The Testimony of One Who Comes to Jesus

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him,
‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’
Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’
Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.’  Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’
And He saith unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:47-51  (KJB)

Many often do not get it.  How anyone could see Jesus for who He really is.  He is no longer dead on a cross.  He is no longer in the grave.  He is alive.  He is, in fact, more alive than He was when Nathanael said, “You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”

Now, why did Nathanael make such a statement.  It was because of what Jesus said.  It was not the first statement, “Behold and Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” No! It was not that at all.  No mere man could have just seen him under the fig tree.  It is most likely that they were some distance away, and Jesus knew the heart of Nathanael.  This was a gift given to Nathanael by God.

This was in essence the revelation given by God to Nathanael to know the Son of God, and thus God the Son.

Peter’s confession of Matthew 16, when Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”, and Jesus’s answer to Peter’s confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” is eye opening indeed…

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17

The testimony of one who comes to Jesus is that He is the Christ the Son of God sent down from glory, so that the lost might be saved from the bondage of sin.  Since He is the Son of God it is also enlightening by the Spirit of God to know and understand that He is God the Son.  Nathanael saw that.  Peter saw that.  Do you see that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and God the Living Son? If He is not God the Son, then He is not Christ; neither is He Savior.

Words of the Prophets – Zephaniah

“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.  The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.  In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.  I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.  Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.  At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.” Zephaniah 3:14-20 (KJV)

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.

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

Day 20 – Kings Rise and Fall

The reading today was from 1 Samuel 29 thru 2 Samuel 11.  Quite interesting reading of wars, strife, the death of one king and his family; the rise of a new king, and his fall.

We see battles where people are killed.  People of Israel are destroyed by foreign kings, and by their own people.  The Bible does not “paint” us a very pretty picture of Israel, nor of mankind  in general.  That is what is so clearly a god thing concerning Scripture.  We can see clearly what we are as people.  Yet, we see that we are not without hope.  Sometimes battles are not men against men; but, rather man against himself.  Most of us if we are honest first with ourselves have inner wars and strife which we must win, before we can win the outer battles of life.  We see that in both of these kings which we look at today – Saul and David.

In chapter 29 Achish king of the Philistines goes to war against Saul and Israel.  David has befriended Achish and is about to go to war with him against Saul; but God has other things in mind.  The princes of  the Philistines reject David for fear that he could turn on them, and fight for Saul.  Achish sends David back to Ziklag where they are living with their families; and there they find the camp has been invaded by Amalekites, their women taken captive, and their goods taken as booty, and tens burned with fire.  David’s men are practically ready to stone him (30:6).

Do you not just love the heart of David?  He does not boil with rage, and run after the invaders blindly; but rather goes and seeks the face of God concerning the matter;

“And David enquired at the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.'” 30:8 (KJV)

He pursues the Amalekite raiders, found them, freed his people, recovered their goods, and we are told that “David recovered all (30:19).

King Saul and his sons, including Jonathan, are killed in the battle against the Philistines.  David’s honor is maintained throughout all this ordeal with Saul.  Remember Saul has hated David since “David killed his  ten thousands and Saul his thousands” (18:7).  Saul is now dead, and there are those who would seek David’s favor by taking the honor of killing an enemy of David.

In 2 Samuel we are told of a man who is an Amalekite who tells David, that he killed Saul (1:8-10).  David is not pleased,  and we read,

“And David said unto him, ‘How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed?’  And David called one of the young men, and said, ‘Go near, and fall upon him.’ And he smote him that he died.  And David said unto him, ‘Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, ‘I have slain the LORD’S anointed.'” 2 Samuel 1:14-16

In my understanding I see David not desiring the death of Saul, but rather his repentance and restoration to God.  Saul was God’s first anointed king of Israel.  Though he was what others including myself  might call a rascally king; he was still God’s anointed, and that is how David viewed him and why David refused to lift a hand against him.  Even to the point of distributing justice to those who claimed to have killed Saul.

David now rises to the position of God’s anointed king.  He still honors the king Saul’s son Jonathan by remembering him through Mephibosheth, and giving him all the lands of Saul (chapter 9).

The final chapter of today’s reading ends with this sentence,

“But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” 11:27b

God has promised David that He will establish his throne forever (7:12-17).  This forever kingdom will be one day realized in the return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His eternal kingdom; Jesus will rule and reign forever and forever, just as GOD had promised.

The fall of king David is not the end of God’s promise to Him.  It is not David’s goodness, his power or prowess in war, his character, his wit, or any of his works for which God rewards him; it is the grace of God that makes David’s heart;  “after God’s own heart”.

You may have fallen, but God’s promises are still true.  His grace is sufficient to redeem you, and to reclaim you.  King’s do rise and fall.  “Commoners” do as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship