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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Indecisive Israel #8

Wednesday, September 13, 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!)

Gideon the Judge dies, leaving an idol for Israel to worship. His son Abimelech usurps leadership, and reigns three years (Judges 9:1-57). With Abimelech’s death, Tola judges Israel 23 years (10:1,2). Jair judges Israel 22 years (10:3-5). With Jair’s demise, Israel apostatizes even more! The fifth cycle begins.

Chapter 10, verse 6, says: “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.” Friends, there is unparalleled idolatry in Israel now. She has multiplied idols beyond belief!

God brings in the Philistines and the children of Ammon to oppress Israel 18 years (verses 7-9). We keep reading: “[10] And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. [11] And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? [12] The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. [13] Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. [14] Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

Let us see what Israel will do now….

 

Indecisive Israel #7

Tuesday, September 12, 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!)

The fourth cycle starts after Deborah’s demise. Israel does evil in the sight of the LORD again, so He causes the Midianites to dominate her seven years. Israel cries for help, and JEHOVAH God sends a prophet to them: “[8] Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; [9] And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; [10] And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice(Judges chapter 6).

God pities Israel. Raising up a prophet and judge, Gideon, He gives them an amazing military victory over the Midianites. Israel’s land rests 40 years. (Judges 6:1–8:32) Nevertheless….

Chapter 8 reports: “[27] And Gideon made an ephod [image/idol] thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house…. [33] And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. [34] And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:….”

Surprisingly, dear friends, Israel will grow even worse….