Throwing Them Out! #10

Tuesday, September 22, 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?

Read from Mark chapter 5 again: “[25] And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, [26] And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” This woman literally reaches out in faith to touch Jesus’ garment. Matthew 9:20 adds: “[she] touched the hem of his garment.” Luke 8:44 has it like this: “[she] touched the border of his garment.”

The Mosaic Law, Numbers chapter 15, instructed this concerning the hem or border of a Jew’s clothes: “[37] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [38] Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: [39] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: [40] That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.”

For 12 years, this woman has been hemorrhaging (bleeding profusely). Life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11,14): life is flowing from her. Yet, she recognizes her sickness. Here is Israel’s believing remnant, admitting their only hope for righteousness is in Jesus’ perfect obedience to God’s commandments (symbolized by His garment hem). These believing sinners reach out in faith and receive God’s righteousness. Before Jesus raises up the nation Israel via the New Covenant (Jairus’ dead little girl), He pauses to form the Little Flock (the hemorrhaging woman). Let us now summarize this devotionals arc….

God’s Offer to the Nations

Friday, September 11, 2020

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 19 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #4

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

Read from Psalm 80: “[1] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. [2] Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. [3] Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [4] O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?….”

“[7] Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [8] Thou hast brought a vine [Israel!] out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. [9] Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land…. [14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; [15] And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. [16] It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance…. [18] So will not we go back from thee: quicken [resurrect!] us, and we will call upon thy name. [19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The curses of the Law have come upon sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). God has righteously judged her land with extreme hardship—political collapse, military defeat, Gentile oppression, illness, death, pestilence, drought and famine, and so on. The Prophet Daniel confesses his people’s sin, adding: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’S sake” (Daniel 9:17). Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant in Psalms acknowledges their nation’s sins, and asks for Christ’s Second Coming to set everything right again….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #3

Sunday, August 23, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

The Prophet Elijah’s ministry is notably associated with drought and famine. Since Ahab and Jezebel have instituted Baal worship—pagan idolatry—the LORD fulfilled His promise in the Mosaic Law. Leviticus chapter 26 describes this second phase of chastisement: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: [20] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.About six decades prior to Elijah, God had broken “the pride of [Israel’s] power.” Politically weakened, idolatrous King Solomon’s kingdom was divided, split between the 10 northern tribes and the two southern tribes (1 Kings chapter 11).

Responding to Ahab and Jezebel’s extensive false religion, God implements the rest of the phase of judgment: drought and famine are Israel’s lot for the next 3½ years (Luke 4:25; James 5:16-18). “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1).

Now, chapter 18 of 1 Kings: “[1] And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. [2] And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. [3] And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: [4] For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” Yea, Queen Jezebel actually killed JEHOVAH God’s preachers….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #2

Saturday, August 22, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Turn to chapter 16 of 1 Kings: “[29] And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. [30] And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. [31] And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.

“[32] And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. [33] And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. [34] In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun [cf. Joshua 6:26!!].”

Now, chapter 21: “[25] But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. [26] And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.” Why was Ahab so evil? It was because he married Jezebel, a pagan woman steeped in idolatry! She negatively influenced him, and they joined in “ministry” to pollute the northern 10 tribes with false religion. They established Baal worship as Israel’s official state religion, and, by breaking the Mosaic Law, greatly gendered God’s wrath.

“Pretty” Jezebel is nothing but trouble….

Israel Blinded Thrice! #1

Monday, August 17, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Prophet Isaiah’s ministry preceded the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities. For approximately 750 years, the Jews have ignored the Law of Moses by worshipping and serving idols. God’s prophets (messengers) have been repeatedly ignored. Since Israel has habitually broken the covenant, there are repercussions—a series of five judgments or chastisements predicted in Leviticus chapter 26.

JEHOVAH God orders Isaiah to preach to his fellow Jews. Since they have overwhelmingly ignored God’s Word up to this point, Isaiah’s message will be one to condemn them, to remove whatever spiritual light they have been given but obstinately refused. There is now a spiritual blinding of Israel (today’s Scripture). That blindness will not be lifted until God gives Israel a sign, a miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine.

Following the blinding of Israel in Isaiah’s day, God sends the nation a sign: that sign is the virgin conception of Jesus Christ 700 years later. Turn to Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” If you read the context, King Ahaz of Judah is like most Jews—in rank unbelief (verses 10-14). Israel will be released from her blindness once the sign of Christ’s conception is evident.

Israel was given the chance to believe God’s Word during Christ’s First Coming, His birth and earthly ministry (Matthew 1:18-25). However, in response to the spiritual light of Christ’s arrival (Matthew 4:12-17), Israel chose to remain in unbelief. While there was a believing remnant, as always, Israel nationally rejects the LORD Jesus. They refused to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom—that Jesus is Christ/Messiah/King. As with Isaiah, God responded by blinding them. Then, He gave them another sign so the blindness could be lifted and they could believe….

Turn Not from It! #8

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Second Peter chapter 2: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Whether Old Testament Israel, future Israel, or even the present time, Satan’s preachers always labor!

As today’s Scripture indicates, spiritual prosperity is achieved only when we follow the doctrinal path Almighty God has laid out for us. Israel would suffer tremendously if she drifted from the Law of Moses. Once Joshua died, the Jews waxed worse and worse. The Old Testament record abounds with a myriad of resultant tragedies—civil wars, collapse of family, droughts and famines, Gentile oppression, plagues and diseases, poverty, death, and so on. All these unfortunate situations were because Israel failed to maintain sound Bible doctrine.

Romans chapter 16: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Here is the Holy Spirit’s warning to us the Church the Body of Christ. People will use false doctrine to split local churches and cause saints to stumble. Their main perversion is stressing Law and ignoring Grace (Romans 6:14,15). Mixing God’s Word and will for us, with God’s Word and will for Israel, is sure to bring spiritual ruin. Therefore, follow Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Turn not from the rightly divided Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!

Turn Not from It! #7

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Go now to Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

“[4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust [throw, force!] thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Whatever Satan used to deceive Israel long ago would certainly be profitable to him today: he still uses counterfeit (false) teaching to distract and divide God’s people. In Deuteronomy, the LORD warned Israel not to be led astray by any “miracle worker.” Even if an “inexplicable” or “supernatural” demonstration was involved, the underlying thought itself was a lie, so that teacher or preacher was to be executed by stoning! He or she was “seducing” Israel, drawing the nation away from God’s revelation to the Jews (see verse 5). Even now, such individuals still seek to “turn [us] away from the LORD [our] God.” Brethren, we should therefore be wary….

Turn Not from It! #6

Monday, July 6, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Consider the warnings the Holy Spirit through Paul issued to the church leaders of Ephesus. Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace [!], which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The most spiritually lethal aspect of Satan’s policy of evil concerns religious perversion. Individuals—whether willingly or inadvertently makes no difference—continuously entice us to abandon the Message of Grace because they favor the Law!! Church leaders should thus guard their congregations by stressing grace teaching. Sadly, as Paul pointed out, those very people are usually the ones guilty of introducing and disseminating the heresy! Furthermore, multitudes within the churches are eagerly deceived and ruined thereby.

Second Timothy chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Let us “take heed” too….

Turn Not from It! #5

Sunday, July 5, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Return to 2 Timothy chapter 1 to see the ruin, and the warning to avoid it: “[13] Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [14] That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. [15] This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” The Apostle Paul admonished young Pastor Timothy “hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me.” Timothy was not to drift from the doctrine he learned from Paul.

Furthermore, he ordered Timothy: “that good thing which was committed unto thee [deposit of sound doctrine] keep [guard] by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” What if Timothy disobeyed these instructions? He would be like the rest of the Christians in Turkey. “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” They released grace principles so as to grip legalistic ones! Two false teachers, Phygellus and Hermogenes, were leading these saints away from Pauline doctrine and encouraging them to follow the Mosaic Law.

Chapter 2 of 2 Timothy: “[14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

Failing to recognize the special dispensation given to Paul, we “concerning the truth have erred,” having turned to the right or left….

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