Israel’s Redemption

By the grace of Holy God…

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, ‘I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ‘Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:21-28 (KJB)

The Redemption of the nation Israel is solely a work of God’s mercy, grace and love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A great day coming when the redeemed remnant of Israel shall look upon the One whom their forefathers crucified; and they shall call Him LORD (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13).

Shall Not Be Ashamed

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.’ ” Isaiah 29:22-24 (KJB)

For further thought see Romans 1:16; and Romans 9 – 11.

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Word of Promise

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The Word Of Promise

Romans 9:6-13

Remembering that we are looking at a parenthetical statement, which gives a clearer understanding of what Paul is writing about in chapter 8 and assuring the Roman Christians that the promises of God are good, and that He will not break or void any of them; we come to a passage which causes some difficulty among Christians.

Part of the problem Jesus had when He walked the city of Jerusalem, and along the shores of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee were the scribes, Pharisees, a Sadducees not recognizing Him for who He is. They were supposed to be men of the Word of God, yet they denied Him and even worse, tried to kill Him, and eventually had Him crucified; and that only because He gave Himself for that purpose. These religious rulers claimed to be ‘Children of Abraham’, but did not know the One whom Abraham knew (See John 8:37–41a).

Paul’s heart yearns for his brethren ‘according to the flesh’ to be saved. In verse six he then proceeds to write that just because one is born into a Hebrew family does not necessarily make one Hebrew – “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel“. It is not because they are the ‘seed of Abraham’ but it is in that they are born according to the promise – “Children of the promise are counted for the seed”. If you were born in a garage, that would not mean you are a car. Just because you were born into a Christian family – meaning with a saved Mom and Dad – does not mean you are a Christian. You must be born according to the promise.

Three of the worlds main religions can espouse that they are descendents of Abraham, either by physical birth or by faith. Islam claims to be descendants through Hagar; the Egyptian maiden whom Abraham took to himself to have a son, and named him Ishmael. The Jews/Hebrews claim Abraham as their “father” through Sarah, but at the present time only see a physical relationship more than a spiritual, and put more value in their being born of Abraham than in the faith of Abraham. Christianity sees faith as the link to Abraham, Isaac as the son of promise, and Jesus Christ being the actual Son of Promise fulfilling the type which Isaac was.

*v. 6 – It would almost seem that because Israel had not trusted Jesus as their Messiah that the Word of God had failed – it had not; it was only that many of those who had been into Israel were not of the heart and faith of Abraham;
*v. 7 – Isaac was the promised son – in shadow or type he was the coming Son of Promise through whom all the world could be saved;
*v. 8 – The children of the promise are the true seed of Abraham and the promise is the regenerating power of the Spirit of God;
*v. 9 – Sarah was barren and without any child, yet God’s promise would not be void; she would bear a son, and at the set time that the Lord prescribed;
*v. 10 – The commentary of Paul turns to Rebecca and her conception of Jacob and Esau;
*v. 11 – A parenthesis within a parenthesis concerning God’s promise to Rebecca, and God’s ordained plan for Jacob – before Jacob or Esau either one had ‘done any good or evil’, that God might show that His salvation is all by grace, not of works, “But of Him that calleth”;
*v. 12 – The promise of God was that the ‘Elder shall serve the younger’, and this was against the way things were supposed to be;
*v. 13 – Probably one of the most controversial verses in all of scripture – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.

We should not let the above passage trouble us, but rather rejoice in it. Remember, we are all born into this world in sin, condemned and on a path set for Hell. We should marvel and rejoice that God would be so gracious as to redeem any of us who are condemned. God is perfectly just to “hate” any of us, but He chooses to love us instead, and offered us all the Way to Himself, and His presence and glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Deliverance for Mount Zion

“But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.”  Obadiah 1:17-18 (KJV)

The shortest book of the Old Testament with a very blunt message for a arrogant a prideful people of Edom.  Edom was a nation who had Esau as its father, its founder.  Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, and there was a sibling rivalry from birth… Jacob had grabbed hold of the heel of Esau at birth (Genesis 25:24-28).  It turned out that Edom always hated the people of Jacob/Israel.  Take note of what God says through the prophet Obadiah above.

  1.  Mount Zion shall be delivered; they will be holy, and the people will possess their possessions – living in their land, in their own homes, growing their own crops, having their own government; and not ruled over any other.
  2.  The people of Jacob – will be a fire and Joseph a flame.  They will be a people to fear, to follow, and to dread the offending of their God, YHWH.
  3.  There will be an end to the house of Esau.  In their pride and arrogance they assumed they were safe in their mountainous homes, and the land they inhabited; yet God sent the Babylonians against them; and by the time of the New Testament they are no more.

Lesson for people today.  God never forsakes His people forever.  He will always get His people where He wants them to be.  You become His people through the new birth of coming to Jesus Christ as the Savior who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose the third day.  There is salvation for all who will call on His name.

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.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Thirty and Five

“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)

Fear was the thing that led the left behinds to their disobedience to God, His prophet, and their going to Egypt for “Safety”.  Fear moves people to do terrible things.  No matter what age of this world fear is a motivator of evil.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to walk with GOD, because when I walk with Him, I am never afraid.

For clarification – To walk with GOD is to be in total agreement with Him,

“Can two walk together, except they agree.” (Amos 3:3)

Scripture and Ever Present GOD

Some men have questioned Jesus on the teaching of the resurrection. These questions come from men who do not believe in the spiritual things. They do not believe in angels, or a resurrection; so Jesus knows that they are trying to deceive and trick Him into an answer that will trap Himself.

These were the Sadducees. A religious sect of the time which is believed to be made up of the Hebrew priesthood; and rejected many of the traditions of the elders, according to NELSON’S NEW ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY. They hated the Pharisees, and Jesus; yet both sects tried to trap Jesus, and eventually were together in His crucifixion.

Seven brothers for one bride (Matthew 22:23-28). A matter of Levirite marriage where if a man has a brother and he marrys a woman, and then he dies the next brother is to take his wife. The question is a ludicrous one; at least in my thinking. Hear the words of Jesus to them:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.” Matthew 22:29-33 (KJV)

They were in error because they did not know the Scriptures; yet they prided themselves in knowing Scripture. The problem was – they did not believe it.

Jesus confronted them of their ignorance, and unbelief. Really it comes down to the point of questioning, if they even believed in God. Jesus put the men in their proper place.

In the resurrection things will be different from earth. Jesus says that there will not be any marriage in the resurrection, nor will any be given in marriage, but we will be as the angels. For Jesus to say that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; is to show that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are in fact still very much alive.

“I am the God of Abraham, … Isaac, … and Jacob” shows that God is a very present God. A “NOW” God. He did not say “I was…”. He did not say “I will be…” He said, “I am”.

Do you know Him through His Son Jesus Christ? Do you know Him NOW?

When You are God’s, He will not Leave You Undisciplined

Much of the Scripture we will look at today have to do with the judgment upon Egypt. Judah was or had been depending on Egypt for their deliverance, and fight against Babylon; but they were in grave error and sin for doing so. Judah’s help was in God. Because of their trust in Egypt God gives Judah the following words…

“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)

Egypt would fall. Judah would be in captivity for seventy years; but God reminds the one’s who are in Egypt now; against His word; that He will not utterly destroy them.

He also will not leave them altogether unpunished; for God disciplines those who are His.

Note the LORD is still referring to Jacob as “My servant” and “Israel”. Jacob means “heel holder” or “supplanter” or “deceiver”. Israel means “God prevails”, and though Jacob was a trickster, always getting things done his way; God still loved him. Even when Jacob wrestled with God at Bethel (Genesis 32:24-32), and named him Israel God knew he was not perfect nor sinless.

The child of God, in Christ Jesus, will always have chastisement for sin in his/her life. We must be grateful for that; for without it we are not a child of God (Hebrews 12:8). We can rest assured that what God has began through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; He also will complete, and bring to His desired end (Philippians 1:6).

The Vessel God Uses

“And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: he hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” Numbers 24:15-19 (KJV)

To me Balaam is a puzzle. He is a man of enchantments for foretelling the future, and evidently for pronouncing curses on whomever he will (Numbers 24:1). Yet in the above verses, and in others in the saga of Balaam, we see him as a man who appears concerned with saying what the LORD says.

If God could use a donkey to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:22-41) I do not know why God could not use a lying  prophet to speak His truth.

In the prophecy written above we see a prophecy of the coming Messiah of Israel. Balaam speaking of Jesus Christ coming. The prophecy is pointing mostly to the second coming of Christ, but Jesus was the fulfillment of “There shall come a Star out of Jacob”, and the rest of the prophecies as well.

He will come again and all who have opposed Him will be destroyed.

For more study on Balaam you may follow this link.

A Place for the LORD

“LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the Mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob. Psalm 132:1-5 (KJV)

David’s heart; even when he was facing affliction, and peril from the hands of king Saul; was to have a place for the LORD  to dwell.  A place in which to place the ark of the covenant which represented the presence of GOD.

