Glory Not in Thyself!

Friday, September 25, 2020

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:17,18 KJV).

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Obituaries are death notices of people, often with a short biography attached. They are small glimpses into their life. You can read their age, education and occupation, survivors, and burial information. There might be a section that contains their interests, hobbies, and other activities that occupied their spare time. Usually, some insight will be gained concerning their spiritual or religious life—namely, church or denominational membership.

Just the other day, I read the obituary of a local “celebrity.” One paragraph opened: “She was very involved with her community and belonged to many civic organizations and clubs.” A list of eight groups followed! Then, another sentence: “She received many awards and achievements from….” A list of nine awards followed. There is absolutely nothing wrong in enjoying helping people—youth, the disabled, the poor, and so on. Yet, why are we engaged in these behaviors? Is it because our church demanded we do good works, that we may one day use them as “leverage” to convince God we can meet His righteous standard and be let into Heaven? Such are useless works of the flesh, profiting nothing in eternity! Or, was it Jesus Christ living His life in and through us as we walked by faith in His Word to us? That alone will matter forever!

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God (1 Corinthians 4:1-5).

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #4

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

Read from Psalm 80: “[1] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. [2] Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. [3] Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [4] O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?….”

“[7] Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [8] Thou hast brought a vine [Israel!] out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. [9] Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land…. [14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; [15] And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. [16] It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance…. [18] So will not we go back from thee: quicken [resurrect!] us, and we will call upon thy name. [19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The curses of the Law have come upon sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). God has righteously judged her land with extreme hardship—political collapse, military defeat, Gentile oppression, illness, death, pestilence, drought and famine, and so on. The Prophet Daniel confesses his people’s sin, adding: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’S sake” (Daniel 9:17). Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant in Psalms acknowledges their nation’s sins, and asks for Christ’s Second Coming to set everything right again….

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #3

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

In the Tabernacle (Moses’ ministry onward), JEHOVAH God manifested His glory: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). When King Solomon constructed the Jerusalem Temple five centuries later, “…the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:11). By the time of the Prophet Ezekiel 300 years later, the Jews have sinned to such a degree that, “…the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims…. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (Ezekiel 10:18; Ezekiel 11:23).

With Israel breaking the Old Covenant by engaging in heathen idolatry, God will continue to hide His face from them (Deuteronomy 31:14-21). Regarding the LORD’S presence leaving Israel six centuries before Christ, He declared: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek [!] my [!] face [!]: in their affliction they will seek me early. [Israel’s believing remnant confesses….] Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (Hosea 5:15–6:2).

Now, carefully re-read Psalm 67 and Psalm 85. Israel’s believing remnant confesses their national sin of idolatry committed for thousands of years. Also, the Little Flock prays for the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The face of God—hiding from Israel (He has left Jerusalem and returned to Heaven)—will at last be seen (cf. today’s Scripture). “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him” (Isaiah 8:17)….

Lack of Knowledge!

Friday, September 4, 2020

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6 KJV).

Despite living in this prosperous world, one possession is often scarce. What?

Recently, I heard a religious man remark concerning a devastating natural disaster: “I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but if I make it to Heaven, I am going to ask about it.” This is a disturbing statement for two reasons. Firstly, even as a faithful church member of a “Christian” denomination, he lacks the very answers the Bible has already provided on that subject (Genesis chapter 3, for example!). Secondly—and this makes it most unsettling—he said “if” he would get to Heaven!

Never can we fault church members for being idle. They know how to go through the motions of praying, fasting, kneeling, hand-raising, clapping, singing, confessing, shouting, weeping, dancing, speaking in “tongues,” jumping, giving alms, lighting candles, water baptizing, and so on. Yet, most lack even a basic understanding of Scripture. This was the Jews, over 700 years before Christ. The LORD commented, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Dutifully offering animal sacrifices, they were unfamiliar with God’s words! Written around the same time was Isaiah 5:13: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”

The Hebrew word rendered “knowledge” in today’s Scripture is “da`ath.” It was paired with the negative prefix “beliy” (“without”). The same idea is found in Deuteronomy 4:42—“unawares”—when someone killed his neighbor unintentionally. It is translated “ignorantly” in Deuteronomy 19:4 and “unwittingly” in Joshua 20:3. Just as this manslayer was oblivious to his victim neighbor’s presence, so we can be equally ignorant of Scripture. Unfortunately, that is sometimes deliberate: Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:14,15; cf. today’s Scripture). May spiritual ignorance—especially purposeful—not be true of us!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #12

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry, the Holy Spirit warned the Church the Body of Christ, in 1 Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

“[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. [9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.”

To locate sound Bible doctrine, a good local church or home Bible study, we must look beyond superficialities. “Go to the church of your choice, the denomination does not matter” is downright foolish. “I love this group because of its multimillion-dollar ‘sanctuary’ and ‘moving worship services’” is downright ignorance. “You belong with us because we alone have these ceremonies and rituals” is stark nonsense. Dear friends, if the Word of God rightly divided is not valued there, if God’s grace is not taught and the Gospel of Grace is not clearly proclaimed there, it is utterly useless.

We now conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A articles #759 and #760: “What is the ‘judgment’ of Galatians 5:10?” and “Will God kill false teachers?

To Look Beyond the Makeup #11

Monday, August 31, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

While the Book of Proverbs is often considered “God’s wisdom,” we can qualify that. Proverbs is God’s wisdom that Israel must adopt to avoid the pagan idolatry and deception of the Antichrist and his religious system (the Whore of Babylon).

Proverbs chapter 5: “[1] My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: [2] That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. [3] For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: [4] But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. [5] Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. [6] Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. [7] Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. [8] Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:….

Now, chapter 7: “[1] My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. [2] Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. [3] Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. [4] Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: [5] That they may keep [guard] thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.Read verses 6-23, how this prostitute seduces a thoughtless man to have intimate relations with her (like Jezebel attempted to lure Jehu in today’s Scripture!).

“[24] Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. [25] Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. [26] For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. [27] Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. Israel should heed these warnings, as should we….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why was the Temple’s veil rent when Christ died?

To Look Beyond the Makeup #10

Sunday, August 30, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

The Prophet Hosea, conducting his ministry a century after Jezebel’s decease, describes the religious (spiritual) deterioration of Israel (the northern tribes). Such paganism was the result of idolatrous Jewish rulers, including Jezebel and Ahab. Both physical and spiritual perversion are rampant among the Jews—just as bad, or worse, as their neighboring Gentiles! “The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD (Hosea 1:2).

Read these other quotes from Hosea. “My people ask counsel at their stocks [sticks], and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall” (4:12-14). They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD (5:4).

The Book of Proverbs says in chapter 2: “[10] When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; [11] Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:… [16] To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; [17] Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. [18] For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. [19] None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. Israel must beware of this religious system that leads to the Antichrist….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

To Look Beyond the Makeup #9

Saturday, August 29, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

The Book of the Revelation, chapter 17, describes the world’s conditions after our Dispensation of Grace: “[1] And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: [2] With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

“[3] So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. [4] And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: [5] And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. [6] And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

Now, verses 15 and 16: “[15] And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. [16] And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” Finally, Revelation 19:2: “For true and righteous are his [the Lord our God’s] judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.”

Do you remember King Ahab and Queen Jezebel? A king of Israel united with a “religious” woman to pollute the Jews with pagan idolatry. Here typified are the Antichrist and his religious system, the Whore of Babylon….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #8

Friday, August 28, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Applying even small amounts of makeup will greatly enhance any person’s appearance. However, if one is not careful, he or she runs the risk of “painting” a scene of distorted reality (excuse the pun). Thus, the term “fakeup” has arisen. Dear friends, here is a most significant fact, one we dare not forget (especially in the religious realm). Makeup can mask the evilest of hearts. Despite that attractive physical face, there may very well be an ugly innermost being. Actually, in God’s sight, the unbelieving human heart is equally disturbing as the monster in a horror movie!

Consider the pitiful life story of Queen Jezebel. She had grown up in a pagan, Gentile (non-Jewish) household—surrounded by idols. Ahab, a King of Israel, had married her, and all 10 northern tribes greatly suffered spiritually. Eventually, because of another intermarriage, that Baal worship crept into the southern tribes of Judah. Jezebel slaughtered God’s prophets, including threatening to take the life of Elijah. She was not the least bit reluctant to lie about a man (Naboth) and put him to death, just so her husband Ahab could take possession of his vineyard. God promised both she and Ahab would die!

As of today’s Scripture, Ahab is long dead, and Jezebel is approximately 50 years of age. She has “painted” herself and neatly arranged her hair. Her outward form is absolutely breathtaking. Yet, we know her appalling history. Through the eyes of faith, we look beyond that makeup—yea, fakeup. Pretty and “innocent-looking,” Jezebel is nothing but a whore (spiritually and physically)! Her heart is desperately wicked: she is a bitter enemy of the God of the Bible, the God of Israel. Most beautiful outside, she is most hideous inside! She is a type of major events in Israel’s future. If the nation has any hope of surviving spiritually, the Jews need to pay attention to God’s warnings about this “beautiful” woman, this “strange” woman, this “painted” woman….