The LORD, My Praise

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
Deliver me in Thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline Thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For Thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: my trust from my youth. By Thee have I been holden up from the womb: Thou art He that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of Thee.”  Psalm 71:1-6  (KJB)

With The Precious Blood Of Christ

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:18-25  (KJB)

Our Rejoicing

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
For ye are our glory and joy.”  1 Thessalonians 2:17-19  (KJB)

The Thirsty Soul

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:1-5  (KJB)

In You, O LORD, Do I Hope

“For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.                                              For I said, ‘Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.” Psalm 38:15-22 (KJB)

Justified By Faith

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5 (KJB)

The Suffering Shepherd

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted, and You did deliver them. They cried unto You, and were delivered: they trusted in You, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. But You are He that took Me out of the womb: You did make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from the womb: You are My God from My mother’s belly.” Psalm 22:1-10 (KJB)

Messiah and His Words

To let the readers of Broken Pieces know… I have been doing mostly a reading and study of the gospels for the year of 2019. I read through and studied Matthew through John January through March, then I read and studied them again April through June, then the Acts through Jude; following that I  read the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi.

For the month of December I am reading and doing a study in the gospels once again, but dealing mostly with the gospel of Luke from December 1 – 24. Here is what I did.  I would read chapter 1 and 2 in Matthew on December 1, and chapter 1 of the gospel of Luke.

Now we are a day past Christmas, and my posts will be on the gospel of John, so I share with you all today the following…

“Then said some of them of Jerusalem, ‘Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?’ ” John 7:25-26 (KJB)
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

The question was being asked by some of the people, “Do the rulers know indeed that this Jesus is the very Messiah?” I wonder that as well.  Did they know? Were they just fearful of the change He would or could bring if He was indeed the Christ  – the Messiah?

I pray everyone reading this today realizes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and the only Savior and Lord God of the world, and of all the created order.

If they knew they were stubbornly being stiffnecked, hard headed people indeed.  That was much like those who refused to hear the words of Moses and the Prophets of old.

Jesus makes it clear in John 8:47 that those who hear – meaning those who hear the word and take His words into their hearts and minds, doing them they are of God. Those who do not hear and do them (James 1:22) these are not of God; they are in fact enemies of God and have no hope.

Where do you fit in this word of the Messiah?

Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (KJB)

I will let another speak today. the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown…

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning — “instruction”
through, etc. — “through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures”
might have hope — that is, “Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ’s sufferings, as a Savior, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work – self-sacrifice for the good of others – furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires ‘patience,’ and this again needs ‘comfort,’ all those Scriptures which tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us ‘hope’ of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.” See on Rom_4:25, Note 7. (For the same connection between “patience and hope” see on Rom_12:12, and see on 1Th_1:3).” From the JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

 

The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

When You Ask…

“And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before Him; ‘If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull down, and I will plant you, and not pluck up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.’ ” Jeremiah 42:7-12 (KJB)

First of all when you ask do not already have your mind made up what you are going to do.

That is apparently what the remnant of those left in Judah to care for the land, and the cities. With hypocritical hearts and minds they feigned wanting the will of God, so they go to the prophet Jeremiah asking him to seek the LORD’S counsel on His will.

The above verses are God’s answer to Jeremiah for the people.  It is a message of hope and promise if they will stay in the land. It is a promise that they need not fear Babylon their captors. What they need to do is do what the LORD says, and they will be protected and greatly blessed.

When we ask God’s counsel for something do we already have our minds made up of what we are going to do?  It does not matter what God says in His word we often do what we want to do.  That is a sad commentary on the life of a Christian, and it robs us of the promise, protection, and provision of the LORD our God.

When we ask, let us ask that the will of God be done.  Let us ask for the courage, faith, and power of the Spirit of God in us to walk in His way; not our own. When God says “Stay”, let us stay.  When God says “Go” let us go.

Our rest, our hope lies only in the Son of God who is Jesus Christ, God who became flesh, and dwelt among us. He died on the cross for ours sins, was buried, and He rose again.

