I Will Have Mercy On Whom I Will Have Mercy

“What shall we say then? Unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’  So then not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’ Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? If God, willing to shew wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”  Romans 9:14-24  (KJB)

Reference: Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15; 2 Chronicles 20:6; 2 Timothy 2:20; Colossians 1:27

Our Hearts Burn Within Us

“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?’
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.’ And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread.” Luke 24:31-35  (KJB)

When we are first introduced to these two from Emmaus we are told, “But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him” (v. 16).  On the way the resurrected Lord spoke the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets, and taught them of the Christ.  It was not until He broke bread with them in their home that their eyes were opened.

Jesus disappears from their sight.  They get up from their table, and return to Jerusalem to find the others, and share with them about their personal encounter with Jesus.

As I read this, this morning, it was fresh and new to me like I was reading it for the first time.  Though nothing new was revealed to me, but it was like the Lord Jesus was very very near to me, and He always is, but like a refresher filling of the Spirit. He is near.  He is always near.

He is risen just as He said.  Remember the Scriptures.  They tell us of Him.  That is when our hearts burn within us.  Our hearts burn, yearning, longing, desiring to see our Lord, and to hear Him speak to us.  Is your heart burning for Him?  The fuel for the fire is the Scriptures.

Deliverance from the Evil, and from the Strange

The notes below are taken from the BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY.

Deliverance From the Evil and the Strange – Proverbs 2:10-22

Verses 10 – 11 –   “The reason this happens is that wisdom takes control of one’s mind or heart, and the knowledge of what is right becomes pleasant rather than distasteful. To the true believer, God’s commands are not irksome. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

2:11  Discretion, or the ability to make wise decisions, saves a person from many a “bad trip.” Sound judgment delivers us from involvement with wicked men. None of us realizes the extent to which we are daily preserved from spiritual, moral, and physical perils. The Christian enjoys a well-guarded life, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – Libronix Digital Library System

Verses 20 – 22 –  “Link verse 20 with verse 11. Wisdom preserves not only from evil men and the strange woman, but, on the positive side, it encourages companionship with those who are worthwhile and upright.

2:21, 22  Under the Law of Moses, men of integrity—the upright and the blameless—were rewarded with a secure place in the land of Canaan. When we come over to the NT, these material blessings in earthly places give way to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But the fact remains that righteousness and decency are rewarded in this life as well as in the life to come.
It is equally true that the wicked will be cut off from the land of blessing. There is no lasting inheritance there for the treacherous.”  Ibid.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Through the Bible – The Greater Prophet

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.’ And the LORD said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.’” Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Jesus, a prophet? Yes! But so much more than just a prophet. He is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke. Deuteronomy 34:10 tells us that when Moses had “died” (no man knowing his burial place) that “…There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” No one after Moses except for Jesus could have laid claim to speaking with God “face to face”.

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

He was spared death as a baby (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-23);
He renounced a royal court (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-27);
He had compassion on His people (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36);
He made intercession for the people (Deuteronomy 9:18; Hebrews 7:25);
He spoke with God face to face (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7);
He was the mediator of a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7). These are from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

Jesus a prophet? Definitely. So much more than a prophet; the Prophet, the Lord, The Savior, the Redeemer of mankind; the Son of God, God the Son. The Mediator of a Greater Covenant – The Gospel of grace.

The LORD and His Truth

“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

Stephen was one of the seven men chosen by the Jerusalem Church to serve the people (Acts 6:5).  He was a man full of the Holy Spirit, loving the Lord Jesus and His Word with a passion to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all.

This event in the life of Stephen begins in chapter six shortly after the Church ordains him as one of the seven.  He begins telling the religious elite, the priests and all about their origin as a nation (vv. 1-8a); he reminds them of their envy and their bondage (vv. 8b-36); he told them of Jesus of whom Moses and the Prophets proclaimed (vv. 37-53);  he told them of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Savior whom they had rejected, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father;  he taught them of the forgiveness of Christ upon the cross (vv. 57-60) by showing it himself as he died, saying, “Lay not this sin to their charge”.

Why did Stephen die?  Why was he stoned to death by an angry mob?  Because of his love for God, His Son Jesus, His faith in Him, and His love for the Word of God which is the Truth of God.

Love for God means loving His Word, His truth, and that comes through the faith of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

You do not know, nor trust, nor love God the Father or God the Son unless you love His truth.  See what Jesus said in John 14:21.

Being the Doorkeeper with God as Our Shield

“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of Thine anointed. For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.” Psalm 84:9-12 (KJV)

This Psalm was written for the “sons of Korah” (Numbers 16). Korah was a leader of rebellion against Moses and Aaron, along with Dathan and Abiram. Because of their rebellion they perished and much of their families also.

The Psalmist writes to those sons of Korah who did not participate in the rebellion. God is a shield to all those who trust in Him. The “shield” is also the king whom God has anointed.

Note that the Psalmist is saying that one day as a doorkeeper in the house of God is better than a thousand days in the tents of wickedness; even if with the wicked you are given the best amenities, and made wealthy by it.

God, the LORD, is our sun and shield; our light, our protector. It matters not what the world or the SCOTUS throws at us. The LORD of the Universe still reigns, His laws, and institutions are still up and going. What He said in Genesis 1 – Revelation 22 still stands.

“Blessed is the man [the individual] that trusteth in Thee”. The trust we show in YOU, O Lord is by believing your word. When we turn our backs against Your word, we turn our backs on You.

People of the Earth… Know that the LORD is God

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

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

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

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

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

Let Us Go Up At Once

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:30-33 (KJV)

Before these verses we find Moses sending twelve men to check out the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb have returned with the other ten, excited about what they have seen. To them the possibilities are wonderful. Look a the cluster of grapes they have returned with; so large it is carried between two men on a pole.

God had promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants that had become a great number of people. At the time of this venture, they had been in the wilderness about two years. Had they came back believing as Caleb and Joshua; rather than in unbelief they would have crossed into the land much earlier than they did.

God gave them a promise. The ten did not believe it. Two saw the promise and the possibility. Ten saw the problems, and the power of the enemy.

I have been often quick to judge these people, but now I have discovered that I tend to be like the ten who were unbelieving. The giants are too big. The mountains are too tall. I am too small. I tend to forget that my God makes all things possible. Jesus even said,

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

Because of the majorities unbelief they would not enter the Promised Land. None of the adults 20 years and above would be allowed to enter the Land; and they were condemned to 38 more years in the wilderness. The Hebrew Letter says,

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Let us walk in the promise of the Christ who loved us unto death, even the death of the cross that we might do all things through His name, and glorify Him. For as the angel Gabriel said unto Mary,

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

The LORD Bless You

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

This blessing was given to the Priests of Israel to bless the people. It was not an earned blessing, but a blessing from the hand of God’s mercy and grace. Of this blessing it has been said,

Here is a benediction that can go all the world over, and can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it: it is the speech of God: every letter may conclude with it; every day may begin with it; every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing—keeping—shining—the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems. D. L. Moody, Notes from My Bible, pg. 41
from BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Lord Jesus Himself is our greatest blessing and the greatest fulfillment of this blessing. It is however a blessing in which we can be a blessing to others.