The term “Mighty One of Jacob” is last used in Genesis 49:24, and is used twice in these verses.

A lessen of encouragement here: May we as Christians endeavor that the place of God’s abiding be within our hearts.  The Ark of God is no longer the ark of the covenant, but the person of the Christ, the Messiah of Israel; and Saviour of the world.

He has always desired to dwell in the  hearts of His people.  Your heart, my heart; our lives are the place He longs to dwell.

We make His presence, His power, and His glory known by letting Him shine forth from our lives as we go about living in this dark, desperate, dying, world; where its only light is the glory of Jesus Christ.

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.

City on a Hill

“His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.” Psalm 87:1-3 (KJV)

Our thoughts of the mountains are often of their strength and power; their height as they reach into the clouds.  The “Holy mountains” are those where Jerusalem is setting.  Jerusalem is the place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again.

That is the place where God chose for His  name to dwell.  It is the place that He loves more than all the dwellings of Jacob, ie., more than Shiloh, and the other places the ark of the covenant has been.

If you will note the final word of the above verses.  “Selah”  It means “Pause”, or I see it as pausing to think about what has just been said.  God is holy.  The gates of Zion are holy.  This can really be speaking of the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the One, the only One by whom God’s people can enter into the holiest of all places; the throne of God, and worship Him.

Glorious is His name.

Favorable

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.” Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Another Psalm for the sons of Korah.

This Psalm is written in the past tense.  YaHWeH has shown favor to His land.  The Promised Land, the land of Canaan is the LORD’S.  This shows that God is not through with the people of Jacob.  He brings them back from their trials, their captivity.

The LORD is gracious unto His land and His people who will rest in Him; find peace, comfort, and joy in Him.

The LORD has sent redemption for His land and people through the cross of Jesus Christ is only holy and blessed Son.  Through His Son He shows His favor to the world.

Sing Unto GOD

“Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.” Psalm 81:1 (KJV)

Singing was probably what Asaph was about. He must have loved music and singing; especially unto the Lord.  We have many of the Psalms with his name on them.

Music and singing has a way of redirecting our thoughts.  Music can inspire us, motivate us, drive us; sometimes even toward wrong thinking.

The Song Book of the Bible – Psalms – is a great example of what music and singing can do for the soul and the heart.

The Christian is to sing aloud unto God who is our strength.  We are to make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.  When we realize that God is our strength we can truly sing.  Sometimes even though we do not feel like it, we ought to sing until we do feel like it.

That He is called “the God of Jacob” ought to assure us that no matter what we may think or do He is still our God.  The word ‘Elohiym is used here, and is speaking of the fulness of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Sing unto Him.  Be joyful, and make a joyful noise unto Him.  God loves you.  Sing.

The Ever-Present One

“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And He said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:11-15 (KJV)

The Scripture above gives us Moses’ account of his call of God to return unto Egypt to free the children of Israel from bondage.  This is his first encounter with GOD, and it is awesome.

Moses sees God as holy, all powerful, and all present, and even all knowing in one event.  He also learns His name.  The name says that He is eternal.  Where He is is the present.  He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  You will notice it does not say that “He was the God” but “the God of…”  That strongly implies the living, resurrection power of God; the eternalness of God, past, present and future.

His name, I AM, also reveals to us that He is Self-Sufficient; that He is in need of nothing.  It also reveals to us that we need Him.  We do not exist without Him.  We do not breathe without Him.  We do not move without Him.  There is no sunrise without Him.  He gives us each day, each beat of our heart, each step we take.  He is the One who holds all things together.  If He were to remove His hand from this world, and this Universe it would fly into pieces (Colossians 1:16-17).

This Self-Sufficient One desires to come to you today.  Call on Him.  He is the One who provides your salvation, through the cross of Jesus.

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.

In Your Day of Trouble

“The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee…” Psalm 20:1 (KJV)

The Psalmist is probably suiting up for battle at this point as the king of Judah.  The enemy is around and waiting to pounce.  In the time before the battle is a time for prayer.

When people pray before the battle we will be more secure in the thought of GOD hearing during the battle; those quick emergency prayers which are uttered from the heart.

His thought as he prays is on Jehovah [YaHWeH] the Almighty, the I AM of Moses and of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is our GOD too.

The whole of the Godhead is the GOD who will hear and aid us in our battles.  When?  In “The day of trouble”.  In defense He sets you up on a high place to shield you, protect you.  He is your shield.

There is no greater trust than to trust the One who is eternal GOD.  He has revealed Himself to mankind in the person of His Son.  At this time of year we are remembering His incarnation; God becoming man, that He might redeem us from our sins.  He is no longer that baby in a manger; rather He is the crucified, buried, and resurrected Lord of all the earth.  In your day of trouble He hears you.  Will you hear Him?

Jesus Through the Bible – Even the Vision of Balaam

“And he took up his parable, and said, ‘Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: ‘He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.'”  Numbers24:15-19

Often the words of a false prophet are not worth posting; however in this case they are documented in Scripture and the prophecies of true prophets to be considered worthy.

Balaam prophesied of Jesus.  Jesus is the “Star out of Jacob”.  He is also the “Sceptre” that “shall rise out of Israel”.  Jesus is the Conqueror of the enemies of Israel, and forever shall be.

If a false prophet has some vision of who Jesus is why do you not have the heart and vision to see, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, crucified, buried, raised bodily from the grave; and coming again.  Jesus is the conqueror of all sin, and the Victor over all enemies of God and His people (1 Corinthians 15:51-58;  Romans 8:35-39).

Thus Saith the LORD… 012114

“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, ‘We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places;’ thus saith the LORD of hosts, ‘They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, ‘The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.'”  Malachi 1:1-5

I Will Not Let Thee Go

I Will Not Let Thee Go…

Genesis 32:24-32

1.  Jacob was born grasping the heel of his brother Esau (25:25-26).
2.  Jacob’s name means “supplanter” which is a deceiver, schemer plotting and planning his own course in life (27:36)
3.  Jacob runs to Padanaram to escape from possible death by Esau’s hand (27:41- 28:2).
4.  Jacob meets God for the first time at Luz; he names the place Bethel [House of God] (28:10-22).
5.  He gets to Laban’s home, meets Rachel, is in a fight with Laban for twenty years for what is his.
6.  God calls Jacob to return to Canaan (31:11-13).
7.  Jacob fears meeting Esau; spends night wrestling with a man; earnestly contended for blessing; received blessing.

 

I.  THE BATTLE WE FACE AND CONTINUES THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES (Eph. 6:10-12).

II.  THERE ARE FEARS THAT WILL BE FACED IN THIS LIFE (Psalm 56:3, 11).

III. WE WILL BE CALLED ON TO CONFRONT WHO WE ARE; JUST AS JACOB DID (vv. 27-28).

IV.  WHEN WE HAVE A HOLD ON GOD DO NOT LET HIM GOD WITHOUT HIS BLESSING.

V.  KNOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BEFORE THE FACE OF GOD (vv. 29-30).

VI.  THERE WILL BE EVIDENCE OF YOUR BREAKING BEFORE GOD (vv. 31-32).

 

Application
i.  Face the battle of everyday life with faith that God will bring you through it.
ii.  Recognize your fears, confess them, forsake them, and trust the One who fights your battle for you.
iii.  Remember that God knows the ending as well as the beginning.
iv.  Rejoice that God in His grace has brought us before His face.
v.  Take the time each day to really spend time with God [wrestling] in prayer and His Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

This is sermon points from a sermon preached January 2011

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

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

Through the Bible in a Year 011313

Mysterious Faith

Genesis 14 – 32

1.  Mystery of the Priest of the Most High God (14:17-24);

2.  God’s Promises fulfilled (15 – 21);
15:6;  16:15-16;  17:19;  18:16-33;  19:15-16;  20:1-2;  21:1-3, 12;

3.  Faith, Sacrifice, and a Bride (22 – 24);
22:1-6, 12-18;  23:1-2;  24:1-6, 34-36, 64-67;

4.  Faith, Lying, Deception, Scheming, Deceiving and Back to Faith (25 – 29);
25:5, 19-28;  26:25;  27:33-35;  28:10-15;  29:21-25;

5.  Rachel’s, Leah’s and Jacob’s Struggles; and Their Faith (30 – 32);
30:1-2, 22-24;  31:9;  32:1-2, 24-30

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Unchanging GOD

Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of His coming?  And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  Malachi 3:1-6 (KJV)

The very assurance that God never changes is assurance that He is trustworthy, and will accomplish all that He has said.

-T.A.

The Enemy Within

Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.  O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly?   Even of late My people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.  The women of My people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away My glory for ever.  Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.  If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.”  Micah 2:6-11 (KJV)

Someone once said, “We have found the enemy, and he is us.”  I do not remember where I heard that or who said it; however, it can be so true; for a nation, a family, community, State, church; and as in the above case; the people who are called by God’s name.

