When You Hear the Father

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” John 6:45-47

When you hear the Father; that is Jehovah [YHWH]; then you will know Jesus the Christ.  If or when you know Jesus you will hear and know the Father.

The Man of Prayer

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:4-10 (KJV)

THE PRESIDENTS AND PRINCES CONSPIRED TO FIND FAULT WITH DANIEL; FOUND NONE; SO SET ABOUT TO ESTABLISH NEW LAWS TO TRAP HIM (vv. 4-9). Daniel could not have won in any event in this deception. If he would have not prayed these men would have accused him of turning from his God. If he prayed he would be put in the lion’s den.

These leaders were jealous of Daniel. He was a captive Jew and their leader. He had God’s blessing on his life. The people of the flesh will always work against the people serving God in the Spirit. Look at Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob; Ishmael and Isaac. The flesh always strives against the Spirit – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Gal. 5:17 (KJV).

According to the Proverbs 26:28 passage above “…a flattering mouth worketh ruin”, and this is most certainly what these men tried to do to Daniel. They were flattering the king. Flattery can sometimes cause the one who is on the receiving end of flattery to yield to all kinds of things. People love to be praised, and told they are wonderful; but LOOK OUT! What does the flatterer have in mind?

The law these men wanted the king to decree was a decree of emperor worship, and the king fell for it. He did it without thinking of Daniel or any others who might be Jehovah [YHWH] worshipers. Once this law was signed by Darius it was law. His signature was the seal of his ring in wax. There would be no annulling it. It had to be carried out. It was soon put to the test.

DANIEL DOES NOT CHANGE HIS PRAYING – EVEN KNOWING THIS LAW IS DECREED BY THE KING (v. 10). After the decree is signed by the king, Daniel goes to his regular place of prayer and he prays just as always. He prays at sunrise, noon, and again at the end of the day. This purely was not an act of defiance, but an act that had already been his practice. Daniel was not going to change his practice. Now, if Daniel had not been praying, and this law was decreed, then, he starts praying to God it would be an act of defiance, then, these others may have had a genuine charge against him.

It is my belief that if the Christians of the United States would have been praying before 1963 we would not have lost our right to pray, and study Christian materials in the public schools. Suddenly when it was lost we become defiant. That is not the answer. We must get to praying, and pray that God will place people in positions of ‘lawmaking’ who will uphold the laws of God for our country, and get us back to freedom to pray in any place, at any time; and in the name of Jesus.

Since writing this in 2006 there are many things that have happened in the U. S. of A. that make this even more needed for our time in 2017.  People running their businesses as Christians, who have the right to refuse service to anyone just as any other business does who are robbed of that right by frivolous law suits.  Some paying fines.  The right to pray on School campuses to one certain group, but Christians not even being able to wear T-shirts with a Christian theme on them without scrutiny.  It is not time to be defiant; but it is time to continue to practice our faith in Christ Jesus through our lives and living.

If you are not a Christian believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven to die for our sins on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and is forever alive.  Call on His name.  He will hear you and save you from the condemnation, shame, and guilt of your sins.  (Romans 10:9-13).

If you are a Christian and have been fearful; stop being fearful of what men do; love God, and believe His Word.  Let the world see Jesus in you.

If you are praying now no one can ever stop you from praying. They may pass laws, but there is no law against the righteous, that can stop them from righteousness.

Educating the Youth

“ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.“ Daniel 1:3-7 (KJV).

THE EDUCATING OF THE YOUTH – On the first campaign against Jerusalem Nebuchadnezzar took hostages/captives and temple items. Youth are very impressionable to say the least.

The king wanted some youth who were attractive, intelligent, willing to learn the languages of the world. He wanted what would make his court look quite impressive.

The king asked “Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs” to pick out youth who were of noble lineage.

“The kings meat” would have been the best of the land. However, it was rich foods. It was foods forbidden by the Mosaic law. The right meats required the right kind of handling and care. The Babylonian’s probably did not take that kind of care. There are some cultures that believe eating and drinking the blood of animals that have been slain gives them the strength and spirit of that animal. That may be a partial reason why the eating of blood was forbidden in Jewish law.

These young students would be required to learn about the gods of this heathen land. Learn the culture. Learn their sciences. Learn their language. They would become the “wise men” of Babylon.

When Hitler wanted to begin a change in Germany under his rule he began with the youth. He wanted a “pure race”. He picked only the brightest, most attractive, and only of the white race. He learned the hard way that no one is perfect. No race of people is perfect. In fact he is paying for his crimes through all eternity.

The thinking here is that, if you start young enough teaching the things contrary to one’s culture, religion, and race you can win the world to your way of thinking. However, the king of Babylon was about to come face to face with the children of God. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were four young men fully dedicated to Jehovah-Sidkeneu [The LORD our righteousness].

Upon being chosen, these men of God were given new Babylonian names. Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar; Hananiah was renamed Shadrach; Mishael was renamed Meshach; and Azariah was renamed Abednego. They had wonderful godly names and were given pagan godless names.

Daniel means “God is my judge” ……….Belteshazzar means ‘the keeper of the treasure of Baal’;

Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious” ……Shadrach means ‘command of the moon god’;

Mishael means “Who is like God” ……………… Meshech means ‘the goddess Shach’;

Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper”…………………. Abednego means ‘the fire god’.

The enemy will try to get you to forget who you are, where you came from, your heritage, and your destination, and then, laugh in your face if and when he succeeds. This enemy would find out, however, that they would not succeed with these four. What a great witness these four men have been down through the centuries and millenniums of time.

O my Christian brother and sister today is a day we must stand as the youth of Daniel’s day.  Stand on the Word of God.  Stand on the cross; the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Stand strong.  Stand firm.  Love the Lord.

Jesus in Genesis (5)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10c)

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is,

“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2).

God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the way, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

Jesus in Genesis (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10b  We have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an

“Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7).

This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying,

“I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10).

No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the Muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20.

“…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can start to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says,

“…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.”

Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form.

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14).

This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16).

The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He asked the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and Unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Three

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, My people does 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. Why should ye be stricken any more? You will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:2-9 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always hear the Word of God, spoken by God’s servants, and do the word and will of God; and I want all those who call themselves Christian to hear and do the word and will of God; so that God will be glorified in and through our godly, Christlike living.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to realize the importance of their mother; and husbands/fathers their wives who are the mothers of their children, and to help make this a good day for her, and her family; and to attend worship services with her today.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV)

In the realm of “Christianity” we are all soldiers of Christ (maybe especially so that Christian mother), and the LORD delights in us, and guides our path.

