Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Look at the first four words of your Bible: “In the beginning God….” It is interesting that the Bible does not begin with an argument proving the existence of God. It simply states the fact that in the beginning God…. The Bible doesn’t endeavor to prove the existence of God, but it does conclude that none are excused from the reality that He is and that each are accountable to Him. See Romans 1:18-20. The Bible begins with the reality of God and His existence without endeavoring to prove that existence. There is a reason for that, all inherently know that there is a God in heaven to Whom all are accountable. This can be argued, but not successfully.
Peter speaks of a type of ignorance that is applicable here: “For this they willingly are ignorant….” The word “willingly” denotes to be resolved, determined and to purpose. Many are “willingly ignorant” of God, denying Him to the intent that they might not be accountable to Him. This “ignorance” does not negate accountability, except in their own minds. All are ultimately accountable to Him regardless of their belief or rejection of Him and His Word.
“In the beginning God….” What an appropriate way to begin the Word of God! What an appropriate way to govern our lives. Let them ever begin with God, with His Word and with His will. The first verse of the Bible assumes His being, and it assumes our acceptance of the fact of His being. It also assumes our response to that existence and our connection to Him. While we should never take His existence for granted, we should ever take for granted that He is our God and that our lives must be dedicated to Him and His will for us. Amen!
Exo 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
The more the Egyptians persecuted the Children of Israel, the more the Children of Israel expanded and grew as a nation. The same was true in the early years of the Christian Church; the more they suffered, the more they grew in number and in spiritual strength. The fact is, no successful campaign can be launched against the Lord and His Work in the world. It has been tried over and over again, but ever to no avail.
Saul of Tarsus labored tirelessly against the early church, but found that He could not defeat this work of God. Rome tried it and failed. The reason is clear. To fight against the Lord’s work in the world is to fight against Him, and it is impossible to win in a conflict against the omnipotent God. The Lord told Saul, who would later become the great Apostle to the Gentiles, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” He simply could not win.
Child of God, the Lord’s work will prevail in the world. There will be opposition, and there will be times that the adversaries to the Lord and His work will seem victorious, but the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47) and He will ultimately win the day.
There seems to be a great deal of opposition to true Biblical Christianity today, but the purposes of our God cannot be altered, overpowered or defeated. Praise God for that truth, and praise Him for the assurance of the ultimately victory in our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
In the center of the encampment of Israel, the smoke was to ever be wafting heavenward from off the altar of burnt sacrifice. It was to “never go out.” That smoke was to be visible from any tent within the encampment giving assurance to each Israelite that the work of the Lord continued, that the priests were ever about their jobs in representing them before God and that His work among them was consistent and unwavering. The altar’s fires were to be ever burning.
Consistency in the Lord’s work is a must. Consistency in your life as a believer is a must. The fire of your commitment to Christ should be as the altar of burnt sacrifice, every burning with the red coals of fervent zeal glowing hot in your heart.
Were there ever times in the days of Israel’s faithfulness when those coals on the altar began to cool? I’m sure there were. I imagine one of the sons of Levi looking over toward the altar and noticing that the fire was subsiding, the coals were cooling and the fire was about to die out. Surely a flurry of activity followed, with wood brought, ashes removed and coals brought to fervent life with the fire upon that altar once again sending its smoke heavenward.
Such must be our diligence in examining our lives to insure that our hearts are burning with zeal for our Lord. Take the time, child of God, to inspect the altar of your heart regularly. Never allow the fire to subside! It you sense a cooling of your fervor and zeal for the Lord, run to Him in prayer and rekindle the flames of your commitment. Peter wrote, “…I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” (2 Peter 3:1; See also 2 Peter 1:13) May the Holy Spirit ever keep the fires burning on the altars of our hearts until we see our Blessed Lord face to face! Amen!
Num 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The Levites were Israel’s representatives to God, and God’s representatives to Israel. Their’s was an awesome responsibility. The words in Verse 24 were part of a blessing that was to be passed on to the Children of Israel by their priests. It was as follows:
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious
The Lord lift upon his countenance upon thee, and give thee
It was a pronouncement of Divine favor and an invocation of God’s blessings upon His people.
O, to be blessed by God, and to be kept by Him! Nothing is greater than the blessings of inner peace and joy that comes from our Lord, and nothing is more secure than the reality of God’s loving care and ever present strength and protection. As a mother hen, He is ever ready to gather us under His wings to hide us from danger and to warm our spirits in this cold, sinful world. (See Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34)
Think about this, if the Lord commanded the Levites to ever pronounce these blessings upon Israel, then was this not a revelation of His desire toward them? Yes, it most definitely was His desire to bless and to keep them. Beloved, it is His desire to bless and to keep you that have fled to Jesus for refuge. And, may I affirm this pronouncement from heaven to us all; “The Lord bless thee and keep thee…”
Deu 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
The Lord God has made some marvelous revelations known to us through His Word. Everything that we need to make it through this life, and to insure us of the life beyond is found in that Blessed
Book. Those things that are revealed belong to us, and we need those things that our Lord has provided us.
There are, however, things that He has not given us; truths that we obviously do not need, and are not wise in spending too much time speculating on. In the study of theology, there are “theories” and opinions on topics that are simply not covered in Scripture. What did God intend before creation? Why did God permit this or that? Such questions actually fall into the category of the “secret things” that “belong unto the Lord our God.” When it comes to the “secret things,” things that the Lord did not choose to inform us of, He knew that we did not need to know. This we do know, our Lord does all things well, and everything He does and plans has a definite and glorious purpose.
Those things that He did reveal are ours, and are needed for our spiritual wellbeing. Our privilege and duty concerning those things revealed is that we study them, know them and apply them to our lives. In doing so, we are greatly blessed, encouraged and strengthened. May we ever seek after those things which He has graciously revealed unto us in His Word. Amen!
Jos 24:15 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.
Living faithfully for God is a choice that must be faced and made. Should we go to church today? Are we going to support the Lord’s work financially? Am I going to read God’s Word today, and prayerfully seek His face? There’s only one person that can answer such questions as this: you. Joshua’s statement is classic, fundamental and mandatory if faithful service to God is going to be a reality in life: “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The choice and the challenge is personal, and must be face personally? “…choose you this day whom ye will serve….”
Jdg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Sounds like today! The accepted philosophy of our day is so similar to what it was during the era of the Judges in Israel, and those days could only be characterized as sinful, chaotic and confusing. Again, sounds like today!
What is really wrong with everyone throwing caution to the wind and doing whatever seems right in their own eyes? Scripture answers that question. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25) “All the ways of man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” (Proverbs 16:2) This verse really brings home. the truth of the matter: “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12)
The philosophy of our day is clear; there are no absolutes, no moral standards and no concrete truths. None have the right to push their beliefs on others, and everyone can do that which is right in their own eyes. The problem with this is that it overlooks the One to Whom all are accountable; the One that created all and established the Divine order for all to live by. It ignores the reality that the only true secret to happiness and fulfillment in life is to know God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and to honor and obey Him in all things. Anything else leads to the same chaos and dysfunctional society that was the characteristic of Israel during the time of the Judges. God Bless America!
Rth 2:16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
Those “handfuls of purpose” were Boaz’s way of caring for Ruth in providing what she and Naomi needed at his expense. In this, Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Who, because of His great love for us even before we knew Him, left for us “handfuls of purpose,” nuggets of grace wooing us to Himself and His wondrous salvation. Ruth most likely didn’t realize that those extra handfuls of grain she was finding had been intentionally left for her. So it was with us, child of God. Many things that the Lord was doing for us were unseen, but certainly not unproductive. In Hebrews 1, Paul wrote of the tender care of our Lord for those that would one day by His own with the following words speaking of angelic beings; “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14) Before you were ever saved, our Lord was dropping handfuls of purpose for you because He loved you and had a wonderful plan for your life and for your eternity.
1Sa 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
We are told in this story that at the time of this confrontation, Samuel did not yet know the Lord. When the Lord called him, Samuel thought it was the high priest calling his name. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when this mighty prophet did not know the the Lord, but it is true. There was a time when the Apostle Paul did not know the Lord. Meeting the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus changed his life forever. And, in like manner, Samuel meeting the Lord as recorded in our verse changed his forever also.
The next time you are confronted with an exceptionally evil person, a person with no moral restraints, just remind yourself that every saved person on earth began as an unsaved person. Some were more given over to the ravages of sinfulness than others, but all were sinners walking underneath the wrath of Almighty God. They needed Jesus. They needed to call upon the name of the Lord in faith, and when they did, He changed them forever. So it was with you and I.
When Samuel finally realized it was the Lord calling him, he responded in faith believing. Our prayer ought ever to be, “Lord Jesus, bring sinners to faith in You, and hear them when they call upon Your name.” Amen!
2Sa 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.
When David was just a lad watching his father’s sheep, he had been anointed to be the king of Israel by Samuel the prophet. Many years passed before that became a reality as depicted in the above verse. The actual crowing of David as the king of the entire country of Israel took place many years after the anointing.
The Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. The word “Messiah” means the anointed one. Prophecy declared that the Messiah would one day reign as king in Jerusalem, sitting upon the throne of His father, David. Many years have passed since these prophesies were made, but the day will come when Jesus will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In that day, He will not only be King over all Israel, but over the entire world. Beloved, we are looking for that day when our Lord and Savior will be acknowledged as the Almighty King. Until that day, may He rule over our hearts, our homes and our church. May He be given that special place of honor and authority in our lives today.
1Ki 2:3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
These words were part of a charge given by David to his son, Solomon. He was to be king in David’s stead. It is interesting that most of the charge given by David to Solomon had to do with him being obedient to the Lord and to His Word. Little was said about governance, but much about Solomon’s spiritual responsibilities. David knew that if Solomon maintained his relationship with God and was obedient to the Word of God, his tenure as Israel’s king would be one of blessing and honor.
All serving in positions of leadership should learn from this charge. It is certain that leadership skills and responsibilities are to be studied and learned. However, Christians serving in areas of leadership should ever give themselves to examining the principles of God’s Word, endeavoring to apply those principles literally to their lives and their professions. This is obviously true of those in positions or spiritual leadership in the Lord’s Church, but equally true of those working in the secular world as well.
God’s Word must be applied to all areas of our lives; our personal lives, and our professional lives as well. At both the home and the office, the Word of God can guide, and when followed can lead to the most productive outcome possible. Let us, “keep the charge of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways, to keep his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies….” Amen!
2Ki 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
Beginning with Jeroboam, the kings of the northern tribes of Israel were wicked men. They were idolaters, leading the people into idolatrous practices that eventually resulted in the downfall of those tribes to the Assyrian Empire. Jehu had the opportunity to turn that apostasy around and lead the people back to God. The Lord anointed him to be king, and commanded him concerning the wicked house of Ahab. He could have continued in his zeal to lead the northern tribes to rid the land of its idolatry and bring them back to God and His Word. The verse above revealed that he did not do that, but continued in the sins of “Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.”
The writer of Proverbs wrote, “When the righteous are in authority,the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2) That was true three thousand years ago during the days of Jehu, and it is equally true today. When the wicked are in authority, those over whom they exercise that authority suffer. It is because of this, God’s Word declares that His people should pray “for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Beloved, if there has ever been a time when prayer must be made for those who are in authority in the United States of America, it is today. If God’s people don’t obey this passage of Scripture concerning our political leaders, those leaders will cause us to suffer in this life. May the Lord do a work of grace in the hearts of those who are in authority in this great country.