When those who call themselves by God’s name oppose the very Word of God; they become the enemy within, and wreak judgment upon their families, and rob God of the glory that belongs solely to Him.  These same people will begin listening, then, to anyone who will give them comfortable words, lifting them up emotionally; and deny the truth of the Word of God.

Listen people.

-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.

Sow to Yourselves in Righteousness, Reap in Mercy

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.  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.”  Hosea 10:11-13 (KJV)

This verse reminds me of Galations 6:7,

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

A free society without this in mind is a condemned society.  Sow in righteousness, and your fruit and harvest will be mercy.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081512

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

-T.A.

The Error of Balaam

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16; Jude 11

I. NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

* + “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).
* + “And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)
* + The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.

II. TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).

* + Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?
* + The voice Balaam heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness
* + There is no need to seek God’s advice again.

1. He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).
2. God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).

III. WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).

* + “If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)
* + Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?

1. “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.
2. It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.

* + Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

IV. THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).

* + Can a prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?
* + It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.

1. So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

* + Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.

Even John the apostle writing the words of Jesus to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

V. WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).

* + It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.

1. It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.

* + Jesus said; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

+ There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.

VI. THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24).

* + Balaam’s eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.
* + In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).
* + Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.
* + The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

(Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22)

VII. AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).

* + When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.
* + Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.

1. The sin of Balaam, and Israel was the ecumenical move of bringing the unholy into the holy.
2. Moab and Midian were of the same bloodline as Abraham

* + John Baptist and Jesus said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

* + “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

1. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

VIII. THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).

+ Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.

* + These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.
* + If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.

1. If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.
2. You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?” Oh! You’re not? You have taken away something that belonged to another. You are in the “Error of Balaam”.

* + Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 56 – Diminish Not a Word

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

Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 53 – The Word of God Shall Prosper

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

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

My verse of thought today is,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 12 – Remember God is Gracious

Remembering that God is gracious should not be too difficult of a matter.  However, when we as human beings and as Christians get side tracked from the obvious, ie., God’s grace; it is generally due to blessings we have received.  We tend, at times, to be side tracked, and caught up in the blessing rather than the Blesser.

My reading for day 12 consisted of Deuteronomy 1 – 14.  The reading of Deuteronomy is of Moses reminding the children of Israel of the events of the past 40 years wandering in the wilderness.  He reminds them of their deliverance from Egypt; of times when God supplied them water; when there appeared to be no water.  How God supplied them bread when there was none to be had; and He, the LORD, gave them Manna – bread from heaven; and they ate it each day.  He reminded them of their past failures; particularly of their sin with the golden calf.  He also reminds them of God’s grace; and His promises to give them a land “flowing with milk and honey”.

“Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, ‘For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land:’ but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.  Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” Deuteronomy 9:4-6 (KJV)

In the four hundred plus years since Jacob entering Egypt God was providing grace to the people of the land of Canaan.  Someone may ask the question, “Does scripture tell us that anywhere?”  I do not have a particular verse or verses in mind, but scripture always assumes and promotes the wonderful grace of God; so that is what I stand on here.  While God is preparing Him a people, a nation of people He is also giving the nations in Canaan opportunity to repent; but rather than repent their sin escalates toward destruction.

God reminds Israel of His grace by reminding them that He is giving them this land, and driving out its inhabitants; not because Israel is a righteous people, but because of the “wickedness of these nations”.  God does know that the children of Israel are a “stiffnecked” people – a stubborn, obstinate, rebellious people.  Yet, God in His grace blesses them with His grace.

God has blessed the world with His grace.  It is available to all who will believe in, trust His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried – carrying our guilt and condemnation away, and rose bodily from the grave to ever live making intercession before the Father for all will believe.

Grace is God’s undeserved favor toward those who believe in Him.

People today are a stiffnecked, obstinate, stubborn and rebellious people.  We are undeserving of God’s grace, yet He offers it freely to all who will trust in His Son and His finished work.  Jesus said,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”  John 6:29

The presence of God, His glory, and righteousness is for us because of the cross of Jesus, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Remember God’s Grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 7 – From Deliverance to Glory

The book of Exodus begins with the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in bondage in Egypt.  They are in bitter enslavement to Egypt.  Exodus ends, however, fulfilling the meaning of its title “Exodus” and the children are free from bondage.

My reading this morning included Exodus 35 – Leviticus 8.  I will not be commenting on the Leviticus reading, but only on the Exodus portion, and particularly the ending.

From bondage in Egypt the children of Israel, are delivered after many wonderful things which God performed through His servants Moses and Aaron.  Plagues which came upon Egypt; unlike anything they had ever witnessed; or ever would witness in their lifetimes.  It was God’s plan to deliver them, His way.  It would not be the way of Moses, nor the way of Aaron; but God’s.

