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Friday, September 25, 2015, 6:01 AM
Jonah- Part II
Jonah 1:11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous . 12 And he said unto them, Take me up , and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought , and was tempestuous against them.
Even though they may worship false gods, and though they recognized that Jonah’s fleeing his God was responsible for their situation, they were still reluctant to cast Jonah out. I think this is one demonstration that even pagan, heathens, or worshippers of false gods, still can possess sanctity for human life.
Jonah 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly , and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
Here again, I don’t know that anyone now living on earth can say, but I don’t believe that the fact that they offered sacrifice to Jonah’s God meant that they accepted true worship of Him. they may have done the same for Zeus or Diana or Hermes if one who had offended his god had been so inclined to cause them to cast that one overboard.
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 2: 1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
Jonah 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Though the Lord’s children may have a home in His Kingdom, still in this temporal life, His children can be given over to scourging or destruction of this fleshly body. Yet the humble prayer of His erring children returning to Him is what He seeks. Still the ultimate disposition of this earthly body that we temporarily wear is in His hands. Sometimes He takes us to be with Him for our own good, even with an humble, repentant (regretful mind-changing) heart.
Jonah 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2 Arise , go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3a So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.
The Lord could have found someone else to go instead of Jonah and Jonah would have still been due the punishment he received. But the Lord, Who knows the end from the beginning, had chosen Jonah, and already knew that Jonah was going to need a strong hand in directing him.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 5:52 AM
Jonah- Part I
Jonah 1: 1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Even though Nineveh was not considered to be “God’s people”, still the Lord sought to warn them. If only people who were considered to be “God’s people” were to have God’s blessings, then why bother warning such a city?
I believe it is because the people called God’s people were not necessarily the only ones God wanted to reach. God chose the Jews to be an example for and to teach the world about God’s holiness and righteousness. God could give temporal blessings and temporal punishments, as well as eternal blessings and eternal punishments according to His will. His will is founded on His law of LOVE. That love is not willing that any should perish.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Jonah 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Isn’t so typically human? We could offer ourselves to the Lord’s service, and be ready to do so much. But sometimes the Lord could ask us to do something that goes so far beyond our comfort zone that we want to run and hide. I’m not saying that everyone wants to run and hide, but I know there have been times I wanted to, and I think there are others who are the same way.
Jonah 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said everyone to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
To say that they were afraid because Jonah had fled his God, did not mean they accepted his God to be the One True God. I don’t know, but I suppose that if someone else had said that they were running from their god, even though that god be not the One True God, their reactions would likely be similar to what they are here. So this is not necessarily a recognition on their part to accept Yahweh as their god, because it was typical to recognize that people were all subject to their own gods, wherever they were from.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 5:52 AM
I think King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple is one of the most beautiful prayers written.
1 Kings 8: 37 "If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, 38 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, 40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.
41 "Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name's sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house, 43 hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name. NASU
Even though much of the prayer is for and about the Jews, notice in verse 41 that Solomon acknowledges that all nationalities are welcome to pray and find forgiveness in the God of Abraham. As Christians, we are adopted into God’s Kingdom and, in a manner of speaking, adopted into Abraham’s children, and at least that makes us step-Jews.
1 Kings 8: 46 "When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; 47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly'; 48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; 49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are Your people and Your inheritance which You have brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), 52 that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You. NASU
From verse 46- “… (for there is no man who does not sin) …” There is that scourging from the Father Who loves His children, but there is also turning back and knowing His compassion.
1 Kings 10: 26 Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.
28 Also Solomon's import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king's merchants procured them from Kue for a price. 29 chariot was imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150; and by the same means they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of the Arameans.
1 Kings 11: 1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love.
3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. 8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded.
11 So the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 "Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. NASU
The Scriptures attest that there has never been or ever will be (not counting the Lord Jesus Christ) a man as wise as King Solomon. In his prayer at the dedication of the temple, he admitted that there was no one who did not sin. Early in King Solomon’s reign he made an alliance with Egypt and married Pharaoh’s daughter which was against God’s injunction to the Israelites. He multiplied horses and chariots which went against God’s orders, that there pride may not be built up in military strength, but in God their protector. He married many forbidden women and even worshipped their gods. Now do we wish to follow the example of the wisest man ever known? But are we, in our righteousness, able to claim how perfect we are? We are to strive to live righteous lives, but we are not perfect. That does not inhibit Yahweh’s love, for the Scriptures teach that He is faithful even though we are not.
Pray for the people who are called to preach God's Word, and called as under-shepherds to Jesus to teach His children the Scriptures that they may continue in their study to be approved as being ready in any situation to proclaim God's message from His Word and teach the people, so that we can lessen the word of Hosea who proclaimed that the people perished for lack of knowledge. Pray that God's servants will teach all the Word of God so that we will not perish for lack of knowledge.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 5:31 AM
David- Part III
1) David set out to murder Nabal and every male in Nabal’s house. 2) David slept with Uriah’s wife. 3) David had Uriah murdered. 4) David sought to census the nation against the written law of God by Moses.
2Samuel 24:10 And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, 12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.
17 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house.
25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
Hebrews 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Did King David know the fear of the Lord? People can say that one day God will judge the world. Christians better not forget that Hebrews 10:30 teaches that the Lord will judge His people. The next verse says that it’s a fearful thing to fall into His hands. Read how Samuel who anointed both Saul and David, Israel’s first kings, exhorted the people.
1Samuel 12:14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:
18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
2Samuel 6:9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?
Psalm 36:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
I think if you seriously look at the economic, political, and warring situations around this planet, and the disasters, both natural and human caused, it seems that people should see that God is ready to teach this whole planet the meaning of scourging and fear of the Lord. But many religious leaders instead of trying to prepare the people, seem to me to be as ostriches hiding their heads in the earth. If you study the contempt Jesus had for the religious leaders in the Gospels, I believe He will have the same contempt for many of the religious leaders of today.
If people believe the Democrats will rescue us- I believe they’re deluded. If people think the Republicans will rescue us- I believe they’re deluded. If people turn to the Lord- well, let’s hope that happens.
In Second Samuel, you see the general Joab as a murderer. You need to understand a little of the law. If a stop wasn’t put to murder, then how many innocent people would be killed? But it’s not right for a government to have to pay to take care of murderer, so that is why the death sentence exists. Now brothers should be their brothers’ keepers. In those days, the next of kin was supposed to see to justice for the family. If someone was murdered, the next of kin of the victim was supposed to exact justice on the murderer by execution. However, if someone killed someone accidentally, the next of kin could still seek to exact justice, but since it was an accident, the one who killed someone could flee to a designated city of refuge. There were no specific rules about killing in war situations. Asahel, a brother of Joab, was killed by Abner as Abner was fleeing Asahel in battle. Later Joab killed Abner, though not in battle. It could be argued that Joab could have been executed for the murder of Abner, however, as Joab was the brother of Asahel, Joab could rebut that he was acting as next of kin in executing Abner for his brother’s death, because Abner did not seek refuge in a designated city of refuge.
Though this can be complex for laymen to follow, but God expects people to search the Scriptures, and that is why He calls people who may carry the title of Preacher, Parson, Reverend, or Pastor to teach and preach His Word. Some people love to carry the title, but don’t want to do the job of teaching and preaching. Some even like to teach other religious beliefs aside from what is taught in the Bible. Well, for those who say that God called them to the task, it’s between them and God whether they are diligently working at His task.
Monday, September 21, 2015, 11:09 AM
There is always that time when people need to question the reason for being. Why do I exist? Did lightning strike some primordial pool and cells formed and started multiplying, then becoming more complex, then more specialized, and over time multiple species evolved and eventually there was man? Eventually mankind increased in knowledge and learned how to improve things and the more he ‘improved’ things, the more hardships and greed and terror evolved; then the person dies and may be a memory to some for a time and then there is no more, except the next generation? I’m certain, within myself, that this is not the case. Do we ever sit down and ponder what our reason for being is? Do we ever seek to perform according to some purpose?
Believe me or not- Yahweh created us, and not just so we could be like ants or cats and dogs that run wild. We have a purpose. Do we ever seek to find that purpose and strive to accomplish that purpose- that reason for being? Do we live our lives just to see how much we can accumulate or how we can outdo one another with the everyday life of this world?
Believe me or not- there will be a day when mankind will give an accounting to Yahweh. What will we say was our purpose in this earthly life? Would someone tell the Creator that he made huge advances in medical science that led to the saving of many lives? The Bible says that the Lord searches the hearts of man. What would the medical scientist say when the Lord investigates his motives and aims for his cures”? Would he say, “Oh, I had an intense interest in science and how things work and for my labors I had a fine home, car, and put my three children through college? Then he worked for his rewards and had his rewards in this life. Would he say, “Lord, I saw people suffering and my heart went out to them and I studied to find ways to help people who were suffering; yes, I made a nice living, but I also gave up so much and did much work without charge for patients who didn’t have enough to pay”? Which one of the two medical scientists saw a real purpose that went beyond his own benefits?
Would someone answering to the our Creator say, “Lord, I should have a real reward in Heaven because I was a card player and gambler, and I was so good I beat all who played me and made a fortune at the casinos”? Would he expect the Lord to tell him he had a notable purpose? Or suppose he said, “Lord, I deserve a nice home in Heaven because I had such a hard life on earth; I was a gambler and lost everything”? Would he expect Yahweh to tell him that he had sought a commendable purpose?
Suppose a professional athlete or Olympic star said that he had made millions and gave away millions, would he expect that to be service for his Creator? The Pharisees and Sadducees made a big show of how much they gave and on top of that tried to show what exemplary lives they lived, but Jesus told them that they were a generation of vipers and like painted sepulchers that were beautiful on the outside, but inside they were full of dead men’s bones. A lot of professional athletes may give a lot to worthy causes, but how much do they keep for themselves and what sort of life do they live? Even if they live exemplary lives, what makes them more than the Pharisees and Sadducees? Our Creator will look much deeper than what they did in this life; He will search their heart motivations.
How much time do we spend searching out the motivations of our lives and what we do for our Creator, not expecting anything in particular, but just in knowing that since He created us, it must be for a reason? How much of ourselves do we invest in finding and doing that purpose for which we were created?