Strange Women and Old Men

1 Kings 11:1-14

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KING SOLOMON –

No man began with more promise than Solomon did.  Yet a good beginning doesn’t mean a good finish.  Solomon drifted and finally defected.  Could the same thing happen to us?

Solomon Became The Wisest Man In The World!

1 Kings 4:31-34 (AMP bible):

[31] For he was wiser *than all other men–than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.  His fame was in all the nations round about.

[32]  He also originated 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005.

[33]  He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.

[34]  Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

[“Wiser than all other men,” until Christ came.  Jesus said, “Someone more and greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42) – Amplified Bible footnote.]

So What Went Wrong?”

Solomon had a misplaced LOVE (VERSES 1 & 2):

[1] BUT KING Solomon [defiantly] loved many foreign women–the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites.  [2] They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites,  You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.  Yet Solomon clung to these in love.

I remember when I was in school at an early age–when I would do something wrong, my teacher would shout out my name across the playground and I would pretend not to hear her call.  It was because I knew I’d done wrong and knew I was in trouble.

  • God tells Israel NOT to have anything to do with these women!!!  (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
  • God told the kings of Israel NOT to marry many wives!!!               (Deuteronomy 17:17)

Now before we misinterpret God’s word into something racial, let me make it clear.

When God commanded the Israelites NOT to marry foreigners–“strange women”–it is not because they are a different color, or from a different country, or because they look different.  It was simply because they WORSHIPPED IDOLS and pagan gods.

God knew that if His people were to marry those who did not WORSHIP the true God of heaven, that the influences of these “strange women” would influence and eventually poison the house, the husband, the children, and the bloodline.

Solomon LOVED these women (VERSE 1) –

Solomon was like that certain kid in school I mentioned earlier–he pretends NOT TO HEAR God give the command NOT to marry these women because deep down he knew it was wrong.

The LORD tells Israel not to marry these women because they’ll turn their hearts away from God and that’s exactly what happened to Solomon.

Romans 12:1 (NIV Bible):

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

It is impossible to present your bodies as a living sacrifice if your HEART is not right.  Don’t let the WORLD around you squeeze you into its own mould.

TEMPTATION seems to arise when things start to crop up in our lives; causes us to start missing our personal prayer time in the mornings, and daily Bible reading is skipped over.  How easy it is for Satan to get in and cause us to have a MISPLACED LOVE.

A HINGE VERSE – Things Change From This Point On.

VERSE 4 (AMP):

idol-moloch[4]  For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect (complete and whole) with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

NOTE: “Old Age won’t cure the heart of any evil propensity” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

Solomon had his HEART turned away from God, and as a result of his MISPLACED LOVE, his heart is turned not only away from God, but towards false gods.

The WORSHIP SYSTEMS that Solomon was involved in were sexually oriented and obviously this would appeal to Solomon.  If he wasn’t interested in this kind of thing, he probably would have stuck with just one wife.

Have we had our HEARTS turned away?

Worshipping false gods are just Old Testament stories, right?  Well, let me point out that thousands of churches across the land are EMPTY today because of the WORSHIP of false gods!

  • Sunday is the only day that kids can play football, so we have to take them while church is in session.  Sorry!
  • I can’t read IN my Bible right now, because I would miss too much TV.
  • I go to watch my soccer/football/baseball team play Sunday afternoon.  I could never miss that opportunity for church.

The minute we place more priority on something other than Jesus Christ, then we are in effect, worshipping false gods.

We need to pray and ask God to remove our idols in life.  I don’t want SPORT to be my god or, I don’t want TV to be my idol.  The only GOD I want is YOU!!  I want the TRUE GOD in my life, the only God!!

The Cause of Misplaced Love (women, false gods/money, jobs).

hqdefaultVERSE 5

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abominable idol of the Ammonites.

What causes us to turn our HEARTS away from God?

Satan will use every means possible to get us as far away from GOD as possible.

That job you’ve been praying for all of sudden requires you to work 12 hours a day and if you don’t do it, then they will find someone who will.

Or, SIN will creep into our lives, and in turn our hearts start to drift away.  I’ve been here before many times and know the results!  Satan makes SIN so attractive and we say to ourselves,  “It will be different for me, that it won’t hurt.”

We have the tendency to justify to ourselves, that it is OK.  How spiritually naive we are to let anything, or anyone, turn our HEARTS away from GOD.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NIV):

[14] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? [15] What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  [16] What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said:  “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

I read a story in the Scientific American that most people are familiar with:

Chimpanzees, can seem like cute, hairy iterations of people.  The chimp, Travis, appeared in television commercials, he seemed comfortable at a computer, and in bathing himself, sipped wine from a stemmed glass, all according to the New York Times.  In February 2009, Travis the adorable, almost human, and his owner gained international notoriety after he suddenly attacked and mauled the owner’s best friend.  The owner later told reporters after Travis’ demise,  “I’m like hollow now.  He slept with me every night.  Until you’ve eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don’t know a chimp.”

SIN too often comes dressed in adorable disguises, and as we play with it, eat with it…, live with it daily, how easy it is to say,  “It will be different for me!”

SIN won’t be different, it may come in a different disguise, but it will have the same effect.

If we play with SIN, it will not let us stop where we want to stop!  It will take us down further than we wanted to go.

When we CHOOSE not to do what God wants, we have to face the CONSEQUENCES.  Not following God always has its consequences.

The Consequence of Misplaced Love (God raised up an advisory and tore the kingdom in two/things don’t work out!).

VERSES 11 & 14

The consequence of sin will always cost more than the pleasure the sin provides.

Solomon’s motivation had changed; gone from building God’s Temple and serving God, to building ALTARS to false gods that his wives worshipped and he would be serving them as well.

And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon (verse 14):

[14]  The Lord stirred up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of royal descent in Edom.

ISRAEL goes from GLORY to EXILE –

ISRAEL went from the glories of having fellowship with God and walking with God– to having their country split into two and several hundred years later, their Temple destroyed and the people carried off to another country in captivity.

We can miss out on what God wants to do in our lives today.

He wants to have FELLOWSHIP with us, that was the reason He created mankind and SIN keeps messing it up!

You see, we get involved in things that appear to be nice, but at the same time, they are destroying our spiritual lives.

Remember, the enemy is always in the background.

Looking back in Chapter 10, VERSE 14, we see the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year as, six hundred threescore and six talents of Gold (King James Version).  I found it interesting in other translations, that this number just happens to be “666” *[See Revelation 13:1, 7, 17-18].

Now this wasn’t all of Solomon’s income, but this is what has been written down in Scripture.  The ENEMY is always in the background!

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Don’t Negotiate With Satan!

A hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear in a clearing.  About to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft tone,  “Isn’t it better to talk that to shoot?  What do you want?  Let’s negotiate the matter.”  Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied “I want a fur coat.”  “Good,” said the bear, “that is a negotiable question.  I only want a full stomach, so let us negotiate a compromise.”  They sat down together and after a time, the bear walked away alone.  THE NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL!  The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat!

Satan says,  “Let’s negotiate.”

But there are things that should never be negotiable.  We cannot compromise church with the world.  JESUS and His church deserves our very best and absolute loyalty in ALL things.

SOLOMON WAS THE WISEST MAN ON EARTH!!

Yet, he turned away from God.  Solomon’s problem wasn’t ignorance but rebellion!  

He knew better but did not do better!

We need to keep our eyes open in the world around us.  We need to watch for the enemy, because he is always in the background, waiting to trip us up, waiting to turn our hearts.

It is said that the devil will find things for idle hands to do, so let’s not give him the opportunity.

Matthew 5:8 (AMP):

Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the PURE IN HEART, for they shall see God.

 


CREDITS:

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV).

Photos:  Google Image Search (1 Kings 10, 11).

Commentary:  God’s lessons from history by Philip Smith – About the Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings – http://www.easyenglish.info

Living In The Age of Biblical APOSTASY

THE TEXT:  Introduction to LAMENTATIONS

“Lamentation” Dictionary Definition:  “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow, weeping…”

Lamentations in the Bible: “a book of the Bible telling of desolation of the nation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.”

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It is possible to read the writings of the prophets only as valuable contributions to Old Testament history.  And, the reader may even be enriched by familiarity with their prophecy of events which have been startlingly fulfilled.  But to stop there is by no means to grasp their full and outstanding purpose for today’s living.  Right now, God is speaking definitely and definitively to every nation and every individual.  He wants that we see ourselves as He saw us–a world of nations and individuals rolling down the hill towards disaster [*See Footnote [i] ].   

“GOD BLESS AMERICA”

Psalm 33:12, 18-19 (Amplified Bible):

[12] Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the nation whose God is the Lord; the people He has chosen as His heritage.

[18] Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness,  [19] To deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

LAMENTATIONS 3:40-42 (NIV Bible):

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:  We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.”

Although the above Scripture verses are the keys to this Blog study, I believe that God’s dealings with Israel throughout the entire Book of Lamentations is A PICTURE–a perfect example of His dealings with AMERICA, and perhaps your nation, right where you are today.

Israel Was Under Judgment From God Because…

HER APOSTASY!

Israel had played the harlot in her spiritual adultery of IDOLS & prostituting themselves to the SURROUNDING NATIONS.

Biblical Apostasy Explained:

The word itself–APOSTASY– is from the Greek word “apostasia” a meaning very much like renouncing or dissociating oneself from a particular religion or certain religious beliefs.

It is similar to a REJECTION of beliefs that were once held and accepting different beliefs and might even be a rejection of the beliefs that were previously held.

Apostasy can also be considered an ABANDONMENT or defiance of what was previously held to be true and practiced while rebelling against those same beliefs and practices.

Someone or some group (nation) who does this are considered an APOSTATE.

BIBLICAL WARNINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN POSTED FOR ALL OF US –

The Apostle Paul’s WARNING – 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some shall abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings came through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Jude’s WARNING – Jude 1:3 AMP:

“Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints…”

The word “contend” in this verse comes from the Greek word “agonizomai”:  “To contend about a thing as a combatant.”  [NOTE: “contend” also used in verse 9, but the translation is “to separate oneself from”].

Peter’s WARNING –

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God’s Ultimate Purpose For Bringing Judgment Upon the NATIONS and Mankind…

God wants to turn man from sinning in true acts of REPENTANCE –

The JUDGMENTS that God allows to fall on a rebellious nation or individual is never pleasant and often misunderstood in their purpose.

While our Just, Righteous, and Holy Heavenly Father must JUDGE SIN and cannot allow it to continue, His JUDGMENTS are always tempered with MERCY & A PROMISE of ultimate deliverance ‘IF’…those under judgment would only turn back to Him.

The Prophet Jeremiah, the Writer of Lamentations –

As he weeps in sorrow for the condition of his own people, he is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ as He stood and wept over the sinners of our world.

As JESUS stood on the hill and looked over Jerusalem, crying…

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!  Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help)”  (Matthew 23:37-38 Amplified Bible).

JESUS still stands today looking down from Glory, looking at each person on earth one at a time and at each nation in turn, and America that was so blessed–cries those same words.

How Great is His love for America? For your nation?

With all of His Loving Kindness for every man and woman–so much so that He died on the Cross for each one of us, and YET…He must and has begun to send JUDGMENT because of our rebelliousness–the APOSTASY as a people and nation.

Prior to and after World War II, America was looked upon as the friend of the world, the PROTECTOR of all that was GOOD.

