Wisdom, the Heart and the Kingdom

“Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.”  Proverbs 14:33
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, ‘Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them,
‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ ”  Acts 1:6-8

Ask for the Lord’s wisdom and understanding that we who are redeemed might be faithful to Him and His will, His way, and His word.

Let us also pray for the zeal and diligence in telling others of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins, His burial – taking our sins away, and His resurrection through which we are justified by God forever.

Let us also keep in mind and heart that He will come again for those who “Love His appearing”.

Believing Him

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, ‘He told me all that ever I did.’ So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.
And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.'” John 4:39-42  (KJB)

It is the testimony of Scripture that Jesus went through the land of Samaria; a forbidden journey for the Jew; and by Divine providence encountered this woman at the well. He told her all that she had ever done (that is her testimony in verse 39).

She is so excited she forgot what she came to the well for; because she had met the One who gave her living water.  You know she did leave her waterpot behind (John 4:28).

People of the city came out to meet this Man who knew people’s hearts, minds, and their lives.  No one could do that except Deity – the One True God.

When the people meet Jesus their minds, and hearts are persuaded by His words.  The woman who first believed told where to find Him, and they heard Him and believed.

One of the first things the Christian does upon our salvation, our coming to faith in Him, is that we want to tell people about Him.  People need to know the Lord God.  We know the Way.  Let us love Jesus so much that we cannot keep our mouths shut concerning Him.  We cannot make people believe; neither do we desire to force them, or make them; but we can tell them.  Then possibly they be Believing Him and loving Him.

The Certainty of GOD’S Word

“For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.” 1 Kings 13:32 (KJB)

To get a better understanding of these events I would recommend reading chapters 11 – 13 of 1 Kings. Especially pay attention to the thirteenth chapter.

Because of King Solomon’s departure from the worship of GOD alone, and his love for his wives, and women, the kingdom is taken from him when his son Rehoboam is crowned king.  A man by the name of Jereboam is God’s chosen king for the Northern kingdom of Israel, which is also called Samaria, Ephraim, and Israel.  Samaria is made up of ten tribes, and Judah is of the tribe of Judah mostly, and Judah is faithful to the dynasty of David.

Jereboam rebels against God’s word, and sets up idols at Dan and Bethel, golden calves actually, which is actually an affront to GOD [Jehovah/YHWH].

An unnamed prophet comes on the scene while Jereboam is worshiping at Bethel, and speaks the word of the LORD. As a sign he has said that the altar will split in  half, and the ashes be spilled on the ground, and it happens, seemingly under the very nose of Jereboam.  He is angry at the prophet, and while pointing to the prophet to have him seized, his arm turns to mush (dries up), then the sign was fulfilled.

What is so special about this story?  It is truly one of the unique stories of the Bible; and it teaches us a great lesson of faith, and hearing the word of the LORD ourselves, and testing all who claim to speak the word of the LORD.

In the above text of 1 Kings 13:32 we find the old lying prophet certain that the words of the prophet from Judah will be fulfilled.  Just as that altar was split, the ashes spilled onto the ground, they were fulfilled just as the prophet said by the word of the LORD.

There are many people today looking for something sure, solid, and strong.  Many are looking at other things other than to GOD and His word, and His Son.  Look no further than the word of God.  It is certain, sure, solid, and strong.  God is faithful.  He will not leave anything undone which He has spoken.

He has sent us His Son to die for us.  His name if Jesus.  He died on that old rugged cross, was buried, and He rose from the grave and forever lives.  Because He lives those who call on His name in repentance will live eternally with Him.  Call on His name.

…Purchased with money

“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” Acts 8:20-25 (KJV)

There are two men of God in this chapter.  Philip seems to be the one who was preaching when Simon the sorcerer makes a decision, and speaks, “This man is the great power of God” (v. 10).

Sorcery has always been rejected by God because it distracts from God, His power and authority and Spirit.  In the case of this sorcerer it appears to mean “Magical arts” or the “work of a magician”.  For Simon it was used to deceive people purposely for his own personal gain.  In our day we might call him a “Scam artist”.  He did, however, recognize Philip as a man of God.

The words of the verses above were spoken by the apostle Peter.  He had spoken and laid hands on some of the believers of Samaria, and they received the Holy Spirit.  For clarity the Holy Spirit comes into, is given by God to an individual when receive the gift of God in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Simon saw this laying on the hands, as a “Power” which could be bought with money; and Peter rebukes him, even heavily condemns him for believing such a thing.

The gift of the Spirit of God has no price.  He is given by the grace of God upon one’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection.  He is given as “Christ in you,” empowering us to live by the Spirit, and when we live in the Spirit we walk with God in full agreement with Him.

