The Virtuous Man; The Virtuous Woman

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows?  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJB)

Man of Virtue; Woman of Virtue – Proverbs 31:1-31

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.
We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.
According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.
1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.
The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”  Proverbs 31:10-22

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).
She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).
The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).
“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31:29-31

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

Fear of the LORD

It is evident as I look over the world, and look into each culture on the earth; and not that I have done a thorough examination of any or all; but just an short observation.  My observation leads me to reach the conclusion that we as a race of people; the human race; do not have a fear of GOD.

In every culture, and nation, we make god in our own image, and after our own likeness; thus we can approve of anything, and everything, that suits “Me”.

Many times this is true even in Christianity.  There are many professors who proclaim that “God is so good and loving.  He would not cast anyone into a fiery place called Hell”.  Or “God is so loving, accepting, and kind that he loves same sex couples. He does not expect them to change their minds or their lives”.  Guess what?  Doing that you deny the God of the Bible, the Scriptures, and you have made god in  your own image and likeness.

Hear the Proverbs of Solomon…

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

We must understand that when we fear the LORD it is not that we go around trembling every time we mess up, or fear messing up (sinning).  To live in the “Fear of the LORD” is to live with confidence.  Confidence that when we do sin He is gracious, merciful and will forgive us.  When we live in the fear of God it is actually living in the love of God which is greater than all our sin.

John the apostle wrote in his first epistle,

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

When we fear the LORD we also will be like a “fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27).  The Word of God is like a fountain of running, flowing, fresh, refreshing, cleansing water that flows giving eternal life to all who will freely drink it.  Jesus said…

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

That is a flowing, cleansing, refreshing stream of water flowing from Christian lives that shows what it really means to walk in the love of God.

To walk in the fear of the LORD is to believe what He says, then make Him all of our life, and live as He has given us privilege to do so.  Because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection we now have the right to be called the sons and daughters of GOD (John 1:12); but you must believe and receive what He has said, and what He has done.

Wisdom of Work, and the Mouth

Words have power.  It is my belief that if we as people would do our individual jobs, and responsibilities, and listen twice as much as we open our mouths the world would be a better place.  God gave us two ears and one mouth; and that means we ought to do twice as much listening, as we do speaking.

Hear the Proverbs…

“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but He casteth away the substance of the wicked. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” Proverbs 10:1-6 (KJV)

At least 13 times in chapter ten there is reference to “mouth”, “lips”, or “tongue”. Verses 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, and 32 with a couple of verses having two references.

There is power in our use of words with our tongues, lips, our mouth; hear what God says about the power of the tongue; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21).

From Warren W. Wiersbe –

Wise and righteous are key words in this chapter, and they go together, for the wise practice righteousness and the righteous grow in wisdom.
The wise bring joy and not grief to their parents (v. 1). They will take advantage of God-given opportunities (v. 5) and will obey orders (v. 8). Wise people gather knowledge (v. 14) and share it with others (vv. 13, 21, 31). They also know when to be quiet (v. 19). They do not jest about sin (v. 23) but are serious about obeying the Lord.
The righteous have God’s protection and provision (vv. 2–3, 24–25), and He blesses them in life (v. 6) and after death (v. 7). Their words give life (vv. 11, 20–21, 31–32), and their works prosper (v. 16). Their future is secure (v. 30) and joyful (v. 28).
If you are wise and righteous, those traits will be revealed by your words (vv. 6, 11, 14, 20–21, 31–32) as well as by your works.

Of verse 6 Matthew Henry Commentary says,

“Verse 6
Here is, 1. The head of the just crowned with blessings, with the blessings both of God and man. Variety of blessings, abundance of blessings, shall descend from above, and visibly abide on the head of good men, real blessings; they shall not only be spoken well of, but done well to. Blessings shall be on their head as a coronet to adorn and dignify them and as a helmet to protect and secure them. 2. The mouth of the wicked covered with violence. Their mouths shall be stopped with shame for the violence which they have done; they shall not have a word to say in excuse for themselves (Job 5:16); their breath shall be stopped with the violence that shall be done to them, when their violent dealings shall return on their heads, shall be returned to their teeth.”

Let us commit ourselves to doing what God has given us to do, as unto Him doing it with all our heart; then with busy hands and feet the mouth will be used for right and good.  There is power in words.

It is Best to Listen to Wisdom

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.” Proverbs 1:24-27 (KJV)

For the month of March I will be endeavoring to do a short study from the Wisdom book of Proverbs.

In the above verses the message begins from Wisdom in verse 20.  So Wisdom is personified by Solomon here and in chapters 8 and 9.  We will get to those later.  For the study today we focus on 1:24-27.

Wisdom will not be ignored.  When we speak of Wisdom we speak of God’s Wisdom.  Compare godly wisdom to the wisdom of men…

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:13-18

Since this wisdom is godly wisdom it comes from none other source than the  heart of God Himself.  It comes from His Word, His promises, His power, His Spirit, and His works – His works that He does even, maybe especially, in His people; as His people yield to His wisdom.

When the child of God chooses his/her own way rather than God’s way and wisdom we end up showing our bitterness, envy, anger, strife, and we start disbelieving the word of God; until God gets ahold of us, and sets us right.  It is not a pleasant thing for the child of God for Him to get ahold of us (Hebrews 12:6-8).

When we are not right with God; walking with Him in His Spirit, then, there will be great fear with no peace to face it.

Those who reject God, His wisdom, and His grace will one day find themselves being laughed at and mocked because your own wisdom fails you; and your calamity will be an eternal one.

O turn to the One who is All Wise, believe His promises, and trust His grace and mercy that He has given mankind by that God-Man Jesus the Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again;  believing He is the Son of God; God the Son.  That is where Wisdom begins.

That the Earth May Know

That The Earth May Know…
1 Kings 8:1-61

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin. When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

Praising and Honoring God With Music

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (KJV)

These verses begin a chronicled list of Levites whom David placed as the authority over the singing in the “Tabernacle of the congregation” after it was brought to Jerusalem thus the phrase “after that the ark had rest”. You find that genealogy from verses 33-48.

I believe the LORD likes us to sing unto Him in worship. I also believe He is glorified with instruments of music, as they are played unto Him. He is glorified when we are enjoying Him. John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us; when we are most satisfied in Him” and music is one way that is expressed when it honors His name, His holiness, and His righteousness.

