Kings, Neighbors,Enemies, and Honey

“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”  Proverbs 25:1-7  (KJB)

Kings, Neighbors, Enemies, and Honey – Proverbs 25:1-28

VERSES 1-7 –  On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes, “God…kings. The roles of God and the king are compared.  God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34).  On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place.  There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 –  Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).

Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12).  Refreshing and encouraging  words from a messenger (v. 13).  Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15).  Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 –  We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39;  Mark 12:31;  Luke 10:27;  Rom 13:9;  Gal. 5:14;  James 2:8).

VERSES 16 and 27 –  Honey is a natural sweetener.  Too much of this sweetener will make one sick.  Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey.  It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

Heart and Life Directions

Heart and Life Directions – Proverbs 21:1-8

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king and turn it the direction He chooses.  Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes.

Verses 1 – 4 –  Streams of water are often changed in their courses due to flood waters.  In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake.  Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.
Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31;  Daniel 4;  5;  6;  10;  Ezra 1, 4;  Esther 9-10).
The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).
The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod.  The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 –  There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty.  There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God: is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.”  From John Gill Commentary

and the MacArthur Study Bible note

“21:5-7 These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain.  They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20);  2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).”

Verse 7 –  NKJV

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”

ESV

“The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 –  People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives.  The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him.

The LORD Shall Rule

Shiloah Baptist Church

For your reading please read Judges 7 – 8…

“And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.”  Judges 8:23 (KJB)

It seems that the idea of having royalty or a monarchy is a romantic idea in many, if not most societies.  It was so in the very early days of Israel’s conquering, and divisions of Canaan.

We look at Gideon today, of whom Judges 8:23 speaks.  He was very successful because of God’s power and direction in his life, and for no other reason; as a judge – deliverer.  The people desired him to be their king, and his son, thus to establish a dynasty in the kingdom.  That, however, was not God’s will or intent for that time.

There is no need for royalty of men when men will submit to the rule…

View original post 161 more words

What the Kings of the Earth Say

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2:2-3 (KJV)

I have been sharing these posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google.  My prayer is that you will read them.  You are also welcome to leave a comment or question or even a kind critique of my writing or need for improvement.  I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will educate you in His word, and convict you of your sins and your need for a Savior, that Jesus Christ is the only Savior for Adamkind [mankind].

Some of you received this without any exposition of the text, and I fully intended to come back to it and complete it.  I also pray that you have come back to it to check it out further.

Who are these “Kings of the earth”? They are the rulers who were alive at the time of this writing of the Psalms, and all the kings of the earth that have existed since time began, and exist in 2018.  It does not take much discernment, at least for a Christian, to see that the earth and the leadership of nations are against the teachings of Christ, His being the Son of God, and God the Son in particular, to realize that they, and without realizing it are the enemy of the Son of God, Christ followers, and Biblical Christianity; they are against God.  They are in rebellion against God and godliness because they are of their father, the devil who is Satan.

Many a world leader would rather be at peace with the rebellious Philistines than to be at peace with God and His word, and His people.

To be against His Anointed is to be against God’s Christ who is Jesus Christ. To be against Christ is to be against those who are His, and that is the Body of Christ the Church.  There is still much rebellion against God in our world.

Stop being against Him.  He has died to redeem all those who will call on His name in repentance of sin, and turning to Him in faith.

One Day it Will be Said, “Your Judgment Has Come”

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)

I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular.  I do not share them to draw a crowd.  I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word.  As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.

As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.

The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.

Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.

The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).

It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.

There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  See Daniel 2:44-45.  Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom.  His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.

The Sweet-Bitter

“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”  Revelation 10:8-11 (KJV)

Now we get back to the “Little book” mentioned in verse 2. Its importance is noted in that it is mentioned in two different segments of this chapter. More attention is given it in the latter part of the chapter.

What the “Little book” is we cannot be certain. However, there are some very likely possibilities.

It is not the same book as mentioned in chapter 5. Notice this “Little book” is open; the book of chapter 5 is sealed and only the Lamb could open the seals. There is also no mention of the size of the first book. This one is clearly identified as a “Little book”.

John is commanded to “Take the little book”. No man could take the book of chapter 5.

There is, however, much room for disagreement on this “Little book”, and who this is who is holding it.

John takes the book from the angel. He is then commanded to eat the book. This is a similar experience to what Jeremiah and Ezekiel had.

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 (KJV).

“But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.” Ezekiel 2:8-10 (KJV).

“Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll. And He said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them.” Ezekiel 3:1-4 (KJV).

This book must be the written Word the Lord has given to us which we call the Bible. It is the message we are to take to those who know about God but are separated from Him, and to those who have never heard of Him.

Christian, the Word of God was given to us for spiritual food. We savor it, long for it like a woman in love with a man and the one she loves is away for a period of time, but he sends her letters. She cannot wait to read them. She reads them over and over to get every word and let those words penetrate her soul and feel him near her heart. The Bible is God’s love letter to His people. If you do not love His Word and “Eat it” you are not His lover.

John was warned that if he ate the book it would be bitter in his belly, but sweet as honey in his mouth. That is how the Word of God is to His people. To “Chew on it” is sweet, but when the Spirit of God begins to brood over us, the Word is swallowed, and is digesting our own sin is revealed to us, the tragedy of sin in others is seen, and just like Ezekiel we are sometimes angered by the bitterness but, “The hand of the LORD is strong upon me [us].” The effect the Word has on us is often bitter, but the outcome is for God’s glory.

John is then told to prophesy [preach] again to many people.

Some people have a problem with this revelation being prophetic and say it is history. “If it is prophetic..” they say, “what good is it for the Church?” It is prophetic for John. We see John as an apostle of the Church and representing the Church throughout the entire Revelation. So what John is told to do the Church is being told to do. That is until these things are fulfilled, the Church [you and I] are to preach the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I are the messengers of the glory of Jesus Christ. This includes the message of warning of coming judgment upon the earth, and for people to prepare to meet God.

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:1-3 (KJV)

A new king begins to reign. A new man often has new ideas. How is it that Darius is now the king of this land? There is only one answer to that question. It is the Almighty God of all that is or will ever be that sets up kings and brings them down. It has been seen, and testimony given by Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel is now under the rule of Darius. As we get a little further in this chapter we will see that this king loved and greatly respected Daniel. We will also learn from this chapter that a man of integrity, and good character does not change his godly actions to please a decree by a king or a despot. The godly individual will pray, even when the laws of the land say, “NO MORE PRAYER”. This is not talking about an act of rebellion where someone; after an edict is given decides, “They can’t do that”, then decides to pray. This is the act of diligence. It is the act of obedience to God that was there before the law or edict was given.

In this chapter we must learn to pray. Prayer now will accomplish great things in our lives when we are faced with commands, laws, and edicts of men which tell us, “You can’t pray that way”. Let’s be faithful now, and continue in diligence, when we cannot. Sometimes things are made legal which are ungodly and unholy; such as abortion, homosexuality, and same gender marriages. Other times things are made illegal which are good, godly, and pure; such as outlawing prayer in schools, and in some places forbidding the preaching of the gospel on the street corner, and/or praying in “Jesus’s name”.

 DANIEL IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF DARIUS (v. 1). What Belshazzar had promised now Daniel actually receives. Belshazzar is dead. Daniel is alive and ruling within a kingdom. Neither Belshazzar, nor Darius elevated Daniel to this position; only God can do such things.

In a place of any form of rule is by divine appointment. It may be hard for many people to accept, but even Hitler was appointed by God for his time. That does not tickle my fancy either, but it is still true. He was placed as a ruler by God and he was removed by God. If you are a father, it was God who placed you in that position – use it well. If you are the pastor of a church God placed you there, and he can remove you. If you are the Mayor of a small town or a large city you were placed in that position of authority by God Himself. He can also remove you. From the lowest levels of leadership to the upper echelons of government God has positioned leaders for His pleasure and glory, and He can ‘unposition’ you.

 DANIEL IS PLACED IN A POSITION OF RULE – OVER 120 ‘PRINCES’, AND CHIEF OF THREE WHO WERE ‘PRESIDENTS’ (vv. 2-3). These “Presidents” could also be called ‘Administrators’ or ‘Commissioners’. The ‘Princes’ were in charge of provinces around Babylon; gathering taxes, maybe solving problems was also involved. They were in charge of seeing that the king received his due. The ‘Presidents’ were to be sure that the princes were honest in their dealings. It seems that Daniel was the one who kept the two other presidents and their princes honest.

At any rate we clearly see that these others hated Daniel and the consistency of his lifestyle. The two ‘Presidents’ probably influenced the ‘princes’ to conspire against Daniel. They watched his every move. They could find no fault in his life. He never cheated the king, or did anything against the king to cause his demise or fall of the kingdom. The only way they could find fault was to make a law against his faith. With flattery, deception, and cunning they convince the king to have emperor worship for a month. Here is what the king should have heard, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Prov. 26:28 (KJV).

These other rulers know Daniel prays three times per day. They know these things because they have spied on him, trying to seek his weakness, to cause his downfall. The king is told this is an agreed upon law by all the other rulers – deception – Daniel does not know, nor would he have agreed with it. Deception, deception, deception; clear and simple. Darius signs the decree. The law says that no one is to worship any god accept the king for a period of one month (30 days).

Daniel is truly an example for all Christians to follow. He never protested. He never had a sit in, a march – he continued doing what he was now forbidden to do by the kings decree. He continued praying. HE HAD A CONSISTENT ATTITUDE. He also had a CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF PRAYER. That is also our need.

Kings and Queens: Men and Women of Virtue

“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 (KJV)

This is the concluding post from Proverbs.  I pray they have been inspiring, instructional, and encouraging.  May we all continue to grow in grace, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God, His Son, and His word.

Thoughts from Proverbs 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.” Proverbs 31:10-12

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.

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).

Walk with God. To walk with Him we must be in agreement with Him, trust Him, in the light and in the dark, and believe every word He has said, is saying, and will ever say.  That includes the words of Jesus Christ His Son. That is wisdom.

Honey – Dealing with Kings, Neighbors, and Enemies

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:21-28 (KJV)

Some notes and thoughts on Proverbs 25…

VERSES 1-7 – On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes,

“God…kings.The roles of God and the king are compared. God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34). On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place. There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 – Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).
Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12). Refreshing and encouraging words from a messenger (v. 13). Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15). Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 – We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8).
Those who have self control can be at peace with others, and lead others to peace. Without there will be broken and corrupt cities, churches, and leadership.

VERSES 16 and 27 – Honey is a natural sweetener. Too much of this sweetner will make one sick. Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

A good example of staying too long at a neighbor’s home and hospitality is seen with Job’s friends (Job 2:11-13), and if they would have stayed silent by returnint to their homes, they would not have needed Job’s forgiveness; nor God’s (Job 42:7-10).

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey. It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

Directions of the Heart and Life

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.
The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.” Proverbs 21:1-8 (KJV)

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king; any ruler in the world; and turn it the direction He chooses. Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom, God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes. That the world may know that He is the LORD.

Verses 1 – 4 – Streams of water are often changed in their courses due flood waters. In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake. Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.

Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31; Daniel 4; 5; 6; 10; Ezra 1, 4; Esther 9-10).

The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).

The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod. The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galations 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 – There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty. There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God:
is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.” From John Gill Commentary, e-Sword

MacArthur Study Bible note “21:5-7  These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain. They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20); 2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).

Verse 7 – NKJV “The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”
ESV “The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 – People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives. The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him. Since God can change the hearts of kings, princes, and presidents just think what He can do in your heart and life when we yield to His will.

Christmas Day Twenty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the rulers of our Nation (U. S. of A.), and all nations to recognize the need, and practice the principles which God lays out in His word for leadership for the people, rich and poor, no matter their ethnic, or cultural background; and lead us wisely, and for the rulers (presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens) to realize they too are one of the people.

“Like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over poor people. A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.” Proverbs 28:15-16 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always have a clear mind, that I might make clear decisions, that are not affected by some type of drug, fear or hysteria; but to make that decision based on fact, truth, and through the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

“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.” Proverbs 31:4-5 (KJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

It is the Lord’s Day once again.  I want to be filled with the Spirit of God today, to walk with Him, and to be a vibrant, faithful, diligent, fervent praying, witnessing servant of God; and always looking forward to that day when I see Jesus face to face.

“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 149:5-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

Remember today is the LORD’S Day; if you love the Lord GOD you will be in worship services somewhere where the Word of God is preached.

I want to always remember that no matter how bad I sin, or transgress God’s law; or no matter how bad others sin or transgress God’s law we cannot thwart the word of God, nor avert Him from His plan for our good or His glory.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:1-6 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

We in the U. S. of A. live in a once free nation; free from monarchy, free from tyranny, free to speak, free to believe the Scriptures, and to practice our faith; but since those freedoms and others are eroding I want our leaders, President, Vice President, the Senate, Congress; their spouses to know that they are not kings and queens; that they are not higher than the people; but that they are servants to the people – the legal citizens – of the United States of America, and no other nation or league of nations.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  PREAMBLE OF THE United States of America

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; He considereth all their works. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.” Psalm 33:12-16 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

Since today is an Election day in Missouri and some other States I want all people to go to their respective polling places and vote for their candidate of choice.  We have that freedom let us use it while we may; remembering this…

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: and He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.” Daniel 2:20-22

When Truth Has Fallen in the Street

“Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” Isaiah 59:9-15

There is a problem with being a prophet of God. One is that what ever he prophesies is what he will endure, receive and go through as well as the people he warns. Whether it is a prophecy for good; or a prophecy for judgment he will endure it as well.

The above verses are a confessional prayer/statement to the LORD, and to the nation. Note that Isaiah includes himself in the confession “Judgment [Justice] is far from us”, “but we walk in darkness”, and “we grope”, “we had no eyes”, “we stumble”. You get my point I am sure.

Even though the prophet had probably not committed these atrocities, these sins he includes himself in the array, because this was his nation, his people, and God had been offended by the sins of the people; the kings, princes, nobles and all.

Where we have sinned let us confess it and forsake it. Let us turn our backs on sin; not on God. Let us forsake evil and sin, not our God. Let us stand for truth, though it may be fallen in the street. Though we turn our backs on evil and sin; though we may become a prey because we do so. Let us do so.

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

The cleansing means that we turn our backs on sin, to not live it in repetition.

That the Earth May Know

That The Earth May Know…
1 Kings 8:1-61

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin. When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

A Thing… In the King’s Heart

“Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: and hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.” Ezra 7:27-28 (KJV)

The words above come from Ezra the scribe. After being given a letter from king Artaxerxes of Persia, he rejoices in the LORD God for directing the heart of the king in matters of God and Israel.

One thing I will always stand by, and believe is: God reigns in the affairs of men, and nations. I believe Ezra realized that. Every follower devoted to Jesus Christ should realize that God is carrying out His plans in this world.

The rulers of this earth, the kings, the presidents, the prime ministers, think they have their own plans; but God will have His way, and He does so by directing the hearts of those who rule…

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” Proverbs 21:1

Even when men begin to call “Wrong” right, and “Right” wrong; and evil seems to be the genre of the day; God still reigns. Evil is its own worst judgment.

What is evil? What ever the LORD God says it is. To despise His Word, and turn your backs on Him is evil.

The LORD God Almighty reigns. Walk in His ways. Begin by trusting His only way of salvation; the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ His Son.

No King, No Rule; Anarchy

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 (KJV)

Please remember chapter 17 verse six; 18:1, and 19:1 as we look at the above verse. It seems the final five chapters of Judges shows very clearly what happens when there is no “king”; no rule of law, nor prophetic revelation from God heard, and heeded.

When people think they can rule themselves; especially without God, then there will be chaos in the end.

In a note from my daily journal I wrote of this verse,

Judges shows what happens when there is no rule; especially when they choose not to let God rule; but go their own way. It also shows that God is merciful and gracious, and provides a way for those who call on Him from a broken and contrite heart.

This story continues even into 1 Samuel. It is seen in Ruth 1 when Elimelech takes Naomi, and his two sons to Moab; and there Elimelech and his two sons die. O the sorrow we place on our families because we go our own way, doing what is right in our own eyes.

BUT, we have a Saviour, and His name is Jesus.

Newly Elected President: Not So New

I posted this four years ago as President Obama was elected President of the United States of America.  I repost it today, because it still holds true.  It is time for God to work; and for Christians to pray and be vibrant witnesses for Christ; no matter what may come our way.

God’s Appointed King or President???

Recently I have read emails, comments on blogs, and heard some asking the question or making comment as to whether God’s will was done in the past election of President Elect Barrack Obama.  In my mind and thinking I have seen how the election turned out, but was not surprised.

No!  The candidate I voted for was not elected.  I was disappointed and could have been, and still could be quite fearful of what lays ahead for the United States of America; the home of the free, and land of the brave.  I have known and believed for years in the sovereignty of God, and have seen God at work in the hearts and lives of others and in myself.  I have learned that no matter what man does the will of God is not thwarted; His will is done whether we go our own way, or choose His way.

Others who are concerned with our “free will” can believe that we overthrow God’s will.  That is frivolous thought.  How can a created being, such as we are, overthrow the will of the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present, and Immutable God?  The “free will” of humanity does in fact work with the sovereignty of God, God is glorified, and His will is done.  I cannot explain that any clearer, but that is what I learn through the reading of Scripture.

If we are fearful that God’s will was not done in the election of Barrack Obama as our President, then, we are in fact not trusting the sovereign hand of our God.  I do not know what lays ahead for our country, but I do know that whatever it is is in the hands or our Almighty God.

God has been merciful to us for the past eight years and longer.  We may now be in for a period of judgment, but let us not lose  heart, and fear that “God’s will was not done”.  As Christians we must believe God’s Word when He tells us;

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding…”  Daniel 2:21 (KJV)

Since Barrack Obama is set to be our President, then we need to pray for him, his family, his decisions concerning cabinet members, and his time as President of our nation.  Christian we are obligated by God to respect the man as our leader, to pray for him, and obey him.

Paul the apostle has written;

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6 (KJV)

The “higher powers” of which Paul mentions are rulers of nations, and governments of States, cities, etc..  It seems to me that our God has placed every ruler who has ever lived, and who is living today in their place.  Was the will of God done with Hitler in power in his day?  Whether we like it or not; or whether we understand it or not we must say YES!  The rise and fall of kings and nations is in the  hand of God, and as Paul writes, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”.

You may disagee with this assessment, but it seems to me that the argument is not with me, but God.  Talk to Him about it.

When we reach the place where we trust these matters to His hands, then, we as Christians can have peace, stop complaining, belittling the man who will be our next national leader, and then effectively pray for him.

I am actually excited about what lays ahead.  It is after all in the hands of our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Please note:  I did remove one paragraph that was in the original post that did not relate to this years election; they were concerning Prop 8 in California, and an issue in Arkansas as well where the people still decided for moral issues on Marriage and adoption.

To Know the LORD

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know Thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.  They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”  Hosea 8:1-4 (KJV)

Hosea is speaking to the people who claim to be God’s children.  Those who claim to know God, “My God, we know Thee.”  Yet, they do not keep His law.  They do not heed His word.

The LORD counts it a vile, wicked and unruly thing for those who claim to know Him, and do not obey His law, nor keep His Word.  There is judgment for those who claim to be God’s people, yet live as the people of the earth.

GOD is full of mercy and grace which is found and received only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Be saved today.

-T.A.

God will Fulfill His Word

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.  And he saith unto me, ‘The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  Revelation 17:12-17 (KJV)

For the Christian and living in these troubled times; we need not fear men, nor trust their governments to do what is right and good for mankind.  God and His Lamb has demonstrated His love to us.  God will fulfill His Word.  God will see to it that every dot of the “i” and every cross of the “T” will be fulfilled.  Just as He has said.

-T.A.

Elijah and Elisha

It has been several weeks since posting anything on Elijah.  I will finish up with this post and one more following.

As you recall the ministry of Elijah was as a prophet of fire.  It seems that the fire of the LORD was upon his life.  He heard God.  He spoke what God commanded him to speak; without fear or favor; and was not intimidated by kings or princes.  You might say he was a bit intimidated by an evil queen; shown by his running for his life, rather than by confronting her.

After Elijah ran from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-3) he is told by God to anoint Hazel king over Syria, and Jehu king of Israel; and lastly to anoint Elisha prophet “…In  thy room.”   Meaning of course; to take the place of Elijah.  The ministry of Elijah may have been cut short due to his fear and running from the evil queen.

Let’s look a little at the man whom Elijah anointed in his stead.  Elisha was plowing with a dozen yoke of oxen.  He was probably in charge of his father’s field; and himself had command over one yoke in particular; but was the leader of 11 [eleven] other yoke.  There was a total of 24 head of oxen, and at least twelve men, including Elisha.  It is quite clear that Elisha was a farmer and evidently a fairly well to do one at that with twelve yoke of oxen; and hired servants.

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.  And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’  And he said unto him, ‘Go back again: for what have I done to thee?’  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:19-21 (KJV)

First of all Elijah would have known that his ministry was nearing an end.  Second, he would have known that the word of God would continue to be proclaimed.  Third, this was probably God’s way of showing Elijah that he was not the only one who could or would preach the word.

Notice some things about Elisha.  First of all he was busy doing the work of his life’s training – he was busy at laboring.  Secondly, he recognized the messenger of God’s word and was willing to leave all for God’s sake and for God’s glory.  Third,  he was showing responsibility in “burning the bridges” behind him to show his commitment to the service of Elijah and the LORD.  In the sacrifice of the oxen, he committed himself to the LORD’s work, and following the life of the  prophet of God.  In short Elisha did what needed to be done, and he did it with the haste that was necessary.

May the God of all glory and power get the Christian of the 21st century to be committed to serve the LORD with such devotion and diligence.

-Tim A Blankenship

In the Rule, and Fall of the Kingdoms of Men

…In The Rule, And Fall Of The Kingdom’s Of Men

Daniel 2:24-49

purpose – To show the peril and fallacious thinking in putting confidence in the rule of man; and the wisdom in putting your confidence in God and the rule of God.

“The reason we have democracy is because we don’t have righteous-rule monarchy. We need some kind of checks and balances, which is why our government is established as it is.” Dr. David Jeremiah THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL pg. 62.

The following  is a quote from Professor Alexander Tyler which he wrote concerning the fall of the Athenian republic which fell over a thousand years ago. He said,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” IBID. pg. 62.

One of the things we can see from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation is that man’s kingdoms are not eternal, they will fall; and that those who believe God and live for Him are promised a future eternal kingdom.  God’s King will overthrow the kingdoms of this world.  Now, for those who are “inhabiters of this world”, ie., those who love this world; they will be angry at our King, however,  their anger will go to naught.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I.  DANIEL WAS A MAN WITH A HEART FOR OTHERS, AND A HEART FOR GOD (vv. 24-30).
II.  DANIEL WAS THE REVEALER GOD CHOSE TO REVEAL THE SECRETS OF THE KING’S MIND (vv. 31-35).
III.  DANIEL WAS GIVEN THE SECRET OF THE DREAMS INTERPRETATION (vv. 36-45).
IV.  DANIEL WAS THOUGHTFUL OF HIS FRIENDS AND WAS REWARDED (vv. 46-49).

During the rule and fall of the kingdom’s of men we must follow the heart of our Savior and Lord.  It was also the heart of Daniel.

I.  AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE THE ANSWER FOR MANKIND’S PROBLEMS; WE MUST  BE LOVING TOWARD OTHERS (vv. 24-30).
The answer to governments who rule, and don’t rule well is Jesus Christ.  The answer for an empty bank account, is to trust the Lord.  These answers may not put food on the table or money in the bank, but it is the answer to peace of mind and heart.  Jesus saving the soul of troubled people changes the minds and hearts of government, eventually, Jesus will rule and reign on the earth.  Peace of mind, and especially “peace with God” is the greatest thing in this world to possess.

Do we sincerely believe that Jesus is the means of mankind’s salvation?  Do we sincerely believe that He [Jesus Christ] died on a cross, was buried, and three days later came out of that grave alive?  Christian, if you sincerely believe that then we need to be sharing that message.  Daniel had the answer for the king, but when he received the answer his immediate response wasn’t to run in declaring, “I have the interpretation.  I know the dream and its interpretation.”   His immediate response was for the lives of the “wise men”.  We live under the governments of men; which at any time could turn on its people and declare anything unlawful, and with a mad ruler could declare “Christians are unfit to live.  We declare it just and legal to kill anyone who calls themselves ‘Christian’”.  Let’s pray that doesn’t happen; but it could.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”  Acts 4:12 (KJV)

When Arioch hears of Daniel’s revelation he immediately tells the king, “I have found a man…”.  It seems as though he is trying to assume at least part of the responsiblity for discovering the secret.  I guess we all want some approval for what we do.

As Daniel we to should not take credit for what God has done.  We must give Him the glory for the answer for our hearts problems, and fears, and declare along with Daniel, “There is a God in heaven…”, and this is as opposed to statues, cash, bank accounts, health care, investments, bonds, any material possession; even family; which are temporary.  There is a God in heaven who has made all things, holds them together, and saves His prized creation from the death brought on by our sin.

We cannot avoid the issue of the “Latter days”.  What days is Daniel speaking of.  It seems that those latter days which the Old Testament speaks of is those days which referr to the coming of Jesus Christ; and beginning with His first coming where He died for our sins and rose from the dead, until the time He returns and sets up His kingdom upon earth; ruling and reigning from Jerusalem.  We are in those latter days.  If people don’t know Jesus Christ trusting Him for their eternity and life, then, they will be part of those who are crushed by the “stone cut out without hands”.

II.  WHEN UNGODLY RULERS SEE THE GREAT IMAGE, CHRISTIANS SEE THE GREAT MOUNTAIN (vv. 31-45).

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  Habakkuk 2:14 (KJV)

When Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of this great image, which may be the inspiration for the design of the image he erects in his own honor in chapter three; we find that Daniel sees these things as “Beasts” in chapter seven when he begins to dream of these things.  We will cover this more when we get to chapter seven, however, the beasts which Daniel sees are devouring beasts, and that is how governments of men behave.  Not only do they devour people, but they devour people’s goods and gold.  Ruling men often see their empires as “great images” to pattern others by; God sees them as devouring beasts.

Rulers often see their kingdoms brightly arrayed, and glorious; and Daniel was respectful.  Nebuchadnezzar was a proud man, and “pride goes before destruction”.  How long will it take for wicked rulers to realize that their kingdoms cannot defeat the power and authority of God?  Only until Jesus comes again and defeats wicked men’s hearts will they continue on their slippery slope to destruction.

You will notice in the interpretation of the dream that the metals become less and less precious; less and less valuable.  The most valuable being gold down to the feet which are “iron mixed with clay”.  The kingdoms become more and more inferior.  John Calvin in his commentary of Daniel writing of the kings following writes,

“We see then that his kingdom is not called inferior through having less splendour or opulence in human estimation, but because the general condition of the world was worse under the second monarchy, as men’s vices and corruptions increase more and more.”  John Calvin Commentary pg. 173 Daniel 2:39

If this be the case and I believe that it is then, how far have we slid since then?  Kings and kingdoms seem even more set on setting themselves over all men and over all the earth and over God’s Word and will.

In the dream Nebuchadnezzar saw an image with a head of gold; arms and chest of silver; belly and thighs of brass [bronze]; legs of iron; and feet of iron mixed with clay.  These are representative of five nations which succeed one from the other, having great power, but deteriorating in moral strength and character.  The head of gold is representative of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar; the arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian empire; the belly and thighs of brass represent Greece; the legs of iron represent Rome; and the feet of iron and clay represent the future  new world order.

It is a wonderful and gracious thing to have the assurance, that all the kingdoms of this world are under the authoritative hand of Almighty God.  The world and her “rulers” may see an “great and awesome” image, but in the eyes of the Almighty they are devouring beasts.  Sounds like Jesus’s description of the “thief”,

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10 (KJV)

The Psalmist tells us where we are not to put our trust; and that is in the princes of this world; including the “prince of darkness”,

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”  Psalms 146:3 (KJV)

There is no help in man or beasts.  Our help and our hope is in the Lord God Almighty.

III.  THERE IS REWARD AWAITING THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN IN THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 46-49).
Jesus said, “Great is your reward in heaven” when referring to the blessed who are persecuted in Matthew 5:12.  There are other places He mentions reward; having “their own reward”, or not receiving “reward” because it was already received.  (See Matthew 5:46; 6:1-18;  10:41-42; 16:27).  God will always honor faithfulness to Himself and His Word.  He has promised rewards to the faitful.  The greatest reward is not escaping hell, death, punishment; not walking on “streets of gold” or through “gates of pearl”, or living in a “mansion” in heaven;  the greatest reward will be beholding the face of our Lord who bled, died, was buried, and rose again that we might be saved.

There is nothing wrong with expecting reward for faithfulness in ministry.  It is wrong if that is the only reason, or the main reason for doing the ministry.  The main reason for serving the Lord in ministry is loving Him, and giving the opportunity to others to love Him.  Remember we can only love Him, because He first loved us;

“We love Him, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19.

Loving Him can stand alone; even with no other reward; because we cannot love Him, except we first realize His great love for us in dying on the cross for our sin, being buried, then rising again from the grave paying the debt that was ours to pay.

God loves you and me enough to send the very best; His Son.  He loves you so much to save us as we are; He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

There is fear and dread in the rule of the kings and kingdom’s of men.  However, there is peace in knowing that God rules in the political, economical, social, and national affairs of kings.  The King of all kings reigns supremely.

application –

i.  Christians love others through Christ Jesus, and stand for their rights and their lives.
ii.  Christians are committed to the King of kings, and will loyally serve the kings of earth, in Christ.
iii.  Christians serve the Lord; the King of kings; because of love for Him, and are expecting the rewards He has promised.
iv.  Christians, by faith, know and believe that all things are in the hands of the Almighty God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 71 – Son of Man

As we looked at the gospel of Matthew we saw Jesus as the King.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…  In the gospel of Mark Jesus is a servant to men.  In the gospel of Luke He is the Son of man.

Matthew had a genealogy of kings.  Mark has no genealogy.  Luke has a genealogy of man showing Jesus is human, yet the God/Man.  Someone put it this way, “The Son of God became the Son of man; that the sons of men, might become the sons of God”.

My reading today was Mark 15 – 16 and Luke 1 – 12.

In the genealogy of Jesus we find in the beginning of it these words,

“And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…”  Luke 3:23 (KJV)

That same genealogy ends with,

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” 3:38

Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham, and goes through Joseph and Mary, through David.  Luke’s account begins with Jesus and goes backwards all the way to Adam.

My reading this morning took me a little longer than it has, due to the length of the chapters in Luke.  Great reading.

Let me leave you with these words from Jesus, the Son of Man,

“Also I say unto you, ‘Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”  Luke 12:8-10

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 57 – The King, Whose Name is the LORD of Hosts

The reading of the prophecy of Jeremiah can be a difficult read; and even difficult to write about; especially if you focus on the judgment part of the prophecy.  Jeremiah lived through much of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel.  He also wrote many promises of God.

My reading today was Jeremiah 38 – 52 finishing up this portion of the prophecy of Jeremiah.  I say this portion, because we have Lamentations to read yet, which is part of his prophecy.

“As I live,’ saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.'” Jeremiah 46:18 (KJV)

One of the things I learn as I read the Bible, and that I am reminded of everyday is that God is the Supreme Ruler over the earth.  The phrase in the verse above, “…the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” is used in two other verses in today’s reading – 48:15 and 51:57.

The LORD of hosts is King of every nation, tribe and tongue, and His will will be done.  His name will be glorified.  Egypt of the above verse was prideful.  The remnant of Judah who had been left behind by Nebuchadnezzar, had asked Jeremiah to seek the LORD and they would follow His guidance about what they were to do.  They were to stay in the land of promise; yet they disobeyed the LORD, and chose to go into Egypt seeking security from Babylon.  They would, instead of finding security, find themselves a part of another captivity, because Babylon was going to come to Egypt conquering them.  He is the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

In the second verse the word is against Moab,

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” 48:15

Moab, thinking themselves strong, mighty, and secure would fall by the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts”.  Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Bozrah, Edom, and even Babylon would fall by the decree of the King; “the King whose name is the LORD of hosts”

No king or president or senator or congressman or any leader can stand long against the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  He is the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  One day every tribe, tongue and nation will bow before Him.  The One whose name is above every name.  The One to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 26 – David, Priest and King

David, as a shepherd boy, had a heart for God.  While he was doing the task of taking care of the family flock and herds he meditated upon God and His Word; writing and singing songs [Psalms].  He would become angry when ever he heard and enemy or anyone defy the name of Jehovah [YHWH].  While Saul is still king David is anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel; and he honors God’s anointed king Saul, serving him faithfully; even thought king Saul hates him.

There is an episode in David’s life after he becomes king of Israel when he endeavors to bring the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem; the holy city; the city of David.  In his first attempt he fails to follow the direction of God’s Word and commandments, and a man named Uzzah perishes as he reaches out to secure the ark as the oxen stumble (2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13:7-14).

I have heard several individuals say something like, “David danced naked before the LORD”, but that is a very false assumption, based on the words of David’s angry wife, Michal, daughter of Saul.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 10 -23, and this story was retold for our benefit, and maybe with a little more detail.  That is why we must, as Christians, be diligent in the reading and study of the Word of God.

After the failed attempt at bringing the Ark to Jerusalem David went to the Word of God, rather than following the example of the Philistines (carrying the ark on a cart, pulled by oxen), and David discovered.

“For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 15:13-15 (KJV)

In Second Samuel 6:14 we read, “David was girded with a linen ephod”, and in First Chronicles 15:27 we read,

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.”

In this we see David has taken on the role of priest.  David is a picture of Christ here.  When king Saul tried to be a priest (1 Samuel 13:8-16) he was soundly rebuked for doing so, and lost the kingdom for it.  What marks the difference for these two kings?  First Saul was of a rebellious spirit, and refused to wait on the LORD; David on the other hand had a heart to do what God pleased, and seek His counsel.

If an individual has a heart for God, loving His commandments, hiding His Word in the heart, and cherishing His every moment with Him, then they will have the heart of a priest; as David did, and as Jesus Christ the Son of God has as well.

Michal, Saul’s daughter despises David when she sees him coming into Jerusalem without the garments of a king; but rather the garments of a priest;

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!”  2 Samuel 6:20

Maybe it was her pride of being a kings daughter; her lack of a  heart for God, but due to her actions against her husband she never gave birth to children.

Those who are in Christ Jesus are priests and kings, according to Revelation 1:6 and 5:10.  If you, however, do not love the Word of God, and are failing to hid it in your heart that you not sin against Him; then it is highly questionable whether you are known by Him.

David danced before the Lord in priestly garments.  When we put on Christ He is the King of kings and Priests of all priest; and we are kings and priests through Him.

-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

Day 19 – Kings of Honor and Kings of War

The reading for Day 19 was 1 Samuel 15 – 28, much about the fall of king Saul; yet also about the rise of a man after God’s own heart.

Saul began his reign as the chosen, anointed king of Israel, chosen by God.  His heart was right, humble, and honorable.  He seemed not to be grasping for power, nor leadership, but was content working for and with his father keeping donkeys.

We have all heard the phrase, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” and we can see an element of that in Saul.  He seems intent of doing the “right thing” without obedience to God.  A for instance; when God had given him commandment to go and “utterly destroy” the Amalekites (15:3) here is what he did,

“And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.  And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.  But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.”  1 Samuel 15:7-9 (KJV)

Some might argue, “Well, he was at least partially obedient”.  That is not much argument.  Obedience is carrying out the command to the letter, which Saul did not do.  No matter what his intent was he sinned against God and the kingdom was removed from him and given to another.

Saul was a man, after this that had much fear in his reign.  He himself was fearful.  He was afraid of a little giant challenging the army of God (chapter 17).

Then a youth who was a shepherd boy who was not afraid of lions and bears heard the giant bragging of his abilities and powers against the God of Israel.  He became angered by this, and took up the challenge himself.  With nothing but a sling, five stones and most of all his faith in God he faced the giant Goliath, and God gave David the victory that day.

David had already been anointed king to take Saul’s place.  When Saul saw this he was jealous and enraged by David, hating him and trying to kill him.  There is no honor in king Saul; only jealousy and fear and hatred.  He no longer loves God, God’s Word, nor His plan for himself or Israel.

Even Jonathan, kings Saul’s son recognized David as the future king of Israel,

“And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.  And he said unto him, ‘Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.”  23:16-18

Jonathan was more a man of honor than was his father.  He was not afraid of David being king.  He honored David and he honored God.  David was that man after God’s own heart.  This was the king which God has used to bring the Lord Jesus Christ into this world to save us from our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Turning Heart

What is going on in the world?  Or as one author has written, What in the World is Going On?

There are many people around the world living in fear of where world leaders are leading us; and maybe there should be some fear.  However, those who are in Christ can know that He is involved in the affairs of this world, and her leaders; and that ultimately His will is going to be done and evil will be judged and righteousness shall reign.

The writer of Proverbs has written,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”  Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

There are a lot of things about this that the human mind cannot comprehend, because we are finite beings – meaning our thinking is limited to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell; and that is twisted due to our evil hearts.  To believe that there is God who is intervening in our business, directing our steps, even our thoughts is indeed “thought provoking”.

There is evidence in Scripture of God turning kings hearts, and even using their evil toward accomplishing His will.  I read this morning in my daily reading of the Pharoah in Egypt who hardened his heart against Moses and the Word of the LORD, and God was using that hard heart to direct His will in the land of Egypt (Exodus 5 – 7).  Also in my studies of Isaiah I have seen where over 100 years before he was even born the prophet Isaiah names; by the Omniscience of God; the name of the king of Persia who would give the people of Israel the freedom to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple; and his name was Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).

The heart of every President of the United States of America is in the hands of the Lord, and He will direct it in the direction He has planned for the U.S. of A. and for the world and the rest of the  leaders too; including the leader of Iran; however you spell his name.

As a young man on the family farm we had an irrigation system.  It was used in the hot, dry Summer to keep the grass growing and green so the cows would keep producing milk.  With the power of the propane powered engine we moved water from the Creek through the pump, through the lines and into the turbine powered irrigation machine which pulled itself across the pasture blasting out a stream of water about 1 and 1 half  to two inches, and covering an area about two hundred feet in diameter.  We were directing the flow of the water to accomplish what we wanted to do.

We see this done every day in our homes.  We have water lines which comes from an underground supply of water, is pumped into a tank and then directed to your home.  You control it with a faucet inside your home or business.

Is it not amazing that God even directs the heart of kings in such a fashion to accomplish His purposes and His will for His own glory?  Find rest and peace in Christ today; knowing that He will be exalted, evil will one day be dealt with, and that God’s will is being done; even when we cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or hear it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Do Not Fear; Be Watchful

“And Jesus answering them began to say, ‘Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.  9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  Mark 13:5-13 (KJV)

DO NOT FEAR; BE WATCHFUL.

“There will come in the days of the future”, Jesus said, “times of trouble, and many will say ‘I am Christ”.  That will be a day for one to be watchful.  This appears to be a time following the destruction of the temple [which happened in A.D. 70], but the time Jesus is speaking of here seems to apply to another era of time.

Jesus warns the disciples and us of an approaching time when there will be many “anti-christs” who come for no other reason, but to lie and deceive, and to lead followers after them.  Whether it be in the time of the disciples or in our own time; be it 70 A.D. or 2010 the Word is the same, “BEWARE”, “TAKE HEED”.  These false christs are out for their own well being and not for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid even though there will be earthquakes, famine, war, etc.  These are only “birthpangs” showing that the second coming of Jesus is near.  They would begin with less intensity, but as the time of the end draws near they will become more and more intense.

In looking at these things we need to be mindful that there is great reason to believe that Jesus is speaking of His second coming in the “Olivet Discourse” both here and in the gospel of Matthew.  There are some things, that,  we who are looking for the appearance of Jesus in the “clouds”, must learn from these passages of Scripture.  First of all, none of these signs Jesus speaks of has to do with the “rapture of the Church”, all the prophecy of Jesus coming for His Bride [Church] has been fulfilled.  Secondly, We too must be on guard, keeping up the watch, being alert, taking heed.  There are false teachers, false professors of Christ, and some who say they are the Christ.  Anyone who professes to be Christ is a liar.  Everyone will know when Jesus comes again, with the exception of the “Snatching away” of believers of Christ Jesus.  A third thing to learn is, we must always be sure we are ready, and that our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are ready to “…Meet thy God”.  We can know we are ready by drawing nearer to Jesus through everyday association with Him in prayer, His Word, and in so doing obedience to His Word.

During the time of what Jeremiah calls, “…The time of Jacob’s trouble…” (Jeremiah 30:7), there will be a persecution of the people of God unlike anything the world, or God’s people have ever known.  Those who believe in Jesus at that time will be put to death by the most horrid means imaginable, and in the last three and one half years of “Jacob’s trouble” the Hebrews will be in great distress, yet protected by God.  “But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” is not speaking of a salvation of works, but of those who already have salvation, and by the grace that saved them showing the power of their faith in God.  God gives grace which keeps us to the end.

We must be strong in our Lord.  No matter what the world may throw at us we must “…keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  Even those of us who are looking for the “Rapture” must “…be ready to always give an answer for the hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15).  There is none of us who are immune to persecution. “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).  Live for Jesus Christ; He is coming soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Some Believed It Wouldn’t Happen

The things I write in this article is not to slam our new President, but to slam his recent actions, and reveal them for what they truly are.

I am praying for President Obama, his family, and our nation.  We are in grave need of “Change”.  The Republican party had eight years to bring about change concerning abortion policies, and abortion law, and they did nothing.  They spoke and speak, like the Native Americans, used to say of the “White man”, with “forked tongue”; saying they were/are against the killing of the unborn baby, yet doing little about it.

Now, it would appear that we have little to no hope in the political realm to do anything about abortion, infanticide, or euthanasia [it will be coming soon, and in some places is already accepted).  President Obama has opened the door for abortion funding in foreign lands from our tax payers money.  President Obama, that is our money, the American taxpayers, at least a good portion of us do not like the idea of funding abortions in our own land, little lone, another land.

I want to ask Christians of our nation [USA] to pray for President Obama, that God will turn his heart to Word of God, doing God’s will, seeking God’s will, way, and most of all His wisdom.  I have heard that many professing Christians voted for President Obama, because they thought that “He would not have time to sign abortion Executive Orders, etc. and such things as that seeing the state of our economy.  Well, what hole did you have your head stuck in?

President Obama does not have the answers for our nation’s problems, and he certainly doesn’t have answers for the problems of the world.  We are being sold a “bill of goods” which will send the country into oblivion as far as this world is concerned, and we will become a non-entity in the world community; unable to support our own, not to mention support a military which will be in dier straights when the President begins cutting funding for their work.

The only answer for this nation, or the world’s problems can be found in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The answer for stopping abortions is not politics, but the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives.  The death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus – faith in Him can change a murderous heart and cause us to love life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If you will notice, and I don’t believe it to be by accident; the first part of that phrase is “Life”, and there can be no “Happiness” or “Liberty” when we have no respect for “Life”.  I speak of the life of those who cannot help themselves – the unborn, the DownSyndrome child, the ill, the orphan and the aged of the Human family.

Now Obama seems to desire to be a modern day Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor.  Distribution of wealth should be done by those with the wealth, not by the government.  It could and should come from a generous heart to give, however mandated, ordered, governed distribution is nothing short of socialism, communism, and robbery.  We are a Nation that has grown by the grace of God to be a nation of innovation; a nation of giving; a nation of thrift; a nation of godliness; but have become a nation of laziness, avarice, and greed.

When people have reached a place of always getting something from government, that begins a destructive downturn.  People seem to have more faith in government than in God.  We are in trouble.  We are needy of a blessing from God.  A turning back to God, Christ, and godliness.

Pray for our President, his family, our nation, one another, the churches, and pastors across this land.  For the pastors pray that we will all stand bravely, strongly, full of courage, boldness, and with a heart for God, His Son and His Word.  There no greater power to change hearts than that of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the power of God unto salvation to all who will believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Death Of The King

Just as surely as I post this writing of THE DEATH OF THE KING there will be some who will immediately think that I am writing of Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson.  Not so on my part.  As I thought of this title I was not even thinking of those two but of the One who is the genuine King of all kings; including the king of rock, and of pop as the world has called them.

It is sad that far too many people mourn the lives of two men whose lives were controlled by popularity, power, money, and drugs; and eventually taken possibly by the same things and drugs.  Their lives are sad examples of wasted living, and wasted lives.

Enough about those lives, and on to the One whose life, though short was lived to glorify the Father, and to give His own life for the salvation of sinful men, and women.

It is sad to see a man live His life for good, God, and His glory; and then to have it taken from Him due to sin.  Lust, power, envy, greed, politics, covetousness, popularity, and every sin among men who loved darkness rather than light had this man condemned to die.  The ugliest of mankind was seen on the day or our Lord’s death.

Hear the words of Jesus –

“And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”  Matthew 17:22-23 (KJV)

Jesus had just spent time correcting His disciples concerning the reason why they could not cast a demon from a young man.  They had tried and failed.  The father of the boy was frustrated with them, and when Jesus came down from the mountain where He was transfigured before their eyes, took this boy and cast the demon out of him without much thought.

Now, while they are in Galilee Jesus tells them, as He has before of His death which is approaching.  There is much evidence in the Gospels that Jesus’s heart was set on going to Jerusalem for the distinct purpose to die; and to do so for the sins of the world.  And by the hands of sinful men be judged, found guilty (without guilt), beaten and whipped, mocked, be nailed to a cross, and hung on that tree (“Cursed is the man that hangeth on a tree” Galations 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23), and took the curse that was meant for us all; the curse of sin and death.

It seems that the disciples, as Jesus spoke to them, were not thinking of who He was talking about or something.    It had not sunk into their blind minds of whom He referred.

Of course Jesus was speaking of Himself who would die, and on the “third day rise again”.  It could be too, that they heard the part about His death, but the part of the resurrection was not assimilated into their thinking.  Thus they were sorry for His death.

We have this assurance that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), and there was a multitude of witnesses.

Believe on Jesus Christ, trust your life to His care, and you will be saved for all eternity.  There is no other way but through Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Returning Remnant

The prophet has given a very solemn, and somewhat discouraging words.  The ministry of the prophet of God is to speak the truth of God’s Word, no matter to whom they are speaking.

When one is called by God to proclaim the Word of God it is to God, and to God alone that we are held accountable.  Isaiah knew this and he never withheld a word.  He warned the laid back, at ease people of Zion that, though they had it made at that present time there was judgment coming from Assyria, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians; that they would be taken into captivity, and then he also let them know that God would lead some – a remnant – back to their blessed land.

This prophecy is given at least 100 years before it would take place.  Isaiah would not live to see it happen.  We know from the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel that it did come to pass just as Isaiah had said.

As we journey through the Scriptures reading, meditating upon them, learning, we find that there are many times God is not pleased with Israel.  They are divided into a Northern kingdom called Israel, Ephraim; and into a Southern kingdom called Judah, and this was an act of chastisement from God for their departure from the way of David, and overtaxing of the people.  They were often afflicted by surrounding enemies, because they turned their back on God.  Of all the kings named in the Northern kingdom there is not one of whom it is said, that he “did right in the eyes of the LORD”.

When God’s people turn their backs on God, His Word, His prophets and begin to hate and kill His prophets, and despise the way of God, then God will send judgment to chastise His people.  With Israel (both Northern and Southern kingdoms) they would go into captivity, and Jeremiah the prophet says it would be for a period of seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10).  After that seventy years are accomplished God would allow a “Remnant” to return to the land.

There are many who have given up on the nation of Israel today.  Some say, “God is through with Israel as a nation”.  One national ruler says, “We will destroy Israel”.  At this time this man’s “kingdom” is in jeopardy due to charges of an unfair election process.  The kingdoms of men fall.  None of these things said by such rulers are so, nor will they come to pass.  God has not given up on Israel.  He still has a remnant who will one day call on the name of the One whom “they have pierced”, and call Him Lord, and the kingdom of David will be forever established with Jesus Christ as King.

Where the nation has trusted many times upon their captors, their “protectors” – such as those who are siding with Israel today; though their protection is like whitewash – they [Israel] will come to a place their hope and stay [trust] will be upon the LORD alone.  Israel’s only protection is the LORD.  Your protection;  also mine is the LORD of hosts.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” Isaiah 10:20-23 (KJV)

Paul the apostle writes of the promises and hope of Israel in Romans 9-11, and there he tells us, “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).  Let us all pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), remembering that the only true and lasting peace will come when the Prince of Peace comes and sits on His throne in Jerusalem, and His name is Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Nations Raging

With recent events in the country of the United States of America I have really been seeing that the coming of the Lord Jesus is drawing ever closer.  We ought always be ready as He has said.

The rulers of this earth; kings, presidents, premiers, etc. are gathering for peace talks as never before.  There are peace efforts being made; talks for peace, papers for peace, and not one considering the King of peace who is King Jesus.  The President of the United States of America seems to be taking businesses  by storm, taking control in stocks and such.  They try and say they are not seeking control, but I don’t see what else you could call it.  We are headed toward a full blown dictatorship.  We will be getting what the people voted to get.  Government control over our lives.

One thing we all must remember is that God of all creation is the Supreme One.  He rules, and is even directing us toward the greatest event of human history.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” Psalm 2:1 (KJV).

So begins the first verse of the second Psalm. This Psalm is one you could call very prophetic in its reasoning for the behavior of mankind.

We may ask the question, “Are the heathen raging?” This is speaking of the nations of people. All nations of all the world. Though eternity has been set in the hearts of all people (SEE Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV), they are raging against the path of God and going about to establish their own ways of gaining God’s favor. Adam and Eve used ‘figleaves’ and that did not please God. The people of the earth who rage against God use forms of religion, but without the power thereof.

The eternity which has been given to all of us in the race which is called human was given us by the Creator to long for and desire Him forever and forever. There is a rage in humanity which tries to overthrow the will, guidance and direction of the Holy One in favor of all the people. Some of that rage is seen in recent events. Cho Sueng-Hui made a statement that what he was doing was similar to what Jesus did. Did this man die for others? No! Instead he took other’s lives, and then his own. The Professor who died so his students could escape was more in the likeness of Jesus.

While the heathen rage; God in His grace has called all who will hear Him to look upon His Son Jesus, and be saved. Saved from sin to be in the presence of God.

The Second Psalm explains the world leaders of today. It explains the United Nations efforts of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the world. It just seems that the world is at odds with Israel and Christians. This Psalm makes it make some sense.

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His annointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” Psalm 2:2-3 (KJV).

There is no question in my mind that there is an attempt to overthrow the plans of God. Now, this is not what they say, and probably not in the forefront of their minds, but in the hidden recesses of their hearts.  They may really believe they are doing good, and serving the people; but all the while they are following the mind of the enemy of God.  The ‘prince of the power of the air’; as he has often been called; knows of course, that he cannot overthrow God, but he in his vile, disgusting attempts is seeking to condemn as many to his own judgment as he possibly can. Yes the world, and world leaders are seeking for world peace, but is against God; the God of peace.

The meeting of the United Nations is the meeting of the minds of the kings of the earth, and they are still crying out against God. They see God as binding, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us”, and the only freedom the world will ever experience; in their way of thinking; is to do away with God.

I do not know your opinion or heart toward God, but mine is that I need Him. He is my Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Life-giver, and Peace giver, and so very much more. I pray that He is for you too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Righteous King

The Righteous King
Proverbs 16:10-15

Looking at the life of Solomon we find a heart partially devoted to the LORD; a divided heart; unlike David his father whose “was a man after God’s own heart”.  If there is to be righteousness in the land of kings, then there must be righteous kings.

In light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we have been decreed as “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9) of God through Jesus Christ then we find in these Proverbs how we should reign,  and that is in the likeness of our Lord and Savior and our God Jesus Christ.

OUTLINE –

I.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).

II.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).

III.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).

IV.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).

V.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).

THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).  One thing that is needed in the Nations, States, Counties, Cities, and homes and churches of the world is leaders who have a righteous heart.

There is truly only one who has the completely righteous heart and His name is Jesus.  Those who are in Him; through having trusted Him, His work on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection; have the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In Christ Jesus and Him alone can we make Godly decrees, and righteous judgments.  Many of the judgments made by the Judiciary of the United States, and many other countries are not made in righteousness, but for what is popular or politically expedient.

Pro 16:11 – A just weight and balance are the Lord’s,…. These are of his devising; what he has put into the heart, of men to contrive and make use of, for the benefit of mankind, for the keeping and maintaining truth and justice in commercial affairs; these are of his appointing, commanding, and approving, Lev. 19:35;
all the weights of the bag are his work; or, “all the stones” ; greater or smaller, which were formerly used in weighing, and were kept in a bag for that purpose; these are by the Lord’s appointment and order. This may be applied to the Scriptures of truth, which are of God; are the balance of the sanctuary, in which every doctrine is to be weighed and tried; what agrees with them is to be received, and what is found wanting is to be rejected. The Targum is,
“His works, all of them, are weights of truth.”

When Jesus Christ comes back to earth He will make all things right and Just.  When we go to Him for a judgment we can rest assured that it will be a righteous judgment.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).  The only King who has lived without sin was the King of kings; Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

The writer of Proverbs says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (29:2).  When true righteousness is in authority, there is reason the people rejoice.

1. There is a ruler who fears God;
2. There is fairness in appointments, and the courts;
3. There is a just trading system;
4. There is justice in the courts;
5. There is no fear of the enemy.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).  What king, president, or any ruler can stand for long who is surrounded by liars?  Lying lips are not righteous lips.

Righteous lips love the truth, seek the truth, and are truthful themselves.  Our Righteous King, the King of kings is the living Truth, and in Him is no lie at all.  Some one has given us this quote, “Liars never figure, and figures never lie”.  If you tell the truth about something you never need to remember what you said; but when you lie, it will come back to get you.

A righteous leader; be they president, king, pastor, husband, father, mother, or boss; needs always to be surrounded by people who will tell the truth.

“Buy the truth and sell  it not…” (23:23), and it seems that “Love the truth” would fit there as well.  Why “Buy the truth” if you don’t love it also.

We can see today what lying does with the stock market and people’s lives.  For example:  Bernie Madoff who scammed, swindled, and suckered punched many investors out of billions of dollars, living a lie.  Now the man has brought ruin to the lives of the people he stole their life savings from, his own family, harmed his nation, and destroyed his own life.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).  King David was loved, respected and revered by many including his family; at least until he sinned with Bathsheba [Uriah’s wife], and brought harm to his own family and the nation.

Unrighteous living is costly for the one who is righteous.  We must understand that righteousness is not from our own selves.  Righteousness comes from God; for only He is righteous.

If there is to be righteousness it comes from Christ alone who is our righteousness.  “For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

A righteous king, or ruler would give His life for his subjects.  An unrighteous king expects his subjects to give their lives for him.  “There is no king like that “, someone might say.  Oh, but there is His name is Jesus; and He gave His life on the cross of calvary that those who will trust Him, believe Him, might have eternal life.  He faced the judgment for our sins, the wrath of His Father to pay the sin debt; our sin debt; that we might be saved, having our account paid in full, by His precious shed blood.

We can trust a king like that.  We can believe that this type of king would be loved, respected and revered, and be just in all his judgments.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).  A righteous king can be offended, and when one of his subjects offends him his countenance fades.

When his subject offends him realizing that he/she has done so, and they seek the king’s forgiveness the king’s countenance will be brighter, and favorable toward the one who had offended.

When I think of all the times that I have offended King Jesus, and know that His countenance was not favorable toward me for that offense, then, I know that I must seek forgiveness.  I can know before hand that in genuinely seeking forgiveness He will forgive me; but I must not willfully seek to offend Him.

Our righteous King Jesus is often offended by His subjects, but when we seek His face we know that we are cleansed and forgiven; and our joy is restored in Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  1 John 1:9-10 (KJV)

There is eternal joy in the presence of the forgiving King.  His countenance is bright and pleasant and warm to all those who come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Cause Worth Fighting For

1 Samuel 17:29

There are times we need to heed the wise advice of who ever coined the phrase “Choose your fights”, or maybe you have never heard the phrase before.  That is okay.  The advice is good to heed when it comes to family, friends and neighbors.  You might include in that the people you work with in case some don’t understand the neighbor part.

There are times we must fight when no one else will, and this case in David’s life is a great example.  His brother was willing to start a quarrel with David, but unwilling to face Goliath.

What is there that is worth fighting for; even if it could mean our death?

OUTLINE from 1 Samuel 17:29 –

I.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE IN FEAR (vv. 11, 24).
II.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THERE IS NO FEAR IN THE ENEMY CAMP (vv. 3-10).
III.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE ONE WITH NO FEAR IS CHARGED WITH PRIDE (v. 28).
IV.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE NAME OF GOD, AND HIS ARMY IS DEFIED (v. 10).

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE IN FEAR (vv. 11, 24).  I would imagine that all of us have been intimidated by some one or some thing at some time of other.  Intimidation is fear.  King Saul and his troops were in fear of this behemoth of a man, the soldier of the Philistines who challenged them to send out their best man, and end the battle.

Saul was a king who had allowed pride, and his own personal accomplishments to get between himself and God, and fear was a side product of this.  The Lord Jesus has said,

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 (KJV)

Saul seems to have been more concerned with losing the battle than that the name of God was defied.  Compare the heart of the king with young David, and you see quite the contrast.  David had the heart like what our Lord spoke, believing God would deliver;

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (KJV)

The fear in the troops of God was evident for the young David who had a heart for God.

David was angry by the man who defied the armies of God; defying God.  When God’s people see people defying our God; it should cause us to rise up and confront the enemy of God.

Christian, let us maintain our right fellowship with God.  Let us always give Him the glory for any accomplishments.  Let us never fear the flesh of man, but always fear our God, knowing that it is He who raises up kings, and prime ministers,  presidents, and princes.  Christian, always walk in the fear of God and you will fear nothing else.  Paul the apostle has written by the Spirit of God,

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THERE IS NO FEAR IN THE ENEMY CAMP (vv. 3-10).  The words of Goliath continued haunting the host of Israel day after day after day, and no one is doing anything, except shaking in their sandals.  It is a good sign that the people of God are not living by the commandments of God and have fallen away from Him.

It is quite evident by Goliath’s challenge that the Philistines are not shaking in their sandals.  The giant is boastful, arrogant, confident that he can win against any “poor soldier” of Israel.  They have forgotten the power of one man who is right with God.

Saul’s sins are many, but there are two which bear remembering.  The first is his impatience in waiting for Samuel to come and offer sacrifice; so he offers it himself (1 Samuel 13).  The second sin is one of disobedience.  In chapter 15 the LORD sent Samuel to command Saul to destroy the Amalekites, and to leave none living; and to kill all the animals in their possession; to take nothing.  Saul saved many alive, saved some of the animals, and saved king Agag alive; in disobedience to God.  Some of today’s people might call Saul a “Real humanitarian”; however the issue was a commandment of God, he disobeyed, and the issue is obedience, godliness, and righteousness and Saul was none of them.

Due to the sin of Israel, the king and the troops they now live in fear.  Some fear with over coming faith in God can be a powerful thing.  When there is no faith in God, however, it [fear] is crippling.  Such was the case with Saul.  Now because of this there was no fear in the Philistine camp.

Could it be, that the reason there is no fear of God in the enemy camp today [2009] is due to the disobedience of many of God’s people?  The love, power, grace and mercy of God is not seen in our lives.

The cause for the Christian today is to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10), and stand upon the teachings, the death, burial, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the promise of His imminent return for His bride.  To be honest, forthright, just, faithful (first to God, and to one another), loving, generous, kind, having self-control, being filled with joy, peace, and patience (Galations 5:22-23).

When Christians are walking with God the world will respect us, and they will fear YHWH.

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE ONE WITH NO FEAR IS CHARGED WITH PRIDE (v. 28).  You could say that Eliab, David’s brother, was accusing him of “grandstanding”.  That sounds like many who have accused men of God in past generations of Christianity, and not so distant days of “grandstanding”.  It could be called, “Making a spectacle of one’s self”, or using an opportunity to call attention to one’s self as the answer to the problem at hand;  just for selfish cause.

David’s heart went immediately to God when he saw this treacherous event from the Philistines.  He saw a cause in this and he, though just a youth, was willing to give his life in God’s hands and go and conquer this mocker of God.  David did not say, “I think I can conquer this giant”,  he said,

“The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” (v. 37).

There is no question in the mind of David.  God will give him the victory, and he is going to give God the glory.

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE NAME OF GOD, AND HIS ARMY IS DEFIED (v. 10).  This thought is tied very closely with the second thought.  When there is no fear in the heart of the enemy of God, and His people they will defy the name of God, and His people.

To defy is to belittle, mock, to make light of, to accuse of cowardice, or impotence in battle.  John Gill in his commentary wrote;

“1Sa 17:10 – And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day,…. Or “reproach” them; that is, should they not accept his challenge, and send down a man to fight with them, he should then upbraid them with cowardice; and now he disdained them, as if there was not a man among them that dared to encounter with him:

On verse 26 Gill writes;

“for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? there were two things which provoked David, and raised indignation in him against this man; the one was, the character of the person that reproached, a Philistine, an uncircumcised person, a profane man, that had no true religion in him, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger to the covenants of promise; and the other was the persons whom he reproached, the armies of the living God, of the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and which in effect was reproaching the Lord himself, and which David, filled with zeal for God, and for his people, could not bear; and the consideration of these things animated him to engage with him, not doubting of success.”

Back to the thought of fear.  It cripples, it keeps God’s people from the power which God has given us through the seal of the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13-14).  We begin to fear the shadows of life when we are not walking with God.  We fear physical assaults, we fear every turn of our lives, we fear that our friends are whispering about us behind our backs, plotting to ruin or hurt us in some way, we fear financial ruin, we even begin questioning our salvation, the love of God, and the love others have for us.

When we, like David, are walking in the Spirit, walking with God, then we fear nothing but God Himself.

When God and His army is defied, that should cause His people to rise up, and be brave, bold and beautiful in our Lord.  We are living in a day of darkness.  It is not the time for fear, but faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus’s words, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1) were words of assurance, peace and encouragement.  We must live, love, and fight in those words.  When others try to tear you down, the body of Christ down, your church down;  let us stand strong in God; in His Word, in and through the power of His Spirit.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Is Not King

Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25

This is going to be a overview of chapters 17 through 21.  It seems that these chapters tie together very strongly in showing what happens when God is not the One ruling individuals, and national life.

The key to understanding these chapters appears to be the phrase, “There was no king…”, and that would certainly mean that even God was not the rule of their hearts and lives.  At least they were not submitted to His rule and reign.  We know and believe as Christians, of course, that God is sovereign, and in complete control of every nation, ruler, and individual.

OUTLINE chapters 17 – 21 –

I.  THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE NATION WAS IN SHAMBLES (17:6-18:31).
II.  LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT, AND COMMITMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21).
III.  SEEMING UNRESTRAINED ANIMAL LUST, AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).
IV.  WARS BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).
V.  UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCHES, COMMUNITIES, AND NATIONS CRUMBLE (17:6-18-31).  This as a matter of fact is the ultimate reason that nations crumble and fall.  When the spiritual, moral leadership fails, nations are left without a foundation on which to stand.

In this text we have a young man (unnamed) from the  priestly family (Levi) who goes to serve as a priest for one man [Micah] and his family.  He is basically selling the office of priest.  It isn’t long until some group more powerful, with more means comes and buys him away.

This was a young “priest” who was selling his services for gain, to live, and not giving spiritual guidance, or any life guidance what so ever.  Right priestly, spiritual leadership will confront, rebuke, exhort (2 Timothy 3:16-17) through Scriptural counsel.

Right spiritual leadership begins with the priesthood of the home.  The priest of the home is the husband of the wife, father of the children.  This is one of the appointments of God for the Christian man of the house.  That is not to say he is the only priest of the home, the wife, the mother, and each of the children who are Christians are also priests under Jesus Christ, and have the authority to approach the very throne of God.

God has placed the Christian man as the head of spiritual leadership of that home, and when this begins  to fail the foundation begins weakening.  When the husbands and fathers are not leading the homes spiritually, that will show up in the local church, the community, the State government, and the National governments.

This responsibility begins with every Christian.  Make God King of your life through faith in Jesus Christ and His cross.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE A LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT AND COMMITTMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21)  We have in these verses a Levite who has a “concubine” who has forsaken him and returned to her father.  For all practical purposes we see her here as the only “wife” he has.  He does seem to have a love for her, because he pursues her to her father’s home.

The wife had been unfaithful (v. 2), and went to her father’s home in Bethlehem-Judah, and was there for four months.  He goes to her father’s house to bring her home.  He meets his “father in law” (v. 7) for the first time, and they begin communicating , creating a bond with one another, and the “husband” stays the night;  and it wasn’t until the late afternoon of the fifth day that the man and his ‘concubine’ departed.

She  has shown a lack of commitment in her marriage, by being unfaithful.  He has shown some love for her by  pursuing her to her father’s home, to bring her back with him to their home.  He does not however have much respect for marriage, because a concubine was only for the purpose of man’s pleasure or service, and God actually commands a man have one wife.  We are not told anywhere that she was his “wife”, but only concubine.

It seems that the man made bad choices.  This is certainly evidence of the time of spiritual darkness of that day and time.  She is not his wife, she is his wife.  She is not his wife in the traditional sense of that day; she is his wife in the sense of his responsibility for her.

Just as this issue with the Levite and the concubine is confusing so too has the marriage issue of our day become quite confusing.  God ordained that a man leave his father and mother, and cleave only to his wife (Genesis 2:24).  He has ordained that one man and one woman wed, and be together until they are parted by death.  Because of sin God has given allowances for divorce;  Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts…” (Matthew 19:8;  Mark 10:5).

When God is not king in marriage, then there will be confusion about the rights and wrongs of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  There will be arguments over authority, rights, and all kinds of family issues; similar to whether a woman should have children if she is not married, and especially if an unmarried woman should be allowed to have fourteen children, through medical means.

When God is King we follow His plans for life, love and marriage and family.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNRESTRAINED LUST AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).  This Levite showed same careless attitude of many people, including many Christians of our day;

1. Any judgment that may be coming is somewhere around the corner in another time and place;
2. Still longing for more fun, more partying and more amusement.

He took no thought for his or her own life when he decided to leave her father’s home so late, and found himself on the streets of an unholy place.

A fine, courteous man invites them to his home for safety, and shelter.  The man accepts the invitation, and they are soon approached by the “sons of Belial” (v. 22), and they sound much like the people who approached Lot’s door requesting to “know” the men he had in his house (Genesis 20:4-5).  Only these were not struck with blindness or later destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Lust was in the hearts of these people.  They had no self restraint, no fear of God, and no care for anyone but self.

The sad part about it is that the Levite and his host seem to have no love for anything but self either.  The “good guys” are not so great after all, are they?  Now, I know all the arguments about this; and I clearly see it, but no man who is right with God in any time or culture would sell their wife, daughter; nor any other man’s wife or daughter for their life.  We will not cast them out to the savages for our own benefit, and to leave them lying dead on the “thresholds” after having wanted back in.

When God is King there is love in the marriage, the home, and respect for one another; and a heart for what is right, wrong, and responsibilities for guidance and protection of that home.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE WARS AND UNREST BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).  Though rightly angry over the death of this woman; I cannot help but believe that part of his actions in cutting up her body is from guilt.  Why didn’t I stand my ground?  Why didn’t I stand to protect her and the man’s daughter (19:24)?  So now he wants to get all the people of Israel involved in his sin.  The rush to judgment, though they had consulted God in the matter, led to the eventual destruction of the tribe of Benjamin.   Though God had given approval for the first two attacks He had not promised them victory until the third attack.

The nation needed to learn from this event.  Their sins, their lack of trust in God, and dependence upon Him was their major offense.  Now they have come to God these three times, it would seem, as only a crutch, or a spare tire.

How should it have been handled?  Should they have been obeying God’s commandments, God’s laws?  YES!  Should they have had only one wife?  YES!  Sometimes even at all times when we just insist on having our own way God allows us to do it.  Then we suffer the thorns and thistles of the life we chose.  That young lady who was counselled by her pastor she shouldn’t marry that non-christian boy, but went ahead with it and, is now troubled by a drunken husband who beats her, cheats on her, and abuses the kids and won’t bring home the check for groceries and rent, but gambles, and drinks it away; she now wants to blame God for her choice.  You were warned young lady.  God gave you the word and you didn’t hear it, you rejected it for your self desire, and will; now you are paying.

When God is King there is obedience to His commandments, and prayer and right choices lead to a life of blessing.  Do we who are Christians ever make wrong choices?  Most definitely.  We pay for our wrong choices.  When God is King it will not lead to unrest between brethren.  He is not a crutch or a spare tire; to be only called upon when in dire straits.

When God is King His Word will be believed and practiced and feared.  When God is King there will be no conflict over whether the Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and eternal

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).  The tribe of Israel had basically been destroyed.   Now they suddenly grow concerned about that one tribe, and begin doing all kinds of compromising things to justify their actions.  A plan, a scheme of kidnapping women, and joining of the kidnapped with the living Benjamites, and the kidnapped women being from a city of Judea which has been destroyed due to their lack of participation in the war.  When God is not King man schemes, plots, and eventually loses out on the blessings of God.

Compassion is a good, and sometimes even godly thing.  Any compassion that is based on godlessness is not godly.  It may have been right to preserve the tribe of Benjamin, but the plots and scheming was not right.  It would not have need to be done should things been done according to God’s Word, guidance and direction.

When God is King there will be holy compassion and holy unions, all without schemes, and plots around the desires of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unharnassed; No Boundaries

Do we ever stop to think what our lives would be without boundaries, without rules, without laws? It is as though we think they hinder our freedom; provoke us to evil or something. Car commercials have spoken about going outside the boundaries – usually referring to driving off road – and if they are equipped for it, then in a car, I would say, “Go for it.” However, for people, boundaries, lines, and laws give us definition, purpose, and direction.

How does it look for little children who are learning to use crayons, and a coloring book, and they get out of the lines? We will make over a one or two year old who uses their “skills” and it is cute to watch them take the different colors, and do their best, and they will always get wild and out of the lines. We tell them how good they have done, but the only thing that gives us a clue as to what they have colored is the lines under the coloring. When a child gets a little older we expect more from them, and expect them to color within the lines, and use good colors for the article, as they get older there should be no more coloring outside the lines.

Are harnesses and boundaries necessary in a free society? Most definitely. They are even more necessary in a free society. Israel was a theocratic government; meaning God our Creator was the Sovereign ruler of the nation. They were to follow the laws, commandments, statutes, word, ordinances, testimonies, and precepts of God which had been given them through Moses, the priests and the prophets. There is no country on earth that I know of who does not have laws. These laws, whether they are just or unjust are for the people to follow [when they honor God] for their protection.

The prophet Jeremiah was grieved by the treachery of the leadership of Judah; from the prophets, priests and the kings. They had forsaken God, His laws, His word, and had began following foreign gods which are not gods (v. 7). Jeremiah addresses the leadership of Judah:

“I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jeremiah 5:5-9 (KJV)

The “yoke” is what was used for the oxen for plowing the field, pulling a cart, and other farm work. It was a means by which the farmer controlled the oxen, to plow a straight line, and to bring the oxen back to the barn for their safe keeping. We see a picture here of the leadership of Judah having broke the laws of God that was there to give them guidance, direction, and definition; and leaving them at the mercy of the surrounding enemy. One of the greatest things we can see in this picture is that God loves His children. However when God’s children break His law, His words, His commandments; they step outside the area of God’s protection and provision, and providence.

The oxen that breaks its yoke and is “free” is at the mercy of the “…lion out of the forest…”, and the “…wolf of the evenings..” and the speedy “leopard” watching over them. As the farmer would desperately try to round up the oxen, bring them back to the barn/stable; so God pleads with His people to return to Him putting away all the evil of their hearts.

Can we not hear the heart of God as He pleads with the leadership of Judah, “Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses”? God had blessed Israel and Judah for many years, and they turn against Him; forsake Him, and turn to other gods which are not gods at all, but mere pieces of wood, stone, or jewels, or precious metals. They have turned from worshipping the Creator to worshipping the creation.

It is sad to realize that when God had blessed Judah so abundantly that their hearts grew cold toward God, His Word, His prophets, and faithful priests. As the heart grows cold toward God; cravings, desires for other things begin to affect the mind and heart. God shows that blessing without harnesses, laws, boundaries; if you will; leads to ungodly deeds, and is rebellion against God. Blessed minds without following the law of God will end with a heart as a “lusty stallion” (v. 8 NKJV, ESV). Adulterous minds, and hearts prevailed in the leadership of that day progressing into the very act of adultery with a house of prostitution; and stealing what belonged to others (Proverbs 6:26-35).

The horse that is still a stallion goes after every mare that he senses, and is hard to control. These leaders were as those stallions when it came to their positions of power; it was as though it was due them. No man’s wife was off limits in their thinking, and it almost seems that there are some religious leaders like that today [2009].

We should consider it a great, awesome, mighty, and wonderful think to have a visit from God – “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD”. This visit was not one that we should want or desire. It is somewhat like the father visiting the son in his bedroom following a day of causing Mom problems. That boy would just as soon be out of the house when Dad gets home.

The heart of the child of God longs for the visit of the LORD when He will come with arms outstretched welcoming us into His presence. We should be thankful for those visits which are as the one above when He comes to chastise us. His coming to chastise us proves that we are His children (Hebrews 12:6-8); His coming to visit Judah with all the enemies around them was evidence of His great love for this chosen people.

When we live in faithfulness to God, His Word, and His Son Jesus Christ then, we have the great blessing of our worship in Him, and great pleasure to His name and glory. There is only one way into the pleasure and glory of God and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all the requirements of righteousness. When we sin we have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9-2:1), and we are cleansed from all our sin.

Let’s walk, live and die in His blessings. Let’s be faithful to Him in all that we do. We do it through the power of Christ within us, ie., the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is our Harness, and our Boundary. And we are free from sin and its bondage.

-Tim A. Blankenship