School/Bible Study teacher is missing there will be such chaos as the world has never seen. There are people unaware. These people who are still in darkness.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” vv. 3-4

The world is longing for peace. We are hungry for it. We can almost taste it. When it appears there is peace; when it appears that economic peace and recovery is here, that there is peace from war and strife; that is when the people will be at ease. Nothing destructive will happen, people believe all is well. Who would dare upset our progress? Jesus will come, and the unprepared “Shall not escape”.
This day will not came “As a thief” for the prepared (See Matthew 25:1-13). This word “Darkness” is used in reference to those who are outside of Jesus. Therefore, if one is in the light he is not in darkness.

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” vv. 5-8

Sleeping is one of the times in our lives when we are unaware. When we are asleep we could almost care less for what goes on around us. It is a dangerous time.
This sleep is of the spiritual sort. Unaware of the darkness. Unaware of the peril that is in the path ahead. It means satisfied with the way things are – COMPLACENCY. Indifferent, uncaring, about what is ahead – you know, bur you are unwilling to act upon it – APATHY.
“Let us not sleep”, but let us be aware, able to control ourselves, watching, waiting for the Lord’s appearing, which is the “Blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Those who are watching are those “Who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus commands us to watch (Matthew 24:42-43; Luke 12:35-40). The person (The Believer) who is watching is an alert Believer. We are to be “Watchmen” sounding an alarm to the populace (See Ezekiel 33:1-6). The Watchmen must remain awake.
There are all kinds of evil wickedness going on in the darkness. People doing their evil, hate for light to expose it (John 3:19). The ones who participate in the darkness are not people of light. They too need the light.
The”Breastplate of faith” is to turn the fiery darts of Satan, which is constantly hurled at the children of light. The “Helmet of Salvation” is on our head where we have most of our sense – sight, smell, sound, and taste; and the head is also the control centel for the body. We reason with our head. Is it any wonder we must have the Helmet of Salvation”.

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” vv. 9-11

It is pretty evident by verse nine that God has not intended for His Church to go through the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” which we call “The great tribulation period”. It does not stand on the one verse alone though (See Revelation 3:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). It stands on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The comfort of these words are not empty. Where would the comfort be if we had to endure “Great tribulation”? We endure tribulation already, but nothing the like of which awaits the “Day of the Lord”, when all living unbelievers will be tried and “They shall not escape”; except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and very likeable persecution death.

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” vv. 12-22

Here is listed some things which seem to indicate those who are awake, aware, and ready for the Lord’s return.
vv. 12-13 – Having respect for your pastor, deacon(s), teachers, the ones who are responsible for your spiritual well being. Hold them up in prayer for boldness, love, and encouragement.
This is certainly not an excuse for overlooking a false preacher or teacher, but one who teaches and believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.
PEACE = Not constantly squabbling, quarelling, but working in unity for the same cause and purpose. If the Church cannot be at peace with one another there is little hope for the world to be at peace.
v. 14 – The word “Unruly” means insubordinate (in religious matters) which is an unwillingness to submit to authority. We are told to warn such, and not to be in such a case ourselves.
Encouragement is always needed. When others encourage us we are motivated to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. We can minister to others with encouragement.
v. 15 – Always pursue the good. Do good to others even when they treat you wickedly.
v. 16 – Rejoicing is a sign of no fear, a sign of peace and contentment. When we rejoice in our Lord there is also a witness to those around us.
v. 17 – Pray for perseverance. Keep on bringing your requests to the Lord until He answers – He will either give what you ask, or He willl say “No!” or He might say “Wait!”
v. 18 – When others around are complaining, whether about their work, home, family, sickness, or Church, we are to be thankful “In everything” knowing that God is in control of the circumstances and He is using themto make us stronger and better Christians.
v. 19 – The Holy Spirit is likened unto fire. To quench a fire we often dump water on it – we put the fire out. To “Quench the Spirit” is to hear Him speak to us, but determine we will not heed His leading, and do our own rebellous act. This is sin, and one that is very often committed by all of us. We do not have time, or not right now, or somebody else can do it are words often expressed that quenches the fire of the Spirit.
v. 20 – Prophecy is the “Foretelling” of the future and/or the “Forthtelling” of the Word of God. All the prophets of the Bible “Foretold” the future – but even more important they were “Forthtellers” of God’s Word. Many, many times when God’s prophet told of some future event it was confirmed as the Word of the Lord by a present or imminent sign. Today the prophet of God only foretells by the written Word of God, and it is confirmed in that same word. He also forthtells by that same word.
The word “Despised” means contemptible, least esteemed – to have no delight in. It means you may like music in the worship, but you cannot stand the preaching of the word. It makes you uncomfortable, you want to get out as quickly as possible. Ask yourself “Why?” You are uncomfortable in the presence of God, and His holy Word. That is why. Proverbs 13:13 states, “He who despises the Word will be destroyed.”
v. 21 – Goes along with verse twenty. When a man stands to deliver God’s message there is to be a test. Does it come from God, or does it contradict His Word? If it goes against the Bible; it is not a message from God.
v. 22 – Staying away from every form of evil is the Christians calling, ife we are prepared for His coming. If it shows up, and you are tempted by it flee from it; run with all the strength you have – run from it.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” vv. 23-24

