THE AVENGER


With the recent news headlines regarding the lack of justice in the land and in the world, let’s face it.   It’s frustrating!  It seems that hardened criminals get off with just slaps on the wrists.  I can’t stand the lack of consequences being dealt out for evil behavior.

While injustice in our country and the world abounds, my spirit rises when I ponder the Word of God when it clearly communicates that the wicked will not go unpunished.  As the Day of the LORD approaches, The Avenger of all the earth ensures that the wicked are done away with and justice is done.

In the last several weeks I’ve been reading and studying in THE BOOK Of Jeremiah, learning that because of the people’s constant sinning against the LORD, the Jews of Jeremiah’s day received what they deserved–the JUDGEMENT of the LORD.

God didn’t let them get away with rebellion against Him.

The people who God used to carry out His judgment were the Babylonians.

However, the tactics and methods of the Babylonians were absolutely unconscionable and brutal.  That gave rise to the question, which Jeremiah anticipates in the two chapters referenced:

“Will the Babylonians be punished for their evil deeds?  Will justice be done?”

And the answer given of Jeremiah 50-51 is “Yes, the Babylonians are going to be punished for the evil they commit against you.  The destroyer is going to be destroyed.  Babylon is going to fall and not rise again.”  

And for the Jews, Jeremiah 50-51 held a great comfort:

  1. The Babylonians were not going to get away with their evil deeds.
  2. The Jewish nation was going to survive.  God was going to redeem them in the land of captivity and return them to their homeland and be their God.

God’s JUSTICE…Is the fact that God will not let the wicked go unpunished.

But before we can have an understanding of God’s commitment to JUSTICE, we need to learn and understand about His vengeance and the anger that is aroused in Him by a person or nations in disobedience.

Jeremiah 50:15

Jeremiah speaks of the city of Babylon as an act of vengeance by the LORD:


Jeremiah speaks of how the time has come to be punished and how God was going to take vengeance on the Babylonians for what they had done to His Temple:

Jeremiah 50:27-31 (AMP)

[27] Slay all her bullocks (her choice youths, the strength of her army); let them go down to the slaughter!  Woe to [the Chaldeans]!  For their day has come, the time of their visitation (their inspection and punishment).

[28] Listen!  The voice of those [Jews] who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon proclaiming in Zion the vengeance [of the Lord upon the Chaldeans] for [the plundering and destruction of] His temple.

[29] Call together [many] archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow.  Encamp against her round about; let none from there escape.  Recompense her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do to her.  For against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel, has she been proudly defiant and presumptuous.

[30] Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets and squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord.  [31] Behold, I am against you, O Babylon [you who are pride and presumption personified], says the Lord, the Lord of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will visit and punish you.

Jeremiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Babylon was 170 years before its fulfillment.

In verse 29, God’s intent was to repay Babylon for her rebellion against Him.  Like things are said in Jeremiah 51:6; 51:11; 51:13; 51:24; and 51:36.

One of God’s Attributes: GOD IS A GOD OF VENGEANCE!

For some of us, the idea that God is a vengeful God just doesn’t seem right.  Yet in Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19 we read:  “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”

And in Romans 12:19,

So what is the vengeance of God about?  —justice, retribution, punishment, payback, balancing the scales of right and wrong, righteous and holy anger.  It’s God’s response to SIN AND REBELLION.  Vengeance and the punishment of the wicked is God’s right and His duty.  In fact, if God can’t be true to His character of holiness and justice and if He allows SIN AND REBELLION to go unpunished…and if justice is to mean anything, then rebellion, lawbreaking, disobedience, arrogance, and all evil acts necessitate punishment.  God cannot and will not let the wicked go unpunished. 

As Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished…”. 

Proverbs 11:21 also says “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.”

Just so I don’t leave you with an inaccurate view of God, we need to understand that the Bible balances the fury of God’s vengeance against the sinner with the greatness of His mercy on those who repent of their wicked ways.  This includes the nations of the world as well.

Our God is incredibly merciful!

In Psalm 116:5 it says, “The LORD is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion.”