1Ch 9:1 So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.
The Jews kept extensive records of the genealogies of their tribes. This was necessary for the protection of the priesthood, for the records of the inheritance and the properties of the descendants of the fathers,
and for the purity and integrity of the nation itself. It was also of the utmost importance for the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesies, which were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord also keeps extensive records of the human family.
These include the record of the living; not merely the records of their parentage, but also the record of their lives. He also keeps the record of those who place faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, as well as a record of their lives as his followers. According to the Bible, when the believer’s life is reviewed, rewards will be given for faithful service for the Savior.
This raises a couple of questions for those reading these words. First, is there a record in heaven of you becoming and being a follower of the Lord Jesus. The day I was saved at the age of 12, the pastor that led me to Christ told me that my name was now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, never to be erased. Has your name been written in His book? Secondly, it asks of us all the question as to what the records of our lives are going to reveal? Have our lives been lived in honor of the One who laid His life down for us? When those records are read, will we have “crown” to cast at Jesus’ feet, Who alone is worthy of all praise and honor?
2Ch 9:6 Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.
All have heard the old adage, “the half has never been told.” This is where that saying originated. The queen of Sheba said this when she observed Solomon and his kingdom. She had heard of his glory, his riches and the greatness of his throne, but when seeing all of this with her own eyes, she replied, “one half…was not told me….”
Of a certainty, this will be our response when we are blessed to see all those things which the Lord has prepared for them that love Him. We’ve read of the glories of that new heaven and new earth, of the city which will have twelve foundations and streets paved with gold, but when we walk on those streets and view that majestic city, our words will surely be, “the half has never been told.” Actually, this is the response of those who have experienced Christ’s salvation when asked to describe what it means to be saved. We can define the technical terms, but when it comes to describing what it means to experience the love of God in Christ, words seem to fail us. One of the songs we sing in church says, “O, it is wonderful to be a Christian….” And, it is!
Child of God, the goodness and greatness of our Savior is hard to define and describe, but it is so blessed and wonderful to experience. Praise His Name for all the wonderful things He has done for us, and for all those things He will do for us in the future. Of this we can be sure, “the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me.” Amen!
Ezr 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying….
Jeremiah prophesied that the king of Persia would allow Israel to return to their homeland at the close of the seventy years captivity (See Jeremiah 25:12-14; 33:7-13), and Isaiah even called him by name, and that several hundred years before the birth of that king (See Isaiah 44:28; 45:1) The Lord raised up this unsaved king, and then “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and put it also in writing…” stating that the Jews were allowed to return to Israel to rebuild the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed.
Much can be gleaned from this, but this of a certainty: the Lord will have His way in the kingdoms of the earth in order to accomplish His overall plan. This must be kept in mind, child of God, the nearer we come to the Second Coming of Christ. The “watcher” in Daniel 4 said it this way; “…the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:1-17) In these last days, we are observing strange things going on in our world, both at home and abroad. There is definitely a turmoil going on in the nations of the world, and the pieces of God’s great puzzle are coming together for that final drama leading up to the Kingdom of our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be much happening leading up to that day, and we are a blessed generation of believers that are observing all of the preparations leading up to His coming.
Do not fear and do not despair, child of God. Our Lord is still upon His throne and He is still is charge of all of the affairs of this planet He spoke into being. Trust Him, and keep your eyes upon the eastern sky. Lift up your heads, redemption draweth nigh! Amen!
Neh 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
What caused Nehemiah’s sorrow and weeping? What caused him to enter into a mourning fast that lasted “certain days?” Sorrow filled his heart when he heard of the plight of the Jews that were in Israel after the captivity had ended. Some had returned after the decree of Cyrus, but their’s was a difficult and dangerous existence. All of their enemies tormented them, and the walls of Jerusalem were still in shambles, incapable of protecting the Jews living in the Holy City. That news brought great sorrow to his heart, and a burden that sent him into a time of prayer and fasting. This prayer led to a restoration of the walls of Jerusalem and the securing of a safer situation for those living within those walls.
This story teaches God’s people a valuable lesson. We must be sensitive to the need and the plight of those around us that know not the Lord Jesus, and that must lead us to a burden for their lost souls. It should drive us to a time of prayer and action; a prayer for their salvation, and a willingness to be used to bring them to an understanding of the saving grace of our Blessed Lord. Nehemiah was not just to be a prayer warrior, but one willing to serve the Lord in the implementation of His great plan for Israel. Would we be willing to be like Nehemiah when it comes to the Lord’s work in our world today? Would we be willing to catch that burden needed that would drive us to our knees praying for the salvation of those around us? Would we be willing to pass along a Gospel tract, or an invitation for souls to come to church, or even better, we would we be willing to actually present the Gospel to lost souls that they might be saved? Let’s be Nehemiah Christians, praying for the lost, and being willing to be used to bring them to Christ. Amen!
Est 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Mordecai’s words to his niece, Esther, were straight forward and rather rebuking. She was in a position to speak to King Ahasuerus concerning the orders he issued for the slaying of all the Jews in the land of Persia, but she was reluctant to do so for her own safety. He basically said, “If you refuse to step up, deliverance for Israel will arise from another source, but who is to know but that God brought you to this time in your life specifically for this purpose. Understand this, if you refuse this responsibility, you and your father’s house shall be destroyed.” He did not mince words with Esther, but gave her truth without compromise. Of course, she did step up and as a result of that, the Jews living in Persia were spared and Haman, the wicked man that had planned their demise, was executed on the same gallows he had prepared for Esther’s uncle, Mordecai.
Christian, the Lord’s desire for all of us is that we serve Him faithfully in this life. There is much to be done for His cause; missionaries to be sent, the Gospel to be presented, and the Lord’s work to be accomplished in His local churches. The challenge is there for us all, and the privilege is our’s to respond to that challenge. If we do not, others will, but we will miss out on the blessings associated with faithful service for our Master. Beloved, “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” The time to step up and out for Christ is now! May He help us to do so in these important last days!
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Job had a lot to learn, and the rest of this book deals with just that. This was a poetic book dealing with the events of the life of the man Job which lasted around one year. He went from having much, to having nothing almost overnight, and in the end was blessed with even more than he had enjoyed before. There is not enough time or space in this brief devotion to cover all that this book deals with concerning Job’s difficult year, but for this one brief devotional thought, let’s take a look at the first verse.
This is God’s evaluation of the man Job; “…that man was perfect and upright, one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” This is not what Job said of himself, but what God said of Him. The Lord was giving honor to whom honor was due, and recognizing one that stood out among his peers in his relationship to God.
Perfection does not speak of sinless perfection, but of spiritual maturity and completion. Job was a spiritually mature person, one that had developed spiritually and had matured wonderfully in his faith. He was an upright man, meaning that he lived to the best of his ability in a right way, a way that was pleasing to God. And, Job “feared God,” meaning that he had a reverential respect of deference to the Almighty, a “fear” that motivated and governed every aspect of his life.
What an example and challenge is that to us! The Lord’s will for His followers is that they be complete in their spirituality, mature in their faith. He wills that His own live righteous lives, that they seek to be right with Him and with their fellow man, living according to the clear teachings of God’s Word. And, of course, it is the Lord’s will that we reverentially honor and respect Him in everything we do or say. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Lord could describe us in that way? Let’s seek to earn that appraisal of our lives in this world, not from those around us, but from our Blessed Lord. Amen!
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
“Blessed,” not necessarily with material goods, or even mortal recognition, but “blessed” of God. O, to be blessed of God! Blessed with a reality of His Divine pleasure, that you are accepted of Him. Blessed to know in your heart that all is at peace with Him. Blessed to be on talking terms with the Lord of glory, and to know that He listens when you commune with Him, and that He not only listens, but that He also answers your prayer.
This first Psalm sets the stage for the rest of the Psalms, it is somewhat of an introduction. Throughout the Psalms, and actually throughout the entire Bible, the message is clear, “Blessed is the man….” Not all are blessed. Not all want the blessings of God on their lives. They would prefer the blessings and favor of the world. A well known song says, “I’d rather have Jesus than anything this old world affords today.” To that I would add, “Me too!”
Before closing your Bible, read the rest of that first Psalm, and be settled with nothing less today that the blessings of the Lord in your life. “Blessed is the man..,” the woman, the elderly and the younger among us “that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Pro 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
Not all “wisdom” is from above, and not all is true wisdom. The wisdom of which the writer of Proverbs speaks is that which comes from God and from His Word. This wisdom is what is needed. Do you ever find yourself longing for that? We do at times when there are major decisions facing us, decisions that no other mortal can really help us with. At times like that, wisdom from above is desperately needed, and it is available to the redeemed. James said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
Beloved, God’s wisdom is available and it can be yours for the taking. The redeemed of the Lord have full and free access to the wisdom that comes from above, and we really should be seeking it daily. There are ample illustrations of this in Scripture, as when David was seeking the Lord’s will concerning his battle with the Philistines in 2 Samuel 5:19-25. We also see this in Paul’s missionary journeys when he sought the Lord’s direction for his ministry. What a blessing it is to know that the Lord who knows all things is concerned with those decisions each of us are called upon to make in our lives, and is willing to guide us if we will allow Him to do so. Seek HIs face, child of God, and follow His counsel, for He Who holds the universe in His hands longs to guide your life and grant You His wisdom. What great comfort is that!
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Read that again, and consider the message conveyed. In this book, Solomon told of his efforts to find peace and meaning in life. He had vast riches, and because of his wealth was able to provide for himself all of the material things he thought would be necessary in order for him to find happiness. With each purchase, each great work he commissioned for himself and with all of the creature comforts he could muster with his material abundance, he found nothing by emptiness and vexation of spirit. His conclusion is found in the verse we read today for our devotion.
This was Solomon’s conclusion of the whole matter, nothing in life could take the place of doing that which could be considered the “whole duty of humanity,” that being fearing God and obeying His Word. Nothing else in life is fulfilling, and nothing can bring eternal happiness and peace but a right relationship with the Lord. When one has that right relationship with God that can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 14:6) life has meaning and can be lived to the fullest that God intended. Thank God for that life. Let’s live it to the fullest! Amen!
Son 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
It’s really simple; the “his” is the Lord Jesus, and the “I” is the Church. If you will read all of the Song of Solomon with that in mind, the book will make perfect sense. It is an extremely spiritual book that can only be understood by the spiritual mind. The natural man will never be able to grasp the truths taught in this book. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Let’s think briefly about this one verse. “I am my beloved’s….” That can be said by the redeemed in that He purchased us with His blood that was shed on Calvary. (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23) We belong to Him. Praise His name that He wanted us enough to suffer in order to redeem us to Himself. “…and He is mine.” He is not just the Lord, He is our Lord; not just a Shepherd, but our Shepherd.” “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Beloved, this relationship we have with the Lord is very personal, and very precious. In fact, it is closer and more precious than any mortal relationship could ever be, and that is saying a lot. He is our Father in heaven, or Shepherd to guide us through life, our Friend that sticks closer than a brother and our Savior Who loved us and gave Himself for us. Praise His Name we can say, “I am my beloved’s, and He is mine.”
Isa 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.
“A sign;” a sign of Who He is, and a sign of what He longs to be to and for us. He is Immanuel, which being interpreted is, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) This identifies both His Person and His purpose. He is very God Incarnate, in the flesh, and He longs to be with us, not against or even above us. He longs to be with us in a relationship like that described in yesterday’s devotional thoughts. He longs to be with us as God, meaning that He can fulfill all our needs and spiritual longings. As our God, He can remedy our sin problem and free us to know, to love and to worship Him. What a blessed sign!
In a couple of days, we will once again remember His great condescension, His robing Himself in flesh that we might behold Him, understand Him and embrace Him as Savior and Lord. We will be reminded once again of the great love wherewith He loved us, so much so that He was willing to leave the Father’s side in heaven to dwell among us. He did this knowing full well where His earthly path would lead Him; to the Cross. This shall be a sign of His love, of His care and His willingness to do what was required in order to redeem us back to Himself. Let’s be careful not to miss that message, the message of that great sign that was given to us so long ago; “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
The explanation of these verses is given in the Bible. It begins in Genesis 1:1 and goes through Revelation 22:21. Everything between is the story of the Child that was to be born, the One that was to someday inhabit the throne of authority in the world. Look at the names attributed to Him; “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty god, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” All these names testify to His Deity, His power and His grace.
During this Christmas season, let’s make the effort to be worshipful and Christ honoring. Let’s meditate upon His great condescension, His humbling of Himself to take upon Him the form of flesh that He might be made like unto His brethren. (Hebrews 2:17) This path that began at Bethlehem would end up at Calvary where that “child,” that “son” that was “given” would be nailed to the tree for our sins and justification. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy Name. Amen!
Luk 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Luk 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.). Luk 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. Luk 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) Luk 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. Luk 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
When I was in the second grade at North Canton Elementary School, our class gave a Christmas play to the rest of the school, and part of that play was memorizing the above verses. That was many years ago, but I still remember that Christmas well. This blessed passage has been an important part of our lives throughout our days, and will continue to be so throughout our eternity.
For the rest of the world, it was just another passage of time, another law being enacted by a political leader and another hardship placed upon the lowly because of that law. For Joseph and Mary the timing for having to make such a trip could not have been worse, humanly speaking that is. That trip had been determined in eternity past, and had been prophesied in Micah 5:2. When you think of it that way, Caesar Augustus was just fulfilling God’s plan in issuing the decree that all the world should be taxed. He was merely doing what God the Holy Spirit placed in his heart to do in requiring everyone to return to the city of their family for the required census. That brought Joseph and Mary to the very place where the Messiah was to be born.
You know, beloved, the Lord has directed your life also. He brought you to the place where you could hear the Gospel of your salvation, and has guided your life from that time to bring you to the place where you are now. The Lord is our Shepherd, and because of that we shall never want. Let’s follow Him, even in those days when it seems that His leading is taking us through difficult journeys. The end result will be to His glory and for our good. Amen!
Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
This verse teaches us several things. First, it reminds us that Jeremiah, and all of God’s true spiritual leaders, are Divinely called and appointed to their work. We are reminded of the omniscience of our God, that He knows all and that there is no limit to His understanding. Our Lord has a plan and will for all, and His plans will see ultimate fulfillment. This verse also reminds us that God’s desire is that the nations hear His message.
Jeremiah had a task and a message to proclaim, and so do we. Our message is the Gospel, and we have been commanded to take that message across this planet to “every creature.” (Matthew 28:18-20) The Lord knew when He called Jeremiah that the majority of those to whom he presented his message would reject that message. But he was to deliver God’s word faithfully regardless of the response given. So are we!
We are not “prophets,” but we are proclaimers of God’s truth to a world desperately needing that truth. Let’s be faithful to the One Who saved us and appointed us to this great task.
Lam 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
Please read Lamentations 3:21-26. Jeremiah was living in a day that could have been characterized as hopeless. Judgment was coming, and nothing could stop it. Sin had ran rampant too long in Israel, and the gavel of Divine judgment had sounded. However, in a day of utter hopelessness, Jeremiah was filled with hope. His hope was in the mercy, grace and longsuffering goodness of God. “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.”.
Honestly, we live in a day that could be characterized as hopeless, but our hearts our filled with hope. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Our hope is in His Word, and His faithfulness to His Word. He is the One called “Faithful and True.” When we look about us at the evil, the confusion and the hate that fills our world, we could be filled with hopelessness, but then we are reminded of the blessed promises of His unchanging Word; “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” Don’t lose hope, child of God. Just keep in mind the blessed promises He has given us, and let your heart be filled with hope. Amen!
Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
A watchman was one that stood guard while others slept, one that kept his eyes upon the horizon watching for the advancement of approaching enemy armies. His job was to watch, and then to sound an alarm if danger was nearing. He was to take his job and responsibilities most seriously, for lives were dependent upon him. If he failed in his task, others would suffer immeasurably.
You are a “watchman,” child of God. Your eyes have seen the approaching adversary, and what has and can do to the unsuspecting and unlearned. Our duty is even more pressing that Ezekiel’s was, for our watch is over immortal souls that will spend eternity either in heaven in God’s presence, or in that place prepared for the devil and his angels. We are saved today because someone heeded the call from God and sounded an alarm for us to hear. It may have been a parent, a friend or a faithful proclaimer of God’s Word. The result of their obedience was your responded to that warning, that message of grace, and your trusting of Christ as your Savior. May the Lord help us to be watchmen on the wall, shouting out the warning of the coming day of judgment and issuing the call for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Before leaving this thought, please take a look at Ezekiel 33:2-9. Sobering and challenging is it not?
Dan 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
What follows Verse 23 is one of the most amazing prophecies in God’s Word. Because Daniel was greatly beloved, and because he had set his face to seek God in prayer, the Lord had blessed him with this great vision.
Know this, child of God, you are “greatly beloved.” As one of His sheep, you are special to Him, and loved by Him with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) He has compelled, commanded and encouraged you to seek His face, promising to hear you when you pray. (John 14:13-14) It should also be noted that because He is your Savior, you will be shown things that others will never be able to see. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
We are not Daniels, but we are God’s own and as such we are privileged beyond compare. Rejoice in that, believer, and take full advantage of it that place you enjoy in the Lord Jesus. Amen!
Hos 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
The invitation given by the prophet to Israel was, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal….” Those who responded to that message found it to be true, and they enjoyed restoration with the Lord. Those who did not missed the blessings promised.
Beloved, it is so easy to depart from a close walk of fellowship with our Lord. Struggles of the day, and even successes in life compete with this walk of faithfulness. We daily face the challenge of overcoming temptations, of maintaining spiritual disciplines and of simply walking with our Lord. If you find yourself growing cold in this Christian life there is a message of hope: “Come, return unto the Lord…and he will heal….” John said it this way, “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)
Could I remind you that we are so dependent upon the Lord for everything. Seek His face daily with this thought, “Lord, help me to be consistent in my walk with You. Help me to lay aside things that compete with that consistency. Rid me of those things that stand in my way of communion with You, and ever draw me to a close walk with You.” He is faithful and full of mercy, and He knows our frame, our weaknesses and strengths. Just continue to “Come” unto Him, “draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8)
Joe 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
What a blessed prophecy! The prophet saw a day when a new covenant would be established, one that would include both Jews and Gentiles. In that day, salvation would be available to all who would call upon the name of the Lord. The Apostle Peter declared that that promised time came on the Day of Pentecost. It was on that day that the Holy Spirit came upon the Church, the Apostle Peter preached and three thousand souls were saved. Listen to Peter’s explanation of the great outpouring on that day; “…this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:16-21)
You and I were blessed to have been born during the era of the dispensation of grace, and we were partakers of that salvation that is in Jesus Christ simply by calling upon Him. We can share that message with all around us, assuring them that the salvation that Christ provided through His death, burial and resurrection can be theirs for the asking. Share that “good news” with someone today!