Egypt, Assyria, and Israel as One Nation

“In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of Hosts, which He shaketh over it.  And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of Hosts, which He hath determined against it.

In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of Hosts; one shall be called, ‘The city of destruction.’

In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.  And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of Hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them.  And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform.  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal, and they shall return to the LORD, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.’ ” Isaiah 19:16-25 (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (5)

Your Own Wickedness

 

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
‘Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19

Corrected in Measure

The people of God. Jacob and his descendants are never without the discipline [correction] of God.  That correction shows, in fact, that they are the children of God.  The same is true of those who are genuine Christians; those who have been regenerated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

That correction is not for destruction, but a guided, blessed comfort, rest, peace which is indescribable by mere words.  Let us hear from the prophet Jeremiah…

But fear not thou, O My servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob My servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. Jeremiah 46:27-28 (KJV)

After giving a declaration from God of the demise of Egypt for their treatment of Jacob/Israel the LORD God gives a word of comfort to His people.  Here we see that promise “Fear not…” once again.  This fear not is for the people of God who are descendants of Jacob; yet we as Christians can rest in this promise as well, because we can get assurance from it that God does know how to deliver His people in all days and all ages.

Hear what Peter, the New Testament apostle of Jesus Christ wrote…

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished… 2 Peter 2:9

He is speaking of the deliverance of Lot from the destruction of Sodom, yet the word holds true for us all.  We can trust God with our future.  We can trust Him with our health.  We can trust Him with our finances – but that does not give us license for frivolous spending or waste.  Frivolousness in anything will be judged.  Be wise.

For the child of God; He does not correct for destruction, but for deliverance, freedom, rest, comfort and peace.  Find rest, forgiveness and peace with God through  Jesus Christ His Son who died on the cross as the atonement for our sin, was buried, and bodily arose from that grave; and is forever alive giving us fellowship with God.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Lamb of God

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” Exodus 12:5-7

The final plague was coming upon Egypt. Moses had received instruction from the LORD for the deliverance from this final form of judgment on Egypt; it would affect all in the land of Egypt, even Israel. None can stand before the final judgment without the redemptive power of the blood of the lamb.

Note in the above verse the placing of the blood on the “two side posts”, and on the “upper door post” of their homes. Within that alone we have the sign of the cross. It was on the cross of Calvary where our blessed Savior bled out His life’s blood for our redemption. The perfect Lamb of God who willingly gave His life for my sin and yours.

John the apostle wrote of John the Baptist as he said,

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

Your sins and mine have been paid for by the blood of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Jesus Christ. You are lost and condemned without Him. Repent, believe Him, and be saved, today.

From Feb 4, 2014

God’s Word Fulfilled in the Past, Present, and the Future

“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Daniel 11:1-4 (KJV)

The first verse is clearly the angel, whom we believe to be Gabriel, still speaking to Daniel to give Him understanding of all the things he has seen.
Explanations do us good in most things in life. Daniel was God’s man, God’s prophet for that period of time, and he had received one of the most profound prophetic visions of all the history of mankind. He was given wisdom and grace by God to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed, and to give him its interpretation. Daniel also received the vision of the same prophecy as seen from God’s eyes.

Daniel was a student of Scripture. We are told that he read the prophet Jeremiah concerning the 70 weeks. That is where Daniel Got his faith, and grew to the man that he was. He was a student of God’s Word.

What does the angel explain to Daniel?

THE ANGEL SPEAKS CONCERNING PERSIA AND HER KINGS (vv. 1-2). I have already explained that the first verse is a carry over from the tenth chapter. This angel had stood with Darius/Cyrus as a protecting angel as he was carrying forth the edict of God in making a decree for Hebrews to return to their land. This shows the promise God made to Abraham – “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you”. It is best to stand with the people of God who are the Hebrews as a nation.

For Daniel these were future. King Cambyses (529-522 B.C.). Pseudo Smerdis (522-521 B.C.). Darius I Hystapes (521-486 B.C.). Xerxes or Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther (496-465 B.C.).
These are now history past. We are assured by their fulfillment that God’s Word is true. If these were fulfilled then the yet future prophecies will be fulfilled also.

Remember Daniel has already seen the line-up according to Nebuchacnezzar’s dream. The head of gold was Babylon (Chap. 2; the lion of chap. 7). The arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian empire (Chap. 2; the bear of chap. 7). The belly and thighs of bronze are Greece (Chap. 2; the goat of chap. 8). The legs of iron, feet of iron mixed with clay is Rome (Chap. 2; terrible beast in chap. 7).

CONCERNING GREECE (vv. 3-4). This picture of course refers to Alexander the Great. He is only called “Great” because of the swiftness with which he conquered the then known world. The belly and thighs of bronze [brass]. The speed of a leopard with wings.

When he died his kingdom was divided between four of his generals. The four kingdoms were; Macedonia; Asia Minor; Egypt – referred to in this chapter as the “king of the South”; and Syria – referred to in this chapter as “king of the North”.

This, too, was fulfilled just as the book of Daniel says.

This book was not written after the fact; as many unbelieving professors say; but years before the events took place. The unbelievers do not believe that God has the knowledge/foreknowledge to know what will happen in the future. They really give no allowance for God at all, but that does not matter, they will still see Him one day, whether they believe in Him or not.

CONCERNING EGYPT AND SYRIA (vv. 5-20). Ptolemy I Soter and Seleucus I Nicator (v. 5). Seleucus is the stronger. His alliance allowed him to seize the throne of Syria.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Antiochus II Theos (v. 6). Marriage was a political matter for peace and unity between nations. Ptolemy demanded Antiochus divorce his wife Laodice in order to marry Ptolemy’s daughter Berenice. After Ptolemy died, 2 years later, Antiochus took back Laodice and she murdered Antiochus and Berenice. O the pit of politics.

Ptolemy III Euregetes and Seleucus II Callinicus (vv. 7-9). Brother of Bernice – defending his sisters honor and avenging her death; attacked the Northern kingdom and won.

Ptolemy IV Philopater and Antiochus III the Great (vv. 10-19). Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V (7 years of age), hoping to use her to underrmine the Egyptian government. Cleopatra was loyal to her husband.

God is still the God of history, because it is His-story.

CONCERNING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES AND SYRIA (vv. 21-35; also see 8:9-14). This man is the picture of the future antichrist – he is in fact an antichrist for his time.

