These Three Men

Sunday, October 7, 2018

“Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 14:14 KJV).

These three historical figures—yes, they were real characters—would not have been enough to save Israel’s land from God’s wrath!

Noah lived centuries before the nation Israel was formed. “…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Second Peter 2:5 remarks concerning the wicked, multimillions of violent people of that day: “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly….”

Daniel, a prophet and descendant of King David, had a ministry throughout the entire 70-year Babylonian captivity and beyond. A believing Jew in pagan and idolatrous Babylon, he risked his life to follow God rather than man. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). “Now when Daniel knew that the writing [law] was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10).

Job was Jacob’s grandson through son Issachar (Genesis 46:13). His immense suffering under Satan’s hand is highlighted in the famous Bible Book that bears his name. Despite his many hardships, he declined to renounce his faith in his God. “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 evil?” (Job 1:8 cf. Job 2:3). “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).

If Noah, Daniel, and Job lived in the land of Canaan, God would still not spare it. Israel had defiled it with pagan idolatry, especially Jerusalem (His capital city). The Lord GOD would remove those three men and then judge the land (see also Ezekiel 14:16,18,20)!

They Took My Religion!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? (Judges 18:23,24 KJV).

Why, oh why, is Micah so distraught?!

Judges chapters 17 and 18 show Baal worship, pagan-idol religion, slowly infiltrating Israel. Micah’s mother gives much silver to a founder (metal worker) to make silver idols, which idols Micah takes. “[Micah] had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim [household idols], and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest” (17:5). Eventually, he ordains a young, nomadic, apostate Levite to be his priest.

As chapter 18 opens, the roaming Danites (a tribe of Israel) arrive at Micah’s house. They recognize the Levite, ultimately learning he leads Micah’s vain religious system. These Danites leave but later return, armed with weapons. They take Micah’s “aids to worship” by force! Verses 17,18: “And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. And these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?”

The Danites convince the Levite to come and be their priest. Idolatry, once confined to one man and his mother, is now adopted by a whole tribe of Israel!! Micah and his acquaintances cry out in today’s Scripture. The Danites have robbed them of their religion—now, they have nothing! Such is the case when one’s religion consists of simply material “stuff.” It can be stolen, destroyed, smashed, burned, lost forever. How much better, dear friends, to know that if we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, no one can ever take Him from us!

How to Do Right!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:…. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him (2 Chronicles 14:2-3,5 KJV).

King Asa’s noteworthy extensive religious reforms involved demolishing his fathers’ idols and shrines, and teaching good doctrine.

Asa was King David’s great-great-grandson. His father (King Abijah/Abijam) was evil, as was his grandfather King Rehoboam. Asa was Judah’s first good king in 20 years. While appearing briefly in 1 Kings chapter 15, much of what we know about him comes from 2 Chronicles chapters 14-16 (today’s Scripture). He ruled Judah 41 years and was Jehoshaphat’s father.

Verse 4: “And [Asa] commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.” They were to keep the Mosaic Law: the First Commandment instructed Israel not to have any other gods before JEHOVAH God. Idols had been worshipped long enough; it was time to forsake such folly and live realistically. Exodus 20:3-5: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God….”

Religion demands, “You had better stop sin!” Yet, no religionist knows how to do it! Asa went beyond merely forbidding evil; he told his people how to do right. Since they listened to the LORD God, he blessed them with peace in their land for 10 years. Not only do we stress the negative (sin), we emphasize the positive (eternal life through Jesus Christ). We present the bad news first to heighten the good news—“the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Satisfied in Superstition #6

Thursday, August 23, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

God intended the Abrahamic Covenant to bless all nations (Gentiles) through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). However, Israel disallowed God’s Word, thus declining to be His messengers to Gentiles. Jesus Christ saved and directly commissioned Paul to preach to all in Satan’s lie program (unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles—Hell-bound idolaters!).

Paul and Barnabas preached in Acts chapter 14: “[15] Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Escape Satan’s darkness by trusting Christ!

Also, Paul announced: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (verses 29,30—the context of today’s Scripture). Think properly! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and forsake this pagan nonsense! “Turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Sadly, many “intellectual” Athenians were satisfied in their superstitious silliness (Acts 17:32).

Yet, Paul had converts from heathenism: “And you hath he [Father God] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1,2).

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What if I was never thanked?

Satisfied in Superstition #5

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Romans chapter 1 describes the nations (Gentiles) whom the God of the Bible renounced at the Tower of Babel. They refused to think about Him and His Word so He gave them up and over to their desired empty, worthless, satanic views. However, this is also true concerning individuals. People convince themselves not to think properly about the Creator God and spiritual matters. They willfully (key word!) reject the information He has freely offered them.

God caused Israel to fall nationally in early Acts when she ignored the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus Christ. With their deliberate stoning of His prophet Stephen in chapter 7, He set them aside (albeit temporarily). They thereafter became like all the Gentiles—enjoying Satan’s lie program, his dark and evil world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). God could have righteously destroyed them all in wrath, but instead He poured out grace and mercy in chapter 9 to Saul of Tarsus (the leader of Israel’s rebellion against God). “Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your [Gentiles’/nations’] mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:31,32).

Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. The crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ told him on the day of his salvation unto eternal life: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18). The Lord removed Saul from spiritual darkness, Satan’s “power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) so he could preach to others how they too could be delivered through Christ Jesus. Paul did that in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #4

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

The world’s “mess”—madness, mayhem, wickedness, injustice, religious confusion, spiritual darkness—should not surprise us. Moreover, it is not accidental that Satan and sin reign among us! God has let mankind exercise free will (volition). Romans chapter 1 outlines man’s threefold declension from his natural knowledge of God to his tenacious abandonment of said knowledge. Blame us—not God—for sin!

“[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

“[24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…. [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;…. [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

It was these people, the nations, to whom the Apostle Paul ministered in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #3

Monday, August 20, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Genesis 11:1-9 describes the postdiluvian (after Great Flood) nations assembling in Shinar (Babylon, or modern Iraq) to “build [them] a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” Nimrod led the construction of this Tower of Babel—an international, political-religious system. (Its antitype is the Antichrist’s [future] Whore of Babylon described in Revelation chapters 17-18.) The LORD God gave those nations over to their preference—Satan worship, pagan idolatry, one-world religion (an amalgamation of all spiritual ideas). There, the nations fell as Adam had. Again, it was a willful rejection of God’s truth and a plunge into spiritual darkness (cf. Acts 14:15,16): “[God] in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Hence, the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations originated.

With Genesis chapter 11 closing and chapter 12 opening, the LORD God began forming a special nation—Israel. Beginning with Abram/Abraham, Israel will accomplish what Adam and the nations deliberately declined to do. They are the vessel whereby God will fulfill His earthly purpose. He thus expects and commands Israel to avoid her neighbors’ heathen beliefs and idolatrous practices. Read Deuteronomy 4:16-19, but especially notice verse 19: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Indeed, at Babel, God gave the nations over to the gods and goddesses of superstition.

Sadly, Israel did not keep herself pure either. Eventually, when her Redeemer (Jesus Christ) came, she was so polluted with error that she crucified Him in unbelief. She persisted in that unbelief, that rejection of God’s Word, until He placed her on the same spiritual level as He had put the Gentiles 2,000 years previous. Now we get to today’s Scripture….