Monthly Archives: March 2015

Keeping a Promise

A whole chapter of the Bible is devoted to keeping one’s promise. It was Moses who wrote in Numbers 30, “This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded” and continues, “If a  man vow a vow… or swear an oath… he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” If God is the One who commands promises are to be kept, then breaking a promise or going back on an oath is sin.

The Children of Israel had reached the eastern shore of the Jordan River on their way to the Promised Land, avenging God’s wrath on the Midianites who for centuries had been idol worshippers and refused to worship the One True God. The children of Reuben and the children of Gad, two of Jacob’s sons of the twelve tribes of Israel, “had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land… behold, the place was a place for cattle,” (Numbers 32:1). The descendants of Reuben and Gad asked of Moses if they could remain east of the Jordan, settling their families and livestock in such a lush valley. Being a part of the Israelite army needed to cross the Jordan and continue in the Children of Israel’s quest to obtain the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, the soldiering men of Reuben and Gad promised, “We ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place… We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.” The men also vowed, “We will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward,” (vs.17-19).

Moses agreed with the men if they would go armed across the Jordan and lead the army against God’s enemies, they could return and possess the land east of the Jordan River as their inheritance. In his agreement, Moses also gave them this stern warning, “But if you will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out,” (Numbers 32:23).

Keeping a Promise obeys God;

Not keeping a Promise is sin.

 

 

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Angels, Angels, Angels

There was rebellion in Heaven. One of the angels referred to as “Lucifer, son of the morning” rose up against God desiring to be like the most High, to exalt his own “throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:12-15). It was then the rebellious angel was cast out of Heaven along with one-third of the angels who rebelled against God with him (Revelation 12:4,7-9).

Angels are created beings, just as man was created. “Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host… and the host of heaven worshippeth Thee,” (Nehemiah 9:6). “Praise ye Him, all His angels:  praise ye Him, all His hosts… Let them praise the name of the LORD: for He commanded, and they were created,” (Psalm 148:2,5). The number of angels God created is innumerable as recorded in Hebrews 12:22. Jesus answered the Sadducees in Matthew 22 concerning their belief that there is no resurrection, that angels do not reproduce themselves because they “neither marry, nor are given in marriage” (v. 30), neither do they die (Luke 20:35-36).

As spirit beings superior to man but inferior to God, angels were created to glorify Christ Jesus, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist,” (Colossians 1:16-17).

As created beings who neither procreate nor die, the number of angels has remained constant since their creation. Scripture does not speak of any human being becoming an angel upon death. The rank of angels as archangels, cherubim, seraphim, living creatures, ruling angels, guardian angels notes that their function and duties were fixed at their creation. The faithful angels referred to as holy and elect angels are not able to sin, while the fallen angels referred to as demons are not able NOT to sin. Being not able to sin, faithful angels have no need of salvation and therefore “the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into, (I Peter 1:12). There is a song holy angels cannot sing, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.” God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us though Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:7). At that time the heavenly angels will get a glimpse into what it meant for Christ to have saved a wretch like me!

The Whole Duty of Man

Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Every person born into this world asks these questions of themselves in their lifetime. The wisest man who ever lived pondered the meaning of life and shares with those who read his words in the Book of Ecclesiastes, ”Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.”

King Solomon had it all: fame, fortune, family. He was the ruler of a vast kingdom stretching from the Euphrates River in the east to the land of Egypt in the west. Kings and queens came to him from near and far bearing gifts, seeking peace, and desiring to hear his counsel. He enjoyed every perk in life, from houses and land, to entertainment and possessions galore. He had experienced it all, enjoyed it all, possessed it all but in the end found it lacking when assessing the meaning of his life against all the world had offered him. He summed up the conclusion of the whole matter by writing in just six words what is most important in life.

In the end, when all was said and done, Solomon penned these words that have echoed down through millennia, “The conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments:  for this is the whole duty of man.” Since the opening chapters of Genesis man has been admonished by God Himself to reverence the Lord God and obey His commands found written throughout His Word, promising when one does He will bring blessing upon them. Solomon finished his wise counsel for the reason all should heed God’s instruction, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil,” (12:13-14).