God Himself is the One who sets us apart from all others, and He preserves us blameless for the coming of Jesus His Son.
God is faithful. He started the work, and He has never left His work undone. The work He has began in you He will complete (Philippians 1:6).

“Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” vv. 25-28

A request for prayer, greeting and a charge or challenge to read this epistle to all Christians is given by Paul in closing.
His request for prayer was not just empty words. Paul knew the importance of prayer.
Never short on grace he always left it with others. So ought we as well.
WORD STUDY:
1. Despised = Contemptible, least esteemed (v. 20);
2. Unruly = [Greek At-ak-tos] = Insubordinate, unwilling to submit to authority (v. 14);
3. Complacency = Satisfied with the present situation;
4. Apathy = Knowing the way things are, able to do something about it, but unwilling to act.

What Happened At Shiloh?

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,

‘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. And thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.” Jeremiah 26:1-7 (KJB)

Shiloh is the place where the ark of the covenant was kept in the Tabernacle in the wilderness which Moses had made after the pattern of God’s in Heaven.  Shiloh was the place from which it was taken foolishly by the priest thinking it had special powers even when the hearts of the people had turned against hearing the word of the LORD.  It would do the reader good to read 1 Samuel 1 – 4 to get the background of what Jeremiah is saying.

When people will not hear the word of the LORD, and do what He says then you can be sure no amount of prayer, special offering, sacrifice will suffice to please God. He is pleased when we hear His word, and do it.

There are many places that are alive with activity in the name of the Lord, but full of ignorant, disobedient, sacrificing, giving people; separated from God, and do not even realize it. Their lives are empty and without meaning, because these places have a whole lot of fire, but not fire from God in Heaven. They will not hear and heed the word of the LORD.

Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name,…. The temple, as in Jer_7:11, for though it was called by his name, and his name was called upon in it, yet this could not secure it from desolation; for so the name of the Lord was set in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and yet he forsook it through the wickedness of the people:

wherein ye trust; they trusted in the sacrifices there offered up, and the service there performed; in the holiness of the place, and because it was the residence of the divine Majesty; wherefore they thought this would be a protection and defence of them; and this was trusting in lying words, as in Jer_7:4,

and unto the place which I gave unto you and your fathers; meaning either Jerusalem; and so the Syriac version renders it, “and to the city”; or the whole land of Judea, as in Jer_7:7,

as I have done to Shiloh; See Gill on Jer_7:12.”  From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Jeremiah 26:6

O hear the word of the LORD. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.  That is a starting place.

Destruction happened at Shiloh.  Life eternal happens at the cross of Jesus Christ. Hear the word of the LORD.

…Be Found Of Him In Peace…

“…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:13-18 (KJB)

Waiting Patiently

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7-8 (KJB)

The farmer prepares the land, the ground where he is sowing a crop, then he sows the seed, and he waits.

What does he wait for? A harvest of much more than he/she has sown in seeds planted.  Some call it a gamble or chance. I call it faith that is based on the basic promise of the rewards of sowing and reaping.

The deeds we do, good and bad, are as seeds we sow.  The good seeds we sow will bring a harvest; but also the bad seeds will bring a harvest.

As I sit here writing this post it is raining.  It is a blessing to the beef,  dairy, and grain farmers around near and far.  The reason I mention this is because it is August, and usually  the month of August is hot and we are in the midst of a drought, or at least really dry. The farmer is very dependent upon the mercies and graces of  our God and Father to even have a crop of hay or grains. Cattle need it to live and produce milk, and meat that is used by billions of people around the world.

The grain farmer waits for months to bring in the harvest from the seed he/she has sown; and the typical gardener as well waits for several weeks before they see a good harvest.  The the average beef farmer produces more cattle through the cattle they have through reproduction, then when those calves are born, they wait until they reach the preferred weight, then they take them to the stockyards for sale to the meat packers.  These also have waited several months.

Anyway, I hope you may be asking; it you do not understand where I am going with this; “What has this farming got to do with me?”  You too are sowing seeds.

There are good seeds in your life’s living; and there are bad seeds in your life.  If you have not been redeemed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ your seeds are bad, and your harvest will be weeds and destruction (Galatians 6:7-8). Your harvest will be delayed too. Someone has said, “There are many sowing their wild oats, and then pray for a crop failure.” I understand that.  There will, however be a harvest; one without great reward.

Good seed comes from the word of God through the Living Word who is Jesus Christ. There is a bountiful, beautiful harvest for all the good seed sown.  Again there will be waiting. Believer, let us wait patiently for that harvest.  We will not know how much, or how great until Jesus comes again; but we wait.

Waiting does not mean sitting down, and doing nothing.  We must be all the more diligent in our labors for life, living, and our witness for Jesus Christ. Let us be faithful in our living to Jesus.  He is coming, and could be very soon.

Having a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.”  Proverbs 28:1-7  (KJB)

Having a Just Society – Proverbs 28:1-28

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 –   A look at the wicked.   The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor.  1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee.  2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws.  3.)  When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide.  4.)  Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4;  Prov. 19:12;  1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 –  A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers.  1.)  Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation.  2.)  True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc..  3.)  The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment.  4.)  Greed, partiality, will ultimately bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 –  The wicked poor.  1.)  You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life.  2.)  Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16).  3.)  It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 –  The way of righteousness.  1.)  The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world.  2.)  The poor upright are better off, and wise in God.  3.)  The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses.  4.)  There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14).  5.)  Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous.  6.)  A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27)

Our Lives are About God, Jesus Christ, Heaven

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, ‘The enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and glory in their shame, who mind earthly things.’)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21

REFERENCES: Galatians 1:7; Hosea 4:7; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 1 John 3:1-3

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah

Jerusalem Safely Inhabited

“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”  Zechariah 14:8-15 (KJV)

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction – Proverbs 11:15-31

Verse 15 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

“To be surety for a stranger means to guarantee his debt or his promissory note. The person who does this will suffer for it, that is, he will pay a stinging penalty. The man who hates suretyship saves himself a lot of headaches.”

The note from chapter 6:1-5:

“The first five verses are a warning against becoming surety, that is, making oneself liable for someone else’s debt in case that other person is unable to pay. Suppose your friend wants to buy a car on the installment plan but doesn’t have much of a credit rating. The loan company demands the signature of someone who can pay in case the borrower defaults. The neighbor comes to you and asks you to cosign the note with him. This means that you will pay if he doesn’t.

The friend in this verse is your neighbor. The stranger is the loan company to which you give your guarantee.”

Verses 16 – 21 –  Study notes from the ESV Study Bible:

“Proverbs 11:16-21 There are three pairs of proverbs here (vv. 16–17, 18–19, 20–21), all relating to a common theme. The gracious woman (v. 16) and the man who is kind (v. 17) contrast with violent men (v. 16) and the cruel man (v. 17). By itself, v. 16 might suggest that there is wisdom in pursuing violence, since one can get rich by that means. But in the larger context of vv. 16–21, it is clear that their wealth brings the violent no happiness, and that it comes at a high price. The idea of striving to gain something governs vv. 18–19. Verse 18 speaks of laboring (earns and sows), whether it be for deceptive wages for the evil or for a sure reward for the good. Verse 19, similarly, speaks of pursuing righteousness or evil and of the results that follow. Verses 20 and 21 both concern divine judgment, with punishment for the evil and deliverance for the good.”

Verse 22 – Note from ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 11:22 The attractiveness of a gold ring would be nullified by its strange presence in the snout of a pig. This image turns typical notions of value on their head: the attractiveness of a beautiful woman is insignificant if there is a lack of discretion in her character (see 31:30).”

Verse 23 –  From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“This tells us what the desire and expectation of the righteous and of the wicked are and how they will prove, what they would have and what they shall have. 1. The righteous would have good, only good; all they desire is that it may go well with all about them; they wish no hurt to any, but happiness to all; as to themselves, their desire is not to gratify any evil lust, but to obtain the favour of a good God and to preserve the peace of a good conscience; and good they shall have, that good which they desire, Ps. 37:4. 2. The wicked would have wrath; they desire the woeful day, that God’s judgments may gratify their passion and revenge, may remove those that stand in their way, and that they may make an advantage to themselves by fishing in troubled waters; and wrath they shall have, so shall their doom be. They expect and desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves; as they loved cursing, they shall have enough of it.”

Verses 24 – 26 –  From The MacArthur Study Bible –

“11:24-26 scatters, yet increases.  The principle here is that generosity, by God’s blessing, secures increase, while stinginess leads to poverty instead of expected gain.  The one who gives receives far more in return (Ps. 112:9;  Eccl. 11:1;  John 12:24-25;  Acts 20:35;  2 Cor. 9:6-9).” pg. 892
Verses 27 – 31 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary for verse 27; “When a man’s motives are pure and unselfish, he wins the esteem of others. But the man who is out to cause trouble for others will get it for himself.”

The commentary of John Gill for verse 28 –

“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall,…. As leaves in autumn, which are withered and dry. To trust in riches is to trust in uncertain things; things not to be depended on, being here today and gone tomorrow; it is like leaning upon a broken staff, which giving way, the person falls: and so the fall of Babylon will be, while she is trusting in and boasting of her riches and grandeur, Rev_18:7;

but the righteous shall flourish as a branch; that abides in the tree, is alive and green, full of leaves, and laden with fruit: so the righteous are as branches in Christ, and receive life and nourishment from him, and abide in him; and bring forth fruit and flourish, like palm trees and cedars, in the house of the Lord, and grow in every grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; see Jer_17:7.

“For verse 29 and from the Adam Clarke’s Commentary;

“Shalt inherit the wind – He who dissipates his property by riotous living, shall be as unsatisfied as he who attempts to feed upon air.”
For verse 31 see also 1 Peter 4:18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Praying For Knowledge

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ –

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).

B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ –

“And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).

C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ –

“And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).

D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit –

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of Biblical and godly knowledge.
a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

It is God’s will that we be Saved –

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV).

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified –

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive –

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering –

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving –

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV);

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.
1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).
B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes, “Having knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.

II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.

III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.

V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power of Words

Words are like bullets; once fired off they cannot be recalled.  Once spoken you cannot call a word back.  We can say, “I’m sorry”, but that word still is there in the mind of the one it was spoken to.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  That is not true.  Yes!  We can shrug them off, and go on, but the hurt is still there.

It is so much more loving, merciful, kind, and Christ like to give a word of encouragement, thanks, or praise; then a bitter, angry, or destroying word.  The question is – Do we want to build? or Do we want to destroy?

Hear the wisdom of Proverbs…

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:10-21 (KJV)

Remember Jesus’s words in the sermon on the mount…

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

When we speak unloving, unkind, hateful words we speak death; not life.  See what Jesus says above “…Shall be  in danger of hell fire.”

Further thoughts…

Verses 10 – 11 – The LORD is the source of many to trust in.  He is whom many who have called on the name of the Lord for salvation have run to.  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions. An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 – You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17. Verse 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc. Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.

In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.

There is reward; or destruction in our use of words. They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

There is much said in Scripture of words, the mouth, the lips, the tongue.  It is with great joy I can tell you of the Living Word, and that is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as the God-Man, and gave His life to redeem you and me from our sins that we might live eternally.  Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Four

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)

Life is easier if you are going with the flow, going down stream, rather than against the flow, or up stream; but that is the way most people are going; that is, with the flow.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want you to know there is only one way to life, living, and true peace and happiness; and to life eternal; and that is through the cross: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that He is the narrow way; and that the other way only leads to death, destruction, and torment.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the rioting, destruction of government, public, personal, and business property to cease and desist in the United States of America, and for us to defend the freedom of speech and religion across this nation.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.” Psalm 11:5-7 (KJV)

W4CL – Crucified

“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Galations 2:18-21 (KJV)

As Christians we too often forget that the life we live in Christ is due to the crucifixion of Christ and His bodily resurrection.  It is imperative that we also see that we are “Crucified with Christ” (v. 20); and because we are crucified with Him we will also, one day reign with Him (Romans 8:17), because we are also, “Risen with Christ” (Colossians 3:1).

As a Christian we do not enjoy sin; we are dead to it – “Crucified with Christ”, and have been raised again by His resurrection.  Because of His resurrection we grow in love with Christ; closer to Him and His likeness, and grow further from sin and its destruction.

I am crucified with Christ. 

Words for Christian Living – Edification

“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.”  2 Corinthians 13:10 (KJV)

A lot of times as a pastor, preacher of the gospel there will be times things within the Church, the local congregation you lead with strike up a hot response in your heart.  There are things that go on sometimes that ought to make us angry.  We see a family angry at another family; one member mad with another member; and they are casting insults at one another.  Maybe one member maligning another when the other being maligned is not guilty of much, or anything that is being charged.  It could be a member you know is in personal sin.  These things should cause some anger, with self-control [temperance] from the pastor, preacher.

In the above verse Paul has expressed that he should use “Sharpness”  or “Severe reproofs and censures… the exercise of the apostolic rod” (John Gill Commentary e-Sword).  You will note his words though “To edification”.  It should never be the intent of correction, reproof, rebuke to destroy; but to always edify.  To build up takes more effort than tearing down.  Sometimes tearing down is necessary, but the ultimate end is for “Edification”

For Lack of Knowledge

It seems there are many who are desirous for much knowledge in the world of 2012.  We are more knowledgeable today than at any time in the history of mankind.  We have learned the chemical makeup of water and salt; and a whole lot of other things too.  Some of which are or have been destructive.  We have even gained the knowledge to split the invisible atom, and make nuclear weapons and power plants.

The knowledge of these things; good or bad; has made us appear to be up and coming onto being gods of our own lives.  Many are; in their own eyes “In control” and “In charge” of their own destiny.  They assume these things because of “Lack of Knowledge”.  It is the knowledge of God; knowing God, and being known by Him which really counts for eternity.  Hear what the prophet Hosea has written,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

You may have gained the knowledge of God and His love at an early age, but you have gone your own way.  God is calling you to return to Him.  You may have the knowledge of great things which man has made, but do you know the One who has made man, and holds us in His hands?  He loves you, and sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for you, was buried and He rose again.  One day He is returning.  Call on His name.  He will hear.  He will save.

-T.A.

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ – “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).
B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ – “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).
C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ – “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).
D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit – “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of knowledge.

a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

The first time I heard of these seven things I believe, were from a message by John MacArthur, then I read them in a study of Spiritual Gifts.

It is God’s will that we be Saved – “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified – “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving – “ As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV); “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.

1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).

B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes,

“Having the knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Ibid p. 29ff

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.
II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.
III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.
V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-T.A.

Day 52 – The Sovereign Holy One of Israel

There is one phrase which keeps coming up in the prophecy of Isaiah.  It is more than a phrase, it is a statement of the character of God.  In Isaiah, as well as in other parts of Scripture we hear of “the Holy One of Israel”.  It is a good term, a great reference to the character of the Creator of all that is; both seen and unseen.  As I read chapters 35 – 48 of Isaiah this morning I noticed the presence of God in the nations around the tiny nation of Israel.  You really cannot help but notice that God is God of the world when it gets right down to it.

If God reigns, and he does, in Israel; then, He also is reigning throughout the whole world.  He is, though, not often recognized as being the one who is reigning.

In chapters 36 – 39 we hear about Hezekiah, and his struggle against the pride, and arrogance of Assyria, and her king Sennacherib (36:1).  No army had been successful against the Assyrian army, and the king wanted Hezekiah to know it.  In his arrogance he blasphemed the God of Israel, seeing Him as nothing more than the idols of the fallen nations he had conquered.  However, since God is defensive of His own glory, and Hezekiah had a heart for God, then God was not going to let this arrogant king get by with it.

We also see in the reading that God is not at all well pleased with Israel, and that they are going into captivity because of their rejection of God, His Word, and His ways. Babylon was God’s source of captivity and judgment upon Israel, however Babylon showed them no mercy, and in their arrogance they brought judgment of God upon themselves to destruction;

“I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.  And thou saidst, ‘I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.’  Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, ‘None seeth me.’ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I am, and none else beside me.’   Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.   Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah 47:6-13 (KJV)

If you will notice this announcement of judgment is due to “thou didst shew them no mercy”.  Because of this Babylon would fall to a king that God names in chapers 44 and 45;

“That saith of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.” 44:28

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…” 45:1

The LORD is THE SOVEREIGN HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL; however He is Sovereign of the whole world, yea, even of the Universe.  A final word in the reading for today says this,

“There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)

The wicked are all those who refuse to submit to the Lordship and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and His finished work on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 29 – The Pride and a Fall

It is written in Proverbs, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).  Pride even gets into the hearts and minds of the best among us; and that is never more clear to me than when I was reading in 2 Chronicles 23 – 36 this morning.

I read of several kings, three of which, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah were noted as “Doing what was right in the sight of the LORD”; and they did wonderful things to restore Judah and Jerusalem to the right worship of the LORD.  The LORD prospered them, the nation and the city because of the fine works of these godly kings.  The death of Uzziah is mourned by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 6.

Uzziah, however became prideful.  Hear what the Scripture says of him –

“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” 2 Chronicles 26:16 (KJV)

In his pride he usurped the office of the priest; an office that did not belong to him; nor a work that was his.  When Uzziah was approached, and rebuked by the chief priest Azariah it is like he had the attitude, “I am king.  Who do you think you are correcting the king?”

“And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.  And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”  26:20-21

Uzziah died a leper, due to his prideful fall.

King Hezekiah too is recognized as a king who did what “…was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (29:2).  King Hezekiah brought back the Passover, and brought back a unity between part of the people of the Northern kingdom of Israel (30:1-12).  Hezekiah did many wonderful things in Judah and Jerusalem, and God blessed him greatly; yet his heart became prideful;

“In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and He spake unto him, and He gave him a sign.   But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” 32:24-25

We also see that God did something in the life of Hezekiah which we may find a bit puzzling;

“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 32:31 (See 2 Kings 20:12-19)

What I am referring to is the phrase, “God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”  Have you ever had a time when it seemed the Lord had “left” you?  It was probably a test.  It is a time of God’s silence.  Your real heart and mind will be revealed during those times.  The warning here is be cautious, very cautious of pride.

Now, let us look at Josiah who was only eight years of age when he became king of Judah, and he too “…did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father…” (34:1-2).  Josiah heard the word of the LORD, after the reading of it, called the nation to repentance, and was promised to die in peace (34:21-28).

For some reason, and I believe this to be an element of his pride, though it is not named; the king sees a battle that is not his, and he goes to war against Necho, king of Egypt.  The Egyptian kings sends ambassadors saying to Josiah,

“After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.  But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, ‘What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.’   Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.  And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, ‘Have me away; for I am sore wounded.’   His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.” 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 (KJV)

Josiah goes against the word of the LORD by the prophet (34:21-28), and proceeds to war when he has none to fight.  O, the futility, and death that pride brings.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God humbled Himself to the point of death, and went to the cross to die for the sins of the world; mine and yours; He was buried, and rose bodily from the grave, and He still lives, exalted at the Father’s right hand.

-Tim A. Blankenship