Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Problems Among God's People

Numbers 11:1-35
There were problems among God’s people. The spirit of complaint had spread among them. This brought the “fire” of judgment (Numbers 11:1). The spirit spirit of complaint comes when people don’t like what God is doing among His people.We see this in Numbers 11:26-28. The words of prophecy are described as the result of the working of “the Spirit” (Numbers 11:26), yet Joshua said, “Stop them, sir!” (Numbers 11:28). Note Moses’ response – “I wish all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them” (Numbers 11:29).What we need is not the quenching of the Spirit, but the release of God’s Spirit among God’s people.

"a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12)

When God is speaking to us, we need to "be still and know that He is God" (Psalm 46:10). Hearing God's voice depends on how much we're really listening for His voice. Don't let His still, small voice" be drowned out by all the other noises that are constantly competing for our attention.

When you’re down, look to the Lord. He loves You. He will lift you up.

1 Kings 18:37–39, 19:4
When you’re down, look to the Lord. He loves You. He will lift you up.Life is full of ups and downs. For Elijah, there was a very high point. He prayed. ‘The fire of the Lord fell’. ‘All the people said, ‘The Lord, He is God’’(1 Kings 18:37-39). This was followed by a very low point: ‘O Lord, take away my life’(1 Kings 19:4). We are so changeable. Often, we feel like we are being torn apart. Our emotions pull us in different directions. Sometimes, we are full of joy. At other times, we are at the point of despair. We find ourselves in a turmoil of confused emotions. What are we to do? Are we to ‘pull ourselves together’? This seems to be the very thing we can’t manage to do. Are we to ‘hope for the best’- ‘Some day, some way, things will get better’? We think about this, and we wonder, ‘What happens if things get worse?’! Look to the Lord. His love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable."Answer me, Lord! Answer me! Then these people will know …

Turn away from the false gods and turn to the true God.

"When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, “Is that you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
Elijah answered, “I haven’t troubled Israel. You and your father’s family have done it by disobeying the Lord’s commands and following the various Baal gods" (1 Kings 18:17-18).
Was Elijah a troublemaker? Ahab thought so. Ahab didn't like what Elijah had to say to him.He would be glad to see the back of Elijah. He wished Elijah would go away and leave him alone. Ahab was missing the point of Elijah's forthright preaching. Ahab needed the 'trouble' that Elijah was causing. If Ahab and the people of Israel were going to be delivered from the real 'trouble', they needed to start listening to Elijah and start doing what Elijah was telling them to do - turn away from the false gods and turn to the true God.

From the raising of the widow's son ... to the resurrection of Jesus

"The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived" (1 Kings 17:22).
The raising of the widow's son confirmed Elijah's authority as God's prophet. Here, we look beyond God's prophet, Elijah, to God's Son, Jesus. We look beyond the raising of the widow's son to the resurrection of Jesus, God's Son. In the resurrection of Jesus, God is confirming the authority of Jesus as His Son - "Jesus Christ our Lord, ... declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4)."Now I'm convinced that you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord from your mouth is true" (1 Kings 17:24)."the Word of the Lord in your mouth": What a  privilege this is! - God gives us His Word to speak for Him. What a responsibility it is! - May God help us to be His faithful witnesses.

Do we give the Lord lip-service? or Do we serve Him with our lives?

"The Lord also called to the man of God. He said, “This is what the Lord says: You rebelled against the words from the Lord’s mouth and didn’t obey the command that the Lord your God gave you ... A lion found him as he travelled on the road and killed him" (1 Kings 13:21, 24).
What we have here is so different from the story of Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel 6). Daniel was so different from this "man of God." This "man of God" didn't  do what God told him to do. Daniel did do what God told him to do. What about us? Do we give the Lord lip-service? or Do we serve Him with our lives?

"A man of God" (1 Kings 13:1) 

There are many things that we can be - a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, a neighbour, a worker ... Surely, this is the greatest - "a man of God"! To be known, first and foremost, as a man of God is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. Does anyone deserve to be called a man of God? No! We are sinners - but this isn't the full story of our life. We have been saved by the grace of God. He has made us His children - His men, His women. All the glory goes to him - never to us! "A man of God" - What a great responsibility this is. We are to be good witnesses for our Lord. May God help us to do this - with His help and for His glory.