MOTHERS – Happy Mother’s Day

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

Today’s “want” is going to be a bit political, but I see it as a real need among those who name the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I want for those who call themselves Christian to decide to get behind one Presidential candidate who has some principle, moral character,  a desire to listen to God and His word and show this Country [U. S. of A.] through the might, Spirit and power of God who the real power of this country is  – not us but Him.

I do believe that if Christians would get behind the candidate like this, this individual would win the election.

The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:10-12 (KJV)

This is a work, a miracle only God could perform.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the rioting, destruction of government, public, personal, and business property to cease and desist in the United States of America, and for us to defend the freedom of speech and religion across this nation.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.” Psalm 11:5-7 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

Remember today is the LORD’S Day; if you love the Lord GOD you will be in worship services somewhere where the Word of God is preached.

I want to always remember that no matter how bad I sin, or transgress God’s law; or no matter how bad others sin or transgress God’s law we cannot thwart the word of God, nor avert Him from His plan for our good or His glory.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:1-6 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Two

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always rest in the mercy of GOD, and I want all people to know that God is merciful to all; He gives us each breath we breath, every beat of our heart; when you know of Him and His mercy you can trust His grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:1-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

We in the U. S. of A. live in a once free nation; free from monarchy, free from tyranny, free to speak, free to believe the Scriptures, and to practice our faith; but since those freedoms and others are eroding I want our leaders, President, Vice President, the Senate, Congress; their spouses to know that they are not kings and queens; that they are not higher than the people; but that they are servants to the people – the legal citizens – of the United States of America, and no other nation or league of nations.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  PREAMBLE OF THE United States of America

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; He considereth all their works. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.” Psalm 33:12-16 (KJV)

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want God to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect through faith in Jesus Christ, and His cross, burial and resurrection.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Day Two Hundred Fifty and Nine

In continuing my “What do I want for Christmas?” daily question; I want for everyone reading this today; and all who are are not reading it to have a day, and week where their hearts and minds are directed to the LORD or all people; His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-3 (KJV)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:12-17

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the Muslim people around the world to know that the one, true GOD loves them; that His name is Jehovah, and He  has a Son whose name is Jesus; that He is God the Son and Son of God; that He loves you so much that He sent Jesus who came willingly, of His own volition, and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from that grave, and He ever lives.

The death of Jesus was the death of the righteous, for the unrighteous, the price of redemption to bring all who will believe into the very presence of God.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26 (KJV)

“That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:15-16

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

Just in the past two weeks there have been two horrendous, murderous, terrorist attacks. Just yesterday March 27, 2016 there was an attack in Iran while a number of Christian brethren were celebrating Easter.  There were 67 murdered, and hundreds injured.

What I want is that these murderers  be stopped, to be silenced by Holy God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and I want them to know they will answer to GOD, not Allah, that Allah will crumble and fall before the face of Almighty Jehovah; and that every knee, even that of all those who worship Allah will fall before Jesus the Christ, worship Him, and if they are without repentance and faith in Him now will die eternally in the Lake of fire; I want all Muslims to know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised from death, and came out of that grave; believe Him, and be saved.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

Forgive my error.  It was Pakistan not Iran where the terrorist murderers killed.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I know that it is Easter Sunday for Christians around the world; however, I want to better understand the love, grace, mercy, and power of God through the cross, burial and resurrection of Jesus; and I want you to know that this same Jesus who was born in a manger came to die for the sins of the world, that He did, was buried, and He arose from the grave; and He is soon returning.  Make sure you are on His side.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:17-19

 

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

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

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

Day Three Hundred and Seventeen

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to love God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul, and with all my strength; and want that for you too.

See Exodus 20:1-11

The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29-30 (NKJV)

Day 9 – The Way to Go

In our readings of Leviticus, and now into Numbers we find much law; and there; probably by some people’s accounting; is little grace.  However, I find that assessment of “little grace” hard to accept.  It is, afterall, by God’s grace that He gave us Law.

I have a couple of sets of verses we will look at today.  The first is when Moses enters into the Tabernacle;

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and He spake unto him.”  Numbers 7:89 (KJV)

With the building of the Tabernacle finished and set up after the direction of the LORD; Moses enters into the finished work, to hear from the Creator/Architect.  To hear the voice of the one who is Lord of all is the desire of every child of God.  Most of the time it has been the LORD who is speaking; and that is as it should be.

Far too often we want to speak, even to God; and He approved of us speaking to Him; however, it is first necessary that we listen to and hear Him.  It is His heart we need when we come to Him.  It is He who gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4); we find those desires by knowing Him, His heart, and hearing His Word.

How do we know when it is time to do something?  Say, to move from where we live, to move out of what has become called our “Comfort zone”, and into a place less comfortable, or more threatening?  We often leave it to circumstances, our feelings, or outside or inside pressure (Outside  pressure being from the people around us).  When did the children of Israel know when to pack up and leave where they were?

“And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.   Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.”  Numbers 9:21-23

By the cloud, and pillar of fire by night.  For the Christian that cloud is the Spirit of God within.  All of those things mentioned – circumstances, pressure, threatenings all play a part if we are hearing the voice of God.  Many times it might not have to be those threatenings or fearful things; if we would but hear God and go the way the Spirit of God leads.

Far too many times we try and jump ahead of God; when what He is wanting is for us to stay, grow, and prosper in Him.

When God moves we should move.  When He stops we should stop.  If we are not seeing God work, then that is God’s invitation to stop and take an assessment of our lives.  We do not force God to move, nor should we move without God’s move.  So many do, and end up discouraged, in doubt and darkness.

The way to go is the way of God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God in you is Christ in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 8 – Holiness and the LORD

Sometimes, maybe much time is made of mocking all that is holy.  Even among Christians it is not often taken seriously.  Someone who becomes devoted to living holy is often told something like, “O, come on now.  You can’t be serious”.  God is serious about holiness, because He is holy.

In reading Leviticus you will find much about “Holiness”.  You will find it stated by the LORD, “Be holy; for I am holy” many times.  I read that several times as I was reading Leviticus 9 – 22 this morning.

When two sons of Aaron did not take holiness seriously; or right worship seriously they died,

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1-2 (KJV)

Their death seems to have been due to entering the most Holy Place with alcoholic drink on them;

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, ‘Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.'”  Leviticus 10:9

Whatever the “strange fire” was that Nadab and Abihu took into the Holy Place it was not holy unto the LORD.  God takes holiness among His people very seriously, and so should the Christian of today.

As we look at Leviticus with all its commandments, requirements for holiness, laws for dealing with body sores, and skins rashes, and leprosy, sexual relationships, eating; the right kinds of animals, insects and fish to eat, etc. it seems like it would be an impossible feat to meet God’s requirements for holiness.  I believe that to be an accurate assessment of our situation.

With all that God requires for our holiness we all fall short.  I mean who would always be aware of sitting on something that is unclean (Leviticus 15).  Only God would always know that.

The declaration of the Law is that we are Guilty, Guilty, and Guilty of being unholy; unless we can keep the whole law.  There is only One who did.  His name is Jesus Christ and He was and is the atonement for all our sins.

God has said many times through my reading to day, “I am the LORD”.  That is it.  He is holy; and He requires holiness of His people.  It is only attainable through the once and for all shed blood of His Son; who was our atonement, and scapegoat for our sins (Leviticus 16); carrying our sin away.  God is still serious about sin and holiness.  Jesus rose bodily from the grave, and ever lives as our intercessor.

Blessed be the holy name of the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 7 – From Deliverance to Glory

The book of Exodus begins with the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in bondage in Egypt.  They are in bitter enslavement to Egypt.  Exodus ends, however, fulfilling the meaning of its title “Exodus” and the children are free from bondage.

My reading this morning included Exodus 35 – Leviticus 8.  I will not be commenting on the Leviticus reading, but only on the Exodus portion, and particularly the ending.

From bondage in Egypt the children of Israel, are delivered after many wonderful things which God performed through His servants Moses and Aaron.  Plagues which came upon Egypt; unlike anything they had ever witnessed; or ever would witness in their lifetimes.  It was God’s plan to deliver them, His way.  It would not be the way of Moses, nor the way of Aaron; but God’s.

It is God’s intention that His name be glorified and nothing else.  That is the greatest desire of God; that He be glorified.

The Exodus shows us the children of Israel on a journey from Egypt, through the wilderness; at least to Mount Sinai; receiving God’s commandments; instructions, and designs on worshipping God.

In the Exodus we see sin raise its ugly, demonic head while Moses is on the Mount receiving the law; and after they have said, “All that God commands we will do.”  They call on Aaron to make them gods (32:1-2) of gold and to honor for their deliverance from Egypt; I suppose.  God tells Moses to go down quickly, and he finds a riotous, debaucherous worship more in tune with the surround peoples than godly going on; defiling everything the people has said they would do.

Yet, God in His grace and mercy brings them to His glory.  They see His glory in the “tent of the congregation” or tabernacle,

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

And, even Moses cannot enter due to His glory upon the tabernacle.

That shows us, that even Israel, and the Law cannot bring us into His glory.  The law fulfilled in God’s only begotten Son, His blood sacrifice on the cross, His burial, and resurrection can bring sinful man, redeemed, cleansed, and into the very presence of God.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who has given His own blood that we might go into the very presence of God.  I pray you find yourself there today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 6 – The Glory of the LORD

On this sixth day of February 2012 my reading covered Exodus 21 – 34.  For me it was an hour’s worth of reading.  I know that means I am a slow reader.  Part of that time was spent in pouring me a cup of coffee with hot chocolate mix mixed in at half way through which was after chapter 27.

God of creation and all things; LORD of hosts, and Israel is the God of Glory and grace.  My how we need grace.  How I need grace.

Chapter 21 begins with additional laws concerning judgments, and handling conflicts among the people.  God also gives some rules for dealing with perversity, and obscenity among people and animals (22:16-20).

Following these rules God gives Moses the designs for building a place for “God’s dwelling” among the people – the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  He gives Moses His design for worshipping Him.  He begins with the inner Tabernacle, and in particular with Himself with the Ark of the covenant and mercy seat (25:10-22).  The table of shewbread (vv. 23-30).  The Menorah (vv. 31-40).  True worship must begin with God.  It cannot begin with music, or even preaching.  It must forever begin with God.

Chapter 26 deals with the goat skins that will be needed for the Tabernacle covering, and linens, and blue, scarlet, purple.  Silver is needed for the “foundation” of the movable tabernacle. Very intricately detailed by the heavenly Designer.  I pray you will be reading these chapters and will see that all these things of the Tabernacle in the wilderness point us to the Messiah of Israel.  The gold and the wood of the ark point us to the God-man Jesus the Christ; Jesus of Nazareth.  The shewbread shows Jesus as the Bread of Life (John 6:35-58).  The lampstand [Menorah] shows us Jesus as the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5).

When Moses was on the Mount receiving these instructions and heavenly designs the people down below were growing restless, beginning to complain; and due to this began crying out for Aaron to build them a “god”.  They have previously said, “All that the LORD says we will do”.  Now they are in abstract rebellion against Him.  And Moses pleads for the people;

“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, ‘These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’  And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.’  And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, ‘LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?  Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people.  Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou swarest by Thine own self, and saidst unto them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.’  And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.”  Exodus 32:7-14 (KJV)

Moses knew the LORD; and he knew the LORD is holy and had every right, and could with one word extinguish the nation from the face of the earth.  The heart of Moses was one with the heart of God; because he is pleading for the grace of God to win out and glorify Him.  The glory of God is at stake.  That is what the pleading of Moses for the people is about.

In another place Moses pleads for God’s mercy and grace for the people, even to the point of his own destruction in their behalf;

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, ‘Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.  Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”  32:31-32

We need to realize that the law was given to show us our sin, our weaknesses, and our need of God’s abundant grace.  We all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); and stand in need of grace given us freely by God through His Son Jesus Christ; who died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying the guilt and condemnation of sin away, and rising bodily from the grave; justifying us forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 3 – Destiny of a Nation

Many trust in what is called fate.  Some trust in faith as though faith has power of its own.  “Just have faith” is what is heard quite often.  What is the difference in “fate” and “faith”.  Fate is events guided by events to the best of my knowledge; “What ever will be will be” mentality.  Faith is belief in something or someone to have power of guiding events or times or things even; but “faith” in what or whom?  It does make a difference what you believe.

As we  continue at reading the Bible through in these next 87 days we will find that there is a Person; a divine Individual who is guiding the events and times of our lives.