I sometimes laugh as I drive in a city once in a while, and occasionally I will see folks in their cars tapping the steering wheel, or moving to the rhythm of a song they are listening; maybe even singing along. I laugh, because I find myself doing that, just about every time I have the car radio on, and listening to a good uplifting God honoring song.

Sing a song today, and honor God in your music.

In the Sight of God

“And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.” 1 Kings 11:6 (KJV)

The wisest, and the wealthiest of all kings among men “did evil in the sight of the LORD”. He was noted by men, as being a good king, even by the Queen of Sheba.

The LORD had promised Solomon a kingdom continuing (9:1-9), yet the king violated the commands and word of God; thus it was taken from him and given to another.

Evil in the day of 2015 is much defined by the world outside of the Word of God. Evil has become good; and good is now evil (Isaiah 5:20). It is more so in the United States of America than any other nation; I have heard. We have “Political Correctness” to deal with.

It is no longer evil to practice sodomy; but is acceptable by many to marry same sex individuals. God still calls it an abomination. It is evil to say it is an abomination. Not according to God and His word though – It is still an abomination for man to lie with man, or woman to lie with woman in immorality (Romans 1:18-32).

According to PC people a Christian cannot live their own lives in their personal businesses, by their faith; and it is evil by them to speak of Jesus and the cross, except in places of worship, maybe.

“In the sight of the LORD” is the key. People may read the chapters of today, and see that Solomon married many wives, for political causes, and even though it was against God’s commands they will commend him for it. In the sight of the LORD it is evil. He violated the word and will of God. Also note 1 Kings 11:29-39.

We as Christians are to judge sin by what God calls sin. It matters not what the world says of us. We are told, “Judge not lest you be judged”. Guess what; we are already judged, and by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are found “Not Guilty”. We still need daily washing, cleansing and forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

What God says is evil, or an abomination, or sin; it still is.  It does not matter where the PC Police, politicians, president, or kings may stand; what counts in the end is what God has said, and continues to say.  I stand with God and His Word.

People of the Earth… Know that the LORD is God

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.”  That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin.  When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

Word Performance

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it.” 1 Kings 6:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD will perform His Word.  Not one jot or tittle shall pass away (Matthew 5:18) till all shall be fulfilled.

Just as Solomon needed the assurance of the LORD, and to be reminded of his calling, and responsibility; so too does the child of God, who has been cleansed by the blood of the crucified, buried and risen Jesus Christ; today.

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.

The Righteous King

“Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment.” Psalm 72:1-2 (KJV)

This is a Psalm most likely written by David to his son Solomon.  The title of it says, “A Psalm for Solomon.” Solomon was part of the Davidic dynasty which God ordained.

Of this verse the MacArthur Study Bible note reads,

Your judgments. A prayer that the king would faithfully mediate God’s justice on the nation (cf. Deut. 17:18-20).  the king’s Son. A reference primarily to Solomon, emphasizing his bond with the Davidic dynasty; but it also anticipates Messiah’s reign as the culmination of the Davidic covenant (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12, 13; Ps. 2:1-12).

This was a prayer for Solomon to be a just and right judge for the people of all the people of Israel.  He was to represent the right and just rule of the coming King who would be the Right and Just Judge of all the earth.

The Just and Righteous King is Jesus Christ.  He is coming soon.  Though we do not know the day or the hour.  We are told to be ready.  Believe His Word, trust Him, live for Him.

Seeing the Sign of the Son

“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  Then he saith, ‘I will return into my house from whence I came out;’ and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 12:38-45)

Heaven’s News – Provision in the Kingdom

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” ~Jesus (Matthew 6:25-34)

Through the Bible in a Year – Evening 011313

Scheduled for the evening message of January 13, 2013; however, we did not have services due to sickness in the congregation.

The Greater of Jonah, and Solomon

Matthew 6 – 12

1.  The Giver of a Greater Commandment (6 – 7);

2.  The One who calms Storms, and Heals (8);

3.  He is the One who Forgives Sin, and sends Laborers to the Harvest (9);

4.  He Calls His Disciples to be Empowered for the Task at Hand (10);

5.  The One who Shares our Load, and the Burden is Light (11);

6.  He Speaks of a New Day of Rest (12).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 48 – From Love to Love and Salvation – excuse me day 49

If there is one thing that the Bible declares to the follower of Christ and to any who will read it it is that God loves the world.  However, we also will find within the pages much of the fact that God is holy and righteous and will not overlook our sin.

My reading today, this morning, took me through the Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, and chapters 1 – 6 of the prophet Isaiah.  Now there is contrast.  From a love story to prophetic warnings; however, after some thought on the matter I see these chapters of Isaiah as the love of God toward His wife (Judah), warning and wooing her back to Himself; and that He will do whatever it takes to bring her back to Himself.

To be perfectly honest with you I enjoy reading the Song of Solomon, but I do not see a whole lot to say about the matter except that we can see in this love story; God’s love for His people, and when she is right with Him, her love for Him.

Here is how the young Shulamite woman feels for her groom –

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”  Song of Solomon 2:4 (KJV)

She has been taken to what she call “the banqueting house” and all she senses is his love for her.  If you will notice in reading the Song, all the words she has for her groom is love and admiration.  She adores him; and that should be what the Bride of Christ feels for Him as well.  After all He purchased us with His own blood; redeeming us from our sin and condemnation.  Should we not be loving, admiring, and adoring Him; even worshipping Him always.

One can learn much from reading the Song about how a man should love, and adore their girlfriends; and their wives.  There are several times it mentions too, about waiting for “love”; most likely referring to the sexual relationship.  Waiting for the time when there is a lifelong commitment to one another through marriage (8:4).  Marriage is about our commitment to Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32).

The prophet Isaiah was a man who loved the LORD.  He was a prophet from the nobility of his day.  The time was one of wealth and prosperity, but the people had forsaken the LORD of hosts.  They had turned to idols from the living God.  The prophet says to them –

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.  The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider.’  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” Isaiah 1:3-4 (KJV)

The prophet found it difficult to see owners of oxen and donkeys able to use them for plowing, hauling things and such without any problem; the donkey and the ox being obedient to their masters commands, and guidance taps; yet the people of God did not know God in obedience; the One who had delivered them from Egypt; provided them with many judges who delivered them from tormentors and persecutors.

Yet, here too is a love story.  One of a wonderful salvation.  The prophet’s name means, “The LORD is salvation”.  The salvation of Israel is a direct result of the love of God for them.  Their salvation does not mean they are a perfect people; just a delivered people.  The same is true for the Christian of today.

It is the love of God; and the fact that He is holy and righteous; that will not allow His children to be a success at sinning.

“But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” Isaiah 5:16

The Lord loves you today.  Christian do not continue in your sin.  Repent and obey Him.  If you are still in your sin that love has been shown to the world by the death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection.  The goal for the child of God is to sin no more; and one day that will be accomplished through the return of Jesus Christ in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 46 – Proverbs of Wisdom and Fear

Many wise men have written wise sayings for people to follow.  The wisest of men was King Solomon, because God gave him the wisdom to rule his people that he asked for.  Then, because of his wise prayer and requests God gave him what he did not ask for; and it was many of those blessings which caused him to fall.

My reading today was Proverbs 1 – 14.  I will not spend a whole lot of time here going through these chapters.  There are two or three things about the “fear of the LORD” I do want to point out.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Proverbs 1:1-4 (KJV)

Solomon gives us the purpose for the Proverbs; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive [discern] words of understanding; to receive instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; or as the New Living Translation says it –

“Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.”  Proverbs 1:3 (NLT)

One thing we need to understand about these proverbs is that they are “Proverbs” not “Promises”.  They are basically a general rule of things.  God has given us many precious promises in His Word, these are not them.  There is much to learn in Proverbs.  How we deal with God, our fellow man, knowledge, understanding, wisdom – there are many individual verses of Proverbs dealing with wisdom, however, there are two complete chapters of Proverbs which personalize wisdom (chapters 8 – 9).

Let us proceed with a couple of more sets of Proverbs.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” 1:7

Of this verse Matthew Henry has written –

To make young people such as they should be,
I. Let them have regard to God as their supreme.
1. He lays down this truth, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (v. 7); it is the principal part of knowledge (so the margin); it is the head of knowledge; that is, (1.) Of all things that are to be known this is most evident, that God is to be feared, to be reverenced, served, and worshipped; this is so the beginning of knowledge that those know nothing who do not know this. (2.) In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him. If any man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine, Jn. 7:17. (3.) As all our knowledge must take rise from the fear of God, so it must tend to it as its perfection and centre. Those know enough who know how to fear God, who are careful in every thing to please him and fearful of offending him in any thing; this is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.
2. To confirm this truth, that an eye to God must both direct and quicken all our pursuits of knowledge, he observes, Fools (atheists, who have no regard to God) despise wisdom and instruction; having no dread at all of God’s wrath, nor any desire of his favour, they will not give you thanks for telling them what they may do to escape his wrath and obtain his favour. Those who say to the Almighty, Depart from us, who are so far from fearing him that they set him at defiance, can excite no surprise if they desire not the knowledge of his ways, but despise that instruction. Note, Those are fools who do not fear God and value the scriptures; and though they may pretend to be admirers of wit they are really strangers and enemies to wisdom.  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY, LibronixDigitalLibrarySystem

The final verses I would point out in my reading for the day are,

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  14:26-27

Of these verses I have written previously.  There is strong confidence for the children of the LORD who place their trust in the LORD.  When we truly fear God there is absolutely nothing else to fear.

When we know the One who has taken all the wrath of God upon Himself, and that is Jesus Christ; then we have perfect peace with God, there is no condemnation, and we have an eternal resting place with the Creator of all that is.

-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

Day 22 – A Heart Turned Away

David, even though he had committed adultery against Uriah the Hittite, and had murdered him is still the standard of a man with a heart for God.  The thing which makes a difference is that he did have a heart for God.  He loved God, and wanted only to glorify Him.  It is seen in his repentant heart and attitude when he comes to his senses about his sins.  God even promises David and eternal kingdom, of course, which will be seen in the reign of the Son of David who is Jesus Christ.

In reading 1 Kings 1 – 14 this morning I noticed the rise and fall of Solomon.  His rise came as David announced him king rather than Adonijah, so of David’s wife Haggith; who was trying to usurp the throne of David on his own; when it was not a God ordained thing.

Solomon starts off his time of king in a good way.  He sets out to build the temple which David has had a heart to build.  He has peace with all the surrounding nations; until his heart is turned away from God.

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, ‘Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods:’ Solomon clave unto these in love.  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.   Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.” 1 Kings 11:1-8 (KJV)

Solomon had began doing what God had given commandment to the children of Israel not to do; that is marry “foreign women” or “foreign men”.  Because of his turned away heart he begins to build monuments and temples to idols, which the apostle Paul refers to as “demons”.  This leads me to a question.  Where did the “turning away” begin?

It began when he departed from the commandments of the LORD.  Whether it was because he neglected to remember them, or be reminded of them; the responsibility of doing them was his own.  Solomon was a man whom God had given much wisdom; and he shows great foolishness in his departure from God, and he brings ruin upon the nation.

He had had great peace, received much wealth; and because of “A Heart Turned Away” God brings judgment against the nation through outside forces (11:9-25) and inside forces (11:26-40).

Keep in mind that judgment came upon Israel because Solomon departed from the commandments of the LORD.  God’s hand was not, and is not turned away from Israel, His grace is still sufficient.  He still has plans for Israel.

God’s hand is not turned away from you.  He still has plans for you.  His first plan for you is that you come to Him through faith in His Son Jesus who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose bodily from the grave and ever lives as our great High Priest.

Has your heart been turned by departing from the living God; worshipping idols [demons]; who have stolen your heart.  Now is the time to turn back from your path of destruction.  There is forgiveness, cleansing and renewing only through Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Virtuous Woman

Does any man look for a “virtuous woman” in the world today?  I know some do, but by the world’s standard a woman of virtue is more shunned than shown honor.  What is virtue? First let me give you the text for today;

 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10

By the meaning in the Hebrew word “khah’-yil” meaning,

“probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).”  Strong’s Concordance — eSword.

The word virtuous would mean a woman who is strong, resourceful, powerful, and Matthew Henry even says, “A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit”.

There are a lot of women I have noticed who have “spirit”, but they are of the wrong spirit.  The Biblical virtuous woman is a woman who loves God, and her strength is in Him, her resources are from Him, her power is of Him, she knows it and lives on the promises of God.  She is a woman who loves and cares for her family; her husband adores her, as do her children; and she is loved and respected by others.

