Better To Trust In The LORD

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say, that ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’
Let the house of Aaron now say, that ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’
Let them now that fear the LORD say, that ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’
I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes…”  Psalm 118:1-9  (KJB)

Leadership, Law, and Judgment

“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.”   Proverbs 28:2-5  (KJB)

Trust the LORD and Be Prepared

This is a post I shared on August 10, 2013, and it was titled “The Making of The Preacher”…

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

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

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

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

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

If we as preachers neglect to preach Jesus; His death on the cross; His burial; His bodily resurrection; and His promise… “I will come again” then we fail to preach the Word of God.  That is the essence of all of Scripture.

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

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

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions of the Heart and Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Thirty and Four

“And I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes,’ saith the LORD. ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam,’ saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 49:38-39 (KJV)

Elam, Moab, and Ammon are nations promised to return from captivity.  Some, along with Egypt are promised to share in the same blessings as Israel.  These have been God’s pronouncements against the nations which tormented and persecuted Israel – God’s mission people from their calling.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to have the mind of Missions, in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with every lost soul God brings into my life and path; if not by word; by the life that I live, and the joy and praise to God from my heart, tongue and mouth.

When Truth Has Fallen in the Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reign of God in the Earth

“God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted.” Psalm 47:8-9 (KJV)

God not only reigns over the heathen; He also reigns over the hearts of all men, all the people of the earth. It may not appear to be so at times but He does.

The name of God given three times in the above verses is “Elohim” representing the whole of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one qualified, worthy and able to sit on the throne of His holiness.

These verses do seem to point to the time when the Messiah [Jesus Christ] comes, and reigns from His throne in Jerusalem. The “Princes” could be all those who have been redeemed through the ages, and are gathered together to do His bidding in all the earth.

The “Shields of the earth” are those given kingdom power and authority to carry out the word and will of God in the earth.

Even those in the earth in our world today who have been given authority to rule, have been given that authority by God; and this is what the apostle Paul says of that;

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

If you will notice this authority has been given them for the “Good”, not to be a terror to the people.  When the authorities rebel against the good laws of God, and bring terror on the people the people of God must stand up, and stand against the tyranny.

However, God still reigns, and is directing the course of this world; preparing for the day He rules and reigns righteousness in the earth.

To Know the LORD

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

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

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

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

-T.A.

Elijah and Elisha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A Blankenship