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

I Am With You

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.

For thus saith the LORD; ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.

Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.’ ” Jeremiah 30:1-11 (KJB)

 

God was not at all pleased with the nation of Israel.  He was sending them into captivity to bring out a people who were holy, and wholly given to Him, had a heart  for Him, His word, and were obedient to all that He commanded.

The above words of the prophecy have not yet been fully fulfilled. They will be at the end of Jacob’s trouble.

“David their King” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. They have had no king since the return from Babylon; with the exception of maybe puppet kings of Rome.

This should give every Christian assurance.  God is working in us as well to complete what He has began in us (Philippians 1:6).

The Eyes, the Ears, and the Face of the Lord

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:12-16 (KJB)

 

Also consider reading 2 Chronicles 16 and note verses 7 – 10 especially: and Romans 8.

The Best Gifts

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 1Corinthians 12:31
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJB)

The Corinthian Church was laden with Christians who were competing for who they considered the best preacher, teacher, and the best spiritual gifts.  One gift in particular was one that was causing the greatest stir.

Corinth was a troubled Church.  The apostle Paul sent this letter, because he was not able to come and see them.  The purpose of the letter is to address and endeavor to correct the problems of jealousy, envy, immoral conduct, and selfishness.

The apostle had dealt with the issue of tongues.  It was a sign gift, probably for the unbelieving Jews to see the Old Testament fulfillment, but they would not understand (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:22).  Now that I have dealt with that let us consider the best gifts.

The best gifts are those that edifies the Church.  They build up, they encourage, they motivate the Church; and lead the Church in building up the name of Jesus Christ.

The greatest thing to have is love; it is the “more excellent way” as Paul describes godly love in chapter 13.  Many people, Christian and non-christian knows of 1 Corinthians 13, but know little or nothing of the chapters preceding it, or the three chapters following.

Spiritual gifts are good, even great; but if you do not have love you are empty.  The love spoken of by the apostle is not the feel  good love many think of.  It is love that acts when a wrong is witnessed, or a need is seen as one drives by a neighbor’s home, and you stop to help.  It is the love that acts without thought of recovering the cost of the effort.

There is also faith and hope and love, Paul says, “but the greatest of these is love”.

Father in Heaven fill me with Your Spirit so that I might love like You do.  That I might love my neighbor as I love myself.

When You Reach the Bottom in Despair

“O LORD, rebuke me not in Thy wrath: neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure.  For Thine arrows stick fast in me, and Thy hand presseth me sore.
No soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither rest in my bones because of my sin.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.  My wounds stink, are corrupt because of my foolishness.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before Thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.  They also that seek after my life lay snares, and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.  But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.  Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.  For I said, ‘Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.  They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow good.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”  Psalm 38:1-22 (KJB)

The following commentary is from F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day…

A long drawn-out sigh of pain. Some think it should be classed with Psa_32:1-11; Psa_51:1-19, as belonging to the time of David’s fall and repentance. It is filled with a sense of God’s judgments and the profound consciousness of sin. Perhaps David was suffering physically, or he may be describing his spiritual maladies in terms borrowed from that source. His friends stood apart and his enemies were near. But it was wise to refrain from man and to wait only on God. When we are buffeted and derided, the true attitude is our Lord’s. As the dumb sheep before her shearers, He opened not His mouth!
In Psa_38:15 the tone becomes calmer. The soul begins to recover its center of gravity in God. Notice the fourfold repetition of For, Psa_38:15-18. Faith marshals her arguments. Out of “stony griefs” she builds “Bethels.” Like Samson, she finds honey in the lion’s carcass. But God will not forsake. He never for a moment withdraws His close attention. The Refiner sits by the crucible, and will cool down the heat the moment it has done its work.

Jesus Christ is the only hope for all Adam kind.  We have sinned.  When we get to the place of despair over our sin, its pain and disease, its death, and destruction; its theft, and hatred; then we will call on the name of the Lord, and He will hear us.