A virtuous woman is more concerned with the health and safety and provisions of others; especially than for herself.  You can read about those qualities through the rest of Proverbs 31.

The same could be said of men of honor or men of valor.  The words honor and valor are the same as virtuous.

As children of God – Christians are to be virtuous people trusting in the grace and mercy of God; being gracious and merciful as God is full of grace and mercy.  Being light in darkness.  Just as the sunshine of day always overpowers darkness so too does the light of Christ overcome darkness of evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the Righteous Rule

The wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs has formerly said,

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Proverbs 14:14

and that is so evidently true in many cases of nations and people.  It is true of Israel, England, and the United States of America; and any other nation which has had righteous rule.  The writer of Proverbs also states;

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)

Many professing Christians believe that this nation is about to come under the judgment of God because of unrighteous rule, and unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds.  However, that is just not the case; we have unrighteous rule, unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds, because the judgment of God is already on us.  It is not coming it is here.

We have been a nation [USA] which has lived comfortably, leisurely, and selfishly.  And, without much thought of how God’s hand was on us without pride, and greed having a upper hand in it.

The people of a nation led by righteous authority do rejoice; their is more freedoms with self control, generosity, caring, sharing, and loving.  Righteousness equals right judgments in situations of law, court judgments in cases of crime, and injustice.  Righteousness is doing that which is right according to what God says; not what man says is right.  Righteousness knows right from wrong; and yes there is right and wrong.

When the wicked rule there is unrighteousness, fear, injustice, greed, religious zeal without fear of God or consequences of unrighteous acts.

When there is wicked men who rule a nation; that does not mean that Christian men and women cannot be righteous in their conduct.  It is the time for men and women of God to shine the righteousness of Christ to a world in darkness; to our nation in darkness.  No politician can save this nation from ruin.  According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen, and get darker.  It is time for the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine.

Shine down YOUR righteousness O LORD.  Shine Jesus Shine.  One day we know YOU will come and rule;  then, that will truly be WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS RULE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Note:  In my commentary above I have written, “According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen…”  I was not meaning to say that the unrighteous prophets believed things would worsen morally, and legally; but that is my thoughts.

A Cautious Eye

In a day when there are people who think they are doing good by deceit and fraud; though they definitely would not see it as deceit and fraud; it is imperative that the people of God; those who are Christians be prudent in their lives.

The word means Cautious or discreet, cunning is even a good definition of prudent.

The wisdom of Solomon is found in Proverbs 22:3,

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”  Proverbs 22:3 (KJV)

Of course this is mostly having to do with having an eye against that which is evil, and not just letting it creep up on you.  Be aware, be alert; and that is probably what Peter had in mind as he was inspired to write,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8

I will let a couple of the sages of the past give their comments on this verse:

See here, 1. The benefit of wisdom and consideration: A prudent man, by the help of his prudence, will foresee an evil, before it comes, and hide himself; he will be aware when he is entering into a temptation and will put on his armour and stand on his guard. When the clouds are gathering for a storm he takes the warning, and flies to the name of the Lord as his strong tower. Noah foresaw the deluge, Joseph the years of famine, and provided accordingly. 2. The mischief of rashness and inconsideration. The simple, who believe every word that flatters them, will believe none that warns them, and so they pass on and are punished. They venture upon sin, though they are told what will be in the end thereof; they throw themselves into trouble, notwithstanding the fair warning given them, and they repent their presumption when it is too late. See an instance of both these, Ex. 9:20, 21. Nothing is so fatal to precious souls as this, they will not take warning.

Matthew Henry Commentary.

and now John Gill,

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself,…. A wise man, whose eyes are in his head, who looks about him and before him, and is cautious and careful of his conduct and behaviour; he foresees the evil of sin he is liable to be drawn into by such and such company, snares, and temptations; and therefore he keeps from them, and abstains from all appearance of evil, or what would lead him to it; and he foresees the evil of punishment, or the judgments of God that are coming on for sin; and he betakes himself to the Lord, to those hiding places and chambers of retreat and protection he has provided for his people, till the indignation be overpast; see Isa_26:20;

but the simple pass on, and are punished: foolish persons, devoid of the grace of God and the fear of him, go on careless and unconcerned in their sinful course of life, transgressing the law of God; they proceed from evil to evil, from lesser to greater sins; they go on in the broad road to destruction, and are punished with temporal judgments here, and with everlasting destruction hereafter.

John Gill’s e-Sword Commentary

Be watchful, but trusting the LORD through it all to protect and keep you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The Turning Heart

What is going on in the world?  Or as one author has written, What in the World is Going On?

There are many people around the world living in fear of where world leaders are leading us; and maybe there should be some fear.  However, those who are in Christ can know that He is involved in the affairs of this world, and her leaders; and that ultimately His will is going to be done and evil will be judged and righteousness shall reign.

The writer of Proverbs has written,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”  Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

There are a lot of things about this that the human mind cannot comprehend, because we are finite beings – meaning our thinking is limited to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell; and that is twisted due to our evil hearts.  To believe that there is God who is intervening in our business, directing our steps, even our thoughts is indeed “thought provoking”.

There is evidence in Scripture of God turning kings hearts, and even using their evil toward accomplishing His will.  I read this morning in my daily reading of the Pharoah in Egypt who hardened his heart against Moses and the Word of the LORD, and God was using that hard heart to direct His will in the land of Egypt (Exodus 5 – 7).  Also in my studies of Isaiah I have seen where over 100 years before he was even born the prophet Isaiah names; by the Omniscience of God; the name of the king of Persia who would give the people of Israel the freedom to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple; and his name was Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).

The heart of every President of the United States of America is in the hands of the Lord, and He will direct it in the direction He has planned for the U.S. of A. and for the world and the rest of the  leaders too; including the leader of Iran; however you spell his name.

As a young man on the family farm we had an irrigation system.  It was used in the hot, dry Summer to keep the grass growing and green so the cows would keep producing milk.  With the power of the propane powered engine we moved water from the Creek through the pump, through the lines and into the turbine powered irrigation machine which pulled itself across the pasture blasting out a stream of water about 1 and 1 half  to two inches, and covering an area about two hundred feet in diameter.  We were directing the flow of the water to accomplish what we wanted to do.

We see this done every day in our homes.  We have water lines which comes from an underground supply of water, is pumped into a tank and then directed to your home.  You control it with a faucet inside your home or business.

Is it not amazing that God even directs the heart of kings in such a fashion to accomplish His purposes and His will for His own glory?  Find rest and peace in Christ today; knowing that He will be exalted, evil will one day be dealt with, and that God’s will is being done; even when we cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or hear it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Greed is Not Good

In my way of thinking “Greed” is the unethical gain of power and wealth.  Gain by unethical means is always evil.  Unethical could be defined as taking from those who cannot afford the loss.  Using words of malice to destroy another’s reputation, character, or taking life to gain their possessions or power.

The desire to earn for the purpose of caring for your family is a god-given desire; and even to better one’s own situation in life.  The object is being content with what you are doing and your present situation.  Content with God’s direction for your life is probably what is meant by being content.

The writer of Proverbs; probably Solomon says,

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”  Proverbs 15:27 (KJV)

This coming from a man who had more wealth than, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined, for the time he lived in.

It is implied by the latter part of the verse that this “greedy gain” has been gotten by the receipt of “gifts” or “bribes”.  A bribe is given to get an individual or possibly a company, or someone in power to “look the other way” when an evil deed is taking place, is about to take place or will take place.  A decision by a judge, law enforcement officer, or business associate, etc.  Sometimes even a friendship can cause one to be “bought”; or even a family relationship.

It should be the heart of the Righteous to hate “Gifts”; the giving or receiving of “bribes”.  Bribery will destroy the giver and the receiver ultimately.  It may line the pockets of the bank account temporarily; but it will also work as a cancer in the heart, and destroy that life and loved one’s lives.

The following is commentary from Matthew Henry of Proverbs 15:27,

Note, 1. Those that are covetous entail trouble upon their families: He that is greedy of gain, and therefore makes himself a slave to the world, rises up early, sits up late, and eats the bread of carefulness, in pursuit of it—he that hurries, and puts himself and all about him upon the stretch, in business, frets and vexes at every loss and disappointment, and quarrels with every body that stands in the way of his profit—he troubles his own house, is a burden and vexation to his children and servants. He that, in his greediness of gain, takes bribes, and uses unlawful ways of getting money, leaves a curse with what he gets to those that come after him, which sooner or later will bring trouble into the house, Hab. 2:9, 10. 2. Those that are generous as well as righteous entail a blessing upon their families: He that hates gifts, that shakes his hands from holding the bribes that are thrust into his hand to pervert justice and abhors all sinful indirect ways of getting money—that hates to be paltry and mercenary, and is willing, if there be occasion, to do good gratis—he shall live; he shall have the comfort of life, shall live in prosperity and reputation; his name and family shall live and continue.

FROM Matthew Henry Commentery; e-SWord edition

Even if someone has fallen for the lie and given in to the temptation of this greed, there is forgiveness and cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection.  Be clean and go and sin no more in this evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Have Strong Confidence

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

Fear is a topic of great importance and influence in the Bible.  Fear is a good thing when it comes to certain things; as long as one is not overwhelmed by it.  Fear can be a nudge to safety.

In the case of the Proverbs today “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence”.  The following is John Gills commentary on verse 26,

In the fear of the LORD is strong conficence,…. Such who fear the Lord may be confident that he has a love to them, a delight in them; that his eye is upon them, and his heart towards them; and will communicate every needful good to them, and protect and defend them: or the Lord himself that is feared, who is the object of fear, called the fear of Isaac, Gen_31:42; he is a strong tower, a place of defence to those that fear him and trust in him, Pro_18:10;

and His children shall have a strong refuge; the children of God, as those that fear him are; the Lord is a place of refuge to them, from the avenger of blood, from the vindictive justice of God; from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, and from the curses of a righteous law; as well as from the rage and persecutions of men. FROM e-Sword

and verse 27,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,…. Where the true fear of God is, there is a real principle of grace, which is “a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life”, Joh_4:14; eternal life is connected with it; it makes meet for it, and issues in it: or the Lord, who is the object of fear, he is the fountain of life: as of natural, so of spiritual and eternal life; spiritual life springs from him, is supported and maintained by him, the consequence of which is life everlasting;

to depart from the snares of death; sins, transgressions, as Aben Ezra interprets it; these are the works of men’s hands, in which they are snared; these are the cords in which they are holden, and so die without instruction; the wages of them are death, even death eternal: likewise there are the snares of the world and of the devil, temptations to sin, with which being ensnared, lead to death; now the fear of the Lord is a means of delivering from and of avoiding those snares, and so of escaping death.

When you are living your life trusting the LORD, loving Him, depending on Him, walking with Him; then, there is nothing to fear.  Those without the love and faith of God have everything to fear; and nothing to have confidence in except their own ways.

Trust in the LORD begins with trusting His way of salvation, and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Believe, and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is There Anything Really NEW?

In the world of 2009 there are many who desire “New Thought”, or I believe some are called “New Progressives” who desire new thought concerning life, life issues, religion, government, politics, news, family, law, or whatever. However, it appears to me that there is nothing that is new under the sun. I know of a man who told us that, and wrote about thousands of years ago. He is known as the wisest of men who ever walked on earth. His name was Solomon. His words were, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

As I read the prophet Jeremiah, and the other prophets I see nothing new in today’s world. People are still people; desiring their own way, turning from God’s way, and yet there are those who profess to be God’s people, even Christian, who will tell us we have to change to get people’s attention. How do we change? What do we change? Are we to change the message of God’s Word. God remains the same. His message remains the same. If we change it we become liars, and liars have no part with God, nor His kingdom.

Hear the prophet –

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)

The “Old paths” of which Jeremiah speaks of of walking with God. Walking with God means being in agreement with God. The people of the prophet’s day were attempting to worship YaHWeH on the Sabbath day, and worship their way of life, or other gods the other six days of the week. They had abandoned the “old paths” by doing so, and the prophet was trying to call the people back to God; to repentance.

At first the attempt was to call them to repentance to prevent their captivity; however when the captivity became inevitable then, for repentance, that they might learn to live for God in captivity and be a witness to the foreign government to which they were going. The people needed rest for their souls due to their torment.

People in the United States of America are living tormented lives due to failing health, failing finances, unemployment, or threats of unemployment; and many family issues. People of the world need rest for their souls. Many are seeking rest through yoga, meditations, even prayer, yet rest doesn’t come. The “old paths” or “the good way” is not found in these things. The “old paths” are found only in following the dictates of God’s law. The “good way” is only in God’s way.

The prophet’s call is “Stand in the ways and see…” The “good way” is in the “old paths”, and this is found only in the Living Word of God; that is the person of His Son. Rather than accepting God’s way, the “old paths” and living “the good way” people still seek the “New thought” of helping themselves, following the paths of false religion found in yoga, meditations, and even in prayers. Understand me when I mention meditations and prayer. Meditating upon God’s Word, hearing God speak through His Word is good; and that is good meditation; anything else is devilish thought. Genuine heart prayer, seeking God’s will, understanding of His word, gaining wisdom from God, and seeking His direction and glory is expected of us. The prayer I refer to is the reading of prayer, rosary, planned recitations, which are filled with religious and pious thought, but no connection to heaven.

The sort of meditation and prayer which allows you to consort with godlessness while supposedly maintaining a relationship with God is fruitless for God and His glory. That is what the world, Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day was doing. That is what many of today’s world is doing as well. While wanting something new they follow the paths of the old rebels, rather than the “old paths” which we should follow in Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.

The answer of the people to the prophet in that day was; “We will not walk therein”. If we choose to walk with the world, and take on their garments, we destroy our witness, our testimony of newness of life through Jesus Christ. We must put off the old man of flesh and sin; and put on the new man of life eternal (Ephesians 4:20-25); and also put away lying. The lying is done by confessing faith in Christ while also maintaining a life which is no different from the condemned and dying in sin.

I ask again, “Is anything really new?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Battle For Jerusalem

Jerusalem the “city of David”.  So called by the Old Testament Scriptures; and given to the nation of Israel.  In Jerusalem is a mount on which at the present time stands a mosque of Islam.  It is on a sight which is respected by two groups of people.

It is respected by the Jews because of it being the place of Solomon’s Temple which he built by request of his father David.  It was a glorious temple of beauty, sacred devotion to Jehovah [YHWH], and great design.  It is respected by Islam because that is the place where Al Aqsa Mosque is presently standing.

There is still a battle raging over this special site in Biblical history.  Scripture promises that the temple will be rebuilt.  What this means for the mosque is up for discussion, and could mean one of several things; which I will not get into here.

Recently, however, the Moslem Mufti, Sheik Sabri told thousands of moslem children that the temple of the Jews would never be rebuilt. You may read more of this story here at Prophecy Today. What exactly does that say concerning the Scriptures, God’s Word.  Islam claims to have such high regard for the Bible, yet we see time and again their disdain and disrespect for the promises of God to the Hebrew people concerning their land, and the temple.

The City of Jerusalem is still the “City of David” as the Scriptures proclaim (called “city of David” at least 43 times from 2 Samuel 5:7 – Nehemiah 12:37).  It sounds to me as though it is the “City of David”, and not the city of Mohammed.

It was king David’s desire to build a temple to Jehovah, and GOD would not permit him to do so, but passed that honor on to Solomon; because of the “blood on David’s hands”.

It is possible that the temple will be not only rebuilt, but there will be another temple built in that one’s place when Jesus returns.  See 2 Thessalonians 2:4;  Ezekiel 40-42.

For someone to give a message that God is not going to fulfill His Word is to doubt God and His promises.  To doubt God and His promises is to wage war against the Most High, and declare Him a liar.  Yet the Word of God is true, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  The Mosque may crumble and fall, and never be rebuilt; however, the temple will be on the Temple Mount once again.  And it could be very soon.  God will fulfill every word of Scripture.

Come Lord Jesus.  Come soon.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Righteous King

The Righteous King
Proverbs 16:10-15

Looking at the life of Solomon we find a heart partially devoted to the LORD; a divided heart; unlike David his father whose “was a man after God’s own heart”.  If there is to be righteousness in the land of kings, then there must be righteous kings.

In light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we have been decreed as “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9) of God through Jesus Christ then we find in these Proverbs how we should reign,  and that is in the likeness of our Lord and Savior and our God Jesus Christ.

OUTLINE –

I.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).

II.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).

III.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).

IV.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).

V.  THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).

THE RIGHTEOUS KING MAKES GODLY DECREES, AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS (v. 10-11).  One thing that is needed in the Nations, States, Counties, Cities, and homes and churches of the world is leaders who have a righteous heart.

There is truly only one who has the completely righteous heart and His name is Jesus.  Those who are in Him; through having trusted Him, His work on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection; have the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In Christ Jesus and Him alone can we make Godly decrees, and righteous judgments.  Many of the judgments made by the Judiciary of the United States, and many other countries are not made in righteousness, but for what is popular or politically expedient.

Pro 16:11 – A just weight and balance are the Lord’s,…. These are of his devising; what he has put into the heart, of men to contrive and make use of, for the benefit of mankind, for the keeping and maintaining truth and justice in commercial affairs; these are of his appointing, commanding, and approving, Lev. 19:35;
all the weights of the bag are his work; or, “all the stones” ; greater or smaller, which were formerly used in weighing, and were kept in a bag for that purpose; these are by the Lord’s appointment and order. This may be applied to the Scriptures of truth, which are of God; are the balance of the sanctuary, in which every doctrine is to be weighed and tried; what agrees with them is to be received, and what is found wanting is to be rejected. The Targum is,
“His works, all of them, are weights of truth.”

When Jesus Christ comes back to earth He will make all things right and Just.  When we go to Him for a judgment we can rest assured that it will be a righteous judgment.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING LIVES RIGHTEOUSLY, AND ESTABLISHES THE THRONE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 12).  The only King who has lived without sin was the King of kings; Jesus Christ Son of the Living God.

The writer of Proverbs says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (29:2).  When true righteousness is in authority, there is reason the people rejoice.

1. There is a ruler who fears God;
2. There is fairness in appointments, and the courts;
3. There is a just trading system;
4. There is justice in the courts;
5. There is no fear of the enemy.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING APPRECIATES, LOVES, AND DELIGHTS IN LIPS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 13).  What king, president, or any ruler can stand for long who is surrounded by liars?  Lying lips are not righteous lips.

Righteous lips love the truth, seek the truth, and are truthful themselves.  Our Righteous King, the King of kings is the living Truth, and in Him is no lie at all.  Some one has given us this quote, “Liars never figure, and figures never lie”.  If you tell the truth about something you never need to remember what you said; but when you lie, it will come back to get you.

A righteous leader; be they president, king, pastor, husband, father, mother, or boss; needs always to be surrounded by people who will tell the truth.

“Buy the truth and sell  it not…” (23:23), and it seems that “Love the truth” would fit there as well.  Why “Buy the truth” if you don’t love it also.

We can see today what lying does with the stock market and people’s lives.  For example:  Bernie Madoff who scammed, swindled, and suckered punched many investors out of billions of dollars, living a lie.  Now the man has brought ruin to the lives of the people he stole their life savings from, his own family, harmed his nation, and destroyed his own life.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING IS RESPECTED AND REVERED AS JUST IN HIS JUDGMENTS (v. 14).  King David was loved, respected and revered by many including his family; at least until he sinned with Bathsheba [Uriah’s wife], and brought harm to his own family and the nation.

Unrighteous living is costly for the one who is righteous.  We must understand that righteousness is not from our own selves.  Righteousness comes from God; for only He is righteous.

If there is to be righteousness it comes from Christ alone who is our righteousness.  “For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

A righteous king, or ruler would give His life for his subjects.  An unrighteous king expects his subjects to give their lives for him.  “There is no king like that “, someone might say.  Oh, but there is His name is Jesus; and He gave His life on the cross of calvary that those who will trust Him, believe Him, might have eternal life.  He faced the judgment for our sins, the wrath of His Father to pay the sin debt; our sin debt; that we might be saved, having our account paid in full, by His precious shed blood.

We can trust a king like that.  We can believe that this type of king would be loved, respected and revered, and be just in all his judgments.

THE RIGHTEOUS KING’S COUNTENANCE BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHO WERE IN HIS DISPLEASURE (v. 15).  A righteous king can be offended, and when one of his subjects offends him his countenance fades.

When his subject offends him realizing that he/she has done so, and they seek the king’s forgiveness the king’s countenance will be brighter, and favorable toward the one who had offended.

When I think of all the times that I have offended King Jesus, and know that His countenance was not favorable toward me for that offense, then, I know that I must seek forgiveness.  I can know before hand that in genuinely seeking forgiveness He will forgive me; but I must not willfully seek to offend Him.

Our righteous King Jesus is often offended by His subjects, but when we seek His face we know that we are cleansed and forgiven; and our joy is restored in Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  1 John 1:9-10 (KJV)

There is eternal joy in the presence of the forgiving King.  His countenance is bright and pleasant and warm to all those who come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Inhabited Without Walls

Inhabited Without Walls

 

There is much conflict in and around the city of Jerusalem. There is political conflict between, Hebrews, Catholics, and Muslims over who the city belongs to. My answer to that is not diplomatic, or politically correct, but it is Biblically correct. It belongs to the Hebrews.

It was given to them by God Himself in the book of Genesis 15. God even set their boundaries. “To your descendents I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates–” (NKJV). That should leave absolutely no question. It belongs to the Jewish people, though the time of that fulfillment is yet sometime in the future. They will have peace in Jerusalem, and that peace and protection will be from Almighty God.

Hear the words of the prophet of God:

“And there was an angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” Zechariah 2:3-5 (NKJV).

The future for Israel is not so dismal. They will one day experience peace from the Almighty hand of God. This is the Word of the LORD.

Nothing like this has ever been seen in the history of Jerusalem, at least since Solomon, and remember this is going to come from a “greater…than Solomon…”. However, there is coming a false peace for the City by the lies, promises, and covenant with the man who is the chief agent of the serpent – the master of lies and deception.

A similar picture is given in the final verse as that of the children of Israel journeying through the wilderness. As they were travelling through the treacherous desert the Lord was protecting them, and guiding them. He says, “I will be a wall of fire all around her…”. In the Exodus He was a pillar of fire by night. It was this same pillar of fire which stood between the Israelites and the massive Egyptian army, protecting them from danger of death at the hands of the soldiers (See Exodus 14:19-24).

There may be some who will say, “This is a prophecy which has already happened”. Nothing of such a magnitude as this has ever transpired. The Jewish people will come to their land from every nation. The City of Jerusalem will be enlarged beyond the old walls. In fact there will be no human built walls. No walls of stone. No walls of concrete. No walls made of barbed wire or any kind of wire.

People have gotten angry with the Israeli government for erecting fences, or walls. In the day of God’s peace there will be no walls, except the “Wall of fire” which is God [YHWH] surrounding her, protecting her, and her people from harm. Anyone who would dare lift even a single finger against Jerusalem will face the fire of the Almighty.’

The most glorious thing about this City at this time yet to come will be the presence of the glory of the LORD in the midst of her [Jerusalem]. God Himself will be the glory of Jerusalem. That means that Jesus Christ will be their Lord, Savior, and King. For there is no glory for Jerusalem apart from Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah wrote by the Spirit of God:

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 (NKJV).

The message of Isaiah was for them to repent, and get right with God. When they get right with God; and at God’s time, not man’s, then, and only then, will the glory of the LORD be their rear guard.

Those who are in Christ Jesus today have Him as the “rear guard”. We are safe and secure in His arms.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Taking a Measure

This week’s being the celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, as a recognized nation among the United Nations, this is a fitting reminder of God’s hand on the nation that will one day rise up as the one, to whom all nations will go.  God’s richest blessings on Israel, and may they hear and receive their Messiah Jesus.

Taking a Measure

In the book of Daniel the false king Belshazzar saw “handwriting on the wall”. It was interpreted by Daniel as meaning, “You have been weighed in the balances and found lacking”. Belshazzar had blasphemed the LORD God by desecrating the articles of the LORD’s Jerusalem temple.

Some could look at this measuring line and possibly see a means of judgment, but when you look at the context of the message it is not of judgment, but a word of future glory for the city.

Hear the Word of the Lord through Zechariah the prophet:

“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’” Zechariah 2:1-2 (NKJV).

According to some this man, the surveyor, could be the Angel of the LORD, which in most scholar’s understanding means, that this “Angel of the LORD” is a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ (pre-incarnate). The measuring is evidence of the Lord’s heart for the city of Jerusalem and the people of the city.

Just ask any builder; any responsible, accurate, careful builder will take measurements before they begin the actual building process. It would be quite foolish to measure as this gives us the picture, without an intent and purpose for building. It is sure evidence that God’s plan; and it is plan A, for He has no plan B; is to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, its temple, and recall His people – the Hebrews to this glorious place. It will see a glory even greater than that of Solomon; because a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12:42).