From this preacher,

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

They Pitched by Their Standards

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.” Numbers 1:54 (KJV)

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.” Numbers 2:34

The book of Numbers is rightly titled. It is the numbering or counting of the people, and organizing them in their encampment in the wilderness as they journey. That is clearly noted as we read the first few chapters of this book of the Law.

When we read in the noted verses above we need to realize that when it says to us “the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” that it is dealing with the matter at hand; that is the counting of the people, and in chapter two their placement in their camp in proportion to the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

The number of men 20 years of age and above; and not counting the Levites; was 603,550 men. We see a great mass of humanity in the wilderness. With women and children this number could easily reach 2 to 3 million people total. And these “did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.”

In reading these two chapters and the setting up of their encampment you should also note the position of the Tabernacle with the position of the tribes. The Levites; the caretakers, spiritual leaders; were in the midst of the camp with the Tabernacle in the midst of them. That is just where GOD wants to be; in midst of the lives of His people.

GOD has made it possible to be right in the hearts of His people through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus. All of these journeys, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the covenant, etc. are pictures of the Christ, the Son of God. He desires to be the center, very being of your life.

God and His Enemies

“Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before Him.” Psalm 68:1 (KJV)

I would think that David had read the writings of Moses, and would have known the prayer of Moses on this same order (Numbers 10:35).

Many will be thinking that read this that “Well God would have no enemies”, but all who refuse to see God as God are His enemies.  All who refuse to hear His Word.  All who refuse to believe His Son.  All who refuse to come to Him His way, but seek other ways.  These are all His enemies.

Are you the enemy of God?  “Let God arise” in your heart and life today, through the cross of His Son Jesus.  The enemy of God in your heart will flee when you invite Jesus in.  “Let His enemies be scattered” by the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ.

Christian.  Let God arise in your life that the enemies you and I face flee.  Let us pray that the soul will flee unto Christ, and be delivered from the enemy of men’s souls.  That enemy is Satan, the devil.  He is already defeated.  Defeated by the cross of Jesus, and proved to be true by the resurrection of Jesus.

God does have enemies.  Make sure you are not one.  God has made provision for those who might hate Him;

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:8-10

Let God arise in your heart and life today.  Come to Him through His provision of the gift of Jesus Christ.

The Purpose of Judgment

“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.” Exodus 7:2-6 (KJV)

In these verses we know the children of Israel have been enslaved in Egypt for around 400 years.  This was foretold by GOD to Abraham back in Genesis 15:13; and now God is about to fulfill His promise of deliverance.

Egypt has been a cruel taskmaster to Israel in the midst the land.  Forced labor, unrealistic standards for making brick, and building numbers, and living conditions.  God had heard their cry, their pleading for help.  Now help has come.

God sends His messengers; Moses and Aaron to deliver God’s word to the Pharaoh of Egypt.  He does not hear nor does He intend to let the people go.  The Lord of all creation has given Pharaoh opportunity to release the people without pain, sorrow, judgment; and he has refused.  Now GOD will show Himself strong to the Pharaoh, to Egypt and to His own people.  They will know that “I am the LORD” God says.

When I read the Scriptures that is a continued theme throughout the Bible.  God works, He moves, He judges, that we might know that He is the LORD.

The greatest way that was and is shown us is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The wrath of God upon sin was poured out upon His Son.  His love for mankind was shown in that He judged Jesus His only begotten Son in our behalf.

O hear the word of the LORD today.  Believe Him.  Call on Him and He will hear you.

Thus Saith the LORD… 012014

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in Mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.’ And the LORD spake unto Moses, ‘Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.’  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.”  Exodus 7:17-22

Thus saith the LORD…

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.'”  Exodus 5:1-2

Jesus Touches the Unclean

“When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.’  And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be thou clean.’  And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  And Jesus saith unto him, ‘See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.’”  Matthew 8:1-4

Judging Righteous Judgment

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?’…
…’I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  ~Jesus (John 7:16-24)

Bread of Life

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world….’
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen Me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  ~Jesus  (John 6:32-33, 35-40)

Heaven’s News – The Testimony of Moses

“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me. And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” ~Jesus (John 5:31-47)

Reminder of His Love

In the last article on this chapter of Jeremiah, the final verse of our text was the last part of verse 19 which tells us, “And the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” That is usually the reason for departure from God.

As we look into the following verses we see the Lord having them recall their deliverance from bondage, then playing the harlot, turning against their deliverer.

“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord GOD.” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (KJV)

One of the things that we can see throughout God’s dealings with the chosen people is that He loves them. His grace is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever. That is a theme for His people throughout all of Scripture.

God had delivered His children from the bondage of Egypt, and burst the bonds which held them. He had done this in just a matter of days while working in Egypt through the plagues upon the land and the people. They witnessed the mighty power of God. Not just Israel, but Egypt witnessed this awe-inspiring events which turned the heart of Pharoah, at least for a time, to let God’s people go.

The people had promised God they would not transgress His law. They did. That is why the declaration is made, “When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down playing the harlot”. The pagan, Gentile altars were on the high hills, and under the trees. God is charging the people with spiritual adultery. That is, the forsaking of the true Husband for an imposter. They had turned away from holy God for unholy pleasures. They had forgotten the attitude of Moses. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way –

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”  Hebrews 11:24-26 (KJV)

The prophet Isaiah in a previous time had spoken of Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). He speaks of the Husbandman planting the vineyard, but all He received were wild grapes. God says through Jeremiah, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality”, and now they have turned their backs on God and are worshipping stone, wood, flesh. They have in fact become an “alien vine”. That is not what God planted. That is the picture we see.

When they have made themselves unclean before God, they then, evidently feel guilty, try to wash themselves clean with the strongest cleanser they have available that day. They would go and worship the false gods, taking pleasures that should not have been their’s to have. After their violation of holiness with God they would then seek to make themselves clean before God, and without true repentance.

Thus God says, “Yet your iniquity is marked before Me”.

The lesson for the follower of Jesus Christ is that we have been delivered from sin. Our sins have been forgiven. The law of the Lord is written in our hearts. We are free to live righteously, holy, and undefiled lives through the power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us. When we sin we have an advocate with the Father. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. There is need for repentance and that is a turning from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Gethsemane

It has been some time since I posted anything.  I received this today by email from Bible Gateway, and thought I would share it with you.  It is from a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon February 08, 1863.

Gethsemane

‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ Luke 22:44

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 14:32–42

Behold the Saviour’s unutterable woe. The emotions of that dolorous night are expressed by several words in Scripture. John describes him as saying four days before his passion, ‘Now is my soul troubled;’ as he marked the gathering clouds he hardly knew where to turn himself, and cried out ‘What shall I say?’ Matthew writes of him, ‘he began to be sorrowful and very heavy.’ Upon the word ademonein translated ‘very heavy,’ Goodwin remarks that there was a distraction in the Saviour’s agony since the root of the word signifies ‘separated from the people—men in distraction, being separated from mankind.’ What a thought, my brethren, that our blessed Lord should be driven to the very verge of distraction by the intensity of his anguish. Matthew represents the Saviour himself as saying ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ Here the word perilupos means encompassed, encircled, overwhelmed with grief. ‘He was plunged head and ears in sorrow and had no breathing-hole,’ is the strong expression of Goodwin. Mark records that he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. In this case thambeisthai, with the prefix ek, shows extremity of amazement, like that of Moses when he did exceedingly fear and quake. Luke uses the strong language of my text—‘being in an agony.’ These expressions are quite sufficient to show that the grief of the Saviour was of the most extraordinary character, well justifying the prophetic exclamation ‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me.’

For meditation: The instruments we associate with the shedding of Christ’s blood were wielded by men—the scourge, crown of thorns, nails and spear (John 19:1–2,18,34). The fact that he sweat ‘great drops of blood’ in Gethsemane before any man could lay a finger on him gives us an important glimpse behind the scenes—his life was not taken from him by men; it was given by him for men (John 10:17–18).

Sermon no. 493
8 February (1863)

Elijah, and a Still Small Voice

Following the victory at Mt. Carmel Elijah has ran from Jezebel, in fear of losing his life; then, prays for God to take his life.  Depression, fear, and doubt has crept into the man of God’s life.  However, as I can look at this and see it God is by no means silent with Elijah.

God sends an angel and provides food and water for him (1 Kings 19:5-8), and then, he goes for forty days and nights in the strength of that bread and water.  Now, only God can give a man the physical energy and strength to make that type of journey with no other physical bread or water.  Moses did it on Mt. Sinai, evidently twice at least (Exodus 24:18; 34:28).

The LORD led Elijah to Mt. Horeb called the Mount of God, which is Mt. Sinai where Moses had been with God.

Elijah was in need of a learning experience, as many of us are at times.  We are pretty given to believing that God only moves dramatically, and visibly, and always powerfully; but that is not always so.  God will move in His own way and His own time; and it may not be through answering by fire.

The man of God, the prophet came to a cave, and he made his lodging there.  That is when the word of the LORD came to him again,

“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’  And he said, ‘I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’  And He said, ‘Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.’  And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  1 Kings 19:9-12 (KJV)

Maybe, after the victory Elijah was expecting God to remove Ahab and Jezebel from the kingdom, or some kind of powerful and miraculous thing; but it did not happen.  We do not know what was in the mind of the man of God, but he ran for his life.  God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”.  It is kind of like He asked Adam in the garden, “Where are you?”  Have you ever had someone ask you a question they knew the answer to; only to get you to think things through.

The LORD and His prophet are in session together, and Elijah tells the LORD that he is the only one of the prophets of the LORD left.  He has felt that way since before the victory on Carmel (1 Kings 18:22).  He had much to learn yet.

The LORD sends the prophet out of the cave, to stand and witness events the LORD would cause to pass before him.  A strong wind which tore the mountain, and broke the rocks of the mountain; then, an earthquake; then a fire.  In all three of these catastrophic means we are told, “the LORD was not in” them.  There came that “still small voice”, and Elijah covered his face;

“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?'” 19:13

The wind, the earthquake and the fire did not spark much action from Elijah; but when he heard the still small voice he covered his face.  Surely he must have realized his fear, and realized the voice was that of God at work in his life.

He was still feeling as though he were the only prophet of God left in the land.  God tells Elijah to go and call Elisha the son of Shaphat (19:16) to be prophet in his place.  He also tells him that there are “seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal…” (v. 18)

It would seem that God is about to do something spectacular in the life of Elijah.  Even in our doubts and fears God is with us.  He still speaks to us.  Just because there is nothing dramatic with falling fire happening in our lives does not mean that we are forsaken; it is really the time for us to hear that “still small voice” and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 74 – The Crucified, Buried, and Resurrected Lord

From Day 1 of my 90 days of reading through the Bible I have endeavored to stress in this post the message of Jesus.  In the first 14 chapters of Genesis we  can see Jesus and through all the first five books of the Bible.  The books of History we see Jesus.  In the books of Poetry (Job, Psalms, etc.) we see Jesus.  In the Prophets we see Jesus; and we see Him coming the first time to suffer, to be buried and to die, and be bodily raised to life again.

We recently began reading the part of the Bible that is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and that is the New Testament and beginning in Matthew we have gotten to the last of the gospels which entail the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give us accounts of the life of Jesus.  None contradict the other.  They complement one another.  Together they give us the complete account of the humanity, deity, power, purity, holiness, love, mercy, and grace of the Incarnate God.

My reading today was John 17  through Acts 5.  That is right only ten chapters.  Just to let the reader know.  I did some calculations of the numbers of chapters remaining, along with the numbers of days, and in order to give myself some reading through all 90 days; I will now be reading a minimum of 10 chapters with an eleventh every three days or so.

The reading today began with our Lord’s Prayer.  It is the one I call the Lord’s Prayer.  The one that has the title “The Lord’s Prayer” is actually a model prayer which He used to teach His disciples how to pray.  John 17 is the Lord Himself praying to the Father.  He is praying for the glory of the Father to be done.  He is also praying for His followers to be one, as the Father and Son are one (vv. 11, 22-23). I have written more thoroughly on the Lord’s Prayer at this link.

In the final chapters of the gospel of John, just as in the other gospels, we read of the trial, conviction, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; with some differences in each account.  Some who seem to have an agenda on disproving the Scriptures and that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, and God the Son try to tell us that these differences are contradictions; but that is not so.  When there is an automotive accident on a street corner, and there are witnesses – let’s say there are four witnesses, one at each corner; each witness will have a different view of the accident, and will have a different way of telling their eye witness account of the accident.  When there is a difference in their testimony is someone lying?  Not necessarily.  When you put all the testimony together you will come to the full account of the story.  The same is true with the gospel of Jesus Christ; only the best part about the four Gospels is that they are inspired by the Spirit of God.  Thus, completely without error.

We get into the Acts of the Holy Spirit, often called The Acts of the Apostles, and we see by the hand of Luke that Jesus is ascending into the presence of the Father.

“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 (KJV)

In the Acts we also see Peter with a new found boldness, and courage, that can only be explained by the evidence of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  He has witnessed the resurrected Christ; his life has been changed, and that is true of any one who ever meets the resurrected Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.  Your life is changed.  You were a sinner, and you are now Just in the eyes of God, and declared by Him to be “Saint”.

The apostles, as well as Jesus, had only one set of Scriptures to read; and that was the Old Testament.  When someone tells you, “I believe only the New Testament” or “I live only by the New Testament”; then, they are telling you really that they have a problem of faith.  Hear what Peter declares concerning Moses and the Prophets,

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, ‘A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.  Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.  Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, ‘And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”  Acts 3:22-26

That is right.  The only Bible Jesus and the apostles, and the early church had to read was the writings of Moses, or the Law, the Prophets, the History, and the Poetry of Scripture.  We are blessed to have the continued Scripture of the New Testament – the revealing or unveiling of the Old Testament.

Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today, and be saved from your sins, death, hell and the grave.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 73 – Born Blind, Now Seeing

There are many religious folk in the world.  Many of them think they are seeing, even though they are blind.  My reading today was John 3 through 16, and what wonderful words I read this morning.  It was mostly the words of Jesus.

When Jesus spoke in chapter 6 of “eating” His flesh, and “drinking” His blood many of those who were following Him went away.  The sayings were too hard for them.  They were blinded by their dull and unbelieving minds.

In chapter 9 Jesus heals a man who was born blind.  This, at least by human standards, just did not happen.  If a man such as Jesus did it on the Sabbath day that made matters even worse.  Hear the act as the Scriptures declare it;

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And His disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’  Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’  When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,’ (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  John 9:1-7 (KJV)

It all began with the disciple’s question about “Who has sinned?”  He then, made clay, and anointed the eyes of the blind man then, told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam.  The man did just as Jesus had said, and now he sees.

Then the religious folk get upset, again, because this took place on the Sabbath day.  These men, just do not get it.  You do not do good on the Sabbath day – you do nothing.  Now, that is my sarcasm coming out.  These men confront the blind man who now sees, and they ask him “how he had received his sight”.  “He put clay on mine eyes, and I washed, and do see” (v.15).

This now seeing man is not intimidated at all by this religious mob.  He speaks very forthrightly of God, and His healing.

“Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, ‘Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.’  He answered and said, ‘Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.’  Then said they to him again, ‘What did He to thee? how opened He thine eyes?’  He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be His disciples?’  Then they reviled him, and said, ‘Thou art His disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.  We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is.’  The man answered and said unto them, ‘Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes.  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.  Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.  If this man were not of God, He could do nothing.’  They answered and said unto him, ‘Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?’ And they cast him out.”  9:24-34

I just love this part in here where the man tells them, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.  Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.  If this man were not of God, He could do nothing.”  In looking at this he puts them in a very unbecoming situation.  Because of His faith they cast him out of the temple and worship there.

When we read the gospel of John we ought to very clearly see that Jesus is the incarnation of God – God in human flesh, the God/Man, the Ancient of Days.  Who is Jesus to you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 69 – Discourse Unto Death

Christians the world wide celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday.  We often fail to remember that Jesus was more than a martyr though.  He was more than a man dying for a cause.  He was the Man sent to fulfill all the law and the prophets.  He was the God/Man sent and set to fulfill the Scriptures.

There is many a time in Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus where we read something like, “That the Scriptures might be fulfilled”, even up to His death on the cross and His resurrection.

Matthew records several discourses which Jesus spoke.  The first one was the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7).  The second was in chapter 13 and was short messages dealing with the kingdom.  One had to do with Him sending forth His disciples with the message of the kingdom (chapter 18).  The final one is called the Olivet Discourse, and deals with the last days, and His return following His death.

My reading this morning took me from Matthew 15 through 28.  Today’s reading took me a little more than an hour, and I struggled with the length, and time spent;  however, I was blessed in reading the Scriptures; especially since they were spoken by my Saviour and Lord.

In chapter 17 of Matthew we have an event that is also recorded in Mark 9 and Luke 9; and that is the event of Jesus’s  Transfiguration.  It is a meeting that takes place between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  We read,

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.’  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.’  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Matthew 17:1-8 (KJV)

In the appearance of Moses we have the representative of the Law.  In the appearance of Elijah we have the representative of the Prophets.  Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, thus the voice out of the cloud which spoke was that of the Father, declaring that His Son holds all authority of the Law and the Prophets.  He says,  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

At this transfiguration the three disciples; Peter, James and John saw Jesus in His glorified state.  This event of itself, then with the testimony of His Father gives the disciples assurance, that this truly is the God/Man, Son of God and King of kings.  They would need to learn to trust that now was not the time for His reign, but the time of His sacrifice.

With these several discourses of Jesus He went to the cross,  presenting Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the people; laying His own life down on the cross, forsaken by the Father, buried in a borrowed tomb, rising again victoriously from that grave.  After His resurrection He gives another short discourse,

“All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  Matthew 28:18-20

The life of Jesus the King of kings was to give His life.  In His life we have many teachings on how to live, have faith, trust, and pray.  He did not come at this time to rule, but to serve us and to die for our sins.  He did, and He rose again.  He is coming again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 36 – Thoughts from Psalms

With my reading yesterday I ventured into the first nine Psalms.  First, let me clear some things up. When we speak of the “Book of Psalms” it is used in the plural.  If we speak of one Psalm it is “Psalm”.  Such as Psalm 1, Psalm 50,  you get the idea.  Psalms has no chapters, they are referred to as Psalms.  There are 150 Psalms in this great Bible Hymnbook.

The Psalms are written by a few different men.  David is the most noted one; then there is Moses who could have  written Psalms 90 – 100; he is noted as having written Psalm 90.  There is a possibility that Daniel wrote Psalm 137, or at least someone who had been taken captive to Babylon.  There is also a fellow by the name of Asaph who wrote some of the Psalms.

The longest Psalm is 119 having 176 verse; and the shortest Psalm is 117 having only 2 verses.

Of course it makes no difference who the human author is; they are here by the inspiration of God; and they are both a corrective instrument of God as well as words of encouragement to all who read them.  It would be great to have heard them sung from the mouths and hearts of those who wrote them.

My reading today was from Psalms 10 – 23.  I am going to rest at Psalm 19 for this post today.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.    The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.   More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.   Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”  Psalm 19:7-11 (KJV)

This Psalm of course, especially in these verses magnify the Law and Word of God.  Notice the words used to convey to us the emphasis of God’s Word.  “Law of the LORD”,  “testimony of the LORD”, “statutes of the LORD”,  “commandments of the LORD”, “fear of the LORD”, and “judgments of the LORD”.  Perfection is the word used by the psalmist speaking of the power to convert.  Its “testimony” makes the simple wise.  Its “statutes” are right and rejoices the heart.  The commandment is “pure” “enlightening the eyes”.  “The fear of the LORD is clean”, and endures forever.  His “judgments”  are true and righteous, and that makes me think of 2 Peter 1:20,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Included verse 21.

The Word of God is more important for the Christian and their daily walk with God than are three meals of food per day, which is good for the body we abide in.

You will notice too, that the one who walks with God will find that the Word of God is desired more than gold, even the finest gold.  It is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; now that is sweet, and it is for the soul who is in a just state with God.  It can become bitter to the soul who is not righteous in God’s sight.  There is also warning for the “servant” of God; and there is “great reward” for those who keep His Word.

Jesus Christ Son of the Living God said,

“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.'” John 6:29

The One whom God has sent is, of course His Son Jesus Christ, and He came to die for your sins and mine.  He died on the cross, was buried taking our sin’s guilt, and condemnation away, and arose bodily from the grave justifying those who believe Him, by the Father in Heaven.

Believe the Word of God for they are what testifies of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 24 – Worship of a Good Thing

This post today will probably be much shorter than usual.

My reading this morning covered 2 Kings 7 – 20.  There was mention of many kings.  Still none of the kings of the Northern kingdom “pleased the LORD”; only one got close yet not sufficient and that was Jehu.  There were some of the kings of the Southern kingdom who “pleased the LORD”, but not like David their father and example.

I want us to look at one king of the Southern kingdom whose name is Hezekiah, and one of the exploits he did in Judah; named in 18:4,

“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.   Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.   And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.  He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.”  2 Kings 18:1-4 (KJV)

The brasen serpent is first mentioned in the book of Numbers.  The people had grown to complaining, and GOD sent poisonous serpents into the camp, biting the people, then they were dying; and began to cry out to Moses, and Moses called out to the LORD,

“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.’  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” Numbers 21:8-9

In the days of Hezekiah the people had began to worship the serpent on the brazen pole, bowing down to it evidently, even burning incense to it – “That thing of brass”.  It had lost its real significance, and had become an idol.  Originally when those bitten had looked upon it they would live.  It is a symbol of the cross of Christ; even a shadow of the cross; where all our sins were placed on the perfect sacrifice for sin – the sinless, perfect, holy Son of God – and the wrath of God was poured out on Him and His blood was shed for our redemption, and He bodily arose from the grave giving all who will believe in Him eternal life in glory.

What is the problem with “Nehushtan”?  Worshipping a good thing is not proper worship; and God despises our worship of anything except Him.  Jesus said, “They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  To worship God in spirit is to have a redeemed spirit through the shed blood of Jesus the Christ.  Any other worship is not a “Good thing”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Beauty is a Fading Flower

Chapter 28 of Isaiah the prophet begins a series of “Woe” against Israel and Judah, Jerusalem; and within these woes are also promises, encouragements to lead them back to YaHWeH the Eternal, Self-Sufficient One who called them to Himself.

The Northern kingdom called Ephraim in our text was prideful and fell.  The “Woe” is warning Judah of her fall should she fail to repent and turn again to the LORD.  The problem with Judah was they were putting more faith in the power of politics, and the politicians of their day than in the LORD, thus were failing to heed God’s leadership.  Just as Israel’s pride brought them down so too would the pride of Judah bring them down; like the beauty of the fading flower.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!  Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: and the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.  In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” Isaiah 28:1-6 (KJV)

Ephraim had a problem with parties, drinking inebriating drinks, and their leaders all conspiring to do the same.  Their judges, priests and others; along with their prophets in drunkenness (v. 7); making rule and law in their soberless state of mind.  Is it much different in today’s USA?  Not at all.  Warren Wiersbe quotes a U.S. government official in his book on Isaiah “Be Comforted”  as having said,

“We have three  parties in this city [Washington D. C.]: the Democratic party, the Republican party, and the cocktail party.”

I don’t doubt that to be true.  I wonder how many of our leaders go into their Congressional sessions, Senate sessions, and even investigations under the influence of alcohol?  Is it any wonder that our nation is in the bankrupt condition it is in.  The beauty of the United States and her glory is quickly fading and will continue until the Lord Jesus returns or their is revival in the land.

In verse sixteen we read,

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

When God’s people are resting upon the LORD, trusting in Him there will be no need to fear or flee from what is coming into the world, or a nation.  Our hope, our only hope is in the LORD.  It is not in returning to new tax structures, political ideologies, or even only to making right laws.  We need to return to the fear of the LORD, and set our hearts on Him alone.

The LORD has said, “I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” and that is not just an Old Testament thought, but one of Paul the apostle’s writings as well (Romans 9:33).  That Stone was rejected, tried, beaten, mocked, and finally hung on a brutal cross where He bled and died for the sins of the world.

In verse 21 God says He will do a “strange work”.

“For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”

Just what is this “Strange work”, “Strange act”?  It appears to be that God will allow His people’s own sin to be their judgment.  Even the prophet Jeremiah says,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee…” Jeremiah 2:19a

Maybe like your mother letting you gorge yourself on that jar full of cookies, after telling you two or three times, “Only one!”, and then you end up feeling deathly ill, throwing up, and in bed the rest of the day.  Moses said, “Be sure  your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

One thing we can be assured of, and that is that God does His work; His strange work, His strange act in the order it should be in.  That is the prophet’s message in verses 23 – 29;

“Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?  When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?  For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.  For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.  Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.  This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.”

Isaiah uses the illustration of the farmer plowing and sowing seeds.  It is done in an orderly manner.  The ground is plowed and prepared then each type of seed is sown according to its own fashion.  The fitches and cummin [seeds for condiment purposes] are scattered or broadcasted around on the ground.  Wheat and barley are sown in  rows.  They are all threshed in different fashion as well.  Some of the harvest grains are threshed by beating, some are rolled with a crushing wheel.  I hope you see the picture.

God’s judgment will not always be the same for everyone.  It will, however, come due, and there will be judgment according to God’s own grace and mercy.  Remember that the judgment we are talking about is not on the world, but upon God’s own people.  Peter the apostle wrote,

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)

Isaiah’s warning Israel and Judah is also a warning to those who are Christians.  Get right with God, and be right with God always.  Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Love Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Acts – 042711

There has not been much posted here on Acts, but I do want to end with one observation as we look at verses 22 – 24 of chapter 28;

“But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.”  Acts 27:22-24 (KJV)

Paul the apostle is in Rome about to be tried for the charges his own people have brought against him.  He has been charged with saying things against them, and supposedly against their God; in blasphemy.  Rather than speaking against their God he has spoken plainly, using the Old Testament scriptures they adhered to and proclaiming Jesus Christ their Messiah.

The word “sect” was used, most likely, as a derogatory term meaning that the teaching of Christianity was heretical and was worthy of judgment.  Paul took time with those who came to him expounding the Word of God, and preaching the kingdom of God, persuading some to believe and follow Jesus Christ.

We have the testimony here that “some believed”, and “some believed not” and that is pretty much how things are in our time; as every other time since Paul.

If you will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ then, you will have the assurance of eternity with Him.  If you reject Jesus and His gospel, then you will die and eternal death.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031411

Reading today from Mark 5 – 7

I want us to consider the charges Jesus makes against the scribes and Pharisees concerning their hypocrisy, and “Making the word of God of none effect…”  Just how does one go about making the word of God of no effect?  First of all this means, giving; in this case; more authority and power to something less powerful, such as their traditions.

The following are the words of Jesus,

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.   For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  Mark 7:6-13

Sometimes traditions are good, might even be great; however when we make tradition greater than Scripture we are in danger of being hypocrites, and of honoring God with lip service, but having no heart for Him.  The danger the scribes and Pharisees were in was due to one thing that Jesus mentions in verses 10 – 12.  Their tradition allowed them to take what would be used for honoring their father and mother; call it God’s, thus, making that sacred, and then they were unable to use that material thing for the honor of their parents.

The following are the study notes of the English Standard Version of the Bible for verses 10 – 13;

Mark 7:10–13 honor your father and your mother (cf. Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Deut. 5:16). No one questions the importance of this law in the Ten Commandments; disregarding it was punishable with death in ancient Israel. Part of honoring father and mother is to care for them, both financially and personally, in their old age. However, Jewish tradition allowed that funds originally dedicated to the care of parents could be declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”; cf. Lev. 1:2; 2:1; etc.), meaning that the person would no longer be required to do anything for … father or mother. These funds could now be given to the temple, if so desired. Such human traditions thus allow room for the depravity of the human heart, directly opposing the Law of Moses which so often serves to protect the weak and helpless, in this case, parents in their feeble old age (making void the word of God). The “Corban” tradition is an example (along with many such things you do) of disregarding and rejecting the more important aspects of the Mosaic law.

As Christians of today let’s be careful to follow the guidance of the Word of God, and not our traditions over the Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022811

Reading today from Deuteronomy chapters 23 – 25.

In the reading today we find many different laws.  Some dealing with those who cannot enter the congregation; and matters of holiness concerning possessing of material things which are considered unclean.  We also find laws concerning divorce and remarriage of women.  Matters of usury [interest] from members of the tribes, and family are include; and laws of gleaning crops.  Laws concerning payment of hired servants are to be made at the end of the day, because of the poor and their great need.  Laws concerning  judgment that is to be fair and just for the stranger, orphan and widow.  There is also the law of levirate marriage where a brother was to take his belated brothers wife, if that brother had gone childless, and raise up a child in that brother’s name.

I want us to look at one verse,

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

Most people in the world of today would agree with this law.  Why should the parents of a disobedient, rebellious, murdering, raping child be “put to death” for them?  There are many parents who would lie for their murderous, child; and even go to prison for them; and possibly even die for them.  God says that each one is guilty for his/her own sin.  There are not many children who would be willing to die for a parent.

Truth be told this is just and right for all people.

This is further stated in the book of Ezekiel,

“Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  v. 20

For some reason there are many cruel, and unreasoning people who believe God is only out to get; out to punish; out to be a vicious and cruel lord over all who are against Him; however, if we continue in Ezekiel we read this,

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  v. 32

The LORD does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they might turn to Him and live.  He has made it all possible through the death of His Son Jesus Christ; His burial and resurrection.  The Just for the unjust.

God’s wonderful gift of grace.

Read Deuteronomy 23 – 25 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022711

Reading today from Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

The people of the day in which we live often think of hanging as a rope around the neck.  That is my thinking as well, however, I do know that Scripture speaks of hanging on a tree in a much different light.

We are told in the following verses of hanging,

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

As I read these verses the first thought I had was of the death of Jesus Christ.

In this Old Testament law when a man was judged worthy of death by hanging on a tree it was because of some grievous sin he had committed against God and man.  If he were hanged he was “accursed of God”.

Jesus Christ had done no evil to GOD or man.  His life was without sin.  He had no blemish or mark on His life, yet He was found guilty by guilty men who were jealous of His power, and influence with people; and there were many  who called out for Him

The text above says, “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death…”  All those who accused Jesus, plucking the hair from His face, beating His face, whipping His back and finding Him “guilty” of blasphemy were the ones guilty of sin against GOD and man.  They were the ones worthy of death and hanging on a tree.

The Accused never spoke a word for His defense.  Heaven never said a word for His defense.  However, when He died the earth groaned and shook with great intensity.  While He was hanging there all the earth turned black as dark night in the middle of the day.

What do other Scriptures say?

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.   And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”  Isaiah 53:4-10

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”  John 19:31-37

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree’: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galations 3:13

The salvation provided to us by God is truly gracious.  We can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  He has done it all; even to the point of having Jesus His holy and righteous Son become our curse; that He might redeem us from the curse of sin.

Believe God today, and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022411

Reading for today Deuteronomy 11 – 13.

It is shocking sometimes how quickly God’s people can be led astray.  Led away from the true worship of God unto the worship of the man made, or earthly creatures.  Some years ago I read some articles in Midnight Call magazine concerning finances in the last days.  He named three gods or idols which citizens of the USA worship;  MOFI, GLOBO, AND SCITE.  To give you an understanding of what these are they are related to Money/Finance; Global Organization and union; and Science and technology. I personally think we could add another idol to that; and that is our children.  Have you ever seen a parent who believed their child could do no wrong?  Every ounce of time goes into children.  We hear about our children’s health, our children’s education, our children’s well being, and we ought to be for those things; but they are carried to an extreme; at least in my opinion.

There is a domonic move which has been present since the beginning of mankind to keep mankind from God.  There are teachers, preachers, dreamers and prophets who are demon inspired who direct hearts of men and women; boys and girls away from truth and God unto lies, deception and destruction.  Now who in their right mind is going to go plunging into destruction?  It is not done in the light.  Satan and his legions use deception; deception is one of those cases where a “fridge” is sold to an Eskimo living at the North Pole.  Or, ocean front property in Arizona is sold to some poor soul.  That is the line of work Satan and his minions are in; and he has people in that line of work to lead people away from God and His Son Jesus.

Hear what God says in His Word;

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

There might come into our midst some great worker of miracles who with those wonders call people to worship some being from outer space.  He/She claims they have found the answer that will change there lives, because they have found that “we are all gods” or some silly thing like that.

There is a growing tendency within our own nation [USA] that “If it works, then it must be good and right”.  NOT!  If it works it could be from the devil if it falls short of our LORD’s expectations and calling.

Since the United States of America is now a multi-cultural society being made of of many ethnic groups and religions and such; then we are being told to guard our speech.  We are being told we can no longer refer to Christianity as the only way to heaven and God; that there are really many ways to God.  There are many roads to the Post Office, but the one that gets you there is the one that leads to the front door.  The front door to heaven is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even tell us, Himself, that He is the door.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

It doesn’t matter what you dream, or what wonders you may do; or that preacher, prophet, dreamer, or teacher made do; if they lead you away from God and His Word, they are a deceptive leader to your death, and destruction.  The Old Testament law calls for their death; most likely by stoning.

Hear God through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Fear Him.  Keep His commandments.  Turn away from every false way.  Jesus is the way to life and eternal life.  Hear Him and live.

Read Deuteronomy 11 – 13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022311

Reading today from chapters 7 – 10 of Deuteronomy.

Why did the LORD choose Israel as a people?  Were they at all strong, numerous, or for what reason would He choose such a people?

Why  has He chosen me?  Is it because I am some wonderful personality, wonderful to look at, wise or obedient?  My answer to those questions are “none of those things”.  Why would the holy God of Heaven choose anyone of the human race? I think those are some wonderful questions, and they are invited by the Scriptures.

“The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

These verses tell us that GOD did not set His love upon them because they were more numerous; because they were but few.  The answer He gives us through Moses and Deuteronomy is “…Because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…” meaning of course Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Doesn’t this beg another question?  How can a holy God love that which is unholy? and another, Just whom does God love?  We are told in the New Testament,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

In my opinion John 3:16 answers those two very important questions.  God came down to man in the Person of His Son, lived without sin, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our atonement.  “Our sin” atonement because we were sinful, worthy of death, unholy, unrighteous, unjust.  When Jesus came He became our sin, took the wrath of God for us on the cross of calvary, had the Father turn His back on Him, the darkest day in the life of our Savior.  It did not end there, however, Jesus carried our sins away in His burial, and rose bodily from the grave on the third day.  It doesn’t end there.  Jesus; when that sinner turns to Jesus as His Lord and Savior; gives to us His righteousness.  Now, isn’t that the greatest love you ever heard about?  YEAH!  It is.  You cannot deny it.  Or deny it all you will and it still doesn’t negate that truth.

There is a second reason we are told God chose Israel.  “Because He wold keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…”  I will never cease to be amazed that our GOD is a covenant keeping GOD.  He is love.  He is trustworthy and faithful.  If God says it, you can be 100 percent sure that God will keep every word He has spoken.  When He has said, “I have called you, and redeemed you unto Myself” You can be assured you are His for all time and eternity.

Jesus said again,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

You can be assured today that because God loved Israel, He still loves Israel, and He loves you too.  He loves us all so very much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world.  That includes me and you.  Call on the name of Jesus today and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 7 – 10 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022211

Reading Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

In reading these chapters it seems quite apparent to me that GOD desires to speak with and to His people.  The people of God should count it an awesome and glorious thing that GOD would desire to speak with a people who are sinful.

In chapter four GOD gives us decree not to “add unto” or “diminish aught from it” (4:2)speaking of His commands – His word.  It is holy, separate, set apart, different, peculiar.  That is the way His people are as well.

When Israel heard the voice of God speaking from the darkness of the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, they were so overwhelmed that they were fearful.  They had heard God speak once, but if they heard Him again they might die.

“And ye said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.  Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.”  5:24-25

GOD has called on His people to hear His voice.  He is holy.  We are unholy.  The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews wrote,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

The best place to be is in the hands of the living God.  We can only be in His hands of grace through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, His holy Son Jesus Christ.  When we are in His hands; no man, no peril, no sword, no trial or fire, no spiritual entity can snatch us from His hands (John 10:29;  Romans 8:37-39), that comes by hearing His voice.

Adam and Eve having sinned against God in the garden of Eden, heard the voice of GOD walking in the garden, hid themselves; and GOD called unto Adam, “Where art thou?”.  GOD knew Adam’s whereabouts, but Adam didn’t.  He was afraid of the voice of God.  When you are fearful of the voice of GOD it is due to a lack of fellowship with GOD.

To the credit of the Israelites they did promise to do what ever the LORD commanded them, through the leadership of Moses (5:27).

The voice of the LORD is personified in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We can come into the throne of God and petition Him, worship Him, be silent before Him (Hebrews 4:16); because of the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s cross.

Hear the voice of God today.  He is calling you to come to Him through His Son.  There is no other way.

Please read Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022111

Reading Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

As I was reading this morning I noticed that the phrase “Fear not” or something similar was used at least four times.

Chapter 1 verse 21 says,

“Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”  (1:21)

Fear is a thing that greatly handicaps many of us.  When we allow fear to have a hold in our lives it will rule, and cause us to live in defeat.  That is not something that is needed by God’s people; neither is it necessary.  When we consider all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross we have much to be bold, brave and courageous for and about.

Another one says,

“Then I said unto you, ‘Dread not, neither be afraid of them.'” (1:29)

The word “dread” above means to fear with trembling, affrighted, afraid, or terrified; and the other “fear” or “afraid” could be a form of reverence.  Certainly we need neither fear of the enemy of God when we have God’s promise of victory. His victory.

Chapter 3 has two more verses with the phrase,

“And the LORD said unto me, ‘Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.'” (3:2)

Deuteronomy is a reminder to the children of Israel of God’s mighty power and acts for the forty years they have wandered in the wilderness (1:1-3).  The Bible is not only a historical account of all that God has done for His people down through the history of mankind; but it is also a living word from God which gives life, encouragement, and strength for the journey through God’s Spirit.  The person of Jesus Christ is the central being of the Scriptures.

When we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior by believing He came, lived a sinless life, and died for our sins, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose bodily from the grave; then we can live in Him without fear.  When there is fear in our heart it is a sign that we are not right with Him.

The final verse for today;

“Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you.” (3:22)

We, as God’s people are assured that the battle is the LORD’s.  How can we fear, when we have God with us.  Moses was assuring Israel and her people that just as the LORD had led them through the wilderness, and fought the battles; then He would even do so in the Promised Land which they were about to enter.

Child of God neither fear, nor be afraid, nor dread what lies ahead.  Trust the LORD.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 022011

Reading today from Numbers 34 – 36.

These chapters deal with the borders of the land for the nine tribes and the half tribe on the West side of the Jordan River when they pass over;  the cities of refuge where one who accidentally kills may flee, and stay until the death of the high priest; with intentional murder; and the final chapter of Numbers deals with a land issue for the daughters of Zelophehad.

I want to look at the issue of murder according to chapter 35 and verses 30-34,

“Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.  Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.  And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.  So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”  Numbers 35:30-34 (KJV)

The murder of an individual shall be dealt with by the putting to death of the killer.  One is not to be put to death for the crime only by the witness of one.  There is to be no ransom paid for the murderer.  He is to be sentenced to death.  The blood that he has shed defiles the land; and God dwells in the land; “…For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”.

In the society of today there are many who argue against what we call capital punishment, or the death penalty.  Supposedly it is because of the value of every man’s or woman’s life.  After all the question is, “What good does it do the one who was murdered? or his/her family?”  Certainly the family grieves over the loss of the loved one.  To plead for the life of the murderer and in the end give him his life is to place greater value on the murderer’s life than the murdered individual.  It leaves pollution upon the land; and God cannot dwell there.

The only redemption for the murderer is his own blood.

What should the Christian’s response be for murder?  To obey God’s will and His law.  We rejoice not in the death of the murderer, but we should rejoice in God’s dwelling among us in the person of His Son and His shed blood for us.

Remember to read Numbers 34 – 36 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021911

Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.

The observations today will come from chapter 33 verses 50-56.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.  And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.   But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.  Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.'”  Numbers 33:50-56 (KJV)

At this point the children of Israel are nearing the time of their entrance into the Promised Land.  GOD is preparing them for their entry.  As you read the above chapters you will see that there are two tribes plus a half tribe who have requested to stay on the East side of the Jordan River and inherit that land rather than the land on the West of Jordan.  Those tribes are Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.  They were to send their fighting men across Jordan to fight for the land; or lose their inheritance on the East side.  Their preparations were made, the agreement was reached; and then the preparations for the West side were to be made.

In reading the above Scripture text we don’t find the word “If you pass over the Jordan into the land…”  It is “When”.  So with the LORD this was a sure thing that Israel was to do.  When they entered the land they were to drive out the inhabitants; destroy their pictures, images, high  places [places of their demon worship], and take the land for their own.  Once they possessed the land they were to make it their home.

Once they had driven out the inhabitants they were to divide the land between the tribes and each tribes people.  The more people there was in a tribe the more land they would receive.  The less people there was in a tribe the less land they were to receive.  It was a fair way of dividing the land.

It was by the command of the LORD to drive out the inhabitants, even destroy them, putting an end to the evil of their immorality, and demon worship.  Now, some reading this are going to think and say, “This shows how mean and cruel this god of yours is.”  Rather, it shows how holy, just and gracious He is.  Our LORD has given these people over 400 years to repent and change their ways (Genesis 15:12-16).  Now God is cleansing the land and His people in the process.

We must realize that sin is a grievous thing in the eyes of GOD.  It is a dreadful thing, and until we see sin as GOD does there is no hope for us.

How do these passages relate to the Christian?  Paul the apostle spoke of these things being “ensamples” for the Christian,

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)

These also apply to the Christian as an example of how the Christian life is a battle against sin, and the devil who desires to destroy anything which belongs to Christ; he desires to destroy our walk with Christ, therefore we must put on the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:10 ff.  We must drive out the evil desires of the flesh.  We must hate what is evil as GOD does and love what is good and holy.  Anyone who would tell us, “The Christian life is a breeze; it’s easy” is a bald faces liar; or just doesn’t know what they are talking about.  It is a battle.  The inheritance is in Christ Jesus.  We are “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).

Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021811

Reading for today Numbers 28-30

Much of the reading today is a repeat from Exodus on the sacrifices, however, we will take a short look at chapter 28 verses 1-8.

These verses deal with a daily offering,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto Me, shall ye observe to offer unto Me in their due season.’   And thou shalt say unto them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.  The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; and a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.  It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.  And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.  And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.'”  Numbers 28:1-8

This offering was an offering of two lambs; two spotless, without blemish lambs.  This, of course represents sinlessness; of which our Savior Jesus Christ Son of the Living GOD was and is sinless.  Yet, He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), receiving in our behalf the judgment for sin which we deserved.  The just for the unjust.  Most important of all is that sacrifice was offered once, and fulfilled the law.

Of these verses the ESV Study Bible note says,

Num. 28:1–8 The Daily Offering. A lamb was offered in the morning and another in the evening at twilight (v. 4). This pattern of prayer in the morning and in the evening has carried on in Jewish and Christian practice throughout the centuries. Pleasing (or “soothing”) aroma is a phrase that regularly describes the effect of sacrifice on God: it soothes his anger at sin (see Gen. 8:21). (p. 311)

There is also a picture for the Christian to offer daily our prayers, daily reading of Scripture, and ourselves to the Lord’s work and ministry.

Writing of the daily offerings the apostle wrote,

“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”  Hebrews 7:25-28

Of course the apostle is speaking of Jesus Christ.

Then again in Hebrews it is written,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

We are assured that the work of sacrifice for the forgiveness and cleansing of sin is completed in Christ Jesus.

Read Numbers 28 – 30.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021711

Today’s reading from Numbers 25 – 27.

Chapter 25 deals with Israel’s sin at Peor or Baalpeor; chapter 26 tells us the numbers of the men age twenty and over; and chapter 27 tells us of Moses view into the Promised Land, because he was not going to be allowed to enter the land due to his rebellion in the striking of the rock; rather than speaking to it, as GOD has said.

Since we looked at Balaam in yesterday’s study let’s finish up with Balaam today.

In chapter 25 we have the people of Israel sinning grievously against GOD.  They were joining themselves with the people of Moab.  Moab hated Israel and wanted them cursed well now they brought a curse upon them.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.   And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” 25:1-3

Where does Balaam fit into this picture?  We need to look ahead in the book of Numbers.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” 31:16

It has every appearance of telling us that Balaam saw he could not curse Israel, but he sees a weakness in them, and counsels Balak to send and invitation to, at least some of the people, to allow them into Israel’s camp.  Bringing their demon worship with them, they lead many into adulterous worship against the Creator of the universe.

We see also in chapter 31 and verse 8 that Balaam was slain by the sword.  He was a wicked prophet for hire.

The great thing about chapter 25 that we need to see is the zeal for GOD shown by Phineas (vv. 7-8).  Because of this sin 24,000 people died as a result of a plague.  Because of the zeal for GOD and His righteousness; the work of Phineas, the grandson of Aaron, the plague was stopped.  Far more people could have died were it not for Phineas.

In a time when there are businesses for the promotion of adultery, online  and otherwise, there needs to be many more with the zeal of Phineas; rushing in where angels fear to tread; not taking lives, but with the message of God’s Word, warning of the destruction that is coming into lives due to so much immoral behavior.

In this time as Christians we have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ; yet loving enough to confront; especially any brethren who call themselves Christian who are dabbling in immoral behavior; participating in things that destroy families, marriages, and lives of children; and calling them to turn back to GOD.

Please read Numbers 25 – 27.

-Tim A. Blankenship