In 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.” [AMP]

For in Jesus and the Cross, the full expression of God’s MERCY and GRACE is made available for us–for in the CROSS and the shed BLOOD of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for sin, the remedy for our sin and the judgment of God we all deserve.

As the time came for Babylon to be punished and experience God’s wrath against her, so the time approaches for the people in our day to experience the same.

Without a doubt, the Day of Judgment approaches.

In Hebrews 10:30-31, it says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge His people.”  [31] It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

And again in 2 Peter 3:10 it says,  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a tremendous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.  [AMP]

There’s a reason for this happening:

  • BECAUSE of the wickedness of mankind.
  • BECAUSE OF OUR SIN.
  • BECAUSE of peoples refusal to live as God requires us to.
  • BECAUSE the justice and righteousness of God demands that sin and rebellion be punished.

While the great Day of Judgment approaches, the Bible also teaches us that after we die and face judgment, each one will appear before the LORD and give an account–and to Heaven or Hell one will go for all eternity.

I know, most pulpits today are not preaching this.  And why?  “People that come through our doors don’t want to hear negative sermons,” as it’s been noted in churches across the land.

Here is something to note:  The one who will judge, the one who determines where one’s eternity will be spent…IS JESUS!

John 5:22-23 records Jesus saying,  

TWO THINGS as it pertains to the coming Day of Judgment:

For most, the Day of Judgment will be a terrible day for them–for they will experience the LORD’S hand against them.

For the few righteous, the children of God, a glorious day, the Day of the Lord shall be!

For all the saints a day of celebration and praise will take place.  Along with the angels of Heaven who will declare “True and just are your judgments O Lord.”  [See Revelation 16:7, and note Jeremiah 51:48. ]

The Required Preparation for the Day of the Lord.

  • The only way to be prepared is to be right with God.  The only way to escape the coming JUDGMENT is to be at peace with God.
  • The only way to be right with God is to be a follower of Jesus.  As Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
  • The only way to have peace with God is to humble ourselves before Him, confessing our sin, mourning over it, and embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

THE GLORIOUS NEWS OF THE SCRIPTURE–

For those who are right with God–meaning they’re disciples of Christ on the Day of Judgment–they shall not experience condemnation of God. 

Romans 8:1 (NIV) says, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

As the angel of death passed over the houses of the Jews and the blood of the lambs spread on their doorposts, so the destruction of the Lord will pass over all those identified and spiritually marked with the shed blood of Jesus–the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

VENGEANCE IS GOD’S BUSINESS, NOT OURS!

Like the ancient Hebrews, many Christians have misapplied the doctrine of divine vengeance using it as an excuse for holding on to the “getting even” against others.  Jesus has clearly spoken out against this:

Likewise in Romans 12:17-21 the Apostle Paul by the Spirit of God, commands us saying, 

Since VENGEANCE and REPAYING EVIL is God’s domain, we need to ask:

  • Is there someone you are holding a grudge against in the present, or in the past?
  • Is there someone in your life who you would like to get even with?

If you are struggling with a grudge, with unforgiveness, and with a retaliation spirit, then confess it now and ask the Lord to forgive you and to give you the mind of Christ, which is LOVE for your enemies, to turn the other cheek, to forgive those who trespassed against you.

As much as I or you hate injustice in our society and wrong sinful behavior, God hates it 1000 times more.

GOD HAS MADE A PROMISE:

He will not let the wicked go unpunished,

His HOLINESS AND COMMITMENT to justice demands this.

The only way to escape the AVENGER’S wrath is to flee to Jesus Christ who took upon Himself the punishment for sin that you and I deserve.

On the CROSS He endured the wrath of God for our sins and that whoever should believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The more injustice and evil abound, the greater the comfort comes from this doctrine we have looked at in this study will be to us.

While our God is a God of vengeance, an AVENGER, we need to remember it’s held in the perfect balance of His rich and undeserved mercy (1 Thessalonians 4:6).


VENGEANCE IS GOD’S BUSINESS, NOT OURS

We need to learn to turn the other cheek and to wait upon the Lord–for He will AVENGE the wicked–they will not go unpunished.

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CREDITS:

Encyclopedia:  International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – Avenge; Avenger.

Dictionary:  VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY.

IMAGES:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New American Standard Bible (NASB).

 

 

Following Jesus Comes With Risks


THE RISK OF FEAR –

Many people today are refusing to acknowledge Jesus in their lives because of the fear of other people’s opinions.

They are ashamed to be associated with Christ Jesus in public but attempt to confess Him when they find a need for Him when chaos is breaking loose in their lives.  Jesus describes them in Matthew 15:8 – “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” [NIV]

Everyone who comes face to face with Christ (via media, radio, tv, internet, church, Preacher, blogger, etc.) must do one of two things concerning Him.  Either confess Him or deny Him.  There’s no neutral ground.

During the final few months of Jesus’ life, He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem along with His followers where He was crucified.  On their journey, Jesus gave them some very important teaching regarding DISCIPLESHIP.

That brings me to our Bible study and the risks involved in following Christ.

LUKE 12:8-12 (NIV)

[8] “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  [9] But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.  [10] And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  [11] “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  [12] for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

WARNING…NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PREVENT CONCUSSIONS OR ELIMINATE THE RISKS OF SERIOUS HEAD OR NECK INJURIES WHILE PLAYING FOOTBALL…”

Schutt Sports, a major supplier of football helmets for the National Football League (NFL), on their website page has inserted a WARNING LABEL and goes on to give information on the symptoms for concussions and concludes with these words:  TO AVOID THESE RISKS…DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL.

At least this company is honest about the RISKS involved in playing football.

Similarly, the Bible is honest about the RISKS involved in following Jesus.

Paraphrasing, the Bible says, “To avoid the risks of discipleship, don’t engage in following Jesus!”

DISCIPLESHIP IS GOING TO COST YOU!

Following Jesus means opening yourself up to opposition, ridicule, resentment, harm, injury, and even death!

During Jesus’ ministry, He experienced growing opposition and persecution even from His half-siblings–His own family (Mark 3:21).  He noticed that His disciples were becoming increasingly fearful–even standoffish in some cases as they saw what was happening to their teacher.

So, He used His disciples not to FEAR people, but instead to FEAR and REVERENCE God knowing that God cared for each one of them (Luke 12:47).

Then He urged His DISCIPLES to acknowledge Him before men.

I’ve found it interesting when pastors today give an invitation for accepting Jesus as their Savior at the end of Sunday Services with “every head bowed,” [‘no peaky’] and proceeds to encourage the hand raisers to “acknowledge Jesus as Savior before men”!

How does one do that?  And if they don’t do as suggested, what then?

The analysis of ACKNOWLEDGING Christ Jesus before others have both a positive and negative aspect.

I’ve always voted when asked for the “positive” first before the “negative”.

Jesus said in verse 8,  “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others…” 

Jesus puts our relationship to Him in an eternal perspective.  I like the way the Amplified Bible reads:

“Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.”

“ACKNOWLEDGE, DECLARE, PROCLAIM”…the point lies in doing it “before men”!  And if we acknowledge Him before others here on earth, then that will lead to Him acknowledging us before the tribunal of heaven.  WOW!

The Bible says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9 (NIV)

To DECLARE Christ Jesus before others mean that we do ALL THESE THINGS, whatever we do, whether it’s at work or at school or at home or at play, we do it ALL for Jesus.

Jesus’ PROMISE –

When we confess Christ before men, then He will declare us at the Last Day.

What a precious promise that is for every believer!

On the day we die, as we stand before Almighty God, everything about us will be revealed.  All our past sins–even those that are secret–will be exposed.  Each one of us will be condemned by God’s Law, condemned by our sin, condemned by our conscience, condemned by Satan himself.  We will stand before God without HOPE.

BUT…and this is a glorious “but”…if we’ve acknowledged Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior on earth, then Jesus will rise up in our defense!  He will tell the Father and all the angels that we belong to Him by faith.

He will tell the tribunal of heaven because of our FAITH in Him because we’ve received the gospel because we’ve acknowledged Him on earth.

He is acknowledging to all in heaven we belong to Him!

His MERIT covers ALL our faults, our iniquities, our sin and we must be accepted into heaven because of what He has done for us.

Not Acknowledging Christ Before Men Comes With Recompense.

This is the negative aspect of not declaring Christ before man.  Jesus said in verse 9,  “…he who disowns and denies and rejects and refuses to acknowledge Me before men will be disowned and denied and rejected and refused acknowledgment in the presence of the angels of God.”  [AMP]

What does it mean to “deny” Him before men?

It means that we don’t stand with or for Jesus.  It means that we don’t acknowledge that we’re Christians.  It means that when people speak against Christ and Christianity in our every-day-world, we remain silent, making excuses for all the reasons why we shouldn’t acknowledge Him.

“I don’t want them to think I’m a religious nut!”

You can add to this list, I’m sure.

Jesus says that if we don’t acknowledge Him we DENY Him!

And if we “deny” Him, He will “deny” us!

The Principles Laid Down In Acknowledging Christ Before Men –  (Luke 12:10)

VERSE 10 is a difficult verse to understand at first.  That said, I find TWO PRINCIPLES that come into play here.

There’s SIN that’s FORGIVEABLE (Luke 12:10 (a)).

I think Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College and author explains it best when he said, “To speak against the Son of Man is to speak against Jesus Christ without fully understanding who He is or what He has done.”  This isn’t the full and final denial as illustrated by Judas in verse 9.  Nevertheless, to speak a word against the Son of Man is SIN.  But…and here’s the good news…it is a SIN God can and will forgive.

Almost all Christians spoke a word against Jesus before coming to saving faith in Him.  But as soon as we fully understood who He was and what He did, we repented of what we said and received forgiveness from Him.

There’s SIN that’s UNFORGIVABLE (Luke 12:10 (b) ).

Here comes the “BUT”–“…but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”  This is where there’s been some misunderstanding.

What does it mean to “blaspheme” against the Holy Spirit?  What does this one particular sin, this one blasphemy, make it impossible to repent and be forgiven?  What about blasphemy against the Son of God, or God the Father, or angels, or Scripture, or the church?

Why only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

I think it’s because of the unique and decisive role the Holy Spirit plays in our salvation.  If we look to God the Father and then turn from His glory and embrace sin, that’s bad!  If we look to His Son, Jesus, who He sent into the world and then have turned away from His glory and embrace sin, that’s doubly bad!!

But in either case, there’s hope–the Father has planned redemption and the Son has accomplished redemption.  This redemption is outside of ourselves and available to us as long as we repent of our sin and turn back to Christ in faith.

But it’s a unique and special role of the Holy Spirit plays in our lives to apply the Father’s plan and Son’s accomplishment of it to our hearts.

It’s the Holy Spirit’s work to open our eyes, to grant repentance, to make us beneficiaries for all the Father and Son have done for us.

John Piper gives this definition for the Unforgivable Sin:

The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that He withdraws forever with His convicting power so that we are never able to repent and be forgiven.

Sometimes people worry they have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit and have committed a sin that’s unforgivable.  The fact that a person is worrying that he or she might have blasphemed is an indication that he or she hasn’t done so.

A person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is so vehemently opposed to Christ that he believes Jesus is from Satan.  And that sin will not be forgiven!  [See Mark 3:20-35]

The Risk of Hostility in Persecution – (12:11a).

“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities…”

Jesus was preparing His disciples for persecution.  It was going to be inevitable that persecution was going to come.  In fact. this happened shortly after Jesus. death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven when Peter and John were arrested and hauled before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1).  The apostles were often arrested for their faith in Christ Jesus.

But Help Is On Its Way! – (12:11b-12:12)

[11b]  “…do not be anxious [beforehand] how you shall reply in defense or what you are to say.  [12] For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour and moment what [you] ought to say”  (AMP).

Although Jesus’ promise was particularly directed to the apostles, it also applies in principle to ALL disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ.

We can trust the Holy Spirit to help us whenever we speak for Jesus. 

You may feel inadequate or ill-prepared or not very knowledgeable of God’s Word.  That’s not the point! It’s the matter of telling what you know about Jesus in a personal way and pray that the Holy Spirit will take what you say–however inadequate it may be–to do His saving work in other peoples lives.

