Just a Thought from December 30, 2008

There are many questions, and at times many accusations, and arguments over the issue of marriage.  Biblically, marriage is between one man, and one woman “until death do we part”.  The issue of same sex or homosexual marriage is playing a large part in that definition today.

As a Christian I take the Biblical view of marriage, and will until the Lord returns to take me home with Him.  A question comes to my mind, however, “Why has marriage been so cheapened, so degraded?”, and I must answer that with this.

The divorce rate is around 50 percent.  That sounds awful to me.  Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.  Is that what is meant by that statistic?  If so, that is truly terrible, and a shame to be attached to something that God has ordained.

There is something that makes the matter even worse to me, and that is the divorce rate among those who profess to be “Christian”.  It is at the same rate, and maybe even higher.  It seems that many Christians have bought into the “Me” lie.  They may not admit it, but live as though their living life is all about “Me”, and there is no surrender, no commitment, no loyalty to the spouse (husband or wife).

Let me ask this question, “Who has really cheapened marriage; those who have no commitment, or the issue of same sex marriage?”  I dare say that had we Christians stood firm on faithful marriages, and committed ourselves to our own wife or husband, then there would not be the issue and debate of same sex marriage.

Here is the Biblical idea for marriage.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22); and “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).  When these are followed there will be happiness in the marriage, along with joy and peace.

Just my thoughts for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Living Brotherly Love

“Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’  So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their way of life.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Be not carried about with different and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied with them.”  Hebrews 13:1-9

REFERENCES: Genesis 18:3; 28:15; Matthew 25:36; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:14; Joshua 1:5; Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:4

The Protected Home

The Protected Home

ADULTERY (Matthew 5:27-28)

– An act against marriage, betrayal of trust, an addition to the oneness of marriage – (1 Corinthians 6:16-20).

FORNICATION (Matthew 5:31-32)

– The act of sexual immorality; probably before marriage.

THE LOOK (v. 28)

– with desire was to commit adultery by Jesus’s sermon.

THE PRICE OF SIN (Matthew 5:29-30)

– Is the sacrifice of the eye that offends too high to pay to deal with sin?

– Is the sacrifice of the hand that offends too high to make amends for sin?

-Think about this – Jesus laid down His life for our sin.

Job made a “Covenant” with his eyes: “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? Job 31:1 (KJV).

It is the Christian’s responsibility to deal with their own sin. A individual with no eye or eyes can and will still have lusts. The individual with no hand(s) can still touch what is supposed to be untouchable. It is a matter of the thought life that needs dealt with.

CAST INTO HELL (vv. 29-30)

– Sin will be dealt with harshly in judgment.

– Sin must be dealt with harshly now to avoid Hell.

– Jesus took the judgment that should be ours.

-Our trust and faith in Him justifies us; it is God’s decree.

WRITING OF DIVORCEMENT (v. 31)

– Deuteronomy 24:1-4 seems to be the Scripture to which Jesus is referring. The scribes and Pharisees were promoting a “No Fault” divorce; giving themselves and others an easy opportunity for sin. This is what Jesus condemns.

CAUSES HER TO COMMIT ADULTERY (v. 32)

– When the woman was forced to leave because of this “divorcement” decree; if it was not because of sexual sin against the marriage, then, he caused her to commit adultery when she married another, and the man she marries commits adultery as well.

PROTECTING THE HOME –

– Husbands cherish and love your wives. Quickly replace those lustful thoughts with thoughts of the Lord, His Word, even your wife and family.

-Wives be devoted solely to your husbands, honor and obey him.

– Men keep that look of love upon your wife, not other women.

– Women when you are devoted to your husband, no other man will come between you and your husband.

– Men and women; most of all stay true to God, His Word, and pray. Pray for wisdom, grace, discernment, and knowledge.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unequal Yokes

Yokes are a farming tool from years past where the farmer or wagoneer even would place two animals; for a yoke it would most generally have been oxen.  The cart, wagon, or plow was usually teamed with an equally powered pair of the animal.  Consider this as we look at the following passage of Scripture.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was writing to Christians in the city of Corinth.  Professing Christians were joining together with non-believers, and were having complications due to their inabilities to get along, and do what was right.

We are living in an era of time where many Christians are saying things and doing things that align themselves more with the lost world – the unbelievers – and pulling away from God, and His word.  In order to get along with the world that is usually what happens.  It is the same as thinking you can take a clean bucket of water, and a bucket of mud, then thinking you can pour that water into the mud and make it come out clean.  That cannot happen.  What you end up with is muddy water.

We are dealing with Christian life and living.  When it comes to building a business and teaming up with someone to enter enterprise all parties should have the same moral standards, and like heart for what they do.  In marriage, the man and woman entering that lifetime commitment to one another should have a like passion and love for Christ; realizing Jesus Christ is central to their individual, and couple’s life together.  There are going to be enough difficulties in partnerships in business, and in marriages without adding the spiritual aspect to the situation.

If we will follow the Lord’s direction spoken through the apostle, then there will be fewer problems, and more love and peace.

When you team an ox with a donkey you will have problems.  The ox will be more consistent in pulling while the donkey may not be as reliable, and balk more often.

God has told us, “Come out from among them (the unbelievers), and be ye separate.”  He has also said, “Touch not the unclean thing.”  We are all unclean until we come to Christ.  If you are outside of Christ, then come to Him today.

Catch the Foxes Which Hinder a Good Marriage

Catch the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:1-17,

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV) Also see John 10:10

With there being deceptions and lies concerning marriage and love in our society and culture it is needful, even necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ, and every individual Christian to stand firm on God’s definition of Marriage, and His meaning of love.

It is my conviction that the Home and Marriage is the beginning or the end of a Nation or a society of people.  When marriages fail so will society and nations.  “As goes the home/marriage; so goes the nation.”

There are hindrances to a good marriage.  These can be the children, and the job, or career, school activities, failure to build your marriage and home upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

So what can be done to keep a marriage strong.  Let us look at four ideas from Solomon’s Song of Songs;

  1.   Be sure; even make it a habit to praise, and adore and admire one another verbally (vv. 1-3).
  2.   Be sure to make yourself accountable to one another, and to another; who is not of the opposite sex; so as to maintain a holy lifestyle (vv. 4-7).
  3.   Be sure to make time for one another… Have some alone time.. Go to the “clefts of the rock” and get away together (vv. 8-14)
  4.   Be sure that within marriage you have a sense of belonging… “I am my beloveds, and he is mine”
  5.   This is an addition to the original post… Make God the primary Person of your marriage.

You are not your own.  You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the bedrock of your marriage and home.

I was running short on time this morning so I wanted to share this with you.

Jesus in Genesis (6)

Genesis 24:1-67

“And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:  and I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; He shall send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.  And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.  And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. Genesis 24:1-9 (KJV).

I will not post all 67 verses, but I will put the verse numbers for your reference to check out.

We have been LOOKING FOR JESUS in Genesis for several articles. I will do one more following this one, and then I am going to do a study in The Revelation of Jesus Christ; Lord willing.

There is a wedding which is going to be celebrated, in what I believe to be the not too distant future. Here in the Old Testament book of Genesis is a picture of the bringing together of the bride and the Bridegroom.

Jesus promised that after His ascension into Heaven He would send a Comforter. This comforter would guide into all truth. He would draw people to Jesus Christ.

In our text we have an unnamed servant of Abraham who is sent to find a bride for his son. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of Scripture in the way He has here showing forth the glory of God, and His work bringing the lost to Jesus.

The servant went to the assigned place to seek a bride for Isaac. Rebekah was that chosen bride. This bride 1). “Believed a man she had never met before, 2). was asked to go to a land from which she was never to return, 3). was asked to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.” M. R. DeHaan. The journey was about 600 miles on the back of a camel.

When the servant chose Rebekah it was then, a decision for her to make. The decision was one that could not wait (vv. 55-58). So Rebekah chose to go on a journey over hard country – a barren, dry and dangerous country.

When Rebekah saw Isaac for the first time he was coming from Lahairoi, which means, “The well of a Living One”. This is the first appearance of Isaac since the altar of Mount Moriah. Jesus will one day appear to take His bride who has been chosen by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at four of the characters in this text, and we will try and focus the picture on the One who is True.

First of all, look at the father. He loved Isaac and wanted a bride for him. He believed that God was faithful and would keep His promise and provide the bride. The bride could not be an outsider. The Father getting a bride for His Son, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. John 6:44 (KJV).

The next character we see in the text is the servant. He is a model servant. He does not go unsent (vv. 2-9), he goes where he is sent (vv. 4-10), he does nothing else, is prayerful and thankful (vv. 12-14, 26-27), he is wise to win (vv.17, 21), he speaks not of himself, but of his master’s riches, and Isaac’s heirship (vv. 34-36; Acts 1:8), he presents the true issue, and requires a clear decision (v. 49).

The work of the Spirit of God is the True: the antitype. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26 (KJV). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13-14 (KJV).

The third character is the chosen bride herself. She welcomed a stranger, whom she had never seen. This servant came to the well, seeking God’s direction, and Rebekah came and fulfilled the needs of this servants prayer (vv. 18-20, 24, 25). She accepted the servants invitation (vv. 55-58). The invitation was that she return to Canaan to be the wife of Isaac and receive the blessings of what he would inherit. Rebekah and the servant must have spoken much on the journey to meet the Bridegroom. She learned more about Isaac (v. 65) and more as she saw him and was getting nearer to him. She went over hard country in the care of the servant. This “Hard country” is the hardships, trials, and tribulations of living and growing in the Christian life. M. R. DeHaan said, “Rebekah was asked to believe a man she had never met before, to go to a land from which she was never to return, and to marry a man whom she as yet had never seen.”

The final character, but certainly not the least of the four is the son, in particular; his wedding. Weddings are most always a joyous event. It was for Isaac, and it was for Rebekah. When Rebekah came riding up on the camel with the servant she leaped off the camel. It does not say what she did when she leaped off the camel, but I just suppose that she ran to meet him, and their hearts became as one. In leaping off the camel Rebekah had left the last of her worldly possessions behind. Her journey is complete.

When Jesus and His Bride are joined together at last, they will never part, because it will be for all eternity.

The invitation is still extended. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev 22:17 (KJV).

If we have “Eyes to see, and ears to hear” we can see quite clearly the picture the Master has painted for us. We can see Jesus’ death in Isaac at the altar, we see His resurrection and ascension in that Isaac came from the “Well of the Living One”. We can see the work of the Holy Spirit in Abraham’s servant as he sought a bride for Isaac.

God is so good He paints us such beautiful pictures to show us how He is working throughout all of time to draw us to Himself. The Antitype is even more beautiful.

“And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:5-10 (KJV).

Christmas Day One Hundred and Eighteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be in the heart and mind of  prayer to the GOD Most High, for my family – my children, grandchildren; and as my wife and I prayed for our children’s spouses from the time they were babies crawling on the floor, or before; so too pray for our grand children to have born again, and godly Christian spouses who love God, and His Word.

Wisdom Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Four

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
Draw me away!” Song of Solomon 1:2 (NKJV)

Believing that the Song of Solomon is written to show a king’s love for His spouse before their marriage, and following the ceremony, and that Marriage is a portrait in type of God in Christ’s love for His Bride the Church…

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my Marriage, and my love for my wife Madge, to reflect the love of God in Christ to all people; and for people to know there is no better or greater love than the love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit displayed on the cross of Calvary for all mankind.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Eighty and Four

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 (KJV)

Today marks our halfway point to Christmas in this year – halfway since last Christmas (December 25). It is the last day of the first half. Just a note.

Marriage is an institution of God.  He ordained that a man marry a woman, and cleave to her the entirety of his and her life.  There are many words in our dictionaries and our vocabulary’s that are being voided by the PC people, and that we are being asked not to use.  I have one I would like deleted; especially between a married man and woman; and that is the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want marriage, between one man and one woman to be sacred again; for the man and the woman to take their vows seriously; for the man to train his heart and his eyes to desire only his wife, and no other, to be faithful to her, to cherish her, and value her even more than his own life; and that the word “Divorce” never be uttered between them of themselves.

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my friends, and sister’s in law parents; Denny and Linda Ball to have a wonderful day celebrating their fiftieth Wedding Anniversary; On this day in 1966 Denny and Linda were united in marriage.

May the Lord give them many more years together.

And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV)

Fidelity in the Kingdom

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery:’ but I say unto you, ‘That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.’ It hath been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:’ but I say unto you, ‘That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.'” ~Jesus  (Matthew 5:27-32)

Words for Christian Living – Better than Burning

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”  1 Corinthians 7:1-9   (KJV)

In a day when marriage has been weakened and mocked Christians must learn to love as Christ loved, cherish one another; and enjoy one another in Biblical marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (2) continued…

GOD Pursues the Redemption of His Wife (Continued…)

The conclusion of this study will include verses 14 – 23 of Hosea 2.

 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.  And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me Ishi; and shalt call Me no more Baali.  For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.  And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.  And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.  I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.”  Hosea 14-20 (KJV)

There are many times that we think of God’s judgment as only being punitive – to punish.  It is so much more.  It is also redemptive.  It is God’s desire to have His people in the place of blessing, and He gets His people to blessings by both punitive and redemptive judgment.

In verse 14 God says He will “allure her”.  This is  to attract her to Himself (Romans 2:4).  Why would God, who is “Beautiful in holiness”, rich in glory, and worthy of praise, want to attract this people who were in effect, in a state of whoredoms against Him?  That is what His grace is all about.  Loving the unlovable.  Cleansing the unclean.

How would God “allure”, attract her?

  1. By taking here as His “Wife” again;
  2. By speaking “comfort to her”  [these would be words of love, romance, telling her of her beauty. This loving comfort would even cause her to forget her former lovers];
  3. By restoring her fruitfulness.

“The Valley of Achor” is the place of Achan’s sin (See Joshua 7).  God had commanded Israel not to take any accursed thing for themselves; as they conquered Jericho.  The silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron were for the LORD’S treasure house.  Achan disobeyed and kept a “Babylonish garment” and a “Wedge of gold” which he buried in his tent.  Because of this rebellion by one man, and his family the nation lost a battle that should have been won.

We learn from this story that harboring sin is futile to God’s people.  Taking to ourselves what God forbids is harlotry against God.  Yet God says through Hosea, that “The Valley of Achor [is] as a door of hope”.  “When Israel embraced the Baals, she took what God had cursed just as Achan did in taking the spoils of Jericho.  Their sin had brought terrible destruction upon them, their children, and their land.  Its transformation would be a token of the eternal blessings they would enjoy from now on.”  (From Hosea: God’s Reeeming Love by John Traylor pp. 23&24).

A place where a man and his family judged for sin becomes “A door of hope”.  There was a man who was judged that is our place of hope.  The cross of Jesus, and ugly, despicable judgment, is the only hope mankind has.  Because Achan died Israel became victorious.  Achan died for his own sins.  Jesus “Became sin” for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and died, making victory possible for all who will believe.

What love God has for His people.  In verse 2 God said, “She is not My wife, nor am I her Husband!”  In verse 16 He says, “You will call Me ‘My Husband’ and no longer “My Master’.  Before Israel in their harlotries were recognizing God equally with the Baals.  Baali equals “master”, making her a slave [a slave to sin] (See Romans 6:16).  God says, “You will no longer be a slave, you will be My Wife, and I  your Husband.”

God was going to make their love for Him so great that they would forget about the Baals, and their names.  God’s covenant with Israel would be an eternal covenant.  Their land would be blessed.  The beasts of the field would even be a blessing to them (v. 18).

She would no longer be unfaithful, but holy and righteous unto God.  It is God’s work, and they would know that God is the LORD (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.  And I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, ‘Thou art My people; and they shall say, ‘Thou art my God.'” Hosea 21-23 (KJV)

God declares that He is God over the earth.  He controls the rain, the wind, the plague, and the harvest – good and bad.  For some reason many Christians have stopped believing this, and it is partly due to our technology; whereby  we are sadly mistaken.  Technology is good as far as it goes; but God is still God.  Not one meteorologist or scientist can make our weather or take it away, they can only make predictions and maybe explain how it happened; nothing more.

Because of Israel’s departure and adultery God had withdrawn His blessings, mercy and grace so they might see His grace, and their evil ways more clearly.  Now, God is preparing to return His blessings upon them; the blessings of mercy and grace.  They had no mercy, but they will;  they experienced no grace, but now they would receive it and see it.  They would be His people; who were not a people.  They would proclaim “You are my God.”

“The love of God is greater far, than pen or tongue can ever tell.”

The ultimate and final blessing for Israel is yet to come.  Even so Come Lord Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of GOD

Hosea’s Call, Circumstances, and Marriage

Several years ago I did a study of Hosea.  I spent a few days in the church I pastored teaching in special services for that purpose; and I was also invited by my home church to come for a week of services to teach the book of Hosea.  It was the year that our Convention – the Southern Baptist Convention – had Hosea as the Winter Bible Study.  This was a study i thoroughly enjoyed, was encouraged by, and prayerfully have grown through; and more since that time.

We will be in this study for some time.  I will endeavor to keep the studies readable and short.  I pray God’s richest blessing on you, as you read and hear the word of the LORD.

“Hosea was the second of God’s spokesmen known as eighth-century prophets.”  Amos was the first, and he and Hosea were contemporaries, both preaching in the Northern kingdom also know as Israel, or Ephraim.  Isaiah and Micah preached to the Southern kingdom, usually called Judah, during this same century.

There are two main divisions to the book: 1) Hosea’s marriage, and 2) Hosea’s message.  There are four prominent themes:  1.)  God’s love,  2.)  the sin of God’s people,  3.)  God’s judgment, and  4.) hope.

“Hosea 1-3:5 emphasizes God’s faithful love in spite of the people’s unfaithfulness to Him.  Hosea 4 – 7:16 shows God’s indictment of the sins of unfaithful Israel.  Hosea 8 – 10:15 stresses the sure judgment that awaited Israel because of their stubborn refusal to repent.  Hosea 11 – 14:9 presents the hope that God’s healing love will eventually lead some to repentance and renewal.”  From the WINTER BIBLE STUDY for this study.

Let us begin by reading chapter 1 verse 1,

“The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.” Hosea 1:1 (KJV)

If you will note the kings of the kingdom of the South – Judah; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Three of these kings “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD”; one did not – that was Ahaz (2 Kings 15:30-34; 16:1-4; 18:1-3).  Joash, fit in with Ahaz.  For those who might think leadership in the nation does not have anything to do with morality, or blessing beware.

Sometimes hearing the Word of the LORD is through our circumstances.  The spiritual and moral attitude of Israel was one of not only spiritual adultery against God, but adultery of the flesh as well.  Because of this it might have been quite difficult for a man to find a woman who was morally and physically pure.  Does that sound relevant to our times?  Through these circumstances of life Hosea heard the Word of God.

“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.  So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.”  Hosea 1:2-3 (KJV)

The Northern kingdom was a kingdom which had departed from the LORD from their inception (1 Kings 12:16-33).  If you were to study the kings of the Northern kingdom there is not one king of whom the Scripture says “Did right in the eyes of the LORD”, not one.

Remember, also, the moral circumstances of the land in that day.  There was much idolatry; all connected to Baal worship.  There was temple prostitution, used in “worship” of Baal, pleasure oriented god who was made after the image of man.  The  prostitution was both male and female; or heterosexual and homosexual abomination.  The people of the era believed these adulterous practices would bring s harvest of bounty, the rains would be plentiful.  Many a young woman and many a young man was convinced that to present themselves as a prostitute for Baal was her duty and an honor.  Many a married – betrothed woman would go to Baal’s temple and engage in this behavior believing that to do so would make her womb fruitful and bear many sons.

Hosea loved a woman named Gomer who – possibly after the wedding –  began these pagan rites of worship.  God definitely used this  in speaking to Hosea.  Hosea learned in this the pain, the heart break of God in Israel’s departure from Him.

“And the LORD said unto him, ‘Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.  And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”  verses 4-5 (KJV)

As a result of this marriage there was a son born to Hosea and Gomer.  God told Hosea to name him Jezreel.  Jezreel means “God sows”.  In this case God is saying that He is going to sow judgment.  Jezreel is a city approximately 55 miles North of Jerusalem.  It is in an area known as the “Plain of Jezreel [Megiddo]”.  A place where much blood has been shed, and much will yet be shed in that plain (See Revelation 19:11-21).

At this time the house of Jehu will be judged, because of their father’s sin (See 2 Kings 10:29-31).  It seems that Hosea has no doubt about Jezreel being his son.

And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, ‘Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.  But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.’
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said God, ‘Call his name Loammi: for ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.'” verses 6-9 (KJV)

The next child that was born was a daughter.  Lo Ruhamah means “No mercy”.  Do you suppose Hosea may have began to realize that his wife was unfaithful at this time.

Then Gomer had a third child, and God called him Lo Ammi meaning “Not My people”.  Was Hosea coming to understand the heart of God?  His heart- ache, pain, and anger with adulterous affairs, with worldliness among His people?

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ‘Ye are not My people,’ there it shall be said unto them, ‘Ye are the sons of the living God.’  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” verses 10-11 (KJV)

Speaking through the circumstances of Hosea’s day God has spoken words of judgment and rejection.  However, we see in these last verses of the chapter that there is hope.

In these verses God promises that He is not through with Israel.  This is truly a hope and promise of THE REDEEMING LOVE OF GOD.

What does God promise?

  1. They shall be “accountable – without number” (v. 10);
  2. …Those “Not My people” declared to be “Sons of the living God” (v. 10);
  3. …There shal be a gathering of Judah and Israel (v. 11);
  4. …They shall have one head – “The root of David” (v. 11; Jeremiah 30:8-9);
  5. …They are told to refer to one another as “brother” and “sister” (2:1).

We will look at number five further in the next study.

When we look at Israel, the Northern kingdom, God’s promises to them; then we can know and rest in the assurance of God’s promises that His Word is being fulfilled; even today.  The whole law and the prophets is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ.  He suffered the agony, suffering, rejection of death, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave; justifying all who will believe Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Makes the Preacher

The call of the prophet was one of separation. It was one for Jeremiah that would separate him from his family, due to the message he would be proclaiming, it would even keep him from marriage. There were times he would even feel that God had forsaken Him. We will see these things as we progress through this wonderful prophecy which our LORD God has given us.

The passage of the prophet is chapter one, verses 17-19;

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” Jeremiah 1:17-19 (KJV).

The idea of “girding up the loins” is the idea of getting one’s self ready for the task at hand. You might say of a preacher called by God, “Get yourself ready to do My bidding”. As Paul spoke to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV). Jeremiah was called to preach the Word of the Lord and he must be prepared. He must know that calling is sure, because there were going to come times in his ministry where that would be all that he had.

“Arise”, get up and get going, the time is short. “Speak to them all that I command thee”. There can be no changing of the message to soften the impact. It must be spoken as God has given it. It is sad to say and to think, but there are many preachers, who are pastors of churches and preach (if you can call it that) messages that are watered down versions of the truth, thus not the truth, but lies. They would rather be popular with their people. Popular with the people unpopular with God. Which would we be? God says to the prophet, “Be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them”.

The prophet is called to stand, to be strong. God tells Jeremiah, “I have made you this day a defenced city, an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests , and against the people of the land.” This is God’s promise to Jeremiah of God’s protection from harm. Even when the judgment comes on the land, even though the people, the kings, the princes, and the priests turn against him Jeremiah is promised protection. His life will be kept and preserved. Someone has said, “The man of God in the will of God is immortal, until God is through with him”. That is a profound statement. Of course the one who made that statement must have been speaking of this temporal life we live here on earth, because with Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are immortal anyway.

The promise of God for protection would be a mighty force in the faithfulness of Jeremiah. The promise is a mighty power in our lives as well. To think that his own family, friends, king, princes, and others would try to harm him, even try to kill him, and he having the promise of God’s protection and keeping. “They shall fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you.” Would you rather have the friendship of the world, or the protection and power of God on your life? Think about it. You cannot have both, if you are going to be a preacher of God’s Word.

Day 63 – A Bad Marriage and Restoration

How would you describe a “Bad Marriage”?  For some men it might be described as “Having a wife that does not do what I tell her”.  That would be domineering, power crazed husband.  To some women it could be having a husband who “doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper”.  Men, how would you feel if you had an unfaithful wife?  How would you feel if every time you turned around she was hanging out at the brothel, and participating with the prostitutes?

Most men would cry “Foul!” on that one I am sure.  Women frown on a husband who takes on multiple women too.  Women like their men to be faithful too.  It is, as a matter of fact, part of the Marriage vows, to have no other.  That goes for the husband and the wife.

My reading this morning was Hosea 3 – 14 and Joel 1-3.  Hosea was a prophet who was told by God to marry “wife of whoredoms”.  Now this is a little difficult to understand seeing how God forbade his men from marrying unclean women.  However, we do see God in some places telling His prophets to do strange, and unusual things.  Isaiah was to parade “naked” through the streets (Isaiah 20).  He had Ezekiel laying on his side for several days eating food prepared with cow dung, and had first told him to use human dung (Ezekiel 4).  Now God tells Hosea to marry a whore.

Hosea is to be a picture of Israel’s departure from the LORD.  Israel has committed adultery, whoredom against God, and God in His love, mercy and grace calls out for them to come back to Him.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.   And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”  Hosea 2:14-15 (KJV)

I realize this was not part of my reading today, but it is part of Hosea.  If you will, remember the “valley of Achor”.  It was the place where Achan had hidden contraband under his tent and brought judgment upon the nation of Israel after they had conquered Jericho (Joshua 7 and look at verse 26).  You could even say of the word “allure” above that God had in mind, “romancing” Israel back to Himself.  He has loved her with an everlasting love.  What better romance can that be?

I have heard the prophecy of Hosea referred to as the Old Testament’s “gospel of John”, particularly “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

One of the things we can see in the reading of Hosea is that God does not love blindly.  You have heard the phrase, “Love is blind”.  God’s love is not blind.  I believe it is in front of our National Justice Department that there is an statue of what is often referred to as “Lady Justice” (Probably showing my ignorance here), and it is of a woman holding scales in her hands while blind folded; giving us a picture of justice being blind.  God’s love nor justice is blind.  He loves seeing clearly the sins, faults and failures of the one He loves.  He judges justly as well without a blind fold.

That is what makes His love so powerful and wonderful.  He loves despite our sin.

God says to Israel through the prophet Hosea,

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him.  I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.   His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.  They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” 14:4-7

Yes!  You could say Hosea had a “Bad Marriage”, but he also followed God’s plan and restored that marriage.  It was based on open eyes, seeing clearly, and loving his bride anyway; alluring her back to himself.  What a wonderful, holy, love.

The gift of Christ on the cross is the marvelous gift of God’s wonderful love.  Jesus Christ bore our iniquities on His cross, took our sins upon Himself, and paid the price that was owed to God for our sins.  By His bodily resurrection we are justified by God forever.  You cannot find a stronger love than that.

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – The Family

This will be the final article on the Articles of our Statement of Faith, called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.

This Article was added to the 1963 version of the BF&M in the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.  It was a needed article.  It clarifies where we as Southern Baptists stand on family issues.  It does make clear that marriage is to be one man and one woman, thus ruling out homosexual or same sex marriage and/or conduct, and all sexual immorality.

The family is the foundational institution which God created from the beginning.  God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, and He created the woman from the rib of Adam, making her his wife, friend, confidant, and lover.  The family was instituted before the Church, it was instituted before human government; thus it is an integral part of humanity and godliness.

Here is our Statement of Faith on “The Family”:

“XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.”

This Article shows the order for the Biblical/Christian family.  If there is to be order in any business, church, government, or organization; there will of necessity be leaders who will be designated to make decisions based on recommendations from others.  The same is true in families.  God has ordained that the man be the “Head of the wife”, as Christ is the “Head of the Church” (Ephesians 5:22-23), and I like the way this is worded in the BF&M statement, “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”; especially “…to the servant leadership of her husband…”.  Men this is not a matter of having your way.  It is a matter of love, and “Servant leadership”.

This Article also deals with the children, and their discipline.  One of my thoughts on the things we give our children is, and I have often told others; “The best thing we can give our kids, is to let them see Dad loving and cherishing their Mother”.  A marriage should never be divided by the children.  The marriage came first, in the Biblical situation, and you will be living with your spouse for the rest of  your life.  That should not be so of your children.  They are to go out from your home and make a life for themselves.

In the healthy, godly home there will be no abusive situation.

-T.A.

Ignorance Of Scripture

“Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,  Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.’
‘Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.   And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.   And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.   In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.   And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?   For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.   And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?   He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.”  Mark 12:18-27 (KJV)

IGNORANCE OF SCRIPTURE.

Remember the Sadducee’s did not believe in the spiritual.  They did not believe in angels, and I suppose even the devil himself, nor did they believe in a resurrection of the dead.  Everything is material.  If you look at it that way, they could not, really, even believe in God.  He is Spirit.  So, this question and story they tell is to try and get Jesus twisted up and “confused”.  They are trying to show people that He is a fraud.  With Jesus it does not work.

It is no wonder that they are ignorant of Scripture.  Not believing in the spiritual world, and most likely in God, why would they want to know the Word of God.  The Sadducees accepted only the writings of Moses.  The “Prophets” meant nothing to them, and that is why they and the Pharisees did not get along, except at times in political matters.  It makes me wonder how they viewed the “disappearance” of Enoch in the fifth chapter of Genesis; the plagues in Egypt; the crossing of the Red Sea; the provision of water from the Rock; the daily provision of “Manna” from heaven; the judgments of the family of Korah by the ground opening up and swallowing them and all who followed them, the serpents in the camp because of excessive complaining, and their deliverance by the lifting up of the bronze serpent on a pole.  These are all in the books which Moses wrote, and they have to do with the spiritual power who made them come about.

The hypothetical question posed by the Sadducees was based on what is called Levirate marriage.  In Deuteronomy 25:5-6 we see the law of Moses giving the levirate marriage law, and where the question of the Sadducees came from.  According to their story a man married a wife, and died without having children,  the second brother took her to wife, and so on until they all had her as wife with no child.  Their question,  “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?”  My question, Who said they would be in the resurrection?  At least the first one.

Not knowing the Scripture is a sad state for these men of the Sadducees.  They were supposedly knowledgeable of the first five books of Scripture, but they would not believe the spiritual, nor anything having to do with resurrection – living again.  I suppose they must have thought that anything having to do with “Living forever” only meant in a continued family after one’s death, or something.

Anyway Jesus said, “God is the God of the living.”

There is a great tragedy in being ignorant of Scripture.  One can miss out on eternity with Jesus Christ, and/or be the cause of others missing out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – One Through Twelve

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE QUESTION AS A TRAP FOR JESUS.

“1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”  Mark 10:1-12 (KJV)

This question and answer is a very important one for the 21st century and all centuries ahead.  How we view marriage will affect the society and culture we live in.  When God and His Word are honored, obeyed, and heeded then love and respect for others will be prominent in the marriage, home with the children and in governments.

Though this question is put to Jesus to trap Him, it is one Jesus answered, and no other answer is valid, but that of Jesus.  Always looking for a way out, instead of a way to improve, or to make a relationship better; is a cowards way.  The best way is not the easy way, and because something is hard does not make it the wrong way.  Let no one think that God approves of divorce and remarriage.  As a matter of fact He still hates it.

In Matthew’s account (19: 3); the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked the question this way, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”  In asking the question it shows what mentality the Pharisees were of.  It was the belief and practice of that day that a man could “Put away” [divorce] his wife for what ever reason he desired.  If she burnt the toast one morning he could divorce her.  If she looked cross eyed at him he could give her a writing of divorce, and send her hiking out the door of his home.

Here is what the Old Testament says of this,

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.  Deut 24:1-2 (KJV)”.

The idea of this law was to protect the woman from a life of torment, loneliness, and poverty.  Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.” Mark 10:5 .  The “God idea” of marriage was one woman, one man, for a lifetime.   Due to the sin in mankind’s heart God gave provision for divorce.

We must remember that by Old Testament law adultery was punishable by death.  Any man or woman found guilty of adultery was subject to public stoning, unto death.  Who ever, for no  reason other than a “want” of change divorces their spouse  and marries another is guilty of “adultery”.  That is the message Jesus is giving to these Pharisees.  Thus, showing them the fallacies of their beliefs, and teachings that divorce was okay, no matter the reason.  It is important for us in this day to remember what God says in Malachi about divorce;

“Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”  Mal 2:15-16 (KJV)

J. C. Ryle gives us three rules for marriage,

“The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it.” (Eph. 5:25, 26.)”

Let us strengthen our nation, our cities, and our churches by strengthening our faith in God, and His Word; and let’s begin at home in our marriages by loving our spouse with the heart of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD… My Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalms 23:1-6 (KJV)

There is safety, security, and strength in the Lord.  Put your faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave;  today.

-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

Just A Thought 12/30/08

There are many questions, and at times many accusations, and arguments over the issue of marriage.  Biblically, marriage is between one man, and one woman “until death do we part”.  The issue of same sex or homosexual marriage is playing a large part in that definition today.

As a Christian I take the Biblical view of marriage, and will until the Lord returns to take me home with Him.  A question comes to my mind, however, “Why has marriage been so cheapened, so degraded?”, and I must answer that with this.

The divorce rate is around 50 percent.  That sounds awful to me.  Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.  Is that what is meant by that statistic?  If so, that is truly terrible, and a shame to be attached to something that God has ordained. 

There is something that makes the matter even worse to me, and that is the divorce rate among those who profess to be “Christian”.  It is at the same rate, and maybe even higher.  It seems that many Christians have bought into the “Me” lie.  They may not admit it, but live as though their living life is all about “Me”, and there is no surrender, no commitment, no loyalty to the spouse (husband or wife).

Let me ask this question, “Who has really cheapened marriage; those who have no commitment, or the issue of same sex marriage?”  I dare say that had we Christians stood firm on faithful marriages, and committed ourselves to our own wife or husband, then there would not be the issue and debate of same sex marriage.

Here is the Biblical idea for marriage.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22); and “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).  When these are followed there will be happiness in the marriage, along with joy and peace.

Just my thoughts for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Society Double Talk

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

Isaiah has addressed three other “Woes”. The first woe in verse 8 tells us they were practicing a modern action of many – “Grab all you can, and can all you grab”, and it does not matter who gets hurt. The second woe was against those who lived their lives as just a party; living a life of debauchery and rebellion against the Holy One of Israel. The third woe is against all those who just parade their sin before all, and just beg God to show Himself in judgment; mockingly provoking the justice of the Holy God.

The above verse is one that also fits very well with our society in the good old USA today. “It depends on what the meaning of ‘Is’ is”; that is one phrase we have heard from so called leaders of our near past. It also use to be that when we heard the word “Gay” it meant someone who was happy and cheerful; but now it is a term for a sin of perversion.

God in His Word tells us to stand against immorality of all kinds. Today when we stand against the sin of sodomy we are called, and I should say very unkindly, “Homophobic”. “Homo” having to do with the sodomites, and “Phobic” meaning fearful. There is no fear toward the sodomites as far as I am concerned. I am fearful of what is happening to our Country, our State, the cities and the world, because of these acts. Marriage is cheapened when a man can marry a man or a woman marries a woman. If I speak out against such godless rebellion I am wrong. “Good is evil, and evil is good”.

It is good for a man to be so intolerant as to tell how bad the Christian’s are. It is bad for the Christian, even in the love of Jesus Christ, to say that Jesus is the only way to God and eternal life. There are new words for old sins. Take for example; Adultery is now an affair; Fornication is now just premarital sex, or cohabiting; Sodomy is an alternative lifestyle, as is bisexuality, transsexuality, etc.; Drunkenness is a disease, as is depression; you get the picture.

The word is “WOE”. That is destruction to those who practice these things. There is another word that has been forgotten, and that is REPENT. Turn from your life of sin and rebellion against God. Trust His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He will change your vocabulary and give you a new dictionary.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Honor In Marriage

The following article is one I wrote this morning as a devotion for Wings As Eagles.  It strikes me though as a message that needs to get out as much as possible, so I am posting it here as well.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4-6 (KJV)

Taking control of your own body by the Spirit of God, and keeping yourself pure before God; was the lesson for the previous study.  Some seem to think that we have no control over our “feelings” so we should just let them fly, or let them loose.  Sadly, that is how fights and wars eventually begin.  That is also how many “unwanted” babies are murdered in the womb or born and abused and neglected.

The Christian life is a different life.  When a man, woman, boy or girl meets Jesus Christ and gives their lives to Him; they do not give with the mentality that they can live “However I please”; but with a new heart of, “What can I do that will glorify Jesus?”  The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Whether, therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

We look at our present society in the USA, and when 80 percent of USA citizens claim to be Christians; 50 percent of Christian marriages are ending in divorce.  There is something drastically wrong.  We can rant and rave all we want about homosexual unions going to desecrate marriage; it seems to me that we already have by divorcing so easily.  If marriage was sacred to Christians there would be less divorces, and there would not be all this drivel about homosexual marriage.  Before anyone goes balistic with me about this NO! I am not for homosexual marriages.  Let’s not blame them for the loss of sacredness of the marriage union; it has already been lost.  Let’s pray that we can begin healing hurting Christian marriages.  Let’s pray that a Christian husband who has entered an adulterous relationship will have his eyes opened to the sin he is commiting against God and his wife and family; repent of his sin, seek forgiveness from God and his wife and family, and be restored.  Let’s pray that wife who is thinking of leaving her husband and children because of some quack she has met on the internet will repent, confess her sin and seek forgiveness and be restored to her husband and family, and most of all to fellowship with God.

Christian you are not an animal who is not in control of your thoughts, your feelings, or your body.  You have the Spirit of God within you.  If you do not have the Spirit of God in you, showing you, convicting you of what is right and wrong, then you don’t know God, His Son Jesus, and are yet in your sins.  (Read Romans 8:9-11).  The people whose hearts do not know God through Jesus Christ follow their flesh, the desires of their bodies, and condemn themselves.  They are already condemned in their sin (John 3:18).  If you profess Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and can live in a sinful, shacking up, adulterous, life of fornication, and do it without guilt or remorse, then, you most likely have never truly trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  You are living after your passions and lust, and not after the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Professing Christian men taking another man’s wife.  You thief.  You will pay.  You are taking someone who does not belong to you.  Professing Christian wife; you are sleeping with another woman’s husband.  You thief.  You take someone who does not belong to you.  The writer of Proverbs writes,

“Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.” Proverbs 6:25-35 (KJV)

Likened to a thief, one who steals another’s spouse will pay, and the payment will be tremendous.  Paul writes above,  “That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”  Live to serve and glorify God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The way of the world and the flesh is evil, and is the way of destruction.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Being Ready In Delay

Matthew 25:1-13

As I have studied the Olivet Discourse there have been several questions which have crossed my mind. Some of those questions I have written down, some I remember without writing them down, and some just continue to come to my mind. There is one thing I want to be sure of and that is that I interpret what Jesus said correctly, and “Rightly divide the word of truth” as Paul taught Timothy.

In studying throughout the Gospel according to Matthew, I am carrying the theme; because I see it in the writing, the genealogy, the tone, etc.; that of JESUS THE KING. There were some who wanted to force Him to be king; however it was not the time. There were some who refused to see Him as the King, and hated Him. The theme, JESUS THE KING, continues throughout this study of the Olivet Discourse.

Some of the questions I have asked myself in this study are obvious to most men who study the Word. First of all, To whom is Jesus speaking? Secondly, what is the Abomination of desolation? Third, when will this take place? Fourth, has it already taken place or is it yet a future event? Those are some of the questions I asked concerning the twenty fourth chapter.

When I came to chapter twenty five I asked some more.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Matthew 25:1-4 (KJV)

The first question I asked here is “Who are the ‘ten virgins’?” Secondly, “What are the lamps and what is the oil?” Thirdly, “Where is the Bride?”; “Has the groom already came and taken her to his home, and now has come for the wedding party?” My last question for here, but not exhausted, is “Could these ‘ten virgins’ represent Israel and Judah, and that 50 percent of them will believe Jesus?” Like I said they are only questions. Most of this study is going to come from my own heart, I pray fed by the Word and the Spirit of God, and not from commentaries – though that is not a bad thing – and I pray that there will nothing be written here that will lead any astray from God and His Word.

The last time I presented a study where Jesus had referred to the ‘kingdom of heaven’ was in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. There are about seven parables which Jesus gives, and each of them (except the first) begin with, “The kingdom of heaven…” Luke mentions the “Kingdom of God”, and some ask the question; “Is there a difference between the ‘kingdom of heaven’, and ‘the kingdom of God’?” Of all the explanations I have heard on this; those who say there is a difference, and those who say there is no difference; I find confusing. It seems to me that they are dealing with the same “Kingdom”, and Luke was seeing the kingdom as being overseen by the Father, and Matthew seeing it after “All things were under His feet…”, after the cross and resurrection; and being ruled by our Lord and Savior.

In the first five verses of this chapter we have “ten virgins”. Virgins are seen as a symbol or type of purity. Here they represent what in the modern day wedding would be called bridesmaids. The largest wedding party in which I was a participant, was made of of one bride, one groom, six bridesmaids, and six groomsmen. My brother and I were two of the six groomsmen. The way I have understood the Jewish wedding is like this: The vows have been made a year or so before the consummation of the couple. Time is given for the groom to return to his home, prepare a place for he and his bride to live, and have a means of living the first year together without being apart, in order to get to know one another better, and grow in love with each other. After that year of the groom working, and preparing a home he would return for her at an unappointed time, and she was to be ready; the sound of the herald crying, “The bridegroom is coming, the bridegroom is coming” was all the warning she received. That brings me to the question, “In this picture, where is the bride?” Has she already been taken to the home? and now it is time to bring the wedding party together for the Marriage supper?

Leaving that final question unanswered, for now; I will proceed with the study. The ten virgins representing a people who should be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom; however, only half of them are ready; one half having their lamps and oil with there lamps, and half having the lamps but no oil. In this there is another question: What is this oil? Oil is necessary for the burning of the lamps, needed to provide light should the bridegroom come in the night. Some have said this is the symbol or picture or type of the Spirit of God [Holy Spirit]. If this represents the Holy Spirit does that mean the five lose the presence of the Spirit? Does it mean that the Spirit of God can be purchased since we are told later, “…but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy…”?

It seems to me that this parable likens the ten virgins to the nation of Israel, and/or maybe Israel and the nations. It could be Israel and the nations, since the number 12 seems to always represent Israel alone. In the events of chapter twenty four we looked at those signs and the times as being part of the time of Jacob’s trouble, or what is known to Christians as the Tribulation period. It seems that thought must continue here, and to be near or at the end of the Tribulation. If that is the case, then the bride is in the home of the bridegroom, and he is returning for the prepared wedding party to take them home for the wedding supper.

At any rate, there were five wise and five foolish. Five were prepared and five were unprepared. Could it be that only half of the survivors of the Tribulation will be going to the Wedding/Marriage Supper of the Lamb? What of the other half. I have written on that a little in the previous study (Matthew 24:36-44); ” Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Here is the paragraph where I dealt with that:

“On that day it seems there will be a separation which takes place in that moment; at least in that very day. Two working side by side – one will be left to live on in the kingdom of Jesus because of their faith in Him, and the other will perish. Matthew’s gospel mentions two men in the field, and two women at the mill, and would probably cover every situation of the workers in that time to come. It leaves us to understand that no gender, or workplace, is without the separation. One believes and is left to live on in the Kingdom or our Lord, while the unbelieving perish, and await the final judgment.”

On that day no one will be able to stand before the Lord without being prepared. Prepared in His grace. If the foolish virgins would have been ready they would not have left, and they would not have needed to go seek more oil. When Jesus comes again to this earth, there will be no second chances for being prepared. What happens to the five foolish virgins, or the half who live through the Tribulation yet are not prepared for His coming? They will perish. The believing will continue to live in the Millennial reign of our Lord and Savior.

As Christians today, we must live faithfully, always be ready; for we do not know when our Lord comes. Even when it seems that He has delayed or is not coming; He will come.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matthew 25:5-6 (KJV)

In these two verses we find the five foolish, and five wise virgins sleeping. There is nothing wrong with sleeping in its place. There was one occasion where Jesus chided Peter, James, and John for sleeping when they should have been praying (Matthew 26:36-46). You would think that people who know the coming of the Bridegroom is near would be awake, alert, and waiting in anticipation for His appearing, but that does not seem to be the case here.

There are those who have changed their beliefs due to the fact that Jesus has not returned yet. I am sure most of them would not agree with me on that, but they have grown weary of the wait, and have thus fell asleep, and so they believe now, that the Lord has already returned, and that His kingdom is in charge of the present world administration, economy, and power; or something like that. Or they believe that through God’s kingdom on earth [the Church] things will get better and better, and then Jesus will return. That, it seems to me, to be asleep at the wheel.

The herald of the bridegroom has come with the shout, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh”; He is near even at the door (Matthew 24:33). Waking from their slumber and sleep they are practically stunned to find that the bridegroom is coming. If they weren’t then why were they not prepared. They never believed he was coming. Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 13,

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:11-14 (KJV)

The cry of the herald was, “Go out to meet him”. Being unprepared the foolish cannot, therefore leave to find their preparations. While they are away searching, the bridegroom comes and goes home without them. The lesson in this for the Christian of today is don’t be unprepared for the coming of the Lord. Don’t give up on His coming. He said, “I will come again”. Be a part of those who love the appearing of the Lord, and await it with anticipation.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 (KJV)

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 (KJV)

The reason for using James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 is for anticipation of our Lord’s return. Anyone who does not love the coming/appearing of our Lord; most likely does not know Him, is out to sleep and slumber and will be very rudely awakened one day to find themselves without preparation.

“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:7-10 (KJV)

Jesus has said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 (KJV). The presence and gift of the person and power of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Christian will be like rivers of living water, having an effect in the lives of other people around us. Springs send forth water to the nourishment of the recipients down stream from them. The recipients down stream cannot produce the spring water themselves. The water flows from God through the spring cave, and the only way for the recipients to be producers of this water is to become a spring producing the water, and that can only be done by God.

The foolish virgins ask the wise to share their oil. They cannot share in that sense because it would leave them short. Every believer needs their own oil, their own preparations; their own personal relationship with the Lord, and their own labor of love, or the good works which follow their faith. It will be no different on that last day when the Lord comes again.

If this is reference to the nations of the world and Israel together, as the possible wedding party, then we need to conclude that only half the survivors will enter that Marriage Supper. According to the Revelation, chapter nineteen the “bride has made herself ready”, and he continues, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Why, Oh why will people not hear the call? Why will people not realize that sin has been dealt a death blow by the cross of Jesus Christ? Why will we Christians not proclaim the coming of the Lord, warning the lost dying world of our coming King to judge and put away sin forever? That day will come and the door will be “shut” forever.

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:11-13 (KJV)

Could it be that on that day of the “Marriage feast” there will be those survivors show up to say, “Let us in. We too believe. We too survived the tribulation – the time of Jacob’s trouble?” The Lord says, “I know you not”. Jesus has said before, “I never knew you. Depart from Me ye workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23; Luke 13:27).

It is one thing to say, “I know the Lord”. It is quite something else to know and say, “The Lord knows me” and for Him to say, “I know you. Come on in” on that great day when the Lord comes. How do we know we are known by Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them” (John 10:27) and He said also, “I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine” (John 10:14). So both knowing Him, and being known by Him is of the utmost importance. You cannot have the one without the other.

Since we do not know the day, or the hour in which Jesus will come again; no matter how slow the approaching may seem to us; we must be ever vigilant to live, work, play, worship and praise in the name of the Lord. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Only those who know Him and are known by Him can do all for His glory. Let’s do it whether, in our thinking He delays His coming, or not; all for His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship
 
 

 

Curtain Rods

You may have already read this or heard it somewhere, but I thought it might be good to laugh today.

CURTAIN RODS—- PRICELESS

She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.

 

On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.

 

On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candle-light, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.

 

When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of the curtain rods.

 

She then cleaned up the kitchen and left. When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.

 

Then slowly, the house began to smell.

 

They tried everything; cleaning, mopping and airing the place out.

 

Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were steam cleaned.

 

Air fresheners were hung everywhere.

 

Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked

 

People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house.

 

The maid quit.

 

Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.

 

A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house.

 

Word got out and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls.

 

Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

 

The ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going.

 

He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

 

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.

 

She agreed and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork.

 

A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home…….. .

 

And to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!!!!!!

We all need a good laugh occasionally.  God bless you and have a great day in the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Beheading a Prophet

“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.” Matthew 14:1-13 (KJV)

The third sermon given by Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew has just been delivered by our Master. After the parables of chapter 13 Jesus returns to His home town, and they will not receive Him for who He is. They are too familiar with Him as a child who grew up in the area. This does not mean that He was known as an “honery or mean and vicious, rude or trouble maker child”, but that they are familiar with the family, and that they saw nothing special about Him in His youth and childhood. Part of this may have been due to their own blindness, because after all Mary was a mother before the wedding celebration.

The fame of Jesus had grown though. Herod had heard of Him. This is not Herod the Great who is responsible for killing the male children 2 years and under after the birth of Jesus. This is Herod the Tetrarch.

Mat 14:1 – At that time Herod the tetrarch,…. Not Herod the Great, in whose reign Christ was born, and who slew the infants of Bethlehem, but his son; this was, as the Jewish chronologer rightly observes, ‘Herod Antipater, whom they call טיתרקי, “the tetrarch”; the son of Herod the First, and brother of Archelaus, and the third king of the family of Herod.’” From John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, e-Sword edition.

Herod has already put John the Baptist to death, and then, we are given more of the details of the matter. He supposed that Jesus was John risen from the dead. He sure wasn’t with the news of the day, or that would not have even crossed his mind. Herod is most likely overcome with guilt for his murderous action of beheading the prophet. John had directly proclaimed to Herod that to take his brother Philip’s wife was an act of adultery; and because of this had him imprisoned. He was fearful to have him put to death, because he feared the people; they thought John was a prophet, which he was.

What he would not do because of fear of a crowd he was able to do through the lust of his heart. The power of the lust of the heart fueled and fed by the dance of the daughter of the wife he had gotten by adultery, which the prophet had warned him of was also bringing on guilt. As it should.

The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God’s people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.

—Matthew Henry Concise

Parties, especially those which are known for having liquor, drugs, and dance will be parties where the debaucherous activities go unbridled, and due to mind altering “spirits” will end in the changing and/or ending of lives. You can almost be certain that this party was laden with an unlimited supply of liquor; either wine or strong drink [hard liquor]. The party which Herod orchestrated would end in the ending of the prophet’s physical life, and a life ridden with guilt and fear for Herod, and maybe for all those who had a hand in the death of the man who warned them of their sin. This adulterous wife of Herod knew the heart of her “husband”; that is was filled and fueled by unbridled lust. She too hated John the Baptist. She hated the prophet for his message of adultery against them both. She wanted him dead and would get it by any means possible; even to the lusty use of her own teenage daughter. (There is nothing which tells us the age of her daughter, but still being under the care of her mother one would assume that she is still at home and at least in her teen years.)

John the Baptist had become outraged by the flagrant sin of a leader of the nation of Israel. There was first of all a very incestuous problem within the family with girls marrying their father’s brother, etc. This was the case with Herodias. Philip was her uncle – her father’s brother – and that being the case Herod Tetrarch would have also been her uncle. This thing was being done openly and no one was challenging it or crying out against it; but John did, and was imprisoned and later lost his life because of it.

Where is the courage for our day Christian pastor, preacher of the Gospel? There are people in many of our churches who are committing the act of adultery by unlimited divorce, and remarriage. For no legitimate reason they leave one to go to another. Where are the cries of adultery. One pastor I know and who was my pastor for a while, about six years, once said, and I am not sure this is verbatim, “I was reading this about John the Baptist, realized he lost his head for calling it adultery, therefore I have no business performing marriages of people who have been divorced”. As far as I know he has stuck to that, and I have taken that as my stand as well. Not too long ago I was having a conversation with an older pastor concerning divorce and remarriage. I told him my stand and that I had held to that since near the beginning of my preaching. He told me, “If one of your daughters or sons get a divorce and want to remarry, and they come to you to do the ceremony, you will change your thinking.” I told him “No I won’t, because my kids have more respect for me than to ask, and even if they did my answer would be NO!” My oldest son told me, “I would be too ashamed to come and ask.” When you take stands like that you will lose favor with family, relatives, and friends. Whom are we called to please, God or man, God or family when it comes to morality, and right and wrong? It grieves my heart to tell them that I cannot, or will not, but it is a conviction that I have and will continue to hold. It grieves me even more that someone who knows me, and my conviction would bother to ask.

The Baptist chose God and His Word, even at the expense of imprisonment and his life. We, if we are to be the people of God can choose no lesser way.

The news of the death of the prophet got to Jesus, and it grieved His heart, and He went away to a deserted place for Himself and the disciples. This departure seems to come after the disciples had spent several days out preaching the gospel of the kingdom; by reading this in its context, and following, Mark 6:30-31, and Luke 9:1-10 the departure to a “deserted place” was a different time than for the beheading. Remember John the Baptist was the one who came before Jesus to prepare the way. Are we preparing the way for Christ’s return as He has called us to do so? He is coming back. What condition will the hearts and lives of those to whom we have preached be in? What is the condition of our own heart and life toward God?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Get Out of Babylon

Get Out of Babylon

 

There were several Jews who had chosen to remain in the places of their captivity. They had grown comfortable, even complacent, and apathetic. They had made homes for themselves, but were going to be coming under judgment if they did not get out of “Babylon”. God was about to pour out, to rain down His judgment on the nation(s) that had so badly treated His people.

The following verses speak of the then captive people of “Babylon”, but even looks further into the future of the nation of Israel. It is future even of today’s world and time.

Hear the word of the Lord:

“Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,’ says the LORD: ‘for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,’ says the LORD. ‘Up, Zion! Escape you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.’ For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations, which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.’” Zechariah 2:6-9 (NKJV).

There is surely more here in these verses than just a warning to the people in Babylon of Zechariah’s day to flee their current captors. The phrase, “I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven…” seem to imply they are all over the world. Babylon would have been most of the known world of that time. They were, or had been the dominant world power, but that was about to quickly subside. It had already fallen to the Persians, and would soon fall to the Greeks, and then be conquered by the Romans. God’s people were to be back in their homeland before Babylon fell.

The glory of the LORD would be seen in the fall of Babylon. Israel is the “apple of God’s eye”, and to touch His people outside of God’s hand of approval was to bring judgment on themselves. The glory of the LORD was not, or had not been seen in their captivity, but He was about to free them all, send them home, and secure His glory before the eyes of the people of Babylon and the watching world.

In procuring the glory of the LORD, the Babylonians became a spoil to the ones who had formerly been their servants. Remember when Israel left Egypt. The people gave them gold, silver, jewels, and precious gems. They were given much bounty. The same is true as they came out of Babylon.

If we will look at the present state of Jewish people we would see that many are currently in the land of Israel, and almost under duress by the nations of the world. There are also many of the Jewish people who are still all over the world. Many live here in the United States of America, many in Russia, Canada, and other parts of the world. They are “spread abroad like the four winds of heaven…”, but there will come a day, and probably very soon, when God will call them all to return to their promised land. They will receive spoils from those they have served, and then the world will know that the “LORD is God”; or as the prophet Ezekiel says it, “Then they will know that I am the LORD”; written some sixty plus times in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

There is a word from the LORD in these verses for today’s Christian as well. At a time when there seems to be a spirit of mingling with the sins of the world, an evil of co-habitating with wickedness whether it be in couples living together before marriage, or just going along to get along this is an evil that has come into the Christian family, and we do not hear the Word of the LORD, which the apostle Paul has spoken, “Come out from among them, and be separate,,’ saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17). The false teachers are telling us we have to be like the world to win the lost of the world; but that is a lie from hell. Here we are told clearly, specifically to “Come out from among them…”. Hear the Word of the Lord, and “Get Out of Babylon”.

My what a mighty and powerful God we serve. His Word is coming to pass. Will you join Him in it, ie., in His work; or will you bow out? As for me and my house we will join Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian and Beverage Alcohol

The following articles are not new.  I wrote them a few months ago at The Watchman’s Trumpet, and will be updating and moving them to this site.  They will be posted on Wednesday of each week.

Alcohol and the Christian

 

In the coming days, the Lord willing, I will be writing some articles of alcoholic beverage in the Bible. It is not, nor will it be, my purpose to condemn, but to inform and instruct.

With the way alcoholic drink is being almost revered, and then, accepted by many Christians as an acceptable beverage for having with a meal, or to cool down after a hard days work; is it any wonder that we have families falling apart, children on drugs, and a powerless church. A church who will not stand against the tide of immorality.

A few years ago I had started being more agreeable with many concerning beverage alcohol. After a few years of Bible study, and reading, and seeing the peril and moral dilemmas of beverage alcohol my views have changed. It will be my goal, however to be Biblical in this approach. I can guarantee that my belief will not change. I hate beverage alcohol. I will say too, that I will pray for the leadership of the Spirit of God. I fully know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ who will not view it as I do, but I do see their view as being wrong. They are none the less my brother and sister in Christ.

Let me say right hear. There is no commendation for drinking beverage alcohol in the Bible, but there is commendation given for not drinking it.

First, Let me give you…

A Logical Reason

 

Before I begin dealing with Biblical reasons for abstaining from beverage alcohol, let me give you just one logical reason.

There are many parents who warn their children to stay away from drugs. There are legal and illegal drugs that they have been warned of. They are warned not to have anything to do with them.

At the same time some of these parents are warning their children they themselves have the drug of beverage alcohol in their homes, go to bars and drink, to parties and drink. Maybe you say, “Well, I only drink one little wine glass”, and what does this say to your child about the doing of drugs?

When you have the most dangerous drug on the street in your house, can you honestly look your child in the eyes and tell him/her to refrain from using drugs. Your drug, Mom and Dad, has killed far more on the highways of our land, ruined more homes, broken up many more marriages, killed more spouses, than these other drugs have.

Now, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, with that glass of wine in your hand, “Don’t use drugs”. Doesn’t that seem even a bit hypocritical? That is how your child will see you.

Just think about it.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Wonderful Love of God

The Wonderful Love of God

There are far too many times I have heard of people, even Christians, saying; “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament”, or they say; “People of the Old Testament were saved differently than the people of the New Testament time.” My usual response to that is; “That just isn’t so”.

In reading in the book of Genesis we find that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”. He did not earn his salvation it was by grace (Genesis 6:8). We find again in Genesis, “And he [Abram, ie., Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That same phrase is used to assure us that Abraham was not saved by works but by grace in Romans 4:1-4.

In looking in the book of Jeremiah the prophet proclaims the love or our God and Savior:

“They say, ‘if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ‘Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:1 (NKJV).

The prophet likens the people of Israel and Judah to a wife who has committed many adulteries, and abominations against her Husband who is God. According to law, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it was an unclean act for a man to have his previously divorced, remarried, divorced and to take her back to himself. It was considered a defilement of the promised land. God, though, seeing the uncleanness of His people calls them to repent and return to Him. Despite the fact of their many acts of treachery, adultery and spiritual adultery, their murder of small children and elderly people; God says, “I still love you. Return to Me.’

That is the grace of God displayed in the Old Testament. Saved and restored by God’s amazing and wonderful love and grace.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Most Precious Institution

A PRECIOUS UNION

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:27-28 and 31-32.

“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9.

We have been looking at THE LAW OF GOD AND THE MODERN MAN. We have come through six of the commandments of God four of which deal with our relationship with God, and the latter six dealing with our relationship to our fellow man. We have come to the seventh commandment which has to do with the husband and wife relationship. It is to be one of fideltiy, ie., being faithful to one’s spouse.

Sadly, this commandment has been broken too many times, even in the point Jesus makes in Matthew chapter five. The look of lust is an act of adultery. What male/man, in all honesty, can say, “I have not looked with lust at any woman”? Only Jesus could say that.

The Seventh Commandment deals with all sexual sins. Premarital sex is adultery against the future spouse and marriage. Extra-marital sex is adultery to the present marriage and the spouse. It is a betrayal of trust and confidence. One of the quickest ways to ruin a marriage is to commit adultery. Somewhere in most wedding vows is the words, “…Prefering no other…” or something similar. It not only breaks the promise you made to your spouse, it also breaks the promise you made to God. It does not matter if you had a church wedding or if you were wed in the courthouse, the promise was made before God. You have a relationship with another and you are guilty. Homosexuality is an abomination. Beastiality is an abomination and gross perversion. These latter two are still in the class of adulterous relationships, breaking God’s laws. There are no degrees of adultery.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by the paying of more taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

Adulterous Relationships Are Harmful. Adultery is against society. It breaks down the morality of a good society. Biblical morality has been completely rejected. Things once considered wrong are right, and what was right is now wrong (Isaiah 5:20). Teenage premarital sex is increasing. Homosexual activity is also a form of adultery, and is aggressively pursuing the right of marriage in our country. Thank God that the State Supreme Court of the State of Washington upheld the law declaring marriage is between a man and a woman (July 26, 2006).

When it comes to nations and people – a society which continues in this adulterous path are “Given up” by God (Rom. 1:24-27). It is against the nation. By a nation’s acceptance and tolerance of adultery – homosexuality and teenage sex it degrades the nation – “Sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). If this degradation continues, there will come a judgment on our nation unlike anything that has ever been seen. “Adultery is treason; the adulterer should be tried as a traitor to his nation”. UNKNOWN.

Adultery is against the race. It is against the human race. It is against every race of man.

Worst of all, adultery is against God. David, the man “After God’s own heart” committed the sin of adultery. He was confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-14). David confessed he had sinned against God (Ps. 51:1-5). David had lost his joy (Ps. 51:12-13). ADULTERY IS A SIN AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD.

In order to understand this issue of adultery we need to maybe, ask, What Is Adultery? The Old Testament seems to relegate it to a physical act alone. In the New Testament Jesus (See above verses) equates it to a look, and a thought – the lingering, longing look and thought that is fed (Matthew 5:27-28″. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15). The New Testament is much more powerful and condemning than the Old Testament law. Adultery becomes more than an act, but a look and a thought. The look and the thought is what leads to the actual act. Left to itself this law offers us no hope. We are guilty. We are condemned.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, The Seventh Commandment Is Valid Today. Matrimony is still a sacred institution and it is reserved for one man and one woman for a lifetime together, and can only be broken legitimately by death of one or the other. Adultery still affects lives and societies, governments, churches, and families in a detrimental way. God still judges adultery. There is forgiveness for adultery. When we love God, we will truly love our spouse, and loving God and spouse is stronger and more valuable than the law. That is this law written in the heart.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Results of Scheming

Results of Scheming

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” Genesis 16:4-6 (KJV)

With the scheming of Sarai, and Abram’s submission to his wife’s direction Abram had now become part of pagan practice concerning marriage. This is the second Bible example of a polygamous marriage. With Lamech (descendent of Cain – chapter 4:19) being the first. It was, however, practiced by the people of the nations. The first mention of polygamy in the Bible is that of the son of Cain, Lamech (Genesis 4:19). It was ordained by God for a man to have one wife, and men have violated that principle, even faithful men.

When Abram had taken Hagar to wife, and she conceived there was disdain in her heart for her mistress. She was now the one who was bearing the child of the patriarch of nations. She was now the one who was seen as the mother of the “promised child”, but it just was not true. The promised child would indeed be the child of Abram and Sarai, not one of the flesh.

There was resentment, and surely bitterness in Sarai’s heart toward Hagar; and it even seems that there was some toward Abram, even though the idea was her own.

It is for good reason that God has ordained that a man be the “husband of one wife”; and not just “One at a time” as some try and say. Even if we did not have the Scriptures giving us the good principles of marriage, common sense tells us that two women with one husband is going to cause problems. Sarai puts the blame of the ordeal on Abram, and Abram tells her to do what she will with Hagar. Whether Sarai lashed her, spoke very harshly to her, or both is not known. All we have is that “Sarai dealt hardly with her”. Hagar, then realizing that she did not have the “upper hand” in this family situation, then, leaves, and probably in a rush.

In most family situations where there is disharmony it is because of human frailty caused by sin and the flesh. Each of us desire to have our way, and not trust the Lord in the situations we face. When there is a godly family where there is disharmony; it is always due to the involvement of breaking godly guidance, advice, and counsel – just stepping outside the will of God. Going beyond the promise; getting ahead of God; trying to rush God into our thinking and timing. These will always end in fighting, because of the fleshly extensions.

What is the answer for stopping frustrating, fighting, situations in families? Follow God’s plan which is for each individual to hear God’s Word, be obedient to His Word; and should you find yourself outside His will; get back in it by confession of your sins and repentance. There may be need for giving forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from others.

Once Upon A Time…

…There was a young man with a wife and five young children.  He and the wife had been married for around 15 years.  One evening things became a little hot in the household between the husband and wife, and the husband did not like it so he slipped on his insulated coveralls, and walked out the door with the intention of never returning.

The weather outside was not real pleasant.  There was a slow steady, falling rain.   It was a little cool; even with the coveralls on.  There was a whole lot of anger, even some hatred, for what had been said.  He had said a few things himself that were not good concerning his wife.

In the cool and the rain he walked through the woods, down the hills, crossing branches which flowed with a little water.  All the time feeling sorry for himself, and still thinking in his mind, “I am not going back.  I will just keep going, and going, and live in the woods the rest of my life if I need to do so.”  He had no place to go, and he probably could have survived alone, and in the cool.

There was a decision this young man was needing to make.  It was a decision concerning his marriage, his wife whom he had loved and cherished for these 15 years.  There had never been another person come between the two of them.  There were no “affairs”.  Their lives together had been rough.  Struggling financially, spiritually, but growing in the Lord, on their journey together.  Now, however, things had suddenly changed.  He was done.  He could not handle the grief, the complaints, even his own.  He was not returning.

He reached an old hay barn, went inside, sat on the hay… and prayed.  The voice of the Lord spoke to his heart, and the question came to him, “Don’t you love her anymore?”  This required a decision.  Does he love her anymore?  Does he care for her at all?  Does he want to spend the rest of his life with her or not????

Thoughts flooded his mind.  The fifteen years, the five children, the love they had shared together as husband and wife.  Even the struggles they had shared together, though not pleasant, she had remained faithful to him.  By the time all these thoughts had flooded his mind the answer to that question, “Don’t you love her anymore?” seemed it deserved a good answer.  YES!!! Was the answer.

The young man got up off the hay, walked back to the house, asked his wife for forgiveness, and things were well again.  The young man was myself. 

I tell this story because we are filled with fires of emotion when we first wed.  Lust could be a better answer.  That fire that is sometimes called love is weak, and it will not endure the tests of the years.  You grow in love with one another.  You even get used to one another.  Love from God is much more than an emotion; it is a decision, an act of devotion.

When Paul the apostle wrote, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” this is the love he had in mind.  The love that abides forever.  The love that sticks through thick or thin.  It is the love that never fails.  That is the love of Jesus Christ for you.

By the grace of God 19 years has passed since that night.  We have now been husband and wife for 34 years, and to be honest with you our relationship has only improved.  I love that woman – my bride – more today than I did the day we were married.