Consider the Poor

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and Thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. I said, ‘LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.’”  Psalm 41:1-4 (KJV)

In the United States of America we are richly blessed.  We are blessed with the grace of God.  We are blessed with riches.  Yet in the midst of the blessing of riches we are cursed with some levels of poverty; and some of which cannot be avoided.  People often find themselves without an income, due to loss of jobs; or sickness, and/or disease; which has robbed them of the strength to make a living.  These are the poor that the Christian must not neglect.

It is the light of Christ Jesus that shines in our hearts that causes us to see others as being better than ourselves; and that includes the poor.  Paul the apostle writing to the people of Philippi…

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (KJV)

As Christians the love of Christ will reign supremely in our hearts; and others will be blessed by our lives and our conduct:  even though they may not always realize it.  John the apostle wrote the following…

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”  1 John 3:17 (KJV)

Be a blessing today.

This post is one written in July of 2013.

The Wisdom of Agur

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.  Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  Proverbs 30:1-9 (KJB)

Agur’s Wisdom – Proverbs 30:1-33

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of thing which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 gives tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

Envy, Evil, and Poverty

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.”  Proverbs 24:1-18  (KJB)

Envy, Evil, and Poverty – Proverbs 24:1-34

VERSES 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20, 24 –  The evil and the wicked.  The wise are instructed to not envy the evil.  The devices of the evil and the wicked are contrary to God, and the wise.
Those who are just and righteous (v. 16) when they are knocked down, will get back up; but he wicked “shal fall into mischief”.

“Candle of the wicked” (v. 20) probably refers to the spirit within every man, which is the door way to knowing God. Look at these verses… Job 21:17;  Psalm 18:28;  Proverbs 20:27.
To call the wicked “righteous” is to bring a curse on the one who does it (v. 24).

VERSES 3 – 7, 27 –   Wisdom is needed in building a house and a home; in filling that home with material blessings as well as true riches.
The foolish man does not know what to speak when it is time for good judgment (v. 7).
There is wisdom in being prepared before one builds a home (v. 27).

VERSES 10 -14 –  Wisdom leads to strength to stand in times of adversity.  Understanding will help us make the right decision at important, difficult times; for ourselves and others (vv. 11-12).
On verses 13-14  –  The ESV Study Bible notes state… “Prov. 24:13–14…  …Just as honey is sweet to the taste and good for the body, so wisdom is pleasant to the soul that feeds on it, fostering a secure hope (cf. v. 20; see notes on 23:17–18; Ps. 37:9).”

VERSES 17 – 18 –  It is not wise to rejoice when we see an enemy, or a foolish individual fall.

Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, ‘I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.’
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  Proverbs 24:19-34

VERSES 28 – 34 –  We ought always to refuse to return evil for evil (vv. 28-29; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15;  1 Peter 3:9).  The wise man or woman will not allow themselves to grow slack in following that which is good.

One thing to keep in mind the poor are just as prone to greed and lust for more; as are the rich.

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’
The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:7-29  (KJB)

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful – Proverbs 22:7-29

Verses 7, 16, 22-23 —  There is a contrast between the rich and poor.  The poor; people who are often in need of borrowing are placed in servitude to the lender; the rich.  The rich who would oppress the poor by holding their wages; charging a higher interest; etc.  will surely be in want.  Giving to the rich seems like a pointless statement;  however it is done.

Verses 8, 10, 13-15 —  The Geneva Bible notes (v. 8): “His authority by which he oppressed others, will be taken from him. ” Ref: (v. 10) Genesis 21:9-10;
The slothful or lazy will find any excuse not to do their labors.  The person who is abhorred by the LORD will fall into a life of destruction.  Correction is necessary to drive foolishness from a child; even some grown children who are following the path of foolishness.

Verses 9, 11-12, 17-21, 24-25 —  The good individual who is blessed will also be a blessing to the poor. References:  Luke 14:13-14.  See 16:13 and Psalm 101:6 for verse 11.  “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is learning of wisdom and knowledge in listening to the wise.  Keep them on your mind and on your lips; ready to speak them.  By them we know what is “right and true” (ESV).

Being a constant companion of the angry will cause your own life to become endangered by unruly anger and a snare.

Verses 26-29 —  Business matters according to Scripture;  Co-signing for debt of another binds you; putting your living at stake, even your family.

The “landmark” is your word.  Should be as sound as a concrete pillar 10 feet in the ground as a corner stake – marking the corner of a property.

When we are “diligent” in our labors we will stand before “kings”, be blessed, and kept from those who would seek to harm us.

Integrity, Discretion, and Fear

Integrity, Discretion and Fear – Proverbs 19:1-29

Verses 1 – 10  Integrity is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as… “SOUNDNESS: adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity,  honesty and candor: COMPLETENESS.”
This is once again a comparison between the poor man who has a completeness about him; being content with his life; family, friends, and God.  The wealthy can far too often not be content with their wealth, wanting more, feeling they have a lack.
As we look at verses 2 – 10 we can see the comparison even further.  Many who are wealthy depend on their wealth for friendships (vv. 4-6), getting good judgments from whomever it may count and luxury is not seemly for those who are without wisdom of God.  The wealthy are far too often servants to their wealth.

Verses 11 – 22  Discretion is defined as… “The quality of being discreet: PRUDENCE:  Individual choice or judgment: power of free decision or latitude of choice.” M/WD  The one who is discreet or having discretion will not prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.  Discretion is having good sense.
“A person with good sense is level-headed and can defuse conflict (15:18).” Faithlife Study Bible Online.  The person with good sense will not be out to upset the king (v. 12), cause his/her parents grief and/or shame(v. 13), and will seek to find the right person to start a home (vv. 13-14).
The person with good sense will be a hard worker, keep the commandments of the LORD, show kindness to the poor, and be honest in his dealings (vv. 15-22).

Verses 23 – 29  The fear of the LORD…  We have dealt with this topic before (1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6) and it is mentioned more as we journey to the end of Proverbs in 23rd verse; in 22:4 and 23:17.
The fear of the LORD is not a dreadful thing.  It is knowing that He is holding on to you; knowing He will not let go, even though we might.  Even though we might let go, because He does not He will pursue us until we are back in right relationship with Him.
Anyone having the fear of the LORD will be a hard worker (v. 24), be growing in knowledge and wisdom (v. 25), honor their father and mother (v. 26), be a godly witness, and trusts good judgment(vv. 27-29).

Please Note:  I just corrected a sentence I had made an error in.  In the section for verses 10-22  it was written, “The one who is discreet or having discretion will prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.”  I did add the word “not” to read “…discretion will not prolong anger…”. (12/31/18)

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Consider the Work of God

Days of prosperity often cause us to be joyful.  Prosperity is not always dealing with gold, silver, precious jewels, fine homes and fine cars.  Prosperity can just as well mean, a place to live, protected from the elements; food on the table, clothes on your back, and a wonderful family who loves you; and realizing every day that God in heaven loves, and keeps you.  That is the best of prosperity.

Adversity – troubles, sorrows, pains, family troubles, health troubles, financial hardships, all of these come to us all at some point in life.  I want us to see what the wisest of men; and one the most prosperous (in material wealth) had to say about both prosperity and adversity…

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (KJV)

We out always see, to look at; to inspect the work of God.  In order to do so one must see the work of God.  Do you see the work of God?  First consider yourself as a work of God.  Look in the mirror.  That image you see is in the image of God.  Your body is made up of a very intricate system that works keeping these tents, moving, seeing, working, breathing, heart beating, legs moving, arms and  hands busy.  Consider.  No one can make straight what God has made crooked.  We must consider that what has been made crooked can be straightened by God Himself.

In these verses we can see that both prosperity and adversity have a place in God’s plan for humanity.  Both are a work of God.  They are opposite of one another, and so that we might not be able to know what lies ahead in our lives.  We plan, we can save money, but no one knows what is coming tomorrow.  Not even the wealthiest of us.  The wealthiest man or woman in the world could pass into eternity before the sun sets this evening.  Their wealth cannot prevent it.  The same is true with the poorest of men and women.

“Consider the work of God….”

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 sent is Jesus Christ His Son, God the Son, and He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for you and me that we might have fellowship with God, the Creator of all things.

In a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:1-6 (KJV)

Far too often we notice there are not too many “Just Societies”.  Even in the United States of America more often than not, there is injustice.  Money is needed to get a good lawyer to defend oneself from a false charge; or even to be sure one can get a fair trial.  I do believe in our Justice system, but I also see the injustice in it.

A man or woman charged with a crime is supposed to be seen as “Innocent until proven guilty”; but that does not always happen either.  We all too often begin condemning the indicted individual with a guilty verdict long before the trial; even on the streets, and highways and byways of the areas around the case.

The following are thoughts for Proverbs 28:1-28…

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 – A look at the wicked. The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor. 1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee. 2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws. 3.) When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide. 4.) Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4; Prov. 19:12; 1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 – A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers. 1.) Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation. 2.) True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exhorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc.. 3.) The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment. 4.) Greed, partiality, will ultimatley bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 – The wicked poor. 1.) You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life. 2.) Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16). 3.) It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 – The way of righteousness. 1.) The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world. 2.) The poor upright are better off, and wise in God. 3.) The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses. 4.) There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14). 5.) Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous. 6.) A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27).

The only way to a just society is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has told us…

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We can only receive that “Justness” that righteousness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Believe Him, trust Him: call on His name (Romans 10:13).

Christmas Day Fifty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be rich, not in the material things like gold, silver, money, houses or land; but rich in God, eternal life, integrity, honesty, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, mercy, grace, self control.

I would rather be rich in God, and be financially poor; than to have the wealth of all the world, and be without God.

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:6 (NKJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Six

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2ff

It is amazing to me how there are some people who cry out, “Do not judge”, yet out of their statement they are judging the one to whom, or of whom they are speaking.

What do I want for Christmas?

Since there must be judgments made, I want to make clear judgments of  people, and the content of their character, situations, and never judge by conditions of poverty (or bankruptcy), riches, health, or sickness; I want the color of a persons skin to never enter into the judgments that I make; I want to make righteous judgments; I want to first judge myself.

Lord, help me to never condemn anyone, even when they hurt or offend me.

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 351

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the lotteries in our States and Nation to cease.  They are, in the end a tax on the poverty stricken people of the nation, through the deceit and lust for more.

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” Luke 12:15 (NKJV)

Consider the Poor

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. Psalm 41:1 (KJV)

How many times have you heard something like this said, “They are only poor because of foolish spending”  There are many various phrases similar to that one we have heard, or maybe even used ourselves.

The topic of poverty, and the poor is not an easy subject to address, or to deal with.  There are folks who have not thrived in an affluent society due to misuse, and abuse of finances.  I know that I have done my share of that as well.

Let us address who are the poor of the above text?  The Psalmist is addressing the lowly, the poor, the physically weak, and ill.  The Bible addresses poverty many more times, and how we are to help them.  When harvesting fields the land owner was to leave a corner for the poor to glean, so they too would have something to eat.  That included the orchards and other things too.

One thing I know about providing aid for the poor is that it should not be seen as a burden, but a result of our blessings; and being a blessing to those less fortunate.

This Psalm begins with a Beatitude “Blessed” which is a happiness we are to enjoy.  Those who cause the poor to prosper will be happy, and are recipients of protection and keeping from the LORD themselves.

Be “Blessed” today.

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

We hear many people speak of “Justice”, “Right” or “Rights”, and the world is filled with injustice, and unrighteousness; and none of us are completely innocent of either.  We love seeing the hungry fed, the poor and/or homeless given shelter and even finding prosperity in their paths of life.  Is it injustice that makes people poor; or unrighteousness that causes a family to go hungry or  without shelter?  My answer to that is NO!  Circumstances in life can have an affect on an individual’s misfortune; or that of a families homelessness and poverty.

One thing we can be certain of and that is that there is no injustice, or unrighteousness in or with our GOD, the Lord of creation.  My reading began in the Minor Prophet of Micah, and concluded with Habakkuk with Nahum in between.  My reading only consisted of 13 chapters today.  That is where those five extra days at the end will help make up the difference.

Micah is a prophet who calls for his listeners to “Hear”.  In verses 1:2; 2:1, 9; 6:1 the prophet Micah calls for the people to “Hear”.   He calls on the religious leaders to hear, the political leaders, and the people to “Hear”.  We need to hear what Micah has to say.  Micah’s name means, “Who is like the LORD?”

“The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.  For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.” Micah 1:1-4 (KJV)

By the first verse we can tell that Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.  The LORD is a witness against all injustice and unrighteousness.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Life is not fair”, or “That’s just not fair” or some other “fair” statement.  NO! Life is not fair.  God is however Just and Righteous; and we can depend on and trust Him to do what is right, just and holy.  He calls on His people to live that way too.  The LORD is not pleased when He sees injustice and unrighteousness, especially in those who call themselves “children of God”.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:1-2

Micah is a prophet with a prophecy of promise.  A day is coming when nations will “flow” unto the “Mountain of the house of the LORD”.  “Flow” seems like a thing that a river would do within its banks.  It is a natural thing for a river to flow.  It is a natural thing for the people of God to flow to the place where God is, yet it is by the power of God that we are able to flow there.  Who is like the LORD?

We can see this question; though not stated as we read Nahum and Habakkuk.

In Nahum we have written,

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.  The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.  Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.  The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him.   But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.” Nahum 1:3-8 (KJV)

The prophecy of Nahum is written to Nineveh, that same city that God had sent the prophet Jonah to about 100 or so years previous to Nahum’s prophecy; and the city had repented, and God withheld judgment.  However, now judgment was coming because of their sinful brutality and wickedness;

“Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.  The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.  ‘Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; ‘and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.  And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.  And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?'” Nahum 3:1-7

Though Habakkuk asked the timeless question, “How can a holy God allow evil to continue?” he still comes to the conclusion like the others.  “Who is like the LORD?”  This prophecy is a debate, of sorts, between the prophet and the LORD.  Of course in a debate such as that there is only one winner of the debate; however the one who yields to the LORD’S wisdom is a winner too.

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

Habakkuk has reached the conclusion that all of God’s people will reach.  God is God.  There is no other.  I will trust in Him when there are no crops; when the blessings are all dried up; when the flocks and the herds are no more.  Who is like the LORD?   There is none like Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Pretty Women…

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

Coming from a family of nobility I guess it kind of hard to notice how things really are here in Jerusalem. Many of us profess to know the Lord, but we just walk on by the suffering and the hurting enjoying our little trinkets of jewelry, silver, gold and precious gems.

Walking through the Sheep gate today, though it is a place where the lambs for slaughter are brought into the city, I noticed a lot of pride. The women walking with their heads held high as though they had no problem in the world and the men no better. The women, at least more than a good majority of them, are full of haughtiness, thinking that beauty is the main thing of life. They call attention to themselves with jangling jewelry. They cry out for men’s attention; even men who are not their husbands.

One day this arrogance and pride will be judged by the Lord. He will take away the finery; The jingling anklets, the scarves and the cresents…will he do away with. What will these “pretty” women do then. LORD help us.

The sweet fragrance of their perfumes will turn to a stench of death. Rather than having well kept hair, they will be bald. O that the people of God would hear; O that we would obey His voice, and turn from our sins. God, the LORD of hosts, will brand them rather than give them beauty. What will become of the men they lure and chase after then? They will perish.

The women of Jerusalem, Judah, and all Israel will find themselves without enough men for husbands to go around. They will be slaughtered. There will be a great lamentation throughout all the land. There will be desolation.

When will people learn that the way of the LORD is through faith in Him? Faith is turning from the life of sin and death to live in Him.

O, the time is good, but Oh such darkness. There is a darkness that many do not see. There is light. O, come to the Light. Come that you might see.

“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:  Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.  In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,  The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,  The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,  The rings, and nose jewels,  The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,  The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.  And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.  Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.  And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Isaiah 3:16-4:1 (KJV)

 

-Tim A. Blankenship