Friday, July 29, 2016

There are Yet Seven Thousand and Many More

"Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." (1 Kings 19:18)

Elijah the prophet was despondent.

He had done everything in his power to stop the evil overwhelming Israel.

He had killed scores of wicked false priests and prophets.

He had conducted an incredible sacrifice which gave God all the glory.

And then ... Jezebel whiffed a simple threat.

Elijah got scared, ran away, then sunk under a broom tree.

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat." (1 Kings 19: 4-5)

He thought that he had to do everything else.

Instead of making him get busy and get to work, the LORD had him rest, eat, drink, and rest again.

All that time, the LORD was taking care of his enemies;

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." (Psalm 23:5)

Later on, Elijah was still complaining as though he had to do all the fighting:

"4And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (1 Kings 19:14)

Ntotice that word "I".

We can do nothing of ourselves. We need the Savior, Jesus, every day helping us, leading us, guiding us, blessing and building us.



God corrects Elijah's self-righteous resignation:

"Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." (1 Kings 19: 18)

Paul the apostle references this verse in his letter to the Romans:

"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:1-6)

Note that Paul is talking about a seemingly hopeless situation--that the Israelites will be lost because they rejected Jesus.

And yet .. that is not the case, for those who believe on Him!

In fact, we must never think that our lives, that the challenges in our lives are all up to us.

Jesus has done the work of saving us, and He is working within us for all things:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)

We are not fighting on our own. We are not alone.

He is a GOD to us! (Hebrews 8: 10-12)

Monday, July 11, 2016

We Can Rest, Because He Watches Over Us

"He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.


"Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121: 3-4)

Since the Fall of man, man is determined to look over his shoulders, fearful of anything terrible or negative happening to him.

Many people in the world believe "If I do not watch over everything in my life, then everything will fall apart."

That was never God's intention for man.

He wanted to care for him and allow him to rest in His goodness:

"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1: 22)

and also

"At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

"Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31: 1-3)

And also:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11: 28)

Jesus is our rest, He is watching over.

He is our Savior in every way, in every dimension

We have no need to keep looking over our shoulders. for He carries us on both of His!

"[W]when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing." (Luke 15: 5)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We Do Know the Way: Jesus!

"Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. 6Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8: 5-6)

Let us never forget that Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of Solomon the aged king, whose heart had departed from God.

Yes, he enjoyed the wisdom, but not the righteousness and life of God.

Those are in His right hand, and we have that today because of Jesus!

So, the Preacher writes "The misery of man is great upon him, for he does not now what shall be."

Today, we do know the way, and we know what is ahead for us:

"Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 5-6)

We do not have to fear where we are going, either, because we know that He promises us good things and not evil.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"(Ephesians 1: 3)

and

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46: 10)

And His pleasure is ... to prosper us!

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

We have this promise because of His Son Jesus:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)

We know that way--and His Name is Jesus!

We know that good things are coming our way, too:

" But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4: 18)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

We Do Know His Name, and His Name is SAVIOR!

"Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Proverbs 30: 4)

Who is this Man who has ascended and descended?

His name is Jesus!

"No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven--the Son of Man." (John 3: 13)

and

"No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven--the Son of Man." (Ephesians 4: 8)

Who has gathered the win His fists?

God the Father!

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1: 1)

He created it, and through His Son, He holds all creation:

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1: 15-17)

Notice that Jesus is forever tied, united, identified with His Father:

"I and my Father are one." (John 10: 30)

The writer of Proverbs wanted to know His Son's name.

We know His Name! JESUS!

"And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS." (Luke 1: 31)

So, we know His name.

Let us now call on His name!

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10: 13)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Set Free By His Spirit

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3: 17)

We are not set free by our actions.

We are set free by the Finished Work of Jesus Christ:

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8: 36)

He has set us free.

We are freed from sin.

"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6: 18)

We are freed from death.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" (Hebrews 2: 14)

We are freed from the curse of the law:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" (Galatians 3: 13)

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us Your Spirit, and Your Liberty today!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Not How Shall We Save Ourselves, But Who Shall Save Us

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?" (2 Kings 6: 15)

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha (a type of our Savior Jesus Christ), stood at the doorstep of their home.

And he saw the entire Syrian army. They were mad. They were ready to destroy Elisha with impunity.

Why? Because Elisha knew the Syrian king's plans

"

How would you have reacted!

The normal fleshy reaction is "What am I going to do?"

Notice particularly Gehazi's sharp fear: "How shall we do?"

The servant was convinced was convinced that the prophet and he could so something, but they were not sure what.

The truth is, there was nothing that he could do.

Instead of doing something, Elisha prayed ... for the servant's eyes to be opened:

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6: 16-17)



It's not about how we do something, or anything.

It's about who we see!

Elisha--"God Saves"--took Gehazi's eyes off of himself and to focus on the LORD!

It's not about "How shall we save ourselves" but "Who shall save us!"

And we have a Savior today!

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1: 21)

"Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence." (Psalm 91: 3)

and

"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;" (Titus 3:3-6)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Don't Blame God for Your Misfortunes

"And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. 12It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. 13And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. 14And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there." (2 Samuel 16: 11-14)

David was a great poet, shepherd, fighter, leader, king ...

But he was a bad father. He did nothing when one of his sons raped his daughter Tamar.

Another son, Absalom, took matters into his own hands.

Instead of dealing with both sons, David did nothing.

The same thing happened with a third son, Adonijah:

"And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom." (1 Kings 1: 6)

Probably out of guilt or a sense of inadequacy, David did not discipline his children.

Proverbs teaches otherwise:

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

David was not imparting grace and truth to his children.

Later, Absalom would "steal the hearts" (2 Samuel 15:6) of the people of Israel, so that he could lead a stunning rebellion against his own father.

This post, however, does not dwell on David's bad parenting.

Let us rather displace the lie that somehow the LORD was intent on punishing David.

God is not in the killing business. He does not anyone to perish, but rather be set free from sin and death:

"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" (Ezekiel 18: 23)

Because of Jesus, God is not in the cursing business:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" (Galatians 3: 13)

Looking back at David's dilemma--he had to flee from Jerusalem briefly, but he met support and sustenance from many.

Yes, Shimei of the tribe of Benjamin threw stones and dirt at David ....

But all of these terrible happenings were NOT Gods' fault!

Yet notice how God still blessed David and enabled him to retake the throne which God had already given him!

Final Reflection

In the face of misfortunes, never think that God is suddenly against you. David kept the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem, a picture of Jesus as our propitiation for our sins (1 John 2: 1-2).

Let us rest in the truth that He is for us, not against us (Romans 8: 31). Where even under the Old Covenant of bulls and goats, David was restored to his throne despite his own failures.

Today, under the perfect blood of Jesus--and we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2: 4-6)--we need never wonder if He is on our side. If there are misfortunes, they may result from our own poor decisions, but let us not blame God.

He is for us!