God’s “Imperceptible” Work #3

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

John the Baptist prophesied: “the wrath to come… every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire…. he shall baptize you… with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor… he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7,10-12; cf. Luke 3:7,9,16-17). Messiah (Jesus) would judge and destroy unbelievers in His fiery wrath!

Yet, as it turned out, wicked King Herod Antipas imprisoned John. With Herod unpunished, John spent many months incarcerated and eventually questioned if Jesus really was Messiah after all (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23). John was finally beheaded. The Lord Himself preached wrath was on its way (Matthew 13:24-30,36-42), before Israel killed Him. In early Acts, this fiery judgment was the Apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:34-36). Even Stephen, just before his murder, saw Jesus Christ standing at the Father’s right hand, ready to return in wrath (Acts 7:55,56; cf. Psalm 110:1).

As aged, dying Peter pens his second epistle, over 30 years have passed since Christ’s earthly ministry. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:3,4). The mockers inquire most arrogantly, “Where is that so-called ‘wrath’ to punish us, Peter, that all you ‘believers’ have been warning about for the last three decades? It was all a lie! We have gotten away with our unbelief and other sins!”

So, what of that Divine wrath? It has been 2,000 years now—and still nothing. Rest assured, God is at work, temporarily doing something else….

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #2

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

Centuries before the Israelites suffered under the Egyptians, the LORD had prophesied: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13-16). God had not forgotten about them in Egypt. He could not deliver the Jews from Pharaoh until the Gentiles living in the land of Canaan had sinned enough with their idols. Once the idolatry had provoked the LORD enough, He would throw the Gentiles out and bring Israel in.

Also, God would not liberate Israel until He judged Egypt with 10 plagues, proving His superiority to the Egyptians’ gods and goddesses (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4); Pharaoh himself had been worshipped as a god. The LORD could have instantly caused Pharaoh’s death, but instead delayed it and Egypt’s ruin until He had wrought a mighty work in Egypt to cause all Gentiles to hear and fear: “For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Exodus 9:15,16).

The LORD was working His will, but only imperceptibly to the natural man….

Many Days

Friday, October 22, 2021

“Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days” (Deuteronomy 2:1 KJV).

Exactly how many days were these “many days?”

Friend, have you noticed how complicated life is? If only things were much simpler and more enjoyable. Unfortunately, there is no perfect school, workplace, marriage, or church. Financial difficulties mount. Poor decisions lead to illness. Arguments and disagreements strain friendships. Disobedient children cause endless fretting about their wellbeing. Problems! Problems! Problems! We can be absolutely certain that wherever people can be found, trouble can be found there too. Wherever we find sin, we find complications. Hardships are part of this fallen creation.

Preparing for his departure via physical death, aged Moses is reciting the nation Israel’s history in today’s Scripture. The Jews had left Egypt and were bound for the Promised Land: “(There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)” (Deuteronomy 1:2). Leaving Horeb/Sinai, and approaching God’s land from the south, they arrived in Kadeshbarnea and wished to send in 12 spies to scout the land for 40 days (verses 19-25). “It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us” (verse 25b). “Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God” (verse 26). Oh, what a terrible sin! “Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day” (verses 32,33).

We have reached today’s Scripture: “Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.” Those “many days” were 40 years (Numbers 14:34)!!! In short, because of a failure to believe God’s words, a two-week journey stretched into four decades… and, by that time, the unbelievers had all perished—having never seen the LORD’S land. May we apply sound Bible doctrine by faith to life now, that we not have “many days” of destructive wandering either!

Confession Confusion #4

Thursday, June 24, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Continue reading Leviticus chapter 26, the fifth course of chastisement commencing: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. [31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

When Israel finds herself under Gentile dominion and dispersed throughout foreign lands (Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities circa 700/600 B.C.), God tells her how to be restored to Him: “[40] If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; [41] And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: [42] Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”

Confession of sins is Israel’s admission of guilt of breaking the Old Covenant, worshipping and serving idols. Once she humbles herself and acknowledges her sin problem (learning the lesson of the Law of Moses), then God by His grace delivers her into the New Covenant….

That They All May Be One! #10

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Contrary to popular belief, the harmony or accord of which Jesus spoke in John chapter 17 was not Bible believers setting aside doctrine so as to unite with heretics and apostates. Rather, it was the reunification of the peoples of Israel and Judah, the divided kingdoms joined together as they were in the days of David. Through the Apostles’ preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom—Jesus is Christ, the Son of David—their converts would return to Father God and thus submit to the Davidic dynasty as before. Ultimately, this will occur during the Millennium.

Re-read John chapter 17: “[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” We must not throw away sound Bible doctrine, for true Christian unity is based on the truth (cf. Ephesians 4:3-6). Thus, it is impossible to make all beliefs equivalent: all religions and denominations cannot be accepted without reservation. The Bible is specific in its teachings; therefore, we conclude doctrine matters (Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 3:9-11; et al.). Remember, the division between Israel and Judah occurred because of Solomon’s false religions, epitomized as: “Doctrine does not matter. Let us all gather around any and every god. All religions are the same anyway!”

Nay, brethren, we bring to mind the stern warning in Scripture: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘by and by’ mean?

That They All May Be One! #9

Friday, March 26, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

One purpose of the New Covenant is to rejoin Israel and Judah, redeem them through Jesus Christ’s shed blood, and forgive their sin debt incurred under the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39). Sin split them from God, and also divided them into two kingdoms and two nations. Yet, God’s grace will cover those transgressions and restore all 12 tribes under one King, the Lord Jesus Christ, to become one born-again nation. Returning to the Promised Land, they never again leave it because of Gentile captivity (Jeremiah 32:36-44; Ezekiel 36:16-38; et al.).

Although unbelieving, High Priest Caiaphas was used of the Holy Spirit to describe Jesus’ impending death: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad (John 11:49-52).

Believers from Israel and Judah, dispersed worldwide, will be made one people through Christ’s finished crosswork: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16). Again, it was this prophetic unification of Israel and Judah underlying Jesus’ prayer in today’s Scripture. Speaking of that Millennial reconciliation and blessing of Israel and Judah, Psalm 133:1 exclaims, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #10

Monday, January 18, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Exactly 12 spies—representing Israel’s 12 tribes—were sent to scout Canaan (Numbers 13:1-25). Centuries earlier, God had promised that land to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. However, since that original promise, Israel had been in Egyptian bondage. The LORD faithfully delivered her from Egypt, and now the Jews are headed into the Promised Land!

After 40 days, the spies returned to Moses and Israel: “[31] But the men that went up with him [Caleb] said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. [32] And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. [33] And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Ten out of the 12 spies contradicted the LORD, claiming Israel could not defeat the Gentiles in Canaan. Therefore, the LORD spoke in chapter 14: “[33] And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. [34] After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [35] I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

Israel’s sin found her out, and fractured her in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the significance of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt?

Throwing Them Out! #12

Thursday, September 24, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out? (They were unbelievers!)

Man was completely unable to aid the hemorrhaging woman. Remember verses 25-29: “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

No man could help Jairus’ daughter either. Her health deteriorated to death, no life whatsoever. Recall verses 39-42: “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”

Psalm 85 (note Israel’s “revival”—recovery to life—in verse 6): “[1] LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. [2] Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. [3] Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. [4] Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. [5] Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? [6] Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Throwing Them Out! #8

Saturday, September 19, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out?

Let us finish reading Ezekiel chapter 37: “[21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

“[23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. [25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.”

“[26] Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. [27] My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [28] And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Now, we return to Christ’s earthly ministry, focusing on His “delay” in reaching and raising up Jairus’ daughter….

NOTE: In order to bring a special study tomorrow, we will temporarily break away from this devotionals arc.

Throwing Them Out! #7

Friday, September 18, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out?

Touching Israel’s national resurrection, Ezekiel chapter 37 continues: “[12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”

“[15] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: [17] And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [18] And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? [19] Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. [20] And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.”

Israel and Judah—politically divided and forced out of the land of Palestine because of their constant idolatry (the fifth course of chastisement in Leviticus 26:27-39)—are returned to the land, united, and reconciled to God. At Christ’s Second Coming, their restoration prepares them to become God’s kingdom of priests….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Marcus ‘sister’s son to Barnabas?’