I do not know the outcome of Simon.  He did ask for prayer “…That none of these things which you have spoken come upon me..”   I do know that God is gracious and merciful, and if this Simon truly was born again through faith in Christ Jesus he is forgiven, and walking with Jesus in glory today.

No matter what you have done know today that God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son that if you will believe in Him you will never perish, but have eternal life with Him.

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 7:1-16

The People Deceived and Deceitful
Hosea 7:1-16

Can you imagine the actions of Gomer when Hosea came to redeem her from the slavery she was in?  “I have no need of deliverance” (Proverbs 30:20).  Hosea had her best interest at heart.  She was relishing her “Freedom”.  His interest was Gomer and her healing.  Eaten up and ensnared by pagan practices, and worship, which destroyed her relationship with God.

Remember Gomer is representative of the nation Israel, and Hosea is representative of God.

“When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.”  Hosea 7:1 (KJV)

The message is God’s to Israel.  “I would have healed you.”  His mercy was waiting to work.  Even though redeemed they refuse to turn from their evil ways.

The death of Jesus on the cross was the price paid to redeem and heal all mankind, yet people persist in sin refusing to let God do a work of grace and redemption in their hearts and lives.
Because grace is rejected evil continues to work like leaven [yeast].

“And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before My face.” verse 2

Israel was continuing in sin and rebellion against God believing He would not see, He would not punish or chastise.  They were dealing falsely with God.  If one can be deceitful, and operate falsely with God they can, and will with their fellow man as well.

To think that we can hide our sin and disobedience from God, or to think He does not take notice is completely ludicrous.  The psalmist wrote, “Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8).  Only the wicked can believe that God does not, or cannot see our sin, and does not punish it.  Ezekiel heard God speak saying, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols?  For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land’” (Ezekiel 8:12 NKJV Also see Psalm 10:2-11).

God does “Remember” sin.  He does not turn away, but it is judged.  All sin was for all time judged in God’s Son Jesus Christ.  He who rejects God’s Son rejects God’s love, and can expect judgment for his/her own sin – the price is eternal.

“They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.  They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.  In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.  For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.  They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto Me.”  verses 3-7

There was a familial delight in evil deceit, debauchery and anarchy.  Instead of a family or house of God delighting in holiness, and seeking Him; there was a family of deceit.  Seeking to seduce and lead others away from, rather than toward the Lord God.

It even seems tha the rulers, both the religious and civil were “Glad” with the wickedness.  It is quite likely that there was great financial gain through wickedness.  Why else would they be “Glad”?  Except for their  evil indulgence.

Their passions burned within them; keeping them “Banked” until the time was right – until sin reached its height.  Then, like the baker, the fires were stirred and the fires burned hot.  Their lust is pictured as an hot oven.  Lust is pictured as a burning fire; also in the New Testament.  Paul writing to the Corinthians said, “But I say to the unmarried adn to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried]; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 NKJV).

When the time for the putrid party begins the baker [initiator] stirrs the fires, and it becomes a “Flaming fire”.  Its leaping, dancing, gyrating flames alluring, inviting the masses to join in.

The ruler are bought and paid for by the wicked.  They cannot rule justly.  They cannot judge rightly or mercifully.  The judges, the kings have fallen.  Fallen to their own lusts and greed.  Fallen from the way of mercy and justice.  They all seek their own way.  God says, “None… calleth unto Me.”

“In terms of human relationships, adultery is the ultimate act of deceit, betrayal, and treachery.”  (John Traylor).

Evil became such a way of life that anarchy began to prevail.  Kings died by assassination, and judges perished by same.  If God pulls back his hand, his “Hedge” of protection, and lets man have his own way anarchy rules.

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.  And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.” verse 8-10

Israel turned from the Law of God, and accepted heathen practices.  It is hard for many of us to see the picture portrayed in verse eight, “A cake not turned”.  The picture is like a pancake, similar to like mothers or cooks prepare everyday for children or visitors to restaurants.  A pancake left unturned by its cook.  It burns on one side, and is left as dough on the other.  It is unfit for consumption, and the best thing to do is toss it out.

They have given themselves to evil.  They lose their strength of youth without even realizing it.  He has lost his power, because of turning from God to serve self, and does not even notice, that, God is no longer upon him.  Sin so blinds that the direction headed, and the direction turned from cannot be seen.  It is a great tragedy for the child of God to go on in sin and not realize that God’s Spirit, power and strength has departed.

Even though God continues to reach out to Israel, in pride they reject Him.  Their pride is a testimony against them (5:5).  We can handle it ourselves while we head to destruction.  The LORD hates “A proud look” (Proverbs 6:17).

“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.”  verses 11-12

Have you ever had a bird in your house, or caught in any building?  It flies into the windows, the walls, ceiling, and frantically searches for a way of escape.  The door can be open, but it wants its own way out.  Most times you have to catch the bird, carry it to the door, and then release it.  The “Silly dove” is a picture of Israel seeking her own way.  Mankind seeking his own way.  You seeking your own way.  In order to be delivered God must capture her, and show her the way out in His hands of chastisement.

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me: destruction unto them! Because they have transgressed against Me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.  And they have not cried unto Me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against Me.  Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against Me. They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”  verses 13-16

Again God’s heart cry for His people is shown.  They flee from God to seek evil, and to their own destruction.  They lie about God, and to Him.  They “Lie against” God in two ways;

  1. By denying that Hosea’s message is from God;
  2. By attributing the blessings of their past to their worship of idols, and a possible third;
  3. By making God equal with all others.

Even though God has redeemed them they still persist in denial of God’s deliverance and power.

They are returning to ritual.  Ritual has no holiness requirements.  It has no power to change lives.  It makes many other requirements but provides no personal relationship.

Like an archer’s bow that is not true, and curved rightly it will not hit its target, even with the best of archers.  The bullseye is missed.  The bullseye of God’s glory; “For all have sinned, and come short [missed the mark] of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

There are seven reasons given for the destruction of Israel [Ephraim];

  1. They were set in their rebellion (v. 13);
  2. They were set in false witness against  the LORD (v. 13);
  3. Their insincerity in calling upon the LORD (v. 14);
  4. The committed apostasy in the way they sought for yields or better yields of their crops (v. 14);
  5. The people “devised evil” against the LORD (v. 15);
  6. The Israelites did not seek God (v. 16);
  7. The scornful speaking of the rulers of Israel (v. 16).

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me”  Beware children of God when you are getting so close to culture, and society you begin to identify more with them than with God.  When we begin to call good evil, we are in disagreement with God and in agreement with the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When a Peace Partner is not a Peace Partner

That is when there are the conditions placed that Abbas does toward Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Addressing the Tunisian parliament on Monday, and sounding a bit like a character out of the children’s series Pokemon, Abbas stated, “I choose you, Netanyahu.” [The speech was delivered in Arabic, so it only sounded cartoonish when translated to English.]
To ensure no one thought he had started to actually like or admire his Israeli counterpart, Abbas added, “You are the prime minister of Israel, and I am forced to work with you.”
But Abbas’ apparent sudden reversal came with some strings attached. Abbas insisted that for talks to resume, Netanyahu must abandon the idea that Jews can live in their biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, as well as in the eastern half of Jerusalem.
“You [Netanyahu] must also choose between settlements and peace, for those who want peace do not think of settlements,” said Abbas.”

When it comes to peace with Israel, how can you compromise on the promise of God?  God’s promises to Israel concerning the land in particular.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Nahum we have written,

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

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

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

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

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Acts – 041811

Just one short observation.

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, ‘Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’  And He said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’  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 1:6-11 (KJV)

The remaining disciples of Jesus, following His resurrection have gone with Him to the Mount of Olives.  He is about to be “taken up” from them; and in their sight.  They ask Him, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”  His answer was, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons,which the Father hath put in His own power.”

They asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.  Jesus did not say that it would not happen, but that they would not know the time or the season it would happen.  In the mean time Jesus has given them and us power to be witnesses in our homes, our communities, States, and the nations of the world to tell them of the glories of Jesus Christ.

When will Israel be restored?  We don’t know.  God knows.  Let’s believe Him, and not the opinions and philosophies of men.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Well Of Faith

The woman at the well had met Jesus for the first time.  He had asked her for a drink of water from the well to which she had came.  Jesus had offered her water that would give her everlasting life with peace and joy in the presence of God.

While Jesus was speaking with her, He told her all about her life.  She had had four failed marriages, and the man with whom she was presently living was not her husband.  She believed Jesus, trusted Him with her life.  Her first response was to go into the city and tell as many as she could and many of them believed, because of her personal testimony, and then, we have them saying,

“Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”  John 4:42 (KJV).

They had believed her enough to go and meet the Man she told them about.  When they meet Jesus they put their whole faith in Him.

Faith is not something you gain by the words of others.  It is what you gain by meeting Jesus personally.  There are many who believe they are “Christian” because their parents, or grandparents were.  There are even some who believe they are “Christian”, because they were born in the United States of America, and because of that “Of course they are Christian”.  That is not true.  None of these cases makes one “Christian”.

If you were born in a garage would that make you a car?  To become “Christ-like” which is the meaning of the word “Christian” requires receiving personal faith in Jesus Christ, and that is a gift He alone gives.  Someone once told me, “God has no grandchildren”, and is that ever a true statement.  Trust Christ for yourself.  You will not know Him, nor will He know you if you are resting on the coattails of someone else.

-Tim A. Blankenship