Rejoicing with Music

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:1-3 (KJB)

Does music have any place in the house of God?  Does music have a place in the worship of the Most High and holy God in the Church?  I certainly believe it does.  They used music in the Old Testament in their worship, and when I say “Music” I am speaking of instruments; stringed instruments, horns, drums or cymbals.  I believe all of those are mentioned in the Psalms, and through out the Old Testament.

I know there are certain denominations that do not allow musical instruments into their places of worship.  That is okay if that is how they want to worship. I believe they are missing out on a tremendous blessing in their worship of God.

The Psalmist mentions the harp and Psaltery with ten strings. These could have been instruments David had made for the distinct purpose of singing songs unto God.

Now, let me be clear; I am not talking about just any kind of music playing; but music that calls your attention to God in worship, praise, and adoration to Him.  Let us also remember worship is not for us; you or me; it is to Him and for Him.

Singing words, the lyrics of a song are great, however, when an musical instrument or instruments are added to the worship it calls our attention to the Creator of all things.

There is nothing in the New Testament that does away with musical instruments, or forbids their use in our worship.  If Old Testament worship of God was good with these instruments why would the worship in the New Testament not be even better, considering it begins the days of grace.

Draw near to God through His Son Jesus.  Let the trumpets sound, the piano strings play, the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and the drums play out sounds of praise unto our Maker, our Creator.  He has redeemed us unto Himself – We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). May the strings be strummed, the horns blow, and the drums rumble out praises to Him who reigns supreme.  His name is Jesus.

To Whom Will You Bow???

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 1-12).

When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said…

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV).

Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.

It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137).

“The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150).

Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says…

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV).

God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.

Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not yet a believer.

It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.

There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).

 Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.

Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.

Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.

Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.

Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.

GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.

Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death

 Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:

  • Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;

  • Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;

  • Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)

When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.

No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.  Bow before Him now.  You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.

Joyous, Glorious Salvation

“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” Nehemiah 12:43 (KJV)

The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and their return to Jerusalem was cause for great joy. It was celebrated by the sacrifices; great numbers of lambs, bulls and the bringing of the first fruits of the fields were offered. There was much music and singing.

The celebration was filled with joy. It was the “joy of Jerusalem”. The people had returned after 70 years of captivity.

Everyday the Christian should celebrate the deliverance which Jesus Christ has provided for us through the sacrifice of His own blood. There were many sacrifices offered that day in Jerusalem, but all that blood was only a portrayal of the blood of the one sacrifice that could eternally take away sin.

When an individual trust in Christ as the sacrifice for sin we can rest assured that our salvation; our redemption is secured for all eternity. There is “Great Joy” in the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus will never occur again.

See these verse: 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:17 – 27

Whom We Praise

“I will praise Thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto Thee.” Psalm 138:1 (KJV)

The Psalmist, David, does not even mention His name.  He feels no need to; anymore than a child standing before their father feels a need to call the man they adore by name.  “Thee”, or “You” is all that he needs to say.

Jehovah is the One of whom he speaks, because David addressed no other.  The nations around worshipped many gods; but David only one.  Many gods were put to shame by Jehovah as He delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 12:12).  All the Egyptian gods were shown to be powerless; because idols require the strength of their makers.

It is with stretched out hands and arms, and with music David praised the LORD.  There is no other worthy of praise.  Let us with heart, hands, tongue, mind, voice and music always praise the LORD.

Let that praise begin through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only place it can truly begin.

Music, Singing and GOD

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.  O LORD, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Habakkuk 3:1-2 (KJV)

There is much that could be said about music and singing and for that matter GOD.  Habakkuk, at the beginning of his prophecy was asking questions.  It was like he was blaming God for not watching over His people, protecting them, but letting the enemies of the earth run rough shod over them.

At the end of his prophecy he uses a term which is probably related to music somehow.  It is not quite clear what the meaning of “Shigionoth” is.  God, however, must enjoy music and singing; and I know that the human race enjoys it very well.  Billions of dollars have been spent on buying recordings over the past 50 years in order for us to be able to drive down the road, put in a tape, a CD, plug in an iPod, or a jump drive, and listen to our hearts content.

Yesterday morning I heard on a radio program that NASA has discovered a “Plasma ring” around our planet; and within that ring are radio waves.  Evidently NASA sent up listening devices, and recorded sounds within that Plasma ring.  It almost sounds like a form of music.  Our Creator has made the earth to sing.

For more from Habakkuk you may want to follow this link to a post from February 28, 2008 here at Fire and Hammer.

The greatest song ever sung was in the death of God’s only begotten Son dying to pay the sin debt of the human race.

-T.A.

Day 28 – Music in Battle

Music and singing are not often thought of as tools of fighting a battle, especially by armies.  In the reading for today 2 Chronicles 9 – 22 there is a king, Jehoshaphat, who sets the musicians at the forefront of a battle.

I use to think that musicals for a movie, even a theatrical play, were somewhat ludicrous.  However, in recent years I have began to see the power music has over life.  Our lives are musicals when you stop and think about it.  I do not know a single individual who does not enjoy music of one kind or another.  I heard music all my life.  I grew up with my Dad playing guitar, a grand father who played the fiddle (that is a a violin, for you city, society folk).

Music has a way of building a mood, good or bad mood.  It can encourage, make fearful, distrustful, suspicious, doubtful, angry; or discourage, bold, trusting, full of faith, and loving.  There are even certain kinds of music that can cause one to go crazy; at least in my estimation.

The passage of Scripture I have in mind is,

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.’  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, ‘Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.’   And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.     For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.   And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”  2 Chronicles 20:20-24 (KJV)

A vast army made up of Ammon, Moab, and Seir; nations whom the LORD had told Israel to let be as they were journeying through the wilderness from Egypt; were not attacking in joint effort to conquer Judah, and king Jehoshaphat.  This king was a good king who made several mistakes, but forsaking the LORD was not one of them.

Jehoshaphat’s first act when he realizes they are being attacked is to call on the LORD for help (20:3-13).  A Levite named Jahaziel receives a message from the Spirit of the LORD;

“Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.   Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.'”   2 Chronicles 20:15-17

Notice in those verses that the LORD, speaking through his prophet, says, “Ye shall not need to fight this battle…”.  It was God’s battle, and then all Jehoshaphat did was arrange a choir to sing praise unto the LORD and the beauty of His holiness.  It would seem that to do this in faith they would have gone out without a weapon, except the singers.

In the Bible the LORD thinks much of music and singing.  We find the Song of Moses (Exodus 15); the Song of Deborah (Judges 5); and then there is a whole Hymnal in the center of the Bible called The Psalms.  There are songs in the Revelation.

Many of us face stress, distress, fear, in various forms and for many reasons.  If we would apply certain music to our lives that is some battles that we can overcome.  Music that praises the LORD, and glorifies Him will lift our hearts from fear to faith; and a battle is won.

The people of Judah went out against Ammon, Moab, and Seir believing God would give them victory.  A choir went forth singing praises to the beauty of holiness of the LORD, and the invading armies turned on one another.  Not a single weapon was raised by Judah that day; not a soul was lost of Judah; because they trusted in the LORD for their deliverance.

Are you fearful today?  Are you distressed?  Does the battle you are facing seem too much for you to handle?  There is nothing too big for God.  Trust His Son Jesus Christ, and you will need not fear anything ever again.

For the Christian singing means being filled with the Spirit,

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  Ephesians 5:18-21 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Our Refuge

Today we are going to take a gander at Psalm 46:1.  Before I get to that however, I want to explain the title of the Psalm.

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

There are seven of the Psalms here together.  From Psalm 42 – Psalm 49; with the exception of 43, they all refer to the “sons of Korah”.  Korah is mentioned in a rebellion in Numbers 16 who with Dathan and Abiram rebelled against the leadership of Moses and God.  Because of this rebellion the men and the families of these men were engulfed by an opening of the earth, and slain.  According to Numbers 26:11 -“Not withstanding the children of Korah died not.”

Korah was of the tribe of Levi; thus he had duties as a caretaker of the tabernacle.  There is much to know and learn of Korah, and his sons.  They evidently were needing encouragement.  These Psalms were written for that purpose.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

A refuge is a place you go to hide, to be protected from a source of harm.  It is a place to go when you are afraid.  The Psalmist says that “God is our refuge”.

The  Psalmist goes on saying that He is also our strength.  When you do not have the power to continue call upon the LORD and He will give you strength.  When fear robs you of the will to continue; and if you experience fear it will rob you of strength;  go to the One who is our refuge and strength.

The  LORD is God; not faraway, but very near you.  He is our very present help in trouble.

In the Treasury of David Spurgeon has written –

“God is our refuge and strength.” Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel’s boast is in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable castles, placed on inaccessible rocks and secured with gates of iron, but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when the time comes to carry the war into the enemy’s territories, the Lord stands his people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God. Forget not the personal possessive word “our;” make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, “He is my refuge and strength.” Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all-sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. “A very present help in trouble,” or in distresses he has so been found, he has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasised by the word “very” in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comfortable truth is added the consideration that his assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter; he is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the Psa_46:1-11.”
“A fortress firm, and steadfast rock,
Is God in time of danger;
A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well-known or’ stranger.”

Be strong in the LORD today and always.  He is very Present with those who have called upon His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 A Short Overview of Habakkuk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Rod

The last time in the Psalm 2 we looked at verse 8, and we see that God has promised as an inheritance, to His Son. the nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth are given Him as His possession.  It is His rightful possession, because in His death, He paid the sin debt of the whole world, but for the most part has been rejected.

In the Twenty third Psalm we find the phrase, “Thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4b).  The use of that rod and staff sounds encouraging, and blessed, but the one we will look at here today, does not sound very pleasant at all.  This “rod, and… staff” is one instrument.  The shepherd’s staff, often seen with a crook on the upper end also had the rod on the other, and could be used for a walking stick over rough terrain, driving off wolves, bears, lions, and for correcting straying sheep.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9 (KJV).

Nations are ruled by the “prince of the  power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) on earth.  These nations have rejected Christ, hated Christ, and you can see from the beginning of the Psalm have sought to work against Him and defeat Him, but always to no avail.

This “rod of iron” is a means of judgment.  Judgment is in the hands of the Son –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”  John 5:22 (KJV).

In this Psalm, it is clearly judgment that it is speaking of.  The Potter’s vessel’s are all baked brittle, and and iron rod would easily smash them to pieces.  The judgment will be just and righteous.  Jesus would judge no other type judgment.  This will be a judgment of the nations who have plotted and worked against the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords to have their own way in the world.  It is these nations which are out to destroy God’s  people, and develop their own kingdom, establish their own god; setting themselves up on the throne or royalty; and acknowledging no other.  They will be broken, shattered, smashed to pieces by the rod of God.

The rod which Moses carried became the “Rod of God” for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 4:20; 17:9).  It is only a foreshadowing of the deliverance Jesus Himself will do in delivering Israel from the clutches of evil nations as they seek to destroy Israel.  Those who have the discernment can see the nations lining up against Israel even now.  The judgment of these aligned nations will be swift, unexpected and sure.

You can experience the comforting staff of the Shepherd of the Twenty third Psalm rather than the iron rod.  That is by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over all your life.  Confess you have sinned against Him, repent of your sin, believe that He died on the cross, was buried and that He rose from the grave and now is seated at the Father’s right hand.

If you enjoy singing you should like the Psalms of the Bible.  The songs which several men penned, inspired by the Spirit of God, concerning their walk with the Lord, and they go so far, at times, of naming some of their sorrows, griefs, and even frustrations with God and other men.

Sing and make melody in your heart to the LORD; for He is coming soon to let the world know that He is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Though It Be Told You…

THE FIRST PROMISE

Habakkuk 1:5

“ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

We have read and written a little of the five “Woes” of Habakkuk, and they are pronouncements of judgment against Babylon. They are not woes against Judah. The promises are for Judah, but this first one is probably not in the way one would hope.

Remember the prophet was questioning how God could use an unholy people to judge the people of God who were supposed to be holy.

We sometimes do not understand why there is such wickedness in the world and why such bad things happen to “good people”, while it seems that the wicked go without judgment, pain or sorrow. Some of them, as far as the things of the world are concerned have all their hearts could ever desire. My thought on that is – remember this will be the only place they can enjoy their life unless they come to faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They then, will be paying throughout all eternity.

When God’s people turn a disobedient ear to His Word and His messengers, ie., the prophets, then He will open the gates to let evil men, nations and influences come in and be a thorn in the sides of His people. When was the last time you turned a deaf ear to the Word of the Lord or His prophet? Has things changed since that time? Has it been for the better or the worse? I would imagine it was for the worse.

One problem I see with many Christians today is they are crying out to see the mighty hand of God; to see a mighty move of God; and they are not seeing it. He is working. He is moving. He is first of all calling those who say they know Him to be bold in their faith and convictions. He is calling us to stand bravely for Christ in a wicked world that is sliding into Hell and that slippery slope is getting more and more slippery, and they are sliding with great speed into the dungeon of death everlasting.

Those who hate God and His Son Jesus are called upon to “Behold… and regard, and wonder marvelously”. What do the unbeliever’s see in us? Do they see faith, hope, and love; or do they see bitterness, anger, wrath, malice, filthy mouths, lying lips, sowing of discord among brethren, etc.?

The first promise we hear is that God is going to work a work in those who hate God’s people. That God is going to work a work in His own people, even, which will be hard to believe, because it is so marvelous. That work will be the bringing of “Woes” upon them, and using them to accomplish His purposes in God’s people. That work will be worked in God’s people as well.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Prophet At Rest

The Prophet at Rest

In the beginning of this prophecy we see the prophet Habakkuk questioning God, wondering what is happening, why God is not judging His people. God answers with the prophecy of impending judgment coming from what the prophet sees as an unlikely source; mainly the Gentile Babylonians. He is troubled by this.

After some messages from the LORD the prophet realizes that the LORD is the One who knows best. That He still holds His people in His hands, will not continue to allow His people to live in sin without consequences. There have been five “Woes” pronounced against the Babylonians for there brutal abuses against God’s people, and their arrogance. There are also five promises, basically given to the prophet to show the worthiness and glory of the LORD.

We see in chapter three that the prophet is strengthened, encouraged, and that his faith is renewed. There is an element of verse 16 we must see. The prophet is trembling at the word of the LORD:

“When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When He comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.”

Anytime we hear the Word of the LORD it should cause us to tremble; even when we see that His Word and will is going to be carried out. Within our lives, the lives of those who may oppose us, the lives of friends and/or family should make no difference. We can rest in the LORD our God.

When we hear, as did the prophet, that God is going to have His way with the people of the Chaldeans – the Babylonians – and with His people; accomplishing His purposes, we should rest in our days of trouble.

There should be perfect peace in our hearts knowing that all these matters are in the hand of the LORD, and fully embrace the will and Word of the LORD. Even in the midst of “The day of trouble”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

“Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

His Power and Glory

His Power and Glory

Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

“And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

“And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Coming of God

The Coming of God

I guess you could say we are to the final verse of the song of Habakkuk. He writes a song with question, and ends it with praise.

The prophet tells us:

“God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.” Habakkuk 3:3 (NKJV).

Have you ever had anyone ask you, “Where did God come from?” You have the answer in the verse above. “God came from Teman.” That is quite the statement. Someone once said that “Teman, means ‘nowhere’”. From what I have seen in Strong’s Concordance, and other places I have not found that, but we still find a great message in this statement.

As God led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage He also appears to them at Sinai and gives them the law of the Ten Commandments. In a place where they had felt deserted and abandoned. (You can see this in their many complaints, “We have no water”; “Why did you bring us out into this wilderness to die; we could have died with what we needed to live in Egypt.”). The people are given opportunity to hear God for themselves, and turn away, and request of Moses that he mediate for them (Exodus 20:18-21).

God appeared to them in a land which they did not expect the presence of God. His presence was an awesome presence. Habakkuk gives us the word “Selah” in this verse. My understanding of this word is that what you have just read or sang in this situation is worthy of repeating. So read it again. If you have a tune, sing it again. To sing it again is to really reflect on its power and purpose – stop and think about it, even, without singing it or reading it.

If you imagine this appearing at Sinai was really spectacular; just think of what the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory will be. If the people of Israel trembled in the Exodus account of God’s presence what will this time be like? When He appears at His glorious appearing, the whole earth will tremble, and the people with it.

The following is the commentary from the LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY:

3a. In reflecting upon the majesty of God and what He will do in the future, the prophet turns his eyes to what God has done in the past. Just as He manifested His majesty in the past, He will also manifest His majesty in the future; for God dwells in the eternal present. The prophet is not simply recalling the great deeds of the past, but is using them as sounding boards in order to project what God will do in the future. Teman was located in the extreme south of Edom and was probably its capital. Opposite Teman was Paran. The two were separated by the Valley of Ghor. In the background of the prophet’s thinking is the memory of the events surrounding Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their sojourn in Sinai. Just as God came and manifested Himself to the Israel of that day, God will come and manisfest Himself to the Israel of the prophet’s day. Just as God delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians after they had suffered under their cruelty, He will deliver the Israel of his day from the Chaldeans after they have suffered under their cruelty. God will deliver His people and will judge their foes.” p. 1769.

One thing that we need to be reminded through the words of the song of the prophet Habakkuk is that God has not and will not forsake the people known as Israel. He will deliver them from their blindness, and give them the peace only their Messiah Jesus can give. Where does God come from? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that He is coming at a time He will not be expected, in a very spectacular and glorious way. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Musical

THE PROPHET’S MUSICAL

Habakkuk 3:1-2

Do you ever just feel like singing. I used to wonder why in the world would the movie people make a “Musical”. Then, one day as I was going along singing a song, with no one else to hear it but me; it hit me. My life was a “Musical”, since I spend a lot of time singing; mostly to myself and the Lord. I have noticed since then, as well that most people go around singing. Sometimes it is with the radio, ipod, CD player, or by whatever method they recieve their music; but many people are spending a lot of time singing.

It was not so odd after all that Hollywood would make “Musicals”. They are associated with our lives.

This final chapter of Habakkuk seems to be a song which sums the whole thing up. You do not find the prophet Habakkuk questioning God. You find him praising Him. Pleading for mercy from Him in behalf of Judah.

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth” Habakkuk 3:1 (NKJV).

I think it would be good for us to realize once again that this Prophetic message of Habakkuk is all in the form of a Psalm or “Song”. The first two chapters seem to just be the prophet’s questions to God of why the guilty seem to go unpunished – even among His people – but especially among those who capture, abuse, and kill His people, like Babylon.

There seems to be no certain meaning for this word, “Shigionoth”. You will find it used in the heading of Psalm 7:1, and the New King James Version translates it as “Meditation” – “A meditation of David”. The following is the notes of C.H. Spurgeon from THE TREASURY OF DAVID on the word “Shigionoth”; at least a form of the same word – “Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.”— “Shiggaion of David.” As far as we can gather from the observations of learned men, and from comparison of this Psalm with the only other Shiggaion in the Word of God (Hab.iii), this title seems to mean ‘variable songs,’ with which also the idea of solace and pleasure is associated. Truly our life-psalm is composed of variable verses; one stanza rolls along with the sublime metre of triumph, but another limps with the broken rhythm of complaint. There is much bass in the saint’s music here below. Our experience is as variable as the weather in England.”

Strong’s definition for this word is “From H7686; properly aberration, that is, (technically) a dithyramb or rambling poem: – Shiggaion, Shigio-noth. ” It seems that this definition would fit with Spurgeon’s, “…Our life-psalm is composed of variable verses…”. At any rate we do see that the prophet has spent time in the presence of the Lord, heard His Word and come to a better understanding.

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

In verse two Habakkuk is referring back to when God answered him concerning his question of “Why do I cry out to You concerning wickedness, and You do not hear?” (My paraphrase from chapter one and verses two through four). God’s answer in verses five through eleven is “Your speech” to which the prophet speaks. He admits his fear from those fearful words. Judgment is going to come on Judah for their sins by the hands of sinful pagans, but that seems to be a little more than Habakkuk could bear at the time.

This holy fear causes Habakkuk to pray for God’s mercy for Judah. “Revive Your work in the midst of the years” is the years they are in judgment in Babylon. Since God was going to judge them in a foreign land, the prophet is pleading that God show forth His saving hand in giving new life to the children of Judah. When in Your wrath “Remember mercy”.

Reading the prophet’s plea for God to remember mercy, causes me to think of God delivering the whole nation from Egypt to make of them a mighty nation; and it seems as though the prophet is asking God, “Do it again LORD; do it again”.

In the midst of those held captive in the United States of America, which is the whole nation; I would pray, do it again LORD, do it again. The USA needs a touch from God. Especially those who call themselves “Christian”. The church in America is held captive by political parties, by finances, by fear, by culture, by comfort, by entertainment, by apathy, by complacency, by a lethargic mind and heart; and we need to be awakened by the power of God’s Spirit; or this nation will perish. “O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Lord, in Your wrath remember mercy. Remember the death of Jesus Your holy Son for the sins of all who will believe.  The greatest Song and Singer who ever lived was Jesus Christ the Son of God.  To hear Him sing you must know Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 A Short Overview of Habakkuk

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