The Servant King

"My servant David" (1 Kings 11:34,38)
David became a king. He remained a servant. He points us forward to Jesus - "the Servant King" (Graham Kendrick)." ... Jerusalem, the city where I chose to place My Name" (1 Kings 11:36).
Jerusalem is called the Holy City. It's not so much Jerusalem that's holy. It's the Name of the Lord that's holy - and He has placed His holy Name in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Jesus died for us and rose again for us. Again, it's not Jerusalem that's holy. It's our Saviour who's holy. Jerusalem's a special place because Jesus is special. There's no one like Him. He's our Lord. He's our Saviour.

"I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold ... "

"King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift – articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules." (1 Kings 10:23-25).
" Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness." (1 Kings 10:9).

We read about King Solomon. We read about His great riches. We read about  his great wisdom. We learn that he had been greatly blessed by God. What are  we to say about Solomon?
We could focus on the spiritual side - "the wisdom God had put in his heart", "the Lord your God ... has delighted in you."
We should also note the temptation that comes to those who have great riches. Things can become …

What's so special about the Lord?

“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below—You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept Your promise to Your servant David my father; with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it—as it is today" (1 Kings 8:23-24).
There is no God like the Lord. What's so special about Him? It's His love. It's His faithfulness. He loves us with a faithful love. His love is great. His faithfulness is great. Where else could we find such love? Where else could we find such faithfulness? - Nowhere else! It's only the Lord who loves us with a perfect love. It's only the Lord who will remain completely faithful, when others let down and leave us feeling discouraged. There is no God like the Lord. There is no love like His love. There is no faithfulness like His faithfulness.  In love, He gives us His precious promises. In love, He fulf…

The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

“The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11).
The house of the Lord is never to be the chief focus of our attention. The Lord of the house is to be the focus of all that we do when we gather together for worship.
When we look, with admiration, at the grand cathedrals, we may wonder, “Who were they trying to impress when they built this?” When we see two hugely impressive examples of Church architecture located very close to each other, we may wonder, “Is there more than a bit of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ thing going on here?”
We may wonder, “What goes on in these places?” Are they places of which it can be said, “The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord”? or Have they become places that are not really much more than tourist attractions?”
When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, He found that life in the Jerusalem Temple was busy with activity, but it was empty – God was not there.
At the end of the book of Ezekiel, there are these si…

Building the 'temple' of a godly life

"Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My Word with you, which I spoke to your father David" (1 Kings 6:12).
Building a temple for God means nothing if it isn't accompanied by building the 'temple' of a godly life.  We must remember that "our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the place of worship looks great and our lives are a mess, we need to hear what God is saying to us here. He's speaking to us about godly living. How are we to live a godly life? - We must build our life on Jesus Christ - "whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock ... it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock" (Matthew 7:24-25). Whenever we start to attach too much importance to the place where we worship, let us remember the …

You Can Be A Giantkiller - For God.

1 Samuel 17
David faced a giant. We face giants. His giant was called Goliath. Our “Goliaths” are the giants of unbelief and disobedience. We’re told that it doesn’t matter what you believe. We’re told that it doesn’t matter how you live. Like David, we must rise up with faith in the Lord. Like David, we must move forward in obedience to the Lord. Let us challenge today’s “Goliaths” – “I come to you in the Name of the Lord … whom you have defied.”We do not face these “Goliaths” in our own weakness. We face them in the strength of the Lord. Knowing that “the battle is the Lord’s”, we take our stand upon the Word of God: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord” (1 Samuel 17:45-47; Isaiah 54:17).

A New Man

Two men with the same name – Saul, the first king of Israel, and Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ and His servants.
In both stories, we read of a new man.
* In the case of Saul, the first king of Israel, David was the new man. Saul was rejected. He was replaced.
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king … So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:1, 13).
* In the case of Saul of Tarsus, it was very different. Saul became the new man. He became Paul the apostle. He was saved by the Lord. His life was transformed by the power of Christ’s love. He became a new creation in Christ Jesus. He had this great testimony: “It is no longe…

After The Famine ...

In Ruth 2, there’s a beautiful picture of harvest. Look back to Ruth 1:1 – “There was a famine in the land.” The Christian life’s like that. It’s not always harvest. Sometimes, it’s famine. Sometimes, we feel like we’re on the mountain-top. At other times, we’re in the wilderness. Whatever your circumstances, remember this – God knows what’s best for you. In the happy times and the testing times, be sure of this – God is not far from you, He’s with you, He loves you and He wants to bless you. When it seems like nothing’s going right for you, take time to think about what the Lord has done for you and give thanks to Him.
When things are going well, don’t take God’s blessing for granted. He can withdraw His blessing from us if we don’t give thanks to Him – that’s the warning Jesus gives us in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21).
When things are going badly, don’t let your head go down. Don’t start thinking that God’s blessing will never return
In the happy times and…

"There was a famine in the land" (Ruth 1:1).