Jesus came and died on the cross in our place; He was buried carrying away all our sin, death, condemnation, shame; and then He left those things in the grave, and arose to show His victories.  He lives today.  Call on Him and be saved. Be born again.

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

View original post 1,095 more words

The Secret Life of the Hypocrite

“As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
The Great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? More hope of a fool than of him.”  Proverbs 26:1-12 (KJB)

The Secret Life of the Hypocrite –  Proverbs 26:1-28

Verses 1 – 12 —  Matters concerning the foolish individual.

Verse 1 –  The honor of a fool, a foolish person, is about as likely as “Snow in summer”, and as unneeded or as unwanted as “Rain in harvest”.  See 1 Samuel 12:17.  Verse 2 –  See Psalm 32:9.

vv. 4-5 –  These seem to be a contradiction; however it is a matter of judging when to be silent and when to speak.  Use discernment.

v. 12 –  Romans 12:16; Proverbs 29:20

Verses 13 – 16 —  A description of the slothful, lazy individual  (22:13).

v. 13 –  Excuses and difficulties, even dangers of the job are ever the slothful man’s heart and tongue.  Note the location of the lion [on the streets].  Lions do not inhabit streets, but rather the plains, woods, and fields. (20:4)

v. 15 –  Proverbs 19:24

Verses 17 – 23 —  The character of the “talebearer”.

From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – “I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip!” Alanta Journal

“Prov. 26:17-22 These proverbs describe a person who uses his words carelessly. Examples include interfering in other people’s arguments (v. 17), deceiving people as a joke without concern for the consequences (vv. 18–19), and gossiping, especially where gossip provokes conflict (vv. 20–21). Verse 22 directly warns the reader that gossip is seductive, and the proverb serves as a bridge to the next section (vv. 23–28), on the liar.”  ESV Study Bible note

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; when he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:24-28

Verses 24 – 28 —  The deceitful, lying hypocrite.  Care will be taken by the wise individual when hearing the words of someone who might gain by the telling of lies.  Whether the lie be flattery, or denial of a charge one must hear with judging ears, and mind.

The hypocrite’s life ends up not being so secret.

Jesus – The Anchor of the Soul

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers rejected, and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  Hebrews 6:1-20

REFERENCES: 2:5; 3:1; 10:29; Acts 8:14; 18:21; Psalm 65:10; Leviticus 16:15; Genesis 14:17-24; John 14:1-6

The Greatest of These

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
Charity suffers long, is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Charity never fails: but whether prophecies, they shall fail; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these, charity.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJB)

References : John 3:16; 15:13; Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 7:22; Luke 17:6; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 10:24; Romans 15:1; 2 Timothy 2:24

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (4)

Come Up Out Of Your Graves

 

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.’
Again He said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said He unto me, ‘Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then He said unto me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.’ Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it,’ saith the LORD.”  Ezekiel 37:1-14  (KJB)

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

The Mouth; Wisdom and Wickedness – Proverbs 11:7-14

Jesus said, “Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

In this study there is more in dealing with the mouth and the tongue.  This is a very important matter with God, or there would not be so much of Scripture dealing with it.  In chapter ten we dealt with “The Mouth of the Wise and the Righteous”.

Verses 7 – 8  –  A contrast is given of the hope of the wicked; and the hope of the righteous.  It could be highly implied within these verses that the wealth spoken of is unjustly acquired.

From the ESV study Bible notes:

“Proverbs contrasts this with the hope of the righteous (see 10:28) to warn against being fooled by the apparent security in dishonest gain and to assure those who fear the Lord that their hope, manifested in seeking the path of wisdom, will not be in vain (see 23:18; 24:14).”

Verses 9 – 11 –  Notice there is still the contrasting of the wicked and the righteous.  The contrast is a matter of dealing with the mouth.  Even when the righteous are slandered they know how to conduct themselves in the right fashion.  Conducting one’s self in the right fashion does not include slandering the slanderer.

The mouth of the righteous blesses people (v. 11)

Verses 12 – 13  –  The evil intent of a talebearer is to destroy another’s life, reputation, or character.

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.”

Verse 14 –  It is good for leaders, Christians and for all to have godly counselors.  Those who would be godly counselors would also keep watch over their tongues, lips; their mouth.

The ESV Study Bible notes:

“The role of counselors is to aid a person in making wise decisions (cf. 15:22; 24:6). While this is particularly important for those who lead a people, Proverbs also stresses its broader application to people’s decision making in all sorts of situations—cf. 11:5 and the contrasting description of how the wicked falls “by his own wickedness.””

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Breaking Heart

“And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.” 2 Samuel 15:13 (KJB)

How does one respond when they get news from a messenger that their son has schemed against them, and is taking over your business or the kingdom?  How does King David respond when the son he loves, has greatly indulged in allowances of grief, murdering his brother, and all, has brought him back to Jerusalem?

No one of us would like getting this kind of news.  We all like good news.

Why would something like this happen to a king whose heart was like unto God’s heart?  Remember what David did?  He slept with a soldier’s wife; a warrior who was one of the top 37 men in his forces; then had him murdered on the battlefield.  God’s word to him was that he would not die because of his sin but their would be chaos in his family (2 Samuel 12:11), and this is now happening.

There is however for you and me a good message of hope and salvation; if we will hear it.  Jesus Chris the Son of God, God the Son has died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again.  That hope does not end there, however.  He is returning and all the kingdoms of men will fall before him.

Why do we worry?  Why do we fear?  Let us stand strong and faithful to God, His Son, and His word.

When There is no Rule of Law

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 17 – 19 for today…

“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.”  Judges 19:26-27 (KJB)

It is stated at least three times in Judges that there was no king in Israel.  Chapters 19:1 and 21:25 are two of those references.  Since there was no king there was no direct human guidance for any law.  We must remember the people of Israel did have God’s law, and they had strayed in horrible fashion.

When there is no rule of law people become a a…

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Blessed is the Reader

For a while, I am going to repost and revamp some of my previous posts.  They will begin with the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:1-3 (KJV)

It seems that the history of man has begun to reach its climax, and because of this, it is of the utmost importance for all people to realize the greatness of Jesus Christ, His present and future power to redeem, judge and bring to fruition the completeness of His redemption.

It is the purpose of this study to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as being alive, seated at the right hand of the Father; as the “Chief Subject”; the exalted Priest-King in chapters 1 – 3; as the glorified Lamb in chapters 4 – 5 and reigning on the throne; the Judge of all the earth in chapters 6 – 18, and in chapter 19 He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings; finally, closing the book ushering His Bride (the Church) into the glorious heavenly city; thus Unveiling His Glory.

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has been viewed by many, even professing Christians, as a book of “Doom and Gloom”, as has also been the other apocalyptic book of Daniel. They are not. These are books of hope and fulfillment of our final joy – eternal joy. Let me insert this information concerning the title of the book. Some refer to the book as “Revelations”. Not to be “Know it allish”, but there are no plural revelations, it is a single Revelation. It seems to me that there is one proper title of the book, and it is given in the first sentence of the text, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…”

The book is for our understanding. It is written where you must be familiar with the rest of Scripture, especially the Old Testament. It is filled with symbolism, which is open to interpretation, but by the work of the Holy Spirit, a committed Christian can understand. I know that I will fall far short of excellence, but these will be my thoughts and understanding in my study, hopefully, and prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit.

This book was written to encourage the Christians, who were being persecuted by Rome, of the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ. He would conquer every kingdom of man that would exalt itself against Him.

This book was written while the Roman persecution was going on under Domitian who hated Christianity. He had exiled John to “The isle that is called Patmos”. This is where John received the Revelation. It was sent to and read by the seven churches mentioned in verse 11. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is a book for the Church of all ages until the redemption of mankind is complete.