“Remember now thy Creator

In the days of thy youth,

While the evil days come not,

Nor the years draw nigh.”

(Ecclesiastes 12:1)

The Relevancy of Scripture

There are those who say God’s Word is not relevant for today, that it is outdated and old-fashioned. They say life is far different today and anything written in Scripture would not be applicable with what we are experiencing now. But God’s Word is as much relevant for today as it has been for every age in time past. The Psalmist wrote “For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations,” (119:89-90).

The Bible, God’s Holy Word, is a unique book that has been relevant to generations of people since the time Moses began writing the first five books of the Old Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Just as God’s Word does not change, people have not changed. They are still sinful, wretched, miserable, poor and blind (Revelation 3:17).

The things written of in Scripture were written for our example as Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10. Just in the area of jealousy which is still very much prevalent in our society, we read of Moses’ siblings, Miriam and Aaron, becoming jealous of Moses’ Ethiopian wife and the displeasure God had with their jealousy, sending leprosy upon Miriam who was shut out of the camp seven days until God healed her and allowed her to return (Numbers 12). We read of Korah of the sons of Levi, who became jealous of Moses’ leadership and led a rebellion against him to have Moses overthrown, but was destroyed himself when God opened the earth beneath him and swallowed up all that pertained unto Korah (Numbers 16). And then there was King Saul, whose jealousy of David was so great he and his army chased the slayer of the giant Goliath all over Judea in a desperate attempt to kill David. In the end it was the king who was destroyed in battle, along with David’s best friend, the king’s son, Jonathan (I Samuel 19-31).

God’s Word is as much relevant today as it has always been. It would behoove those who say it is not to set aside what they are doing and begin to read for themselves the wealth of relevancy found in the Scriptures. When they do, as with all who do, they will exclaim with Isaiah, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (6:5).

Deliverance

Throughout Scripture God always delivered His Children before His wrath fell upon mankind. Paul wrote in his first letter to the believers in the church at Thessalonica in Greece, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (5:9). God’s wrath fell at least three times in the early years of recorded history that reveals the truth of Paul’s writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Noah had found grace in the eyes of the Lord but those living around him had not. In Genesis 6:5 it is written, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The following verses tell of how it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth and how He determined to destroy man from off the face of the earth. He had given them over 1,500 years to repent and they had not. The cup of His wrath was full and it was going to fall full force upon the earth. Noah and his family were provided an Ark to escape God’s wrath and survive the devastation that was to come.

Lot had moved to the choicest land available when he and Abraham separated, pitching his tent toward Sodom. It was not long before Lot moved his family into Sodom and they became members of the community. When Lot became “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (II Peter 2:7), God sent His angels to rescue Lot, his wife and their two daughters from the city before His destruction fell upon the city and all the cities of the plain in the form of fire and brimstone because of their great wickedness, except Zoar where Lot and his two daughters fled when his wife turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 18-19).

The plagues of Egypt during the days of Moses fell only on the Egyptians, sparing the Children of Israel who were being held in bondage and denied permission of the Pharaoh “To let My people go.” On the night the death angel passed over Egypt, all of the firstborn of the Children of Israel escaped death while there was “a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was not like it, nor shall be like it any more… for there was not a house where there was not one dead” in the Egyptian households (Exodus 5-12).

Before God’s judgment falls on the world He always removes and secures His Children from His wrath that is to come. Before the seven years of great tribulation in the Book of Revelation, God promises to remove those who are His Children, those who have believed and trusted in His Son as their Savior from their sins, and usher them safely into Heaven through the clouds (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11). Just as He “saved Noah… a preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5), “delivered just Lot” (II Peter 2:7), and “did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:51), He will take His Children out of this world before His wrath falls again for the last time because of the wickedness of man who continue to gnash their teeth at God, refusing to bow the knee to Him (Luke 13:27-28).