Buried Servants, Not Buried Program

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel (Joshua 1:1,2 KJV).

Yea, “God buries His servants, but not His program.”

Moses was certainly dead: his soul has departed his body, and God Himself has buried the corpse (Deuteronomy 34:5,6). Yet, Israel will still enter the Promised Land—except under Joshua’s headship. Had it depended on Moses, it would have never happened. Moses is deceased… but God is living and in control!

While the God of the Bible uses men and women to accomplish mighty things, they are nevertheless bound to frail, temporary “houses of clay” (Job 4:19). He does not shield them from old age and ultimate physical death. Dying King David, another servant of Israel’s God, remarked, “I go the way of all the earth” (1 Kings 2:2).

These men were mighty testimonies of God’s power and grace, so why did He not spare them physical death? People ask today, “Why do the good die young and the evil live to old age?” Why does God let His servants die? He does not want them to be praised and worshipped. He is showing how it is His program, and He really does not need man’s cooperation. With or without man, God will achieve His goals in creation. He does not need us, but He does invite us to join Him! He wants to share His good pleasure with us, that it may become our good pleasure.

If we do join God’s side by faith, working with Him in His program, let us remember that it is still His program. We are not the issue. Hence, we will have a limited time on Earth to participate in His plan. Brethren, once we physically die and relocate to serve Him in the heavenly places, His purpose down here on Earth will continue (without us!!!!). It never depended on us anyway: it was here long before we were born and will remain long after we are gone. 🙂

Stuff

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back (Luke 17:31 KJV).

Friend, you may be surprised to learn that “stuff” is a Bible word. It is a generic term employed to refer to various bits of matter, materials, articles, or activities. These things may not be defined or determined, so such an unrestrictive noun is quite convenient. Observe this stuff!

Laban frenetically searched Jacob’s “stuff” for his idols but found them not (Genesis 31:37). Pharaoh told Joseph to bring his family from Canaan and to “regard not [their] stuff” because “the good of all the land of Egypt is [theirs]” (Genesis 45:20). The Mosaic Law issued instructions about what would happen if a man gave his neighbor “money or stuff” to watch and guard and it was stolen (Exodus 22:7). As the planning of the Tabernacle was underway, the Jewish people were forced to stop giving building supplies because the “stuff” they had already given was more than enough (Exodus 36:7). God spoke of a conspiracy to take forbidden items and hide them in the “stuff” of the camp of Israel (Joshua 7:11).

Saul, just after his anointing as Israel’s first king, was so timid that he hid among the “stuff” (1 Samuel 10:22). As David and his companions are fleeing King Saul’s angry face, 200 of them stay by the “stuff” to protect it (1 Samuel 25:13). First Samuel 30:24 has David saying, “For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” In cleansing a polluted room, Nehemiah threw out all the household “stuff” (Nehemiah 13:8). As a way of teaching Judah of their impending deportation to Babylon, God told the Prophet Ezekiel to prepare him “stuff” for moving his “stuff” (Ezekiel 12:3,4,7).

The Bible’s final reference to “stuff” is today’s Scripture. Here, “stuff” is just that—inconsequential and useless. It is to be abandoned when Israel must choose between retaining it and escaping the Antichrist defiling Jerusalem!!!

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The Things to Think About

Friday, October 6, 2017

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

Behold, the things to think about!

Recently, a dear Christian brother phoned me. As our conversation progressed, he told me how he had been suffering major anxiety. We began to talk about the Scriptures. Near the end, he told me how he had become calmer. I explained to him that our minds are designed to only think about one subject at a time. If the Scriptures can “distract” us during our anxiety, then our worries melt into peace. Of course, our mind will wander from the Bible. Therefore, we will have to remember and repeat today’s Scripture.

When the new generation of Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land under Joshua, the LORD said: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate [think/ponder/consider] therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8). As long as the Jews were mindful “day and night” of the Mosaic Law, God’s Word to them, Satan’s false doctrine could not sidetrack or deceive them. God’s Word not only educates, but also furnishes us with something about which to think.

Just prior to today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit said: “[6] Be careful [anxious, worrisome] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The verse following today’s Scripture says: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me [Paul], do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Dear readers, when we think on God’s Word rightly divided, praying in accordance with it, then the Devil’s efforts to disorient and terrify us will be greatly hindered. “Think on these things!” 🙂

Indecisive Israel #12

Monday, September 18, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Israel forsook the Law of Moses, God’s primary instructions to them. Therefore, awful religious, moral, and social conditions overwhelmed the nation. In keeping with the Law Covenant, beginning in the Book of Judges, God punished Israel with the first course of judgment or chastisement promised in Leviticus chapter 26. Foreigners would oppress them, exactly as verse 17 predicted: “And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” This repeatedly occurred throughout Judges.

Similarly, the Church the Body of Christ has abandoned God’s apostle to us Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13). The last 2,000 years of the Body of Christ mimics Israel’s vacillation throughout the Book of Judges. There have been recurrent apostasies and isolated revivals, but an overall doctrinal deterioration. Ultimately, there is utter spiritual ruin—God’s people compromised and neutralized. Brethren, remember, the same evil world system—especially Satan’s religious system—that existed in Judges remains today over 3,000 years later. It will culminate in the Antichrist beyond our day.

Some “Christians” believe there is “no harm” in mixing with world religions, or intermarrying with non-Christians. Scripture disagrees. (Remember Israel’s pagan neighbors and spouses in Judges!) Some “grace believers” see “nothing wrong” with attending services at denominational churches. The Holy Spirit disagrees. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Brethren, let us not be indecisive like Israel. We should “be separate,” unapologetically and totally removed from the (pagan) religious system! 🙂

Indecisive Israel #11

Sunday, September 17, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Recall the Jews’ two chief sins that led to their idolatry during the Book of Judges. Firstly, they did not cleanse the land of all its idolatrous, heathen inhabitants, disobeying what JEHOVAH God had commanded them through Moses (Exodus 22:20; Exodus 23:23-25; Deuteronomy 13:12-15; Deuteronomy 20:16-18; et cetera). Satan used these Gentiles to corrupt the land, and they contaminated Israel once left there. Secondly, the Israelites married those pagans, something God also clearly prohibited in the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:10-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; et al.). Such intimate relationships further perverted Israel. She compromised and was ultimately neutralized.

Centuries after Judges ended, the Prophet Elijah stands on Mount Carmel. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel have influenced Israel (Northern Kingdom) to adopt Baal worship as its official religion. In the famous account of Elijah exposing Baal as a dead idol and JEHOVAH as the one true God, 1 Kings 18:21 says: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Imagine! Over 200 years after Judges closed, Israel is still waffling between Baal and JEHOVAH!

Beyond our day, Israel will reach “rock bottom” spiritually. Accepting the Antichrist and his false religious system (revived Baal worship!), unbelieving Israel is thus destroyed in God’s wrath during the Tribulation. Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming to forgive national Israel, make atonement for her sins, restore her unto Himself, and make believing Israel His kingdom of priests. Eternally joined to JEHOVAH God, Israel will never again be indecisive!

Now, we conclude this devotionals arc….

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Indecisive Israel #10

Friday, September 15, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Once Judge Abdon dies, Judges chapter 13 opens with Israel doing evil in the sight of the LORD. He gives them over to the Philistines 40 years. The angel of the LORD appears to Manoah and his wife, informing them that they will have a child who “shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (verse 5). This boy is Samson. In the coming years, he indeed slays many Philistines. Samson, in weakness, meets a tragic end. After judging Israel 20 years, he lets the Philistines capture him. They blind him, but he kills 3,000 more Philistines before taking his own life. (Judges 13:1–16:31)

Historically, the Book of Judges ends with Samson. Nevertheless, five subsequent “addendum” (hindsight) chapters detail Israel’s religious, moral, and social breakdown throughout that 450-year period (Acts 13:20). Judges chapters 17-21 document very dark, horrific events—especially chapter 19 (appalling, to say the least!). Baal worship gains a foothold in northern Israel in Micah’s house. Eventually, the whole tribe of Dan adopts Micah’s idolatrous religious system. Priests are now called “father.” A Jewess, servant-wife of a Levite, plays the whore. Then, the Jews of Gibeah rape her and ultimately beat her to death. Israelites war amongst each other—25,000 die in battle!

So, the “yo-yo,” “rollercoaster” 450-year period of the Judges ends. The Book closes with such sobering words: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (21:25; cf. Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). Frankly, dear friends, that expression says it all, and it is an apt conclusion!

(Before we summarize and conclude this devotionals arc, we will break away from it for one day to present a special study.)

Indecisive Israel #9

Thursday, September 14, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

In Judges chapter 10, Israel begs JEHOVAH God for deliverance from her enemies. Yet, unlike previous times, He refuses. She has worshipped more and more idols. He thus replies: “…and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (verses 12-14). Notice the contrasting of “I” and “them.” Did Israel’s idols rescue her from her enemies? No! The LORD God did. Her silly idols were useless in her time of need! The nation Israel recognizes those deities cannot help her even now.

“[15] And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. [16] And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” Verse 17 says the children of Ammon are advancing to fight against Israel. Will God send a deliverer?

JEHOVAH God raises Jephthah, rescuing Israel from the children of Ammon, Jephthah reigning six years (11:1–12:7). Ibzon judges Israel seven years (12:8-10). Elon judges Israel 10 years (12:11,12). Abdon judges Israel eight years (12:13-15). Once Abdon dies, the sixth and final cycle commences. Israel, while apostatizing and reforming over the centuries up to this point in Judges, is declining overall. Having disregarded Joshua’s parting instructions to her, she is very far from today’s Scripture….

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