If only: Numbers 14.2

“And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness!'”

Numbers 14.2

The dissatisfaction of Israel found expressive ways to make known the sharp displeasure they felt toward God’s representatives and toward God himself. Their wish would soon come true: they would die in the wilderness.

Grumbling and arguing keep us from being blameless and pure children of God, Phil 2.14-15. Complaining kills spiritual life. Is yours dying?

#votd #complain #Numbers

In a way that we can learn

And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy,and blind their eyes;lest they see with their eyes,and hear with their ears,and understand with their hearts,and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10 ESV)

И сказал Он: пойди и скажи этому народу: слухом услышите–и не уразумеете, и очами смотреть будете–и не увидите. Ибо огрубело сердце народа сего, и ушами с трудом слышат, и очи свои сомкнули, да не узрят очами, и не услышат ушами, и не уразумеют сердцем, и не обратятся, чтобы Я исцелил их. (Исаия 6:9-10 Russian)

Dear Father in heaven ~ thank you, Lord God Almighty, for revealing yourself by the written word to all humanity in a way that we can learn what you expect from creatures made in your image. Help every person who hears the message of the Gospel to make the right moral choice by choosing to wholeheartedly follow the teachings and examples of Christ Jesus. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church

#davidbinkley

May 16. Absalom Defeated and Dies; David Returns to Jerusalem

II Sam. 18:1-20:26

David had many followers. As he mustered his army, he placed Joab over a third; Abishai over another third; Ittai was captain over the other third of his soldiers and he, as their king would lead the complete army. The people persuaded him to remain in the city out of harm’s way. In his love for his son, David commanded his captains to, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.”

The battle between David’s army and the army of Israel was fierce. Twenty thousand men were slaughtered that day as Absalom’s army was overthrown. It has been said that Absalom’s massive hair locks were caught in the branches of a giant tree as his mule ran from beneath him leaving him hanging. However, Scripture states that, “his head caught in the terebinth” tree.

Joab was a ruthless man. He ignored David’s plea for the safety of his son. As Absalom swung helplessly from the tree, Joab thrust three spears through his heart and removed another enemy from the king. Absalom was dead. The battle was ended. With Absalom having no surviving son, David had no other obstacles to his resuming as king of Israel.

Upon being notified that there was good news, David did not ask about any details of the battle. His main concern was, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

With the news of Absalom’s death, one of the saddest laments of the entire Bible is cried. “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” Perhaps as the father wept for his son, he realized the many lost opportunities that had been before him to bring his child up in the way that he should go.

The people went home with a feeling of defeat in the face of their victory because of their king’s lament over their defeated enemy. Joab confronted David over his actions and brought him back to reality.

There was confusion and hesitancy surrounding David’s return to Jerusalem. David was in a delicate position as he attempted to unify the Israelites. The tribe of Judah with Absalom had led the rebellion against him and they had not made any effort to bring him back as their king after Absalom’s death. He made two strategic moves to insure the desired unity. The priests, Zadok and Abiathar were sent to the elders of Judah to intercede for him. He also elevated Amasa, Absalom’s former army captain to the same position in his army in the place of Joab. Those moves secured the unity that he desired and King David returned to the capitol, Jerusalem.

Shimei, the Benjamite who had cursed David earlier as he was escaping from Absalom realized his perilous condition. In humility, he returned to the king, confessed his sin and begged for mercy. He received his pardon from the king.

Another matter came before David. During his flight from Absalom, Ziba, the servant of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth had reported the disloyalty of his master. He had convinced David to give him Mephibosheth’s property. After Mephibosheth had properly informed David of the deception, he was returned to his previous relationship with the king.

During David’s exile in Mahanaim, Barzillai had provided food and beds for him. As a reward, David proposed to care for him for his lifetime in Jerusalem. The aged man declined the invitation as he preferred to remain in his own city.

Even after David had resumed his kingdom in Jerusalem, there continued to be division among Judah and Israel. That division escalated as Sheba, a Benjamite declared that, “We have no share in David…” He led another rebellion against the king.

In organizing his defense against Sheba, Amasa failed to prepare in a timely manner. David sent Abishai, accompanied by Joab to prevent Sheba from escaping. As stated earlier, Joab was a ruthless man. Upon meeting with Amasa at Gibeon during the pursuit, Joab stabbed him to death thus eliminating another of his rivals for power. With Amasa being dead, Joab again resumed command of the army.

A woman of the city of Abel produced the head of Sheba. Joab blew the trumpet to withdraw from the city and returned to David having ended another rebellion against the king.

#chronological-bible-study

What does the Bible say about Springtime

by Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

“For the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength” (Joel 2:22).

God asked Job who causes “to spring forth the growth of tender grass?” (Job 38:27).

The above verses certainly remind us of the changing seasons, and the blessings God provides during each season of the year.

Spring is the season between winter and summer and is a favorite time of the year for many people. We have more daylight hours, and the temperature is warmer and more pleasant than it has been during some of the colder, dreary, days of winter.

It is as if nature awakens in the spring, bringing newness of life as plants begin to put on new growth. Flowers bloom; trees bud with new growth and leaves; the grass becomes green and begins to grow. Hibernating animals leave their winter sleeping homes; birds are singing, and in various ways, spring is celebrated.

Fruitful trees and gardens that we plant in springtime describe prosperity in the Bible (Numbers 24:6; Isaiah 51:3; 61:11). But the destruction of gardens typifies desolation (Amos 4:9).

Jesus referred to springtime as He talked about planting, sowing, and harvesting in His teachings and especially His parables (Mathew 13; 9:37-38; John 4:35).

We are reminded of the rains in the spring when the Bible speaks of the early and latter rain (Deuteronomy 11:14; Hosea 6:3; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7).

I hope you are enjoying the blessings of springtime as God bestows His blessings in the beauty of nature.

#Springtime #Seasons #Bible study

Jesus sent you today

She was a tiny and elderly lady when he spotted her struggling to get her cart out to her car. She had parked close to the store and in an awkward position. “Mam, may I help you?” he asked. “Oh yes, thank you. I thought I would never get my cart out the door.” He walked closer to her and said, “I’ll be happy to help you.” At her direction, he started placing the items in the back seat of her car. When finished he turned to say goodbye. She simply said, “Jesus sent you today.”

Do we go about doing good? Do we respond when we see someone in need? I feel certain that most of us take the time to help when we are given an opportunity. Jesus sends each of us. Our marching orders are in Mark 16:15. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Bible says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all men especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Someone has said, “I don’t care how much you know until I see how much you care.” The opportunity to teach someone the gospel of Christ is so much easier when they have seen what we have to offer in action.

Annie Johnston Flint wrote the following poem that is worthy of memorizing.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today

He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way

He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died

He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,

We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;

We are the Lord’s last message, given in word or deed;

What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?

What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?

What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?

How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

Do we allow Jesus to send us every day?

#Good deeds #helping

 

Left to test: Judges 3.4

“They were left to test Israel, so the Lord would know if his people would obey the commands he gave their ancestors through Moses.”

Judges 3.4

God tested Israel by leaving some pagan nations in the land. Unfortunately, they failed the test, permitting themselves to be influenced to commit idolatry and immorality.

Every test ought to be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to God. He desires to see us pass tests with flying colors.

#votd #Judges #tests

May 15. Preparation for War

II Sam. 16:15-17:29

With David’s departure from Jerusalem completed, Absalom and his men moved into the city. Hushai, David’s friend/spy also joined forces with Absalom. Upon being questioned by the new king, Hushai pledged his “allegiance” to Absalom.

Absalom asked David’s former counselor, Ahithophel what he should do. A method of claiming superiority over one’s enemy was to take his concubines. That was Ahithophel’s advice to his new master. He further advised that he would attack that night while David was weary. His army would flee and David would be easy to capture.

Hushai was called and he reasoned that David would be like a bear without her cub. He being angry and a man of war, there would be a great loss of life in the ensuing battle. Hushai advised Absalom to gather a great army and to personally go into battle. That plan pleased Absalom above the one from Ahithophel. He appointed Amasa to lead his army as captain. He was a cousin of Joab who had continued to be the commander of David’s army.

Hushai told the priests, Zadok and Abiathar to inform David of the plans that had been presented to Absalom. Using the information from Hushai, David was able to escape to Mahanaim where he was well received.

Since his advice was rejected, Ahithophel also felt rejected and that the rebellion was doomed to failure. He went home and hanged himself.

#chronological-bible-study

Hope for something good to happen: Micah 1.12

“Indeed, the residents of Maroth hope for something good to happen, though the Lord has sent disaster against the city of Jerusalem.”

Micah 1.12

One of the cities in the path of Sennacharib, Maroth hoped vainly for something good to happen, even in the face of disaster. Wishful thinking would be their destruction.

God speaks, making his will plain. People stand in the shadow of judgment and wish things were different. Will I listen to God or feed vain hopes?

#votd #Micah #wishful-thinking

May 14. Treason and Unrest in Israel

II Sam. 15:1-16:14; Ps. 3:1-8; Ps. 7:1-17

Absalom, as the oldest surviving son was the heir apparent of David’s throne. In an attempt for an early takeover, he began to curry favor among the Israelites. He gathered up a detail of chariots, horses and fifty men to serve as his body guards. Absalom was a shrewd politician as he worked among the people stating how things would be better for them if he were able to judge for them. “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”

After setting up headquarters in Hebron, Absalom sent spies to the various tribes of Israel. They instructed the people to shout out at the sound of the trumpet, “Absalom reigns in Hebron!” His conspiracy continued to grow strong and increase in number. Even Ahithophel, David’s counselor defected to Absalom.

When David learned through a messenger that the men of Israel were with Absalom, he gathered his household and servants and fled from Jerusalem. That was in order to prevent possible war and devastation in the city. He also took his personal army of men who had been with him since he had been king. Ten of David’s concubines were left behind to care for the house.

The priests, Zadok and Abiathar had brought the ark of the covenant with them. However, David thought it best if they would return it to the city. He had faith that he would also return in time. Even in the midst of peril and turmoil, David took time to worship God as they came to the top of the Mount of Olives.

Hushai, one of David’s loyal men also came to join him, but he assigned him another responsibility. David had learned of the defection of Ahithophel and had prayed that God would turn his counsel into foolishness. Hushai was to pretend loyalty to Absalom while instead defeating Ahitophel’s counsel by spying for David.

With David’s retreat from the city, Absalom was able to move in as “king” without any bloodshed. The fighting would come later.

The revolt of Absalom provoked David to write a psalm of distress. He approached God with the lament that his enemies had increased and that many were denying that God could help him. David knew better. God had protected him before and that occasion would be no different. The faithful children of God can sleep in peace knowing of His protective hand. Their enemies will be defeated because, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

As David was making his escape from Jerusalem, he met Ziba, the caretaker of Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan, son of Saul. He stated that he was presenting David with the two donkeys and other provisions that he had for their journey. He also reported that Mephibosheth had declared that the house of Israel was being restored to his father’s house. That statement reopened the wounds between David and the house of Saul. David had cared for Mephibosheth as his own son, but then he gave all that belonged to Jonathan’s son to Ziba.

The tribes of Israel were somewhat loosely knit. Saul had been of the tribe of Benjamin and they had not fully accepted David as their king. They blamed him for Saul’s misfortunes. As David’s company traveled into Bahurim, they met Shimei, a Benjamite. He was cursing, kicking up dust and throwing stones at David. Instead of striking him, David allowed him to continue as he thought that God was permitting Shimei to punish him for his misdeeds.

David penned another psalm lamenting his life’s burdens. Even though Shimei is not mentioned, the words of Cush were similar and evoked the same reaction. He began by calling on God to save him from his enemies. In declaring his innocence of wrongdoing, he submitted himself to just punishment from a righteous God if he were truly guilty. God will punish the wicked. They prepare trouble for others, but in the end bring punishment upon their own heads. The poet ends with a declaration of praise to the Lord Most High.

Hugh’s News & Views (Were The Twelve Apostles . . . ?

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

WERE THE TWELVE APOSTLES EVER BAPTIZED?

After Christ had been crucified for the sins of the world, buried, and resurrected, He appeared to His apostles and charged them to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The Book of Acts shows the apostles being faithful to that charge. They preached the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles, and commanded them all to be baptized (Acts 2:38; Acts 10:48).

But were the twelve apostles themselves ever baptized? I know of no passage of scripture that speaks specifically of the baptism of any of the original twelve apostles. Thus, the question of their baptism is sometimes raised, and while it has no bearing on one’s salvation today, it is an interesting question to consider.

We know that the apostle Paul—“as one born out of due time,” (I Corinthians 15:8)—was baptized to have his sins washed away (Acts 9:10-19; Acts 22:16; Acts 26:12-19). We also know that following the suicide of Judas Iscariot, when the disciples met to choose the one to take his place that Peter said, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up, one of these must become a witness with us of the resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). It is interesting that there were two qualifications one had to meet in order to be an apostle: 1) Accompanied the other apostles from the baptism of John the Baptist, 2) A witness of the resurrection of Christ. Why the requirement to have been with the other apostles “from the baptism of John”?

John the Baptist came to prepare a people for the coming of the personal, earthly ministry of Christ. He came to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17), to “go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways” (verse 76). In preparing the people for the coming of Christ, John preached repentance and baptism (Matthew 3:1-6), a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). Jesus Himself, though without sin (I Peter 2:22), submitted to John’s baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). He did this in order to avoid the appearance of there being two teachers from God (John and Jesus), with one being out of step with the teaching of the other! Jesus was baptized of John the Baptist in order “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), and all of God’s commandments are righteousness (Psalms 119:172).

Since John’s mission was to prepare a people for the coming of Christ, is it not reasonable that when Jesus began to choose His apostles He chose them from among people who had prepared for His coming rather than from among those who had not prepared for His coming? In the light of His own baptism by John, it seems highly unlikely that Jesus would choose those who had not submitted to John’s baptism.

Still further, Luke tells us that the “Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him” (John the Baptist) (Luke 7:30). Is anyone so naïve as to believe that Jesus chose men to be His apostles who had rejected the counsel of God by refusing to submit to the baptism of John the Baptist?

God communicates His will to mankind in the Scriptures by various kinds of statements (declarative, imperative, hortative, interrogative, etc.), by divinely approved actions (examples), and by logical conclusions (necessary inferences). I believe that when all the Bible information about the work of John the Baptist is assimilated and when all the qualifications of an apostle of Christ are considered, we may necessarily infer that, yes, the twelve apostles were all baptized with the baptism of John the Baptist!

John’s baptism was later superseded by the baptism commanded by Christ in the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). Those receiving John’s baptism before the inauguration of the great commission received a valid baptism that continued to be valid after the inauguration of the baptism of the great commission. But, those who received John’s baptism after the inauguration of the great commission received an out-of-date and invalid baptism, and were required to be baptized again “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-7).

All people today must hear and believe the gospel of Christ, repent of their sins, and be immersed in the name of Christ for the remission of sins (Romans 10:17; John 8:24; I Corinthians 15:1-5; Acts 2:38). While we can be confident that the original twelve apostles of Christ were all baptized with the baptism of John the Baptist for the remission of their sins (Mark 1:4) in preparation for the coming of Christ in His personal, earthly ministry and the shedding of His blood for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28), the thing about which we should be most concerned is whether we have been baptized with the baptism commanded by Christ for the remission of our sins.

Hugh Fulford

May 14, 2019

Speaking Schedule:

May 18-19: Mentor Church of Christ, Mentor, OH

(Note: On Saturday, May 18, I will speak four times at the Men’s Day program of the Mentor church where our son serves as one of the elders. On Sunday morning, May 19, I will speak to all adults at the morning Bible school hour and preach at the morning worship service. We look forward to these times with the Mentor congregation, and to a few days with our son and his family. There will be no “Hugh’s News & Views” next week).

They could not: Luke 9.40

“I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.”

Luke 9.40

While Jesus was being transfigured (glorified), nine of the disciples apparently tried to glorify themselves rather than serve their Lord and help their fellow man. They failed to do the very thing Jesus had given them authority and power to do.

The world needs our message. We have been given the authority and power to teach. Will we fail?

#votd #Luke #gospel

May 13. Troubles in David’s House

II Sam. 13:1-14:33

The events that Nathan had prophesied against David began to unfold. His son, Amnon developed an unlawful and immoral desire for his sister, Tamar. That lust eventually led to her being raped by Amnon.

Sins usually beget other sins. Even though angered by his son’s sin, David apparently took no corrective action. Two years later, Absalom, being filled with hate for Amnon’s sin against his sister arranged to have his brother killed. Following Amnon’s death, Absalom fled from his father and brothers to Geshur, Syria to Talmai, his maternal grandfather.

Sometimes it takes one outside of the family to recognize a solution of problems within that family. David’s son, Amnon was dead and could not be brought back. Absalom had fled for refuge because of his brother’s murder.

Joab, in an attempt to bring reconciliation between David and Absalom enlisted the aid of a neighboring woman. They fabricated a story that paralleled the relationship between the king and his son. That scheme resulted in the return of Absalom to his own house, but David refused to see him. He refused to extend the mercy that was needed at that time.

Absalom was a handsome man. “From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.” He had long flowing hair that he only cut yearly. It is estimated that the two hundred shekels that his hair weighed was five pounds. He was very popular in the eyes of the people.

After about two more years, David did bestow the kiss of forgiveness upon Absalom.

Answering Jehovah’s False “Witnesses” on equating Jesus to Michael the archangel

The “kingdom hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses” assert Jesus the Christ and Michael the archangel are the same being, but the Bible says it’s a bad assertion!

One of the quickest arguments used to promote the idea is a dishonest handling of 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The argument says: Continue reading

May 12. Nathan Confronts David; Results of David’s Sin; Solomon Born

II Sam. 12:1-31; Ps. 51:1-19; I Chron. 20:2, 3

The prophet, Nathan came to King David and told him a story of a rich man who had vast flocks and a poor man who had only a pet lamb. As was customary when entertaining guests, a lamb or calf would be butchered. On one occasion instead of taking from his own flock, the rich man took the pet lamb from the poor man to feed his guest.

David was enraged. “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!”

In one of the most scathing revelations in the Bible, Nathan replied, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: I anointed you king…Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house…”

Sometimes when one is convicted of his sins, he becomes defensive and belligerent. David was a mighty and powerful man—king of Israel. He was also subject to human frailties. Being convicted of his sin, he humbly replied, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

There are brief pleasures of sin. Moses recognized that when he chose to suffer affliction with God’s people instead of enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. The pain of a guilty conscience led David to repentance as he penned the words of another psalm. He began by calling for God’s mercy to forgive as he confessed his sins. Even though our sins usually hurt others, they are ultimately against God. David pled for cleansing and restoration to his former state of salvation. He further promised to help others to see the way to God as he renewed his worship praises to the Lord with a penitent heart. David closed the psalm with a prayer for Jerusalem.

David’s sin with Bathsheba was a critical turning point in his life and in the welfare of Israel. The prophet, Nathan had informed him that the “sword shall never depart from your house.” He added that, “Because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

When the child got sick, David fasted and prayed for him to be spared. One’s prayers are answered according to God’s will. It was not His will that this child would live and cause His name to be blasphemed by wicked men.

After the baby had died, David ended his fast, bathed, changed clothes and moved forward with his life. Grief is healthy and natural. However, one must not continuously live in it. Life is for the living and after the death of a loved one, those who remain must move forward. In a declaration of life after death, David stated, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

David and Bathsheba soon became parents of another son. Solomon, who would become one of the foremost characters of the Scriptures was born.

Meanwhile, back on the war front, the war against the Ammonites continued. Joab captured the water supply of the royal city of Rabbah. To prevent the city from being named for him, he requested that David bring the rest of the people to take the city.

To the victor go the spoils. When they had captured the city, their king’s crown was placed upon David’s head. The Ammonite people were then put to work as servants of Israel.

#chronological-bible-study

Your faith is useless: 1 Corinthians 15.17

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.”

1 Corinthians 15.17

Denial of the resurrection undermines the entire gospel. The power of God is shown in raising Jesus from the dead. In this way he provided proof of the value of the cross.

No part of the gospel may be denied. It all stands or falls together. The Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Ascension, the present Reign of Christ in the church, his Second Coming, are essential elements of God’s Good News.

#votd #1-Corinthians #gospel #resurrection