We will see in the Revelation that it is truly of Jesus and His power to redeem and that until its completion we, who are Christians, are to keep the faith of Jesus Christ. He will be faithful to fulfill the Father’s will in us.

Let me explain something before I continue. I believe the Bible teaches the rapture of the Church before a period of Tribulation comes on the earth. That that period of Tribulation will be a total of 7 years in length, and that at the end of that 7 years Jesus will come down to earth, set up an earthly kingdom for a period of 1000 years. At the end of that thousand years will come the Great White Throne judgment where all the haters of God, “…Inhabiters of earth” will be judged by their works. I believe these things can be seen in The Revelation, as well as other Scriptures. I also know that there are a many good Christian people who do not believe that form of eschatology. That is their belief, and they will go be with Christ in the rapture whether they believe it or not. I will be happy to meet them there.

Let us look now at the Revelation. If we think about the time that has passed since the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, it could have been as much as 6o years. The Domitian reign of Rome is nearing an end, and John probably needs some encouragement, as well as those to whom he will send this writing. The “Unveiling” is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His glory. It will show things which must “Shortly take place”. There are some who argue against the imminent [ready to take place] appearing of Jesus Christ. This is one statement for it. Jesus reveals the suffering and rejection He has endured. He will reveal His power and His glory which all shall see. It is a revelation given by the Father to Jesus to reveal what “Must shortly come to pass”. It is a message which is delivered by an angel to His servants for all the servants of Christ. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). This apocalyptic message is to be revealed (Rev. 22:10), while the message for Daniel, in his time was to be concealed (Daniel 12:4). There is only one thing that John is told not to write and reveal, and that was the message of the seven thunders (Rev. 10:4). What was said there we may never know, nor should we even speculate.

There is a faithful witness in this Revelation. John’s gospel and epistles point out Jesus Christ as the Living Word (John 1:1), the Lamb, come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and that He is God in flesh (John 1:14). John shows us Jesus very clearly as the Word become flesh, for the purpose of dying for our sins, buried, and rising again. He is getting a look at Jesus much unlike anything He has ever seen. The only thing that may have come near it would have been on the mount as Jesus was “Transfigured” in their sight. John faithful in his testimony and witness of Jesus Christ.

We come now to the first of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. It is a promise of blessing, of happiness – that is what the meaning of “Blessed” is. What many churches and pastors are getting away from in worship services is the reading of God’s Word. There is a special blessing for those who will read the Revelation in worship to God. This blessing would apply, I believe in any situation. In our own private reading, in a Bible study group, corporate worship, or parents with children, and spouses reading it together. There is also a blessing for the hearer of these words. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). To “Hear” means with understanding putting it to action, which leads us to the third blessing. The keeping of this is to “hear” it putting it to work for encouraging others in the faith, and for our own stability of faith. It is something to hang on to because the times are tough. “Do not doubt in the dark, what you have learned in the light.” One thing is certain and that is that “time is short”, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thes. 5:2). This is a book of hope for the Christian. It is a book of encouragement. These seven beautitudes are placed in the book to show us the light in the darkness of troubled times. Seeing that there are seven of the “Beatitudes” it means that our joy will be full, and gives us strength in the face of opposition.

We see that Jesus is central to this final book of the Bible. Were the Bible to close with any other book we would not have a completed picture.

The Bible begins with the book of “Beginnings” – Genesis and closes with the triumph of Jesus Christ, the redemption of mankind. A-MEN.

Christmas Day Twenty and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be a friend to the friendless, bring hope to the hopeless, bring a smile to the faces of those who are down and discouraged, and to be the light of Christ in the dark  places of this world.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Matthew 5:14 (KJV)

Christmas Day 230

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the world to know that Jesus is coming soon; though we do not know when those who profess to know Jesus ought to live as though He could come right now.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (KJV)

Maranatha.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my heart to be humble before God, my mouth to be silent about things too profound for me that I do not understand, and that my hope, and strength might always be in the LORD through His Son Jesus – God the Son.

LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.” Psalm 131:1-3 (KJV)

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my wife, children, grandchildren, and my other family members to be saved, secured, and protected daily by the mighty hands of God, and His Son Jesus Christ; and that we all might know Him intimately.

For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NKJV)

“But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 361

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all my family, friends, neighbors, and enemies to be at peace with God, one another, and themselves in the New Year of 2016.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

When Evil Covers the Earth

Sermon Points –

When Evil Covers the Earth

Genesis 6:1-22

1. Evil Grieves the Heart of God (vv. 1-6).
Jude 6; Matthew 24:37-38

2. God Does Not Tolerate Evil; But He Does Give Grace (vv. 7-8).
Ezekiel 18:23, 32

3. Even In the Midst of Evil There Is Promise and Hope (vv. 9-21).
Romans 5:20

4. Obedience in God’s Grace Is Pleasing to God (v. 22).

 

Preached Sunday morning July 13, 2014

The Word of the LORD Came…

The Word of the LORD Came…
Genesis 15:1, 4

1.  Abraham had just passed over great wealth considering the glory of the LORD (14:21-24).
2.  There could have been some apprehension, second guessing of himself following.
3.  There was evidently some fear; what is going to happen now?; type questions of what had happened.
4.  The Word of the LORD came and gave Abraham hope, vision and promise for the future.

 

I.  …IN TIMES OF DOUBT AND FEAR (John 14:1-3).

II.  …TO GIVE HOPE, PROMISE, VISION.

III.  …GIVING ASSURANCE OF RIGHTEOUS DECISION MAKING (v. 6).

 

Application –
i.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; lean not unto your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
ii.  The LORD knows that where we are not guided by vision we perish (Proverbs 29:18).
iii.  Believing the LORD is the way of righteousness (Romans 10:9-13).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached January of 2011.

The Judgment Coming

Judgment is in fact already here.  Judgment has come.  As Christians we must learn to live righteously in a godless nation, godless generation, and within a lukewarm church.

For the nation of Judah it seems that the North was the direction from which judgment would come. I think it interesting to note a Psalm that directs our attention to the North without naming the North. It is Psalm 75, and it says, “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck.’ For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (vv.5-7). You notice the silence concerning North? Does Judgment come from the North? In the case of Israel and Judah it does.

Hear what the LORD spoke to Jeremiah:

“And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, ‘What seest thou?’ And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.  Then the LORD said unto me, ‘Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.'”  Jeremiah 1:13-16 (KJV)

The judgment of which Jeremiah warned was coming on all the inhabitants of the land. It seems that the noble people, those of notable birth, or those who have great wealth sometimes think, “Oh, that won’t happen to us” or “We can become a part of the upper society people, and we can just fit in”, but the prophet’s message from the LORD is judgment on “all the inhabitants of the land”. Judgment is not a pleasant thing to talk about, but when the LORD calls you and gives you a message to proclaim, and tells you not to withhold a word, then you better obey.

Every preacher, and especially pastors would love to spend all their preaching, preaching of the goodness, love, grace, mercy of God. We would be thrilled just to always be preaching about the good we see in our fellow human beings, because there are good things done, there are good lives lived, and people saving physical lives; and encouraging others. The preacher, the pastor is not the man of God he should be, if he preaches not that we are sinners; condemned, dying and that our only hope of salvation is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. To preach the cross of Jesus you must tell why He died on the cross, that means talking about our darkness of sin. We must tell why the Father had to judge His own perfect, sinless Son, turn His back on Him; and why Jesus went through that horrible three hours of total darkness while He was stretched between heaven and hell. We must preach that God made Him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

The judgment coming on Judah was coming from the north. It was in fact, coming from God. It was the plan of Jeremiah’s father, his family, and Jeremiah that he would be a priest in Jerusalem. That was a ministry that was much respected in Jeremiah’s day, and that of his family. Jeremiah even had plans of marriage, but that was not to come about. We will see that in a later word from God to the prophet. Prophets of God do not choose to be prophets; they are called by God to be prophets. That is the prophet Jeremiah. Prophets who call themselves serve themselves, lead others astray, and despise God’s prophets.

The judgment coming to Jerusalem was like all the kingdoms of the north were coming to set up quarters, homes, or shop right in the gates of the city. They would be encamping all around. The people of Judah would no longer be free. Not only is this against the city of Jerusalem but all the cities of Judah. This would include Bethlehem and Bethel.

The coming of these people of the kingdoms of the north was God’s utterance against their forsaking the LORD. There were those who were worshipping the LORD, but few and far between. Those who were worshipping were probably remaining silent. The priests who were praising God in their hearts and worshipping him, must have been silent concerning the condition of the hearts and lives of the people; thus were allowing them to continue to live in their sin and rebellion. Therefore, they were not the priests of God that they should have been. Take the offering the people bring no matter the true condition of their heart, or that they had been to the temple of Baal, and participated in those rituals. They will be okay as long as they are faithful to the temple of God. LIES, LIES, LIES. God is not glorified except with total devotion, commitment, and worship to Him and to Him alone.

Even though a man and/or woman may attend worship on Sunday morning, evening, Wednesday evening, and anytime the church house door is open, but they live for themselves the other days of the week, the rest of the time, and glorify not God with their life and living; they worship not, and love not the LORD with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. They have, in fact, forsaken the Lord, and “worship the works of their own hands”.

I want no man, woman, boy or girl to be without hope.   I do, however, want you to have meaningful hope.  Hope that will come to pass.  Meaningful hope endures the times we face.  Meaningful  hope looks to the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ; and His promise of returning to earth to reclaim.  That is the Christian’s hope.  We look forward to seeing Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living GOD.

Words for Christian Living – Enduring Love

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (KJV)

This “Charity” is the love God has for us.  It is love that we as Christians are to have for one another, and others outside the Body of Christ.  How much does God love us?  Enough to give His only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay a debt that was mine and yours to pay.

The charity we show is not selfish; seeking something in return, but the glory of God.  If we will practice this love there would be more marriages that will endure the tests of time.  Practicing this love of God there would be less rejoicing in iniquity; and more rejoicing in the truth.  This love “Endures all things”; but that does not mean we do not pray for change.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – Resurrection

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.”  Job 14:7-15 (KJV)

Suffering Job was expectant of a resurrection.  He saw it in trees which might be cut down, and they sprouting back to life.  He saw in the oceans never drying up; nor the major rivers of the Middle Eastern areas.  The above is where the question is asked; yet he already knows the answer – “If a man die, shall he live again?”  and his answer is “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”

And all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ says, “AMEN!”  Amen!  (See 1 Corinthians 15).

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

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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 Gospel of Hosea

There are some who proclaim that “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.”  “In the Old Testament God is distant, constantly judging His people, and angry.  In the New testament God is loving and kind.”

How many times have you heard such statements of something similar?

Listen to what the LORD spoke to Hosea,

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.”  Hosea 2:14-15 (KJV)

In the gospel of Hosea we see GOD who chose a people who were not worthy, because He loved them, and drew them to Himself; and continues to do so.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a gospel [Good news] of God becoming flesh alluring people unto Himself, and taking what was a curse, and making them a blessing and glory unto Himself.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

That is why I have sometimes called Hosea  the Old Testament Gospel of John.

-T.A.

Ahab’s Unbelief

In 1886 a man was born who would become a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and preached a sermon, which is one of the best known sermons of all time.  The sermon is titled “Payday Someday”; and the preacher is Robert Greene Lee.

Payday Someday is a narrative sermon dealing with the event of Naboth’s vineyard, and the wicked, sinful, murderous actions of a king and queen of Israel; and their peril.  The sermon is in print, and it would be a good read.  I hope those who read this will be motivated to read R. G. Lee’s work.

