Do not weep for Me

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’ ” Luke 23:27-31

“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in His commandments.”  Psalm 112:1

Bearing Precious Seed

“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, ‘The LORD hath done great things for them.’
The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  Psalm 126:1-6  (KJB)

Arise

“And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, ‘Maid, arise.’ ” Luke 8:54 (KJB)

A young girl who was sick and dying, of the age of twelve. A woman who had had a medical problem of losing blood for twelve years (Luke 8:42, 43). I am not sure of any significance in the years.

There is certainly significance in the Healer.  The woman touches Jesus as He comes through a crowd of people. She reaches out and touches the “border of His garment”, and the blood flow is stopped. She is healed in a moment by the Great Physician. What physicians could not do in twelve years; just one touch of the border of Jesus’s garment, and she is made whole.

Before Jesus gets to the twelve year old girl to heal her, she dies. He makes a statement that the people around her laugh about;

“And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, ‘Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.’” v. 52

Because of the unbelief He faces He put the mockers out. Jesus takes her by the hand and speaks the words, “Maid, arise” and her spirit, her soul, her life returned to her. She sat up, and Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

The Son of God, the Son of Man, God the Son cares for the lives of people. Yesterday we witnessed in the Word that He raised a widow’s son. Today He heals a woman with a blood issue for twelve years simply by her touch of faith; and he raises a twelve year old girl to life again.

He cares for you. He cared all the way to the cross to die for your sins, and took them upon Himself receiving His Father’s wrath, was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives. Call on His name. He hears. He saves; and in saving He heals, and raises what was dead to life.

GOD Came Visiting

“And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, ‘That a great prophet is risen up among us;’ and, ‘That God hath visited His people.’ ” Luke 7:16 (KJB)

Her son was dead. The widow was grieving. She had no idea what she was going to do now to live. Her son, the joy of her life; as with any mother; was grieved by her loss.  It also went deeper than that. Her son was her means of a living; buying the groceries, keeping the roof over her head. Now he is dead. [Read of the event in Luke 7:11-17]

As the funeral procession was being carried out for burial they pass by Jesus, and He says to the woman “Weep not” then He touched the bier or coffin, and said to the woman’s son, “Young man, I say unto you, Arise”, and he sat up and spoke. O, what joy must have come into this widow’s heart and life on this blessed day.

That is the event that led up to the verse for today. What would have been my response at seeing a dead man rise before my eyes?  What would your response be?  Probably one of wonder, awe, but also fear.

Knowing the One whom I know now; that is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, who is God the Son; I would, and will always glorify God.

God has visited His people. He sent Jesus His holy, only begotten Son, and He is called Immanuel which is “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). He is the Great Prophet foretold through Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).

The greatest of miracles which Jesus performs today is when a soul is saved through His death, burial, and resurrection calling on His name in repentance and faith.

Have GOD come visit you today.

Weeping

“Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven.” Lamentations 3:48-50 (KJB)

Jeremiah is known as being the “Weeping prophet”.  When you read his prophecy, and his laments in Lamentations you can see why he is called that.

As I read the Laments this morning I found myself weeping for the prophets pain, and his laments were just for a caring heart and soul.  He hurt for his people. He hurt because of their forsaking of God, and His way, and His word.

There are other verses which show his grieving, weeping heart.  Consider Jeremiah 4:19 and 9:1.

If I stop to think about what I have wept over I am too often ashamed of it.  What should cause me to weep?

  1. That many who call themselves Christian are departing from the worship of God our Creator through Christ Jesus;
  2. That the word of God is considered by too many as being an antiquated book no longer worthy of following, or believing;
  3. That there are many who are perishing in their sins, and are going untold of the wonderful gift of God displayed upon the cross of Jesus Christ, His burial, and resurrection;
  4. That there are too many Christians who are in a backsliden condition, away from God, and do not seem to care;
  5. That Christians seem to see no need for the local church, and are forsaking the assembling of themselves together;
  6. That we have brethren in nations which persecute them for their faith in Jesus Christ while we go without any persecution;
  7. That Jesus Christ is not exalted as He should be.

That list is not exhaustive.  If you can think of another let me know in the comments; and let us pray to draw nearer to the LORD our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Hope In The End

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.’

Thus saith the LORD; ‘Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.’ ” Jeremiah 31:15-17 (KJB)

The prophecy of Jeremiah of the children after the birth of the Messiah, the Christ; and according to Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 2:16-18) is verse 15. It also may have been of near events of the prophecy as the taking of the young to Babylon, and the slaughter of innocents.  Consider Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and probably others.

There is a promise that these children would come again to their own borders.  The borders of the land of Judah and Israel. The borders of their tribes.  At any rate to the borders God would give them.  They would return.

We are all expected to have an end. This life is only temporary.  There is, however, much hope for those who are in Christ Jesus. This hope is built not upon wishful thinking, positive thinking, or the dreams of dreamers.

This hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and His righteousness.  He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.  Because of this marvelous gift of God we now have access to the very throne of God. We are redeemed, bought with a price. We are promised eternal life by grace through faith in Him.

It has been said, “All good things must come to an end”; but eternity never ends. The promises of God have no end. They are eternal. Be a part of the promises of God by coming to Him through Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Time is Short

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (KJB)

The apostle Paul has been dealing with marital relationship for Christian men and women.  We get to these verses and he spells out how the Christian husband and wife ought to think and live for the honor and glory of God.

He says, “…the time is short”.  As Christians we do not have; and neither does the non-christian; a very long time to live. Life is short.  The apostle is telling us that we have a very short period of time to live for God, and be His witnesses in this wicked, dark, and dying world.

To the married he writes, “…be as though you had none…” and that is a wife; and is applicable to the wife to be as though she had no husband, as well.  That does not mean forsaking one another, neither ignoring each other in bed, or in work.  It deeply means that loving God, worshiping Him, witnessing for Him is the highest and best that a married couple can do.

To those who are weeping, and to those who are rejoicing:  rejoicing in a marriage is good, but rejoicing in the relationship you have with God is far higher.  Jesus said to His disciples when they came back rejoicing because they had power over demons,

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

The grieved heart for the passing of a loved one or sorrow over a health condition leads to weeping many a time. We are human beings with weaknesses, and often overwhelmed by sin and the world.  There is a time for weeping, but Paul is saying here that there is the matter of God, our relationship with Him and continued abiding fellowship with Him.

One final thing.  This world and all that is in it; “…the fashion of this world…”; is passing away – it is perishing.  Christian priority is to grow in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, live for Him.  In living for Him you will live a holy life, set apart from the lust of the flesh for worldly things and pleasures. Live in such a way as the Spirit of God in you can draw others to Himself.

Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again. He forever lives making intercession for us.

 

The Green Tree, and the Dry

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning unto them said,
‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31  (KJB)

This event and Jesus’s words are only spoken here in Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has spoken similar words in teaching the disciples in Matthew 24 – 25, and in portions of Mark, and John; but not directly as a warning for those who are following behind Him as He goes to His death.

These “Daughters of Jerusalem” are not of those who love Him, and have spent time with Him for verse 49 of this same chapter says,

“And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” v. 49

These were women of the city of Jerusalem who had heard of His mighty works, His authority in God’s words, and His deeds; but had never committed to Him. Jesus warns them of a time coming in the not distant future for them that would cause them to cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, because the judgment was so severe.

If you would read the prophet Isaiah, and chapter 2 you would see some of these same words from the word of God spoken by the prophet.

Just to explain the “green tree” and the “dry”….  Jesus is the green tree and they were killing Him, He is alive.  The dry was Israel or Jerusalem; a worse time was coming for them.

Why are these words important for the Christian of 2019?  Do they have any importance for the unbelieving of 2019?

To answer the first question for the Christian it should be a wakeup call for us to be diligent in living for Christ, reading the Scriptures [Holy Bible], applying its teachings to our lives,  praying for daily filling of the Spirit of God, and being a vibrant witness for Jesus to  a lost and dying world.  Remember the words of Jesus,

“…Lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.” Luke 21:28

To answer the second, it is important for your life, your eternal soul that you heed the words of Jesus.  Those women of Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, maybe even recognized Him as a good man, great teacher and prophet, but were experiencing great emotion about His death; but yet did not believe Him.  Maybe one reading this feels badly concerning the illegal, manufactured, lying judgments brought against Jesus, and the sentence given this guiltless Man; yet, you have not called on His name for salvation.  Will you do so today?

Jesus went on to the cross, laid Himself down on it, and died for our sins.  He was taken down from the cross dead, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Three days later He came out of that grave alive.  You can trust Him.  Believe Him.  Receive Him.

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (3)

God Will Bring Them…

I Will Bring Them… from the Coasts of the Earth

“At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.  Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.  Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.  Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.  For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.  For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel.  Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” Jeremiah 31:1-9 (KJV)

…Night and Day With Tears

There was something on Paul’s mind as he stated these recorded words.  Luke sensed it, saw it first hand, then wrote it down for the Church through every age might to read, and to know that there are things which happen in the Church, in every local congregation which will need to be addressed.  The Church in every age needs to hear the warnings of Scripture, and to heed them.

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:26-31 (KJV)

As Paul, so should the Bible preacher, Bible teacher, Bible Christian of 2017  proclaim “All the counsel of God”.  Not part, but all.  Far too often men stand in the pulpit saying words people want to hear, rather then being the preacher of God saying what God says; what God wants us to hear.  May God forgive us.

The apostle had not shunned the responsibility to warn of “Wolves” fierce liars, deceivers, scam artists who would come in to lead people astray, and devour them; devour you if you do not live by the word of God.

Men of God have the responsibility to speak to the Church, who is bought with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son; so yes God has purchased us with His own blood (also see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

It is imperative that the flock learn to identify the false teachers [the wolves] who are coming in to deceive, destroy, steal and kill.  You must know the truth of the word of God.  Read it. Study it. Apply it to daily living.  Know who Jesus truly is; and when you know Him, having the Holy Spirit in you you will not be deceived, but will know a lie when it is about to strike.  Then, you will reject it.  You will warn others of it, and like Paul “…night and day with tears”.

What makes you weep?  Maybe I need to ask, “What makes me weep?”  I have wept about many things; including not having enough money to pay the rent or the house payment.  I have wept over a broken down car, because I did not have the means to get it repaired.  I have wept over the sickness of a child because we had no insurance or money to take them to the doctor.  I am glad to say, though, that I have wept over lost souls as well.  I have wept when I have noticed brethren in Christ being led astray, going down the path of sin and shame; and into false doctrines, and living.

O for my heart to weep over the wayward sheep of Christ Jesus.  If you are a Christian today get into the Word of God, and most of all let the word of God get into you.  There is a place for rejoicing, always.  There is also a time for weeping, and that time is now.

Weep for the deceived.  Weep for the perishing.  Weep for the word of God to have a powerful affect on the lives of all the people you know through the Lord Jesus Christ who has purchased us with His own blood.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Forty and Seven

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Isaiah 65:17-19 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you and the world to know the One who is, and will create new heavens and a new earth; who is able to make your life brand new, forgiving all your sin, and making you clean and more whole than you have ever been; I want you to know that He has done that through sending His Son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, was buried, and He rose again, to be ready for His second coming; and of that time we do not know, but is coming, and will provide us a place with no more weeping or crying.

Give Place to Weeping, and to Praising

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.” Ezra 3:11-13

The people of the captivity in Babylon had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

Now the foundation was laid, and there was praising and shouting for joy; however, the ones who had seen the original temple (the “ancient men”); saw the new foundation and wept because they remembered the beauty of the old one.

There can be rejoicing, singing, and praising when there is a return to the land of Promise. It should be that way.

There should also be weeping because of the peril of sin. It was the people’s sins and their forsaking of God and the Sabbaths (2 Chronicles 36:19-21; Jeremiah 25:1-11) that brought them to this point in their lives. It could be that that was part of the reason for the “ancient men” weeping.

It does us good to remember our past; lest we be doomed to repeat it. It does us good as well to rejoice in today, and God’s good blessings, and to love Him every moment; to rejoice with singing, praising and giving of thanks for His wonder mercy and grace.

Weep for your sins. Rejoice in God’s forgiveness, and praise Him.

When the Enemy is not Driven Out

“And an Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice. Why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the Angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” Judges 2:1-5 (KJV)

“Bochim” means weeping, thus the title. When you read these verses you see the reason for their weeping.  When the “Angel of the LORD” makes an appearance with a message such as this, then, we should know that we need to be weeping.

The “Angel of the LORD” is most likely a theophany. A pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. He was, He is, and He always will be (Revelation 1:4, 8, 18).  That is why He would be speaking authoritatively the word of God. The Israelites had violated the word of God in disobedience (Exodus 23:32), and now they were beginning to suffer the consequences for it.

The above verse says “I will never break My covenant with you”, thus the disobedience of the people is their own judgment. The failure to drive out the enemy would be a snare to them. It is so with the follower of Jesus Christ today as well. This is cause for weeping.

The prophet Jeremiah tell us of this too (Jeremiah 2:19). Paul the apostle tells us,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

When the unredeemed are living their own lives, their own way they reap the harvest of what they have sown. When the redeemed turn from walking with God, disobey His word, we too will reap the harvest of what we have sown. Disobedience reaps thorns, sorrows, and snares.

It is a time for weeping. Weeping over our disobedience; our sin.

Weeping in Babylon

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1 (KJV)

A Psalm of Israel’s captivity.  This Psalm could have been penned down by the prophet Daniel as he sat on the banks of Babylon’s rivers.

Everyone reading this has been homesick at one time or another.  Home is where you want to return.  Especially when you are forcibly taken away.

Taken to Babylon due to the evil that had invaded Israel and Judah; all the people were paying the price of the sins of the nation.  Thus it is, and thus it will be.

For the Jew Zion is home.  For the Christian “Zion” is the place where Christ dwells.  He dwells within us.  He lives.  He reigns.  He ultimately lives seated at the Father’s right hand; and we long for that day when we can see Him face to face.

Do we weep for that day as we remember the joys that await us?  Are we longing for that day when will be in His bodily presence; worshipping, bowing before Him, adoring Him?  There is a crown awaiting all who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

I do not know about you but I am homesick.

Lazarus Came Forth

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have ye laid him?’ They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, ‘Behold how He loved him!’  And some of them said, ‘Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?’  Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, ‘Take ye away the stone.’  Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto Him, ‘Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.’  Jesus saith unto her, ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.  And I knew that thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’  And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’”  John 11:33-44

Day 58 – A Different View

From a different setting of things two people can see the same thing or event in a slightly different way.  That is the way of the gospels of the New Testament.  It is also the way of the prophets we will look at today.  Jeremiah and Ezekiel were men in two different locations.  They are contemporary with the other.  One, however, Jeremiah is in Judah or Jerusalem preaching and calling the people to repentance; while Ezekiel in in Babylon as a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom; along with king Jehoichin.

Jeremiah’s message in Lamentations seems to have taken place after the city of Jerusalem is defeated, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and the precious articles for temple worship taken away.  We can see Jeremiah’s being known as “the weeping prophet” as we read the laments that are written there.  Ezekiel speaks to the people as God gives him visions, and acts for illustration.  Ezekiel’s message would be mostly to the people who are captive in Babylon, or the written message to be taken back to those still in Jerusalem.

My reading, if you have not figured it out by now, was Lamentations 1 – 5 and Ezekiel 1 – 9.  These prophets being contemporary with the other are coming from different perspectives, yet pretty much with the same message.  Jeremiah wrote his prophecy trying to save as many lives in Judah as possible, calling people to turn from their idolatrous worship, by turning back to the LORD of hosts.  Ezekiel sees the need for the people of Israel/Judah to realize that the LORD is the LORD.

Jeremiah was allowed to stay behind with a remnant of people, and the laments are written as he sees the city broken down, destroyed and forsaken;

“How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!  She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.  Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.   The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.  Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.  And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.  Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.   Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.   Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.  The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.   All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.”  Lamentations 1:1-11 (KJV)

The prophets heart is grieved because of the cities destruction, but he knows it is due to her transgressions.  She has sinned against the LORD, been given many opportunities to repent and change, yet has continued in debaucherous rebellion against the loving, merciful LORD of hosts.

The prophet Ezekiel is taken by the hand of the LORD, in a vision to Jerusalem, and sees the wickedness going on there in the face of judgment,

“And He put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.”  Ezekiel 8:3 (KJV)

By way of a vision the LORD took Ezekiel back to Jerusalem and showed him the evil that was taking place at that time in their previous “glorious city”.  The “Ancients of the house of Israel were saying, “The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”

We do see in these to priests and prophets that there perspective is different, their views are different, but  the message of God is still the same.  The people of the land have forsaken the LORD.  There is a need for cleansing, healing and renewing.

A different view?  One was viewing from Jerusalem [Jeremiah].  The other was viewing from Babylon [Ezekiel].

The LORD of hosts, who holds the world, the universe in His hands will not tolerate evil in His people.  He will not allow His children to live successfully in sin.  He will judge our sin.  It has already been judged in His Son Jesus Christ.  However, when a Christian sins willfully, there remains no more sacrifice for sin.  As it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 55 – The Unsocial Prophet

“The preacher who does not mix with people will never make much of a preacher;” at least that has been said or thought by many.  One thing needs to be understood by many preachers of the 21st century; if a preacher has been called by God to preach the Word of God, then we just do not make our lives, or build our lives around social activities, nor what the people may expect of us.  The preacher is God’s preacher, not man’s smooth talking, easy listening, socially active, friend to everybody servant.

Rantings of a mad preacher?  Maybe.  My reading today was from Jeremiah 11 – 24, and I guess I noticed some things that got a fire burning.  Jeremiah is one of my favorite Prophets of the Old Testament to read, study, and I have rarely preached from the book.

In my title I call it “The Unsocial Prophet” for a couple of reasons.  Jeremiah was a man called by God from a family of priest to be a prophet to the nation of Judah; during the days when Josiah was king, then his son Jehoiakim, and finally the king Zedekiah when Jerusalem was carried away captive by Babylon.

Why I call him “The Unsocial Prophet”.  One of the things God says to Jeremiah is “Do not pray for this people”.

“For thus saith the LORD, ‘Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away My peace from this people,’ saith the LORD, ‘even lovingkindness and mercies.'”  Jeremiah 16:5 (KJV)

The  people of Judah have refused to listen to the Word of the LORD through the prophets He has sent; they have violated the land in not giving them their sabbath rests every seven years, they have violated the weekly sabbaths by continuing to do business, conducting deals and selling as on the other six days, and they have brought idols into their worship, and continue to act in worship to Jehovah/YHWH.

The prophet is sad concerning the plight of his people (9:1), however, his sadness is because they have forsaken the LORD.  He knows that God’s plan for them is the best plan for them.  He is even attacked and hated by his own family, and people.  Another reason I call him “The Unsocial Prophet” is;

“Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.  For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.'” 16:8

The prophet is to be an influence to the people; not letting the people influence him.  He is to be led by the Spirit of God, His Word, and not the social activities of the day.

Let me give a clear Biblical definition of a “Prophet”.  The prophet of God is a preacher, an expositor of God’s Word.  He is first and foremost a student of Scripture; a man of prayer; an obedient servant of God.  He proclaims what God declares to Him, and then proclaims it to the people.  That in itself can make him an enemy to the people.  Who is going to invite a guy like this to their parties, or even to preach their funerals, or invite him to mourn with them?  In the last verse above we see that God tells Jeremiah that joy and gladness will cease.

Men and women are so deceived today.  Even professing Christians live as though any belief is okay as long as you believe something; have faith in something; as though “faith” is all you need.  There is only one way to approach God according to His Word, but the heart of men have devised alternative ways which lead to death and destruction.  These are other gods, false gods, which lead to death.

God spoke to Jeremiah saying,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” 17:9

You can continue believing as you believe, contrary to God and His Word, and you will receive the just judgment of God. “According to the fruit of his [your] doings” you will receive all that you have coming to you.

Many of the people of Anathoth hated Jeremiah because of his preaching.  They plotted against him to do him harm, but God’s hand of protection was on him (1:19);

“Then said they, ‘Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.'” 18:18

Jeremiah even says that the problem of Judah is due to the smooth talking false prophets who had the hearts of the people;

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.'” 23:15

Pastors and preachers of today need to hear the Word of the Lord. Stand and preach the word, not the desires of the hearts of the people.  It is not a popular opinion that matters to the preacher of God, but rather a saved, cleansed, pure live that will glorify God.  God is the center of the preacher’s preaching.  Are you afraid of being called “unsociable”?  Would it not be better to be deemed “unsociable” by the masses than to be deemed an unholy, false preacher by God? And receive the judgment that comes from God for such activities?

Most of this post today seems somewhat negative, but I pray instructive, correcting, and guiding to many who read it.  There is hope and encouragement within what I read today.  Hear the encouragement of God’s Word –

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  23:5-6
“For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.  And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.” 24:6-7

The hope for Judah and Israel is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS; and that is none other than the Messiah who was to come, and give His life a ransom for many, and then return one day and establish His eternal kingdom.  The people of Judah will return to the LORD with their whole heart.  Because of Jesus their is hope for all have a “wicked heart”, and that is all of us.  “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10)  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  However Christ died for our sins.  Trust Him, and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 54 – Judged by Sin

I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin.  According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law.  Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law.  Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”.  So there is a wrong?  Who determines what is wrong or right?  You?  There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.

If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today.  When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.

My reading this morning was finishing the prophet Isaiah 63 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.

Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.  Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12).  Jeremiah is told by God,

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJV)

The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them.  He must preach what God declares unto him.  The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope.  The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not.  They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” 2:19

The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it.  They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.  ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.'” 7:1-4

It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy.  Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days.  God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place to worship Him.

Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1

We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily.  Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God.  He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing.  Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” 19:25-27

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Healing for Backsliding

Healing for Backsliding

 In the previous writing we find a promise of God given to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel, and that promise is that they would both return to the land as one. Even in their backslidden condition they were to hear these words, and the prophet was to continue to proclaim their need of repentance, cleansing and healing for their backslidden condition.

How or why does one need healing from a backslidden condition. First of all backslidden as the prophet Jeremiah wants us to understand is referring to the people of God. Backslidden is a departure from a place or person you are supposed to be near; which in our case the person is God whom they have left. To backslide is almost always a slow deliberate departure. Slow because it begins with something that seems so small to begin with. “I am staying home from worship services this morning because I am so tired. I was up half the night enjoying family and friends”. Then, come Wednesday night and Bible Study time, “I am not going to Bible Study and prayer meeting this evening because it has been a long week already, and I can’t be getting home too late.” Or, how about this, “Just one peek at that site online won’t hurt. After all, I do need to be knowledgeable about what’s going on.” Just one little step in the wrong direction leads to a slippery slope which slides you further and further away from God, His Word, and the gentle whispers of His Spirit.

“But I said: ‘How can I put you among the children and give you a pleasant land, a beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?’ And I said: ‘You shall call Me, ‘My Father,’ and not turn away from Me.’ Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,’ says the LORD. A voice was heard on the desolate heights, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel. For they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD their God. ‘Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.’ ‘Indeed we do come to You, for You are the LORD our God. Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. For shame has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth– Their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. We lie down in our shame, and our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 3:19-25 (NKJV).

God sent forth His Son Jesus Christ to redeem the house of Israel. If you doubt that hear what Jesus has said, “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 10:6; “But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24; and it was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was striken.” Isaiah 53:8. Even the high priest at the trial said, “…You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” John 11:49-50, and the verse following says, “Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (vv.51-52).

It is because of their backsliding that God has scattered them across this world; has hidden them in the world; and called the Gentile nations to believe in the work of the Son of God on the cross.

Did God not see them those many years ago, even before Jesus became man, and give them these exceeding, precious promises? Of course He did. Our God is sovereign, and in control of every situation. He did not cause Israel or Judah to backslide, but in their backslidden condition the will of God was done, is being done, and will continue to be done. Every sinful act of a human being is known by the LORD of hosts, and not one of them will be held against anyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. Yet every sin which finds no repentance in the heart of the child of God, will be used to work in the sinning heart, mind and soul, to irritate, sting, and stick until that sinning heart finds rest in Christ Jesus.

When I pray for a lost person to be saved here is what I pray: Father, in Your mercy, love and grace touch the heart of this individual (Using their name here). Open their eyes to see their lost condition; that they are condemned by their sin, and for them there is no hope apart from the cross of Jesus Christ. Make them miserable in their sin, until they look upon Jesus Christ who gave His life’s blood so that we might be saved, that He was buried carrying all sin away with its guilt, and that He arose from the grave and is everliving interceding for us all. Save him/her (name) O, LORD, for Your own honor, power and glory. Amen.

Jeremiah admits the sins of the people for the nation in verses 22b through 25. How can God bring them back to the land which has been left desolate and barren? When they can come to the place they will call God “My Father”, and will not turn away from Him. Marriage is meant to be a illustration of God’s intimate relationship with His people, and of Jesus Christ and His relationship with the Church. God uses the idea of marriage to speak of spiritual adultery, of which Israel and Judah were guilty. The whole book of the prophet Hosea is concerning the relationship between that prophet and his wife. Gomer, if not previous to their marriage, then after marriage, became a temple prostitute. God used this to make a very good, and strong point to the nation. In the prophet’s love for his wife, and continually pursuing her; we see God’s wonderful, marvelous love for Israel, and ultimately for the Church.

There are not many men in this current time who would pursue a wife who has deliberately chosen to lie around with other men, profaning and making a mockery out of her marriage, and of her vows to God and her husband. But this was the love which God has shown those who are His. Just as Hosea paid to redeem his wife from the fringes of the debauchery of prostitution, so the LORD our God has paid for our redemption from sin. O, how the heart of Jeremiah must have grieved for the people. Can we see and feel the heart of the prophet as he proclaims the message of Healing for the people’s backslidden condition?. They will not listen to the Word of God.

The tragedy of our day is very similar to those of Jeremiah’s. While some of the so called experts are telling us to tone down our Biblical expository sermons, if not completely stop preaching altogether; no one is wanting to hear the Word of God. We are being told by those experts tune the message to the ears of the hearers. God’s Word still proclaims, “Preach the word. Be instant in season and out of season” 2 Timothy 4:2. Jeremiah didn’t have the ear of the people, as far as it leading them to repentance, but he did wind up in the dungeon. Does the preacher today preach what the people want to hear, or does he preach the very Word of God, what God wants us all to hear. If I ever walk into a church to worship the Lord and all I receive from that “Preacher” is a 10 – 15 minute sermonette, and never mentions the cross of Jesus, never mentions the burial and resurrection of Jesus, or His coming again; that is one church I will never enter again. If I were ever to become a part of a church which adopted such a mentality, and if after much prayer and work could not convince leadership to go back to God’s method, then I would leave it as quickly as I could. People need to repent, quit living in sin, and come out unto the Word and way of God our Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship