Leviticus 20 gives the Penalties for committing the Abominations listed in Leviticus 18. The primary sin from which the rest flows is the abomination of "whoring with Molech". This basically was the giving of their new born babies to be killed by burning over a fire on the hands of a metal Idol called Molech. This evil practice was done by people who wanted to get rid of their unwanted children in exchange for the idol to give them good crops. This practice was popular with promiscuous men who did not want the responsibility for the child or mother. God commanded the most severe penalty for such whoremonger. Not only was Molech outlawed any man spreading his seed in the land and giving it to Molech was to be put to death and if he was not then wrath would also be against his family and nation. In this sermon we see how allowing such men in the land will result in and lead to the other societal abominations as well. This chapter deals with the penalties for molestation, fornication, adultery, hatred of parents, homosexual acts, bestiality, and witchcraft. In this sermon we explain how each nation has a duty to keep the whorish men of Molech from destroying their land or the land will spew us out and God's wrath will be on our nation. Preached: April 29, 2018 Sunday Morning. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA.
God is long suffering and forgiving towards sinners, giving them many opportunities to repent and do right. However, God lets us know that there are certain immoral actions that cannot be allowed to continue openly in a just society. In Leviticus 18 God explains the baseline moral requirements for the nation to be allowed to remain in His Holy Land. In this sermon we show the moral sins God particularly hates. Including Abortion, Infanticide, Incest, Molestation, homosexual acts, Bestiality, and etc. The passage explains that if they are not put away from the people then God will visit the iniquity of these sins on us all and the land itself will "vomit" them and us out of it. We also deal with the Sodomite Agenda to deceive society in these matters. Attempting to make these things acceptable in our land. Preached: April 15, 2018 Sunday Morning. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA.
“The LORD was with Joseph”
Genesis 39:1-6, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, brought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down hither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”
Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Joseph had faith and loved God. Joseph was a “good man” and righteous in his heart and in his relationship with God. God allowed the evil actions of his brothers in order to test Joseph and to prepare him for the responsibility to rule Egypt. Therefore, the steps of the good (in the sight of God) man, in any generation, in any country, in either the Old or New Testament dispensation, are ordered by the LORD.
Psalm 17:3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” When Joseph was a slave, God tested Joseph to see if Joseph loved, and trusted in God, with his heart. Joseph, like Job, had integrity... Joseph was determined not to transgress God and His ways. Like Job, Joseph was upright, feared God, and hated evil. Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
One of the highest respected men in the Chinese church in China, Wang Ming-Tao says, “Those whom God uses, who can be used by God, must be of noble morality and conduct, and a good reputation among men. God is a holy and righteous God, He will only use those men who are also holy and righteous men.” 王明道說「神所要使用，能使用的，也是高尚的德行和好名聲的人。神是聖潔公義的神，他所要使用的人也是聖潔的人。」1 Free translation by the author.
If we are to walk with God then we must be in agreement with God and His ways. The ways of the world are not in agreement with God and we must be separate with the ways of the world. 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
The false gods, idols, and beliefs of the false religions of this world, have no place in the life of the individual who wants to walk with God. 2 Corinthians 6:16 & 17, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The world is an harsh environment for every saint. Like Joseph, we need to keep ourselves separate from the evil things of this world and walk with God.
Joseph is an example to the Christian who desires to serve the Lord in a harsh environment. Joseph felt that he was serving God whether in his father's house, among his deceitful brothers, in the hands of an Egyptian master and under the authority of the king of Egypt. The Lord Jesus said, Luke 19:17, “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”
Every Christian can examine the example of Joseph and Job and serve the Lord Jesus as a servant in any occupation and the Lord can be with you.
The LORD was with Joseph
Joseph had a good relationship with God. Every day, Joseph walked with God. Even in the times of his distress Joseph walked with God. Like Job, Joseph separated himself from the sinful habits and ways of this world and walked with God. Joseph is an good example to the Christian. If we want to have a good relationship with God, and have God with us, we need to hate evil and not transgress the ways of God.
As the LORD was with Joseph, the apostle Peter states, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Joseph was an example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God prospered Joseph and his work
Joseph walked with God. Because Joseph walked in the ways of the Lord, separated himself from the evil ways of this world, God blessed him, his work and his relationship with other people.
God wants to prosper the Christian. 3 John 2 and 3, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” Please notice, we need to walk in truth. We need to walk in truth in our talk, our character, and in the doctrines of the scriptures.
God is willing to help us spiritually, mentally, in our family life and in our work. God wants every Christian to be stable. Colossians 2: 6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Joseph was separated from the evil things in this world, walked with God, and was established in his conduct, and in the truth.
And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand
Joseph was completely trustworthy with the physical possessions of his master. Joseph did not steal, did not pilfer, did not miss-use, and did not cause any harm to the physical goods in the house of his master, or under this direct control. Joseph was faithful in all that was under his authority. Joseph is an excellent example for the saint who works for other people in any occupation. Every Christian in any endeavor of work; whether in a factory, a business, a store, an office, a government bureau, the military, and in other occupation, should be the most trustworthy individual the boss has.
Joseph was a goodly person and well favoured.
Remember Psalm 37:23? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” We need to learn how to be good in our conduct. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of his Egyptian master, Joseph had a strong testimony.
The character of Joseph was like the character of the Lord Jesus. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52
Lastly, Paul the apostle stated that the man who is the bishop, or elder, or pastor, of the church, should be of likewise character and conduct. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7
1Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 314. 王明道，王明道文庫，第二冊，小徑（臺灣台中：浸宣出版社，1996），314頁。
Every year my wife and I are in a Campmeeting in West Memphis, AR. She teaches the ladies and girls 2-3 mornings of that meeting. This is ONE of the lessons she has for this year. I know it's long but think it can be a blessing.
We’re Going to Do the Best We Can with What We’ve Got
I sat across the table from my mother, many ….MANY… years ago, as a young bride, and poured out my complaints about how difficult it was to fix up and decorate the tiny apartment where I had recently moved. She sat there, with her blue eyes sparkling in amusement, and took in every word. Finally, she started smiling….and the smile turned into laughter. I was insulted. I don’t like being laughed at when I whine, I want sympathy. (My mother was never very good in the sympathy department.) When I got past the peak of my indignation, she began to explain to me the reason for her amusement. “I was remembering a funny experience from my own life,” she said. “I was a young military bride; it was right after the end of WWII. We reached our new duty station, and I was so excited to be starting my new life with my new husband! But we had a huge problem. Housing was very hard to find. All the men coming back from the war and families relocating made housing around the military bases scarce. Finally, we took the only thing that was available. A man had renovated a poultry house and made it into apartments. The ceiling was so low, that your dad had to stoop over to walk around the room. The floors were concrete and the walls were so thin you could just about sneeze through them. But you know what? It is amazing how cute you can make a chicken coop with a little love and ingenuity.”
Her lesson rang loud and clear. You take what you have, and you do the best you can with it. Whining doesn’t change what we have. The only thing it does is add a sour note of impossibility to our circumstances that doesn’t necessarily have to be there. That was the beginning lesson…a lesson I have had to learn over and over again throughout my Christian life. It is amazing how many ways God has taught me this same lesson. It has stood me through every trial and hardship in my life and I feel like the Lord would have me share what I have learned with you.
This devotional is probably going to be more personal than any I’ve ever given. I don’t usually like to talk about myself, and I really struggled with this lesson because it is so personal. I never want anyone to get the idea that I am talking about myself to lift myself up in any way. But I learned a valuable lesson from Sister Tanya Blankenship. If you don’t know who she is, she is the wife of Steven Blankenship, who is a minister to juvenile delinquents. He preaches in juvenile prisons across the country and operates the Marvelous Grace Girls Academy for troubled teenage girls in Pace, Florida. Sis Tanya was referring to Alisha, and not myself with what she said, but the Lord really spoke to my heart through it. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was something to this effect: “God allows us to go through some things in our life, and gives us the strength for the battle, and the grace to forgive, to grow and to be stronger. But those lessons are only of real benefit when we use them to help others who are needing growth, help and healing.” God allows us to go through some things, sometimes, so that others may learn.
2Co 1:3-4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
I’m going to be sharing a lot of small stories from my life, not so that you might look at me – but at the God that I serve. Everything that the Lord has seen me through, He can also see you through, and much more. There is no way that I could cover it all. I probably could double the stories I will tell here, but I think these are the ones God would have me use.
The little lesson that my mother taught me finally became a theme in my life, and my children, and a lot of my students over the years, have heard it so many times that they could quote it to you in their sleep. I summed it up this way: “We are going to do the best we can, with what we’ve got.”
The dear lady from our church meant well. She really did. She insisted that she go with me to see the remains of my home. She told me that even though I told her I was fine, it would all hit me when I saw it, and I would need her emotional support. I thought maybe she might be right. I was a new bride. All my wedding gifts and the sweet, newly purchased things for our home were gone. We’d only been married 5 months when the explosion of a gas tanker next to our house took it all. I walked toward the burned-out rubble, and I honestly, for a moment, felt guilty that I was disappointing the dear, helpful lady, but I wasn’t devastated. I wasn’t particularly happy to see the blackened mess with the 3 huge holes burned all the way through the exterior wall – but God’s peace had flooded my heart, and I walked up to it without a tear, and began to search through the ashes for anything that might still be usable….
How do you react when God takes something away? Now some people might tell you, oh, honey, God never takes things away. Ohhhh…yes’m He does! Sometimes He takes things away because they are a hindrance in your life. Sometimes He takes them away because He intends to give you something better. Sometimes He takes them away because you need to grow in faith and grace. But He does, sometimes, take things away that we have pretty much set our hearts upon. What do you do? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You take the situation in hand, for what it is with all the good and bad that it contains, and you deal with it. Do you get mad at God, because you had your little basket all fixed up the way you wanted it, and He messed it up?
1Co 6:19-20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Rom 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When the Lord Jesus Christ saved our unworthy souls, He purchased us unto Himself. Lock, stock and barrel. We belong to Him. He has the right to do with us as He pleases. Now, our modern, independent American mindset doesn’t like that idea very much. We might repeat it like a parrot in rhetoric, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, we don’t like the idea of turning our whole lives over to God. We seem to get the idea that He’s going to mistreat us. He won’t. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He only plans for your good. You can trust Him. You can trust Him with your possessions, with your future, with your marriage, with your children, with your church, with your finances. You can trust Him. Never, ever will you be more fulfilled and content than when you turn yourself over, completely, to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Notice in the Scripture that this is something that we must do..it is not something that God will make us do. The sacrifice here is like all sacrifices - willingly offered. He said, “I beseech you” (I’m asking you, earnestly, almost begging you, because this is for your good – for the best that God has to offer you.) “present yourselves” (you give the sacrifice, willingly, without being compelled. It is a conscious choice that you make to give yourself over to God with all that you have and all that you are.)
2Sa_22:31 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
Psa_9:10 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
When you give yourself to God, the peace that floods your soul in times of troubles and heartaches is not describable to anyone. It is a special touch that comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I have tried, many times, to describe it this way: “There is a place in the lowest of valleys, where the hand of God is more real, and the touch of God more sweet than at any other time and place…but you must walk through the valley to feel that touch – it doesn’t come on the mountain top.” We can choose to walk through the valley, kicking and struggling the whole way – fighting against the path that God has chosen for our lives. Or we can bow our heads, reach for His hand and allow the comfort that He gives to flood our souls. The choice is ours, and it is a choice between struggle and surrender. You will still go through the heartaches and troubles. But it is your choice as to whether you go through them with the peace of God or without it.
As I headed down the road, in my old clunker car, it decided, once again, that it was tired and needed a rest. I managed to get it to the side of the road. I sighed as I looked at my children. All 5 of them. My oldest daughter – then about 9 years old – looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Mama, what are we going to do?” My response was immediately, “We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.” She looked confused for a moment and said, “Mama, what have we got?” I said, “Feet. Let’s walk.”
How do you treat life’s irritating moments? Do you blow up in anger at things that can’t be avoided? Or worse yet, do you take those things, those little irritations, out on your husband and children, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have such a tendency to be creatures of the moment, don’t we? We make snap judgments. We let our tempers flare and our bad attitudes show. Even the smallest of life’s irritations have the possibility of teaching our children, and those around us the grace of God. Or the opposite, if we allow our flesh to control us.
Php 2:14-15 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
If I had fumed and fussed and cried and belly-ached at that car, it still wouldn’t have gone down the road. I would have still been in the same situation, except that now I would have displayed a lack of trust in the Lord and a poor testimony in front of my children. They, more than likely, would have started crying as well, and then I would have reaped the due reward of inflicting my bad attitude on them, as they returned in kind. If we would learn to take life’s small irritations as an opportunity to shine as lights in the world, how different would our attitude be toward those unexpected moments? Let’s strive to learn to laugh, and say, “Well, praise the Lord! What’s the best way to handle this one?”
Gal 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
It’s so easy, isn’t it, to let the flesh control our response to the situations that arise in our lives? If instead we will do the best we can with what we’ve got, it will mean using every situation as an opportunity to be a good testimony for the Lord. Sometimes that means controlling our anger when it wants to flare. Sometimes that means consciously putting down our fears. Sometimes it means shutting our mouths when we want so badly to put in our two cents worth. (Hang on to your two cents, sometimes we can’t afford what it purchases.)