Ahab has been given ample opportunity to trust the LORD, believe Him and live a life that will glorify the LORD; but instead he has a greedy, murderous heart which brings himself to eternal peril, and the fires of hell.

In 1 Kings 20 we see that Ahab is given a chance by the king of Syria to avoid battle; and that is by surrender to him.

“And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.  And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, ‘Thus saith Benhadad, thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.’  And the king of Israel answered and said, ‘My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.’  And the messengers came again, and said, ‘Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, ‘Although I have sent unto thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.'” 1 Kings 20:1-6 (KJV)

One thing we can perceive from this text is that surrender in the case of evil is never a good thing.  When Ahab surrendered to Benhadad this evil king wanted even more.  Invasion into their very homes was what came next.  Even Ahab sees that this will not work and sends message to Benhadad (v. 9).  Then we read of a “prophet” who came to Ahab.

“And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.’  And Ahab said, ‘By whom?’ And he said, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces.’ Then he said, ‘Who shall order the battle?’ And he answered, ‘Thou.'” 1 Kings 20:13-14

Who this prophet is we are not told.  It does not have the markings of Elijah.  I think that had it been Elijah we would have his name here; but it is not.  However,  see how the LORD promises Ahab that He will give him the victory over Benhadad. “Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day.”  Note the purpose of the victory; “…thou shalt know that I am the LORD”.  The LORD would be perfectly just to let the siege continue, and the destruction, but He gives Ahab a chance of restoration.

At least two other times God gives Ahab chances of trust and belief in Him.  He sends the prophet once again (v. 22) and tells him that Syria will return, then, He sends another prophet, who tells him;

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, ‘The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.'” 20:28

Ahab is a rebel in the cause of the LORD, and thus his greed and lust for power, land, prestige, and prominence takes control of his heart and life.

There is much warning here for all who will hear that if we refuse the grace and mercies of God when they are presented to us our hearts will grow cold, hard, and our ears will grow dull to the hearing of the words of the LORD.  When the LORD speaks; hear Him.  When the LORD moves; move with Him.  What the LORD does; do along with Him.

Ahab will progress from bad to worse as we look at the next chapter; and we will see the prophet Elijah once again as he confronts the king of Israel; yet again.

The move toward God begins in hearing the message of the cross of Jesus Christ; His death for our sins; His burial, and His bodily resurrection.  Hear, repent and believe the Lord Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 71:1

The following is a quote from a study on Psalm 71 and verse 1 from The Treasury of David, by C. H. Spurgeon.  The quote is by Musculus.

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.”  Psalm 71:1 (KJV)

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.” As if he should say: O Lord, permit not those who put their trust in thee to be confounded, and to be held up as a laughing-stock. I have placed all my hope in thee, and thou art that God who, for the sake of thy goodness and truth, hast never deserted those who hope in thee. If thou shalt suffer me to be confounded, the enemies to triumph, and my hope to be placed in thee in vain, certainly this shame shall fall upon thine own name … Let us, therefore, learn from this place to be more anxious about what may happen to the name of God through us, than to our own; whether it be through us in doing, or in us in suffering. The prophet is fearful lest he should be confounded on account of his hope placed in God, although it was not in his own power, nor could he prevent it…
It is necessary, first, that we should be of those who place their hope in God, then it is necessary that this piety of our hearts should not be confined to ourselves only, but should be known to all those who come in contact with us, even our opponents and enemies; else it is not possible for us to dread this kind of confusion feared by the prophet, when nobody knows that our hope is placed in God. No artist suffers confusion, if he has never shared the good opinion of his fellow men. To no sick man can it be said, Physician, heal thyself, if his reputation for medical skill has never stood high. So of those, it cannot be said, They hoped in God, let him save them if he will have them, of whom it was never remarked that they placed any hope in God. This solicitude, therefore, belongs only to those whose hope is in the Lord: upon others it cannot fall. – Musculus.

Trust that endures and provides is only in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship