Let Us Now Fear the LORD Our God

“Neither say they in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in His season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

For among My people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:24-31 (KJB)

From  F. B. Meyer…

“Diogenes, the cynic, was discovered one day in Athens in broad daylight, lantern in hand, looking for something. When someone remonstrated with him, he said that he needed all the light possible to enable him to find an honest man. Something like that is in the prophet’s thought. God was prepared to spare Jerusalem on lower terms than even Sodom, and yet He was driven to destroy her. Both poor and rich had alike “broken the yoke and burst the bonds.” The description of the onset of the Chaldeans is very graphic. They settle down upon the land as a flock of locusts, but still the Chosen People refuse to connect their punishment with their sin. It never occurred to the Chosen People that the failure of the rain, the withering of their crops, and the assault of their foes, were all connected with their sin. There is nothing unusual in this obtuseness for as we read the history of our own times, men are equally inapt at connecting national disaster with national sin.

How good it would be if the national cry of today were that of Jer_5:24 : Let us now fear before the Lord our God! Notice the delightful metaphor of Jer_5:22. When God would stay the wild ocean wave a barrier of sand will suffice. The martyrs were as sand grains but wild persecutions were quenched by their heroic patience.” F. B. Meyer’s THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY titled “Widespread Corruption”

And with these words I say Amen.  “Let us now fear the LORD our God”. Begins by humbling ourselves at the cross of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and One

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all those who come to this blog today, and in the days to come to be certain of their eternal destination; and that that destination is to the place where Jesus is; and I want you to know that He has  prepared the way, and the place for you (John 14:1-6), that you can call on Him, He will hear you and deliver you from all your sin, and its shame, guilt, condemnation, and give you eternal life in His presence.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want God’s thoughts to be my thoughts, and His ways my ways.

Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:6-11 (KJV)

Stand for Righteousness

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The Nation was under the rule of a godless king, who was ruled by a demonic, and godless woman. God would show Himself strong and reveal Himself; but who would be the man who would stand before this godlessness?

How would the man of God stand? Upon what would he stand? First of all he would confront the king. Secondly he would stand upon the word of God; and take the message of God to this ruthless, evil ruler.

Christian there is no other thing for us to stand upon with a sure and strong foundation than the commandments, the statutes, the law, the judgments, the precepts, the testimonies, and the way of God. When we begin to rob the power of the word of God, by putting it below technology, science, finance, homes or family; then we have a major problem. Society weakens, culture worsens, and evil flourishes.

Stand of the word of God; begin by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who bled and died for your sins; and was raised again bodily from the grave. He is returning to earth one day to put away sin forever.

Rains of Repentance

The following devotional is from Dr. David Jeremiah and Turning Point.

Rains of Repentance
No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11

Recommended Reading — Hebrews 12:7-11
Dr. Paul White, a missionary physician in East Africa, described a drought threatening his area. Day after day, the blazing sun beat down and the plants withered. The regular rains were months late. One day the chief visited the local clergyman, and Dr. White joined them. “Bwana, we have sinned,” said the chief. “We must ask God’s forgiveness and His help. Can we have next Sunday as a day of repentance and prayer for rain?”
The word went out and large numbers gathered. The African pastor preached a powerful sermon on repentance, and everyone united in earnest prayer. Within an hour, gentle rain was falling, and three inches followed within three days. 1
Every affliction isn’t necessarily an act of divine chastening, but we should bear this in mind — very often the Lord uses difficulty to discipline and deepen us. When facing a problem, ask, “What is the Lord trying to teach me?” Sometimes we think of discipline as being hurtful, but God’s discipline is helpful. It offers eternal benefits.

The godly have some good in them; therefore the devil afflicts them; and some evil in them, therefore God afflicts them.
Thomas Watson, Puritan writer

1Dr. Paul White, Doctor of Tanganyika (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 177-178.

 

 

My people shall never be ashamed

Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.  Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.  And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed.”  Joel 2:21-27 (KJV)

There are many “Fear not” statements in Scripture.  Some one has said, that there is one for each day of the year.  I have not found them all, so I cannot point them out with their address.  Here in this passage of Scripture are two of them.

Notice that twice in these verses, God says, “My people shall never be ashamed.”  That is something for us to know, understand and practice.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 082212

The LORD of hosts hath sworn by Himself, saying, ‘Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.’   He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by His understanding.  When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures.  Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.  They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.  The portion of Jacob is not like them; for He is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: the LORD of hosts is His name.”  Jeremiah 51:14-19 (KJV)

Also read Psalms 115 and 135.

-T.A.

The Sound of Abundance of Rain

Elijah had faced the greatest trial of his life, and won the greatest victory for the name of YaHWeH/Jehovah.  He had prayed a simple prayer to God,

“LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.”  1 Kings 18:36-37 (KJV)

The LORD God heard Elijah’s prayer, and did just what Elijah asked for.  Fire fell (v. 38), burnt the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water in the trench which Elijah had placed around the altar to display the power of God.  This was no magicians trick; no wizards wand was needed; it was the fire of God falling just as the man of God had requested.

The people of the Northern kingdom of Israel fell on their faces declaring, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God.”  At that moment in time there was no doubt in their minds who the God of Israel and the earth was.  Now these prophets and priests of Baal needed to be dealt with; and they would be dealt with unto death.

“And Elijah said unto them, ‘Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.’ And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” 18:40

When the LORD is God there is no room for false prophets and teachers.  They will be dealt with quickly.  The prophet Jeremiah was confronted by a false prophet, who prophesied differently from his own prophecy, and the LORD told Jeremiah to return to Hananiah and tell him that due to his lies he would die within the year (Jeremiah 28).  That prophet died by the hand of God Himself; just as the prophet had said.

Why deal so harshly and directly with false teachers and prophets?  These had in large part been responsible for leading the nation into apostasy, turning their backs on the GOD of Israel, leading them into all kinds of debauchery and rebellious living against the GOD  of all creation.  It needed to be seen by Israel that this will not be tolerated.

In this the Christian of 2012 can learn that the LORD God will not tolerate false teaching in the Christians life; and we are to weed out those teachings from our lives that distract us from Him; the LORD of the universe.  We are to keep our individual lives free from false teaching, teachers; from unholy living; and keep these things from our local congregations.  When a church begins propagating lies, heresy, and distracts from the Word of God and from our Lord Jesus Christ that church will fall, and its fire will go out.  No matter how large the attendance is, how great the crowd is at their weekly gatherings; it can still be without the fire of God.

When Elijah had dealt with the false prophets, then he told Ahab,

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, ‘Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” 18:41

For 3.5 years there had been no rain.  The land was parched, dry, brooks were dry the rivers were low, water was in short supply.  Now without even seeing a cloud, the  prophet tells the king, “…There is a sound of abundance of rain”.  The fire of God had fallen from the heavens.  The people had seen the fire of God fall, and they had fallen on their faces crying out, “The LORD, He is the God” and the liars had been put away.  Now rain was coming.  Refreshment, renewing and restoration to the land was coming.

You can turn to the LORD God today, and live forever.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died for your sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and is one day returning for His own.  He is the fire that John the Baptist spoke of in Matthew 3:11.  “…He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire…”

When God’s people return to the LORD there will be and we can hear “…The sound of Abundance of Rain”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, Obadiah, and the King Ahab

The prophet received word from the LORD that it was time for the rain to come on Israel.  That meaning in essence that it was time to call the nation to repent of their sins; and it was to begin with the king, and the false religion he and his wife espoused in the land.  The worship of Baal was a vile and evil religion which was an earthy, self-centered, pleasure oriented religion; and led the children of Israel away from the God of all creation.  That was partly why Elijah had prayed for no rain; to show that Baal was powerless.

Elijah meets Obadiah, and tells him to take message to Ahab that he  was ready to meet with him,

“And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, ‘Art thou that my lord Elijah?’ And he answered him, ‘I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.'” 1 Kings 18:7-8 (KJV)

Now, Obadiah was a bit cautious, and knew that the LORD was protecting Elijah, and feared that the LORD might just go back to moving Elijah around, hiding him from the king, but Elijah convinces Obadiah to get the message to  Ahab that he wants to meet with him (18:9-15).

Notice the king’s words to Elijah when he does meet him,

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’  And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.'”  1 Kings 18:17-18

It is accusation of dividing the nation, causing trouble.  I find it aggravating, insulting, and almost blasphemous to hear those who cry against the holy and righteous as always being the ones who are the “Troublers” of a nation or people.  That is what Ahab was charging against the prophet.  That is the cry of our post modern culture against those who stand against the unholy promotion of unholiness, and ungodliness.  Those who stand against same sex marriage are accused of being bigoted, haters, mean spirited, trouble makers.  We are supporters of what is holy, righteous and good.

Just as Elijah faced the king and told him “I have not troubled Israel; but thou and thy father’s house…”  You have troubled Israel.  Those who stand against God, righteous living, holy conduct, Biblical teaching, and Biblical conviction; they are the troublers of our nation and lives.

We are faced with a challenge.  Will we live for God?  Will we live by the words of the Bible, the words and life of Jesus Christ; or will we go along to get along?  I choose to live by the words of Jesus, the words of the Bible;

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  John 8:47 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah in Prayer

No where in the context of the writing about Elijah are we told of Elijah’s praying, however, the New Testament does tell us of Elijah’s prayers,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  James 5:16b-18 (KJV)

So we know that Elijah had power with God, and he received that power because of his commitment to God and earnest prayer.

As we were looking at Elijah ministering to the widow of Zarephath I neglected to mention that this widow was a Gentile.  As Jesus mentions in Luke (4:25-26) there were widows of Israel who could have used some help, but God sent Elijah to Zarephath instead, due to the hearts of the people of Israel being in rejection of God and His Word.

Now as Elijah is praying “the word of the LORD came” to him…

“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, ‘Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.'”  1 Kings 18:1

This third year could possibly be the third year since he came to stay with the widow and her son.  God is ready now to call Israel to repentance, and to return to Him; and He will use Elijah to call the prophets of Baal to a challenge of fire.  We will not get into that just yet.

We notice in the verses to come that there was a servant of Ahab’s who was a God fearer, and had protected some of the other prophets of God;

“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” 18:3-4

Ahab had called on Obadiah to search with him for water in fountains, brooks, and grass for caring for the king’s animals.  It seems quite pointed to see a king searching for food for his animals while maybe a unconcerned about the needs of the people.

We need to learn from Elijah the necessity of prayer.  However, without faith in God, much prayer avails nothing.  The power of prayer is not praying.  The power of prayer is GOD.  And Elijah loved the LORD, and believed Him and trusted Him unto life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

YAH is God

I have become fascinated with the prophet of Elijah in the past few years, and maybe so in the past few months.  He is known as the prophet of fire, and the reason for that title becomes apparent as you read the Scriptural accounts of his ministry and life.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah [YHWH]” or “YAH is God”,  and thus the title of this post.  I want to spend some time looking more into the life of Elijah who seems to just appear on the scene in the days of the rule of Ahab and Jezebel over Israel; the Northern kingdom.

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.'”  1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The above verse is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible, but certainly not the last.  According to my check, Elijah’s name is mentioned at least 108 more times through the New Testament with thirty in the New Testament.  Being a “Tishbite” and since it seems that no one knows the location of a city by this name, then maybe the Strong’s application may be of service to us,

“tishbı̂y  tish-bee’  Patrial from an unused name meaning recourse; a Tishbite or inhabitant of Tishbeh (in Gilead): – Tishbite.”

Notice the word “recourse”, and that could apply more to the person’s; the prophet in this case; interest and heart.  Recourse meaning,

“1: a turning to someone or something for assistance or protection: Resort  2: a source of aid.”  MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

So could this not mean for us that Elijah was from Gilead, and had a burden for the children of Israel to turn to the One whom they were refusing for the protection and aid they really needed?  I think it is a great possibility.  The  prophet was a man who had a heart for God and for the Northern kingdom to turn to God.

Elijah told the king Ahab that there would be no rain, or dew until he called on the LORD God to give it.  We know from the epistle of James that was three and one half years without dew or rain (James 5:17).  Oh, how the people of God today need a heart like Elijah who will spend time with the LORD, know His heart, preach His Word, even to the kings of the earth; and tell them what God is about to do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 64 – Prepare For the Glory of the LORD

All of creation is for the glory of the LORD; even the one’s made in His image; yet we have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and because of Adam’s sin have brought a curse on the created order.

My reading this morning took me through three of the Minor Prophets – Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.  These are called “Minor Prophets” because of the shortness of the prophecy, not its measure of importance in  prophecy, and the Word of God.

God, in His Word, shows us quite clearly that He will be glorified; and will spare nothing to make it so.  He who spared not even His own Son, to bring us back into His glory.

There are a couple of verses in Amos I want us to consider this morning.  God shows us His glory in the creation;

“Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name…” Amos 5:8 (KJV)
“It is He that buildeth His stories in the heaven, and hath founded His troop in the earth; He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name.”  9:6

In Amos the prophet shows us God even in the everyday things that we take for granted; such as the stars, and the rain which nourishes the ground and our crops.  Note, the prophets awareness of where the rain comes from – how it comes from the “waters of the sea”.

Now note how the prophet Obadiah, the shortest prophetic book of the Old Testament ends his prophecy speaking of the kingdom being the LORD’S;

“And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.”  Obadiah 21 (KJV)

Now as we consider the prophet Jonah we see a very reluctant prophet.  We first hear of Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25 where the prophet had spoken in the days of Jeroboam.  When the LORD calls Jonah to a foreign land, Nineveh, the prophet becomes disobedient, rebellious and flees.  God has something else in mind.  He prepares five different things to bring the prophet to where He wants Him to be; and it is not just to Nineveh;

“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”  Jonah 1:4

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”  Jonah 1:17

“And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.  But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.  And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.'” Jonah 4:6-8

Notice the five things God prepared for Jonah.  1) “a great wind into the sea”;  2) “the LORD prepared great fish…”;  3) “the LORD God prepared a gourd…”;  4) “God prepared a worm…”;  5) “God prepared a vehement east wind…”

Sad to think that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the souls of these people; most of all the glory of the LORD God.  How am I with that today?  I am afraid that far too often I am like Jonah.

May God help me.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 27 – The Glory of the LORD Filled the House

I love reading the events where the glory of God comes down like fire, fills the house, and even the priests cannot enter, because the glory is so bright no human being can enter it in the flesh.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 24 – 2 Chronicles 8.  The seventh chapter is well known among Christians for verse 14.  A verse many of us like to memorize, quote, and pastors and preachers like to preach, but I fear it is often applied in the wrong way.  It is often applied as though it applies to the United States of America.  I do not want to destroy anyone’s hopes and dreams for our nation, but there are no promises of God in the Bible for the U. S. of A.  None.

Enough on that for now.

When we look at the first three verses of chapter 7 of Second Chronicles,

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, ‘For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.'”  2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (KJV)

King Solomon had closed his prayer, and God shows up.  Fire came down from heaven, consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  There was no room for anyone else.  Now, is it not the glory of the LORD  that all God’s children desire?  I think so.

In chapter seven when the glory of God comes down God speaks with Solomon, appearing to him (v. 12) and saying,

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (vv. 13-14)

This word from God is to Solomon and the people of Israel.  Let us be not ignorant of this; there is no promise of God to any nation on the earth, previous to today, today, or after today; other than Israel.  There is one thing for certain; the people of God are the people of God through their faith in God, and through His Son Jesus Christ.

There is certainly a principle given us in these precious words.  Promise we can rest on and apply to life.

We need the hope these words give us.  We can rest in God that He will do what is best for His people, but not necessarily for a nation.  Let us be clear on this matter;  the hope of the world is not the United States of America, Democracy, our Constitution, Bill or Rights, the Amendments to the Constitution, our President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Congress, Senate, Supreme Court or State governments.  The hope of the world lies in the hands of God through faith in His Son.  Our hope is not in the liberal agenda, the conservative agenda, the stock market, or the economy.  All of these things can and will fail and fall; but our God lives forever.

When the heavens are shut up and what we have is drought, cattle are dying, crops will not grow, wells are drying up, lakes and reservoirs are drying, and people are dying of thirst; then we had better be praying, and seeking the face of God and His glory.  When diseases are running rampant, pestilences, and plagues are destroying the land; and afflicting the people; then we better be seeking the face of our Creator, humbling ourselves before Him.  Seeking government aid is not seeking God.  That is seeking an idol

The only hope for the U. S. of A. is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and risen again bodily from the grave, seated at the Father’s right hand.  The only  hope for the world is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and bodily raised from the grave, and seated at the Father’s right hand.  He is coming again.  Be ready.

-Tim A. Blankenship