That is evident in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We can see it in the life of Joseph as well.

God told Abraham back in Genesis 15:13-14,

“And He said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Then as we read today in Genesis 29 – 42 we find one of Jacob’s children, a younger son, is sold into slavery by his older brothers due to their jealousy, and Joseph ends up in Egypt, in prison and eventually the Pharoah’s second man ruling the nation.

Joseph was a man of dreams, and passion for God, His promises, and His Word.  Joseph dreamed that all his brethren would one day bow down to him,

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, ‘Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.’  And his brethren said to him, ‘Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, ‘Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?’ And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Genesis 37:5-12 (KJV)

I tell this because it was by his faith in God Joseph was able to deal with the betrayal of his own brethren, the selling into Egypt, the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  Through it all Joseph kept God as his guide, his comfort and his strength.  Believing that God would bring about what He had shown him in his dreams.

After Joseph has arrived in Egypt and imprison; in prison Joseph continues to say and believe,

“Do not interpretations belong to God?”  Genesis 40:8   and,

“It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  41:16

The Psalmist even mentions Joseph in the 115th Psalm,

“Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” (v.19)

Faith that God is guiding the affairs of His people to be a great nation was a part of Joseph’s life.  He believed God, and though it does not say it by verse, and words; it says it by implication; “It was counted to him for righteousness.

God not only guides and directs nations; he directs individual lives.  He prefers to use you for good and His glory.  He will do that through your faith in His Son Jesus; as you humbly bow before Him as your own personal Lord and Savior; believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead; and that He is eternally alive; and through Him you will live eternally.

Believe/Trust and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Above His Name

The name of GOD is a name above every name.  The name Jesus is the name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10).  Jesus is the Living Word of God; the Word become flesh (John 1:14) and dwelling among us.

Sometime ago I read a comment someone made on Facebook, about something they had said in writing.  They were sorry for the abusive, expletive use of a word or words they had used.  It is as though they wrote without thought.  I can somewhat understand a sudden outrage in speech, but not in writing.  Writing something down takes some thought; although I have read some things that did not take much thought; probably some of my own writing  would fit into that category 🙂 .

Anyhow, I only mention that to say, God has spoken His Word, and it is sure and steadfast, it is eternal, and He has said that it would not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11), so it will not.  He has also given us His written word, and by this Word we know Him, His name, His Son and His name, and the person of His Spirit.

The Psalmist has written,

“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.”  Psalm 138:2 (KJV)

I have probably written too much already.  Let me let the writer of the Treasury of David clarify it for you;

I will worship toward thy holy temple,” or the place of God’s dwelling, where the ark abode. He would worship God in God’s own way. The Lord had ordained a centre of unity, a place of sacrifice, a house of his indwelling; and David accepted the way of worship enjoined by revelation. Even so, the true-hearted believer of these days must not fall into the will-worship of superstition, or the wild worship of scepticism, but reverently worship as the Lord himself prescribes. The idol gods had their temples; but David averts his glance from them, and looks earnestly to the spot chosen of the Lord for his own sanctuary. We are not only to adore the true God, but to do so in his own appointed way: the Jew looked to the temple, we are to look to Jesus, the living temple of the Godhead. “And praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth.” Praise would be the main part of David’s worship; the name or character of God the great object of his song; and the special point of his praise the grace and truth which shone so conspicuously in that name. The person of Jesus is the temple of the Godhead, and therein we behold the glory of the Father, “full of grace and truth.” It is upon these two points that the name of Jehovah is at this time assailed – his grace and his truth. He is said to be too stern, too terrible, and therefore “modern thought” displaces the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and sets up an effeminate deity of its own making. As for us, we firmly believe that God is love, and that in the summing up of all things it will be seen that hell itself is not inconsistent with the beneficence of Jehovah, but is, indeed, a necessary part of his moral government now that sin has intruded into the universe. True believers hear the thunders of his justice, and yet they do not doubt his lovingkindness. Especially do we delight in God’s great love to his own elect, such as he showed to Israel as a race, and more especially to David and his seed when he entered into covenant with him. Concerning this there is abundant room for praise. But not only do men attack the lovingkindness of God, but the truth of God is at this time assailed on all sides; some doubt the truth of the inspired record as to its histories, others challenge the doctrines, many sneer at the prophecies; in fact, the infallible word of the Lord is at this time treated as if it were the writing of imposters, and only worthy to be carped at. The swine are trampling on the pearls at this time, and nothing restrains them; nevertheless, the pearls are pearls still, and shall yet shine about our Monarch’s brow. We sing the lovingkindness and truth of the God of the Old Testament, – “the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” David before the false gods first sang, then worshipped, and then proclaimed the grace and truth of Jehovah; let us do the same before the idols of the New Theology.
For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” The word of promise made to David was in his eyes more glorious than all else that he had seen of the Most High. Revelation excels creation in the clearness, definiteness, and fulness of its teaching. The name of the Lord in nature is not so easily read as in the Scriptures, which are a revelation in human language, specially adapted to the human mind, treating of human need, and of a Saviour who appeared in human nature to redeem humanity. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the divine word will not pass away, and in this respect especially it has a pre-eminence over every other form of manifestation. Moreover, the Lord lays all the rest of his name under tribute to his word: his wisdom, power, love, and all his other attributes combine to carry out his word. It is his word which creates, sustains, quickens, enlightens, and comforts. As a word of command it is supreme; and in the person of the incarnate Word it is set above all the works of God’s hands. The sentence in the text is wonderfully full of meaning. We have collected a vast mass of literature upon it, but space will not allow us to put it all into our notes. Let us adore the Lord who has spoken to us by his word, and by his Son; and in the presence of unbelievers let us both praise his holy name and extol his holy word.

Believe the LORD.  Trust His Word and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Delight In His Commandments

The people of God are a praising people.  I do not say that we should be a praising people, but that we are a praising people.  We are praising the LORD.  He is worthy of praise.  Why?  Because He is God.  He alone created all that is.  Everything in the Universe was made by Him.  There is not one thing which  did not come about, but that He spoke and it was.  He is the I AM – The all sufficient, Self-Existing, Self Sufficient One.  Without Him the Universe would fly apart, back into nothingness.

Hear the Psalmist in Psalm 112,

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

How can the redeemed of the LORD do anything else but praise the LORD who alone is worthy?   It would be a down, discouraged, darkened soul of a Christian who would not be praising the LORD, but rather going around complaining about their “lot” in life.  When you are praising God you cannot complain about anything.

