The Virtuous Man; The Virtuous Woman

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows?  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJB)

Man of Virtue; Woman of Virtue – Proverbs 31:1-31

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.
We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.
According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.
1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.
The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”  Proverbs 31:10-22

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).
She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).
The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).
“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31:29-31

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

Having a Just Society

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

Having a Just Society – Proverbs 28:1-28

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

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

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

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

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah

Sweet Sleep

“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the LORD my God.  Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.  Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.  Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.  How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? For the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.  And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.  For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.  Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.” Jeremiah 31:18-26 (KJV)

The Appeal of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Appeal – Proverbs 8:1-36

Verses 1 – 11 –  In dealing with the title here I want to point out the definitions of the word “appeal”.  First of all it can be a “request for aid; a petition, or a plea.  Secondly, it can be a legal term; as in “to appeal a lower courts, or another judges ruling” and; thirdly, it can be the “power or ability to attract, interest, amuse or stimulate the mind or emotions”.

In the matter of Wisdom; it would seem to fit all three of those meanings.  “Wisdom cries” She cries out for the simple, naive, and foolish to hear her.  The crying out is the first meaning; though she needs no aid; she is petitioning all who hear her to follow.

Something to think about here is that previously in this study of Proverbs we have seen a wicked woman who calls the simple, naive youth to her bed; and he follows like an ox to the slaughter; and is like a bird taken in a snare (7:22-23).

In the second, we must see that Wisdoms judgment is higher than that of any court of the land.

In the third, we also can see Wisdom stirring the mind and emotions to follow our God and Saviour.  Wisdom is of greater value than any material thing; even gold or rubies cannot equal her value.  The Christian is in fact given aid by Wisdom.

Verses 12 – 21 –  Justice is found through Wisdom.  Remember the wisdom of Solomon when he took a sword, and would divide the child, due to the dispute between two mothers (1 Kings 3:16-28).  To the erring mind that judgment would seem harsh; however there was prudence, discretion, subtilty, in that judgment.

You could also use that event to show that wisdom “find’s out knowledge of witty inventions”.

Wisdom hates what God hates; loves what God loves.  Here in verse 13 we see some of what God hates again, through Wisdom – Pride, arrogance, evil paths, and a froward mouth.  The “froward mouth” is a perverse mouth.  You ever hear someone that when they speak all that comes out of their mouth is rot, stink and filth.  That is not just dealing with vulgarity of language, but assassination of anothers life and character, gossip – whether it is from a bitter heart or not.

True and good “counsel” belongs to Wisdom (v. 14).  Leadership of sponsored by Wisdom is a leadership fo Justice.  The Judge of all promises riches and righteousness, and will fill the treasures of those who follow Wisdom.

Verses 22 – 31 –  We see in these verses that Wisdom was present in the Creation of all that is.  From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read…

“That it is an intelligent and divine person that here speaks seems very plain, and that it is not meant of a mere essential property of the divine nature, for Wisdom here has personal properties and actions; and that intelligent divine person can be no other than the Son of God himself, to whom the principal things here spoken of wisdom are attributed in other scriptures, and we must explain scripture by itself. If Solomon himself designed only the praise of wisdom as it is an attribute of God, by which he made the world and governs it, so to recommend to men the study of that wisdom which belongs to them, yet the Spirit of God, who indited what he wrote, carried him, as David often, to such expressions as could agree to no other than the Son of God, and would lead us into the knowledge of great things concerning him. All divine revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, and here we are told who and what he is, as God, designed in the eternal counsels to be the Mediator between God and man. The best exposition of these verses we have in the first four verses of St. John’s gospel. In the beginning was the Word, etc.”

Verses 32 – 36 –  Part of the “appeal” of the Person of Wisdom are the blessings she gives.  What we can find in Wisdom is life, favor of the LORD.  In order to obtain Wisdom one must hear the instruction of Wisdom and not refuse it.  Keep her ways.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Trust

Shiloah Baptist Church

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”   Joshua 21:45  (KJB)

If there is any one thing the world needs today it is for substance, truth, integrity, and the fulfilling of words spoken.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6), then, He went to the cross and died for us.

The very last phrase of our text above says, “All came to pass”.  Every word God had spoke through Moses had come to pass, just as He had said.

We can trust what God says because He has done all that He said, or it will be done in the not too distant future.  Some of the things He has said are, at this moment, being fulfilled.

“Not a…

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Righteousness and Truth

He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”  Psalm 15:1-2 (KJV)

Righteousness is a godly thing. As a matter of fact it is a GOD thing.  There is no righteousness apart from God; neither is there any truth apart from God.

People cry out for justice in our world, and for truth.  Many people do not like the pure and unvarnished truth is quite powerful, and often puts Adamkind in our rightful place – condemned, separated and apart from Holy God.  We are unrighteous, unjust, unholy, vile, evil, condemned, and headed to the eternal fires of Hell.  That is unless God in His grace has truly done something which is beyond our wildest imaginations.

A friend of mine shared something by email which I will share here with you…

“Justice is getting what we deserve.  Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what  we don’t deserve.

But wait a minute; grace is more than that! It is grace that gives at great cost to the giver. It is not cheap. Grace cost the life of God’s Son. Jesus gave freely of Himself in agony and blood.”

Pastor James McCullen  See his web site

Truth is what the good doctor comes and tells you when he discovers you have a cancer in your body, you need emergency surgery to remove it or you will die in a month.  Truth is the death rate is 100 percent.  Not pleasant to hear, but we need reminded of that from time to time.

Who shall abide in the LORD’S tabernacle?  Who will abide in the presence of the LORD?  The answers are given in the verses above.  No one of us can live a righteous, holy, and upright life and speak the truth in our hearts; except the LORD Himself give it to us.  He has done that in the cross – the death of His Son Jesus, His burial, and resurrection.  There is no righteousness or truth apart from Him.

Jesus Through the Bible – Captain of the LORD’S Host

This begins new post on this theme.  I pray the Lord has spoken to your hearts of who Jesus is, and will continue to do so through the reading and study of the word of God.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

Joshua is uneasy, maybe even fearful of what is about to come with Jericho.  He has gone away from the camp, and thinking, praying, surveying with his eyes the vastness of the city when this Man appears to him.  Who is this Man?  Is He on the side of Joshua?  Is He on Israel’s side?

Look at His description.  The Man has a sword, not in its sheath, but drawn; ready for battle.  Joshua’s first thought was the reason for his question; “Are You for us, or for our adversaries?”  This Man’s answer was probably not a comforting answer.  He said, “No; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.”

Note Joshua’s action.  He fell on his face in worship.  He recognized the Lord.  There is evidence here that this was a Christophany of God appearing as a Man to a man.  It is called a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Joshua’s question was a legitimate question.  However, when it comes to the Lord we best be on His side; and not wonder whether He is on our side.  He is the defender of our faith.  He is the Warrior of righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and will not forgive the wicked who reject His word and/or His work.

Get on the LORD’S side today.  Trust the Lord Jesus.  He died on the cross for your sins; was buried carrying all your sin, shame, condemnation, guilt away; then He bodily arose from the grave, ascended to the Father; and is returning one day.  Call on His name and He will save you.

The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy

 “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:1-8 (KJV)

 Also read Daniel 8:1-8, 15-22, 26-27, include the whole chapter.

The ram with two horns is the Medo-Persian empire (vv. 3-4, 20).

The he-goat with the great horn is Alexander the Great (vv. 5-8, 21).

The broken horn with the four new horns is the death of Alexander and his four generals taking power of four kingdoms after his death at 33 years of age.

There are five amazing prophecies:

1. Greece conquers Persia;

2. The great ‘notable horn’ Alexander the Great;

3. The ruin of the Medo-Persian empire;

4. The broken horn the death of Alexander the Great;

5. Alexander’s kingdom is divided.

From one of these come a ruler who surpasses all others in cruelty and hatred for the Jewish people.

This prophecy has a dual meaning and fulfillment 175 B.C. – 165 B.C. and a time that is yet to be.

Chapters 1 – 7 were originally written in Aramaic, because of the emphasis on worldly Gentile kingdoms. Chapters 8 – 12 were written in Hebrew, because they are for the people of God – Israel and the Church.

A LOOK A THE FIVE PERSONAGES IN THIS PROPHECY —

DANIEL, THE BELOVED OF GOD (1-2, 15-19, 26-27; also see 10:11). In this vision Daniel is in Suza (Shushan) the new capital city of the Persian empire. He is by the river of Ulai. It seems God has taken him there. “When I saw that I was in Shushan” seems to be that God transported him there.

Upon seeing the vision he is shocked by it. Thus, he asked God for its meaning. Notice also when he recieves the meaning he does not go out telling everyone about it.

CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA (vv. 3-4, 20). Isaiah mentions Cyrus one hundred and some years earlier; by his work in Isaiah 41, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.” (v. 2), “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.” (v. 25). By his name in Isaiah 44, “ That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (v. 28).

Cyrus is named again in Isaiah 45:1-4, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me”.

Our sovereign Lord can use even a pagan king to accomplish His purposes. He [Cyrus] allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. He allowed them to take the sacred vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chron. 36:22-23.

Also in Ezra we read, “ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT (vv. 5-8, 21-22). In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream Greece was depicted as the belly and thigh of brass. Daniel’s vision of chapter 7 saw it as a beast ‘leopard’ with ‘four wings of fowl’ and ‘four heads’. Daniel now sees it as an angry goat.

Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four kingdoms – led by four leaders of his army. Alexander was accomplishing God’s purposes. What Alexander began the Romans completed – preparing the ancient world for the coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, this was unknown to these pagan kings.

Truly, God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He rules and reigns in the hearts of men; good and evil. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1; and that means the rulers of Korea, Iran, ISUS, and our own President Donald Trump as well. No world leader, or leader of any nation is outside the purview of God’s rule.

Always remember that God is still on His throne, and rules in the hearts of men.  As Christians we are redeemed. You can be by coming to Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.  He is returning someday, and will set up an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace.  Believe Him.

In a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:1-6 (KJV)

Far too often we notice there are not too many “Just Societies”.  Even in the United States of America more often than not, there is injustice.  Money is needed to get a good lawyer to defend oneself from a false charge; or even to be sure one can get a fair trial.  I do believe in our Justice system, but I also see the injustice in it.

A man or woman charged with a crime is supposed to be seen as “Innocent until proven guilty”; but that does not always happen either.  We all too often begin condemning the indicted individual with a guilty verdict long before the trial; even on the streets, and highways and byways of the areas around the case.

The following are thoughts for Proverbs 28:1-28…

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

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

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

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

The only way to a just society is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has told us…

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We can only receive that “Justness” that righteousness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Believe Him, trust Him: call on His name (Romans 10:13).

Wisdom, Leadership and Justice

The personification of wisdom was first witnessed in the first chapter; and another time or two.  Now again in chapters eight and nine.  I want us to remember that Wisdom lives in the Person of Jesus Christ.

There is a need for wisdom, and justice in this world; especially in leadership positions, and more so among Christians and leadership.  Hear from Wisdom today…

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:12-21 (KJV)

Justice is found through Wisdom. Remember the wisdom of Solomon when he took a sword, and would divide the child, due to the dispute between two mothers (1 Kings 3:16-28). To the erring mind that judgment would seem harsh; however there was prudence, discretion, subtilty, in that judgment.

You could also use that event to show that wisdom “find’s out knowledge of witty inventions”.

Wisdom hates what God hates; loves what God loves. Here in verse 13 we see some of what God hates again, through Wisdom – Pride, arrogance, evil paths, and a froward mouth. The “froward mouth” is a perverse mouth. You ever hear someone that when they speak all that comes out of their mouth is rot, stink and filth. That is not just dealing with vulgarity of language, but assination of anothers life and character, gossip – whether it is from a bitter heart or not. Hear the words of Jesus…

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45

 

True and good “counsel” belongs to Wisdom (v. 14). Leadership sponsored by Wisdom is a leadership of Justice. The Judge of all promises riches and righteousness, and will fill the treasures of those who follow Wisdom.

Christmas Day Thirty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to cease to do evil, to learn to do good, seek justice, rebuke oppressors, defend the fatherless, and plead for widows; and ask that all of us as Christians stand by these words through our Lord Jesus Christ; and God forgive when we have failed to do so.

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Forty and Eight

“And judgment is turned away backward, and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth fails; and he that departs from evil makes himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment.” Isaiah 59:14-15 (KJV)

The above verses are a part of Isaiah’s prayer confessing the sins of God’s people, and they had forsaken truth; which the prophet was confessing as their sin as well.

What do I want for Christmas today?

For courage in the midst of evil and wickedness; to stand faithful to God and His Word no matter what the wicked ones may do; even if it means my life; to always remember that God’s Word is the truth, even when others forsake it, trample it under feet,  deny it, or twist it; God’s Word is sure; and every word of it will be fulfilled just as He has spoken it.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Fifty and Six

“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to trust in the LORD, and to daily wait patiently upon Him, because in His mercy and grace He tarries, He waits for me, and for all who trust, who wait upon Him.

To “Wait on the LORD”  does not mean we sit idly by on some mountain top doing nothing; but that we keep on trusting Him, living our daily lives under the direction, and guidance and filling and power of His Spirit.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to walk with God, so that others may see His Son Jesus Christ living in me.

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV)

“This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9 (NKJV)

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 (KJV)

Also see Genesis 5:22-24;

Day Three Hundred and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the poor, the orphan, the elderly, the sick, and all people to be treated justly, and fairly by all who name the name of Christ and by all who are in positions of authority in government.

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.” Proverbs 14:31 (NKJV)

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19

Day Three Hundred Forty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the lunacy of the lottery to end; and that people might have the same passion and drive to know God, His love, His righteousness, His justice, and peace.

Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.  Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”  Psalm 60:11-12 (NKJV)

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57:6 & 11

Day Three hundred and Fifty

What do I want for Christmas?

I want a righteous man to be the President of the United States of America.  One who loves God, loves God’s Word, loves God’s people called Christian, and loves righteousness, justice, and peace.

When we have a godly, righteous leader, through Christ Jesus we will be blessed again.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

Until He Sets Justice in the Earth

“Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” Isaiah 42:1-4 (KJV)

This is the prophecy of the coming Servant of God who would do mighty works in the midst of Israel. “My Servant” is Jehovah’s Chosen One who will give worth and value to the “Useless” in society.

These Servant songs of Isaiah speak of the Messiah who would come; and who did come, but was rejected by men, even by His own, and was hanged on a cruel, rugged wooden cross, to bleed and die for the sins of the world.

Matthew writes of this prophecy in Matthew 12:18-20, as Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah; and thus He does.

Jesus is the One who brought and who brings justice to the Gentiles. He did not need to go preaching through the streets to gain attention – His works, and words were what was His advantage. He accepted the poor, the lame, the blind, the diseased; the “Useless” of the day. He still does.

He came into the world to save the lost, condemned, and dying sinner. If you are not a lost, condemned and dying sinner you cannot be saved.

The work Jesus Christ came to do on earth was finished when He died on the cross. However, He is yet to return and make all things righteous, holy and good as He rules and reigns on the earth. He will not fail. He will complete all that He has set out to do.

Excellent in Power and in Judgment

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him: He respecteth not any that are wise of heart.” Job 37:23-24 (KJV)

The three friends of Job have spoken. Job has finished his speaking. Now a fourth man; who is the younger of the other four; now speaks. Job 32-37 covers the speeches of Elihu.

We know nothing much of him except he was a Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. Does not tell us much. We can tell that he is ignorant of the events of heaven in chapters one and two. We know this because he is still accusing Job of unrighteousness which God has not.

One thing I like about Elihu is that most of what he says seems to exalt the Almighty, as in these final words of his speeches.

Reminds me of some of the apostle Paul’s words that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25), and that of the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:17).

Elihu, though young, and verbose reminds us that this story in Job’s name, and these events are not really about Job; but about the Almighty God.

The events, challenges, trials, friends, enemies, good times, bad times are not about me; they are about the work of God in me. He is working to make me more into His image and likeness (Romans 8:29). The likeness of His Son Jesus Christ who bled and died on the cross for our sins.

Vengeance and Justice

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

“I don’t get mad; I get even.”  A statement I have heard from others at time.  That thought is one of vengeance.

Our world cries out for justice.  We think of justice as being what is fair and just in payment for a crime that has been done.  We have seen that recently in conflicts where white police officers have killed young black men in the line of duty.  Justice is almost a war cry; and yet in their protest they are not doing justly themselves.

We long for justice; but we ought never take vengeance into our own hands.  We are prone to act with high emotion; especially anger; and when we are angry we sometimes act without thought.

The Bible tells us that “Vengeance is Gods”.  True justice also belongs to God; and in the final assessment justice will be done (Leviticus 19:18;  Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 63:4;  Romans 12:19).

The Psalmist recognized to whom vengeance belonged.  In this day of darkness and evil as followers of Jesus Christ we too must acknowledge that justice and vengeance is God’s.  In too many cases we take vengeance when it is God’s to have.  Remember to “Love your neighbor as you do yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

Mercy or Justice???

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1 (KJV)

This Psalm are the words of David to the LORD following the confrontation of his sin with Bathsheba.  David is guilty of sin; adultery, and murder of Uzziah the husband of Bathsheba.  David deserves to die.  That would be justice.

Because of David’s repentant heart God gives David mercy, and preserves his life.

In 2015 I have heard many call out for “Justice”, and yes sometimes that seems in short supply.  There is justice for many unborn children, but no mercy.  There is much mercy shown to those who do not deserve mercy, because they have shown no mercy.  Wait a minute.  Who deserves mercy?

Let me define what these words mean; at least as I see them.  First “Justice”  equals getting what is rightly deserved – death, judgment.  “Mercy” equals not receiving what we justly deserve – but instead receive forgiveness, life, love, liberty.

The Psalmist asked for mercy.  I believe he received it.  He received forgiveness, cleansing, and his sins blotted out.  Hear the word of the LORD;

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25

My prayer is that we ask for mercy from God for our transgressions, our sins; and that we also ask for mercy for those who sin against us.  I need mercy.  What about you?

Earnest Prayer

“Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” Psalm 17:1 (KJV)

Reading the Psalms we can very easily come to the conclusion that David was a man of prayer.  He is also known as “A man after God’s own heart”; and the two go together; for the prophet Amos has written, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) You are not, neither can you be in agreement with God if you are not a praying individual.

What ever the test was from which David was praying in this Psalm he felt it was an urgent one thus it was an earnest prayer.  David desired that God hear the righteous, the just cry of the one who is praying.  The words “Hear”, “Attend” and “Give ear” all have to do with hearing; so we can tell that the Psalmist is earnest in this prayer.

This prayer also, is not coming from lips of treachery or deceit.  One thing we must remember when we pray is that we cannot deceive God.  It has been tried.  Every time it leads to failure.

Do you have an urgent need today?  Ask God to hear your prayer from a heart heavy with need.  The most urgent need we have is drawing nearer to God.  You can do that by calling on His Son Jesus for salvation.  If you are already His pray faithfully in His name.

Words for Christian Living – Know When to Go

“Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, ‘How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression; if thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; if thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.”  Job 8:1-7 (KJV)

Job had three friends.  Friends are an important part of living and life.  Job had, and was suffering from loss of children to death, destruction, and loss of all his possessions.  Even his wife had failed to stand with him in faith.  His friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came thinking they would encourage their friend.  They sat with him for seven days (2:13) without saying a word.  That was good for Job.  Their presence meant more than any words they could speak.

Job spoke, and was just speaking from his pain and grief; and words of faith.  Even though there is a questioning of God’s motives for this from Job’s lips you can still see his faith, believing God.  Why is it that well intentioned people do not know when to be silent.

Bildad, above is basically calling Job a “Windbag”.  “How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?”  All I mean to say here is listen when someone is suffering.  Know when to go.  After seven days of silence.  That was enough.  This was so for all three of them.

Know when to go.

Tim A. Blankenship

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

We hear many people speak of “Justice”, “Right” or “Rights”, and the world is filled with injustice, and unrighteousness; and none of us are completely innocent of either.  We love seeing the hungry fed, the poor and/or homeless given shelter and even finding prosperity in their paths of life.  Is it injustice that makes people poor; or unrighteousness that causes a family to go hungry or  without shelter?  My answer to that is NO!  Circumstances in life can have an affect on an individual’s misfortune; or that of a families homelessness and poverty.

One thing we can be certain of and that is that there is no injustice, or unrighteousness in or with our GOD, the Lord of creation.  My reading began in the Minor Prophet of Micah, and concluded with Habakkuk with Nahum in between.  My reading only consisted of 13 chapters today.  That is where those five extra days at the end will help make up the difference.

Micah is a prophet who calls for his listeners to “Hear”.  In verses 1:2; 2:1, 9; 6:1 the prophet Micah calls for the people to “Hear”.   He calls on the religious leaders to hear, the political leaders, and the people to “Hear”.  We need to hear what Micah has to say.  Micah’s name means, “Who is like the LORD?”

“The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.  For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.” Micah 1:1-4 (KJV)

By the first verse we can tell that Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.  The LORD is a witness against all injustice and unrighteousness.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Life is not fair”, or “That’s just not fair” or some other “fair” statement.  NO! Life is not fair.  God is however Just and Righteous; and we can depend on and trust Him to do what is right, just and holy.  He calls on His people to live that way too.  The LORD is not pleased when He sees injustice and unrighteousness, especially in those who call themselves “children of God”.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:1-2

Micah is a prophet with a prophecy of promise.  A day is coming when nations will “flow” unto the “Mountain of the house of the LORD”.  “Flow” seems like a thing that a river would do within its banks.  It is a natural thing for a river to flow.  It is a natural thing for the people of God to flow to the place where God is, yet it is by the power of God that we are able to flow there.  Who is like the LORD?

We can see this question; though not stated as we read Nahum and Habakkuk.

In Nahum we have written,

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.  The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.  Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.  The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him.   But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.” Nahum 1:3-8 (KJV)

The prophecy of Nahum is written to Nineveh, that same city that God had sent the prophet Jonah to about 100 or so years previous to Nahum’s prophecy; and the city had repented, and God withheld judgment.  However, now judgment was coming because of their sinful brutality and wickedness;

“Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.  The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.  ‘Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; ‘and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.  And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.  And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?'” Nahum 3:1-7

Though Habakkuk asked the timeless question, “How can a holy God allow evil to continue?” he still comes to the conclusion like the others.  “Who is like the LORD?”  This prophecy is a debate, of sorts, between the prophet and the LORD.  Of course in a debate such as that there is only one winner of the debate; however the one who yields to the LORD’S wisdom is a winner too.

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

Habakkuk has reached the conclusion that all of God’s people will reach.  God is God.  There is no other.  I will trust in Him when there are no crops; when the blessings are all dried up; when the flocks and the herds are no more.  Who is like the LORD?   There is none like Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 46 – Proverbs of Wisdom and Fear

Many wise men have written wise sayings for people to follow.  The wisest of men was King Solomon, because God gave him the wisdom to rule his people that he asked for.  Then, because of his wise prayer and requests God gave him what he did not ask for; and it was many of those blessings which caused him to fall.

My reading today was Proverbs 1 – 14.  I will not spend a whole lot of time here going through these chapters.  There are two or three things about the “fear of the LORD” I do want to point out.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Proverbs 1:1-4 (KJV)

Solomon gives us the purpose for the Proverbs; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive [discern] words of understanding; to receive instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; or as the New Living Translation says it –

“Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.”  Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)

One thing we need to understand about these proverbs is that they are “Proverbs” not “Promises”.  They are basically a general rule of things.  God has given us many precious promises in His Word, these are not them.  There is much to learn in Proverbs.  How we deal with God, our fellow man, knowledge, understanding, wisdom – there are many individual verses of Proverbs dealing with wisdom, however, there are two complete chapters of Proverbs which personalize wisdom (chapters 8 – 9).

Let us proceed with a couple of more sets of Proverbs.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” 1:7

Of this verse Matthew Henry has written –

To make young people such as they should be,
I. Let them have regard to God as their supreme.
1. He lays down this truth, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (v. 7); it is the principal part of knowledge (so the margin); it is the head of knowledge; that is, (1.) Of all things that are to be known this is most evident, that God is to be feared, to be reverenced, served, and worshipped; this is so the beginning of knowledge that those know nothing who do not know this. (2.) In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him. If any man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine, Jn. 7:17. (3.) As all our knowledge must take rise from the fear of God, so it must tend to it as its perfection and centre. Those know enough who know how to fear God, who are careful in every thing to please him and fearful of offending him in any thing; this is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.
2. To confirm this truth, that an eye to God must both direct and quicken all our pursuits of knowledge, he observes, Fools (atheists, who have no regard to God) despise wisdom and instruction; having no dread at all of God’s wrath, nor any desire of his favour, they will not give you thanks for telling them what they may do to escape his wrath and obtain his favour. Those who say to the Almighty, Depart from us, who are so far from fearing him that they set him at defiance, can excite no surprise if they desire not the knowledge of his ways, but despise that instruction. Note, Those are fools who do not fear God and value the scriptures; and though they may pretend to be admirers of wit they are really strangers and enemies to wisdom.  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY, LibronixDigitalLibrarySystem

The final verses I would point out in my reading for the day are,

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  14:26-27

Of these verses I have written previously.  There is strong confidence for the children of the LORD who place their trust in the LORD.  When we truly fear God there is absolutely nothing else to fear.

When we know the One who has taken all the wrath of God upon Himself, and that is Jesus Christ; then we have perfect peace with God, there is no condemnation, and we have an eternal resting place with the Creator of all that is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the Righteous Rule

The wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs has formerly said,

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Proverbs 14:14

and that is so evidently true in many cases of nations and people.  It is true of Israel, England, and the United States of America; and any other nation which has had righteous rule.  The writer of Proverbs also states;

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)

Many professing Christians believe that this nation is about to come under the judgment of God because of unrighteous rule, and unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds.  However, that is just not the case; we have unrighteous rule, unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds, because the judgment of God is already on us.  It is not coming it is here.

We have been a nation [USA] which has lived comfortably, leisurely, and selfishly.  And, without much thought of how God’s hand was on us without pride, and greed having a upper hand in it.

The people of a nation led by righteous authority do rejoice; there are more freedoms with self control, generosity, caring, sharing, and loving.  Righteousness equals right judgments in situations of law, court judgments in cases of crime, and injustice.  Righteousness is doing that which is right according to what God says; not what man says is right.  Righteousness knows right from wrong; and yes there is right and wrong.

When the wicked rule there is unrighteousness, fear, injustice, greed, religious zeal without fear of God or consequences of unrighteous acts.

When there is wicked men who rule a nation; that does not mean that Christian men and women cannot be righteous in their conduct.  It is the time for men and women of God to shine the righteousness of Christ to a world in darkness; to our nation in darkness.  No politician can save this nation from ruin.  According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen, and get darker.  It is time for the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine.

Shine down YOUR righteousness O LORD.  Shine Jesus Shine.  One day we know YOU will come and rule;  then, that will truly be WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS RULE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Note:  In my commentary above I have written, “According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen…”  I was not meaning to say that the unrighteous prophets believed things would worsen morally, and legally; but that is my thoughts.

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 A Short Overview of Habakkuk

Habakkuk was a prophet who did not understand and the question he asked was very similar to the question many people ask today. Why does God let evil go unpunished? Why does He not rid the world of all evil?
My thoughts on a few verses –

Verses 1:1-4 – The prophet had a burden for God’s holiness. It was as though God was not hearing the prophet’s cries to vindicate His holiness. As I read these verses the wickedness of the time seems very similar to the wickedness of 2006 – 2007 in the United States and the world.

Where are the men of God crying out for God to be vindicated? I will. Is it because we understand God’s rule over all, and we know how God will be vindicated in the end? If that were only true; we would still be crying out for God to move us.

“The law is slacked” (v. 4). Certainly sounds a lot like some verdicts judges are handing down to guilty men.  A year or so ago a 50 year old man in Nebraska was convicted of sexually assaulting a child and the judge ruled that he was “too short to make it 10 years in prison” So she sentenced him to 10 years of probation.

Chapter 1:13 – It almost seems that the prophet has not yet come to realize the complete sovereignty of God. But, then, God’s sovereignty is no excuse for tolerance of evil.

He knows God’s purity and holiness, and is surprised that God can just let the sin and abuse of God’s people continue by the wicked.

Chapter 2:6, 14, 15 – It seems the prophet is really concerned that God be glorified. He sees God’s people as in need of judgment.

Some are increasing materialy at other’s expense (2:6). There seems to be an evergoing party where drunkenness is practiced and caused by the merchant of “drink” (2:15 & 16).

There are 5 “Woes” mentioned in this chapter. Verses 6, 9 12, 15, and 19

  1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
  2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
  3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
  4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
  5. “Woe unto him that sayeth to the wood, ‘Awake’…” (v. 19).

Gloriously, there are also 5 promises – 1:5; 2:3, 4, 14, and 20

  1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
  2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
  3. “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
  4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
  5. “But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (2:20). This has to do with the place of God, and being silent, reverent, before Him, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10).

Chapter 3 – Habakkuk’s prayer for God’s glory.

In verse 2 He asks God “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years…” and “…In wrath remember mercy”. In his prayer, the prophet has three requests. The first and third already listed, but the second one is that God manifest Himself to His people, “In the midst of the years make known” I believe referring to the ‘Reviv(ing) of Thy work…” previously mentioned. God’s glory will be revealed.

Verses 17 – 19 – The prophet, in the prayer, declares his trust will be in the LORD, even when desolate (v. 17). He declares God as his “strength” and believes the LORD to be his encouragement (vv. 18-19).

The prayer is a Psalm/Song. Note the way this chapter begins and ends “…upon Shigionoth.” Some musical instrument? The final words, “To my chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

There is much more study to do of Habakkuk. There is one thing I see that where he started with a question he ends with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Without Fault

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 24 (NKJV).

Can you imagine standing in a courtroom, you are the defendant, all the evidence has been given; you are guilty; you did the crime, and you figure that the judge is going to “throw the book” at you; sentencing you to the full extent of the law. You pled guilty, and the judge steps up to the judge’s seat, sits down, looks at his book of evidence; then, he says, “Not guilty, by reason of substitution. Someone else has already paid for the crime.”

Wouldn’t that send a relieving shock through your mind, your heart? It does mine. We are all guilty before the great Judge who is Almighty God, the Creator of all that is. We have sinned – for those who do not understand what sin is; you/we have broken God’s law, we have stepped out of His will to do our own will, and made our own laws for ourselves – we have disobeyed His laws.

God, who is holy, righteous, and just could not fellowship with what was vile, unclean, and unholy, unrighteous, and unjust. Because He loved us so extremely much, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay our sin debt. There on that cross there was a transaction between the Father and Son which we cannot fully understand. The Father poured out all His wrath toward sin, upon that precious Son, and the Son submitted Himself to the Father’s will. Jesus, in fact, “became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and was “wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). The Father, Himself struck His own Son in wrath for my sins and yours. The debt of sin is paid.

Jude tells us, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.“ Not only is He able to keep us, but He is also able to present us before the presence of the glory of the Father “faultless”. We will one day stand before the Judge of all men, women, boys and girls – those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior – and will hear the Judge say, “Not guilty; there is no fault here”, and all because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross of calvary.

Those who have not received this gracious gift of God. Have shunned the truth of God’s Word, the gospel of Jesus Christ, will one day stand before this Judge, and will hear Him say, “I never knew you. Depart from me into everlasting judgment.” That is not what you want, and I do not want that for you. If I have any enemy, other than the devil himself, I do not want that for them. Seek the face of God. Turn from your sins to Jesus Christ. There is forgiveness with Him alone. There is Cleansing through Him and only Him. There is eternal life by the power of His resurrection, and it is yours by grace through faith in Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Make It Clear

It is sad when we read God’s Word and He uses the heathen, godless nations to bring judgment on His sinning, disobedient people. I am certain that it saddens His heart especially so.

Because He is who He is, and because He is Righteous, Holy and Just He will not tolerate sin in the hearts of His people. He will judge it by ridding us of it through captivity, trials, tribulations, sickness, disease, and even persecution. In chapter eight of Isaiah we begin to see that God is even sending the message to the enemy of Israel/Judah that the time is drawing near for their invasion of the land.

“Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.  And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.“ Isaiah 8:1-2 (KJV)

 

We begin to see the fulfillment of a near prophecy. That is the birth of Isaiah’s son “Speed to the spoil”, and to leave absolutely no doubt that they [the Assyrians] would be the victors the name “Hasten the booty”, ie., enjoy the bounty of the conquered land. The birth of Maher-shalal-hashbaz is the near fulfillment of Isaiah 7:15-17. Of course, the Immanuel who was to be born was Jesus Christ 700 years or so later.

The names of Isaiah’s sons was meaningful and useful for the message of prophecy and the fulfillment of God’s Word. One thing that we can be certain, and that is that God will fulfill His Word. Not one cross of a “t “or the dot of an “i” will fail (Matthew 5:18). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NKJV).

There are two witnesses named who support this prophecy of the prophet. They are most likely priests of the temple of God. They themselves would have been faithful and trusted priests of the Lord and trusted by the believing remnant of people. Their testimony was an accreditation of the Word of God spoken and written by Isaiah.

In the message to Isaiah the LORD says, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters…” It was to be large enough and clear enough that all could read it and understand. God speaks clearly through His Word concerning His direction, His will, His Word, and His correction upon His people.

Is terrorism to be the promise of God’s judgment upon a wicked nation as the United States turned away from God? Will the terrorists be the one’s who ‘Hasten to the spoil” of the United States? If we think seriously about it what has happened with the banking business, and financial markets, that is a form of terrorism; especially the thefts by scam artists; such as Bernie Madoff, and the bonuses paid from funds supplied by our tax monies. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the truth of God’s Word, we will continue on our slide down a very slippery slope to destruction. Let us pray for the renewing of hearts to Christ Jesus, and His soon return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD On His Throne

Sometimes kings and presidents are loved and admired by many and hated and despised by many more. As a matter of fact that is the way it is most of the time. When you have a political leader who does not push for moral issues and what is right, but is rather loose on these things, then you have many who believe these things do not matter; being flamboyantly for him. The man who stands for right and what he believes in will have the support and backing of those who believe courage stands for something, they believe the leader is going as his heart for God, righteousness, justice, and love leads him.

That is the way Isaiah seems to have viewed king Uzziah. Uzziah was a godly king who had grieved God by going into the temple and burning “incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16b). Because of this grievous sin, God placed the judgment of leprosy upon him for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 26:21). You can see that the Scriptures says, “…He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…” (26:4). Though, he had sinned in this one thing of offering the incense, when it was not his place to do so; Isaiah still mourns his death.

Whether Isaiah’s call is before or after the first five chapters could be important. I personally believe that having seen, and having wrote what is written in those first five chapters, he hears the voice of God ever so clearly, and knows without a doubt that he has God’s call to go to God’s people with God’s Word. It comes at a time of tragedy for the Nation. The king has died. Any time the chief leader of a nation dies, or is sick or wounded, the nation grieves; at least in most cases. On March 31, 1981 (I think this is the correct day and year) President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley. I can remember thinking, “That’s terrible. How could someone do anything like that?” The Nation was on its knees, and I believe we were mourning. It should have been an eye-opening experience.

Here are the words of Isaiah:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.“ Isaiah 6:1-3 (KJV)

Isaiah had a burden for his people. He had a burden for God’s people to get back to God, get right with God and then live in the glory of God.

Many of us can see the problems of our nation and the world, but we have not yet caught a vision of God that drives us to our knees, and helps us see God for who He is. He is the exalted One, the Holy One – thrice holy One; He is the Glorious One, and without Him we have no glory. We need to see that it is God who is on the throne. It is He who rules, and has everything under control – His control for His plan, not yours and mine. He is the one who sees the BIG PICTURE. Since the angels, seraphim recognize Him as holy, holy, holy we need to do so as well.

Have we sacrificed holiness for democracy, safety, health, security, and celebration?

Bow on your knees and cry HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Cords Of Vanity

We have looked at two of the “Woes” which God pronounces against the house of Judah – the nation of Judah. When God pronounces woes it is because He is not pleased with them. Woe has been announced against them for “Joining house to house” at the expense of the poor and others who are less fortunate. He has announced woe against them for their licentious, ie., lewd parties, and their worship of demons.

We come to the third “Woe” which Isaiah the prophet names, and it is, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope…” (5:18). It is as though they are taunting God. They are living vainly, emptily, and throwing their sins up before God, and daring Him to come. They are unbelieving that He sees their wickedness.

They do not believe that God will come and judge their evil, so they just go on living in rebellion. They would rather continue in sin, since they cannot see God working and moving in a way they would like. Pride in sin, rebellion against the Holy One of Israel. The rope they use to pull the cart will be used in their hanging.

You might hear them saying, “If He is going to come and judge us; let Him come; let Him come and do it quickly”. It is in mockery. There are those of the world who would say that today, and maybe some who profess to be God’s people, but the people of God cannot live in such mockery. God will come. God will avenge His holiness, righteousness, and justness.

How will He find you when He comes?

“Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:  That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!” Isaiah 5:18-19 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Run Through The Streets…

The following verse of Jeremiah is a verse which shows the condition of the people of Judah, and the city of Jerusalem in this prophet’s time.  It is really not far from the conditions of our own time, and maybe the same.
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.” Jeremiah 5:1 (KJV)

The LORD speaking through the prophet gives reason for the approaching judgment which will come upon Jerusalem and the country. God says, “You can run through the streets of the city, and you will not find any man who is righteous in judging, that seeks the truth; and if you could I would pardon the city.” Not one. “There is none righteous; no not one.” (Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:10).

The writer of 2 Chronicles by the Spirit of God wrote, “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect  toward Him.” (16:9). We can look to our hearts content and if one is not to be found it will not be found. The “eyes of the LORD” however knows what He will do. He has One in mind. One who will be faithful. One who will be just and righteous in in dealings, judgments, who will be the Truth Himself. His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Things looked hopeless for Jeremiah and the people of the city of Jerusalem at that time; but there was hope. The LORD God often causes us to take a long look at our own hearts and lives to see that if left up to us, it would be hopeless; however, with the LORD there is promise, and God will always fulfill His promises.

Can we find anyone who is worthy to lead us as a nation out of the financial crisis we are in here in the United States of America? The salvation of the problem we are in is not financial it is spiritual, and until there is repentance from greedy citizens, Senate, Congress, we are actually open to believe anything from a smooth talking, deceptive, candidate who believes he can be the leader who can solve all our problems.

It is a time for repentance. No mere man can deliver us from this, and it is certain that our government cannot successfully bail out bankrupt institutions when our nation is in fact financially bankrupt. We are first of all spiritually bankrupt before God.

Run Through the Streets, and see if you can find anyone who is honest, just, and righteous in their dealings. There are none. It is time for repentance, and turning to our God through His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross of calvary, and His resurrection. He is the only one who is able.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

The LORD had come to visit Abraham and Sarah and to reassure them of the fulfillment of the promise, and that promise was a son. It seems quite likely that Sarah’s faith was improved, strengthened by the appearance of the LORD.

When the LORD’s visit had come to an end they began to journey away from Abraham’s camp, and Abraham went with them for a distance. When the LORD comes and puts in a personal visit with you, shares the promise, and renews it who wouldn’t want to go on with Him? As they go walking the LORD contemplates sharing with Abraham something further that He is about to do. He shares it with Abraham. From this part of God’s visit we learn much about intercessory prayer.

“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:16-19 (KJV).

It would not be wrong to call Abraham a prophet. I am not sure there is anywhere in Scripture which calls him “Prophet”, but we know that he walked with God, even though there is no specific verse which tells us that. He is doing it right here in verse 16. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV). We also have the Lord revealing secret things to Abraham which would place him in the category of a prophet. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). Is the LORD not here revealing a very secret thing to His friend Abraham? We must answer in the affirmative. According to the word of the LORD spoken above, He is giving to the descendants of Abraham and his children, that, “they shall keep the way of the LORD…” They are being given the oracles of God at this point. It is being given, and was given to them to do justice and judgment, and they were the people whom God used to born the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, into this world.

Prophets for the most part are messengers of God; warning God’s people, and in a lot of cases even the heathen of the coming wrath of God. In Abraham’s case he is not given the opportunity of being a prophet with a message to warn people, but he is given a message to pray for the people. It is especially a message to pray for Lot and his family, because they are living in the cities which are about to be destroyed.

We see in these the LORD’s confidence in Abraham being faithful to become what God has told him that he will become. God even says here (v.19), “I know him”. What a endowment of praise and encouragement that is to hear the LORD say of His friend, “I know him”. If the LORD knew Abraham, we have an assurance that He can know us too. Does the LORD know you? There is coming a day of judgment which we read of from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Himself, and He says, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity” That is not the words I desire to hear from His lips. That is not the desire I have to hear from His lips for any of my friends, family or any of those who might be seen as my enemies. I do not desire to hear that from His lips for debtors or creditors. The best and sweetest phrase I want to hear on that day is, “Enter into thy reward, thou good and faithful servant”. And, that for all who will hear and follow Jesus.

“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” Genesis 18:20-22 (KJV).

It was the LORD who had came to Abraham, visited with him, ate with him, and had wonderful fellowship with him. He has now sovereignly determined to reveal to Abraham what He is about to do. It is in verse 20 that the LORD speaks, and reveals to him what He is planning to do. We can know from the testimony of Scripture that God already knows the spiritual and moral condition of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is indeed, a very merciful thing for God to come down and appear to men. Three “men” had come and appeared to Abraham, and one he recognized as the LORD. The other two were inevitably angels. The LORD has remained behind to speak with Abraham, and reveal to him what He is about to do in the cities where Lot; his nephew and family are living.

By what we have in these three verses it seems that there is a “cry” from evil. Does evil have a voice, a cry? It must. According to Strong’s

H2201 = za‛aq ze‛a^qa^hzah’-ak, zeh-aw-kaw’ (Feminine): from H2199; a shriek or outcry: – cry (-ing).”

 

No one rejoices when evil rules a land, a city, a home, or a family. And the person who is practicing evil, has no form of joy or peace. It is their way of ‘Thumbing their nose’ at God, His Word, His Son, and His people. There is a cry from evil. Even evil hearts sooner or later will cry for justice, and they shall have it. Surely we can hear the cries of evil in our Country of the USA. Surely the scent of the blood shed in homes, cities, States, and our Nation is a putrid scent to all decent, law abiding people. Or, are we so, “law abiding”, that we don’t smell the scent, because we think we are a nation which has been built solely on man made laws? That is a stench in the nostrils of Holy God.

We as the people of God ought never forget that evil is “grievous” in the sight and sound of almighty God. With him there is no little immorality. It is all vile in His sight, and it cannot dwell in His presence. Apart from the grace of God no fallen man can dwell in His presence, unless, the price of sin, ie., the sin-debt has been paid in full. God owes no accountability to the devil. He is not accountable to the devil. God’s Word is not answerable to the devil. The sin-debt is owed to God; He is the One who is the offended party.

When evil people are in authority people mourn. In the Proverbs we find the wisdom of Solomon saying, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (KJV). And we also find more wisdom from this wisest of men, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Prov 29:2 (KJV). The cry of wickedness was horrific to the ears of holy God. The cry of wickedness is still horrific in the ears of God. They should be horrific to the ears of every child of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Precious Truth

PRECIOUS TRUTH

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex 20:16 (KJV)

To some today truth is fairly well meaningless. I wonder though, if someone had been seen at the scene of a crime, but were not guilty of the crime, how important the truthfulness of the witness would be to them at that junction of their life? I dare say it would become very important, if that witness could speak the truth and acquit the accused.

How important is the truthfulness of a witness? In some and in many cases it is the difference between life or death; or life in prison, and/or a life of freedom. Is the truth important to you, even if it applies to others? It is my belief that we should be as concerned, if not more concerned for the truth to prevail for the good of others, as well as ourselves. Truth matters in being a witness. It matters for the accused but innocent individual. It matters for the family of the innocent accused, or even the guilty. It matters for the home, the church, the local government, State government, National government. It matters for the sake of justice.

When looking at these 10 Commandments, and as we look in particular at the final six and our human relationships we should ask ourselves, “Would I want someone to commit any of these prohibitions against me?” “Would I want my children to dishonor me?” “Would I want someone killing me, or someone I love?” “Would I want another man sleeping with my wife?” “Would I want someone stealing from me?”, and coming to the present one, “Would I want someone being a false witness against me?”, and the final one; “Would I want someone desiring my things so much that they would do anything to get them?”. I will be daring and say that their is not a sane person living who would want any of these things happen to them.

Now back to the subject at hand. The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

In his book “Love, Liberation and the Law” J. Vernon McGee has a three point outline on this ninth commandment –

I. THE ORIGINATION OF THE LIE.

II. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE LIE.

III. THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE.

JUST WHERE DOES THE LIE BEGIN? According to Jesus Himself, the devil is the father of lies, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (KJV). We see clearly from the One who is the author of all of creation where the lie originated.

Why would we want to be associated with the Lie? His end is destruction. His end is eternal flames. His end is eternal torment, and anyone who follows his path will go there with him.

JUST HOW WOULD YOU IDENTIFY THE LIE? McGee writes, “Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150). That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.

This law is just as viable and meaningful today as it was the day God gave it. It is good for the courtroom, the living room, the sunday school room, the board room, and over the backyard fence. Can this commandment be broken even when speaking the “Truth”? It was when Jesus was on trial. Words can be twisted making a truth into a lie. Doing this makes you a false witness against your neighbor.

JUST WHAT IS THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE? Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

People who are given to lying, bearing false witness will end up in the same pit of destruction as their father. There will be no joy, no peace, no God. There will be torment, maybe even by your own lying tongue. There will be no water there to quench the thirst for lying or dryness.

Keeping the law will not save you. It is, however your schoolmaster, showing you your need of Jesus as Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Third Woe and a Promise

EARTH FILLED WITH GLORY

“Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:12-14 (KJV).

The third woe is here presented. So far the “Woes” have had to do with unjust increase, and increase at the cost of another’s fall, by the profiteer’s own doing. Remember these woes are being pronounced against Babylon. It seems that there are lessons the Christian and the world of today should hear and heed. If these things were evil for Babylon to practice, then they are evil in any society.

This again is a continuation of the charges against them. They have been pillaging, robbing, killing, and taking all the treasures of every land. They were using means which would not meet with God’s approval. There was much injustice in their dealings with the people of God and others.

It is a wicked people who take from the weak to establish their own homes, villages, towns and cities. It is a vile thing in the eyes of our Just God to see those who gain and gain and gain never to return anything to God for His glory. The one’s who have against those who have not. Those who have money can “legally” charge those who cannot afford it 30 percent or more for the credit. That should be illegal in this country. “O, that is capitalism – that’s the way it works”. That is capitalism run amuck. It is foul, it is a stench in the nostrils of holy God. To correct this there should be a fair exchange of money. What you charge the wealthy should be the rate you charge the poor man or woman. Really it would be a delight in the eye of God to charge less to the poor, than to the rich. Laugh if you will, but you laugh at holy God.

The wealthy put people to work, and some do not pay a wage consistent enough to live on. Then, they charge an enormous amount of money for their product, what that same person needs, and take even more. God help the business people of our land to open their eyes and be a benefit to our society rather than dividing the classes even further.

Let me assure you, that all these things for which we labor and toil; these things that we find so dear and important, will one day fade to naught. What will you have left when it is all gone?

There is a prize in these verses. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. The leaders and rulers of Babylon sought to build a great kingdom by the shedding of blood, and taking what belonged to others, and often at the expense of their lives. There is a Kingdom coming in which there will be no war, but only peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Notice the vastness of this “knowledge of the glory”; it is “as the waters cover the sea”. How much do the waters cover the sea? The sea is water, thus this filling with the knowledge of the glory covers the whole realm of the Kingdom. All the bloodshed, and such will have been done away. Jesus Christ will reign supremely. The knowledge of His glory will fill the earth.

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 A Short Overview of Habakkuk

Habakkuk was a prophet who did not understand and the question he asked was very similar to the question many people ask today. Why does God let evil go unpunished? Why does He not rid the world of all evil?
My thoughts on a few verses –
Verses 1:1-4 – The prophet had a burden for God’s holiness. It was as though God was not hearing the prophet’s cries to vindicate His holiness. As I read these verses the wickedness of the time seems very similar to the wickedness of 2006 – 2007 in the United States and the world.
Where are the men of God crying out for God to be vindicated? I will. Is it because we understand God’s rule over all, and we know how God will be vindicated in the end? If that were only true; we would still be crying out for God to move us.
“The law is slacked” (v. 4). Certainly sounds a lot like some verdicts judges are handing down to guilty men.  A year or so ago a 50 year old man in Nebraska was convicted of sexually assaulting a child and the judge ruled that he was “too short to make it 10 years in prison” So she sentenced him to 10 years of probation.
Chapter 1:13 – It almost seems that the prophet has not yet come to realize the complete sovereignty of God. But, then, God’s sovereignty is no excuse for tolerance of evil.
He knows God’s purity and holiness, and is surprised that God can just let the sin and abuse of God’s people continue by the wicked.
Chapter 2:6, 14, 15 – It seems the prophet is really concerned that God be glorified. He sees God’s people as in need of judgment.
Some are increasing materialy at other’s expense (2:6). There seems to be an evergoing party where drunkenness is practiced and caused by the merchant of “drink” (2:15 & 16).
There are 5 “Woes” mentioned in this chapter. Verses 6, 9 12, 15, and 19
1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
5. “Woe unto him that sayeth to the wood, ‘Awake’…” (v. 19).
Gloriously, there are also 5 promises – 1:5; 2:3, 4, 14, and 20
1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
3. “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
5. “But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (2:20). This has to do with the place of God, and being silent, reverent, before Him, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10).
Chapter 3 – Habakkuk’s prayer for God’s glory.
In verse 2 He asks God “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years…” and “…In wrath remember mercy”. In his prayer, the prophet has three requests. The first and third already listed, but the second one is that God manifest Himself to His people, “In the midst of the years make known” I believe referring to the ‘Reviv(ing) of Thy work…” previously mentioned. God’s glory will be revealed.
Verses 17 – 19 – The prophet, in the prayer, declares his trust will be in the LORD, even when desolate (v. 17). He declares God as his “strength” and believes the LORD to be his encouragement (vv. 18-19).
The prayer is a Psalm/Song. Note the way this chapter begins and ends “…upon Shigionoth.” Some musical instrument? The final words, “To my chief singer on my stringed instruments.”
There is much more study to do of Habakkuk. There is one thing I see that where he started with a question he ends with God.