The Price of Heaven

Friday, May 18, 2018

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5 KJV).

Heaven has an entrance fee—and, friend, you CANNOT pay it!

Our flesh loves to perform. You would think that 10 rules would get someone discouraged, but no! If so much as one rule is kept 90 percent of the time, or all are kept 10 percent of the time, there is boasting. “No, I did not keep it perfectly, but ‘I did the best I could!’ I will try even harder next time!” A performance-based acceptance system, unfortunately for sinners, is an “all-or-nothing” procedure. Even though a sentence may be 99 percent true, one wrong word renders the whole statement false. Likewise, one failure nullifies the “performance” to become (something quite easy to guess)—“non-performance!!”

King David, in today’s Scripture, is confessing to God. David has recently become a coveter, an adulterer, a liar, a conspirer, and a murderer: “[1] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Today’s Scripture follows: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Just yesterday, a woman told me that she believed a man went to Heaven because he had given so much money to his church. Like so many, she fails to see the truths from the pen of King David. David knew his problem was sin: he was born a sinner! No matter his “good” works, his sin nature would remain.

Having received a complete revelation from God, we see what David could not. Jesus Christ died on Calvary to be the “propitiation”—the fully-satisfying payment—for our sins (Romans 3:25). Friend, you place before God something other than faith in Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins, and you will be indubitably disappointed when you realize your “method of payment” is permanently denied!

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!!!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Jesus Christ called ‘The Word of God?’

Thou Art The Man to Restore—Times Four #6

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1 KJV).

How can this help us understand some of the tragic deaths associated with the Davidic dynasty?

Re-reading 2 Samuel chapter 12: “[5] And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: [6] And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. [7] And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man….” David never forgot his solemn words: he DID INDEED restore fourfold!!!

Solomon’s older brother—David’s first child with Bathsheba, an unnamed newborn (?) baby—died. David’s firstborn son, Amnon, was then assassinated. Next, Absalom, Amnon’s younger brother, was murdered. Burying three of his children was most difficult for David. After his demise, though, a fourth son died. Adonijah, Solomon’s older half-brother, twice endeavored to usurp David’s throne that God promised to Solomon; Solomon finally executed Adonijah. Yea, as God predicted, David’s house would perpetually experience violence (see 2 Samuel 12:10). In addition to the above four deaths, several decades later, David’s royal descendants died prematurely in 2 Kings 11:1-2 and 21:23.

Dear friends, stop and think. These Scriptures are not “dead history” or “superstitious fairytales.” Our sin comes at a price—VERY HIGH!! It not only negatively impacts us, but those around us… not just now, but for decades or centuries to come!! It ultimately cost the Lord Jesus Christ His life to pay for our sins! No, David did not die because of his sin with Bathsheba—but four of his sons did! Never forget, dear brethren, sin is serious beyond imagination. BEFORE we act, we had better think long and hard of the consequences!!!!!

As Christians, let us remember: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8).

Thou Art The Man to Restore—Times Four #5

Monday, February 19, 2018

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1 KJV).

How can this help us understand some of the tragic deaths associated with the Davidic dynasty?

Over a decade after Absalom’s murder—just prior to David’s death and Solomon’s ascension to the throne—Solomon’s half-brother Adonijah plots to become David’s successor. (Second Samuel 3:2-4 states Adonijah is a younger brother of deceased Amnon and expired Absalom.)

As 1 Kings chapter 1 unfolds, the Prophet Nathan and Solomon’s mother Bathsheba foil Adonijah’s first attempt to seize David’s throne. Before David expires, he follows God’s orders and pronounces Solomon as king. “And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die” (1 Kings 1:50-53). Solomon, now king, warns his older half-brother Adonijah not to try to steal Israel’s throne again. Chapter 2 begins with David’s death, and then delineates how Adonijah schemes a second time to take Solomon’s throne.

As per Solomon’s decree, evil Adonijah must be put to death: “[22] And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. [23] Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. [24] Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day. [25] And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.”

Adonijah, David’s fourth son, is executed. Today’s Scripture has been met. Departed David, fortunately, never saw this fourth funeral. Now, let us summarize and conclude….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What is the ‘purtenance?’” and “What is the ‘caul?’

Thou Art The Man to Restore—Times Four #4

Sunday, February 18, 2018

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1 KJV).

How can this help us understand some of the tragic deaths associated with the Davidic dynasty?

Once Absalom assassinated his half-brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, he fled to his mother’s relatives in Geshur (2 Samuel 13:37-39). For three years Absalom was exiled. In chapter 14, Joab, commander of King David’s army, arranged Absalom’s return to Jerusalem. Chapter 15 documents how handsome Absalom captivated the Jews. Inciting an uprising, he assumed his father David’s throne, David thus swiftly absconding Jerusalem.

Chapter 18 reports: “[5] And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom…. [9] And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

“[10] And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak. [11] And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle…. [14] Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts [spears] in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. [15] And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. [17] And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood….”

David wanted beloved Absalom apprehended alive; sadly, David’s servants executed him. King David is utterly heartbroken (2 Samuel 18:31–19:4). Absalom is the third son he must bury. Yet, one more son must perish….

Thou Art The Man to Restore—Times Four #3

Saturday, February 17, 2018

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1 KJV).

How can this help us understand some of the tragic deaths associated with the Davidic dynasty?

A few years after David and Bathsheba’s baby died, Amnon—David’s firstborn son (2 Samuel 3:2)—schemed to eventually rape his half-sister Tamar. Although king of Israel, appointed to lead God’s people in His ways, David does not punish his son and does not comfort his daughter. You can read the horrific account in 2 Samuel 13:1-22 if you desire. As the second half of the chapter now proves, Absalom—Tamar’s brother and Amnon’s half-brother—will take vengeance where their father David did not.

“[28] Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant. [29] And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

“[30] And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left. [31] Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. [32] And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. [33] Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead. [34] But Absalom fled….”

Amnon is the second son of David to perish. However, as per today’s Scripture, there are two more impending and heartrending deaths….

Thou Art The Man to Restore—Times Four #2

Friday, February 16, 2018

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1 KJV).

How can this help us understand some of the tragic deaths associated with the Davidic dynasty?

Continue reading from 2 Samuel chapter 12: “[7] And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; [8] And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. [9] Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. [10] Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

“[11] Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. [12] For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. [13] And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD [cf. Psalm 51]. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. [14] Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

Time and space limit us here, but you should read verses 15-23 to see David’s baby with Bathsheba indeed dies. David is forgiven, but his sin has now begun to devastate his family….