June 1, 2019 · 8:50 pm
2 Kings 24-25; the end of the road for Judah. Fallen is Samaria and Israel – the Northern Kingdom [Lost 10 tribes]; a 150 later noting has been learned by Judah. Assyria and Egypt had been fighting for control of the “Promised Land” – somehow through pay-offs and treaties Judah was able to live in relative peace. Kings like Uzziah and Hezekiah who did right in the eyes of the Lord extended their existence. Judah was not without sin; but God was faithful to keep His covenant that he made with David even though Judah deserved the same judgment as Israel for their idolatrous ways. I think that Israel/Judah felt they were exempt from the judgment of God that He displayed on the Canaanite tribes. However, Israel and Judah followed the sins, iniquities, transgressions and abominations of the nations God had expelled out of the “inheritance” of Israel. This is not the first or the last time that arrogance and pride will cause Judah/Israel to be led into captivity. Jeremiah and so many other prophetic voices warned Israel and Judah to repent and return to the ways of the Lord. Jeremiah preaches 50 years, yet all he gain was deaf ears to his message.
After faithful King Josiah is killed, there is a series of kings with a very limited reign and influence. The world power shifts at this point from Egypt and Assyria to Babylon, more specifically to King Nebuchadnezzar. Because Judah persisted in rebellion and idol worship, God allowed Babylon to come to power and lead them [Judah] into captivity and make the Promise Land desolate except for the poorest of people. The Promise Land laid waste!!!!!!! Why? Easy answer Judah and Israel left God for gods – But I think that the Promise Land had become so polluted, God and to “Purge” the land of the people and idols so He could restore it again under Ezra and Nehemiah. Sometimes I think that there needs to be a purging of the Church Body before God can do His work in the lives of the Remnant.
An undertone is how God is Merciful even in His judgment. There were three deportations by Babylon – the land was stripped of all the royalty, educated, skilled and craftsmen. Judah was also allowed to continue [return] to worship Yahweh. The exile of Judah was prescribed and implemented under the Hand of God. Jeremiah told Judah “don’t resist the Babylonians, but go into the land, build houses and live among your captive masters. Isaiah 45-66 is called the Post-Exilic chapters of Isaiah or better known as Deutro-Isaiah. Many prophets foretold of the return of God’s people after 70 years in exile.
As bad as it was in the destruction and deportation of Judah, the siege of Jerusalem and the starvation of the people; God was still merciful in that He did not destroy all the people, but left a remnant. We may be looking at a similar situation here in our own USA; the condition of the Church is deplorable; the Gospel has been polluted; we worship our worship not God in our services. I truly believe God is not pleased with the Bride! But there is a remnant that hold to the Truth of God’s Word, it will be the Remnant that God will use – like the Church in Sardis there are those who have not “soiled their garments.” We the Church today must take heed to the warning given to Strengthen what remains, to Hold fast to the Truth.
Years ago America thought it was invincible from attack from an enemy on its own shores – thinking that the distance was too far for the enemy to attack unnoticed – then Pearl Harbor happened and took away the arrogance and pride of invincibility. God is doing a great work among many other “pagan” nations. The Chinese and the Muslim countries are experiencing great numbers of converts to Christ. Yet here in America the church is dying and has gone into apostasy in much of the land.
Will America be restored? Will there be a revival? Will the Church heed the warnings of Israel and Judah? Will America have to Fall before it returns to the Lord? All questions we must answer personally and collectively.