Every nation, even our enemies, held a healthy respect for the BLESSINGS OF GOD and the things that were good about our nation.

Since the 60’s with the Vietnam Conflict, and continuing today, our power, prestige, and will as a nation, has been on the fast track into oblivion.

The secular world has paralleled our slide to destruction similar to the Roman Empire as it began to crumble, not from attacks of outside enemies, but from corruption and sin within.

The Book of Lamentations As An Example What A Nation Experiences As It Faces God’s Judgments –

The stated examples show what I believe America is already experiencing under JUDGMENT from God by its corruption and sin.

Lamentation 1:1-2 (NIV Bible):

[1] How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!  How like  widow is she, who once was great among the nations!  She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.  [2] Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her; they have become her enemies.

America has always been known as the “great melting pot” of Humanity.  People from all nations still come to our country with high hopes and dreams of prosperity and freedom.

It is a testimony that the BLESSING of Almighty God, even when America is in trouble, is still GREAT, economically and militarily.

BUT, the GREATNESS is quickly fading.

“America is great because America is GOOD.  If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great” – ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, a French Historian, upon visiting America in the early 19th Century.

ISRAEL FINDS ITSELF IN CAPTIVITY TO ITS ENEMIES –

I believe that America has fallen CAPTIVE to her enemies as well.

Our GREATEST ENEMY is NOT Russia, China, or any other nation or terrorist group. We are our own greatest enemy!

American Naivety…

In the early ’60’s during the days of the “former” Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, the then Russian Premier, pounded his shoe on the podium of the UN and shouted to the West, “We will bury you!”  The words certainly got all of our attention.  Fearing an invasion from Mother Russia, America proceeded to build the most awesome Military Machine in history.

Unfortunately, we forgot something to guard our political homefront being taken over by socialist-communist-liberal activists; who would gain office and destroy American law by the process of gradually installing Communist agenda within our legal system in separate branches of government.

Americans, being the most NAIVE people among the nations, now believe that COMMUNISM is dead.

The real truth is, COMMUNISM has just switched names to become more “politically correct.”  Today it is called “International Democracy.”  America has now become part of the New World Order atheist government.

The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – [See Footnote [ii] }

In my Detective investigation over the past week, I found this interesting document by Karl Marx.  You tell me whether we–you, as a nation, have been led down a long road to CAPTIVITY and, we willingly went along and let it happen.

THE TEN PLANKS:

1.  Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

2.  A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3.  Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4.  Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5.  Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6.  Centralization of the means  of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

7.  Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 

8.  Equal liability of all to labor and establishment of industrial, armies, especially for agriculture.

9.  Continuation of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10.  Free education for all children in governmental schools. A combination of education with industrial production.

The “LAMENTATIONS” Presented –

None is more hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are FREE…

AMERICA & The NATIONS Have Become “Tributary”; A Slave to its Own Laws –

Becoming a SLAVE to our own laws, that restrains its FREEDOM and “chained” by its own weighty laws restricts every move we make.  There is too much infighting and division to accomplish anything.  Are you listening ‘Mr. Government’?

Lamentations 1:3:

“Judah has gone into exile [to escape] from the affliction and laborious servitude [of the homeland]. She dwells among the [heathen] nations, but she finds no rest; all her persecutors overtook her amid the [dire] straits [of her distress].”

Just as an individual in becoming a SLAVE to SIN in their life, my country has become a SLAVE to its own SIN.

All of our attempts to right every wrong, through Presidential Press Releases, through legislation…instead of REPENTANCE OF THE HEART, created a massive compilation of LAWS which chokes us into servitude.

While most LAWS are meant for our good and for our protection, we’ve overstepped the boundaries between LEGALISM & COMMON SENSE care for ourselves.

Lamentations 1:9 (NIV):

“Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. Look, O LORD, on my affliction for the enemy has triumphed.”

ISRAEL’S IDOLATRY –

ISRAEL had become so adulterous from worship of idols, they couldn’t remember the days of walking in RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS before the True God.

Falling so far, so quickly that their younger generation didn’t know the God of their fathers; no recognition of Israel’s BLESSINGS of the past.  They lived with an attitude that was now the NORM for the people.

SIN had magnified itself so greatly, as to hide the fact, a PATH of righteousness was to follow.

A PICTURE of Our Society Today –

e4dc5d58e68f6e6cb4e2f6281d3a3b9cMy Nation, your Nation, is so caught up in gaining wealth…creating a great lifestyle…self-indulgence at all costs, we have forgotten the PATHS of goodness and righteousness presented in GOD’S WORD–your bible.

AND…if you are thinking that the Church is absent from this picture, think again!  I see it repeated in Social Media daily, without thinking about what they’re sharing, or displaying to the world.  Am I being too legalistic?  You will have to decide.

And the Recompense? 

OUR YOUTH in the land don’t understand, and haven’t heard of the SACRIFICES in the Biblical foundations of our country.  They don’t know the price of FREEDOM because they haven’t been taught.

AMERICA is a great nation ONLY…because of the BLESSINGS of the LORD upon it.

We now have a SOCIETY where the MAJORITY of the people believe… they have a RIGHT–

  • A RIGHT to be rich…
  • A RIGHT to live in a good home…
  • A RIGHT to drive a new car…
  • A RIGHT to health care.

All without any of the responsibility and accountability that accompany these RIGHTS.

“WORK” HAS BECOME A DIRTY WORD –

As a nation, we are becoming lazier each and every day.  We give no thought as a nation about God or Holiness at all!

Lamentations 1:16 (AMP):

“For these things I weep; my eyes overflow with tears, because a comforter, one who could refresh and restore my soul, is far from me. My children are desolate and perishing, for the enemy has prevailed.”

MY PRAYER–

Lord, how long will Your LOVE continue to BLESS AMERICA, even in JUDGMENT?  

Let your MERCIES be extended to us as a nation.  Holy Spirit, move in your people.  

Let there be a great REVIVAL UNLEASHED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS UPON OUR LAND.

The EVIDENCE is here!

America is ceasing, perhaps has already ceased to be GOOD.  How long can God BLESS a nation who has turned its back on God?

BUT…”JESUS Is Calling America” –

John W. Peterson wrote the lyrics to a song in the early 70’s, “Jesus Is Calling America” from the Cantata, America:

Jesus is calling America,

Calling her back to the fold.

Jesus is calling America,

Calling the young and the old.

The title of the Peterson’s lyrics brought me, and hopefully you, to a bible verse in 2 Chronicles:

IF My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP).

This is a great promise from God’s Word!

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HELP US LORD, as a people, as individuals, and as a nation to fall our face in REPENTANCE of our sins.

HELP US to humble ourselves before You, to seek Your face and pray for deliverance.

AMEN!!!

God loves you and I.

God loves America too.

But God’s LOVE must, one day, give way to justice & righteousness.

Let the body of Christ–the Church, across this nation, cross your nation, CRY OUT to God in REPENTANCE and PRAY for Revival in the Lord.

And REVIVAL always begins in the heart of each and every individual.  Unless we do, there is little HOPE that we will survive as nations enjoying PEACE & PROSPERITY.

For God’s JUDGMENTS will increase.  We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in the trouble to come.

If we, as nations in the world, don’t turn to God in REPENTANCE, social unrest will lead to all out rebellion in the streets and anarchy will reign.

OUR MAIN PROBLEM…

America’s main problem is not social unrest, or lack of health care, inequality of opportunity in the inner cities, poverty or any of these things; although all of these are problems that must be dealt with.

America’s main problem is…we’ve left worshipping the God of Heaven and taken JESUS out of our lives PUBLICLY; removed the Word of God from anything that’s PUBLIC.

REWARDS WILL COME, BUT…

If God’s going to BLESS AMERICA…BLESS YOUR NATION…we all must see those trends reversed.

PAR

 


 

FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Opening Statement –  [i] Exerts used from the Amplified Bible (a).

“THE TEN PLANKS” – [ii] The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – http://www.criminalgovernment.com/docs/planks Communist Manifesto-All Ten Planks…In America!!! 

RESOURCE SEARCH:  Jack Wellman @ Christian Crier – http://www.patheos.com

Photo Credits:  BEWARE… found at courting of a kingdom.workers.blogspot.com; Google Image Search.

 

 

 

 

 

If God Wrote Your Obituary…

“IF GOD WROTE YOUR OBITUARY, WHAT WOULD HE SAY?”

“OBITUARY” –  “a published announcement of a death, often accompanied by a short biography of the dead person”  (*See Footnote [i]).

Fill in the Blanks
Filling in the Blanks

TEXT:  1 Chronicles 10:1-14 and 1 Samuel

[13]  So Saul died for his trespass against the Lord [in sparing Amalek], for his unfaithfulness in not keeping God’s word, and also for consulting [a medium with] a spirit of the dead to inquire pleadingly of it.

[14]  And inquired not so of the Lord  [in earnest penitence]. Therefore the Lord slew him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

Often when I read a great book, I want to read even more by the same author.  My last blog-post was a study in the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament, and since Ezra was the author/writer of the volumes of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, why not dig into 1 Chronicles.  Some scholars attribute the possibility that Ezra may have been the author of Ester as well.

So for the past week, I’ve been reading and studying 1 Chronicles which brings me to this particular blog-post in Chapter 10.

Verse 13-14 of 1 Chronicles 10 provides a sad OBITUARY of a man who had been called of God but whose life ended in tragedy and ruin.  God cuts no quarters in telling us exactly what brought down this man of God.

In this WORD DETECTIVE investigation into the Scripture provided, I want for us to consider what God has to say concerning Saul that might be a warning for all us to take heed.

SAUL BREACHED FAITH WITH GOD–

What does a person do when they BREACH a thing?  Going to my Thesaurus and Google Search, I came up with this brief definition:

#1. An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.  

#2. To make a gap in…

We have a definition, so let’s begin to search out the Spirit of God and dig deeper into the Word.

THE KING WAS SO PRIVILEGED, SO WHAT HAPPENED?

From a natural point he was outstanding:

“…a choice young man and handsome; among all the Israelites there was not a man more handsome than he.  He was a head taller than any other of the people”  (1 Samuel 9:2b AMP).

Saul was given a new heart besides by God–

“The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily…and you will be turned into another man”  (1 Samuel 10:6)

“…God gave him another heart…”  (1 Samuel 10:9).

Saul was chosen by God for a TASK: To SAVE Israel–

“And Samuel said to all the people,  Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that none like him is among all the people?  And all the people shouted and said, Long live the king!”  (1 Samuel 10:24).

God touched the hearts of other lives around him–

“Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of valiant men whose hearts God had touched”  (1 Samuel 10:26).

Everything seemed to be in Saul’s favor:

–  Had a good standing in the nation.

–  Distinctly called and commissioned by God.

–  Honored with the friendship of Samuel.

–  Surrounded by a band of men whose hearts God had touched.

Wow!  What privilege Saul must have had and thought of himself in having.  Do you ever feel like a PRIVILEGED one in your ministry?  Not you?

THE CHRISTIAN’S PRIVILEGE–

Believers in JESUS have been chosen by God to take the message of salvation to the world:

“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting…”  (John 15:16).

God doesn’t want for us to be “Lone Ranger Christians” and provides and touches the lives of others to co-labor with us:

“For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God…”  (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Saul Disobeyed God’s Command!

Saul OBEYED God’s command but NOT to the letter.

In 1 Samuel 15, we see Saul in obedience to God’s command with his valiant men fighting the Amalekites.  He won the battle, but failed to do everything the LORD said.  Rather, he chose to do it his way.

Some feel that the end justifies the means–that’s REBELLION!  Note what God’s Word says in 1 Samuel 15:23-24:

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images).  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.  [24] And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”

A Lovely Thought, But Still Disobedience…

While vacationing, a little girl was told not to go by the cliff, and wandered out toward it when her dad fell asleep.  She reached out over the rocks and grabbed a pretty flower and ran back to her dad and said,  “Look what I brought to you.”  He grabbed the flower and threw it down and clutched his little daughter and said,  “You have disobeyed. I’d rather have you than anything you could give me.”  Sound a bit harsh?  Perhaps.  But to DISOBEY God is the ultimate REBELLION–the scowl, the folded arms in position of defiance.

The Regrets From Unfaithfulness–1 Chronicles 10:13:  

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the LORD.

Verse 13 (ESV):  So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD.

Seeking the Advice of the World–

According to Verse 13, Saul not only ignored God’s Word, but sought out and consulted the world–“…[a medium with] a spirit of the dead…”

WHAT IS WISDOM OF THE WORLD?

“Then Saul said to his servants, Find me a woman who is a medium [between the living and the dead], that I may go and inquire of her.  His servants said,  Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor”  (1 Samuel 28:7).

The apostle Paul warns the BELIEVER to beware of the “wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6; 3:19).

In study for this blog, I discovered the WORLD SYSTEM is committed to at least FOUR major objectives:  [*See Footnote [ii] ] 

– FORTUNE,

– FAME,

– POWER,

– PLEASURE.

FIRST and foremost: Fortune, money.

The WORLD SYSTEM is driven by money, feeding on materialism.  Remember, the Bible never says “money is the root of all evil”, it reads “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:5).

I ran across this quote the other day in my reading to share–

“I LOVE MONEY.  I love everything about it!  I bought some pretty good stuff.  Got me a $300 pair of socks.  Got a fur sink.  An electric dog polisher.  A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater.  And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too”  ~ by Steve Martin.

SECOND:  FAME –  

That’s another word for popularity.  It’s the longing to be known, to be a somebody in someone else’s eyes.

THIRD:  POWER –  

This is having influence, maintaining control over individuals or groups or companies or whatever.  It is the DESIRE to manipulate and maneuver others to do something for one’s own benefit.

FOURTH: PLEASURE –  

At its basic level, PLEASURE has to do with fulfilling one’s SENSUAL DESIRES.  It is the same mindset that’s behind an all together familiar slogan:  “If it FEELS GOOD, do it!”

God’s System Vs. The World’s System:

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then ALL THESE THINGS taken together will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33).

“BLESSED  (HAPPY,  fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly  [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands  [submissive and inactive] in the pth where sinners walk, nor sits down  [to relax and rest] where the scornful  [and the mockers] gather” (Psalm 1:1).

FAILING TO SEEK GOD AND HIS WILL–His Word

In 1 Chronicles 14, Saul,  “He did not seek guidance from the Lord.  Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse”  (English Standard Version-ESV).

Th Jameison-Faussett-Brown Bible in their commenting on the statement given in 1 Samuel 28:6 says, Saul inquired of God alright, but Saul  “…had done so in form, but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper.”

“Whoa!,” I thought when I first read the comments.  At times, I have asked questions of my heavenly Father, just as a matter of form in my prayers, not expecting an actual answer.  Did I really have the “believing confidence” that God would answer?

Saul’s inquiry was, in fact, mere mockery.  His total want was really for all right religious impressions toward others surrounding him in his kingdom manifested by his rushing FROM GOD TO an imposter “in the service of the devil.”

James 1:5 (AMP):

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God  [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or fault-finding, and it will be given him.”

Many today who are like Saul, operating in their own kingdom, seeking counsel from everywhere but God and His Word!  Usually, it’s because they don’t really want to hear what God has to say!

Saul Lost Everything God Had Given Him (Vs. 14 b.)

Saul had lost contact with God, lost God’s anointing; an enablement for the task at hand.  Saul lost his character, he lost his kingdom and lost everything that God had given.

Sin has devastating consequences for not only us, but our descendants as well.

Exodus 34:6, 7:

“The Lord!  the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.  [7] Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, BUT…Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

1 Chronicles 10:6-7:

[6] So Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together,  [7] And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

Sin & A Rotten Apple
Sin & A Rotten Apple

We don’t operate in a vacuum and that one person’s sin affects others beyond himself.  It’s like the saying your parents may have referred to when they were unhappy with the crowd you were hanging out with:  “One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel!”

Saul committed a BREACH OF FAITH that cost him dearly.

When you accepted Christ Jesus, you pledged your FAITH in Him and Him alone.  Have you breached that faith by your actions, or lack thereof?

Thank God for His Word in 1 John 1:8-9:

“[8] If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us  [does not dwell in our hearts].  [9] If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

 

GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL–

THERE IS NO BREACH OF FAITH IN HIM!

 


 Blog Credits & Footnotes:

Photos:  Photo Pin/shutterstock

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible except where noted.

Footnote:  [i] The Free Dictionary.com; [ii] Charles Swindoll’s Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p. 219

 

 

“Going Down A Slippery Slope” – Is it a fallacy?

SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENTS:

A “slippery slope” argument goes like this:  “If you take position A, you run the risk of taking position B; position B is wrong, therefore A is also wrong.”

Politics, national organizations, the media all use the technique to often promote FEAR to the listeners, our thinking.  BUT the reason for this POST is…Slippery-Slopenot to debate the idea or to promote FEAR in the readers, but to bring a FOCUS; to CAUTION–maybe even make you feel uncomfortable in what I see as complacency in society and even in the Church today.

THE SLOPE OF DISOBEDIENCE (Matthew 8:28-34)–

Once we take that FIRST STEP towards DISOBEDIENCE, the next step we take becomes much easier.

It was 1956, I was a 14 year old,  a non-rebellious  9th Grader in Junior High School.  Being a REBEL and disappointing my folks was so far away from who I was… the idea of going against the ‘grain of discipline’,  definitely wasn’t who I was–or who I thought I was.

One day, while walking to school as I always did, I knock on a buddy’s door to join me– and to my surprise,  Steve decided he wasn’t going to school that day.  No, he wasn’t sick.  Steve decided, since his parents were at work (no one would know), he was going to “ditch” school.

“Do you want to “ditch” too” Steve asked me.  I thought, how are we going to get away this rebellious act?  I even showed my concern:

“How are we going to keep from being caught? “ I asked.

“Don’t worry, Mel.  I’m good at forging my mom’s signature on an excuse slip.  We can do the same thing for you if you want.”

So the lies began.  Not just once but this went on and off for several months– thrilled because we hadn’t been caught in our lies, our deceit.  We were certainly contented in our disobedience.

And then the day of reckoning came!   We actually got caught by Truant Officers while ditching school…at my house and not Steve’s hideaway.  The math had discovered to many consequences; both 9th graders absent at the same time too many times.

The school contacted our parents at their workplace [my folks waited for me to tell them that night rather than confronting me with the discovery and repercussions].

And then the school pulled us out of first period class the next morning to inform us of  the consequences of our actions.  I remember the VP asking the three of us, what did you do all day?

“We sat at the kitchen table and played poker” we sheepishly answered.

His response at the time seemed quite surprising to the three of us (we had coerced one other student to join in the rebellion), seeing how much trouble we were all in:

“If it had been me ‘ditching’ school, I would have gone fishing, not wasted the whole day hiding in someone’s house”.

That was the “DUH” moment which added stupidity to the embarrassment.

DISOBEDIENCE is always a choice, no matter what age.  And of course, this was no exception.  My parents were of course disappointed and to my pleasant surprise, the only form of punishment needed for me personally was the following statement and it certainly brought home the point:

“You’ve never done anything like this before and I hope you’ve learned a lesson”.

We weren’t TOTALLY off the hook–

One hour of detention in the Vice Principal’s Office, every day for two weeks certainly became a everyday embarrassment when we were excused early from our 1st Period Class to walk down the empty school halls to pay the price of rebellion.

The “slippery slope” began with the idea that just “one time” would be okay–with the addition of our peers cheering silently that we had challenged the system; our own narrow society.  And when discovered, the thrill was over and it all went down hill after that.

THE SLOPE IS STARTED (Verse 28):

“And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.”

The SLOPE starts at the place where JESUS met these men, in Gadera.  It’s located on the east side of the Jordan River, given to the tribe of Gad (Numbers 32:1-2, 6).

The people of Gad didn’t want to cross the Jordan and were contented to stay right were they were.

Then in reading Numbers 32:13-15, we see the Lord became angry with the people.  There was work to be done, battles to be fought and the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled.  Yet, the people would have been content to stay right where they were.  Well fed, well clothed, one big happy group of people.  There was no need to get involved–they would allow others to fight their battles.

Sin Starts With Contentment–

CONTENTMENT that enough has already been done.  The Lord declared if they wouldn’t be willing and come across the river and fight, they wouldn’t receive their possession in the east.  They would have to come across and fight with the rest of the tribes to receive the land they wanted.

There is no place in the Army of God for contentment.  There isn’t such a thing as “We’ve finally arrived!”  And yet, the forefathers of these two demon possessed men had to be coerced into following the Lord’s commands.

Sin enters the camp a little bit at a time.  Not all at once.  The logic of the Gadites was simple:  we are cattlemen, there is grass and water here.  We need to stay here and get started with our lives.

But the logic fell short of the Lord’s desire for the nation as a whole.  There was a PROMISE LAND, a place of belonging, not only for those who chose to stay but also for all God’s people.  They were in the conquest together, and together they would have to fight.

THE SLOPE GETS STEEPER (verses 29-31):

“[29]  And behold, they shrieked and screamed,  What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God?  Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?   [30]  Now at some distance from there a drove of many hogs was grazing.  [31]  And the demons begged Him, If You drive us out, send us into the drove of hogs.” 

NOTICE that the people of Gadera were “pig farmers”.  They abandoned the cattle and sheep business and were now into the pig business.

Pigs were unclean.  Good Jewish families didn’t have pigs.  I believe that the attitudes of the forefathers were still present during the days of Jesus.

SIN crept into the attitudes and began to ‘chip away’ at the morality of the people.  It’s no wonder that there were demon-possessed men living in tombs, chasing away everyone who came near.  The people had allowed sin to become so entrenched in their society that such possession had become possible.

The devil isn’t satisfied with influencing the occasional outburst of sin.  He wants to control the lives of as many people as he can.

These men were the physical embodiment of evil.

They didn’t start out that way.  They didn’t wake up one morning and decided to become possessed.  But it began to take more and more disobedience; more of ignoring of what was around them to get the same thrill they once received.  Soon, they had immersed themselves in Godless behavior and Godless they became.

THE SLOPE SWEPT THEM AWAY (verses 32-34):

” [32]  And He said to them,  Begone!  So they came out and went into the hogs, and behold, the whole drove rushed down the steep bank into the sea and died in the water.   [33]  The herdsmen fled and went into the town and reported everything, including what had happened to the men under the power of demons.  [34]  And behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their locality”  (AMP Version).

The pigs had more sense than the people of Gadera did.  The hogs had rather die than be possessed and ran down the slope into the sea and drowned.

SIN DESTROYS!

That is always the goal of Satan and his demonic hordes.  The demons thought they would be safe in pigs, but the pigs knew better.

As the pigs were swept away to their destruction, the people swept out of the city and asked JESUS to leave.  There, before their own eyes, a great and powerful miracle by the Son of God had taken place before their eyes, where two men no longer were possessed but were in their right minds.

Did the people of Gadera stop and worship the Lord at His presence?  Did they pause to consider what had just happened in their midst?  No, they were more concerned with their ‘pig ministry’ and that their livelihood was gone as well!

Complacency, Contentment, a Godless Society–

In the verses that follow, we see that JESUS did indeed leave.

JESUS will never go where He isn’t wanted!

He will never stay where He isn’t welcomed!

4723392022_da31abeec0JESUS will never stay where a people are in a “sanctuary of contentment” with their spiritual state.

There are PROMISES to fulfill, not just for some, but for all!  JESUS came to offer eternal life to all who would receive Him.  He came to offer a deeper meaning of our spiritual existence.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you CONTENT where you are?  Are you SATISFIED to let someone else take your place, some other church lead in the fight?

Contented and Satisfied
Contented and Satisfied

We have the opportunity to invite JESUS to stay and to see the miracles of changed lives in our churches.  To see Him do “exceedingly more than we have ever thought or imagined.”

“Sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and makes us pay a price we can’t afford to pay.”

SPIRITUAL ‘Figs-in-the-basket’

The Tasting of Figs–

Although my experience of ‘fig-tasting’ didn’t come to my food palate until after I was married (I thought FIGS came from a type of cookie), I have enjoyed the taste of fresh figs ever since.

A Woman I know well, her  “FIG” Story:

“I grew up in Southern California, in a small suburb of San Diego.  And when I think back to fall mornings before school, I think of sweet ripe figs at the breakfast table. 

Our next door neighbors had a huge fig tree that hung over our side fence and they told us to pick and eat as much figs as we wanted.  And that fruit was so good! 

That big old tree produced so much fruit that the excess just dropped to the ground to rot–and in the Spring, there would be tiny little seedlings poking through the ground all over the place.”

THANKS for sharing honey your past memories of the one particular ‘side-yard’ FIG TREE.  It fits in nicely with my study in Jeremiah!

TWO BASKETS OF FIGS and TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE:

Jeremiah 24:1-10–

The TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE represent that important division that existed in Jeremiah’s day.  And it continues to have great importance even today.

Background:  Being “tuned-in” to God…

“AFTER NEBUCHADNEZZAR king of Babylon had taken into exile Jeconiah [also called Coniah and Jehoiachin] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon, the lord showed me [in a vision] two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord”  (Jeremiah 24:1 AMP)

Some translations of the Bible starts out Jeremiah saying, God caused me to see” or “The Lord showed me”.  JEREMIAH was spiritually tuned into God, so God could use him in a special way.

The Vision–

And God showed Jeremiah this vision of the two baskets of figs.  God then used Jeremiah to write a letter of encouragement to the people of Judah as they went into captivity.

My hope for Christians today is to be spiritually tuned in, in such a way…that it causes US to see…that He will give us a vision…that He will be able to use each one of us to be an encouragement (Acts 18:27).

THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT CAN DIVIDE US INTO GROUPS…

Divided by sexes…there are men and women.

Divided by race...blacks, whites, Hispanics, and so on…

Divided by religious beliefs…Catholic, protestant, Muslims, Jew…

And in our country today…it is particularly obvious…

Divided sharply by politics…

It is sad to see some of the conflicts between the different groups.

By continuing my study in Jeremiah…

I am seeing the people of Judah divided into two groups…and we will find that this same division continues today.  Of all the things that divides us, this division is most important:

More important than…man and woman; black or white; Democrat or Republican; Jew and Gentile or any other division you can come up with.

JEREMIAH 24, God uses a vision of Figs-in-the-Basket.

GOOD FIGS
GOOD FIGS
ROTTEN FIGS
ROTTEN FIGS

THE “WARNING” WAS APPARENT!

Jeremiah had been warning the people for about 20 years of God’s coming judgement.  But by and large, the people ignored him…refusing to return to God.

How often do we see the same reactions of people we know today, maybe even in our family  not reacting to God’s Word– His warnings ignored and backs turned.

The outcome of disobedience…

We see that judgement has finally arrived…Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon invaded and attacked…Jeremiah had warned the people over and over and over again…REPENT or…!

THE BOILING POT–

6870341-boiling-water-in-old-sooty-kettle-on-the-hiking-campfireThe picture to the left is a ready boiling pot over a campfire– but THE BOILING POT I’m talking about was hanging perilously over Judah and has now finally boiled over on the people–judgement has come.

Jeremiah had warned them that God didn’t want them to try to escape the wrath nor did He want them to be left behind.  God wanted them to submit to the Babylon king and go into exile.  He had His reasons for them not hiding.

We hate that word in our lives–“to submit” , to be “submissive” to anything– or to anybody.  Even in the words given to us in Ephesians  raises the hair on the backs of our necks:

“Submit to one another out of the reverence of Christ”  and “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord”  (Ephesians 5:21, 22 NIV)  That word has been left out of the wedding vows almost completely today.  But it still doesn’t change the fact.

But some of the people of Judah ran to Egypt to escape or…they were able to avoid capture in their own country.

From a human perspective…

The people were able to avoid the trauma of exile…

They were the ‘lucky’ ones…

They avoided capture…

They avoided the Exile that would eventually last 70 years…

They were able to return from Egypt back to Jerusalem…

They were probably pretty proud of themselves…

And meanwhile, they were probably saddened about their brothers and sisters who were captured.

But things aren’t always as they seem in our lives…

Lets look again at the VISION God gave Jeremiah–

The Lord showed Jeremiah 2 baskets of figs…to place in front of the temple of the Lord (verse 1).

Deuteronomy 26 talks about the Law of First FruitsVerse 2 says,

“You shall take some of the first of all produce of the soil which you harvest from the land of the Lord your God gives you and put it in a basket, and go to the place [sanctuary] which the Lord your God has chosen as the abiding place for His Name [and His Presence].”

The firstfruits were suppose to be a tithe; a tenth of the produce [fig trees generally produce 3 crops, or harvests of fruit] that the priests would then distribute to those in need.  They were supposed to be the BEST...the choice fruit.

In verse 2 of the text in Jeremiah 24…

We can see that one basket of figs was very good…they were plum and juicy, just like Dianne’s memories of the ‘sweet figs’ on the morning breakfast table.  Since fig trees can often have 3 crops, the first harvest is the most desired…treated as a delicacy.

But in this VISION, God shows Jeremiah another basket of figs.  This basket of figs ‘nasty’…they were so rotten…nobody would eat them!  You certainly wouldn’t want them on your breakfast table.

After God shows Jeremiah the vision, He interprets it for him.  God tells Jeremiah the GOOD FIGS represent the people taken out of Judah in exile.  And the BAD FIGS represented those who either escaped the eventuality or remained hidden in Judah.

I don’t know about you, but my first impression of Jeremiah’s vision should have been in reverse.  The BAD FIGS should have been the one’s who were taken captive by the Babylonian Army and the people who had escaped the devastation were the GOOD FIGS–God was protecting them–or was He?

About the “good figs”…

God has a wonderful promise for them:

Verse 6–  “For I will set My eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.”

Have you ever been in a situation where you ask the question, “Why me Lord?  Not again, enough is enough!”  We forget about the PROMISES found in God’s Word.

The land we find ourselves in–sickness, poor health, old age, unemployment, poverty, fear…sometimes makes us say to ourselves, “What’s the deal, am I a ‘bad fig’ or what?”  But as you meditate on the beautiful words of God’s promise, it should comfort us in knowing, “I don’t know the ‘why’s’ but I do know God’s promises!”

What other might see in our circumstances…

Now the world might look at the people who were led away captive in a strange and foreign land as defeated losers.  But that’s not what God saw–He had other plans for them…

But for the “rotten figs”…

The ‘nasty figs’ represented those people who avoided exile…contrary to God’s will for them.

God’s harsh indictment…

Because of their disobedience to God’s will, they would be treated…tossed out and trampled underfoot.  All other people in the surrounding nations would look at them and say…

“Oh, YUK.  They’re so disgusting!”

And in Rebellion, as they returned home or leaving their hiding place…

They might have been singing the words to this 1968 popular tune:

Regrets, I’ve had a few

But then again, too few to mention

I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption

I planned each chartered course,

each careful step along the byway

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way

Did you notice the “I” in the lyrics?  God had spoken to the people through the prophet about His plans (Jeremiah 21:9):

“He who remains in the city [Jerusalem] shall die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence.  But he who goes out and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him his only booty [as a prize of war].” 

And yet…the “I” had surfaced–I did what I had to do” Lord.  Don’t need your help!

The Key Difference Between the GOOD FIGS and the BAD FIGS:  THE EXILES and the LEFT BEHIND

The difference between the 2 Groups are found in verse 7, where God says:

“And I will give them a heart to now (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with) Me, that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

Although the exiles were moved from their homes…to a land where they found themselves captive…  Although they were moved away from the temple…away from their families, God would take care of them…God would bless them…God would renew the covenant with them.

Because, although many turned away from God and embraced the sin of the world, through their exile they would return to God; not just in pretense.  Scripture tells us that they will return to God WITH ALL THEIR HEART!

My Detective  Work in Jeremiah 24  Revealed A Picture of Yours and My World–

The Figs-in-the-basket!.

As I was studying God’s Word, I began to picture our world today; our families, our children and grandchildren; the people who are close to us.  Some are very, very good and some are very, very bad.

The Differences…

The GOOD return to God with ALL their heart and the BAD continue on in their refusal to obey God.

When I was little, I can remember running from punishment and hiding under my parents bed.  I can almost hear my mother’s voice as I curled up into a fetal position,

“Mel, if you don’t come out here now and get your punishment…it is only going to be worse for you!

I knew the rules and the consequences of ignoring them; of disobeying.  Was I a “good fig” or was I a “bad fig”?  I like to say I was just an ‘UN-ripe fig’, not yet ready for the picking.

Overcoming the Rottenness–

Those of us who are ‘overcomers’, born-again believers, who are EXILES in this world…we don’t belong here…this is NOT our land.  Yet, God would have us to live in this land…

To strive…

To live…

To be a positive influence to those around us…

To follow the covenant…

To follow God and obey Him…

To allow Him to be our Lord and Savior…

To be a GOOD FIG!

Another Great Separation Will Take Place…

JESUS tells us about it:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;  And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.  Then the King will say to those at His right hand,  Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”  (Matthew 25:31-34).

When it comes to the coming JUDGEMENT…determining where you and people you know will be spending eternity, there are only                 2 Baskets to choose from:  The GOOD FIGS…and the ROTTEN FIGS…the SHEEP and the GOATS…the SAVED and the LOST.  There isn’t a middle ground…NO 3rd Basket for those who didn’t get saved.  And yet, they were good people or good citizens.

In The Meantime…

You can choose which basket you are in!  JESUS can take the rottenness and make it clean!

THE TIME IS NOW!
THE TIME IS NOW!

For those of you who are SAVED…(ALL you GOOD FIGS), now isn’t the time to set back and wait out the exile.

No Time to Sit Back
No Time to Sit Back

Now is the time to flourish, right where you are planted.  Yes, the world isn’t our home…we are exiles here.  But while the time remains…we must be about our Father’s business!