Finally, Taking A Stand for Jesus Christ.

God is calling His disciples–that’s you and me–to take a stand for His Son Jesus!

Acknowledge Him, declare His name with your lips that He is Lord and Savior of your life.

He is calling you to live for Jesus and speak for Jesus in your home, in your office, in your playground, in your neighborhood, and in your school.

And remember, when you do so, you have the glorious PROMISE that Jesus will take a stand for you on the day you appear before God in heaven.

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CREDITS ~

Commentary:  The Power to Risk in the Cause of Christ/John Piper quote – Desiring God.com

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or where noted in the text or images.

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search – copyrights may apply.

 

The Feelings of Being Dropped and Rejected

self-image

2 Samuel 4:4 (ESV):

Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet.  He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled in her haste, he fell and became lame.  And his name was Mephibosheth.

MEPHIBOSHETH –

I see here in the verse, that this young boy was in the care of an unnamed nurse.  After all, he could have been the future king of the land, and would have had a caretaker, a nanny, a trusted companion to be entrusted to.

And in a time of urgency, a time when the kingdom seemed to be crashing all around them, a time when the nurse was not thinking clearly, when she was rushed in going to and fro…

Mephibosheth was consequently DROPPED…dropped by someone who should have been caring for him.

DROPPED by someone who should have been the model and personification of LOVE!

He was dropped by the one who fed him.

Dropped by the one who hugged him.

He was dropped by the one he TRUSTED!

Has someone you have loved and expressed LOVE to you ever dropped you?

You looked to them and they dropped you!

You trusted them and they dropped you!

They held you close and they dropped you!

They fed you with one hand and slapped you with the other hand!

They held you, said I love you but the way they held you was full of perversion and in your heart you question, “Is this really love?”

They said “I love you” but their actions spoke of hate and anger.

You were dropped by the one who should have been holding you!  Not only were you “dropped,” but you were changed when you were dropped from that moment on and you began to WALK DIFFERENTLY.

I remember hearing the story of my mother-in-law when she was probably about Mephibosheth’s age.  A neighbor had come over to visit and wanted to bring Margarite down stairs to the parlor for others gathered to gloat and brag over this pretty young girl.

As she began to proceed down the stairs in haste, she dropped my wife’s mother, which resulted with her leg being broken.  Unfortunately, in that day in age, X-Rays were far and few between, and the doctor didn’t set the little girl’s leg correctly.  So, her leg bone fused to her hip, and she became lame in that leg, walking differently, wearing a specially made shoe, for the rest of her life.

But being LAME in life can obviously go beyond the physical deformities, it can apply to our spirit, our souls as well.

WALKING IN RELATIONSHIPS –

Your relationships after being dropped can carry with them the effects of being dropped.

You carry insecurities IN the process of being DROPPED.

But understand the Bible constantly affirms the teaching of Self Worth!

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”  (Genesis 1:26)

AND Psalm 8:5-6 (Amplified Bible):

[5] Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have [crowned] him with glory and honor.  [6] You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.

Holding Unforgiveness –

We lose when we fall into a cycle of HATING those that have dropped us.

Matthew 5:43-44:

[43] “You have heard that it was said,  ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’  [44] But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

HURT –

Instead of admitting the HURT, we think about it and puzzle over our anger, when the ANGER becomes so strong you forget that you have even been hurt!

REVENGE –

Revenge comes with, “What can I do to get even?”

Always dwelling on the issue–never moving on–never growing up and never allowing FORGIVENESS to flow.

Minds are manipulated by feelings.  They allow the initial HURT to evolve; which grows into something larger to hold onto, resulting in certain Self-destruction; Self-damage and poor Self-worth.

A person that doesn’t think well of themselves eventually begins to criticize others.

Proverbs 26:24 (AMP):

He who HATES pretends with his lips, but stores up deceit within himself.

Pushing others down makes those who are down felt as if they are greater.

We are never given AUTHORITY to CRITICIZE OTHERS, even those who have done us wrong.  Even those that HATE you.  Even those that CRITICIZE you.  Even those who whisper (gossip) behind your back.

BLESS THEM, ENCOURAGE THEM, UPLIFT THEM!

I challenge anyone, who has or had feelings of inadequacy from being dropped and rejected by another, will hold on to these feelings while Blessing them, Encouraging them, and Uplifting them.

MEPHIBOSHETH FOUND HIMSELF AT THE KING’S TABLE –

2 Samuel 9:1-5 (AMP)

[1]  AND DAVID said, Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?  [2] And of the house of Saul there was a servant whose name was Ziba. When they had called him to David, he said to him, Are you Ziba? He said, I, your servant, am he.  [3] The king said, Is there not still someone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the [unfailing, unsought, unlimited] mercy and kindness of God? Ziba replied, Jonathan has yet a son who is lame in his feet.  [4] And the king said, Where is he? Ziba replied, He is in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.  [5] Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir son of Ammiel in Lo-de-bar.

MEPHIBOSHETH; although lame physically, never searched for the king, BUT…the king searched for him!

He was afraid of King David!  Perhaps this young boy had a wrong perception of the king’s character.

JESUS said,  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost”  (Luke 19:10).

Man does not SEEK after God, God’s not lost; we are!

In all our insecurities, self-doubts…we have turned our backs on God.

Mephibosheth found himself in a far country (9:4).  He was at Lo-debar.

LO-DE-BAR means “the place of no bread.”  It’s a place of starvation; there is no SPIRITUAL FOOD in this far country.  And, there is no strength outside the will of God.

Are you finding yourself right now in a far off place HURT and REJECTION–in a land with the name of Lo-debar?

Mephibosheth was crippled and couldn’t help himself (9:13).

He would have died without the King’s help (9:8),

JESUS came into a country where there was NO BREAD.  I feel so grateful, so blessed that He came to SAVE me and you!

MEPHIBOSHETH WAS RECEIVED FOR ANOTHER’S SAKE –

2 Samuel 9:1, 7 (AMP):

[1] AND DAVID said,  Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?

[7] David said to him, Fear not, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father [grandfather], and you shall eat at my table always.

DAVID love Jonathan like his own son and David made a promise to him:

While I [Jonathan] am still alive you shall not only show me the loving kindness of the Lord, so that I die not.  But also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever–no, not even when the Lord has cut off every enemy of David from the face of the earth.  (1 Samuel 20:14-15, AMP).

Mephibosheth became a son of the King (9:11).  [See Romans 8:17]

[17] Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…

It is true that, while we as human beings were in our infancy, the devil grabbed us and ran off into a far country that caused mankind to fall and be crippled.  Where our doubts, our failings, our insecurities, OUR FEELINGS has left us crippled spiritually and feeling not loved.

BUT thank God, it is also true that the King has come, He sought us, and found us in a far country, adopted us into His family, and will take us to His country to sit at His Table for eternity.

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CREDITS –

True Beauty of Our Scars, A Book by Elisa Morgen

Photos:  Google Images Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

There’s Another Day Beyond This One–and It’s A GIFT!

The GIFT is already here!
The GIFT is already here!

During the Holiday Season, so many people like to emphasize the GIVING experience.  We even quote Scripture to punctuate our giving experience:  “For God so greatly loved and clearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son…” ~ John 3:16.

But what I want to discuss in this particular blog-Post is,  how we can we thoroughly partake in what God has already given?

The GIFT — God gave to us all and now… we need to reach out and receive.  We’ll never know what’s on the inside unless we RECEIVE!

Scriptural Text:

EXODUS 15:22-27 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[22] Then Moses led Israel on-ward from the Red Sea and they went into the Wilderness of Shur; they went three days [thirty-three miles] in the wilderness and found no water.

[23] When they came to Marah, they could not drink its waters for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah

Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)
Oasis of Marah (Bitter Waters)

[bitterness].

[24] The people murmured against Moses, saying,  What shall we drink?

[25] And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree which he cast into the waters, and the waters were made sweet.  There [the Lord] made for them a statute and an ordinance,  and there He proved them,

[26] Saying,  If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey  His commandments  and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you.

[27] And they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters.

HOW GOD REVEALS TO US HIS CHARACTER, HIS NATURE IN THE BIBLE:

GOD has revealed Himself in various ways in the Bible for us to better understand His character–who He is by indication in His name.  [See Footnote [i]- source for the following names listed.]

*  ELOHIM=Creator, Preserver, Keeper of His Covenant.

*  EL-SHADDAI=Almighty God, Our all-sufficient supply, Restorer of power, gifts, and the One Who makes us fruitful.

*  ADONAI=Lord–Owner of all!

*  JEHOVAH=LORD–holiness (Truth Revealer), righteousness, redemption.

After being married to my dear wife for over fifty years, our relationship has grown even closer; utilizing the names we have for each other: honey (sweetness), sweetheart (character; heart), babe (physical attraction), and other descriptive qualities that will go unmentioned.  The names we’ve chosen shows the endearing relationship we have for one another.

GOD REVEALS HIS NATURE IN SCRIPTURE:  (*Footnotes [i].)

The names of God which He progressively reveals Himself in the OT is a response to His people’s progressing needs:

*  ABRAHAM in his test to offer up his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah.  JEHOVAH- JIREH=The God Who provides.  God provided a SACRIFICE.  And there, caught in the thorny bushes, a ram.  The GIFT had been provided and Abraham gladly received.

*  The PASSOVER LAMB, who would be slain so God’s people could go free (from Egypt) and Christians could be set free from the power of sin through “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.

And from this experience came the expression “on the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”  And so it was, 2000 years later (Now 2000 years ago!) – on Mt. Moriah, which is, geographically CALVARY–“That’s where Jerusalem was built.”

These stories are all lessons to us.  In fact…the whole of the OT is!

“Now these things befell them by the way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period)”  (1 Corinthians 10:11 amp).

I hope this study will speak to you as you’re reading and meditating on the application in your life.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

GOD REVEALS something else of His nature.

*  That He is the HEALER.

*  The LORD who HEALS.

In the verses above from Exodus 15, basically, God’s people have made it out of Egypt through the Red Sea.  After 400 years captive in slavery, and God providing the way of escape, they came out with Excitement, Expectation, and Energy!  This carries them on day one into the desert (they don’t notice the heat or thirst at this point).

Then comes day TWO…and their throats become progressively dry and parched.

Then comes day THREE…and they really start to moan!  I wonder in the story who or what was bitter here!

Then they see the water!  Yippee!!  An Oasis!!!  “God, you’ve done it!”  UP! – But the water taste foul.  DOWN – Undrinkable, Bitter, Frustration, Disillusionment.  They get more bitter from the experience and decide to take it out on Moses.  He then takes it out on God.

“Bitterness”

Bitterness described in the Bible as a spiritual poison (Hebrews 12:15).  It can be tricky to recognize because it’s NOT a symptom that’s visible on the surface like anger.  Bitterness is an underlying problem that often goes unnoticed in the believing Christian.  It doesn’t manifest on the outside and yet it sours the inside spirit of man.

“BITTERNESS” IN THE DESERT:   

It becomes a test–

Not of them to God (as they think: “will He come up with the goods?”), but God to them.  He has a lesson for them to learn.

“GET…(receive)THAT TREE…THE WOOD”

‘Throw the tree in the water and you’ll be okay.’  In fact: follow the LORD’s commands and statutes (decrees) and NONE of these diseases will hit you, for I AM JEHOVAH-ROPHE:

ROPHE meaning in the Hebrew language:  “Restore to heal, to make healthful – in body, mind and spirit”  (*See Footnote [ii].).

HEALING is in the Name and Nature of God–

Psalm 103:1-3:

“BLESS  (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise)  the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] ALL His benefits–  [3] Who forgives [every one of] ALL your iniquities,  Who heals [each one of] ALL your diseases,…”

So if this is so in God’s nature, why is there so much sickness?

It boils down to why God’s first name was revealed–SIN.  I’m not saying specifically because I, you, have sinned (though that may be the case and the cause)  Cf John 9.  BUT because of the PROBLEM of sin in the world.

–  The world going away from Him.

–  Us going away.

–  The pollution of power of sin.

That is the real problem!

THE SOLUTION TO SICKNESS:

It’s the hand out–

1.  For reaching out and taking and receiving…

2.  It’s the wood nearby…

3.  The tree.

The PROBLEM just might be “Bitterness”–

–  Of heart, of life.

–  Within you.  Your name is “Marah.”

–  Maybe a death in your family that goes unexplained.

–  Perhaps what you’ve done to others…or what they’ve done to you.

–  And there’s a need for forgiveness–one way or another.

–  Your experiences, memories?

–  Who did what?  Who hurt you?  It’s all tied together.

–  And so is the SICKNESS:  spirit, sin and unforgiveness affects the mind, which affects the body.

And the ANSWER is there to RECEIVE–THE WOOD–THE CROSS.

THE "WOOD" of the CROSS
THE “WOOD” of the CROSS

FORGIVENESS from God through repentance releases God’s hand in your life.  What WATER has flown through your life?

“You have made me drink bitter waters!”

The ANSWER IS JESUS:

JESUS answering the Samaritan woman at the well when He was asked, “You being a Jew, how is it that you are asking me for a drink of water?”  Jesus answered her,

“If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift

and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink,

you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you

living water.”

~ John 4:10~

If you find yourself with a dry, parched throat and DOUBT of the OUTCOME…

5583389970_d676214c49

John 4:11-12:  “She said to Him, Sir,  You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?]  [12] Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?”

John 4:13-15:  “JESUS answered her,  All who drink of THIS water will be thirsty again.  [14] But whoever takes a drink of THE water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually]  within him unto (into, for) eternal life.  [15] The woman said to Him, Sir, give me THIS water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come  [continually all the way]  here to draw.”

John 7:37-39:  “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!  [38] He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said,  From his innermost being shall flow  [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.  [39] But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed cr(trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive.  For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).”

Revelation 22:1-3:  “THEN HE showed me the river whose waters give life, sparkling like crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb  [2] Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations.  [3] There shall no longer exist anything that is accursed (detestable, foul, offensive, impure, hateful, or horrible).  But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service].”

Revelation 22:17:  “The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come!  And let who is listening say, Come!  And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires it, let him come,  take,  appropriate,  and drink the water of Life without cost.”   

IN GOD’S WISDOM, THERE’S A PRIORITY LIST TO FOLLOW:

#1.  Getting right with God comes first (and getting right with others).

#2.  The healing of the Spirit.

#3.  Then the healing of the mind.  PEACE!  How often is that mentioned in the Bible?  365 times!

#4.  The body.  Because that does matter to God.  The Israelites in the desert needed a DRINK, here!  And, God knew that.

#5.  Look at all the physical healings of Jesus.

All Christians get HEALED 100%–

Healing of the spirit comes first and if that’s true, and Scripture backs up the percentage, there should be no more fear.

It’s when we get taken to be with the LORD.  The Lord’s GIFT has already been given.  It is time to reach out and RECETHE ACTION COMES WITH THE GIFT:

Every man and woman must have their MARAH moment to drink; sour or bitter tastes in the mouth.  Life is full of disappointments, trouble, stress, losses, conflict, sickness…

But GOD had a remedy for Moses.  God told Moses to get that tree over there, toss it in the water and the act of God created SWEETNESS out of BITTERNESS.

BUT THERE’S MORE!

The Elims of Life–“And they came to Elim…” (VERSE 27)

ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH
ELIM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW MARAH

What every one of us must realize, just as there are the “MARAH’S”, the bitterness of life, there are also the “ELIMS” of life.  “Elim” will always follow a “Marah”.

“…where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters”  (Exodus 15:27).

The LIVING WATER is there for you to partake of.  Now you need to go and RECEIVE the sweetness and encamp there in the midst of your doubt.

LIVING WATER
LIVING WATER

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i]  Names of God/Bible.org – https://bible.org/article/names-god/

[ii] Expository Dictionary Of Bible Words.

PHOTO CREDITS:

– Photo Pin.

Unknown (Wood Cross)

– Lessing Images.com

– The Exodus Route: Marah/Elim @ www. bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology/-exodus-route-marah

CREDITS:

AMPLIFIED BIBLE translation.

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS

Young’s Bile Dictionary by G. Douglas Young, PhD