The Power By The Spirit

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 (KJB)

The prophet of God is called to give the  “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) whether that be good and positive, bad and negative. The preacher of today if called by God is called to do the same.

At times the preacher is given a message of comfort, hope, encouragement, and strengthening of faith. At other times he is given a message of judgment, and can cause, by the Spirit of the LORD, great fear and trembling and should lead the people to repentance, and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Micah’s message seems to be a doom and gloom message at the beginning, but as you read on into the message there is hope, blessing, encouragement, and words to strengthen one’s faith.

If the prophet is only defying the truth of God’s word, leaving out the warnings, the judgments, the negatives; then that prophet/preacher is not worth listening to; and you better go somewhere else. They are not a man of God.

We can certainly judge what the preacher says and/or does not say when we read the Scriptures. The Bible is our guide; our only source for judging what is true and right; or what is lies and deceiving.

When in doubt you can trust the words  of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

When The King Prays

“And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.  And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,

‘O LORD of Hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made heaven and earth.

Incline Thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open Thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.  Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.

Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD, Thou only.’ ” Isaiah 37:14-20 (KJB)

The enemy was at the gates of Jerusalem. Threatening letters had been sent, mocking letters and words had been written and said for the people on the wall to hear.  The purpose was to cause them to fear.

Fear has a way of crippling, and handicapping the victim. Fear makes victims of its prey.  Fear is a coward which is a sneak; because it creeps in unseen, and often unheard until it strikes.

We all deal with it.  Notice what Hezekiah did when he received the fearful, mocking letter from the king of Assyria; he went to thee LORD, laid out the letter before Him and prayed.

God heard the king’s prayer and sent word to him, by way of the prophet; and God took care of the mocking king; and over night killed 185,000 of the soldiers of Assyria.

What is attacking you today? Have you put your faith and trust in the Lord by believing what  He says about His Son Jesus the Christ? Jesus died on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again.  When you know Jesus you have access to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

When fear from the enemy comes in, you now have the authority of Heaven to take your case to the  Throne.

 

Undone

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.’” Isaiah 6:1-5 (KJB)

I read these words again this morning and I will share something with you which I wrote and posted here about 10 years ago.  The following is written as though the prophet Isaiah was speaking the words…

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

The king Uzziah had died, and I had gone to the temple to pray and seek the Holy One of Israel. My heart was broken, and I grieved over my kings death. I must have needed to know that this was not the end. I needed to know there is my God who is holy, sovereign, and has everything under control.

My, what a sight to behold. The temple lit up in the most glorious light. That is what God’s presence will do. Seraphims; servants of the most High’s presence; had appeared and announced the thrice holy GOD. “Holy, holy, holy”, they had declared “is the LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory”. The most wondrous and powerful decree any servant of GOD could ever declare. I was awed by His Presence.

“And the posts of the door was shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.’ So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have see the King, the LORD of hosts.’” Isaiah 6:4-5 (NKJV).

I am learning that when God shows up things can and are often shaken up a bit. The shaking really begins in our own hearts. My heart and life has definitely been shaken a bit. I must say that I needed to see that the true King is the LORD of hosts. My how much more assurance does a man need than that.

This presence of the LORD was much needed. I learned by this that when you are in the presence of genuine holiness, that of GOD, that you see yourself as you truly are. There are woes that need to be announced against an ungodly people, but I see that I am ungodly; I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips; I am dwelling with people of unclean lips. We are an unclean people.

The best part of this is that though I am undone and unclean the most High revealed Himself to me. What a wonderful, holy, holy, holy LORD.

“And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” Hebrews 12:27 (KJV).

The Prophet from Galilee…

…And much more than the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15).

“Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Of a truth this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Shall Christ come out of Galilee?’ Hath not the Scripture said, ‘That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’ So there was a division among the people because of Him.”  John 7:40-43  (KJB)

In my math I was taught 2 plus 2 equals 4.  I do not understand what people, when it comes Jesus Christ, cannot put two and two together.  All of these thoughts are correct.

Jesus was and is that Prophet.  Jesus did come from Galilee.  He is from the seed of David, and born in Bethlehem (Isaiah 11:1;  Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4).