The situation seemed hopeless. We wonder, "Where will hope come from?" In Amos 8:11, we read about a different kind of famine: "not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." How do we find hope when there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord"? We must learn to pray to the Lord: "Speak; your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10).

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).God has spoken words of encouragement: “the Lord is with you, brave man” (Judges 6:12). Things were not going well. Gideon was having doubts about God: “now the Lord has abandoned us” (Judges 6:13). God was quick to reassure Gideon: “You will rescue Israel … I am sending you” (Judges 6:14). Gideon moved from the ‘why’ question to the ‘how’ question: “How can I rescue Israel?” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer is still the same: “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness” (Joshua 24:14).

What a difference there is between being paralyzed by fear and being set free by the fear of the Lord – to live our lives as His faithful servants!We speak about being paralyzed by fear. This is the exact opposite. This is the fear of the Lord sending us out into the service of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is very different from what we mean when we speak about fear. Our fears disable us. The fear of the Lord enables us. Our fears highlight our weakness. They drive us down into our despair. The fear of the Lord focuses on  God's strength. As we think of the Lord, we think not about how little we can do for Him. we think about how much He can do for us. Everything changes  - when we look away from ourselves to the Lord. Why must we be paralyzed by our fears - when we can be empowered by the fear of the Lord? "Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness" (Joshua 24:14).

We don't earn God's blessing as a reward for our obedience.

"You have ... obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you. But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. So Joshua blessed them ... " (Joshua 22:2,5,6).We don't earn God's blessing as a reward for our obedience. His blessing is always His gift - but we must never forget this: He gives His blessing to those who are walking with Him in obedience.
Remembering that God's blessing is given by Him and not earned by us, we must not forget to give thanks to Him when we are blessed by Him. We must also remember that we dare not take His blessing for granted. We dare not presume that He will continue to bless us if we do not continue to walk with Him on the pathway of obedience.

Be Strong ...

"Be strong and of good courage ... the Lord your God ... goes with you ..." (Deuteronomy 31:6).As well as providing atonement for our sins, the Lord provides us with strength to live to His glory.  We give thanks for God's gift of forgiveness - "In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7). We also give thanks that God has given the strength that we need to live for Him - "strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being" (Ephesians 3:16).

God has done great things for His people ...

God has done great things for His people - ‘in the land of Egypt... in the wilderness’(Deuteronomy 29:2,5). Acknowledging Him to be the Lord their God, they were to live in obedience to Him (Deuteronomy 29:6,9). The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of obedience (Deuteronomy 29:16-28). Turning away from the Lord leads to judgment - ‘anger and fury and great wrath’(Deuteronomy 29:24-28). There are ‘secret things’. There are ‘things that are revealed’. Some ‘things’ we will never understand. These ‘things belong to the Lord our God’. There are many ‘things’ we have learned and have firmly believed. ‘The things that are revealed’ are found in ‘the Holy Scriptures.’ Through God’s written Word, we are brought to ‘salvation’ and we are ‘thoroughly equipped’ for Christian living (Deuteronomy 29:29; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God...

Deuteronomy 28:25-68There is nothing inevitable about the chain of events described in these verses. These are the consequences of disobedience. God is warning His people: ‘If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God...’(Deuteronomy 28:15). Why does God warn His people of the consequences of disobedience? He wants them to draw back from the way of disobedience and follow the pathway of obedience and blessing. These ‘curses’ were avoidable. They would only happen if Israel persisted in rebelling against the Lord. We can bring ‘curses’ upon ourselves. Don’t imagine that God doesn’t care how you live. He does. That is why He calls us back from the pathway of disobedience. That is why He exhorts us to choose holiness. Read Hebrews 10:26-31; 12:25-29. Pray for God’s mercy (Luke 18:13). Ask Him to make you more holy (Hebrews 12:14).

Obedience is grounded in salvation.

Obedience is grounded in salvation. The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’ who brought you... out of the house of bondage’(Deuteronomy 5:6). He has redeemed us. We are to live for Him. The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (Deuteronomy 5:27). We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him. The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation. Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us. His love for us is always prior to our love for Him. Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger. Forget, and you love will grow weaker. Loved by God, let us love Him - more!

The Work Of The Lord

The people of Israel were involved in the work of the Lord. The work was based on God - not Moses. Moses would not be in the promised land. God would be there. Moses would ‘not go over the Jordan’. As God’s man. he was to prepare the people for their task: ‘you shall go over and take possession of that good land’(Deuteronomy 4:22). Privilege involves responsibility. Israel was a privileged people, redeemed by the Lord, delivered from bondage ‘by a mighty hand and outstretched arm’(Deuteronomy 4:34). Israel was a responsible people, called to obey the Lord: ‘Obey His laws and commands’(Deuteronomy 4:40). The Lord our God is ‘a merciful God’(Deuteronomy 4:31). He has saved us. We are to serve Him. Let Him reign in your heart. Let there be ‘no other besides Him’(Deuteronomy 4:35). Flee to Christ for refuge (Deuteronomy 4:42-43), and live each day with ‘the attitude of gratitude’.

The promised land was near ...

The promised land was near. For Moses, it was ‘so near and yet so far’. He was excluded. Together with the sadness of Moses’ exclusion, there was the joy of the people’s entrance (Deuteronomy 3:27-28). When we consider Moses’ sadness and the people’s joy, we must remember this: Nobody deserved to go into the land! The land was God’s gift. Without His strength, the people of Israel would fail. With Him, they would be victorious: ‘You shall not fear them; for it is the Lord your God who fights for you’(Deuteronomy 3:22). There is here a basic principle of Christian living: ‘not by might , nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts’(Zechariah 4:6). ‘In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land. The battle belongs to the Lord. No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand. The battle belongs to the Lord’(Mission Praise, 639).

God's blessing

Numbers 6:22-27 There’s nothing better than God’s blessing. It’s nice to have friends. People like you. It feels good. God’s blessing – That’s so much better. Friends come and go. God’s blessing remains. You can be surrounded by friends – and still feel very lonely. Sometimes, they’re great friends. Sometimes, they disappoint us. When you’re surrounded by God’s blessing, everything’s very different. God will never disappoint us. He’s our “always and forever” Friend. His blessing is an “every day” blessing. It’s not just a “now and again” thing. It’s an “all the days of our life” thing. Everywhere we look, we see God. We look to the hills. We see our Creator. We look to the cross. We see our Saviour. We are blessed by our Creator. We are blessed by our Saviour. How do we enjoy God’s blessing?
Trust Him. Walk in His way. Wherever life’s journey takes us, He’s there. He’s our faithful Friend. He’s the Friend who’ll never let us down. In our happy times, He gives us His joy.…

Praise the Lord.

Psalms 148:1-150:6 ‘Praise the Lord.’ We bring to You, Lord, our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalms 144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2). Our personal worship is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6). As we read these great Psalms of praise, may we be inspired to praise You more truly and more fully.

Holiness

The life of holiness is not an expression of our own moral virtue. It is an expression of the holy character of God being reproduced in us: 'I am the Lord who sanctify you' (Leviticus 20:8). God wants us for Himself - This is why we must not live the world's way: 'I the Lord am ... holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine' (Leviticus 20:26). God has a great purpose for us: 'You shall inherit their land... I will give it to you, a land flowing with milk and honey' (Leviticus 20:24).  'The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly... in Christ Jesus' (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the pathway to holiness: 'By grace you have been saved through faith... for good works' (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Glory Of God

The revelation of God's glory (Exodus 33:22-23)
God's glory is too much for us. Step by step, as we walk with him, he reveals his glory to us. "Ever-increasing glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18) - This is the way in which the Lord leads us on towards the full revelation of his heavenly and eternal glory.

Victory in the wilderness

The book of Numbers tells the story of God's people, travelling through the wilderness. They had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They were going to be brought to the Promised Land. For a long while they were in the wilderness. For forty years, the wilderness was their “now moment”. We look back. we remember what the Lord has done for us. He died on the cross for us. We look forward to His Return. What a great day that will be! In our many “now moments”, we are in the wilderness. It’s a place of danger. It’s a place of promise. We are involved in a constant battle for faith and obedience – “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). Often, we fail our Lord. We need to hear the challenging words of Paul: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galat…