The city and the temple which God has designed for the reign of His Son will be the most glorious of cities and temples. Nothing will compare to it.

Who is the man with the measuring line? It would appear to be the pre-incarnate Christ giving hope, guidance, and assurance to the prophet and his people. We are not given the dimensions, but we can know that it will be practically immeasurable.

Surely this must be a word telling us of the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Greater King

A Greater King

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42 (KJV).

We have already gave mention to this verse in the commentary on the preceding verses. It is the third mention of a “greater than”. Jesus is the One who is greater than the temple (v. 6) = the greatest Priest. He is the One who is greater than Jonah (v. 41) = the greatest Prophet. Now we see that He is the One who is greater than Solomon.

What is the significance of Solomon? He was the third king of the nation of Israel. He was the wisest man who ever lived other than the One of whom we speak in this study. He was the wealthiest of all the kings of Israel, and was a king of peace. Under Solomon’s reign was Israel’s greatest days. There was peace all around. When Jesus reigns from His throne in Jerusalem He will then be, and already is, the wisest of all men. His kingdom will be wealthier than it has ever been, He is already the wealthiest of all kings. It will be Israel’s greatest days. There will be peace in every nation. He is in fact the King of kings.

The Queen of Sheba had heard many things concerning Solomon, was on her own search for wisdom so went to Solomon to find out for herself. Here is what the Word of God tells us; “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. May the Lord your God be praised! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because Your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, He has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king four and a half tons of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There never were such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. In addition, Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants who brought gold from Ophir also brought algum wood and precious stones. The king made the algum wood into walkways for the Lord’s temple and for the king’s palace and into harps and lyres for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.” 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 (HCSB) This is the testimony of one who witnessed the greatness and wisdom of Solomon. There are millions more who have experienced and will experience the greatness and wisdom of Jesus Christ.

Wisdom and understanding for ruling the people was what Solomon petitioned the Lord for in his prayer, and because to this the Lord granted to Him not only the greatest wisdom and understanding, but also power and wealth. There are many scholars and others who seem to think that the queen of Sheba and Solomon had sexual relations. There is really no evidence of such from Scripture, or that she took YaHWeH as her personal God. She only recognized God as the national God of Israel (1 Kings 10:1-10)

The scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus is addressing certainly have none of Solomon’s wisdom and understanding. It is almost certain that had the Lord Jesus been appearing before Solomon he would have known who stood there in his presence. Though the queen of Sheba may not have truly believed in God, her belief was that Solomon’s God had given him great wisdom and riches, and by what she had seen and witnessed stands as a judgment against the generation which condemned and rejected and continues to reject Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the greatest Priest; the greatest Prophet; and the greatest King. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture – Prophet, Priest, and King.

God had used Solomon to get the attention of a foreign queen and she saw the greatness of God. The generation to whom Jesus spoke had One greater than Solomon, and they were rejecting Him. In our generation of 2008 Jesus Christ still lives, His message of grace through faith is still proclaimed; and there are those on the foolish side who desire to change it; keep out the cross, to never discuss the sinfulness of mankind; but instead make claims of the greatness of mankind, and our achievements, our technology, our wisdom. The people of Nineveh to who Noah preached, and the queen of Sheba still speak against the wisdom of this age, and declare to us Jesus Christ is Lord. Hear Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus, The Greater

The Greater

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.” Matthew 12:38 (KJV).

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Matthew 12:39-41 (KJV)

What more could Jesus give as a sign? He had fulfilled every prophecy concerning himself. He had done many mighty deeds in their presence which should have no doubt in their minds, except for the cause of the blindness of their hearts. He has met all the Old Testament criteria of the prophets who fortold His coming to die for the sins of the people.

According to the prophet Isaiah (7:14) and in Matthew 1:23 Jesus was born of a virgin. According to the prophet Micah (5:2) and Matthew 2:6 He was born in Bethlehem. He was called out of Egypt according to Matthew 2:15 and the prophet Hosea 11:1. Innocent babies died for Him shortly after His birth according to Matthew 2:18, and Jeremiah 31:15. This is only a few samples of prophecies which Jesus Himself fulfilled. These religious leaders, full of themselves were so blind that they could not see the truth.

In their willfull ignorance they asked for a sign. “If You want us to believe you, then, you have to meet our demands”. In truth, no sign would have satisfied them. They would not believe even though He rose up from the grave. The challenge was actually an open challenge to the power and authority of God.

Note: Three times in this chapter of Matthew Jesus uses the words, “…One greater than the temple…” (v. 6); “…a greater than Jonah is here…”(v. 41), and “…a greater than Solomon is here…”(v. 42). The One Priest who is greater than all priests; the One Prophet who is greatest of all prophets; and the One King who is greater than all kings – even greater than Solomon is here. Seeking signs when you see the obvious comes of wickedness, and their hearts are wicked. Similarly, seeking for God’s guidance concerning His unknown will when we are not doing His known will. These people were laying claim to knowing the Scriptures and missed the obvious through willful ignorance; and a possible fear that their whole way of life and ministry was at stake.

The only sign given that should have opened their blind eyes was the sign of Jonah. Jonah having been cast into the sea due to His rebellious flight was swallowed by a large fish, which was prepared by God, for the prophet to get him where he was supposed to be. By the power and miraculous working of God Jonah survived the belly of the fish, and was vomited back out on land. For three days and three nights in the fishes belly he was dead to the world. I am sure the sailors who threw him overboard thought him dead. The sign Jesus refers to of course would be His own resurrection. The Pharisees seem to miss the point, since He is not yet dead. Even when they later do hear news of His resurrection they bribe the guards, saving their lives, and then propagate the story of the body of Jesus being stolen by the disciples.

Nineveh received no sign from Jonah, yet they repented. The prophet, cold heartedly, I might add; went through the city of Nineveh proclaiming, “40 days and this city will be destroyed; forty days and this city and its inhabitants will be destroyed…”, and the people repented. Jesus says that those who repented at the preaching of Jonah will rise up and “condemn” those who had the sign of the resurrection and did not believe.

Christians today need no sign of or from the Lord Jesus. We have His bodily resurrection, the promise of His soon return, and the world is growing worse and worse just as He said it would. He is the greatest Priest, Prophet and He is the King of Kings.

-by Tim A. Blankenship