This man obtained his throne by guile.

He was successful in his military endeavors.

In 170 B.C. he turned his attention toward Israel. He plundered and defiled the temple. He abolished daily sacrifices. He killed many of the Jewish people. He left soldiers behind in Jerusalem to maintain control. He invaded Egypt again only to be confronted by Romans (v. 30; “ships of Chittim”.

In 168 B.C. he desecrated the temple. He erected an altar to Zeus, and offered a pig as sacrifice in the Hebrew temple. NOTE: In the future the Antichrist will put his own image in the temple of God when he breaks the covenant with the Hebrews in the middle of the “Seventieth week of Daniel” – the seven year tribulation period.

There was a small group of faithful Jews who opposed this godless leader (vv. 33-35). A Jewish priest named Mattathias and his five sons. His son Judah (Maccabeus meaning, “The hammerer”) was one of the heroes of this revolt. These laid down their lives and finally won. On December 14, 165 B.C., the temple was purified and the altar dedicated. The Jews celebrate this annually as the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah). This is also mentioned back in chapter eight.

CONCERNING THE TRIBULATION AND THE ANTICHRIST (vv. 36- 12:1). The time of the Great Tribulation, also known as the “Time of Jacobs trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Just as the above historical things were foretold and came to pass; so too will the things that have yet to happen. They do not have to be spiritualized for fulfillment; they will be literally fulfilled.

This man will appear as a man of peace; a master politician; a man of no specific religious faith. The Tribulation will begin in peace for the Jewish people, but will become war against them in the last three and one half years. God, however, will preserve His people (Matthew 24:22). There will be military invasion (Daniel 11:40-43); a battle will take place at the valley called Armageddon (vv. 44-45); then, Jesus Christ will appear in all His glory, splendor and wrath ridding the world of all evil.

This is not a period of time that Christians look forward to. We are waiting and longing for the appearance of Jesus in the clouds; calling our names; and COME UP HITHER with the sound of the trumpet, and we will go to be with Him for all eternity. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The Promises and the whole Word of God has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled. If you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ; call on His name and He will hear you and save you.

MARANATHA.

Jesus in Genesis (7)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” REV. 19:10c (KJV)

There are many more pictures, types, likenesses, etc. in the book of Genesis. I chose to do only seven, because that is a number which John the apostle liked and used quite often. You can see his use of the number in the gospel according to John and then, especially in the Revelation. It is a number for fulness, completion, and certainly in Jesus there is fulness and completion.

Our final study in LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS will be of Joseph. In looking at Gleanings In Genesis by A. W. Pink he had 101 examples of Joseph’s pictures of Jesus. I am going to only look at fourteen of them. I went through them and picked what I could consider the favorites, and the most clear. The study covers chapters 37 – 41.

In the first picture we find Joseph as a shepherd. Look at chapter 37 verses 1 – 2a,

“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren;”

Joseph, “Was feeding the flock with his brethren”. He certainly had a heart for the sheep and that should remind us of the Great Shepherd, and the twenty third Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”. What does the shepherd do? He feeds, tends, protects, directs, and leads the sheep. Joseph is a picture of Jesus as the Shepherd.

The second type is where we see the father’s love for the son.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age” (37:3a).

Many people look at this verse and immediately think and/or say, “Well, this just isn’t right. Anytime a parent loves one child more than another it is going to cause problems.” It does in this case. This was different. Joseph was a special son, a unique one. He was the child of Rachel, the wife whom Jacob had chosen, but was tricked and deceived out of. So, of course, Joseph is going to be loved in a very special way. In such a way is Jesus loved by our Heavenly Father. There is a very special relationship and fellowship between the Father and His Son Jesus. That relationship and fellowship caused problems with those who believed they were the “sons of God” – the people of Israel. This led to His crucifixion.

In another picture we find Jacob/Israel having made Joseph ” a coat of many colours.” (v. 3b). This was a very special coat. The word “colors” is translated as being, “a long and sleeved tunic”. The specialty of this is that it is a garment of royalty. The garment of one who is ruler over others. The common worker would have worn a sleevless garment for ease in doing manual labor, but not the one who is the ruling leader. Because of this garment the statement was being made this is the one who is ruling over the family. Jacob, in making the garment, most likely did not realize the full import or impact this message would have upon himself or the rest of the family. Jesus, the favored Son has been appointed as the One who will rule over all, and does.

“Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6-9).

In the fourth picture we find that the brothers hated Joseph’s words.

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” (vv. 5-8).

When Jesus spoke the Sadducees and Pharisees hated the words Jesus spoke. It was because of the words Jesus spoke that they sought to put Him to death. You can read Matthew 22 and 23 and see their hatred for Him. They were condemned by the truth which He spoke. Joseph was hated because of his dreams, and they were dreams which would come to pass. Just as surely as Joseph’s words would come to pass even more so did the words Jesus spoke.

The fifth picture is how he was envied by his brothers. You can see that in verses four and five of chapter 37 [above]. They “hated” Joseph. Surely we can see the envy of Jesus’ brethren, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11). He was rejected and despised according to the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53:3.

Sixthly, we see Joseph being sent by the father.

“And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” (vv. 12-13).

Jesus was sent by the Father to a world of wickedness to die for the godless and unbelieving. As Joseph went willingly in saying “Here am I”; so too did Jesus go, in full agreement with the Father to His brethren, and there Jesus would die for the sins of the world.

Seventh, there is a conspiracy by the brothers to kill Joseph.

“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” (v. 18).

If you will read the New Testament accounts of the anger, envy, hatred by the religious leaders for Jesus, and the arrest and trial of Jesus you will see a conspiracy. The Jewish religious leaders even brought their hated enemy Rome into the picture to get Jesus arrested, tried and convicted to death.

In another picture we see the unbelief of the brothers to Joseph’s words.

“Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (vv. 19-20).

Their “Unbelief” showed that they actually hated what he had to say. By the arrest, trial, conviction, and crucifixion of Jesus the religious leaders were showing their unbelief, and said,

“Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).

They too were in unbelief.

Joseph was cast into a pit by his brothers (v. 24). Some might say in looking at this, “Now how does that picture Jesus?” It could very well picture His death and burial. The brothers of Joseph had actually conspired to kill him, but decided to cast him into the pit. From the moment of Jesus’ ministry the Pharisees plotted to kill Him. Let me quote here what A. W. Pink has written, “We quote now from Dr. Haldeman: ‘The pit wherein is no water, is another name for Hades, the underworld, the abode of the disembodied dead: of all the dead before the resurrection of Christ. ‘The pit wherein is no water’ (Zech. 9:11). ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12:40). It is here our Lord, as to His Soul, abode between death and resurrection.” (GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink).