It is God’s intention that His name be glorified and nothing else.  That is the greatest desire of God; that He be glorified.

The Exodus shows us the children of Israel on a journey from Egypt, through the wilderness; at least to Mount Sinai; receiving God’s commandments; instructions, and designs on worshipping God.

In the Exodus we see sin raise its ugly, demonic head while Moses is on the Mount receiving the law; and after they have said, “All that God commands we will do.”  They call on Aaron to make them gods (32:1-2) of gold and to honor for their deliverance from Egypt; I suppose.  God tells Moses to go down quickly, and he finds a riotous, debaucherous worship more in tune with the surround peoples than godly going on; defiling everything the people has said they would do.

Yet, God in His grace and mercy brings them to His glory.  They see His glory in the “tent of the congregation” or tabernacle,

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

And, even Moses cannot enter due to His glory upon the tabernacle.

That shows us, that even Israel, and the Law cannot bring us into His glory.  The law fulfilled in God’s only begotten Son, His blood sacrifice on the cross, His burial, and resurrection can bring sinful man, redeemed, cleansed, and into the very presence of God.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who has given His own blood that we might go into the very presence of God.  I pray you find yourself there today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 4 – From a Garden to a Grave, and Beyond

I do not believe I have ever read so much of Genesis so quickly as I  have since beginning this reading through the Bible in 90 days.  It is exciting, challenging, and enlightening.

Our reading this morning covers Genesis 43 – Exodus 6.

We have gone from the days of creation; Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, their expulsion, a murderous son (Cain), the flood; the calling of Abraham to father a nation; and we have seen his tests, trials, and troubles.  Abraham’s and Sarah’s trying to do things their own way, and ending up causing a mess.

We see Isaac’s son Jacob practicing deception; he and a whole lot of other people doing the same thing.  Yet, God chooses Jacob to be the “prince with God” calling him “Israel”.  Jacob  has a son named Joseph who is betrayed by his brothers, sold into Egypt, cast into prison unjustly, then, promoted to second in command under the Pharoah of Egypt.  Sin is progressing; and so to is grace.  “Where sin abounds, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

Beginning in a garden of perfection, comfort, and every need provided to a grave in Egypt.

“So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”  Genesis 50:26 (KJV)

One of the things we can see following Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the garden is death seems to dominate the picture; however, it does not rule forever.  Since the fall everything ages, weakens and dies.  The curse of Adam’s sin is upon all of creation.  Not a one of us can rejoice in death, because death is the fruit of sin.  It is a bitter fruit.  It is a separating act.  It divides – separates the  spirit and soul of the human from their bodies.  There is, however, a death worse than physical; and that is the spiritual death which separates God from man.  That death happened instantly when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden

That death is seen when they heard God coming to them; they hid themselves.  Death is not a pleasant thing to discuss, or to write about; but it is a part of our lives.  It is also and foremost “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23).

From the death of Joseph we go to Exodus, showing us that death is not the end.  In Exodus we find that God hears the cries of the children of Israel crying for help.  He hears their cry, prepares a man from Egypt – one of their own who has grown up with the rulers of Egypt – and sends him back to deliver His children from the bondage that has come about because of lying and deception of the brothers of Joseph.

When God calls a man it is an awesome thing.  And it was for Moses,

“And Moses said unto God, ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?’  And He said, ‘Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.’  And Moses said unto God, ‘Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, ‘The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, ‘What is His name? What shall I say unto them?’  And God said unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM: and He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath sent me unto you.’  And God said moreover unto Moses, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.”  Exodus 3:11-15 (KJV)

Life does indeed go on beyond death, and the grave.  And, I do not mean only in the physical realm of life, but also the spiritual.  There is an eternity to shun, and there is an eternity to indulge in, and be filled with the greatness and glory of God.

We find in the verses above that God called Moses to go and deliver the children of Israel from their captivity.  Who was actually doing the deliverance?  Moses was only a man; who had faults, failures, fears and doubts; but was still greatly used by God.

Who was sending Moses?  The “I AM”.  Meaning the “Self-Existing One” the “Self-Sustaining One”.  He needs nothing to be; He is.

He is the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is also the LORD God of Jesus the Son of the LORD God [YHWH-‘Elohyim].  Jesus, the God-man who walked in flesh among us.  Jesus the God-man who bled and died on the cross for the sins of mankind as the atonement for our sins.  Those who believe in Him will be rejoined with GOD for all eternity.  That is the only eternity to indulge, and be filled with the presence, greatness and glory of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 3 – Destiny of a Nation

Many trust in what is called fate.  Some trust in faith as though faith has power of its own.  “Just have faith” is what is heard quite often.  What is the difference in “fate” and “faith”.  Fate is events guided by events to the best of my knowledge; “What ever will be will be” mentality.  Faith is belief in something or someone to have power of guiding events or times or things even; but “faith” in what or whom?  It does make a difference what you believe.

As we  continue at reading the Bible through in these next 87 days we will find that there is a Person; a divine Individual who is guiding the events and times of our lives.

That is evident in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We can see it in the life of Joseph as well.

God told Abraham back in Genesis 15:13-14,

“And He said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Then as we read today in Genesis 29 – 42 we find one of Jacob’s children, a younger son, is sold into slavery by his older brothers due to their jealousy, and Joseph ends up in Egypt, in prison and eventually the Pharoah’s second man ruling the nation.

Joseph was a man of dreams, and passion for God, His promises, and His Word.  Joseph dreamed that all his brethren would one day bow down to him,

“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.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, ‘Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?’ And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Genesis 37:5-12 (KJV)

I tell this because it was by his faith in God Joseph was able to deal with the betrayal of his own brethren, the selling into Egypt, the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  Through it all Joseph kept God as his guide, his comfort and his strength.  Believing that God would bring about what He had shown him in his dreams.

After Joseph has arrived in Egypt and imprison; in prison Joseph continues to say and believe,

“Do not interpretations belong to God?”  Genesis 40:8   and,

“It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  41:16

The Psalmist even mentions Joseph in the 115th Psalm,

“Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” (v.19)

Faith that God is guiding the affairs of His people to be a great nation was a part of Joseph’s life.  He believed God, and though it does not say it by verse, and words; it says it by implication; “It was counted to him for righteousness.

God not only guides and directs nations; he directs individual lives.  He prefers to use you for good and His glory.  He will do that through your faith in His Son Jesus; as you humbly bow before Him as your own personal Lord and Savior; believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead; and that He is eternally alive; and through Him you will live eternally.

Believe/Trust and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 2 – Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau

One of the things that crossed my mind as I was reading this morning was how these men all had something in common.  What is that commonality?  They are all sinners, deceivers, liars and tricksters.  Yes!  Even Abraham the patriarch of Judaism and Christianity.

Abraham had the promises of God for the land of Canaan.  Verse 18 of chapter 15 of Genesis states,

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:'” Genesis 15:18 (KJV)

Yet Abraham is fearful for his own life, lies to Abimelech about Sarah only being his sister, causes a curse on the people of Abimelech (chapter 20, Genesis).  He is a man of faith.  God had given him great and precious promises.  Promises of protection, power, wealth, and generations.

Abraham and Sarah laugh at God’s promise of a child, with both of them as parents of the child.  Abraham laughs in 17:17, and Sarah in 18:12.

Ishmael is the offspring of an unholy act of unbelief in the behalf of Sarah and Abraham.  Despite this God gives Hagar many promises concerning Ishmael, and they are fulfilled just as God has promised.

Isaac, the son of promise ends up in a lying mood as well (chapter 26:6-13).

The name Jacob means “supplanter” equaling trickster, deceiver, you can get the message from that.  That name really fits Jacob.  He first trades his elder brother Esau out  of his birthright; which he eagerly sells for a bowl of soup.  Which does not say much about Esau’s character.  Jacob thought more of it than Esau did; or he would not have sought it.

The reason I point this all out is, that, the Bible pulls no punches when it comes to mankind’s need.  Our greatest need is grace.  There is none who is righteous.  We are all condemned in sin.

It is God in His grace who came down to sinful, lying, fearful, Abraham and makes him faithful Abraham, “friend of God”.  It is God in His grace who chose the lying Isaac to be the second patriarch of the faith.  It is God in His grace who chose Jacob, and changed his name from “Supplanter” to later “Israel”.

It is God in His grace who reaches down to liars, cheats, harlots, adulterers, adultresses, murderers, drunks, thieves, and the worst among us; and says to all who will hear,

 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Favorable Land

I believe that God has put His hand on the United States of America, and has raised her up for the glory of Himself in and through the nations of the world.  He has blessed the U. S. of A.  However, we are not that “favorable land”.  Do not think me a traitor; the land the Psalmist speaks of is the land of Jacob.  It is the land that has upon it the “City of David” – Jerusalem.  It is the land where are Lord and Savior was foretold of and where He was born, raised, grew, died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  It is the land to which He will one day return and rule the world from.

The Psalmist wrote so long ago of this land,

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”  Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm it is said that it is “A Psalm for the sons of Korah”, and is mentioned in other Psalms as well.

There is some disagreement over the time and author of this song.  Some believe it was David writing of the captivity by the Philistines; and yet others think it is another singer writing of the Babylonian captivity.  I myself tend to go along with those who hold with the Davidic writing.

However, no matter the time of the writing of this wonderful song; it is a song for all ages, and all saints of God.  When a child of God has strayed from the presence of the Lord in their lives we can know that He is faithful to restore us.

He is faithful to bring us back to our first estate, fill us with Himself, His presence, His power, His glory.

We are in “captivity” when we have allowed our sin to separate us from the presence and the power of God.  Our prayer ought always to be sinned and strayed,  “Forgive our sin.  Restore us to our place with You LORD.  Bring back the captivity of Your people.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Vineyard of Red Wine

The title above comes from verse two of Isaiah 27.  It is a far cry from the verses of chapter five of the prophet.  A vineyard in chaos, worthy of destruction, and to grow without care and protection from its owner.

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.” Isaiah 27:2 (KJV)

I know nothing of the flavor of “red wine”, but I have drank the sweet flavorful juice of the red grape, and it is fabulous.  That is what the LORD and the prophet Isaiah is telling us.  No more will Israel be judged, but, rather she will be fruitful, flavorful, and sweet.  She will blossom as a rose and her enemies will be put away.

The LORD says, “I will keep it night and day” (v. 3).  Then to leave no doubt of whom He is speaking He says,

“He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 27:6

Through the many years Israel has departed from the LORD and through those many years God has chastised them, and continues to chastise them.  God is working in the nation to bring them to the place where they will love Him, and He will prosper them greatly; just as He has promised for all these years.  Not one word of God will fall, or fail.

“Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is He slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?  In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.   By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”  Isaiah 27:7-9

The LORD will not have mercy on those who had or have no mercy on the people of Israel.  He will show them no favor (v. 11).  There will be no grace [favor of God] toward those who have rejected Him and His people.  When will this come to pass.  I don’t know.  I believe it will be soon; and by that I don’t mean tomorrow or even next year; but within the years of God’s own timing.

In that time all God’s people of Israel will gather to worship their Messiah around the throne in Jerusalem;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 27:12-13

One of the things that Christians and unbelievers can learn from this is that God will carry through with His promises.  Not one word shall fall to the ground.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  Rest assured Christian.  Repent and believe unbeliever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch

“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Mark 13:14-23 (KJV)

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN – WATCH

Daniel speaks of this in his prophecies (Daniel 9:27;  11:31).  Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled partly in Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C. when he sacrificed a pig on the temple altar.  That was before Jesus was born, so this prophecy must be of another day.  The destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. did not involve an “Abomination of Desolation”.  Since Jesus was speaking of a future day, there must be a future one yet to come.  Daniel’s prophecy covered both events – that of Antiochus Epiphanes and the yet future “Antichrist”.

When this final one appears it will be following a time of peace – three and one half years – then this “Judas” will set himself up as God on the throne in Jerusalem and demand the worship of the Hebrews (2 Thes. 2:1-4).  At this time Jesus tells these people to “…Flee to the mountains”, and “…not go back to get his clothes…”.  He tells that it will be a time of great sorrow, unlike anything known to mankind (v. 19).  This will be a time when material possessions will not matter for protection, security, or safety.

Fleeing from the evil one to live in the hills, woods, and caves will be far better.  However, those of us who are presently “in Christ Jesus” do not need to fear this dark time – “we are not of the darkness” but of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5).  We will be removed from the earth in order that God might deal with His people the Hebrews, and call them back to Himself.  Jeremiah the prophet calls this “…the time of Jacob’s trouble…” (Jeremiah 30:7).

Salvation is of our Lord.  Jesus Christ died for our sins; on the cross; was buried, and rose again.  He promised to come again and receive us unto Himself.  Call on the name of the Lord and you too will be saved from your sins and the wrath to come.

The “Elect” (v. 20) must surely refer to the nation of Israel, and/or those who have received Jesus as their Savior during this time.  There will be “False christ’s”, and “false prophets” who will be able to do mysterious deeds, and wonders and try to deceive the populace, and even, “If possible, even the elect.”  It will be a time for them that they must have their senses sharpened, and their eyes wide open.  Of course that is a good thought for all of us in our day.

Christian; Keep Your Eyes Open – Watch.

-Tim A. Blankenship