LORD, Defend!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it (Isaiah 31:4,5 KJV).

Behold, God ultimately delivers Jerusalem!

Zechariah chapter 12: “[2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem…. [8] In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

At His fiery Second Coming, Christ flies from the third heaven, through outer space, and penetrates Earth’s atmosphere. From the air, He fights the Antichrist and his allies attacking Jerusalem (Revelation 16:14-16; Revelation 19:11-21). Isaiah chapter 31 continues, “[8] Then shall the Assyrian [Antichrist] fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. [9] And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.”

Zechariah 14:1-4: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east….”

LORD, Hear!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God (2 Kings 19:15-16 KJV)

Will God pay attention to King Hezekiah’s prayer?

Back in chapter 18, verse 13, Sennacherib King of Assyria attacked and captured all the fenced cities of Judah. King Hezekiah, ruler of Judah (in Jerusalem), gave Sennacherib all the silver in the Jerusalem Temple, the treasures of the king’s house, and gold from the Temple (verses 14-16). However, Sennacherib sent officials to taunt Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem, claiming he would attack the city anyway (verses 17-37).

In chapter 19, Hezekiah prayed to the LORD, even instructing representatives to go to the Prophet Isaiah for to learn the Word of the LORD (verses 1-7). A written message from the Assyrians reached Hezekiah (verses 8-13), teasing and intimidating the Jews even more. In today’s Scripture, Hezekiah has heard this latest news and is praying in the Temple (verse 14).

His prayer continues: “[17] Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, [18] And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. [19] Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.”

The LORD replies to Hezekiah’s petition by sending Isaiah the Prophet (verses 20-34): He will defend Jerusalem for His sake and for His servant David’s sake! Verse 35, “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand [185,000!]: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” Indeed, 700 B.C., God delivered Jerusalem here—a small glimpse of her deliverance from Gentile armies yet to come!

Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

The Faithful God

Friday, February 22, 2019

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

Indeed, “But God is faithful…!”

For some time now, I have been counseling with grace Christian friends enduring uninterrupted, quite awful, misfortunes. Whether legal problems, financial issues, or serious health threats, they are all facing one overriding decision. They have reached that dreaded crossroads (which we have all faced, or will eventually). Do they remain with the sound Bible doctrine they have believed and preached? Or, cast it aside under the immense weight of burdens? After all, where could God possibly be? Why does He not intervene and prevent the afflictions? How can evil just continue to triumph?

Never should the Christian—especially the grace believer—look at dire circumstances and wonder whatever happened to God. Dear friend, God went nowhere! Is His Spirit not eternally indwelling us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour?! “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep [guard] by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us (2 Timothy 1:13,14). The Holy Spirit in us gave Timothy (and us) “the form of sound words”—a pattern or outline of Pauline words to believe. Satan, God’s enemy, aims to divorce us from it; hence, we are admonished to “hold fast” or grip it tightly and firmly and not let it go! If we abandon God’s words to us, His power is absent, and we are utterly helplessness when Satan attacks.

Brethren, we can sit and wallow in self-pity, or (!) we can renew our minds with Romans through Philemon. God faithfully delivered us that form of sound (nourishing) words. Through Christ, He has enabled us to endure ALL (!) of life’s situations—good and bad (Philippians 4:11-13). Now, frankly, we firmly hold and put into practice by faith what we claimed to originally believe. Regardless of our circumstances, the doctrine remains true!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1 conflict?

He Who Deserves Praise

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being (Psalm 146:1,2 KJV).

Why does the Psalmist exhort, “Praise the LORD?”

Let us continue reading: “[3] Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. [4] His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Our fellow man, no matter how “dedicated” or “promising,” will eventually fail and dissatisfy us.

The LORD God, JEHOVAH God, however, is ascribed 12 major triumphs: “[5] Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: [6] Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: [7] Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: [8] The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: [9] The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. [10] The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.”

He is Creator of all (verse 6), He keeps truth forever (verse 6), executes judgment for the troubled (verse 7), feeds the hungry (verse 7), frees the captives (verse 7), opens the eyes of the blind (verse 8), lifts the stooping (verse 8), loves the righteous (verse 8), preserves the strangers (verse 9), alleviates the orphans and widows (verse 9), turns the way of the wicked upside down (verse 9), and reigns forever (verse 10).

Actually, these underscore various aspects of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The Antichrist, an apostate king Israel demanded, has proved to be an utter disappointment: his promises were mere flatteries, worthless as he is. All the misery he caused, injustice he supported, and ruin he left behind, are reversed. Creation is liberated from Satan’s grip. The rightful King is now sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem—His reign unending! “The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it not enough that ‘I believe in God?’

What is God Doing? #6

Thursday, January 10, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Miserable Job wailed, “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” (Job 19:23,24). Little did he know that his distress, and even these very words about them, would be entered into the record of God’s eternal Word! Job was likely the first Bible Book written, as it highlights events that occurred a few decades before Israel escaped Egypt under Moses’ command. Yes, it seems this Job was the Job who was a son of Issachar (Genesis 46:13), thus making Job grandson of Jacob, great-grandson of Isaac, and great-great-grandson of Abraham.

Job did not know it, and neither did his friends “the miserable comforters,” but God allowed his unpleasant circumstances to transpire in order to hearten the Jewish saints living in the end times. The Apostle James remarks: “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:10,11).

First Peter 4:19 aptly summarizes both Job’s plight, suffering under Satan’s “reign,” and the end-times saints’ dilemma, anguishing under the Antichrist’s brutal rule: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” Even in the midst of trouble, God is still hard at work, fully dependable. No matter who opposes His efforts or troubles His people, He will bring His will to pass and He will bring them through it. Right now, in spite of the world’s mess, society’s degradation, God is quite busy doing His good pleasure….

God’s Perfect Timing

Monday, December 17, 2018

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!