How do we walk in the Spirit? #1 It is IMPOSSIBLE to walk in the Spirit if you do not have a regular time of personal devotion. Pray. Read and study your Bible. Meditate on and memorize the Word of God. There is no getting around the truth that if you do not walk close to God in your personal life, your public life will be a mess. #2 Pay attention in church. So many people sit in church and have no idea what the preaching was about, because their minds are a million miles away. Go to church with a bucket instead of a pitchfork. My pastor of many years used to say that some people come to church with a bucket and some come with a pitchfork. Those with a bucket are hungry for the word of God and want what God has for them in the service. Those with a pitchfork are grabbing the preaching and pitching it over their shoulder because they figure that it’s not for them, it’s for the guy sitting behind them. #3 Use every opportunity that you have in your life to be a witness for the Lord. Lost people are all around us. Our testimony – at all times – is vitally important. Saved people need to grow in grace and knowledge. When you have that knowledge, it is given to you to share, not to sit on. When we walk in the flesh, even in the minor situations of our life, we are not walking in the Spirit. And when we walk in the flesh, we have no idea how much damage we might do.
We walked into the little country church, happy for the opportunity to minister, and heard, to our delight, that they planned a dinner on the grounds for the anniversary Sunday where my husband had been invited to preach. We had been struggling financially for quite a while, and the prospect of a church dinner sounded wonderful after months of beans and cornbread. As the guest preacher’s family, we were ushered to the head of the line. My little daughter looked up at me with a happy smile as she surveyed the table in front of her, and said, “Look, Mama! Meat!!”
What do you do in life’s embarrassing moments? Do you lash out at the one who embarrassed you? Do you get angry and let your temper, and your tongue take over? Or do you do the best you can with what you’ve got?
Nothing riles up our tempers faster than being embarrassed, does it? That’s pride. Pride makes fools out of us very quickly. Not only that, God hates pride. It is never the best way to handle a situation to bow up in pride.
Pro_13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Let your pride flare, and you will almost always find yourself in an argument of some sort. And you will almost always be in the wrong.
Pro_29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Let your pride flare and you will almost always find yourself landing flat of your back, wondering how you got there.
Pro_16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
An abomination! A promise of punishment! We should be frightened of pride! If you ever want to look like a complete fool, let your heart swell up with pride. What are we really? Nothing but what the Lord has done. If we have any abilities, if we have any worth – it is because of what the Lord has given and what He has blessed us to be able to do. Give all the glory and praise to God for who He is, and what He has done in your life. Then when those embarrassing moments catch us off guard, we won’t be so quick to respond in pride. When someone ridicules you, or accuses you falsely – that hurts, doesn’t it? When someone seriously tries to do you harm for their own gain, it’s sometimes devastating. When you try to minister to people and they turn on you, not at all understanding that you are striving for their good to the best of your ability – how do we respond? Pride has no place in those situations, but a lot of times, that is our reaction. I could give you story after story of those situations in my life….but, why be depressing?! What do we do when it happens? It will! People will be people, and as people we don’t always act right, do we? Yet, we expect other people to always treat US with love and kindness, because after all – we are…us! That’s pride. During a particularly trying situation in my life, where I felt like I was always coming out at the bottom, looking like a stray dog, God gave me this quote by C.H. Spurgeon. When I first saw it, it was like a pressure valve suddenly released, I laughed and laughed. Then I wrote it in the front of my Bible. I refer to it often.
“If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” That kind of kicks pride in the head, doesn’t it? Doing the best you can with what you have means leaving pride behind and approaching each embarrassing or demeaning situation with the idea that God always treats us better than we deserve.
Psa 118:6 - The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
I stood at the side of the little steel crib, looking at my beautiful blonde-haired baby boy, only 5 months old, gasping for every breath under the oxygen tent, the heart monitor going crazy every time they tried to give him medication for his breathing. The love, and peace of God flooded every part of my being. I felt so blessed. I had so much more than the poor little mom on the other side of the room. My Lord to comfort and guide, and the constant love and support of my husband. That poor lady didn’t understand. She approached me and asked, “How long have you been married?” 10 years, I replied. “That’s crazy, she said, you and your husband seem like newlyweds.” “We really need each other right now,” I said. “Yeah, I could use some support, too.” Was her reply. Her husband was very seldom in the room. When he was, they fought constantly. They blamed each other for everything they could think of, and it usually ended with him storming out of the room to “get a cigarette,” from which he didn’t come back.
How do you react when life doesn’t go your way? Do you lash out at those that are closest to you, and look for someone or something to blame? Or do you turn to the One who can give peace and comfort? Doing the best you can with what you’ve got sometimes means approaching the hardest times of life with the best attitude that you can muster. Sometimes life really hurts. Sometimes the hurt is nearly unbearable. Resorting to blaming others when you are hurting is not doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The blame game won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Turn instead to the Lord and allow Him to pour the balm of Gilead into your soul. You will find that you really can do the BEST you can with what you’ve got.
Col_3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Again, ladies, the peace of God is your choice. You make the decision as to whether you will let God minister to your soul, or whether you will arm yourself with the flesh – and your mouth – and try to go it alone. Someone always gets hurt when we do that. I have seen families split up and spend the rest of their lives hating each other because of something that was said or done during a crisis in their lives. Why? No one accepted God’s peace, and instead they lashed out at one another in their hurt or sorrow, not considering the hurt and sorrow of the ones around them. I have stood beside those little steel cribs in hospital rooms more times than I can count. I have nearly lost all 5 of my children at various times of their lives. My Daniel more than a few times. The love and peace of God has been my sustaining power. I don’t know how other people go through such things without God to grant them peace. I wouldn’t even want to try.
Luk_6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
We recognize this as what the world calls, “the golden rule.” Much quoted, almost never practiced. But if we would! If we would consider before we speak or act, “Is this the way I would want them to treat me, if I were them, and they were me?” Then we would begin to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And everyone’s life, our own especially, would be better for it. Because, ladies, although you cannot control how other people act, if you will control how you REact to their behavior, you will find that you will have a lot more peace in every situation.
There just wasn’t enough money. We weren’t going to make it. It was fine when we had purchased our little dream. We had a beautiful place out in the country with our very own mobile home….well, at least we were paying for it. Lots of space for the kids to run, not too many neighbors, a place for a garden. We had plans to build a deck….Then the kids started to get sick. Really sick. The list of specialists kept growing. Hospitalization after hospitalization after E.R. visit after E.R. visit. It was okay, we were holding our heads above water, until my husband was layed off from his job. Oh, he found work right away, but the insurance was gone. The new insurance company refused to cover the kids. Pre-existing conditions. (We had no idea, back then, that such a thing as Medicaid even existed.) The medical bills mounted up..and up…and up. We finally conceded defeat. We turned our little dream back over to the mortgage company and packed up what we could in our car. We lived in a garage apartment attached to my mother’s home for 6 months…until our 5th little one was born.
What happens when your dream crumbles? What do you do when finances are hard…not a little bit hard, but really hard?
There are more divorces because of financial difficulty than any other reason. Families split up. Attitudes flare up. The blame game begins. “If he would work harder.” “If she would slow down on all the spending.” “If he wouldn’t buy unnecessary junk.” “If she would get out and get a job.”
Marriage is a team effort, ladies. It takes a lot of work on both parts to make the everyday, in and out, of a marriage work. You can’t work against one another and expect your marriage to last. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Now, I’m not saying that when a marriage is bad, that it is automatically the woman’s fault. No, not at all. But I am saying that no amount of nagging on your part is going to change your husband. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. I don’t envy you that task if your husband is lost, but there is a biblical method for you to follow. Not an easy road, by any means, but it is the road that God says you are to follow in the hopes that your husband will be saved. (Remember that he has a free will – you can’t force him to turn to the Lord any more than anyone could have forced you to be saved.) That plan is mapped out in 1 Peter 3:1-5 There’s a lot in that verse. If we were to stop and cover it, it would take a whole lesson to give it the time it deserves. But if you have questions about it, I’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it together.
For those of us whose husband is saved, we have the open opportunity for the most blessed relationship in the world. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church! What are we doing with the opportunity? Are we doing the best we can with what we’ve got? Do we seek to make our marriage a testimony to the world of the grace and power of God? Or do we deal with our marriage selfishly, as though the sole purpose that our husband has on earth is to meet our needs and satisfy our whims? Do we whine, coax, threaten or manipulate when things don’t go our way? Do we consider our marriage a team unit? Or an opportunity to be queen supreme?
1Pe_3:8 - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
This passage of Scripture is referring to the marriage relationship…look it up and check the context. There’s a lot to work on in our lives just following this one simple verse in our marriage relationships. Have compassion on your husband. Love your husband, not just as a marriage partner, but as a brother in Christ. Be pitiful to your husband (understand his shortcomings, don’t blame, seek to be there when he needs you – when he’s weak, lift him up, don’t tear him down.) Be courteous (He’s not an old shoe. He’s to be reverenced and honored by you more than any man on earth.)
No amount of dreaming and wishing on your part is going to fix your finances when they’re hard. No amount of pride and temper is going to fix rebellion in your children or pressure from extended family. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your marriage is understanding that you are a family unit, a team - not adversaries. Work together at making it work. Put God first. Always first. If God is first in your marriage then no matter how hard the rest of life becomes, you will make it.
Pro_14:1 - Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
First, she had COPD. We sat and talked it over. It was incurable, but possible to live with. Then they found the cancer. What had been a shadow on the first scan showed up the size of a walnut on the second, the size of an orange on the third – within a year. When they could get her stabilized, they would consider surgery. They never got her stabilized. 6 months after they found the cancer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She gave up. 3 days after that diagnosis she died. My mother was as dear to me, her only daughter, as a mother can be to a child. She’s been gone now for 13 years, and I still miss her every day. You will ask me, was she saved? My answer will be – I don’t know. All I can do is hope so. I witnessed to her, left her tracts to read, I prayed and prayed. I know that she had, some “experience” in the hospital just before her death, that she tried to explain to me, but didn’t know the terminology to describe.
What happens when grief knocks at your door? I grieved for my mom. I remember going to the doctor, just a couple of days after the funeral. I walked down the hospital halls, where I had almost lived in the months prior to her death. All the memories were already flooding over my very unstable emotions. And then my doctor – who was also her doctor – greeted me with, “I’m so sorry about your mom.” I broke down and cried, right in the doctor’s office. And then I was angry with myself for crying and cried because I was crying. He sat there sympathetically and wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant. On the way home, I kept staring at the prescription and praying. “Lord, am I depressed?” “Do I need that?” “Is this even right for me to take?” I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription and then I stared at the bottle. “Isn’t grief a part of life?” “Didn’t you promise that if I turn my grief over to you, you would be my comfort?” The determination struck my heart to give it to God, and the peace of God began to creep into my soul. The pills went down the drain, and I began to heal…little by little, the way real healing happens. That lesson was well learned. It has taken me through many, many periods of grief that have followed.
Joh_14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Php_4:7 - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace of God will keep your heart. It will keep your mind. But there is a condition to that peace. It is in the verses before
Php 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
To do the best you can when life hands you grief, first you must rejoice in the Lord – alway. Not when you feel like it or when things are going good, but alway. To do that we have to stop and consider the Lord in every situation of our lives. He’s good all the time, even when our circumstances are bad. Then we must let our moderation be outwardly seen by everyone around us. What is moderation? It is not running to excess in anything. It is having control over our tempers, our emotions, our desires and our passions – in other words, not being controlled by the flesh. Then, lastly, we need to pray about everything. Not just the big things, but the little things as well. When we do these things we have the promise that follows – that God will keep our hearts and minds. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in the matter of grief, means that instead of being ruled by the grief, we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts.
One month after my mother died, my husband headed out from where we had taken shelter at the church, with 2 of the boys, to see what kind of damage there might have been. When he returned I turned a questioning look his way, really expecting an “all is well.” It had always been well in the previous hurricanes. He shook his head. “We’ve been here before. I think this left more useable stuff than the fire, though.”
Weeks later, still without power, tired from the work of tossing out destroyed furniture and carpeting and scraping sodden sheet-rock out of the shell of our home, our family sat on the steps in the evening, ate another MRE and sang together, rejoicing in the goodness of God. Why? We were safe. We were together. We had our love, our family, our God.
I remember laying in the bed that the red cross had purchased for us, (We had forsaken the crowded, damp little fema camper and moved back into our roof-less house, it was more comfortable.) I watched the blue tarp over my head pop up and down in the wind and felt such an incredible sense of peace and well-being. Then I laughed at myself for feeling so comfortable..
A member of the church came by during the next tropical storm. We greeted him at the door with a smile, chided him a little for running around in storms, and invited him in. He sat in the livingroom with us and watched the tarp blow up and down and looked around at the bare plywood floor and the wall studs and rafters that made up what was left of our home, and said, “This is nice, do you always decorate in 3rd world?”
My husband owned an electrical business. He worked from before sun-up to after sun-down five days a week, after the storm, trying to rebuild electrical services for people. While he worked, he listened. “I’m so devastated!” “I just can’t understand why this has happened to me!” “I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it through this!” “This is horrible!” He would always ask them, “Is your family ok?” “Oh, yes, they’re fine, but we lost….” And they would go into a list of cars, boats, house, furniture, etc.” One lady became infuriated with him because he wasn’t sympathetic enough to suit her and snarled, “Well, easy enough for you to have no worries, when you haven’t lost everything!” … and he smiled, and spent his Saturdays trying to rebuild our own home … What made the difference? We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.
What do you do when you lose your material possessions? Understand that we had worked for and loved and purchased that little home with all the intention in the world of staying in it for the rest of our lives. (We had actually built the deck on this one!) We were content. We had our home, our church, our ministry, our business venture. Everything was fine. We didn’t necessarily need for God to come in and upset our apple-cart! Within a year’s time, the only thing we had left of that list was the shell of our destroyed home and the business. We could have gotten angry with him. And what good would that have done? I have never understood why people get angry with God when things happen in their lives. “Why me?” “Why is God doing this to me?” And then they walk away from the Lord, like they expected life to be a bed of roses because they honored God with the privilege of saving their souls. Like God owes them something. My question is, “Why not you?” What makes you so special that you should be exempt from hard times?
Joh_16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
He didn’t say, in the world you will have it easy-peasy and life will be just great. He said you will have tribulation. That’s when you look to Him for comfort and guidance, it’s not when you decide to blame him and throw a temper tantrum like an undisciplined child. How are we supposed to respond to the troubles in our lives? How do we do the best we can, when what we’ve got is tribulation?
Rom 5:3-5 - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Realize 3 things about tribulation. #1 – it’s working in your life to make you a stronger Christian. #2 – It’s building patience and experience so that you might be a help, encouragement and an example to others, #3 – it’s an opportunity to see God work, bless and give you the peace that only He can give. Tribulation is not a curse. It’s a blessed working of God in your life that will make you stronger, give you assurance of the love of God, and make you able to be a blessing to others around you.
Daddy was alone. Mama had been his caretaker, ever since he had the stroke, 17 years before. She was gone now, and I spent my time divided between caring for him and my own home. Oh, he had my brother – but my brother was an addict, and very unreliable. Now I had a huge difficulty. God had called my husband away…1,500 miles away to be exact. I was ready, willing, and eager to go…but what about Daddy? I sat beside him, and begged him to come with me. “NO! Kansas is cold.” He would not be convinced. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m willing to go, and I will go, as you have called. Please, Lord, take care of my Daddy.” And God answered my prayer in the person of a family friend who willingly took him in. That answer to prayer opened the door to my daddy’s salvation at 82 years of age.
What do you do when duties conflict? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. I had a responsibility to my daddy. The command to honor our parents doesn’t end when we are grown. But my greater responsibility lay in obeying the call of God that had been placed on my husband’s heart. As I obeyed the Lord, He took care of the rest.
Sometimes doing the best you can with what you’ve got means making hard, really hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions will tear your heart out. But choosing to follow and honor God with your life is always the right decision. The Word of God has to be our constant guide. DO NOT follow your heart. That’s the worst advice you can ever give a person. Your heart will deceive you. It will convince you that wrong is right and right is wrong.
Jer_17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Pro_28:26 - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
We can’t trust that heart. What do we trust instead? When life gives you difficult, heart wrenching decisions, what do you do with it? Trust the Word of God. If you trust your emotions, you will almost always fall prey to the devil. He loves it when we become hyper-emotional. We’ve played right into his hands when we do. Let the word of God be your guide, always, and you will find that it’s much easier to do the best you can with what you’ve got, when life’s decisions are hard to make.
As I said, there’s more…..but this is enough. Ladies, do the best you can….by the power of God, by the grace of God with the help of God, the peace of God and the word of God, do the best you can with what you’ve got.
Analyzing the Chinese word Righteousness
The Chinese written language is very unique. The Chinese words are called, “Characters,” and use a visual, or pictograph, series of lines, called, “strokes,” that represent a word, or a thought, or an action.
In written Chinese, we have an example of the righteousness of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, in the word, “righteousness.” In Chinese, the word righteousness is written as, 「義」 The Chinese word righteousness is composed of two major words; the word Lamb「羊」 on the top and the word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」on the bottom. The word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」is composed of two words: the hand 「手」 and a spear「戈」
Righteousness is very important. God is holy and will not allow sin into heaven. A person needs to be reconciled to God, or to become righteous, in the sight of God, in order to escape the punishment of hell and enter into everlasting life in heaven. Before a person is a Christian in the sight of God he is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Therefore, in order for a person to have eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God, he must be righteous. He must have his sins forgiven.
We will analyze the Chinese word for righteousness and look at an example of how we can become righteous by God’s principles. In order to understand righteousness in the sight of God, we must turn to the word of God; the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and we can trust it.
First 「羊」 A Lamb
A sinless sacrifice must be made to forgive sins. And, it must be according to what God says. The Bible says that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of mankind. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” The animal sacrifices of the world cannot take away a persons sins. This includes the Muslims in the Middle East, and the sacrifices of the Buddhist, Confucianists and Taoists of the East. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial lambs that God required by the Jews under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament did not take away sins; they were an object lesson of the sacrificial sacrifice for sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. They were a guide, or a teacher, for the sacrifice of Christ. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
The Lord Jesus was sinless and perfect. In contrasting the sacrifices of the Jews under the Levitical law, the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our priest and sacrifice for sins, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens. Who needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for his he did once, when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:22, 26 & 27
The Lord Jesus was sinless and totally righteous. A Chinese proverb says,「義刑於色」Translated, that means, “Righteousness manifested in one's appearance.”
Wang Ming-Tao says, “Yes, our Lord is completely holy. You can not find anything that He did without any blemish or unrighteousness. When He was on the earth no matter if it was a disciple, or if it was an enemy, including anybody else that had anything to do with Him, they all gave a clear testimony that He did not have even a little bit of sin or unrighteousness. 王明道：「是、我們的主就是那樣完全聖潔。你不能在他的身上找出一點污穢不義來。他在世上行走的時候、無論是他的門徒、他的仇敵、以及與他毫無關係的人、都證明他沒有少許的罪惡不義。」i A free translation by the author.
The Lord Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed for us. John the Baptist said, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus died on the cross, like a harmless lamb, and shed His blood as a sacrifice.
As with the Jews in the Old Testament the eternal salvation of the soul is by the imputation of righteousness the moment a person, by faith, trusts in God. When a person realizes that he has sinned against God, and deserves to spend eternity in hell, and believes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his payment for sins, than God imputes, or gives, His righteousness to that individual. “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3
Second 「我」 Me, 「我們」or Us
Why did Jesus become a sacrifice? In order to redeem us. So we can obtain eternal salvation. To reconcile us to God. Before a person is saved he is a sinner and His relationship with God is severed . The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled with God. The Lord Jesus was sinless. He became sin for us while on the cross in order for us to become righteous.2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Third 「手」The Hand
God made us. He made our hands. We can use our hands for good or for evil. God gave us the ability, the will, to either serve Him or the Devil. The decision is ours. Matthew 27:1&2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontus Pilate the governor.”
Because of our sins, the hand of man apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ. The hand of man hit Jesus. The hand of man took a whip and whipped Jesus. The hand of man took a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and nailed Jesus on the cross. The hand of man caused the blood of Jesus to be shed. The Lord Jesus allowed men to crucify Him so His blood could be shed for our sins.
The apostle Peter testified, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23 We can either use our hands for good or for wickedness.
Fourth「戈」 A Spear
The hand of man took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus and more blood flowed from the body of Jesus. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Jesus died for us! The Lord Jesus became a sacrificial lamb to die for the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary.
John 3:16 says, “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.” We need to have a repentant heart and believe on the Lord Jesus as our Saviour!
The Lord Jesus was righteous in every aspect. When a person repents and trust in Jesus as their Saviour then God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to that person. The Lord Jesus becomes our righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of our sins, escape the punishment of hell, and obtain eternal life in heaven. The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven, became a man, to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb, to shed His blood, so we could be saved and the righteousness of God imputed to us. So we can be reconciled with God.
i Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 93. 王明道，王明道文庫，第二冊，小徑（臺灣斗六：浸宣出版社，1996），93頁。
Genesis 37:15-36, “The Work of the Flesh and the Spirit in the Life of Joseph and his Brethren.”
In the life of the brothers of Joseph we can see the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
In the life of Joseph we can see the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 and 23
We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to walk in the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 As we notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of Joseph, we can notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the Lord Jesus.
We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to consider, and follow, the examples, akin to the precepts given in the Old Testament, of the men like Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, David and the other men and women in the Old Testament as they walked in Spirit. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”1 Corinthians 10:11 The precepts, and examples, of the Old Testament saints were written for the admonition of the saints in the church in the New Testament. As we develop the story of Joseph, and see the fruits of the Spirit in his life, we will notice the attitude, the character, the will, the heart, of Joseph is of a good nature. Our walk with the Lord will develop our attitude, our character; our very being.
The Willingness of Joseph
Genesis 37:13, “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” we can see the good attitude of Joseph, “Here am I.” Joseph was willing to do all that his father Jacob told him to do. This was the attitude of the Lord Jesus. John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” This is also a good attitude, or characteristic, for every Christian.
God, in either Testament, wants us to be saved, and serve Him, with a willing heart. Leviticus 1:3, “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” The Apostle Paul stated, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12The concept, the belief, the doctrine that man does not have a free will, or the concept, the belief, the doctrine, of irresistible grace,is foreign to the word of God and repugnant.
Even though his father, and his brothers, did not understand the two dreams, Joseph was not discouraged nor did he have a bitter attitude. Joseph determined to love God, to do the will of God, and have a cheerful attitude. Joseph did not let the world, the pressure of the world, and the attitude of the world, hurt his relationship with God.
Joseph did his Father’s will
Genesis 37:15-17, “And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed the flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren and found them in Dothan.” Joseph did his fathers will and was going to help his brothers. Even though his brothers hated him, Joseph did not hate his brothers but wanted to help them in feeding the flock.
As Joseph wandered about trying to find the brethren he did not get discouraged. Joseph continued to seek out his brethren after an initial failure. This willingness, spirit, this attitude, this characteristic, is seen in the life of Christ.“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51We need to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus despite the hard road in this life. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” mark 8:34 As the Lord Jesus had steadfastness in His life, so should we have steadfastness in our life.
The brothers conspire against Joseph
Genesis 37;18, “And when they say him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” Joseph did nothing wrong or evil. The brothers hated Joseph for no good reason. The brothers are conspiring to reward evil for good. Proverbs 17:13, “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” Is not rewarding evil for good one of the works of the flesh? “… and such like.” Galatians 5:21
The rewarding evil for good is what the Jews did to the Lord Jesus. The Jews did not like Jesus, did not believe in Jesus, and rejected His doctrines. But, in spite of the evil of other people, the Lord Jesus did good works; He did not do any evil. Matthew 27:22-24, “Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified, When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
Joseph is sold to the Ishmeelites
Genesis 37:28, “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” The greed in the hearts of the brothers of Joseph led them to sell Joseph for sold for twenty pieces of silver. 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The number of saints, and ministers, who have walked in the flesh, and loved mammon more than the Lord Jesus, will only be known until the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Lord Jesus was also sold out to the enemy by one of His brethren: Judas Iscariot betrayed, and sold Him, for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” The history of the church is filled with saints, and ministers, who walked in the flesh and sold out the Lord, His doctrines, His walk, His precepts, and His church, for the coins of this life.
The brothers of Joseph deceive their father
Genesis 37:28, “And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their Father; and said, This have we found: know not whether it be thy son's coat or no.” One sin leads to another. First, the brothers hated Joseph for bringing their evil report to their father, then they envied Joseph, and then hated Joseph even more for his two dreams, then they wanted to kill him, then they sold Joseph, and now they deceive their father. Sin is now the master of the brothers. Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; (whether of sin unto death,) or of obedience unto righteousness?)
Joseph in Egypt
Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar. It was Potiphar’s responsibility to protect the king of Egypt.
In the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a man. Philippians 2:5-8, “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.”
We need to have the attitude of Joseph. Joseph was very humble and willing to do the will of Israel, his father. Joseph said, “Here am I.” The Lord Jesus had a willing heart to do the will of God. Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
Genesis 37:5-11, “Joseph and his Jewish Dreams”
Joseph had faith and loved the Lord God. In the Old Testament, before the Bible was written, God spoke to men in dreams. God had given Joseph dreams. As we read the story of Joseph, we can see that Joseph was like the Lord Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ. Joseph walked with God and had the characteristics of the Lord Jesus.
Also, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. God gave the examples of the Old Testament men and women for us. 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The wise Christian will look at the examples of the saints of the Old Testament and use these examples to learn how to walk in the Spirit (not in the Flesh), and please the Lord Jesus. Romans 15;4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The stories of the Old Testament saints can give the Christian hope and comfort our hearts.
Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit and had the fruits of the Spirit.Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Joseph and his brothers
Genesis 37:1-4, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.”
Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers for two reasons:
Joseph told his father, Jacob, or Israel, the evil things that his brothers did. Amos 5;10, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.”
Most people do not like it when you rebuke them. When the pastor rebukes a sin, and people do not want to repent, then some people get mad, criticize the pastor, the church. A wise person will repent when you rebuke him. Like Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, it is the responsibility of the man of God to rebuke people’s sins. 2 Timothy 4:1 and 2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” A faithful pastor will rebuke the sins of the people. A false pastor will not rebuke the sins of the people.
Proverbs 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A faithful pastor will find good results but a false pastor will flatter people.
Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” A wise Christian will hear the rebuke of the faithful pastor. A scorner will not listen to the rebuke of the pastor.
Jacob, or Israel, his father loved him more than the other 11 brothers because Joseph was the son of his old age.
The eleven brothers of Joseph were all walking in the flesh and had the fruits of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Dream of the Sheaves that did Obeisance
Genesis 37:5-8, “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.”
Both dreams came from God and God will fulfill both dreams in the life of Joseph and in the life of Christ. In the first dream, the brothers were binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers stood up and did obeisance. The brothers hated this dream and the interpretation. The brothers of Joseph rejected the words of Joseph.
The brothers did not like the dreams that God gave Joseph. They did not want Joseph to reign over them. The brothers did not want to make obeisance to Joseph. Therefore, the brothers hated the words of Joseph and questioned the dreams of Joseph. When a person does not agree with the pastor who faithfully preaches the scriptures, they will question the scriptures and the pastor.
Joseph’s brothers are like the nation of Israel. When the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among the nation of Israel, His brethren, the Jews rejected Him. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”And, in the church Age, most of the Jews hate Jesus and his words.
When the Lord Jesus came the first time, the Jews also did not want Jesus to be their king. John 19:14 & 15, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”
This dream was fulfilled in the life of Joseph. Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.”
And, this dream will be also fulfilled in the life of Christ when the 12 tribes of Israel recognize the Lord Jesus as Saviour and serve the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. tells us that 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel become the servants of the Lord Jesus in the 7 Year Tribulation Period.
Joseph is like the Christian who walks in the Spirit. The Christian who walks in the spirit will be persecuted, talked against, scorned, maligned, and despised by those who walk in the flesh. & Galatians 4:28 & 29, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
The Dream of the Sun and the Moon
Genesis 37: 9 & 10, “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?”
This dream is almost the same; but slightly different. In the first dream, only the other brothers did obeisance and in the second dream the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars made obeisance. The sun represents Jacob, the Moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars represent the eleven brothers. Rachel is already dead (Genesis 35:16-20). As with Job, and the other saints in the Old Testament, Jacob believed that one day that God would raise the saints from the dead.
So, this represents all of the children of Israel, Jacob, and Rachel. This dream was fulfilled in Joseph's lifetime, among his own family (minus Rachel). The second time the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt they bowed before him the second time and said that their father (Jacob), was his servant. Genesis 43:28, “And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.”
The second dream, along with the first dream, represents the whole nation of Israel bowing down to the Lord Jesus. Genesis 37:9 & 10 is the interpretation of . Revelation 12:1-17. Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”
The fulfillment of the second dream is when the nation of Israel gets saved and bows down to the Lord Jesus. Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
Jacob observed Joseph’s sayings
Genesis 37:11, “And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Jacob did not question the dreams of Joseph. Jacob did not fully understand them; but, he did not question them. Jacob observed them.
Joseph’s brothers did not care for the words of Joseph. The brothers walked in the flesh. Envy is a one of the fruits of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21The father, Jacob, loved the Lord. So, he observed these sayings. We need to observe the saying’s in the scriptures. Psalm 107:43, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
A wise Christian will walk in the Spirit and will observe the life of Joseph.
It's in the Bible!
by Ronald W Robey
Whenever I mention the fact that I don't tithe, someone is sure to reply, "It's in the Bible!"
And truthfully, tithing is indeed commanded in the Bible. I do not dispute that fact at all.
However, we cannot focus on the fact that the command to tithe is in the Bible and ignore the commanded ELEMENTS of the tithe; the commanded GIVERS of the tithe; the commanded LOCATION of the tithe; the commanded RECIPIENTS of the tithe; the commanded YEAR of the tithe.
A diligent study of the Bible will reveal to the reader many precious and wonderful truths that are ignored in so many mainstream religious institutions around the world today.
There is no instruction in the entire Bible where God said that one's monetary income is to be tithed to either Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue or Church. Even in the last place in the Bible where tithing is mentioned, (Hebrews 7:5-9) the author says that the tithes still belongs to the sons of Levi, and that the tithes are still "according to the Law.
Since the author of Hebrews reveals that tithes are still "according to the Law, it is needful to go to the Books of the Law in order to learn what they say concerning God's holy tithe. The Law states that God's holy tithe is
a) agricultural (Lev. 27:30-33
b) only required of the children of Israel (Lev. 27:34; Psa. 147:19-20)
c) only to be observed by those living in the land of Canaan (Deut. 12:1,10-11)
d) to be given to Levites, widows, orphans and foreigners; (Deut. 26:12) and even to be eaten by the one bringing the tithe. (Deuteronomy 14:22-26)
e) to be given every third year (Deuteronomy 26:12)
God NEVER amended the tithe command to say that a tenth of one's money is now required as tithe. He NEVER amended the tithe command to say tithes are to be given around the world. He NEVER amended the tithe to say that it is to be observed every week of the year and every year of your Christian life
For that matter, God NEVER said that Christian's are required to tithe at all..
Pastor's have handled the word of God deceitfully in order to teach a tithe command that is totally foreign to the word of God, i.e.; a tithe of man's monetary income,... a tithe of unrighteous mammon.
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Attempting to obey the command to tithe, without obeying the other instructions connected to that command merits a curse, not favor.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
As Solomon's wisdom is being displayed he tells the servants to bring a sword and divide the living baby and to give each woman half. As we consider this spiritually we know that Gods church is his living baby. it needs to be fed, guided, nourished, corrected,,chastened, and cared for in many other ways. To many times its is divided ( split ) for the sake of the baby that is dead. to many times Gods people give new meaning to raising the dead. a dead baby can not be helped, you cant change it, you cant correct it , it will not eat. you cant gain anything from a dead baby but a stink! however time and time again we find ourselves splitting Gods church over a dead baby! if we could only learn to let dead babys die, and put our attention on Gods living baby, how much better would our churches be in worship and service.
Our Lord led this blind man out of town, put spit on his eyes and asked him if he saw ought. the blind man said "I see men as trees walking". now I have read many sermons and commentaries on this subject and it seems they all have one thing in agreement , that for many different reasons given our Lord was unable to accomplish the task when he first attempted it. some say because of their unbelief,others because of the area he was in......etc.If you all would bear with me a little in my folly, I heard that somewhere,lol may I suggest the one thing to consider that I found in kmow writings, and that is the possibility that our Lord gave him to much power and allowed him to see like God sees ! for the Lord indeed sees men as trees all through the word of God.God said "all my trees are full of sap" he spoke of the trees of Lebanon...he said in Eccl. if a tree falls to the north or the south ,in the place where the tree falls , there it is......
consider when our Lord touched his eyes again it was not to add more spit, rather to remove some!
and would our lives not be much better off in compassion and help to one another if we could all stop once in a while and see as God sees?
1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom.”
1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.”
Wisdom and understanding is very important. We need wisdom is our lives. We need wisdom to learn how to raise our family, working on our job, dealing with our neighbors, and those in the church congregation. As God gave King Solomon wisdom; so can the Lord give us wisdom. “If any of you ask wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
James does add one thought concerning asking God wisdom that we need to consider in our hearts. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6 & 7
“And God gave Solomon wisdom”
Why did God give King Solomon wisdom? In 1 Kings 3:5-15 God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “… Ask what I shall give thee.” 1 Kings 3:5
I am going to ask the reader of this devotion to read, and consider, every word that occurs in the dream of King Solomon. God is looking at the heart of King Solomon and Solomon is speaking from his heart.
In his heart, King Solomon knew that God wanted His people to walk in righteous and in truth. “..according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness...” 1 Kings 3:6
King Solomon was very humble and of a sincere heart. At this time, Solomon was 20 years old. In 1 Kings 3:7 Solomon said that he was a servant of God and was like a little child. “… and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”1 Kings 3:7 Most people are very proud and will not follow the ways of God. Most people are unwilling to be a servant of God. Even though Solomon was king he felt that God was his king. King Solomon willingly called himself a servant. Solomon believed that he was a servant of God in order to do the will of God.
1 peter 5:5-7, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” King Solomon humbled himself.
God made us. He is the King in Heaven. God is not our servant. We are His servants. God resists a proud person. One of the reasons why God does not answer a Christian’s prayer is because they are not humble nor sincere. If we want God to give us wisdom, we need to walk in unrighteousness, truth, be humble, and sincere .
1 Kings 3:9 “Discernment”
! Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” God gave King Solomon wisdom because he asked for wisdom in order to discern between good and evil and to judge the nation of Israel. Solomon did not ask wisdom for his own fleshly desires or experience. He asked God for wisdom to lead the nation of Israel according to the will of God.
King Solomon was unselfish. He did not ask for wisdom to help his own desires. He did not ask for money. He did not ask for health. King Solomon loved God and loved the nation of Israel. King Solomon wanted wisdom to help him to discern between good and evil. Long before God gave Solomon wisdom, Job wrote the definition of wisdom; “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
Most people are selfish and they do not care to help others. A Chinese proverb says, “To care nothing outside one’s window – one does not care what is going on beyond one’s own surroundings.” 俗語說「兩耳不聞窗外事」
It is the will of God for Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants all Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants us to discern between evil and good, right and wrong, and good and bad doctrine. Ephesians 4;14 , “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” A Christian who is not concerned about good doctrine, or is unwilling to forsake bad doctrine, is like a child who is unconcerned about the parents guidance, is deceived, and is like the waves of he sea driven hither and yonder by every wind of the heretics of this world. A lost person, or an immature Christian, cannot discern between good and evil. But a mature Christian can discern between good and evil: or judgment. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
God blessed King Solomon
“And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:30The East country would include Iran, India, China and Japan. “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:34 Even today, in the Western world, when a person thinks of wisdom, he thinks of King Solomon and the book of Proverbs.
King Solomon was humble, righteous, and sincere in the sight of God. He asked for wisdom to judge the nation of Israel and to learn how to discern between right and wrong. We need to have the same attitude. God can give us wisdom if it is His will. says, Proverbs 2:6, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 is one of the the most familiar verses in the Bible and one of the verses people most like to "claim." It also seems to be one of the most misunderstood and misapplied. All too often, the misunderstanding arises when someone refuses to simply allow the scripture to say what it says. The most obvious misunderstanding is the fact that the verse does not apply to everyone -- it applies to "them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This is not a promise that a lost world is in any position to claim, as they do not fit that description. Rather, this promise is one given to true believers who know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
Sadly, even among Christians, there often seems to be major misunderstandings in relation to this verse. Some mistakenly take it to mean that nothing bad can come their way, and they then find themselves completely bewildered when something comes along that rocks their world. In a case like that, it is the first half of the verse that has been misinterpreted and misapplied. There are most certainly bad things that come into the lives of believers. Death is not good. Sickness is not good. Pain is not good. When God created the universe and found His creation to be "very good," those things were not a part of it. They were brought about because of the sin of mankind. The wonderful truth of the matter is, however, that an almighty, sovereign God can take bad things that were not a part of His original creation and use them to work for our good. If you will allow me, I would like to give you a personal account in which I found that to be true.
I will not go into the specific details of my experience because there were other people involved and I do not wish to say anything that would violate their privacy. Suffice it to say, I faced one of those situations that I spoke of earlier that rocked my world. I thank God that I was grounded in His word, because if I had not been, the situation that I lived through could have easily washed me out and severely damaged my faith. It was something that forced me to rely on God far more than I ever had before. It was also something that pushed me to action in something that I had said for years that I wanted to do "one day."
I stated in my introductory post that I have recently published a book. While I did not explicitly state this, if you read between the lines, you might have also deduced that I have a soft spot for kids. Children's ministry is, in fact, one of my greatest passions. I have taught kids' classes at my church since I was 19. I've been one of the sponsors that took my church's elementary school aged kids to camp four times. Vacation Bible School week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I could continue, but you get the point: I love kids. That thing that I said for so long that I wanted to do but never completed was writing a children's novel.
Ultimately, I truly believe that God held me back from doing in until the time was right. There were a few abortive attempts, but none of them ever went very far, and I never came anywhere near writing a full book. Then, my foundations were shaken. At that time, I decided to try once again to write a book, this time, in large part to keep my sanity. However, I did not want to write just any book. I wanted to write something that would be a help to young people who read it. I wanted it to be an entertaining story, but a story that would teach Biblical values. I wanted it to feature characters that were not ashamed of their Christianity. I wanted it to be something that might be edifying to its readers. Lo, and behold, this time it happened.
I would be lying if I said that there are no longer times that I struggle with what happened in my life two years ago. It was something that completely reordered large parts of my life, and in some very negative ways. I very much wish that what happened would not have happened. If I told you what it was, you would no doubt say the same thing. Even so, I would not undo what it changed in me. As I said, it helped me to learn to trust in the Lord much more than I ever had. It is my natural tendency to worry, but my experiences in these last two years has greatly cut that down. It also strengthened the passion that I already had for young people, and gave me an even greater desire to minister to them. When I think about my own troubles and how difficult they were for me as an adult, if makes me think about how much tougher they are for a child, thus increasing my level of compassion. Since then, I've found that new opportunities to do that, such as the book, have presented themselves, and I see other possibilities on the horizon, no doubt because God has used the trials of my life to give me a fuller understanding of the needs that exist. It is truly amazing to see how He moves.
All things are not good, but we serve a God that is more than capable of using even the bad for our good. He can use those things to strengthen us personally and to make us a better witness to others. Nothing catches Him by surprise, and nothing can thwart His will. I have learned not to say that something can never happen to me. I have been affected by things that I would never have believed could happen. But more than that, I have found that my God can use them all to shape me into someone whom He can more easily use. Yes, for the believer, all things work together for good.
Just something going through my head this morning:
CHRISTIANS AND THE LAW
In this electronic age of communication, with the internet, hence the world at our fingertips, it gives one a view into the minds and lives, often more than we might prefer, of many others who, before this, we might now little to nothing about.
One thing that always amazes me, is the great lack of biblical understanding of so many who claim the name of Christ-and today, again in this age of information, there is no lack of information about Him, though there is also a lot of garbage to wade through, as well, which is why a good, Bible-believing church is still such a requirement.
But as I look at the many ideas out there, the one that never ceases to amaze, is how many believers so desperately cling to the laws of Sinai, ostensibly born-again believers in Jesus Christ, who believe that it is the duty of all believers to maintain the Mosaic laws and commandments given upon Sinai to the children of Israel, and what it tells me, is that there is little actual training and studying going on by these people, and their teachers of the entire word of God, or they would know that this just isn’t so.
Understand of course, this is not me, not my opinion-the Bible is the word of God, and our ONLY authority in all areas of life, worship and obedience, but one must KNOW the Bible, one must STUDY the Bible, to know HOW to follow it. So, in this vein, I wish to broach this subject on Christians and the Law.
To go over the law as a whole would be treading ground most of us already know well, but in brief, after Moses had led the children of Israel out of the land of Goshen in Egypt, the Lord having punished Egypt with ten plagues and passed judgement upon all the gods of Egypt, they found themselves at Mt. Sinai, and here the Lord gave them His laws, consisting of ten commandments, graven upon stones, and many other ordinances, concerning all aspects of life, to include the treatment of such illnesses as leprosy, punishments for sin, sacrifices, offerings, relationships between spouses, neighbors and the nations, care of the poor and the priests and Levites, and so on. All aspects of life were covered under the law.
In Exodus 24, we read of the official covenant being made between God and Israel, concerning the keeping of the law: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Ex 24:3-8)
Now, here is where we begin to understand what, if any, relationship the believer has with the Law of Moses:
1-The Blood Covenant.
A blood covenant is an agreement made between two parties, rather like a contract, except instead of the parties involved signing on the dotted line, there is blood shed to seal the agreement. In the case of Israel, the blood of clean animals was used, rather than the participants cutting themselves, or drinking any blood. In such a covenant, the parties who will be involved are agreed upon by both parties, and often a blood covenant would remain in effect as long as one party was still alive, and would apply to the family of the both parties, as long as at least one participant lived. For instance, when David and Jonathan, the son of King Saul, made a covenant between them, after Jonathan died and David was king, David sought for any children of Jonathan, to show him kindness for the sake of the covenant they made, and when he found Mephibosheth, he brought him to his house and fed him from his own food from that time on. This is the strength of the covenant.
So, the covenant made at Sinai, the parties involved were YHWH God, as seen when the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and the children of Israel, as seen when they agreed to obey all the Lord told them, and they were sprinkled by the blood of the covenant. This means the parties that were responsible to keep the covenant, as long as one party remained, were Israel and their PHYSICAL descendants, and God, and of course, since God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, it would be in force forever. OR, until one part broke the covenant, and then the other would be free. So from the beginning, the only parties who were ever under the law were Israel and their descendants, and the Lord God. The only exceptions to this were servants of those of Israel, and those strangers (Gentiles) who sojourned within their walls-they were expected to keep the law as well, while they were in the borders of Israel. (Ex 20:10, which actually only applies to the Sabbath). So clearly, only those who were a part of the initial covenant are answerable to that covenant. Gentiles, believers or otherwise, are not, and never were.
2-The Covenant Broken
When the covenant was made in Ex 24, as we read above, both parties made certain promises as part of the covenant: Israel promised to be in obedience to all the Lord commanded them, and the Lord promised something as well: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.” (Ex 23: 20-31)
Here is the Lord’s part of the covenant: IF the children of Israel keep their covenant in obedience, then the Lord will do all these things-they will be established in the land, all their enemies run out before them, they will have peace and safety and health and good flocks and crops. But here’s the rub-Israel has to obey the covenant as well, lest the covenant be broken and the Lord is not held to keep His part, and of course it isn’t all that long after they arrive in Canaan that they continually break the covenant and fall into gross disobedience: they refuse to fight against all the inhabitants of the land, as they are commanded, so the Lord allows some to remain as a snare to them. After they settle into the land, they quickly fall away and begin to serve the gods of those other people in Canaan, and to intermarry with them. So Israel quickly breaks the covenant, meaning the Lord is not held to fulfil all He has promised, and as a result the history of Israel is rarely a happy and comfortable one. The Lord allows them to be in bondage to their enemies time and again, though He rescues them when they cry out to Him, and he gives the judges to rescue them-but once that judge is dead, they fall away again. Lather, rinse, repeat. So the covenant has been broken and it only holds at all because the Lord, in His mercy, maintains it, though by choice, not compulsion.
3-The Broken Covenant Replaced
When Jesus came to earth as a man, and lived the law perfectly, and taught the Jews the true law, of the Spirit, not the letter, He was accused of trying to destroy the law. He responded, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Some have looked at this and said, ‘See, the law will remain as long as heaven and earth remain.’ But is this what Jesus said? Read it again-“I am not come to destroy, but to FULFIL. Jesus’ job was to fulfil the law-to destroy it would mean to end the law before its time and in an improper manner; but to FULFIL it would mean to end it in the manner it was meant to be ended, the proper, planned end. In reality, the Jews had all but destroyed the law in their disobedience, hundreds of years earlier, and it only remained because the Lord kept it intact-however, because it was a broken law, it needed to be replaced with a new covenant-the only proper manner to replace this covenant was through a new covenant. And this was why Jesus had come-to fulfil the old covenant by replacing it with a new one, thus fulfilling the old. And what He said in the above statement was, even if it took til the end of all things for a new covenant to be made and to fulfil the old, the old would remain in force until the new took its place. The old HAD to be fulfilled, not destroyed, though both effectively would end it-one properly, one improperly. So Jesus DID come to end the law, but through fulfillment, not through destruction.
When Jesus hung upon the cross on Golgotha, as He died, He cried out, “It is finished!”, and gave up the ghost. When this happened, a telling event took place: the veil of the temple, which separated the holy place from the holiest place, the Holy of Holies, where dwelt the Ark of the Covenant, (though missing at that time) was rent in two, from top to bottom. The veil symbolized the separation between God and His creation because of sin-when Jesus died, He paid the ultimate price for the sin of the world, and this ended that separation. The law was in place because of the separation between God and man, because man could not attain to the righteousness of God, and had to keep the laws and sacrifices, but could never cross that veil, even through the law, save for the High Priest only, one time each year to make atonement for Israel. Once Jesus Christ paid the price for sin, the way was opened, and His blood became the blood of the new covenant. The old had passed, a covenant made with the blood of bulls and goats, and the new began, made by the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom 10:4).
4-We Can’t Keep the Law If We Tried
A funny thing about the law: there are certain requirements to keeping it-like, ALL the law must be kept, or else one is guilty of the WHOLE law, IF one wishes to try to keep it. (Gal 3:10). So, keeping only a part of the law is actually breaking the entire law. And an aspect of the law, a necessary part of the law, was the Temple, or before that, the tabernacle. Sacrifices and offerings were made, by command, at the temple, which was built where the Lord commanded it to be. Sacrifices and offerings were not acceptable anywhere else. (Deut 12:13, 14) Each first-born male was redeemed at the temple for money, and the firstborn of each clean animal was taken to the temple as an offering of the Lord, as were the firstfruits of one’s crops. This was law. Whenever a woman gave birth, she was to go to the temple or tabernacle and give an offering (Lev 12:6). The priesthood of Aaron and the Levites was a part of the law. Simply-without a temple, without the priests and Levites, the law cannot be kept. In 70AD, Titus and the army of Rome came to Jerusalem and razed it and destroyed the temple-since that time, the Law actually has not been able to be kept by anyone, neither Jew nor Christian, because the temple is integral to the keeping of the law! This is why, at Sinai, the Lord God made sure they had the Tabernacle, and it was always the center of the tribes when they camped, and at the head of the tribes as they travelled in the wilderness-so for almost 2,000 years no one can keep the laws of Sinai if they tried.
In vain, Christians today try to keep the law. They declare that we must maintain the dietary laws, keep the Sabbath, and various other aspects, thinking it is a right thing to do, but they are deluded because, even as it was written in Gal 3:10, so it is now-if we want to keep the law, we MUST keep the WHOLE law, every bit, or else we are guilty of the whole law, even if we offend in but one part-and without the temple, we are automatically guilty of the law. And there is a reason for that: because Christ as fulfilled the law and has made a new covenant that superseded the old, which had been broken many times by Israel. It was a yoke the Jews could not bear! THIS is the whole reason Jesus came! To release us from the law which only brought death, because no man, until Jesus, could keep it perfectly. The law was made as a covenant relationship between YHWH and Israel, His nation. It was not made with the Gentiles, believers or otherwise, and to try to keep it is futile in many ways.
Today, Christians seek to keep aspects of the law, yet they seem to forget aspects of it. Let’s look at the dietary laws: Clean: Cattle, goats, sheep, deer, antelope, elk, those which are cloven-hooved AND chew cud. No rabbit, no pork. Fish: only those with scales. No shark, ray, eel, squid, octopus, shellfish, crabs, shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, catfish. Birds: No eagles, ossifrage, osprey, vulture, kite, raven, owl, night hawk, cuckow, hawk, cormorant, swan, pelican, gier eagle, stork, heron, lapwing, and bat. (Would you know an ossifrage or a lapwing if it was served to you?) And fowl that creep, going on all four. Which are those? Creeping things: locust, beetle, grasshopper, weasel, mouse, tortoise, ferret, chameleon, lizard, snail and mole. Snakes? No problem! They’re clean! So be sure to keep all these.
And don’t forget, it is wrong to sow a field with diverse seeds, or to wear anything with mixed fabrics, (Lev 19:19). Men are not to cut the corners of their beards. Your garments must have a fringe with a ribband of blue, as a continual reminder of the law, (Num 15:38). Building a new house? Better build a battlement on the roof so no one falls off! (Deu 22:8). I could go on, but these are ALL parts of the LAW and to disdain to keep any of these is to break the law, and thus, to be guilty of the whole law.
Christians, study the Word-see the covenants, discern the truth and let Jesus Christ set you free from the bondage of the law-this is why Jesus came to earth! This is why He died on the cross and resurrected! There is no salvation in the law, only death, only bondage. Leave it behind and follow the commandments of the New Covenant, which are plenty.
Matthew 14:22-33 “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.”
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
The account of the Lord Jesus walking on the water is a wonderful story that shows us His lordship over His creation and loving care for His saints.
Before we begin this devotion, let me bring a reminder that the disciples in the ship were Jews and were familiar with the account of how the LORD God takes care of the saints; even on the dangers in the sea. “They that do down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23 and 24 God, in either Testament, God is Lord over all of the creation.
The Bible is a wonderful book. The Bible is God’s Word and it gives us an understanding of God and His will for our lives. It also gives us peace in our hearts as we go through the storms of life and the hope of eternal life in heaven.
“... tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”
In this world, all of us go through storms of life. We have physical, mental, and spiritual problems. We have fears in our hearts, doubts, wants, needs, and stress, in our family and work. Everybody has storms in their lives. The Lord Jesus wants us to have peace in the midst of our storms: whether those storms are physical, mental, spiritual, societal, governmental, family, or work related.
What a wonderful story! This story tells of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is truly Lord.
“... walking on the water.”
During the time of their deepest anxiety of life, the disciples saw the Lord Jesus walking on the water. Also, there was a very big storm on the water at the same time.
How was it possible for Jesus to walk on the water? Can you walk on the water? Do you know of anybody else that can walk on the water in front of other people? Did Confucius walk on the water? Did Buddha walk on the water?
Job knew, as the Jews knew, and as those who know their Bible know, only God in heaven, the LORD, can walk on the water. Job 9:8 says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.”
Jesus could walk on the water because He is Lord. Colossians 1: 15-17 says, “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 the 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.” Because Jesus created all things, He is Lord and has the power to walk on the water!
God, who lives in heaven, is invisible to all of us. The Lord Jesus is His only son. Jesus is the image of God. The Lord Jesus created this world and all that is in it. He created all of the things that you see and all of the spiritual things that you cannot see. The Lord Jesus created: the oceans, land, mountains, islands, our body, the thrones, or the governments, of this world, the angels, the Devil, or Satan, heaven and hell. All of the creation of the Lord is used for His purposes.
“Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
The Lord Jesus can give us peace in our heart in the midst of the storms of life.
The disciples were on the boat and the storm was raging. They thought that maybe they would die. Some of the disciples were fishermen. The disciples knew the dangers of the sea. Also, they never had seen a person walking on the water.
The disciples had never seen a person walk on the water, so they thought that a ghost was coming to them. At the beginning, they did not understand what was happening. They were very scared. Then they cried out with fear. Like the disciples, so often in our lives we are fearful of the dangers in our paths and do not have a full understanding of the spiritual happenings around us.
The Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus does not want the Christian to have fear in their hearts.
The Lord Jesus also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The Lord Jesus gives the Christian peace in our hearts. The Christian has peace in their hearts that only Jesus can give. Jesus gives the Christian peace in the midst of the storms of live. When a Christian dies, he knows that he will ascend into heaven and live with Jesus.
When Jesus spoke these words the apostle Peter realized that it was the Lord walking on the water. Peter had faith in the Lord. So, Peter asked the Lord if he could come on the water and walk to Him. Jesus said one word, “Come.” We need to come to Jesus in the storms of life!
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Peter is a good example. In verse 29 we see how Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. How did Peter walk on the water? Because of his faith the Apostle Peter was able to walk on the water. Faith is an amazing thing. We all need to have faith.
“Lord, save me.”
But, now we see that Peter took his eyes, his thoughts, off of the Lord Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves. Then he became afraid. Then he started to sink .That caused Peter to cry out, “Lord, save me.”
“Lord, save me.” All of us need to pay careful heed to these words of Peter. If you are not a Christian then you need to cry out to Jesus and say, “Lord, save me I do not want to go to hell. I do not want to go to hell forever. Lord save me! I am a sinner and deserve to die and go to hell. But, Lord, in your mercy save my soul.”
If you are a Christian, and you have taken your eyes and thoughts off of the Lord Jesus and onto the world and all of its problems then you need to turn your eyes on Jesus and say, “Lord save me.”
In the hymn book there is a song called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” The stanza says, “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus is Lord and He is truly wonderful. We need to take our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, off of the things of this life and trust in the Lord Jesus for all of our needs and give Him our fears.
“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
In verse 31 we read these wonderful words, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Faith pleases God but doubting does not. When we doubt, and criticize the Bible, and the things of God, then we displease God. The Bible, and all of the doctrines, stories, miracles, prophesies written therein, are to be believed and not doubted.
With very little argument, the greatest defender of the faith in the Chinese world was Wang Ming-Dao, July 25, 1900-July 28, 1991. Wang Ming-Dao is one of the best examples of the work of the scriptures in the heart of a Chinese convert. After salvation, as he was teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, because of his biblical stand to be immersed, he was dismissed in 1920.
Later on, in the beginning days of the Charismatic Movement in China, he openly taught against the Charismatic movement and denominational hierarchies. Wang Ming-Dao became known for his indigenous church work. From 1955-1980 he was imprisoned, twice, by the Communist government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Ming-Dao
Through all of his intense verbal, spiritual, cultural, family relations, religious, denominational jealousy, and governmental persecution, Wang Ming-Dao maintained a rock-solid faith in Christ, doctrinal integrity, and inward peace through his personal storms in life.
Wang Ming-Dao said, 王明道「魔鬼敗壞信徒的計策很多，但最毒的莫過於使他們對神的話發生疑惑，因為這是根本的方法。」“Satan has many scheme’s to destroy the believer, but the greatest poisonous, and the original, method is nothing more than to cause them to doubt the word of God.” The English translation is a free translation from the author.
The Lord Jesus saw that, without divine intervention, Peter would quickly drown and lose his life. But, until Peter called out for the Lord to save him Jesus did nothing. But, when Peter called out to Him then Jesus saved him. When we call upon the Lord to save us He will do so. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3
Many a person, in time of extreme distress, potential loss of life, war, accidents, and other physical dangers or spiritual dangers, have called upon the Lord for not only the eternal salvation of their soul, but for physical deliverance.
“Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
The Lord Jesus took Peter’s hand then both Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat walking on the water. Peter embraced Jesus! When they got back to the boat the wind ceased. When Jesus and Peter arrived back to the boat the other disciples realized the wonderful thing that Jesus did. Then the disciples worshipped Jesus. They said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” As Job realized that only the Lord in heaven could walk on the waves of sea, so must we. The confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a confession that Jesus was the Lord from heaven and equal in attributes, character, power, and authority. Both the Father and the Son are eternal and worthy of worship.
Psalm 2:7 and 12, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. ... Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
In conclusion, we need to be like Peter and the rest of the men in the boat. We need to worship the Lord Jesus. Why not be saved today? Call upon Him in prayer and say, “Lord save me.”
 Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 256.
Before I dive into the doctrine of repentance let me just say that I am very aware of the importance of judging myself before judging anyone else and I try to walk in the light. In case you are wondering “who are you to reprove others?” I am only a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace. In fact, I am less than nothing apart from the Lord. BUT, Like Jeremiah, God’s Word burns in me and I cannot keep quiet.
If there is a doctrine that is seriously lacking in today’s churches it is repentance. It typically won’t build a big church so it is no wonder the majority of pastors today don’t preach it in an illustrated plain manner. I believe another reason why some earnest Gospel preachers are almost afraid of, and generally ignore, the terms “repent” and “repentance” in their evangelizing is that they fear that their hearers might misunderstand these terms and think of them as implying something meritorious on the part of the sinner. But nothing could be further from the mark. There is no saving merit in owning my true condition. There is no healing in acknowledging the nature of my illness. And repentance, as I will clearly show, is just this very thing.
And it is not enough to just tell your people to repent (though that is a lot more than a lot of people today). Lost people (which fill many churches today and I am not talking about the visitors) need some detailed illustrations about what real repentance is along with some hellfire preaching. I am afraid that most people could not give a Biblical definition of repentance.
Dear reader, my goal here is to bring some clarity on what real repentance is and that you will start to preach and teach repentance boldly and in a way so that your hearer truly understands that “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3.
The problem today is the easy believism… 123 repeat after me sinners prayer type of evangelism, then giving them assurance they are saved without ever seeing their changed life. Giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of salvation is of the Devil as far as I am concerned. Preaching repentance and telling those who are lost to turn from their sin in a plain manner will drop your “saved” numbers dramatically. But who cares about an inflated report anyways! I want someone that I can disciple and you cannot truly disciple a professor who does not have a change in attitude toward God and their sin. I understand that there will always be some false converts, it is inevitable, but my based on my experience and diligent research on the topic, not preaching repentance is the reason for the majority of false converts. Like myself in the past, the majority want God to give them salvation but they keep doing their own thing. That is not Biblical salvation. If what you believe doesn’t change the way you live, I wouldn’t give ten cents for your faith. In plainer words, the Lord Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so that you can live any ole way you want. Dear reader, you don’t believe that (or you’re fooling yourself) and I don’t believe that because scripture says the opposite. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
So then why is the preaching of repentance so neglected? I think it is because there are a bunch of cowardly compromisers behind the pulpit who fear the people more than they fear Almighty God and who care more about their individual bottom line than about the truth. For example, Dr. Robert Morris at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX has a three part series called “The Blessed Life.” I was forced to watch it on two occasions while at the Faith Based Dorm at Hutchins State Jail. Not ONE time does Morris ever mention the word repentance. Not once did he ever tell his people in order to live a blessed life they would need to continue to confess and forsake sin! See 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13. He did say that if you tithe you will get material gain and if you don’t that God would curse you and you would have demons unleashed on you. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are commanded to tithe and I myself do. BUT, we tithe not because we think it is a way to gain wealth in this world. It is simply because we are commanded to do so and it puts God first in your life. But this is a whole other topic for another time.
Some preachers rarely rebuke sin and preach repentance because they just don’t want to “beat anybody up.” I find that to be quite a revealing thing that literally flies in the face of hundreds of verses in the Bible… Was the Lord Jesus Christ “beating people up” when he told the Pharisees “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish?” Was the Apostle Paul being too rough on the crowd when he said “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”? Acts 17:30
Fact is rebuking sin and urging people to turn from their sin is not beating them up but is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. This self esteem mad generation we live in today confuses Biblical correction with persecution. Scripture commands us to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Tim 4:2
Then there is this business of giving people assurance of salvation without seeing the evidence of true repentance. We cannot give people assurance period. You can’t see that person’s heart only God can. We can have a pretty good idea later on based on their fruit and testimony (changed life) and we will do well to pray that God will give us discernment so that we can have a good idea whether someone is still lost or not and how God wants us to deal with that person etc. They can have assurance through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit alone. Before I was saved out of a drug addiction and wretched lifestyle in 2013, I thought I was saved (or hoped I was) simply because I “believed.” I used to hang onto John 3:16 because after all, it said whosoever believeth shall not perish. How convenient, I could just believe and keep on living any ole way I want. There is a verse that plainly describes that person and its Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
Repentance and Faith
Author and Missionary David Cloud says:
“Some men point to John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, claiming that it is not necessary to preach repentance since we don’t see it in these passages.
‘It seems to me, though, that this is a strange way to use the Bible, since it is so obvious from other passages that repentance is necessary. Jesus said it is necessary (Luke 13:1-5); Paul said it is necessary (Acts 17:30, etc.); Peter said it is necessary (2 Pet. 3:9). If preaching repentance is not necessary and we only need to preach faith, why did Christ Himself preach repentance?
‘I would say to the issue of why verses such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 don’t mention repentance is that proper saving faith includes repentance and proper repentance includes faith. I say this because repentance and faith are sometimes spoken of in Scripture as both being necessary for salvation (i.e., Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1), while at other times only one or the other is said to be necessary.
‘Salvation is referred to as coming to repentance with no mention of faith in Matthew 9:13; 11:20-21; 21:32; Mark 1:4; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 26:20; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:25; and 2 Peter 3:9.
‘Then in other passages, such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, salvation is referred to as believing and repentance is not mentioned.
‘By comparing Scripture with Scripture (rather than isolating Scripture, which is the method used by false teachers), I conclude that saving faith includes repentance.”
Examples of Repentance in the Bible
“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (Lk. 19:8,9). Zacchaeus repented and it resulted in a hatred of evil and a love of righteousness. Also we see here that he who truly repents will surely seek to make right any wrong he has done to his fellows, though he knows that he never can make up for the wrong done to God.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Lk. 15:17-20) Here we see the Prodigal Son confessing his sin towards God and making a 180 u-turn forsaking his sin.
“For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). Notice they turned to God from idols not from idols to God. There is a difference. In plainer words, you cannot straddle the fence. Turning to God is a 180 and the old life of sin is now behind you, the cross before you.
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” The word repentance isn’t in the Jonah passage, but they did turn, and that is what repentance is. In Matthew 12:31 Jesus confirmed that they indeed repented. It was obvious that the people of Nineveh had repented based on their actions.
“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6) No thinking person would come to the conclusion that God would be pleased with the people just changing their minds without changing their actions!
What Repentance is Not
Repentance is not a work, works are the fruit of repentance. Repentance is not reformation either. There have been several people by their own free will that quit drinking, stop using drugs, stop stealing etc. but never got saved. They never confessed their sin to Almighty God and trusted in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Reformation is merely an outward change. Repentance is a work of God in the soul.
The Apostle Paul explains exactly what true repentance is in 2 Corinthians 7:10. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
Dear reader listen to me carefully, it is very important that you get this. The difference between sorrow of the world and Godly sorrow is this… WORLDLY SORROW ENDS AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS REMOVED. AS SOON AS THE AFFLICTION IS OVER, AS SOON AS YOUR MARRIAGE IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR BODY IS HEALED, AS SOON AS YOUR PROBLEMS ARE GONE, AS SOON AS YOU GET OUT OF PRISON/JAIL AND YOU DRIFT RIGHT BACK INTO THE WORLD THAT YOU CAME OUT OF. THAT’S WORLDLY SORROW THAT LEADS TO DEATH.
Godly sorrow of repentance to salvation grows and develops into conviction and perseverance and a relationship with the Lord and joy and fruitfulness in your life to where a change takes place, a real change that lasts past an altar prayer or a day or two in church or some revival meeting that you went to and felt good for a little while. If you have real godly sorrow it will work the effect where God becomes God in your life. Your attitude towards sin has changed. Once you get right with God you begin to see yourself as you really are. The Holy Spirit begins to open you up like a tin of beans. Once you right with God you’ll be shocked at the stuff you will be confessing and repenting of. Once you ever really get serious with God, stuff is going start coming out of your heart that you didn’t even know was in there because we have a way of covering stuff over, everybody’s got tunnel vision when it comes to their own sinfulness. You can see anothers sin real good but you have a difficult time seeing your own.
What Great Preachers of the Past and Present Have to Say About Repentance
“Biblical repentance as preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles, is A CHANGE OF MIND TOWARD GOD AND SIN THAT RESULTS IN A CHANGE OF LIFE. IT IS A SPIRIT-WROUGHT CHANGE OF MIND THAT LEADS TO A CHANGE OF LIFE. It is not a change of life. That would be a works salvation. It is a radical, Spirit-wrought change of mind toward sin and God, such a dramatic change of mind that it changes one’s actions.” (David Cloud “Biblical Repentance” wayoflife.org)
“But God’s holy eye discerns the sinfulness of every heart and calls upon all to take sides with Him against themselves. Until this is done, saving faith is an impossibility. This is not to limit grace. It is to make way for it. And be it remembered, repentance is not a state automatically produced. It is the inwrought work of the Holy Spirit effected by faithful preaching of the Word. But how seldom today do we hear the cry, “Except ye repent.”” (Harry Ironside page 17 “Repent Ye”)
“…repentance … is a turning from sin, a loathing of it; and if thou hast that, thou hast sure repentance; but not else. Repentance is also a sense of shame for having lived in it, and a longing to avoid it. It is a change of the mind with regard to sin–a turning of the man right round. That is what it is; and it is wrought in us by the grace of God. Let none therefore mistake what true repentance is” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Mistaken Notions about Repentance,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, April 20, 1879).
“What then is repentance? So far as possible I desire to avoid the use of all abstruse or pedantic terms, for I am writing not simply for scholars, but for those Lincoln had in mind when he said, “God must have thought a lot of the common people, for He made so many of them.” Therefore I wish, so far as possible, to avoid citing Greek or Hebrew words. But here it seems almost necessary to say that it is the Greek word metanoia, which is translated “repentance” in our English Bibles, and literally means a change of mind. This is not simply the acceptance of new ideas in place of old notions. But it actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude. How luminously clear this makes the whole question before us! To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ. And this is what God commands. John came preaching to publicans and sinners, hopelessly vile and depraved, “Change your attitude, for the kingdom is at hand.” To haughty scribes and legalistic Pharisees came the same command, “Change your attitude,” and thus they would be ready to receive Him who came in grace to save. To sinners everywhere the Saviour cried, “Except ye change your attitude, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Harry Ironside “Repent Ye”)
“Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s).
“Saving faith includes repentance. Repentance is not doing anything. It is not a deed, act, work, or rite. Rather, it is a change of the direction of one’s heart. It basically means an attitude of the heart in turning from sin and self and turning to God. That’s what Paul was referring to in Acts 20:21 when he referred to ‘repentance toward God and faith in [toward] our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Saving faith is the human heart turning to God and then trusting in Jesus Christ. … Even as there is the part of trusting Christ, there is also the part of turning to Him. That may seem inconsequential, but I believe that here is a spiritual reason that some go through the motions of believing in Christ but are not really born again. They seemingly want the fire escape but there is no interest in turning to God. There is no interest in repentance. They have the attitude, ‘God, gimme salvation, but I’m gonna keep on doing my own thing.’ … However, if there is no real turning to God from the heart, they have missed the prerequisite for actually trusting Christ” (Sorenson, Training Your Children to Turn out Right, 1995).
“The hand that clutches the assassin’s knife must open ‘ere it can grasp the gift its intended victim proffers; and opening that hand, though a single act, has a double aspect and purpose. Accepting the gift implies a turning from the crime the heart was bent on, and it was the gift itself that worked the change. Faith is the open hand, relatively to the gift; repentance is the same hand, relatively, not only to the gift but more especially to the dagger that is flung from it” (James Stewart, Evangelism, pp. 48,49).
Not once do we find in scripture someone repeating a sinners prayer. I am not saying there isn’t a time for that if one is under deep conviction of sin. Salvation is a personal thing and I treat everyone individually. For example when my brother got saved I spent the first two days talking about repentance, the overcomer, and hell. He came under deep conviction and I told him that he needed to call out to God in prayer confessing himself a sinner and to ask God through Jesus Christ to change him and to trust the finished work of the cross for forgiveness of sins. He did and was radically changed.
Salvation is a supernatural miracle and there will be a testimony and you will change and other people will notice. If you don’t then you have never repented. This is NOT lordship salvation either. God will do the changing but the sinner must surrender and be willing to allow that to happen.
In short, it’s turn or burn. To preach repentance in a bold and illustrated way won’t likely build a big church but “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
“The Kindness of God”
2 Samuel 9:1-13 David & Mephibosheth
The theme of this story is the kindness of God. In David’s life, we can see the kindness of God. Because David and God had an intimate relationship, David developed a kind heart.
Before David became the King of Israel King Saul tried to kill David and prevent David from becoming King over Israel. King Saul was David’s enemy. For seven years, David fled from King Saul.
Except during times of religious expediency, King Saul did not obey God. He rebelled against God, listened to the people, and had a stubborn heart.
God rejected King Saul and anointed David to be king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:10 & 11 and 23 says, “Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried all night.” and, Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
King Saul is like many people. Most people, yea, even a lot of religious people, reject the will of God because they are rebellion against the Bible, stubborn, and will only listen to the world.
David, before he became King, had a close relationship with King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Jonathan was an individual who had a love for God, for the will of God, and for the man of God.
Verse 1-3, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.”
King David loved God and God gave David peace and love in his heart. King David did not have hate nor have bitterness in his heart towards the house of Saul. King David put into practice the love and kindness of God. “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” Psalm 25:6
King David is a good example for us how we should love our enemies and exhibit the love and kindness of God. In this passage twice, King David said that he wanted to show the kindness of God towards the house of Saul. Jonathan was King Saul’s son and a friend of David. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson.
Mephibosheth was lame. He could not walk nor could he earn money. He was very poor. Mephibosheth was the grandson of Saul. Mephibosheth represents the Christian. Before we are saved, we are a child of the Devil and unworthy to enter into the presence of God and into heaven. And, only the love and mercy of God makes us worthy enough to enter heaven.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:4 and 5
Love Produces Kindness
Verse 5 & 6, “Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!”
Please note that even though David was the King he sought Mephibosheth. King David is a type of God. God loves us and He is seeking us. 1 John 4:9 & 10 says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
God loves us!
The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 God is seeking the salvation of man in order for man to escape the torment of hell and enter the joy of heaven.
Jesus loves us!
Verse 7 & 8, “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is they servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?”
The first words out of the mouth of King David was “Fear not.” King David relieved the heart of Mephibosheth. Is that not like the kindness of God? “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
Mephibosheth realized that he was not worthy to receive this honor and was humble. In this passage, Mephibosheth twice said that he is David’s servant and did not deserve his mercy.
Before we are saved, we are unworthy to enter into the presence of the King of Heaven. We deserve to go to hell. Like Mephibosheth, we need to have a grateful heart to the king of heaven and be God’s servant and follow Jesus.
Verse 13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
King David gave commandments that his servants were to provide the physical necessities for Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth could not take care of himself so David took care of his needs.
The Lord Jesus is our king and one day we will sit at His table in heaven and eat. The Lord Jesus, as an added blessing to the salvation of our soul, will give us a new, glorified body, and will take care of the needs of our new body for eternity. Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
The story of King David and Mephibosheth is a wonderful story of the loving kindness and mercy of God. It shows us how God gave David love for his enemies’ grandchild. It shows us the humility of Mephibosheth and love and kindness of God in a practical manner. It shows us how God will take care of our spiritual, physical, and eternal needs.
Like King David, when we have a close relationship with God we can have the love and kindness of God in our hearts.
God loves us! He is Merciful and Gracious! Before we loved God He loved us! Because God loves us He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross and become the propitiation for our sins. This story shows us how God is seeking man for the eternal salvation of our soul so we can escape the torment of hell and enter into the joy of heaven.
“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 3:16
“Glory in Heaven.”
Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
According to the scriptures, what is wisdom? And who is a wise person?
“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 A person who fears the Lord, and is trusting in the Lord for the salvation of their soul, has wisdom.
God looks at the heart. Our motives, our character, our personal righteousness (or sanctification), and our walk with the Lord will determine the glory, or rewards, we will have in eternity. In the scriptures, we see a contrast between various people who were wise in salvation and wise in sanctification.
Contrast in Salvation
The fool trusts in his own heart, merits, works, religious ceremonies, wealth, influence, and other foolish things for the eternal salvation of his soul. The rich man in hell was a fool and Lazarus was the wise person in
Contrast after Salvation
After salvation, a wise person is one who decides to forsake the pleasures, comforts, ideology, philosophy, and the striving for wealth, fame or other worldly pursuits, in order to please the Lord in heaven. Lot was wise in salvation but not in his personal walk with with the Lord. Abraham was wise in salvation and in his walk with the Lord.
Lot was righteous in the heart but not in his character.
Abraham was righteous in his heart, character, and beliefs.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament”
Winning souls is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
When an individual tells another person, whether by word of mouth, testimony, preaching, a tract, or the manner of his life, and the person witnessed to turns to the Lord in salvation, then that person who witnessed is wise and in eternity will 'shine as the brightness of the firmament.'
As the glory of one star is different from the glory of another star, so are our rewards in eternity.
Sanctification – Holiness – Right Living
Righteousness in our life, or Sanctification, or Holiness, is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 7, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”
In a direct reference to the shameful living of the Corinthian believers (who were righteous in soul but not in daily living), Paul the apostle wrote, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” Please take careful note. The lives of the Corinthian saints were 'shameful' even though they were wise in salvation, Paul clearly said they were not wise in judging; i.e., they could not discern spiritual things.
Lot is an example of this type of saint. They are unrighteous, unholy, and not sanctified, in their life. & 8 They allow the world, the pleasures of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, to destroy their testimony. Therefore, they do not win souls by either word of mouth nor testimony and their glory in eternity will not be so bright.
In eternity, those saints who lived in the flesh and taught false doctrine will be ashamed.
A wise Christian is one who is righteous in his daily walk with Christ. Abraham was a man righteous in his heart for salvation and righteous in his heart in his walk with the Lord. Abraham was holy and sanctified in his life. Since the scriptures have been written down the personal testimony of Abraham has caused the salvation of many throughout the ages and in many lands.
Therefore, in eternity, the glory of the rewards given to Abraham will cause him to shine as the stars for eternity.
Righteous in Belief
A heart belief, before salvation, in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine cannot save the soul. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The saint who walks with the Lord will take heed about every doctrine he believes.
A heart belief in Buddhism, Taoism, baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, and other erroneous methods of salvation will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. As Timothy preached salvation by grace, through a sincere, and repentant, heart belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; Timothy could win those people to Christ.
Timothy could lead many to righteousness through correct doctrinal salvation preaching. In eternity, Timothy, and many other sound gospel preachers, will shine as the stars in heaven.
A heart belief in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine, after salvation, will cause the believer to be deceived. The false teachers (some are saved, but teach erroneous beliefs), that are teaching in the churches (or an Internet theologian), is causing confusion among the saints by using deceptive doctrines and bibles.
After salvation, a belief in incorrect, or unsound, or corrupted doctrines, will cause many saints to lose their rewards in eternity. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be ashamed of their erroneous doctrinal beliefs.
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5 If a man that is in the ministry, or a teacher of the scriptures in any capacity, teaches unsound doctrine, then he is not striving lawfully (according to the scriptures), and is not leading people to sound doctrine, or, a belief in right doctrine.
Unsound doctrine would include, but not limited to, corrupted bibles (any modern version starting from the RV of 1881 is a corrupted bible), heresies like the Charismatic Tongue Movement, The Gap Theory, any form of a non-belief in the creation of the world in six days, Calvinism, CCM music, Ecumenicalism, and any perversion of the Second Coming of Christ (Preterist, A-millennialism or Post-millennialism).
“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ” 2 Timothy 3:8 & 9 Saints, who resist the truth of the scriptures, are in error.
Paul the Apostle will be rewarded, and shine as the firmament in heaven, for eternity. But, the saved teachers of false doctrines in the churches will be openly shamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
If a person is not a Christian, the wisest decision they will ever make it to trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.
If a Christian is to be wise in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, our lives, and the lips of our mouths, should be a testimony of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives.
If a Christian is wise, sanctified, and is striving lawfully, according to the correct doctrines in the scriptures, he will be able to lead other saints to a sanctified life. In eternity, the wise saint will shine as the stars in the heavens.
“The Galactic Bulge – A field of White Dwarf Stars”
Note: A White Dwarf is actually bluish white.
Courtesy of NASA – the Hubble Space Telescope
“Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS)
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament:
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
“… for one star differ from another star in glory.” 1 Corinthians 15:41
1 Samuel 30:6, “Encouragement.”
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
Enemies on Every Side
In addition to the world, his own flesh, and Satan, David had many other enemies. In this passage, 1 Samuel 30:1-20, we will consider three of them: the Philistines, the Amalekites, and King Saul.
David had so many enemies that desired to kill him that he was living in the wilderness like a hunted animal. On some occasions, such as his relationship with Achish, he was able to live in a city. In spite of his enemies, David maintained a personal relationship with God.
David, in his close relationship with God, wrote, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Psalm 27:11 David based his daily path through life, his every day decisions, on the leading of the Lord in his life. David knew the will of God in his life and followed it, except with notable exceptions that are not related to this passage, to the day of his death.
Physical Background - Ziklag
1 Samuel 27:1-7 For his service to Achish, Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David. While David was preparing to battle with Achish (1 Samuel 29), against King Saul the lords of the Philistines demanded that David and his men refrain from entering the battle.
As David and his men of war returned to Ziklag they discovered that the Amalekites had burned the city, carried away all of the women and children captive, and took away the spoils of the city. Because David made the decision to leave Ziklag to help Achish, the men of war blamed David. Furthermore, due to the great distress and anxiety in their heart for the loved ones, the men of war were going to put David to death.
In times of one of the most stressful times in his life, David discovered that his own men turned against him and was preparing to stone him to death. David was greatly distressed. Unless God intervened, David was going to die a very painful and agonizing death.
In David’s time of extreme distress, he encouraged himself in the LORD. To further understand David and how he could encourage himself in the Lord we need to look deeper in his soul before this horrific incident occured.
Spiritual Background - David’s Relationship with God
From a child, David fell in love with God, the Law of God, the work of God, and the will of God in his life. As a child, then a teen-ager, and then a young man, David created and sang Psalms, had faith, walked close with God, and continually encouraged himself in the knowledge of eternal salvation in heaven, judgment to come and the wonderful promises of God as revealed in the scriptures.
From his younger years until this time of extreme crises, David desired to have a close relationship with God. David wrote, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD for all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
In the heart of David, the house of the LORD, the LORD Himself, the holiness of God, was beautiful. In his close relationship with the LORD God in heaven, David discovered the beauty of holiness. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 David, from a child, with noted exceptions, walked in the Spirit.
Contrast the relationship of King Saul with God
The relationship of King Saul with God was not good, or, it was non-existent. In eternity, we will discover whether he was truly a saint.
We do know that King Saul walked in the flesh after two years in the King’s office. The power as the King of Israel went to his head. Actually, the phrase “went to his head,” while it is a good phrase, it is not entirely correct to describe a person who lets pride run his life. The phrase, “went to his heart,” is more precise. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” King Saul had a heart problem.
To King Saul, the sacrifices of God were just a religious ceremony, and, he listened to the voice of the people instead of obeying the voice of God. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15: 22
If a person was honest with himself, like King Saul, a lot of our problems are the result of our own sinful pleasures, worldliness, fleshly desires, wrong decisions, and pride. Please study James 4:1-10. In other words, we are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit, Romans 8:5-8, and the fruit in our lives are the fruits of the flesh Galatians 5:15-21
David obeyed God with a loving heart and walked with God. David put his trust in the work of God in his life. David walked in the Spirit and enjoyed the fruits of the Spirit. Please read Galatians 5:22-25
As we walk in the Spirit, we also can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit.
“... but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
In spite of all of the distress David experienced, he believed that God was the solution to the problem. David placed his faith completely in the hands of God. In times of distress in our lives we need to be like David and encourage ourselves in God.
God in on His Throne in Heaven and He will accomplish His will in our lives. David knew that God had anointed him King over Israel and that God would help him in his time of extreme distress. David inquired of the Lord and plainly asked what should he do. “And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt overtake them, and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:8
David inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him, and David did what God told him to do. David did not question God, David did not walk in his own will, and David simply did what God told him to do.
“And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, either sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” 1 Samuel 30:18 & 19
The military success of David in recovering all of the captured people and spoils from the Amalekites is one of the most successful military campaigns in the history of mankind.
This story is also written to encourage all of us in our walk with the Lord Jesus. In times of distress in our lives, we need to inquire diligently of the Lord that His will is and wait patiently for Him. We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord and in the wonderful promises in the scriptures.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
1 John 4:10, “The Propitiation for Our sins.”
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
The word propitiation means, “an atoning sacrifice.” An atoning sacrifice is a sacrifice that atones for sins. To atone for ones sins is to reconcile a person to God. The sacrifices of the Old Testament animals, or any animal of any culture, cannot take away sins; they were temporary until the Lord Jesus shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins. The Lord Jesus became the Lamb of God that takes away our sins.
John 1: 29 says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins.
Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for our sins.
Leviticus Chapter 1
The book of Leviticus was given in order for mankind to know that we needed an atoning sacrifice, as a propitiation for sins, for the payment of sins. In these ordinances, God told the nation of Israel how to conduct these sacrifices. In Leviticus 1:1-9, God gives us some very important aspects of the sacrifices. God was very specific about the offering. The sacrifice must be according to what God said.
“If the offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” Leviticus 1:3
The sacrifices of the Old Testament Law, specifically the book of Leviticus, were to be brought on the voluntary will of the individual. Every man has a will and God wants our sacrifice to come from the voluntary will of the individual.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
The Lord Jesus Voluntarily Gave His Life to Became Our Sacrifice
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 The Lord Jesus willingly gave His life for our life.
God Sent the Lord Jesus to Become the Atoning Sacrifice
God sent Jesus to become the propitiation for our sins. The plan of God, before the foundation of the world, was for the Lord Jesus to leave heaven and become the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for the sins of all mankind.
Why? Because God Loves Us
Verse 10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
We also need to notice that before we loved Jesus: Jesus first loved us. In verse 10, the scripture says, that, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.
In the sight of God, man is not righteous and not seeking Him. Romans 3:10 and 11, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
But, God is seeking man. God does not want anybody to spend eternity in hell. Hell is the place for the punishment of our sins.
Luke 19:10, “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
The love of God, and the love of the Lord Jesus, was manifested on the Cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “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.”
On the cross, the Lord Jesus, of His own free will, became the propitiation for our sins. Jesus loves us!
We have seen some tremendous truths in this passage of scripture that can help us understand the love of God.
And we found out that, God is seeking us and that Jesus Christ willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on the Cross of Calvary that we might be saved. The Lord Jesus became the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for our sins in order for to have eternal life in heaven. We need to accept this sacrifice in our hearts for our salvation and have a heart of thanks.
“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
“The LORD is good.”
In this short devotion I would like to consider Nahum 1:7 in the light of our Saviour Jesus Christ being LORD and a few thoughts brought out by the Lord Jesus when He preached the Sermon on the Mount.
The LORD is good. The character of God, is good and perfect in every sense of the word. God is good in character, in holiness, in righteousness, and in every act, deed or word. God is perfect in all aspects. To question the work of God, the word of God, or the actions of God, is to put doubt on His character and His word.
The character, the inward righteousness of the Jesus Christ, is good and perfect in all aspects. Jesus is Lord.
God above has given to all of us good things: life, food, shelter, friendship, families, and many blessings too many to mention. God is good to the lost and to the saved. The Lord Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44 and 45
We need to remember the goodness of God in our lives before we were saved and after we are saved.
“…a strong hold in the day of trouble.”
A strong hold is a place of safety and protection from evil and the enemies of the righteous. A strong hold is a place of protection from whatever will harm us. This is true in both the physical and spiritual realm. Heaven is a strong hold.
The Lord God was a stronghold for the nation of Israel when they trusted and followed His words, leading, commandments, statutes, and precepts. God was a strong hold for Abraham, David in the wilderness, King Solomon on the throne and the beggar Lazarus sitting at the gate of the rich man.
The Lord Jesus is our strong hold. The Lord Jesus is our Rock of Salvation. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Matthew 7: 24 and 25
A wise man will hear and do what Jesus says.
"and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
In the Old Testament, beginning from the days of Adam, through Abraham, the Judges, the Kings of Israel, and the prophets, people have trusted in God.
On the contrary side, in those times there were false saints, false prophets, false priests, and false teachers mentioned throughout the Old Testament. A close look at the work of Moses and the prophets reveal that they were hindered and resisted primarily by false, or backslidden, brethren.
At times, these false, or backslidden, brethren used the very word of God the true saints used, used the very same prayers that the righteous saints used, and, as for as the outward appearance was concerned, was “religious.”
The LORD said, “…and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
The wisest man in the world once observed, “The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
In the New Testament nothing has changed. The Lord Jesus, “… knoweth them that trust in him.”
After the discourse of the Lord Jesus concerning the false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20 the Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name hath cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
The Lord Jesus never knew these lost, religious, charlatans who used His name to build religious edifices, denominations, good work organizations, and falsely taught and preached His word. As with Moses and the prophets, the Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle and the other true men of God were resisted by false, or backslidden, brethren or other religious individuals.
The problem is a heart problem. Solomon said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We need to trust in the Lord above with all of our heart and do those things which are commanded of us in spite of the false ministers, false teachers, social problems, political unrest, economic unrest, and other problems in this short life.
The Lord knows all and He is good. We need to trust in the Lord Jesus with all of our heart and follow Him.
May God truly bless all of you.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Be still, and know that I am God:
Every saint should realize that God is God. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. We need to sit back, be still, and just meditate on the attributes and character of God. We need to understand that the very essence of God is eternal and beyond our human comprehension. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14
So often, we ask unnecessary questions and seek un-attainable answers. It is not within us to understand all of the plan, actions, methods, and work of God due to our finite understanding. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
So, God told us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
“I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
God has a plan to exalt Himself on the face of this earth. His plan was prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets and revealed to us in the New Testament. This plan unfolds in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the exaltation of Christ as the Saviour of the world. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4
The plan of God to exalt Himself continues through the church Age, the 7 Year Tribulation Period, and 1000 Year Reign of Christ on the earth as, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The plan of God to exalt Himself on the face of this earth will culminate in eternity. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
God knows exactly what He is doing and His plan will come to pass exactly as He has planned it.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Proverbs 16:7, “Pleasing God & Peace.”
Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
God can give peace to a person, or a nation, or He can take away peace from a person, or a nation. Isaiah 45:6 & 7, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
Most people seek peace through worldly and physical pleasures. Most people love pleasure more than God and sometimes the saints love pleasure more than God. 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
When a person pleases God than God can give that person peace. God wants us to give us peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus said, John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the early church, the disciples were persecuted severely for their faith in Christ and in the ages since that time, more persecution arose from various false religions and leaders. In the midst of these persecutions, the Lord Jesus gave these people peace.
Even though we sometimes have problems and difficulties, the Lord Jesus can give us peace in our hearts. We need to learn how to please God. Colossians 1: 9 & 10, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
God can give us peace in our hearts and peace among our enemies if we please him.
“Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity,
than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”
The meaning of integrity is moral soundness or purity; incorruptness, uprightness; honesty.
Job is an excellent man of integrity. Job 2:3, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [ hate ] evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
Job eschewed, or hated, evil. Job was upright, morally pure, incorrupt in business, and honest in his dealings.
A person who hates sin, and stays away from sin, is a person of integrity. Psalms 97:10, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Job, a man of God, was a man of integrity.
“... than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”
The meaning of perverse is: to be obstinate; in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; or stubborn.
Balaam, a false prophet, because his way of life was contrary to God, was perverse. Numbers 22:31 & 32, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.”
Balaam, and other false teachers, are obstinate, contrary, and stubborn against the ways and doctrines of God as written in the scriptures. They are fools and perverse in the sight of God.
Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” See also 2 Peter 2:1-22
Job is a fine example of a man of integrity. Job maintained his integrity in spite of intense physical, mental, social (his three friends), and spiritual testing. In these last days of spiritual unrest, false teachers, political uncertainty, wars and rumors of war, legal persecution, verbal animosity, and other trials of these perilous last days, we need to maintain our integrity. May God bless you all.
Psalms 37:1-5, “Trust in the Lord.”
Verse 1 – 5, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
David was King over the nation of Israel. He was not a pastor, a religious leader, or a priest. He was a man who trusted in God and God anointed him become King. David trusted in God and in the promises in the Bible. So, God lifted him up in his life.
A lot of people commit evil. We see, or hear; people do evil, commit crimes, war, deceit or other bad things. Sometimes we see evil people become famous or rich. Sometimes this causes us to worry or to envy them. God says not to worry or fret. Why? They will perish like the grass one day and spend eternity in hell.
Instead of worrying, or being jealous, we need to trust in God and do good.
Verse 9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”
The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
All of us have desires in our lives. We have plans and hopes for our lives, our jobs and our families. God can help us overcome obstacles so we can have these desires. God wants to bless us. We need to know and enjoy the things of God as written in the Bible. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
In order for God to bless us, we need to decide to commit our lives to Him. God knows our situation and when we trust in Him, He can give us our needs and desires.
Jesus is Lord. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, He promised to give us eternal life in heaven. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
God knows the situation of this world. He knows that it is full of evil. So often, because we see the wicked prosper, we forget God. God knows that the wicked will be punished in God’s proper time. By studying the Bible, we can know God. We can know how He will punish the evildoer in the future. And, because we have Christ in our hearts we can overcome the Devil and the world. So, we need to trust in God and not worry. He will bless us when we trust in Him.
May God bless all of you.