Filed under 2019 History
Tagged as iniquities, Judah, judgment, Nebuchadnezzer, not one stone on another, Promised Land, prophecy, restoration, revitalization, revival, sins, Temple destroyed, transgressions and abomination
July 7, 2016 · 3:39 pm
Jeremiah 23-27 is our focal passages. The overwhelming thread of thought is that Judah was being deceived by false prophets, crooked priests and people fell for the lies. Jeremiah heard from the LORD and was ridiculed because the message was an unfavorable one to the hearers. Jeremiah has been preaching God’s message for 20 plus years at this point, however, no one has heeded the warning of impending judgment. Of course when Jeremiah began preaching King Josiah was doing his reforms, so Jeremiah’s message fell on deaf ears. Now that years have passed and the reforms ceased, Judah falls back into severe apostasy with Baal worship. In chapter 23, the indictment of bad shepherds is pronounced. Similar passage is found in Ezekiel 34. The standard for shepherding is found in Jesus Christ and John 10. Rather than protecting and caring for the sheep, the false prophets of Judah were nothing more than “hirelings”. I find that it is so reassuring that with all of the calamity and forecast ed tribulation, the Father in Heaven always presents Hope of recovery. Jesus was prophesied to come and bring restoration to the land, the people and to worship. Jesus is called “Lord our righteousness; which equals Jehovah-Tsidkenu. When the people looked to the religious leaders all they got was lies – You will have peace; No calamity will come was their message. This false message is false hope. We live in a day and time where we condone immorality and gross sin; preachers are too scared to bring the Truth of the word of God. For some reason so many are afraid to speak against known sin – could it be they are hirelings afraid of losing their jobs if they do? Are we living in such a time that Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 4:1-3? No wonder the High Priest and prophets of Judah wanted to kill Jeremiah. The major problem was that Jeremiah had heard from the LORD what to preach, the false prophets “borrowed” from each other a prosperity message. [Jer. 23:30]
In chapter 24, Jeremiah recounts the first deportation of people to Babylon. the oracle of God in the illustration of the two baskets of figs is profound. Those that were the good figs, were those that were going to be spared and sent to captivity, because they had the favor of God. Those that were rotten figs, were those that would die in the land, because of their disobedience. Odd that it would be God’s favor to be deported into Babylon captivity. But this is the message Jeremiah preached – “Do not resist and fight against King Nebuchadnezzar, for he is the vessel of God towards you.” We find in Jeremiah 27, a clear pronouncement of favor for King Nebuchadnezzar with God. Anyone who did not serve Nebuchadnezzar would be taken captive and or die. When it is all said and done, only 4600 people were taken captive in Babylon – from that remnant God would restore Israel.
We live in such a time in America, I wonder what is the voice of the prophets? Are we as preachers, speaking for God, His message or our own? In America we are in a season of discord and division politically, racially and spiritually – people are listening but are they getting the Message of God from the pulpits?
In a previous post called “Kingdoms Come and Kingdoms Go” I talked about how that politically nations rise and fall. We have seen this in America and especially reminded of volatility in BREXIT this last week. King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream of the greatest kingdoms of history – Babylon was on top, then Medes-Persians, Greeks and Romans. Each of these empires have been used by God for the advancement of HIS KINGDOM, but in each case there was a limited time of their existence. Babylon will be judged, but for now it is the Arm of God towards Judah. Is America in a similar situation, where God is using what we would call a “an infidel or heathen ruler to judge His people the Church in America?” Can we be found fighting against that which God is doing as Judah did? Should we not be like Daniel, who although was taken during the first wave of captivity, continue to serve God and live to fight another day? I do not mean we should embrace our “captors” or compromise the message. But are we fighting for nationalism or for the Gospel?
Filed under 16 Prophets in 2016
Tagged as america politics, false prophets, itching ears, judgment, liars, lies, nationalism or Gospel, racial, spiritual lies, the days are coming, warnings
June 2, 2016 · 6:28 pm
Amos 6-9; the prophet from the South brings the full verdict of God upon Israel in the North. Israel has departed from serving God since they were removed by God from Judah in 2 Kings 17. Jeroboam led the 10 tribes to serve Baal and pagan gods of the Canaanites. God has had enough of His people and their idolatrous ways. What caused the tribes to forget God? Was it just that they forgot because they were drawn away into pagan sensuous idol worship? Was it because of Solomon’s extravagant lifestyle and tax burden on the people? I think it was because the people became comfortable. No battles or wars to fight. The enemy had become unrecognizable, for Israel now lived among the pagan people. Also I think that Israel was living an affluent lifestyle. They had no need of God; they could provide for themselves. In chapter 6 we read of the “ease” of the people. They slept on beds of ivory, sprawl out on couches, ate from the flocks, drank from the sacrificial bowls, anointed themselves with the oils and listened to the songs composed for them. The sacred things became common place. No longer was there the “fear of God” among the nation. Israel had become arrogant, prideful and irreverent. The Calm Before the Storm – surely for God would raise up Assyria to punish them. In Israel’s arrogance, they missed the warning signs from God. In Chapter 7, we get the illustration of a Plum-Line; God was going to measure with His standard, what was true. I remember using a plumb-line and a chalk line. One is used to get things vertically correct, the latter is to draw a horizontal line accurately. It is Amos and his intercession that prevents God from unleashing His wrath. Even in discipline, intercession is listened to by the Father. However, even God has a limit of long-suffering [7:8].
As many preachers of the Truth have learned, when the message becomes too close for comfort, people will lash out and criticize the messenger. Amos, is an outsider, just as many preachers are today in their churches. Preachers are seen just as Amos was “you’re not one of us.” In chapter 8, the image of a “summer Basket of Fruit” shows how quickly Israel’s lot will turn. Just as summer fruit doesn’t last, but spoils quickly, so would the fortunes of Israel. Their life of luxury would soon be over. Israel looks past the festivals to a time when they can resume their deceit, dishonesty and traitor tactics.
I wondered while reading the punishment of the Northern Kingdom, “why God didn’t give them into a period of exile” like Judah would later? The answer was again found in 2 Kings 17 – there was nothing redeemable about Israel. They had gone too far. Also, Judah was the covenant tribe of which the “Lion of Judah” would come. In Israel, there were 19 different dynasties, with 19 different kings – all for the most part had the epitaph of “they walk not in the ways of their father David.” They continually did evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehovah was tired of their festivals to idols and the neglect of His own festivals. He wold send a famine among the people – a famine for the Word of God. No bread or water, parched and dry spiritual lives. We can think of the 400 years of silence experienced at the end of the Old Testament as a season of dryness. In chapter 9, we find that the judgment on Israel in unavoidable – the nation of Israel would be known as the “Lost Tribes.” Yet even in all of the peril, the book closes with Hope of restoration.
Now the crux of this blog today is to speak to the condition of not only United States, but to all nation who forget the God is God, and fall into an earthly living of affluence and arrogance. There is a famine of the Word of God. Preachers don’t preach the Gospel or the true revelation of God, they will defer away from pronouncing judgment on congregational, community or countries sins. Christianity has become a “How to” or “self-Help” religion. I believe that there will be some more difficult and dark days ahead for our nation, and others who have sought – the “good Life” of the world and forfeited their souls. We have warnings today, we must listen, remember, repent and return. Israel didn’t and they were scattered to the four winds of the earth – this should teach us that “God is not a respecter of Persons!”
May 19, 2016 · 5:09 pm
Hosea 11-14 is our reading this week. God has made his case against Israel [Northern Kingdom]; The reason for the judgment on Israel is that they forgot God. The replaced Him with the pagan gods and instruments of “religion.” I believe that we are guilty of doing the same thing in our day. Mankind has to have tangible – physical things to hold on too. Yet our relationship with Jehovah is based on Faith – believing when we do not see the physical. The other reason for Israel to be judged is that they were unresponsive to the discipline of the Lord. I have learned that God does not let our sin go unchecked; just as a parent will try to restore proper behavior in a child, even so God desires to bring his people back. Whole the amount of discipline will change according to the situation and child, eventually if there isn’t a response and return, God must take drastic measures. In chapter 12, Yahweh brings memories to establish how He has cared for the Israelites. God birthed the nation from Abraham & Sarah; two people who were beyond reproducing years. From the impossible came God’s people. He birthed, raised and protected His people. His deliverance from Egypt was a memory that in the Old Testament was continually recounted. Israel, like many of us forget where we were and how far God has brought us. Israel and Judah forgot.
Israel is going to be the spoils of Assyria, as will Samaria. This did not have to be; but the rejection of God as god, forced the hand of God to act. The “Lost 10 tribes” of Israel even today is a stark reminder that God’s punishment was severe and everlasting. One would have thought that Judah [Southern Kingdom] would have taken notice of God’s judgment – but they didn’t. In fact other prophetic writing give indication, that Judah was okay with Israel getting “What they deserve.” Judah would say in essence “We are not like them!” Yet a mere 150 years later, Judah falls like Israel.
The fact that God uses a marriage illustration of Hosea and Gomer to show the “adulterous nation and people” is something we must take notice of today. While Israel was the “Bride” then; we are the Church and Bride now. What kind of Bride has the Church been? Ephesians 5:24-33 speaks clearly of what Christ desires out of the marriage; has the Church been faithful and content with Jesus? Is Jesus enough for us? Or do we seek after strange lovers? Could those lovers be Racism, Sub-humanism, relativism, hedonism, nationalism and individualism? Do we now live in the time of Judges 21:24, every man does that which is right in his own eyes? has the Church become an adulteress to Christ?
We live is a very dynamic changing culture; all throughout the globe mankind is living for self, survival and sensuality. While the idolatry and adulterous lifestyle then was regional, today we find the same thing is global. Today culture is driven by the whims and choices of “personal gods” not by the Word of God. Today there is the guise of “Tolerance”, yet intolerance is the course if another view doesn’t agree with “your” view. The unfaithful bride was purchased by Hosea, we the Bride of Christ have been purchased by Jesus at Calvary. God never stopped loving Israel, but because of His holiness and name, He had to judgment Israel. He cannot be God if He allows sin to continue. Jesus and His Bride the church is in similar situation. The Church is unfaithful, while it may be more subtle, drift and disobedience is happening now. Scripture reveals that the “Church” will be saved and will be at the marriage feast of the Bridegroom, oh that we would be that chaste bride, adorned in white; pure and untainted by the world we live.
The end of Hosea is our hope. Even though God had to judgment His people, it was not without hope of restoration. This is a message for the individual and the Church. All we like sheep have gone astray, each unto his own way; but God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all; and by His stripes we are healed. Judgment of sin has been done; now we must walk in the faith and hope of restoration of the new life that is ours in Christ.
January 27, 2016 · 8:49 pm
We start this week with the reading of the book of Isaiah. This prophets writings will carry us into April. Isaiah is a major prophet, and one that is not without controversy. You may have heard of Deutro-Isaiah, which is basically Isaiah 40-66. Some scholars think that the restoration prophecies of Isaiah are too long after the prophet lived to be attributed to him. Isiah ministered under five kings of Judah, a period of about 110 years. To look more closely at the events Isaiah writes about, read 2 Kings 14:17-20:21. This passage takes in the reigns of the kings mentioned in Isaiah 1:1.
The time frame of Isaiah is before the Assyrians defeat Samaria and the Northern Kingdom fall; with this in mind, Isaiah writes of the “vision of the LORD for Judah.” The time frame of the Kings mentioned put Isaiah preaching long before the 10 tribes of Israel fall. One would think that the judgment messages would be to the Northern Kingdom at this time not the Southern kingdom. We could look at the dynasties of each Northern and Southern kingdoms; specifically 19 kings, and 19 dynasties in the North. But 19 Kings and 1 dynasty in the South, the Davidic Kingdom Dynasty. Remember the promise of God to David that there would not cease to be one of his heirs sitting on his throne. Ultimately, Jesus the “Lion of Judah” will sit eternally on David’s throne. Could it be that with Jeroboam and his successors, that led the apostasy and anarchy of Baalism be already rejected and judgment pending from God? We know that Judah is God’s chosen people [not to say the other 10 tribes were not part of the original plan] where He will bring forth the Savior/Messiah Jesus.
Obviously from the 1st chapter there is a “worship that has gone wrong.” People have turned from God, and gone their own way. While they continued to worship in Jerusalem, they added worship “on the high places” also. The sin of idolatry has saturated the holy Zion. Even though indictment after indictment is given in chapter one, we still observe the “hope of restoration” in verses 18-19. Of course this is not without warning, if they refuse to return and repent in verse 20. The worship in Judah had become so infiltrated with pagan rituals of new moons, and festivals. The problem was even though the nation Judah continued worshiping at the Temple; God was repulsed by their actions. Judah was acting like as long as they kept God happy in the Temple sacrifices, they could do whatever else their hearts desired. Now things are not as bad as things will get, but they are bad enough. During the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, the sons of Hezekiah, Judah will hit an all-time low in morality; capped by the sacrifices to the fire god Molech.
Indictment after indictment, Isaiah brings against Judah. The description of Jerusalem in 1:21-23, speaks of the polluted, mixed religion of the day. In a constant barrage of evil adjectives, Isaiah identifies both the depth and extent of the “failed worship.” This should cause us today to think of what we have made worship in our churches to be. Do we think we can just “do something” and expect it to be acceptable to Jehovah God? 1:24-26; hints at the cleansing that Yahweh will accomplish in His judgment. It is a sad testimony of God’s people to realize that they have the One and Only True God; yet they were never satisfied, seeking after more sensual gods to their liking. We [mankind,churches] are guilty today of desiring not God, but our own form of worship, a worship that feeds our more basic instincts and animistic desires. [Michael W. Smith – Coming back to the Heart of worship, it’s all about You Jesus]
We find quickly that God is not pleased with His people. He is sovereign, He is in control and He will rule without equal. God is going to judgment Judah and Jerusalem in the future. Even though there was ample warning, Judah didn’t listen. While God is long-suffering and merciful, people take it for granted that they “got away with sin.” Not so, Yahweh see all.
Jehovah will direct the future events of rulers and conquests for His own will. Judgment is coming and judgment must begin at the house of God. Today in America, we must consider our own ways – is judgment pending for America? Assyrian kings will devastate the Northern Kingdom and Samaria in the near future of Isaiah’s writings. Will Judah take heed to the fallen Northern Tribes? No is the answer. Just because Judah gets a reprieve, doesn’t mean that God will now justifiably send them into captivity. The waywardness of Israel/Judah is evident. They were cautioned not to “engage with the Canaanite nations, lest they be duped into following their immorality and idolatry – they did it anyway. God is a jealous God – He will not shrug His shoulders at our unrighteousness!. Isaiah 5 speaks clearly about the reasonable expects that God should have for Judah or any nation that has benefited from His providence to them. A sad story will unfold – yet it will not be without hope of tomorrow.