Much of the division over Jesus Christ. even in 2019, is because many do not put it all together from Scripture.  Jesus is everything Scripture says.  He is in fact the central Character of Scripture.

Rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80  (KJB)

The ministry of the prophet John was strong and in the Spirit of the Lord heralding the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; and preparing many in Israel to receive Him.

That is the ministry of the Biblical preacher and pastor in 2019; declaring the Lord Jesus, His life, His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.  If we let ourselves stand in the way…  Well you finish the sentence.

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Greater Prophet

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

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

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

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

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

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.

God Does Not Lie

“He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1 Kings 13:18 (KJV)

The North and South has divided into two kingdoms. Judah is ruled by Rehoboam, a son of Solomon. Jeroboam rules the northern kingdom called Israel; and has led Israel into idolatry, even to the worship of calves set up in Bethel and Dan.

There are two unnamed prophets in this text. One has come with the word of God to Jeroboam of his fall, and as a sign the altar was torn, and the ashes on it spilled onto the ground, just as the man of God had said.

The man of God had been given a direct commandment from God to turn and go home without eating or drinking, and to go home a different way than that which he came.

The prophet of our verse above had heard of the prophet from his sons who were present at the altar when it was torn, and went to him with a lie.

As I read this today I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galations,

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galations 1:6-9

One way to discern what is from God; He never changes His word. God’s Word is stable, steadfast, and sure.  Men lie. God does not.

The Anointed King

“And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 1Kings 1:32-35 (KJV)

The kingdom of David was fairly well at peace, until the king committed adultery with Bathsheba, and murdered Uriah. Following that tragedy in the life of David his judgment was continuing conflict within his own family.

Adonijah, a son of David, tries to set himself up as king (1 Kings 1:5); and Nathan the prophet comes to Bathsheba to warn her. It has already been stated that God loved Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24), and has been promised the kingdom.

Notice how David sends Solomon out declaring him king, rather than Adonijah; “…Cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule…” Absalom was not the new king of Israel; he was dead. Adonijah was not the new king of Israel; he is too full of himself.

Just as the first two kings were anointed by a prophet and a priest; so too is Solomon. The new king, anointed by God was Solomon. This is the family dynasty of kings into which Jesus the King of all kings has been born; and He ever lives.  Jesus Christ will reign forever.

Trust Jesus the Christ, Son of God and God the Son King in your life.

A Prophet of the LORD

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 3:19-21 (KJV)

At this point of time with the people of Israel God is not pleased with those who are the spiritual leaders of the nation. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phineas who were very immoral with them and treated the Lord and His offerings with contempt. This was so even to the point of the judgment of death, the taking of the ark of the covenant by the Philistines; and the departure of the “glory of God” from Israel (4:10-22).

Before this judgment came upon them the LORD provided them a prophet, Samuel. The word of the LORD came to Samuel. He was not familiar with the voice of God, and needed instruction. The LORD God still reveals Himself through the word of the LORD.  The LORD will do nothing accept He reveal through His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).  His Word speaks quite clearly to all who will read it, believe it and heed it; an today.

His Living Word is Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. The crucified, buried, resurrected, and coming again King of kings and Lord of lords.

The glory of God may be gone from the nation, but not from His prophets, and His faithful people. Believe His word. Believe God. Believe His Son.

Fear Not the gods of America

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.” Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

We need to remember what God had done for Israel. Israel needed to remember what God had done for Israel; and to see what He was doing for Israel. God does not forsake His covenant with His people. God’s people often forsake Him, though.

There had been several years from the previous Judge of Israel. A Judge was simply a leader chosen by God to deliver Israel from their oppressors. He or she was chosen by God when the people were crying out for God to help.

In this case God sends them a prophet. God will very often not make a move until He sends a prophet to let the people know of their sins, and what He is about to do.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Note the message of the prophet to Israel, “…Fear not the gods of the Amorites…” They had turned their backs on the One who had blessed them to the surrounding deities which put them into the bondage of the surrounding populace.

Just for thought. Has that happened to today’s professing Church?  Turn back to GOD the Lord of the Universe who has made all things.  Repent of your sins, believe Him.

O, how we need to turn to Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God; believe Him, and He alone will deliver us.

The Prophet of God, and God’s Word

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (KJV)

Moses has just spoken to them of a Prophet to come (verses 15-19) and that Prophet was one who was more than a prophet. He would be the Son of God; the promised and coming Messiah of Israel. We know Him as Jesus Christ. We know that He spoke all that the Father gave Him to speak; even unto His life.

The above verses are guidance to the people of God for all ages to discern the true from the false prophet. It makes no difference if they speak in the name of God. What matters is that what they speak come to pass even as they spoke it. If it fails that test; it is not, and they are not from God.

We have been given a two fold test thus far to determine whether a prophet or a preacher is from God. Yesterday’s post (Deut. 13:1-5) deals with the prophet who speaks, what he speaks comes to pass, but he leads people away from God. Today of the prophet who claims to speak for God; or not; and what he says does not come to pass. The words the prophet of God speaks comes to pass, and do not fail.

God will always fulfill His word. Not one word will fail (Matthew 24:35).

Putting Evil Away

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

The prophet or preacher of God, the man of God is to speak the word of God. Anything contrary to the word of God is a lie. The man or woman who says God said something which God has not said is worthy of death.

I would say that God gave these verses partly due to men like Balaam who sought reward from Balak the Moabite king and people who sought to curse the children of Israel, and to lead them astray at Baalpeor (Numbers 25).

I have in my mind another prophet who stood against the prophet of God, Jeremiah. Hananiah stood against Jeremiah, and the word of God. Jeremiah pronounced that Hananiah would die within the year; and Hananiah the false prophet died that year (Jeremiah 28:11-17).

Putting evil away is through the preaching of the Word of God, and doing what God says.  The man of God has a great responsibility with the word of God. We are not to twist it to please people; including ourselves. We are to proclaim it as God has spoken it. Pleasing the people to draw a crowd does not please God. The word of God is written for us to read, to hear, and to heed. See 2 Timothy 2:15.

Jesus Through the Bible – Greater Prophet

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

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

Jesus was like Moses in several ways

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

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

Thus saith the Lord GOD 013014

“And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.’ And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me. And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.'”  Ezekiel 2:1-5

Thus Saith the LORD God… 012414

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10

The Least in the Kingdom of Heaven is Greater than John

“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.’  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 11:7-15)

Urgent!!!

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what seest thou?’ And I said, ‘I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, ‘Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.'” Jeremiah 1:11-12 (KJV)

There are a few times the almond tree, and rod are mentioned in Scripture.  Aarons rod was an almond rod (Numbers 17:8) Other times the word “Almond” is used in the Old Testament are found  in Genesis 43:11;  Exodus 25:33, 34; 37:19, 20;  Ecclesiastes 12:5, and our text today.

Four of those are references to the actual tree or fruit or to an article made in the likeness of an almond, such as a bowl.

Aaron’s rod budded showing life; it was also evidence that Aaron was God’s appointed man for the time.

The prophet has been called to proclaim the Word of God to a sinful and rebellious people. He has been told by God, that he has been known by Him even before he was conceived in the womb of his mother. Jeremiah the prophet has been told to speak every word God puts in his mouth.

Now comes the time to check his vision. “Jeremiah, what do you see?” (1:11) “I see a branch of an almond tree.” If a man is going to proclaim the Word of the Lord GOD, then he must be able to see what God is about to do, or at least what he desires to do.

Here is what God says about the seeing of the almond tree branch. “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word”. (v. 12)

The almond tree was an early tree. It wakened from its dormancy earlier than any other tree. The thing Jeremiah saw God used to tell him that the Word of God was going to be done just as God declared it through him, and it would be very quickly. It would be earlier than any other.

The message of God’s Word would be faithfully preached by the prophet, but not without sorrow and pain. There would be no delay. Jeremiah must hasten to the work of his ministry.

Just how close are we to the time we will see the fulfilling of the final prophecies of the Word of God. They are at the door. Jesus could return for His Bride at any moment. Do not delay to call on His name in repentance for sin, and trust completely in Him for salvation.

The picture of the almond tree for Jeremiah was a message that God was going to perform His word quickly.  We live in an era of time very similar to Jeremiah’s.  It is a time for the preacher to preach the Word; not back away, nor soft pedal it; but deliver it with urgency.  The time we have is short.

As Jesus Christ was on the cross, suffered, bled and died there that tree brings forth life.  The message of Jesus is the message with urgency.  Believe Him and live.  Continue in unbelief and perish.  That is the only choices we have.

Could it be that the cross was made from an almond tree?

The Preacher and His Preaching

I am thankful for the pastors/preachers who faithfully stand in their places of preaching and deliver the word of God to the people God has  placed in their charge.  Elijah felt he was all alone, that there was no one else who was faithful in all of Israel.  Man of God never feel that way.  You are not alone.

However, there are pastors who want to leave their people feeling good, encouraged, and entertained.  Most of the “feeling good” is about themselves; and the preacher neglects to preach for the glory  of the Lord, the correction of sin.  We must preach the word of the LORD.  There is nothing else to preach.

Jeremiah was evidently called as a young man, and from a family of priests.  When God came to him he was uncertain, calls himself a child, and unable to speak.  However, notice what GOD says to him…

“Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.’ But the LORD said unto me, ‘Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee,’ saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”  Jeremiah 1:6-10 (KJV)

The preacher must be faithful to preach the word.  Rightly divide or interpret the word, and according to the whole of the word of God.  No verse of Scripture stands alone; it must me interpreted in the light of all other Scripture.  We cannot interpret Scripture according culture; culture must be understood and interpreted by Scripture.  When culture, society, government, human law, or science contradict Scripture; Scripture is right and true.  If the preacher does not believe that or practice that then repent, or get out of the pulpit, and quit deceiving the people with your lies.

The prophet/preacher is a messenger of God.  Called by God we must speak what God says.  We must preach it without fear or favor of men or women.  We must preach it if it means our lives, our homes, friends, our employment or acceptance of other people.

The main message of the Word of God is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christ died for ours sins, was buried, and He bodily arose from the grave three days later.  He took the wrath of sin that was deserved by us, suffered the judgment of our sin from His Father, becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  The Righteous Son of God was made unrighteous; that the unrighteous might be made Righteous.  In His resurrection Jesus overcame the power of sin, death (which is the penalty for sin) and hell (eternal condemnation).  When you preach Jesus and the cross, the burial and bodily resurrection you preach the word of God.

Where is the prophet to preach?  Where ever God opens the door of opportunity.  If that means a church with small number of people to the sidewalk in front of the White House, or the steps of the United Nations building on the U.S. Supreme Court; or front of an idol in a foreign land.  God gives the words when the man of God is faithful to His Word.  Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Through the Bible in a Year – 022413

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Things That Really Count
Numbers 11 – 30

In our world today everything is digital. What does that mean. Some how the “experts”, at least those in the know about such things have figured out how we can have cell phones digitally; with their towers digitally; televisions are digital now; the computers are digital.

A “digit” is defined in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICITONARY as “any of the figures 1 to 9 inclusive and usually the symbol 0.”

Some how the numbers 1 and 0 are the link to it all. When you have the right equipment you can place those numbers in “cyber space”, pull them out with a CD player, DVD player, or HDTV picture, and you have music, movies in your home and over the air, sattelite TV.

We look in the Bible and we see Digital is nothing new with God. Numbers or Digits do count with God.

1. The People Count;

2. The Sacrifices Count;

3. Disobedience Counts toward Judgment (Chapters 11-16);

  • We see complaining of hunger in the numbers (11);
  • We see unbelief in the numbers (12-14);
  • We see envy of leadership (16);

4. There is a Prophet who Counted for Profit (23-25);

5. The Rock in the Wilderness Counts (20:7-11; Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4);

6. The Inheritance Counts for All (26-30; Romans 8:16-17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:11-19)

God’s Controversy With His People 3

This will be the final study for chapter 4.

“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.”  Hosea 4:11-12 (KJV)

The Amplified Bible says of verse eleven, “Harlotry and wine and new wine take away the heart and the mind and the spiritual understanding.”  The Living Bible paraphrases, “Wine, women and song have robbed My people of her brains.”

Does anything ever really change?  It does not seem so.  The problem of Israel is a problem within the United States of America today.  Alcohol and the use of alcohol; maybe I should say abuse of alcohol; drug consumption.  The over active, perverse and uncontrolled sex drives of humanity; along with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs robbing the mind of control, influencing the decision making process, having people doing things they would not normally do.  With a clear mind – clear of drugs at least – one can be expected to make rational decisions.  Under the influence of beverage alcohol no one wants to take responsibility; and no one wants to point out the blame, or take blame for their actions.

This is how verse twelve reads in The Living Bible,  “For they are asking a piece of wood to tell them what to do.  ‘Divine Truth’ comes to them through tea leaves!  Longing after idols has made them foolish.  For they have played the harlot, serving other gods, deserting Me.”

Instead of taking their heart ache to God they seek a bottle.  Instead of a lasting, fulfilling, and meaningful relationship through marriage (One man, one woman), God’s way they follow their own lust, and go to destruction.  It is not only destruction of the person, it destroys the family, the State, the Nation and the World.

“They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.” Hosea 4:13-14

Men need to learn that their wives and children soon follow their example.  In this way wives and daughters of Israel became polluted.  The fathers had not taken their God-given leadership roles in leading their families to righteousness; instead they led them to perversion, and their immorality would be their judgment.

“Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, ‘The LORD liveth.’  For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.  Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.  Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, ‘Give ye.’  The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.” Hosea 4:15-19

“Listen up Judah.”  Hosea probably sees some of the Judeans in the crowd at the gates, and warns them of the plight of Israel.  For clarity “Ephraim” is another name for the Northern kingdom of Israel.

Bethel is now called “Bethaven”.  The place had gone from “The house of God”,  to the decadence of “The house of deception”.  Gilgal and Bethaven were places of calf worship.  To go to these places of idolatry, and declare, “The LORD liveth” was an evil act of hypocrisy, and was despised by God.

They loved their shame rather than the glory of God.  Their glory is God.  They refuse the way of God, thus, they incur the wrath of God upon themselves.

Paul the apostle writes to Timothy; a young pastor, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  Let those today who claim “I am a disciple of Christ” or “I am a Christian” depart from this iniquitous society.  How can we do that?  By not participating in the wicked, mind killing, mind stealing acts of the world and society.

If you have been in this way of life there is hope for all who will trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross – His death, His burial and His resurrection.  He has promised also to come again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, and a Still Small Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 74 – The Crucified, Buried, and Resurrected Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Embracer

Some of you will  probably notice that these are reposts from November 2007.  I thought it might do us all some good to read again.  Be blessed.

WHO IS HABAKKUK?

The meaning of the name “Habakkuk” is derived from a Hebrew word which means “embrace” or “embracer”. It seems in my mind that this is a name which fits him to a tee. He may have been a Levite engaged in the temple choir, and had a great concern for the direction his people were taking, away from God.

Let me quote here from the Criswell Study Bible. “Realizing Israel’s iniquity and need for punishment, Habakkuk is perplexed with the moral dilemma of how a holy God could employ the more deplorably wicked Chaldeans to chastise His Children.” I can understand his dilemma. In looking at God’s holiness, though, I would have to say, that He is more concerned with His glory, than He is with how things may appear to us. To continue the quotation from Criswell – “God responds by asserting His sovereign prerogative as to the choice and the timing of His retribution. Though it may appear unreasonable, His way is best. Thus the prophet learns that to believe what God says and to heed His warning is to be numbered among the righteous who shall live by faith (2:4). Consequently, Habakkuk’s theme is faith triumphant over apparent difficulties.”

Habakkuk was a prophet who had a heart for God’s people, and a heart for God. That is after all what a prophet. He speaks with God about the people, their sins and problems. He speaks with the people of God, His Word, His way, and the direction of their lives.
The prophecy of Habakkuk was a “burden”, ‘a heavy load’, and that is due to the message contained here. The prophet prophesied near the beginning of the Babylonian exile. The people were going to face severe judgment. Habakkuk did understand that judgment was coming by God from an unholy source.

Are we, who are Christians, in the United States of America not also facing judgment from an unholy source?

Habakkuk was a prophet who cared, yet spoke the truth. Bless the Lord. May every pastor and preacher of God’s Word, and the gospel do the same.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Spurgeon – Go Again Seven Times

The following is the evening devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon from Morning and Evening for September 28.

1 Kings 18:43
Go again seven times.

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

Let’s avail in prayer.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship