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2-18-2016 War And The Fear Of God

The Israelites divided into Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Jehoshaphat king of Southern Judah, attempted political correctness, by trying to get along with everyone. Jehu, God’s prophet, said, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you” (2 Chronicles 19:2 NKJV). However, because Jehoshaphat obeyed the LORD in other matters, God helped him in a war. “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:18 NKJV). “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel” (2 Chronicles 20:29 NKJV). A nation stays in war because it has not put “the fear of God” in its enemies.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#enemies, #fear-of-god, #nation, #war

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Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State

 This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #enemies, #fortress, #god, #government, #happy, #heaven, #heavens, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #refuge, #rock, #salvation, #singing, #unhappiness, #worship

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Psalm 119:153-160 Resh “Considerate Faith”

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Psalm 119:153-160  Resh                              “Considerate Faith”

Verses 153-155 appeal for God to consider a believers’ personal effort;

Verses 156-158 appeal for God to recognize a believer’s personal devotion;

Verses 159-160 appeal for God to see a believer’s personal heart.

Verses 153-155: (Verse 153) God is considerate (Nehemiah 9:32-33). “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not  render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11-12) God “considers” both the obedient and the disobedient. God considers the “affliction” of one who does “not forget” His “law” (words pointing the straight path), and “delivers.” (Verse 154) Believers who sin (1 John 1:6-2:3) must have representation before God, Who will “redeem” (apply the price for) and “revive” (refresh, renew the effort) them. (Verse 155) “Statutes” (words tracing out right) keep clear who is “wicked,” because they do not seek them, but the “righteous” are mindful of them. “Salvation” is kept far from “the wicked” (Mark 16:15-16).

Verses 156-158: (Verse 156) God is the Father of “mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3) which motivate Christians to become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). His “mercies” (plural) are both “Great” (in forgiving the penitent) and “tender” (in helping the penitent), and Christians should imbed these (Colossians 4:12). (Verse 157) Christians cannot expect the same from “the wicked,” who become “persecutors” (with verbal taunting, physical abuse, or social ostracizing) and “enemies” (adversaries like Satan). “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:3-5). (Verse 158) Those who “do not keep” God’s Word become “treacherous” (and should be avoided, Ephesians 5:11-13) and are “disgusted” (abhorred, loathed, like Lot, 2 Peter 2:7-8) by the faithful.

Verses 159-160: (Verse 159) While God is “considering” wicked hearts, His “precepts” (words that highlight what’s right) also “revive” a loving heart with His “lovingkindness.” “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). (Verse 160) Total confidence in God is produced by studying “the entirety” of God’s Word, for it is always “truth” and “every one” of His “judgments” are right, “forever.”

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #enemies, #faith, #god, #love, #lovingkindness, #obedience, #persecutors, #salvation, #sin, #tender-mercies, #truth

Blasphemy Reveals SNL’s True Understanding of Christianity

“SNL” (Saturday Night Live) has targeted Jesus in one of their “comedy sketches” again. It’s not the first time and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last time. Like other forms of “art” and multimedia, SNL finds an easy target to blaspheme when it comes to God’s Son. Why is that? Because this “target” doesn’t shoot back, doesn’t blow up buildings and doesn’t threaten violence through large crowds. In reality, this “target” actually encourages those who blaspheme His name to still seek His love and mercy and hope…these are the very characteristics of Jesus they continually lampooned in their sketch.

Despite what they might say publicly, the facts reveal that SNL enjoys bullying those who do not bully back. It goes beyond immaturity right down to cowardice. If it is not cowardice then why not target other “religious figures” who are well-known? The answer to this reveals a few things:

1) It reveals their true disdain for the grace of God.

2) It reveals the true affection for sin that resides in their heart.

3) It reveals the hypocritical attitude that would condemn any so-called perceived “bullying” of other religions.

4) It reveals that they know that the true practice of Christianity is peace, for they do such blasphemous things with no fear of physical retribution by Christians.

As Christians we are encouraged to pray for those who have this mindset. We are encouraged to have pity on their darkened spiritual condition. We are encouraged to remember how we at times have acted in our own selfish ways, both in the past and even in the present. Christianity will always be “low hanging fruit” for comedians. And we must not forget that Jesus said such things, even worse things, would continue to be directed at His name. But neither should we forget that it is not our place to seek revenge, for the laughter of those who disdain the Savior of their soul will one day exchange their tears of laughter for tears of sorrow.

Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:25-28)

#bullying, #christianity, #comedy, #enemies, #forgiveness, #jesus, #prayer

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Psalm 86

Vs. 1-7 give God reasons to give help;

Vs. 8-10 give God glory;

Vs. 11-17 give God a willing servant asking for help.

Probably written by David, but there is no historical certainty upon which to base a background setting.

Verses 1-7: God is requested to: “bow down” His ear and “hear” (verse 1); “preserve” a “life” (verse 2); “be merciful” (verse 3); “rejoice the soul” (verse 4); because the one making this request is: “poor and needy” (verse 1); “holy” (verse 2); crying to God “all day long” (verse 3); lifting up his soul (verse 4). Requesting favor from God is not being made by someone who has lived life with disdain for God and then, in trouble, prays, but rather, someone who stays in constant effort to contact God! A Christian equivalent might be in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The character of God is that He is: “good” (verse 5), “ready to forgive,” “abundant in mercy” to “all those who call upon” Him. The New Testament emphasizes this: “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). God will hear “supplications” (not demands!) from the obedient (verse 6). The Psalmist declares: “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You” (verse 7), but this is by no means the first time God is approached by this person (verses 3, 4, 11, 12). To “call upon” God cannot mean lifting the voice only without also lifting the life. Jesus taught: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Verses 8-10: Since nowhere in the Bible is the term “gods” used of angels, then  “gods” (verse 8) must refer to all humanly-invented deities, which by comparison have no comparison with God. “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). God’s “works” are unmatched, such as making nations (verse 9; Acts 17:26; Colossians 1:15-20; Philippians 2:9-10), or the “wondrous things” He has done (verse 10; Genesis 8:22; Acts 14:14-18).

Verses 11-17: God responds, of course, to a heart willing to be taught to walk in His Way (verse 11), uniting the heart to “fear” God’s Name (Ecclesiastes 8:12; 12:13). “Praise” and “glory” should go to God (verse 12) because of His “mercy” in delivering the Psalmist’s “soul from the depths of Sheol” (realm of departed spirits whose dead bodies are in the grave). The Psalmist praises God for sparing him from death (verse 13). The problem with “proud” and “violent” enemies who jeopardize his life, has arisen (verse 14). Interesting to see how often pride and violence accompany the godless! To state God’s qualities (as in verse 5) is to praise Him (verse 15; Exodus 34:5-8). The final request is that God grant “mercy,” “strength,” and salvation to a faithful follower (verse 16). A “son of Your maidservant” is a way of indicating that he had been raised by a godly mother, like Timothy in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15). For God to grant the prayer of David would be “a sign” to his enemies they are in the wrong and should be ashamed of their hatred of one who does good (verse 17).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #enemies, #god, #obedience, #prayer

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Psalm 83

Vs. 1-8 describe the ominous situation Israel is in;

Vs. 9-18 place their appeal before God.

This is the last of the dozen Psalms written by Asaph. Again, there doesn’t seem to be any certainty as to when, why, where, or what this Psalm specifically refers to, but there is no reason to question its place in the Book.

Verses 1-8: In verse 1, there are three ways God could be silent: closed mouth (“silent”), deaf ears (“hold Your peace”), or be in a state of tranquility (“still”). Typically, when trouble arises, people mistake God’s quietness for either His inability to respond or His insensibility to their needs. God’s silence is not always a sign of either, but may be His way of waiting for people to listen to Him, and obey (what He has said in the Bible, for instance). By contrast, verse 2-5 describe the activities of enemies: (verse 2) “make a tumult,” lift “up their head,” (verse 3) take “crafty counsel against” God’s “people,” “consulted together against” God’s people, (verse 4) planned to “cut them off from being a nation,” (verse 5) “form a confederacy against” God. Verses 6-8 make a composite picture of enemies of the past, thus indicating that God’s people have lived, and still live, in a hostile world. Verse 6: Edom (Jacob’s rejected brother, Genesis 25:20); Ishmaelite’s (Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, was Sarai’s handmaid, Genesis 16:8-11, and he was not the child promised by God, Galatians 4:21-31); Moab (a son of incest by Lot and his daughter, Genesis 19:30-38, whose people caused sin among Israelites, Numbers 25:1-4); Hagrites (vanquished out of Palestine, 1 Chronicles 5:18-21); Verse 7: Gebal (vanquished out of Palestine, Joshua 13:5-6; 1 Kings 5:18); Ammon (a son of incest by Lot and his other daughter, Genesis 19:36-38, whose people were slaughtered by King Saul, I Samuel 11:11); Amalek (grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:12, whose people were constant enemies of Israel, Numbers 14:45, and were to be destroyed, Deuteronomy 25:17-19); Philistia and its city of Tyre (constant conquerors of Israel, Book of Judges); Verse 8: Assyria (founded by Nimrod and often powerful destructive people to Israel, Genesis 10:9-11).

Verses 9-12: Call to God to destroy enemies as He had done before: Verses 9-10: Midian (Numbers 31:1-12), Sisera (Judges 4:15-24), Jabin (Judges 4:24; 5:20-21). Verse 11-12: Oreb and Zeeb (Judges 7:25), Zebah and Zalmunna (Judges 8:4-28), who thought to capture Israel’s Promised Land.

Verses 13-18: Only God can destroy these enemies like: (verse 13) restless “whirling dust,” and “chaff” blown by wind; (verse 14) fire burns wood, forest fire on the mountain; (verse 15) the terror of “tempest,” the fear of a storm. The purpose is to bring them to “shame” (verse 16-17) and humility before God; and (verse 18) prove that “the LORD” is “the Most High over all the earth.”

The church of Christ today, as the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), lives among diverse enemies (John 15:18-25; 1 John 3:11-13), and still needs for God to hear and help (Acts 18:1-10; 2 Corinthians 13:11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #defeat, #enemies

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Psalm 74

Vs. 1-11 contain the lament over destruction in Jerusalem;

Vs. 12-23 are the appeal for God to care for Judah as He had so often before.

The background for this Psalm seems to be rooted in the destruction of Jerusalem caused by “Shishak, king of Egypt” (2 Chronicles 2:12-12). It indicated great displeasure by God for Him to allow pagan people to overthrow the Jerusalem, capital of political and religious practices in the Southern Kingdom of God’s People. The explanation is found in 2 Chronicles 12:5: “Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.'”

Verses 1-11: The oft-asked question “Why?” (verse 1) shows awareness that was lacking previously. This Psalm makes their dilemma belong to God by using “You,” “Your,” “Yours” some 34 times. Had the people thought of their sinful actions as directly reflecting upon God, and repented before, this might not have had to happen. God did not cast them off “forever,” for Jews and Gentiles are the people of God today in Jesus Christ (Romans 11:1-5; 1:16-17; 6:3-7). It takes destruction to drive stubborn sinners to their knees, causing them to appeal to God for forgiveness. Suddenly, they acknowledge they are the “sheep of Your pasture (verse 1); it is His “purchased” “congregation,” His “redeemed” “tribe” of “inheritance,” and His worship place “Mount Zion”(verse 2)! God’s People had improperly changed their worship of God, but now wanted something done because the enemy had: “damaged everything in the sanctuary” (verse 3) but left it standing; set banners of false gods in God’s “meeting place” (verse 4); because Solomon’s temple and palace were structured with cedar, often gold-plated (1 Kings 6:21-22), the Egyptians hacked their way through (verses 5-6), burning up their rubble (verses 7-8). The expression “meeting places” is the same as “assemblies” (verses 4, 8), and not the total destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, itself. Why can’t people see that to destroy worship practices God has given is no different than an outsider “defiling” the sacred elements of that worship? The same Scriptures that detail the sanctity of worship also demand the sacredness of assemblies. To violate one is the same as violating the other. NOW, after what an enemy has done, God’s People become keenly aware that God is not with them through: prophecy (verse 9), reaction to reviling (verse 10), or protection (verse 11)? They should have noticed this when they left the LORD.

Verses 12-23: The people, not God, needed this reminder of God’s past dealings. This is simply a re-study of Scriptures, for when God is King to His People (as Jehovah), He saves (verse 12). In verse 13, He parted the Red Sea for Israelites (Exodus 14:21-31), then drowned Pharaoh’s army, whose “gods” were “sea serpents” (Exodus 7:8-13); later in time from Shishak, God would describe Pharaoh as “like a monster in the seas” (Ezekiel 32:2), so verse 14 pictures Pharaoh as a broken Leviathan head. When God is recognized as Creator (Elohim), He: broke fountain and flood in Noah’s day (verse 15; Genesis 6-9), and has “dried up mighty rivers,” such as the flooded Jordan (Joshua 3:14-17); made day and night and light and sun (verse 16; Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19); set earth’s borders and seasons (verse 17; Acts 17:26; Genesis 8:22).

God’s People may become foolish, but an enemy is “a foolish people” who reproach and blaspheme God’s Name (verse 18); would be a “wild beast” to the “turtledove” Jews (verse 19); would provide cruel homes for a covenant people (verse 20). God’s People needed to be freed so they might praise God’s Name (verse 21); enemies vanquished because they increase in reproaches and riots against God (verse 22-23).

Lesson: The only way to correct corrupt practices is to return to God’s Word!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #enemies, #faith, #god, #obedience