In the tenth picture we find Joseph facing temptation, yet without sinning.

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” (39:7-12).

Those who are familiar with the life of Jesus know the Scripture concerning His sinlessness (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). Was Joseph perfect? No! Was he without sin? The answer again is NO. However, you will not find one accusation against him in the texts which mention him. That alone must be evidence that the Spirit of God intended for Joseph to be a picture of the sinless Son of God.

The eleventh image of Christ we see in Joseph is that he suffered at the hands of Gentiles.

“And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” (39:20).

Jesus suffered at the hands of Roman guards, and the governor:

“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,” (Acts 4:26-27).

Twelfth, the picture is of Joseph’s “Predictions come to pass”. The dreams which Joseph dreamed of his father and brothers bowing to him were fulfilled, and also the interpretation of the dreams of the butler and the baker;

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.” (40:20-22).

The Lord Jesus never spoke a word that did not come to pass, or it will one day. He is the Truth. There was no lie that ever came from His lips. Jesus said,

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Jesus spoke of His death, and He spoke of rising from the dead, and He did. Just to keep us aware, He also spoke that He would come back again. He will.

In the thirteenth picture we will look at we see Joseph exalted at the throne of Egypt.

“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.” (41:39-45).

In the New Testament following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we find that Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the throne of God (Acts 7:55-56). According to A. W. Pink the Egyptian meaning for Joseph’s new name, Zaphnathpaaneah is “Savior of the world”. Jesus has been exalted to the throne (REV. 5).

The final picture we see is that Joseph is given a wife. We see in verse 45 above that he is given a wife. If you have a copy of GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink you would find it interesting to read his explanation of Joseph’s being given a wife. It is in chapter 44 titled “Joseph The Savior Of The World” and it is the first item in the chapter. One thing I know and that is that this pictures Jesus Christ and His Bride. I believe that His Bride will consist of Israel and the Gentile believer. Jesus came to call the Jew first and then the Gentile. In Jesus “…There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile]…” (Gal. 3:28). We will one day see Jesus face to face, and that will be one GLORIOUS DAY.

In closing this study of LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS let me stress this. When we see a photograph of something, say, the Grand Canyon, we may marvel in the picture, but it really does no justice to actually seeing it, actually seeing it; being there. So, too, these pictures, types or shadows, beautiful they may be, really do no justice to what it will really be like seeing Jesus, our Lord and Savior, face to face.

Keep LOOKING FOR JESUS in the Scriptures, in everyday life, and in the air.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Thirty and Seven

“Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.'” Jeremiah 37:6-8 (KJV)

There is a lot of talk about speaking “Positively”, and I like to be positive about things.  The above verses do not sound very positive.  Do they?  If God is about to carry out His word of judgment on His people of Judah is that positive?  My thought is – Yes it is.

If God’s word of judgment is fulfilled just as He says; then His words of promise, hope, life, and eternity will also be fulfilled.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to see the best in every situation, knowing that God is at work in me, all Christians, and the rest of the world; carrying out His will and purposes and letting the whole world know that He is the LORD.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Fifty and Eight

“In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” Isaiah 19:24-25 (NKJV)

These verses, are a yet to be fulfilled prophecy of the prophet Isaiah.

What do I want for Christmas?

Since the nations mentioned (Egypt and Assyria along with Israel) I want for the people of these nations to come to know the GOD of Israel, and to see the work and power of Christ Jesus on the cross to redeem all who will believe on Him;  and I want you to understand and know the One who has purchased the redemption of all who will call on His name (Romans 10:13).

Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the only way of peace in the Middle East and the world.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the people who call themselves “People of God” to return to God’s Word, trusting His Word, His Spirit and His way in our own hearts, our lives, families, Churches, and our Nation.

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Nine

Everyday is Christmas – What do I want for Christmas?

I want to put my complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for the problems I personally face, for the problems of my family, and the problems of our Nation (the U. S. of A.); to realize that our trust must be in Him alone, not in politics or any political, deceptive so called leader.

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”  Psalm 118:9

Egypt and You

The nation of Egypt was at one time a world ruler. In the days before the captivity of Israel in Egypt, and during their captivity there the nation was a world ruler; even believed to have been the ruler of the known world at that time.

What is God’s purpose for Egypt? The answer to that is found in the final portion of our verses for today:

“Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: and I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 29:13-16 (KJV)

“But they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Yes! This phrase is one of the most prominent throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel; at least 63 times. It is said of other nations; including Israel. It is said of individuals. The LORD God wants you to know that He is the LORD. One day you will. I only pray that it will not be too late for salvation.

God’s word to Egypt was that they too would go into captivity, that they would one day return to their land, but they would never be a world ruling power again. They went from a world ruling nation; basically to a world ruled nation. God still has great plans for Egypt.

No matter how far you have fallen; there is still hope for you. No matter how much evil may be in your life; Jesus Christ died for you; took your sins, your evil upon Himself, and bled and died so that you might be saved from your sin, guilt, condemnation and death. Know that He is the LORD today.

God’s Word Will Stand

Prisoners from Judah have been taken to Babylon. Jeremiah and a remnant of people have been left in Jerusalem and have been told by God through Jeremiah that they are to stay in the land and till, and tend it, and that God will bless them, protecting them, and keeping them from further harm from Babylon.

The people have asked Jeremiah to go to the LORD, and seek His direction as to what they are to do. They seem to mean by that: “Do we stay in Jerusalem, or shall we go down into Egypt?” God has told them to stay in Judah and trust Him. They have flat out rejected the word of the LORD, and said, “We are going to Egypt.” See Jeremiah 43:1-7.

“Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by My great name, saith the LORD, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, Mine, or theirs. And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that My words shall surely stand against you for evil: Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.” Jeremiah 44:26-30 (KJV)

After the people have arrived in Egypt God gives them a sign to show that it is His word that will stand; not theirs. That sign is that Babylon is going to come against Egypt, and the very thing that they feared will come to pass. All that refused to hear the word of the LORD, and obey will face famine, death, and pestilence.

Yet, there is a promise in these verses, “Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah…, and they shall know whose words shall stand, Mine or theirs”. That has part of the phrase that is mentioned throughout the Old Testament “They shall know…” mentioned so many times in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Why is it so important for God’s people to know, to hear, and to do the word of God? So that we can better know Him, and live under His blessings and not His chastening, disciplining hand.

Jesus Christ is God’s living Word. When you hear Him, and follow Him you are cleansed, you are forgiven, you have eternal life through His death, burial and resurrection. His Word shall stand.

Desires of the Heart

“So they did eat, and were well filled: for He gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for His wondrous works.” Psalm 78:29-32 (KJV)

Asaph is again the Psalmist of this song. This Psalm is a reminder of the wilderness journeys of Israel, and how God delivered them out of Egypt; then, to drive Egypt out of them.

God had provided the people with “manna” meaning “What is it?” and they were complaining and calling on Moses to lead them back to Egypt. How fickle and foolish we people can be sometimes; yes even saved, even delivered people.

You can read the story that is being sung by Asaph in Numbers 11.

A couple questions: Would you prefer that God gave you all the desires of your own heart? or: Would you prefer that God gave you His desires and placed them in your heart and mind?

The Psalmist points out to us that God “gave them their own desire”; and that was not a good option for them. We see later that they gorged themselves, many became sick and perished. They named the place “Kibrothhattaavah” which means “Graves of Craving” (Numbers 11:34). The Psalmist of Psalm 106 states,

“And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15

Go ahead and complain about your life situation. Go ahead, and ask God for a big fancy home, big nice car, lots of money in the bank, great land holdings; and He may give it to you.

Myself I have chosen to pray for what He desires for my life. I pray that is what you have determined as well. “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Note that he does not say “things you desire”, but rather, “desires”.

When God, through Jesus Christ, is your desire there will be peace, rest and safety.

When the Enemy is not Driven Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many Great Things Has God Done for His People

“And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; for the LORD our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: and the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for He is our God.” Joshua 24:16-18 (KJV)

Many great things has God done for His people Israel. Joshua, Caleb, and all the people of Israel who had came through the wilderness, had experienced the mighty hand of God; and they had received the Promise of God to their fathers. After they had received the promise how would they live?

That is a good question for followers of Christ in 2015. How will we now live? How will I now live?  Will we turn away from God? Will I turn away from God?  Will we continue to believe God and live for Him? Will I continue to believe God, and live for Him?  My answer to those questions is that; I will strive through the working of the Spirit of Christ Jesus to please the Father. I will not turn away from Him. I will live for Him. May my life be lived that others may see Christ in and through me. Yes I will live for God, His Son, and His word. There is no other God.

How about you?

Putting Evil Away

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

The prophet or preacher of God, the man of God is to speak the word of God. Anything contrary to the word of God is a lie. The man or woman who says God said something which God has not said is worthy of death.

I would say that God gave these verses partly due to men like Balaam who sought reward from Balak the Moabite king and people who sought to curse the children of Israel, and to lead them astray at Baalpeor (Numbers 25).

I have in my mind another prophet who stood against the prophet of God, Jeremiah. Hananiah stood against Jeremiah, and the word of God. Jeremiah pronounced that Hananiah would die within the year; and Hananiah the false prophet died that year (Jeremiah 28:11-17).

Putting evil away is through the preaching of the Word of God, and doing what God says.  The man of God has a great responsibility with the word of God. We are not to twist it to please people; including ourselves. We are to proclaim it as God has spoken it. Pleasing the people to draw a crowd does not please God. The word of God is written for us to read, to hear, and to heed. See 2 Timothy 2:15.

Be Holy

“For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45 (KJV)

God has spoken these words; Moses wrote them down, and they are holy words. These words remind us that God is holy, and that because He is holy His people ought also be holy.

In the previous verses it has been written what Israel can and cannot eat and be holy. Eating seems to be such a trivial part of living; however, it matters to GOD. I have no understanding as to why any of these animals are clean or unclean. I do not know that any of the children of Israel understood either, but it was imperative that the people believe GOD, and obey Him. They were not called to understand, but to believe GOD, and obey.

The fact, the truth that GOD is holy is one way of saying that there is no other God. Yet the word “God” is ‘Elohiym” and is a plural for God. Any time we see this is Scripture it is speaking of the plurality of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is holy. The Son is Holy. The Spirit is Holy. Those who claim to know Him are to be holy.

Just what is holiness. It means to be uniquely distinct from all others. The child of God; the Christian is to live a life different than the people around us. Out talk should magnify Christ Jesus. Our walk – where we go, how we dress, the things we eat, the things we drink, the music we listen to, the movies we watch should be measured by Jesus and not whether the world is doing it.

In the New Testament the Christian is commanded to be holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16).

His Sanctuary; His Dominion

“When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His dominion.” Psalm 114:1-2 (KJV)

The Psalmist; probably not David, but another of a later time acknowledges GOD as the Ruler of the nation.

The LORD is the One who delivered Jacob [Israel] out of Egypt.  Judah is the sanctuary of God’s abiding.  It is from Judah which our Saviour Jesus the Christ came.  It is in Judah where Jerusalem is.

Israel the new name for Jacob is the place of God’s rule; and covers the entirety of the kingdom.

It is Christ Jesus who is the King.  It is within His people that He is abiding; His sanctuary.  Yet He has a plan for Israel.

Just as the LORD delivered Jacob out of Egypt; so too does He deliver sinners out of sin, and death.  He has sent His Son Jesus who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose from death, and forever lives.  Believe Him and live forever with Him.

GOD, Among the Mighty

“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods.” Psalm 82:1 (KJV)

There are many on the earth who are made so by men; in governments whether in cities, states, provinces, or nations.  Guess what God stands among them.

O how our leaders need to stop and realize that God is overlooking all their affairs.  Do you believe He is pleased?  There is coming a day of judgment.  He knows when a payment is received to make a godless, ungodly law.

God (the fulness of the Godhead; Colossians 1:17-19) also judges the gods which men erect, which may be monuments to glorify men. In our own day it could be our technology, our science, our wealth, our medicine.  God judged the gods of Egypt and showed  them to be without authority and power (Exodus 12:12;  Numbers 33:4).

One day the governments of men will be put in place, and all our “achievements” will be seen to be vain; and God will be glorified.

There are many mighty men in the earth, but all those who exalt themselves against the Lord will be brought down.

The Lord Jesus Christ; the crucified, buried, resurrected, and coming King will be the Judge.

Believe Him today.

Know That I Am the LORD

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

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

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

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

Do you know today that God is the LORD?

Glorious Power of the LORD

“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His name…
…Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: Thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” Exodus 15:3, 6 (KJV)

The fifteenth chapter of Exodus is dedicated to the Song of Moses (vv. 1-19).  It is a song of triumph against a nation that at the time was the center of the known world.  The people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt.  Enslaved by a king who had no mercy on them, thus was God’s judgment to come for their deliverance.

There are many who do not like looking at GOD  as being a “Man of war” or like a “Man of war”; however, that is how the Scriptures speak of Him in two different verses.  In the above verses of Exodus, and in Isaiah we read,

“The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: He shall cry, yea, roar; He shall prevail against His enemies.” Isaiah 42:13 (KJV)

Many today want a lovey, dovey god who supplies all their wants and wishes.  That god is more of a genie who grants the every wish of the one who “trust” in that god.  The GOD of glory and power is the One who has made all things; the seen and the unseen.  His glory is above and beyond that of men or women.  There is only one glory that will stand and that is the LORD’S.

When someone like the Pharaoh of Egypt exalts themselves against the LORD, the GOD will show Himself strong in His own behalf and His people.  One day all the world will know that GOD is the LORD.  For some that will not be a pleasant day or hereafter.

Make today a good one by believing in the Son whom the LORD has sent to be the payment for your sins.  When you trust His Son Jesus you are no longer His enemy, but His child.

Living in the Presence

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV)

The LORD had just worked out the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  Now He gives them the assurance of His presence, and His abiding with them with a pillar.  By day it was a Pillar of cloud; by night a Pillar of fire.  He would lead them by day and by night.

How did the Moses and the children of Israel know where to go?  God was leading them with His powerful presence.

This Pillar was associated with the “Angel of the LORD” and with when Moses spoke with the LORD (Exodus 33:9-11).  The Pillar was to stand between the Israelites and the Egyptians later before they would cross the Red Sea.  He was their Guide and Protector.  Notice too, that “He took not away the Pillar…”  He is the Living Presence.

For the Christian  that Pillar is the presence of GOD within every follower of Jesus Christ.  He is that Cloud by day, and Fire by night.  He is our Comforter, our Conviction, our Direction and Guide every moment of the day and the night (John 16:7-11).  The Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ in you to lead and guide you to become like Jesus in living.  That is the desire of every born again believer; to be like Jesus: loving the Father, doing the Father’s will, glorifying the Father, doing the work of the Father.

Living in the Presence of the LORD begins by following His Son Jesus Christ.

What You Do When You Hear the Word of the LORD

“He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: and he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.” Exodus 9:20-21 (KJV)

The words are written as the warning from Moses to Pharaoh, and his people of Egypt, of a plague of hail and fire that would kill every thing caught in the open field.  Those who had seen the previous plagues happen just as Moses had said, “feared the word of the LORD”, and acted upon it, and saved animals and human life.

What do you do when you hear the word of the LORD?  What is our response when God speaks?  Do you even hear when God speaks?  Do you care when God speaks?  You need to respond.  You need to hear.  You definitely need to care.  Your eternal destiny depends upon it.

There is judgment coming, is even already here, if you have eyes to see it, and ears to hear it.  Fear the word of the LORD, and flee for shelter.  The shelter is the cross of Jesus Christ.  There is no safety outside the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD will determine your eternal destiny.  If you fear the word of the LORD and seek shelter in the cross of Jesus you will live forever with Him.  Outside the cross of Christ is eternal torment, eternal dying.

The Purpose of Judgment

“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.” Exodus 7:2-6 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beginning of Life and Death

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” Genesis 50:24-26 (KJV)

The book of Genesis, the book of beginnings finds a great divide.  A divide between life and death.  Everyone likes to talk about life.  Not many will even deal with the topic of death.  In the end we must realize that death, though inevitable for us all is merely the absence of life.

God never created death.  God created life.  Disobedience to God brought death; Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the garden produced death from the life God had given.  The choice they had between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a choice of life and death.  Their choice was death, thus this is the journey of mankind through the end of Genesis, and through our own day as well.

Joseph was sold into Egypt fulfilling God’s plan to make a great nation through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God gives life for all those who believe Him and trust Him.  Joseph died in Egypt with the promise of God and hope that one day Israel would return to the land of Promise – the land of Canaan.

Because of the sin in the garden death came to mankind, and every man, and woman since that time has gone the way of death; with the exception of two men – Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-15).  Then there was Jesus the Christ, Son of God who died and was bodily raised conquering the power of death for all who would trust in Him.

One day those who believe and follow Jesus will look upon His face.  We will see Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, David, friends, family, and many people we never expected to find there.  All are there through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Death is conquered by the resurrected power of life through Christ Jesus.

That coffin in Egypt which held Joseph will be empty.  Those coffins which have held the bodies of your loved ones who loved Jesus will be empty when Jesus comes for His own.  Contrary to what some believe there is a “First resurrection” (Revelation 20:5), and there is a “second death” (Revelation 20:6, 14).  Which will you have part in?  The second death is the eternal absence of meaningful life and God.

GOD loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.  Believe Him and live forever. Reject Him and die forever.

Israel; Jacob’s Fear Not

“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” Genesis 46:2-4 (KJV)

Israel is the new name God had given to Jacob.  Jacob had been a “supplanter” a deceiver; and had tried to have things his own way.

Jacob’s life had now changed at the end of his life.  He had just heard that his son Joseph was not only alive, but was a ruler in the land of Egypt, and due to famine throughout the Middle Eastern countries was being invited by that son and the Pharaoh of Egypt to come into the land and dwell there.

Now there was no more scheming, no more planning and or plotting to achieve his desired path, but now Jacob was in the hands of the Sovereign hands of GOD.  “Fear not to go down into Egypt…” were the words of God to Jacob.

God promised Jacob that when he died Joseph would be at his side.  He also promised that it would be in Egypt that “I will there make of thee a great nation”.  He also promised that they would come out of Egypt, to the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We can learn from these passages; as Joseph’s brethren had learned – You cannot thwart the  plan of God.  Instead they were used in their evil plot to work the plan of God.  How do I explain that?  I do not even try.

It is best for me and all God’s children to leave these matters in His hands; to trust Him, and believe that whatever happens is going to be for our good and His glory.  It was, for example, our evil that caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross; however it was the plan of God that His Son die for our sins, that we might have access to the very throne of God.

God speaks, and He sees to it that what He speaks comes to pass just as He has spoken.  Just as Jacob/Israel saw his son Joseph again; so too will Jesus come again.

Believe God and trust Him today.

Between a Rock, and a Hard Place

Between a Rock, and a Hard Place

 

Exodus 14:13-18

The title is an expression of the difficult places we sometimes find ourselves, and oft times do not know what to do with it or about it. Moses and the children of Israel, leaving Egypt found themselves in a similar situation. We see what they did; and how God brought them through.

 

1. The LORD Would Not Have His People in Fear (v. 13).

 

2. The Fight and the Victory is the LORD’S (v. 14).

 

3. The Time to Move and Go Forward (vv. 15-16).

 

4. The LORD’S Honor and Glory are His Own to Get (vv. 17-18).

GOD is the LORD

GOD is the LORD

 

Exodus 6:1-8 (30)

In Exodus God works so that not only Israel will see that God is the LORD; but that all Egypt will see the weakness and falacies of their gods; and repent and believe; but also that the whole world will know that He is GOD THE LORD of all that is.

1. One Thing God’s People Must Know for Sure, and That Is That God will Perform His Word (v. 1).

A. God’s word will not pass away (Matthew 24:35).

B. The grass and the flowers of earth fade… (1 Peter 1:24).

 

2. His Word will Not Only be Fulfilled in Egypt, but also All the Way to Canaan (vv. 2-4).

A. God’s purpose is not to condemn the world, but that it might be saved (John 3:17).

B. There is no condemnation for all who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

 

3. GOD Hears Israel’s Cry; They Must Know that GOD is the LORD (vv. 5-6).

A. GOD hears the cry of His people (1 Peter 5:7).

 

4. GOD Will Do What He Says He Will Do (vv. 7-8).

Jesus Through the Bible – The Lamb of God

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”  Exodus 12:5-7

The final plague was coming upon Egypt.  Moses had received instruction from the LORD for the deliverance from this final form of judgment on Egypt; it would affect all in the land of Egypt, even Israel.  None can stand before the final judgment without the redemptive power of the blood of the lamb.

Note in the above verse the placing of the blood on the “two side posts”, and on the “upper door post” of their homes.  Within that alone we have the sign of the cross.  It was on the cross of Calvary where our blessed Saviour bled out His life’s blood for our redemption.  The perfect Lamb of God who willingly gave His life for my sin and yours.

John the apostle wrote of John the Baptist as he said,

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

Your sins and mine have been paid for by the blood of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Jesus Christ.  You are lost and condemned without Him.  Repent, believe Him, and be saved, today.

Thus Saith the LORD God… 012414

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

Thus Saith the LORD… 012014

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in Mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.’ And the LORD spake unto Moses, ‘Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.’  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.”  Exodus 7:17-22

The Redeeming Love of GOD – Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

The Redeeming Love of God

The Healing Love of GOD

Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

In the study of Hosea we have seen that the doom of Israel/Ephraim was certain.  They had rejected God’s ways for their lives, and their nation’s continued prosperity.  Instead, they began to trust their prosperity and abilities, and began  to build their own gods.  God sent prophets to warn them.  Certainly, there were individuals who turned [repented], but as a whole the nation was corrupt.

We will find in this message that the indulgence of sin has eternal consequences.  Sin has the power to destroy forever, a nation, or an individual.  God in His grace, however, provides a way to defeat the power of sin.  Sin’s power could destroy Israel forever; however, God was not through with them.  He would raise them up to fulfill His glorious purpose.

“When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.’ Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”  Hosea 13:1-3 (KJV)

Ephraim has been used throughout Hosea to represent the total land of Israel.  Now it appears to be speaking of the tribe.  They have gone from glory to shame.

Ephraim was a respected tribe, and spoke with authority.  Joshua the son of Nun was of the tribe or Ephraim (Numbers 13:8, 16).  He, as you may remember, was Moses’ successor who would lead the people into Canaan, the land of promise.  He would lead them in battle, and the settling of the land.  By this tribe’s faithfulness to God they were exalted among all the people.

When Israel split as a nation, Jereboam also of the tribe of Ephraim, led the people into the worship of false deities, and rejected the true Go.  Because of this they would die.

Molten images, the work of their own hands, became the object of their worship.  Because of this they would soon disappear, as the chaff of whet, smoke from the chimney, the early dew, and the morning cloud.

“Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no saviour beside Me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  Hosea 13:4-8 (KJV)

God would go from being their Saviour; to being their Destroyer.

From the time that Moses came back to the land of Egypt to the time of Canaan God brought them through.  He worked powerfully  in their deliverance from Egypt.  He fed them, gave them water to drink, even when there was no water He was their source of supply.

God blessed them abundantly in the “Promised land”, and they soon forgot Him.  They began to neglect the reminders of His deliverance for other things.  Afterwards, they began to reject God’s will and way for them.  Finally, they would forget God and be destroyed.

God would become to them as ravenous beasts seeking its prey.  The lion is strong and brave.  The leopard is an animal of stealth and speed, sometimes lying in wait to surprise its helpless prey.  The mother bear is extremely dangerous, especially, if she thinks her cubs are in danger (Proverbs 17:12).  They would be torn and ripped to pieces because of their sin.

There is hope for them. Because there would be a remnant left from which to accomplish  God’s purposes.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities, and thy judges of whom thou saidst, ‘Give me a king and princes?’  I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath.”  Hosea 13:9-11 (KJV)

They went away from God as King to destructive leaders.

Israel, was destroying themselves.  It began when they determined to be life “Other nations” and wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:1-7).  God was their King.  In their unbelief they rejected God as King, and chose to have a foolish, and obstinate man rule over them.

Sure, God anointed Saul as king, but Go also knew that Saul would be representative fo the majority of the kings in Israel.  In his rebellion and pride he rejected God’s way.

“The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”  Hosea 13:12-16 (KJV)

The judgment of God is not fro revenge, nor only punitive.  In judgment He seeks to redeem.

“The iniquity… is bound up” is communicating to us that God has a record of Israel’s/Ephraim’s sin.  They cannot hide it (v. 12).

God likens their judgment to that of a woman giving birth to a child.  He is a stubborn child.  Unwilling to be born into what God desires, causing greater pain for his mother.  The child represents the individual – the mother Israel.  Before the nation can be healed, the individual must repent and accept the ways of God (v. 13).

“Death ultimately involves eternal punishment in hell (‘The second death’) for those who refuse God’s redemption (Revelation 20:13-15).  Taken together in the larger biblical context, Sheol and death picture sin’s power to demand the penalty of eternal death.  In the case of the people of Hosea’s day, Sheol and death would be the power of their sin to destroy them forever as God’s  people.”  John Traylor page 120.

God was determined to redeem Israel.  He would ultimately do that through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross.  Placing all the sins of mankind upon Him, God put the power of sin to death.  Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”  (NKJV)

The law of God demands eternal death because of sin.  God says, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.”  See 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.  God would raise Israel up once again.  God would have compassion  on them (v. 14).

Death, through judgment would have to come before resurrection.  This shows the power of God to redeem.  When there is no hope that appears, there is hope and possibility in God.  He is the God of resurrection – of New Life.

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.'”  Hosea 14:1-3 (KJV)

God calls for Israel to truly repent.

Forget the rituals, the gifts of offering, and sacrifices.  Offer to God “Words”.  Not empty and vain words, but “Words” of a heart that is truly broken and repentant.  Life that is changed, turned around, by God is true repentance.

Israel had to turn around to realize there was no hope in anyone or anything, but God.  In God is mercy, grace, and hope.

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.”  Hosea 14:4-8 (KJV)

After true repentance great things begin to occur.

Remember, God has brought them to repentance.  God heals their backsliding hearts. Now, they cling only to Him.

Israel would experience the fullness of God’s love.  There will be no need for His anger any longer.  God is their source of refreshment, and blessing.  The bringing forth of this fruit is the result of their trusting in God.

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”  Hosea 14:9 (KJV)

The word of, and the way of the Wise.

The Wise receive the redemption of God, and stop depending on false gods.

Hosea points the one who is wise to the love and joy of our Saviour.  There is life in God’s way.  Death awaits the foolish who reject God’s way of life.  Jesus said,  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [no one] cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)  Someone once said, “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; without the Life there  is no living.”  The way is hard it is not easy.  The truth is all you can trust.  The life is eternal through faith in this One who died for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 9:1 – 10:15

NOW Is the Time to Seek the LORD</>

Hosea 9:1 – 10:15

Herschel Ford has told a story of a man who committed suicide.  He was rising higher and higher in a hot-air balloon.  He took a knife and began to cut the three ropes holding the gondola to the fabric of the air-ship.  A crowd below was watching.  They shouted warning after warning. “Don’t cut it”, until he came to the third, and still they were shouting, “Don’t cut it”.  He did not listen, and fell to his death.

When people persist in cutting off the strands that keep them in the way of God we commit spiritual suicide.  Cutting the cords of God’s love ends in destruction.  God continues to warn His people, giving us ample opportunity to turn from our sin and walk in His paths.  This period of grace does not last forever.  He does and will cut it off, and bring evil to an end.

“Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.  The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria. They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto Him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD. What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD? For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.
The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore He will remember their iniquity, He will visit their sins.”  Hosea 9:1-9 (KJV)

How blind the children of the LORD tend to be when the LORD’S judgment and justice has come upon us.  When the Bible speaks of judgment it often puts it in the present tense – as being here.  Now!

There was no reason for joy in Israel due to the fact they had left God to walk in the harlotries of other nations.  The “other people” were rejoicing in their idol worship – the licentious sexual behavior of Ashtoreth.  God’s people were never called on to worship anything but God.  To do so was “Whoredom” and wickedness in God’s sight.

The very idea of them actually worshipping Baal was proof of their unfaithfulness to God.

There are seven features of God’s judgment upon Israel listed in verses two through six:

  1. God would attack the heart of fertility worship by taking away the bountiful harvest (v. 2);
  2. He would remove them from His land (v. 3);
  3. He would place them in Assyria in Egyptian-like captivity (v. 3);
  4. God would bring an end to their wicked worship (v. 4);
  5. God would cut them off from their appointed feast days (vv. 5-6a);
  6. They would die in captivity (v. 6);
  7. God would desolate Israel’s fertility idols and shrines (v. 6).

In verse six “Memphis” is a place in Egypt where the dead are buried.  They would die.

“What will ye do?” Hosea asked.  How one responds to God’s warning determines one’s eternal destiny.

There is a story told of two brothers who lived in a sheep herding area of Europe.  These two brothers were caught stealing sheep. The sentence the community gave them in judgment was that they be branded on their foreheads with the letters S T and understood to mean “Sheep Thieves”.  These young men in later years met Jesus as their Saviour and their lives were radically changed.  They became a credit to their community; giving help to people in need; aiding struggling city coffers when they possibly could.  All the time bearing the marks on their foreheads “ST”.  As the years went by one day a young boy with his mother saw these two godly men with “ST”  branded on their foreheads; “What does that “ST” mean?”  The mother answered her son and said, “I don’t know; but I suppose it means Saint.”  There is hope and change for all who will believe God, trust His Saviour and His Word.

The people of Israel were guilty of rejecting God’s prophet, and accepting the foolish jibberish of the paid off cult and court prophets.  Calling God’s man a fool.  Hosea remained faithful to God, because he was certain of God’s calling and confident of God’s message.  The sin and iniquity of the people  causes  them to hate the message of God and His messenger.

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. Give them, O LORD: what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of Mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.” Hosea 9:10-17

From the preceding verses we find Israel in persistent rebellion, and judgment will sweep them away.

In verse 10 Israel is likened to a fruitful vine found in the wilderness- and what a magnificent find that would be to a weary and thirsty traveler.  They are also likened to a first ripened fig – the best.  Made this way by God in His bountiful grace they have chosen to leave this condition in God to serve idols, and destroy their land, their homes, their kingdom, and their relationship with God,  who placed them in His glorious position.

They bring shame and their glory flies away as a bird.  Their children shall die.  The wombs of the women will be fruitless, those who do conceive will never hold a live child in their arms (v. 14).  The greatest tragedy of sin is found in verse 12 “…Woe also to them when I depart from them!”  For God to depart, to hold back His mercy and grace is catastrophic to His people.  They get what they deserve.  The blessings they had before was God’s mercy on display.

Verse 15 makes a bold statement of God’s hatred for sin and evil.  Israel had given themselves to evil, were bound to evil, and could not get free.  The “Wickedness of Gilgal” is a reference to Saul’s rebellion in 1 Samuel 13.  King Saul determined to not wait for Samuel, and to offer sacrifice himself.  In this he showed much pride, impatience, and rebellion toward the laws of God.  He also tried to sacrifice to justify his disobedience (1 Samuel 15), which is also seen of Israel in Hosea’s day.

God would cast them out to be strangers and foreigners in other countries.  God loves His people so much He will not allow us to live in unrepented sin.

“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: He shall break down their altars, He shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, ‘We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?’ They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, ‘Cover us;’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us.’
O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is in My desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.”  Hosea 10:1-11

Now, God says, that, they are an “Empty vine”.  This is a drastic contrast to what we found in verse 10 of chapter 9.

Israel had a heart condition.  No electrocardiogram would be able to detect the problem.  Nevertheless, they had a bad heart.  Their heart was divided.  God cannot use divided hearts.  This compares with the “Double-minded man” of James 1:8 – unstable and unfit for service to God.

The people of Israel had two institutions which were highly esteemed by them; their kings (politics, military, and  democracy for us), and their religion.  Their kings were unjust and greedy, and their religion was empty and separated them from God, because they were more concerned with ritual sacrifice and offerings rather than a personal relationship with God.

Kings make promises, but do not fulfill them (v. 4).  The graven images which they have worshipped will lose  their glory – no one will be able to protect them.  Who needs a god that needs protection anyway?  God is having their idols carried away shows the futility of trusting in them (Isaiah 46:1-5).

“Aven”, mentioned in 10:8 means deception.  It has been a place of deception because the people were deceived by their own desires and they strayed from God’s paths.  God says, that, He will destroy their sin.  The power of sin has been ultimately destroyed by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, and overcoming sins power by His resurrection from the dead.  All who refuse God’s way suffers eternal judgment.

Instead of crying out to God for mercy they cry out for the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us” (v. 8; Revelation 6:16).

Because of their stubborn and rebellious hearts they would be as a heifer yoked to hard labor whereas, before their labor had been light and blessed.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.”  Hosea 10:12-15 (KJV)

The “Fallow ground” of verse twelve is land that had previously been plowed, but now left unused.  God’s Word and His Spirit is the plow that is needed to break up the soil of a hard heart (See Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23).  Hard hearts cannot yield crops of righteousness and mercy.

It is a prominent theme in Hosea that the children of Israel will reap exactly what they have sown.  It is a law of God’s created order to reap what we have sown – and that, no matter the timeline, culture or society which we may live.

Hosea gives us three steps to heal the land:

  1. Break up your fallow ground (v. 12);
  2. Put God’s Word in your heart – “sow with a view of righteousness” (NAS v. 12);
  3. “Reap in accordance with kindness (NAS) referring to the breaking of their hard hearts through repentance and sowing the seed of God’s Word in their lives.

God gives Israel every opportunity to repent.  It is God’s desire then to cleanse them, and make them a vessel of His grace.  Judgment would come.

“Hosea 9 – 10 reinforces the basic lesson that persistent sin eventually leads to destruction.”  Traylor.  This is also true for people of the 21st century as well.  God’s people (Christians) need to open their eyes and know that the Lord, though He has provided a way into His presence, still calls for His people to repent.

We need to keep this thought in mind; “God loves us the way we are; but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.”  He will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

There is only hope for all through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross of calvary – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (2) continued…

GOD Pursues the Redemption of His Wife (Continued…)

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

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

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

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

How would God “allure”, attract her?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 012713

Introduction of I AM

Exodus 1 – 18 (6:1-8; 3:113-15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 012013

Healing Broken Relationships

Genesis 33 – 50

1.  Jacob and Esau (chapters33-36);

2.  Joseph and Brothers at Odds over Dreams (chapters 37 – 38);

3.  Joseph with Purpose in Egypt (chapters 39 – 41);

4.  Joseph Trys his Brothers (chapters 42 – 44);

5.  Joseph, His Father and His Brothers Reunited (chapters 45 – 48)

6.  A Promise and a Coffin in Egypt (chapters 49 – 50).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Signs and Times

I read the Scriptures this morning, and the following verses were what have rested in my heart.  So probably more for me; but I am pretty sure others will be able to hear God speak through them too.

“And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.” Genesis 41:1-8 (KJV)

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said unto them, ‘When it is evening, ye say, ‘It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.’ O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?  A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.’  And He left them, and departed.”  Matthew 16:1-4 (KJV)

As you can see; one from the Old Testament book of Genesis, and the other from the Gospel of Matthew.  Following Pharoah’s dream he could not find an interpreter of the dream until Joseph was revealed.  In the Gospel of Matthew the Pharisees and Sadducees had the word of God, and had the Son of God standing in their presence; and they too were oblivious to the signs of the times they were in.

Pharoah received Joseph, and his interpretation, and Egypt was delivered from the famine that could have come on them all.  Joseph is a shadow, type, or picture of Jesus Christ.  Just as Pharoah received Joseph, though he had been rejected by his brothers; so to must the people of today receive the message of Jesus and Jesus Himself in order to be delivered from the slavery to sin.

One fear that I have is that many who profess Jesus as Saviour of their lives do not recognize the signs that tell us the time here is short.  Let me give you a few; 1.  Rampant sin and rebellion;  2. Universal approval of sinful behaviors;  3.  Things which use to be wrong are now right, and things once right are now wrong.  Is that enough?  Lift up your heads your redemption draweth nigh.  Put another way; Jesus is coming soon.  No I am not talking about “The end of the world”.  I am talking about a true change.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Those Who Walk With GOD

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

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

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

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

-T.A.

 

Expectantly Looking for God

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 12:1-6 (KJV)

Here are the words of the prophet who is telling the nation of Israel/Ephraim to trust, to expectantly wait for the Lord.  They were to do that by keeping mercy and right judgment.  “Wait on thy God continually” is to expect the coming of the Lord; to trust that He was coming.

For the Christian who is following Jesus today; that message is one we must heed as well.  Jesus told the disciples and us; “Occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13).  Though He says this in a parable, it is still a powerful command to His people.  The command means to be busy living for Christ, as we carry on our daily duties, our labors, and our recreations.  Do so, however, with expectancy of the soon return of the King of kings.  He is coming.

-T.A.