The believer in Christ fears only the LORD, and is truly “Blessed”, happy, fulfilled, and a blessing to others.  The believer is also one who delights in the commandments of the LORD.  John the apostle says,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3

O, for the child of God who is walking with the LORD, praising Him, delighting in Him and His commandments; it is pure joy.

The following paragraph are the words of Charles H. Spurgeon from the Treasury of David on Psalm 112:1;

“Praise ye the Lord.” This exhortation is never given too often; the Lord always deserves praise, we ought always to render it, we are frequently forgetful of it, and it is always well to be stirred up to it. The exhortation is addressed to all thoughtful persons who observe the way and manner of life of men that fear the Lord. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, the Lord should have all the glory of it, for we are his workmanship. “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.” According to Psa_111:10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof. We ought to bless God for blessing any man, and especially for setting the seal of his approbation upon the godly. His favour towards the God-fearing displays his character and encourages gracious feelings in others, therefore let him be praised. “That delighteth greatly in his commandments.” The man not only studies the divine precepts and endeavours to observe them, but rejoices to do so: holiness is his happiness, devotion is his delight, truth is his treasure. He rejoices in the precepts of godliness, yea, and delights greatly in them. We have known hypocrites rejoice in the doctrines, but never in the commandments. Ungodly men may in some measure obey the commandments out of fear, but only a gracious man will observe them with delight. Cheerful obedience is the only acceptable obedience; he who obeys reluctantly is disobedient at heart, but he who takes pleasure in the command is truly loyal. If through divine grace we find ourselves described in these two sentences, let us give all the praise to God, for he hath wrought all our works in us, and the dispositions out of which they spring. Let self-righteous men praise themselves, but he who has been made righteous by grace renders all the praise to the Lord.

God is greatly blessed, honored and praised by the praises of His people.  Praise Him today and everyday by receiving His Son Jesus, believing and trusting Him for the day, and for your life; the rest of your life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Vengeance and God

As I read the Psalms this morning; particularly Psalms 91 – 95; the 94th Psalm and verse 1 was of special interest.  Now let me say off the start that there is no one I can think of that I want harm or God’s vengeance or mine to come on.  I do not believe the Psalmist had any one individual in mind either.  However, there is evil in the world, and most of the time evil comes through people.

One of the greatest evils of our time in the United States of America is abortion; the murder of the unborn human child.  However, we do not want to continue evil by doing evil in taking the lives of those who are in the eyes of the Supreme Court of our country, and “law of the land”.  Vengeance is in our Lord’s hands.  It is not mine or ours.

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

The act of retribution upon evil is God’s.  We as citizens of our nation have the power and authority to try and overthrow the ruling of the SC, and write new laws, but not to take life.

Reading the above verse makes me think of a couple of others,

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.”  Romans 12:19, (Deuteronomy 32:35).

The other one being to finish up the sentence of the Psalmist, “Shew Thyself”,

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a (KJV)

Vengeance is the Lord’s.  It is sweeter when we leave it in God’s hands; and the justice done is so much more redeeming when we leave it with Him.

For any evil, there is forgiveness when one comes to the cross of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Favorable Land

I believe that God has put His hand on the United States of America, and has raised her up for the glory of Himself in and through the nations of the world.  He has blessed the U. S. of A.  However, we are not that “favorable land”.  Do not think me a traitor; the land the Psalmist speaks of is the land of Jacob.  It is the land that has upon it the “City of David” – Jerusalem.  It is the land where are Lord and Savior was foretold of and where He was born, raised, grew, died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  It is the land to which He will one day return and rule the world from.

The Psalmist wrote so long ago of this land,

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”  Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm it is said that it is “A Psalm for the sons of Korah”, and is mentioned in other Psalms as well.

There is some disagreement over the time and author of this song.  Some believe it was David writing of the captivity by the Philistines; and yet others think it is another singer writing of the Babylonian captivity.  I myself tend to go along with those who hold with the Davidic writing.

However, no matter the time of the writing of this wonderful song; it is a song for all ages, and all saints of God.  When a child of God has strayed from the presence of the Lord in their lives we can know that He is faithful to restore us.

He is faithful to bring us back to our first estate, fill us with Himself, His presence, His power, His glory.

We are in “captivity” when we have allowed our sin to separate us from the presence and the power of God.  Our prayer ought always to be sinned and strayed,  “Forgive our sin.  Restore us to our place with You LORD.  Bring back the captivity of Your people.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

-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

Consider the Poor

In a wealthy society such as the United States we are guilty of not thinking much of the sick and poor.  When and if we consider them at all we do not think of them very long.  We tend to put them out of our minds.  As a child growing up living on a farm, and my Dad working at making a living on the farm and from the farm; I never  thought of us as being poor.  We probably never had what neighbors had; but we had more than others, so I never did think of it as being poor.

David was probably running for his life from Saul when he wrote this Psalm, and he was seeing himself as “Poor”, and knew there were folks who did not travel with him who did him good; treating him right, and donating to his welfare – his welfare as well as the people with him

Hear the words of David,

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

The word “Blessed” is a word meaning “Happiness”, but reaches further than just a happy thought or a laugh from a joke.  The word “Considereth” means to give attention to.  It is a good and great thing to give attention to those who are needy.  Whether it be materially poor, physically poor due to sickness or disease, God cares for the poor.  One’s who are so weak they cannot help themselves.

Jesus says in Matthew 5,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

The “Poor in spirit” are those who cannot help themselves to the kingdom of heaven.  We all need help there.  We need the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make the way, pay the price, and take us into the presence of the Father.

Consider the poor.

-Tim

Seven Things Which God Hates

Some want to think that God hates nothing.  However, if there is not hate, then what is love, and the apostle John says that “God is love”.  Since God is love there must of necessity be some things which He hates, and the Bible in Proverbs gives us seven of them; which seems to cover every gamut of evil in the world.

Hear the wisdom of the ages –

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”  Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

I preached a seven part series of sermons in 2006 on this and you can find them by clicking on this sentence.

I do not believe I have ever seen a time in my life when there is such a pride and arrogance, especially among leaders.  Leaders in the business world, leaders in politics, leaders of Nations; and even leaders in churches who profess to know God and His Son Jesus.  With noses in the air they walk around defying God and His Word.

Lies, lies, and more lies are seen.   A person can tell a lie until it becomes the truth in their own mind.  The lying tongue has intent to deceive and defraud.  “Lie” – any statement or act designed to deceive another person, and or harm them, their reputation or possibly even bodily.

There are hands shedding innocent blood.  Mothers killing their own babies; before they are born and after they are born.  Sons killing fathers; fathers killing sons – sometimes neither are not so innocent blood.  Governments killing Christians for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Husbands and wives killing the innocent spouse for insurance money or to get another spouse.

With the heart of imagination men have designs against God, His Word, His people, His land, and His future.  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).  I have news for the ones imagining to overthrow Israel, and set up a quote “Palestinian Nation”.  It will not succeed.  God’s covenant stands forever.  The United Nations will fail.  Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, Libya, the United States of America, etc. will all fail and fall; but our God and His Word will stand forever.

There are feet that are swift for destruction.  Evil feet are feet that move with haste without much thought as to its outcome and destruction of life to oneself or others.  Mostly for acquiring material gain.  Swift at running to mischief.  Looking for the next party; the next drunken brawl; the next adulterous affair.  Swift to move toward evil.

A false witness speaks lies in order, usually, to gain for ones self.  There is usually a malicious – intent to do harm – cause behind a false witness.  Jezebel lied about Naboth in order to gain his vineyard for king Ahab, and caused Naboth’s death (1 Kings 21).  Does that happen in courts and politics today?  Does that happen in families today?  Has that happened to you?  Have you been the one who committed the abomination?

Sowing seeds of discord is an act of  “terrorism” among families.  It does not do any good for churches neither.  If it is no good for these then, why would it be good for Local governments, State governments, or federal governments?  It is not.

If you will notice all of these are called an “Abomination unto Him”.

There is only forgiveness and eternal life through the One who died on the cross for our sins; was buried taking away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and rose bodily from the grave, and is one day soon returning to set things right in this world and the hearts of men.  His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Dwell at Ease

We people who are citizens of the world enjoy our comfort and ease; especially those of us who are citizens of the USA.  We hardly know anything but our own comfort and ease.  Even the poorest among us is far more wealthy than some of the people in what is known as “third world countries”.  Where did that term ever come from anyway? “Third world country”.

God has given a promise to a certain lot of people for an ease to life through the words of the Psalmist –

“What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose.  His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.”  Psalm 25:12-13

Fear is a part of human life.  What we fear, and sometimes who we fear will affect how we live.  There are people who fear the unseen, the unknown, the future.  Fear of these things are fruitless and can help no one except cause you pain and grief.

There is a fear that is worth while for all the human race, and that is to fear God, the LORD.  It has been said by godly men down through the ages; I do not think it can be credited to any one individual; that “If a man fears God he will not, nor needs not to fear anything else”.

The Psalm above shows us a bit of that thought.  The one who fears the LORD the LORD will teach him in the way he chooses.  When we fear God we will choose the right way, the right things, the godly things and God will bless them.

To dwell at ease does not mean there will be no problems; but that even in the midst of our problems we will be at ease knowing it is in the hands of our Lord.  The choices the righteous make, or the ones God makes in their lives will be a blessing even to their heirs.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read –

Him that feareth the Lord he will teach in the way that he shall choose, either in the way that God shall choose or that the good man shall choose. It comes all to one, for he that fears the Lord chooses the things that please him. If we choose the right way, he that directed our choice will direct our steps, and will lead us in it. If we choose wisely, God will give us grace to walk wisely.
2. That God will make them easy (v. 13): His soul shall dwell at ease, shall lodge in goodness, marg. Those that devote themselves to the fear of God, and give themselves to be taught of God, will be easy, if it be not their own fault. The soul that is sanctified by the grace of God, and, much more, that is comforted by the peace of God, dwells at ease. Even when the body is sick and lies in pain, yet the soul may dwell at ease in God, may return to him, and repose in him as its rest. Many things occur to make us uneasy, but there is enough in the covenant of grace to counterbalance them all and to make us easy.
3. That he will give to them and theirs as much of this world as is good for them: His seed shall inherit the earth. Next to our care concerning our souls is our care concerning our seed, and God has a blessing in store for the generation of the upright. Those that fear God shall inherit the earth, shall have a competency in it and the comfort of it, and their children shall fare the better for their prayers when they are gone.

There are many things in this world to fear.  You can find them, even without looking; but if you will trust the LORD you can face those fears, by knowing that all is in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What Has Happened to Godliness

When I read Psalm 12:1 this morning my first thought was that it sounds as though David was living in 2012.  That may be a bit cynical, but I do not think too much so.  I do know some people I consider to be godly and they are Christians.  I do not consider any one who know not Christ to be godly.

The Psalmist cries out for help from the LORD.

“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”  Psalm 12:1 (KJV)

It is a grievous thing to look at our Nation (the USA) and see so much degradation; such flaunting of unrighteous, ungodly behaviors, drunkenness, gluttonness feasting, and much gluttony without any thankfulness to the One who provided it.

David saw that the “godly man ceaseth”, that “the faithful fail”, and he asks GOD for “Help”; and so must the follower of Christ Jesus today.

The following is a quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Psalm 12:1-

“When there is a general decay of piety and honesty among men the times are then truly bad (v. 1): When the godly man ceases and the faithful fail. Observe how these two characters are here put together, the godly and the faithful. As there is no true policy, so there is no true piety, without honesty. Godly men are faithful men, fast men, so they have sometimes been called; their word is as confirming as their oath, as binding as their bond; they make conscience of being true both to God and man. They are here said to cease and fail, either by death or by desertion, or by both. Those that were godly and faithful were taken away, and those that were left had sadly degenerated and were not what they had been; so that there were few or no good people that were Israelites indeed to be met with. Perhaps he meant that there were no godly faithful men among Saul’s courtiers; if he meant there were few or none in Israel, we hope he was under the same mistake that Elijah was, who thought he only was left alone, when God had 7000 who kept their integrity (Rom. 11:3); or he meant that there were few in comparison; there was a general decay of religion and virtue (and the times are bad, very bad, when it is so), not a man to be found that executes judgment, Jer. 5:1.”

What is godliness?  To live as God would live; or at least work at doing so.  Will that save you for all time and eternity? NO!  Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work can save you eternally.  When you are saved for eternally you will desire to be godly.  We are called to live godly even when ungodliness seems to rule the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Plea of David

“O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.”  Psalm 6:1

There must have been something in David’s life that would cause him to make such a plea.  Yet, there are times we as Christians even make such a plea.  The Psalmist first words are directed to the Self-Existing One YaHWeH or JehovaH who relates to men who are redeemed by Him.

No one longs for the rebuke of the LORD, nor His anger; and God does get angry and is angry with sin and evil; because it is against everything He is.  None of us long to experience the “hot displeasure” of GOD.

His displeasure is directed toward any sin that may be in our lives.  He will do whatever it takes to rid us of our sin.

Let me give you a portion of what Charles H. Spurgeon writes of this Psalm, particularly verse 1 –

 “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification. “Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastenings.” It were folly to pray against the golden hand which enriches us by its blows. He does not ask that the rebuke may be totally withheld, for he might thus lose a blessing in disguise; but, “Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” If thou remindest me of my sin, it is good; but, oh, remind me not of it as one incensed against me, lest thy servant’s heart should sink in despair. Thus saith Jeremiah, “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” I know that I must be chastened, and though I shrink from thy rod yet do I feel that it will be for my benefit; but, oh, my God, “chasten me not in thy hot displeasure,” lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, thou shouldest also kill. So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are “not in anger, but in his dear covenant love.”

May we all who are in Christ Jesus find peace in knowing that God finds pleasure in blessing those who will call on His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Increased Trouble

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.” Psalm 3:1 (KJV)

I want to begin in this New Year of 2012 doing something a little more consistent with Fire and Hammer.  To begin with I will endeavor to have a post from the Psalms or Proverbs daily; with commentary by Spurgeon, some other legend and least some; maybe most; by myself.  The above verse is my first for 2012.  May God bless you richly during this coming year, may He keep you in His powerful hands, and give you peace.

Of the verse above the Psalmist sees much trouble coming from what is probably the people around him.  His trouble has increased.  We do not need to wonder what trouble is do we?  We are each and everyone of us surrounded by trouble of some sort.

The world is experiencing trouble.  Individuals within the world is having troubles galore.  There are troubles from created nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, hurricanes, tornadoes, and troubles from peoples own evil and mistakes; murders, rapes, slavery, robberies, pollutions, bankrupt economies, etc. and there are troubles with families; divorce, unemployment, estranged mothers and fathers, sickness, disease, wayward children and parents.

Yes!  There are troubles in our world.  You have troubles.  I have troubles.  None are immune from it.

We do, however, have the LORD to whom we can go and He will listen to our troubles; and they will seem small compared to knowing Him and His greatness.

There is help and hope for those who trust in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Joshua Worships

The example given today is not a type, but in truth the very Son of God; which was yet to become flesh; as He speaks with Joshua after they have entered into the Promised Land.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, ‘Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries?’  And He said, ‘Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, ‘What saith my Lord unto His servant?’   And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, ‘Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

This was the evening before the LORD gives the children of  Israel Jericho as a victory.  Joshua has probably experienced some amount of anxiety.  This is his first battle with a city as the new leader of Israel.  He is evidently alone and the LORD appears to him.

We know it is the LORD because Joshua bows in worship to Him, and He accepts the worship.  If it had been only an angel the angel would have quickly had Joshua stand; as the angel did with John in the Revelation 19:10.

This “Man” is none other than a theophany or preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

He refers to Himself as “Captain of the host of the LORD”.  He is the same one who will lead the armies in the final battle on that Lord’s day when all evil will be put away; and Jesus Christ shall reign forever and forever (Revelation 19:11-20:15).

When Joshua sees the LORD He has His sword drawn in His hand, ready for battle.  Joshua asks Him, “Are you for us, or our adversaries?”  The answer the LORD gives is not a yes I am for you, or I am for your enemy; it is rather, “I am Captain of the host of the LORD”.  Joshua submitted his will to the LORD’s will; and thus it should be for all who will be right with God.

It is not a matter of the LORD being on my side; it is however, a matter of me being on His side.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  The answer to that question is NO!  If we are to be participants in the Scarlet Thread of redemption we must agree with God, His Word, His commandments, and His salvation.

Fall today at the feet of the only one worthy of our worship.  The only one who makes all things right with God.  The Son of God Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried carrying sin away, and rising again for our justification.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Comfort For Hard Times

No one needs reminded of the times in which we live; I am pretty sure of that.  Unless of course you are living on a deserted island somewhere and you would not be reading this anyway.

The economy is in ruins, and the only promises for change is in words of men, it seems at times.  Except for those who find their comfort in the Lord of all creation.  He is our Sustainer, Provider, Protector, Sword and Shield from the enemy who seeks to destroy, maim and kill.

The prophet Isaiah prophesied of judgment coming on Israel in the first 39 chapters of the prophecy; warning them of the coming wrath of the LORD of hosts.  Babylon was coming as God’s agent of judgment on a nation that had forsaken God.  Then we reach chapter 40 and the prophecy changes.

There are scattered words of hope and comfort in those first 39 chapters, however from chapter 40 through chapter 66 there is much more on comforting the people, encouraging the people, and the LORD encourages Isaiah to “Comfort My People!”

“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people’, saith your God.  ‘Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.”  Isaiah 40:1-2 (KJV)

The world right now is being judged slightly because of flagrant living, loose living, and God’s people forsaking Him and His word.  When I say “God’s people” now I mean those who are Christians.  Those who proclaim they are followers of Christ yet are indulging in the sins of the flesh along with the other bar hopping, lascivious living, and yet announcing to the rest of the world, “I am a Chrisitan”.  If you can live like the world, enjoy its sinful ways, and never hunger for righteousness; you are no Christian.  At the least you are a deceived Christian.  At the worst you are yet in yours sins, and hell is your eternal resting place; unless you turn to Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Well, that does not sound much like comfort does it?  There is comfort for those who live for Jesus.

Just as the prophet was told to comfort God’s people of that day; I can comfort  those who are living for the glory of Jesus Christ today.  There is hope in Christ and living for Him.  There is comfort from the turmoil of this world and its economic distress, diseases, fears and failures.

If you are a Christian and you are miserable living in sins of the flesh, you have left your love for Jesus, His word, and have been disobeyed the leadership of  the Holy Spirit; you are miserable,  and the Lord Jesus is waiting for you to turn back to Him.  He loves you.  He died for you, and rose again from the dead.  Sin no longer controls your life.  Look to Jesus and be free.

The warfare is accomplished – Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death.  Your iniquity has been pardoned – Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross.  O, how marvelous is the grace of our God.  Jesus Christ lives forever more.

Jesus is the only true comfort.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God of Purer Eyes

Habakkuk 1:12-17

Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” v. 12 (KJV).

Habakkuk seems to begin to understand the immutable [unchanging] character of God. He even refers to Him as ‘mine Holy One. He realizes that God is definitely going to use these godless people, the Chaldeans to judge His own sinful people. The judgment of God, must begin at the house of God; “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:6 (KJV). NOTE: “and begin at my sanctuary”. In the New Testament Peter says something very similar, and may have had this verse in mind, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV).

The prophet realizes that God is not going to completely destroy Judah, but, he still has questions. Judah will be corrected, and made right with God through the process of cleansing of the fire.

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” v. 13 (KJV).

Habakkuk also begins to see that God is pure, and recognizes this in Him when he says, “Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil…”. This is a correct observation by the prophet. It seems, though, that the question is still lingering in his mind. How can God use this wicked people, when He is of purer eyes than to look on iniquity, to judge the people whom He has chosen?

Is the prophet wanting God to judge the sins of Judah? That is my question. If God is of purer eyes than to look on sins of people, surely it must begin with those who are His own. Another question I must ask is, ‘If God does not judge the sins of those who are His, how can He justly judge the sins of those who are wicked?’ In all fairness He cannot. Since the Holy One [using Habakkuk’s words for God] cannot look on sin, because He is of purer eyes, than to do so, He must judge His people’s sins. Especially, when they defiantly wear His name and practice the evil of their hearts.

Maybe Habakkuk is realizing that God is going to have His way in the hearts of His people, and in the hearts of the Chaldeans, as well. It is not God’s plan to wipeout His people, but to cleanse them. However, He will judge, later, those who mistreat His people, and He will do it with vengeance. Woe be to the man, or nation who mistreats the child of God, or the people of God.

For verses 14-17 the MacArthur Study Bible note says, “Lest God had forgotten just how wicked the Chaldeans were, Habakkuk drew attention to their evil character and behavior. Life was cheap to the Chaldeans. In the face of their ruthless tactics of war, other societies were ‘like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them.’ In light of their reputation (vv. 6-10), how could God have unleashed this ruthless force upon another helpless people?” (NKJV version pg.1319).

“And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?” vv. 14-17 KJV).

In looking at the context of verses 14-17 it seems that these, “…wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he” Habakkuk 1:13 (KJV) and, verse 15 would go together. The Babylonian/Chaldeans only see other people and nations as “fish to catch”, a prey to kill. Because they so overwhelm their prey they believe their gods are the ones to worship. This should cause us, I am sure it did the prophet Habakkuk, to realize they have brought shame to the name of GOD.

The prophet sees the people of God, though, defiled by sin, living in sin, and rebellious to God; as being the more righteous (v. 13). He sees the nations, including Judah, as being seen by them like ‘fish of the sea’, and all they [the Chaldeans] have to do is drop a hook or a net and pull them in.

Habakkuk has acknowledged in verse twelve that he realizes that the coming of the Chaldeans is the judgment of God upon an unholy people of Judah; who have forsaken the Lord their God, and worshipping empty vessels.

Sometimes it does seem that trouble just abounds, and comes to us like an enemy taking us like fish from the sea. Like the prophet, though, we can turn to our GOD and trust Him with the questions we may ask. When our faith is in Him, they are not questions of accusation, but, rather questions for faith learning and growing.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Originally published January 12, ’08

Habakkuk’s Questions

“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Habakkuk 1:1-4 (KJV)

When we think of a burden we think of a load. When you are driving a automobile it has more get up and go when only you, and nothing else, is in it. If you load it down – a truck or car; it just does not have the same performance.

Now, is that the type of “burden” the prophet is writing of. Some translations call this an “oracle”, but it seems to me that there is something more here than mere words. If it is the mere speaking of words, it is an utterance of doom. So why have a problem with “Burden”. To answer the question – it is similar. It was not a physical load. It caused him to ask questions. It eventually caused him to “see God” as righteous in His dealings, and always just in His judgments.

Habakkuk has been accused of accusing God of three different things –

  1. God is indifferent – like He does not even care;

  2. God is inactive – He sees the corruption, sickness and disease, immorality and debauchery, and does nothing about it;

  3. God is inconsistent – He seems to judge wickedness in some cases, but not in the ones the prophet sees.

Are these things so? Is that what Habakkuk really means? These certainly are not true. When we look at these verses it is quite clear that the prophet is speaking to God/YHWH, has these burdens and questions, and really just wants to know what is going on. He does not understand. Like so many of us today, in 2007, we do not understand why it seems that the wicked prosper, and the righteous suffer. The prophet was not really going to like God’s answer either.

The prophet’s first question – “O LORD, how long shall I cry and Thou will not hear?” NOTE: The KJV has these as exclamations. It seems more reasonable to see them as questions. Remember, punctuation was added by others. It is not the inspired text.

The Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible – “The main purpose of Habakkuk’s prophecy is to explain what a godly person’s attitude should be toward the presence of evil in the world. It also addresses God’s justice in punishing moral evil.” (pg. 907).

Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible also sees two complaints from the prophet –

In verses 1-11 of chapter one including the questions the prophet asks, and how God could use a wicked and vile people such as the Chaldeans to judge His people;

Chapter 1 verses 12 through chapter 2 verse 5 – wondering how God – since He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity can use these Chaldeans and why He does not judge these godless people.

The prophet’s second question – “…Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou will not save?” Of course, these seem to be related in dealing with the same complaint of the above mentioned reference.

A third question – “Why dost Thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?”

The prophet seems to see no justice or judgment on the sin of God’s people. It seems to the prophet that the wicked trample all over the righteous and nothing is done –

  1. There is no law – it is powerless;

  2. There is no righteous judgment;

  3. The wicked overpower the righteous;

  4. The wrong people suffer.

It just seems to me in reading and studying these words of the prophet that nothing has changed with God’s people. We still fall into sin. There are still some who are burdened about sin, and asking the same questions. Somehow, we in the United States of America think that judgment cannot come from an outside source. Remember 9-11-01?

God’s judgment is still not without precedence in any age; even our own.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Spurgeon – Go Again Seven Times

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

1 Kings 18:43
Go again seven times.

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

Let’s avail in prayer.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship