Little Is Much

Little Is Much

Today’s Passage – Judges 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read the “0322 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.” – (Judges 7:4)

This is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible. The nation of Israel was at war with the Midianites, who numbered 135,000. The Bible says that even the number of their camels was too large to count. The camp of Israel, on the other hand, was much smaller, numbering only 32,000. The people of Israel were already outnumbered by more that 100,000 men, yet God said that Israel had too many men, and He wanted most of them weeded out. First, He eliminates all that are afraid. I have to admit right here that I know that I would have been eliminated in this first cut. Afraid!! I would have been scared to death. Israel was outnumbered  nearly 5 to 1. Amazingly, after the fearful left, there was still 10,000 left. Now they were outnumbered 13 to 1. This is not good military strategy folks. Yet, God said that they still had too many. At the next cut the troops of Israel were reduced down to 300. This was 440 Midianites to every 1 Israelite. You would agree, that this left Israel in a (humanly) hopeless situation. But you know what happens, don’t you. God gave the victory.

Consider some other verses:

“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” – (1 Samuel 14:6)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – (Luke 1:37)

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” – (Genesis 18:14)

Sometimes, I get a little discouraged that we don’t have more people in our town that are saved and living for the Lord, serving Him in one of the Bible preaching churches. It also bothers me when there seem to be so few within the local church that are really surrendered to the Lord. But when I read passages like this I am reminded that God can do an awful lot with a little. He took down a great big giant with a little teenager. On numerous occasions He destroyed powerful armies with a few sold out soldiers. God loves to be the “underdog”. He loves to show Himself powerful in impossible situations. We may only have a few soldiers in the army at Jersey Shore Baptist Church, but God is more than able to reach the multitudes with them. And God is also ready to show Himself powerful in your life. What impossible situation are you facing today? Remember, Little is much when God is in it.


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Gideon’s Fleece

fleece

Today’s Passage – Judges 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:6

Read the “0321 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” – (Judges 6:36-37)

Three times in Judges 6, Gideon asks the Lord for a sign of some sort in order to assure him that it was, in fact, God that was speaking to him. The first time occurs when the angel of the Lord first appears to him in verse 17. Here he wants to be sure that it is the Lord. Maybe he was afraid that he was hallucinating, or perhaps being tricked. The Lord proves Himself to Gideon by consuming the kid and the bread upon the rock with fire.

The second and third time was regarding the fleece. He puts out the fleece twice: two nights in a row. The first night, he asked that the fleece would be wet with dew, and the ground dry. The second night, just to be sure, he asked that the ground be wet and the fleece be dry. God graciously proved Himself to Gideon on all of these occasions.

I have often heard people say that Gideon was not acting in faith because he kept asking for some sort of a sign. However, we must remember that God had not recorded in His word at this point anything about Gideon’s situation. Had God written through Moses or a prophet that there would be a man named Gideon that would deliver the children of Israel from the hand of the Mideonites, there might be a reason to accuse Gideon of lacking faith; but this was totally unpredicted, and unprecedented. I don’t blame Gideon for wanting to be sure that He was doing the will of God.

Today, we certainly are to walk by faith and not by sight. Most of what God calls us to do is clearly revealed in His Bible; but every once in a while, He reveals His will to us personally through extraordinary means. This does not happen very often, but it does happen. I have been saved for twenty-five years, and I can only point to a few times where I put forth a “fleece” in order to determine God’s will. I will share one of these incidents with you. When I was in my senior year of Bible college, I was very burdened about what I was going to do after I graduated. There were a few opportunities offered to me in various places and capacities; but I wanted to be sure that I was completely following the will of God. In my heart, I wanted to come back home to New Jersey, but I was not sure that my heart was lining up with God’s will. I began to pray. I decided one day to call up Pastor Charlie Clark who pastored in south Jersey, in order to get some advice from him. I told him that I was praying about coming back to New Jersey to start a church, or work for a church. He recommended that I head back to New Jersey upon graduation, and we would begin to pray and work toward the planting of a church. I was very excited about that prospect, but God had a slightly different plan. You see, as God was working in my heart about coming to New Jersey – unknown to me – He was also working in another pastor’s heart about moving away from New Jersey. Just a few minutes after I got off the phone with Pastor Clark, He received another phone call from Pastor Dan Owens. Brother Owens was the man who started Jersey Shore Baptist Church. The Lord was leading him to go back into the military as a chaplain, but he wanted to make sure that he left his church in good hands. So Brother Owens called Pastor Clark in order to see if He knew of any pastor that was praying about coming to New Jersey. “Coincidentally”, Pastor Clark did know of someone. Pastor Clark has since shared with me that he has had very few phone calls through the years regarding people either looking for a church, or looking to leave a church; and to get two such calls within minutes of each other was definitely a “sign” that this was of God.

I am not saying that we should be tempting God, or asking God to prove Himself to us. If we are His children, we have already placed our faith in Him, and in His revealed will through the Word of God. I am saying, though, that it is OK to ask God to clearly reveal His perfect will for your life. If your like me, you want to be sure that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do. There are a lot of big decisions to make in life, and they are not all completely covered in the Bible. For instance: Who are you going to marry? Where you are going to live? What will be your life’s vocation? Where will you go to college?  These are all important questions, and you want to be sure you are in the perfect will of God. I don’t think you are wrong to ask God to miraculously reveal His will to you personally, as He did to Gideon in our reading today.


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Hold the Line

Hold the Line

Today’s Passage – Judges 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 10 – 13;  Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34

Read the “0320 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “God Sent Them A Deliverer”

“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” – (Judges 2:7)

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” – (Judges 2:10)

“And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.” – (Judges 2:12)

Years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to see the place where that great Civil War battle took place back in 1863. On the second day of the battle there were a group of men from Maine, lead by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, who were entrusted with holding the southern end of the Union line at a place called Little Round Top. If the Confederate army could breach that line, or somehow get around it, they would have been able to defeat the Union army that day, and may have been able to win the war. Colonel Chamberlain, and the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment held the line, and held back the Confederate Army. Toward the end of the battle, the Union army had run out of amunition, and were forced to repel their attackers with a charge down the hill with only their bayonets as weapons.

Our Scripture passage today in the Book of Judges tells us that when Joshua and the leaders from his generation were alive, they held the line against idolatry and immorality in the land of Israel. On their watch, they kept evil from creeping into the land. However, when Joshua’s generation died off, the next generation allowed all kinds of wickedness to enter into the lives of the people of Israel. They didn’t hold the line. It seems that, though Joshua and his contemporaries were good at leading the people in righteousness, they failed at training the next generation to do the same.

I made a similar observation this morning about our generation today. In America today there are many churches that are attracting large crowds, but unfortunately they are drawing people in by making their worship services as comfortable as possible to a lost world. Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not against people being comfortable in church, and I want people to enjoy their time at our services. However, I don’t want to compromise what I know to be right, in order to make lost people, or carnal Christians, feel more comfortable at our church. I am more concerned with the Saviour’s pleasure, than with the Seeker’s. Today, our churches have become so like the world, that there is little difference between Christians and the lost people around them. My point in all this is that I believe that by watering down everything that we stand for, and by opening the church doors wide to worldliness, we are going to lose the next generation. If we have only “a form a godliness”, what will our kid’s have? If we have to tickle the ears of people now to get them to come in, or keep them from going out, what will the next generation have to do?

We need to hold the line, and we need to work to raise a new generation of godly Christians that will be more sold-our, more separated, and better soul-winners than we are. If we don’t, America will be totally lost. Somebody’s got to hold the line.


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Keep Choosing the Lord

Keep Choosing the Lord

Today’s Passage – Joshua 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 25

Read the “0319 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – (Joshua 24:15)

“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.” – (Joshua 24:22)

I have been considering this 24th chapter of Joshua for many years. It is one of those victorious portions of Scripture where the people of God do exactly what they are supposed to do. Joshua lays it all out for them. He basically tells them to pick a side. In other words, he gives them the option to choose to serve God, or to serve the many gods that were worshipped by the former inhabitants of the land of Canaan. The Israelites chose wisely. However, having studied the rest of the history of the Jewish people, I also know that they will often go back on their choice. Though they decided at this time to serve God, and forsake all other gods, they will soon begin to allow idolatry to come back into their lives. Though they once chose wisely, they didn’t keep choosing wisely.

I find that we are much the same way today. At one point in our lives we choose God. We come to Him for salvation, and surrender our lives to Him for service; but down the road, we change our minds. I don’t mean that we decide that we no longer want to be God’s child, but we often decide that living for the Lord isn’t as fun as we thought it was, and we start going in alternative directions. My encouragement to you today is to keep choosing the Lord. You chose Him as your Saviour in the past, choose Him as your Lord today. Choose today to yield your life to Him. Choose today to spend time with Him through Bible reading and prayer. Choose today to serve Him by serving the people He loves. Keep choosing the Lord.


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Get To Work

Hard Work

Today’s Passage – Joshua 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0317 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” – (Joshua 17:15)

In Joshua chapter seventeen, we see the land of Israel being divided up among the twelve tribes. The two half tribes that belonged to the sons of Joseph were a little concerned because they felt that they needed more land than what was given to them. They reasoned that because they were a “great people”, one portion of land would not be sufficient for them. The leader of Israel, Joshua, basically tells them that there is plenty more land available, but they would have to work a little to get it. The land he offered them was very mountainous and wooded, and needed to be cleared; and it also contained some pretty heavily armed Canaanites that also needed to be removed. I think the tribe of Joseph really wanted to just move right into a place where they would not have to put forth too much effort.

There is a great lesson to be learned here for us today. We often have desires for great things in life, but we usually are reluctant to work for those things. I know a man who today is very wealthy. He and his family enjoy many material possessions, and are very well off. However, those things did not come easy to him. He worked very hard over the course of many years to accumulate the wealth that he enjoys today. In fact, I knew this man when he was a boy in school. He studied hard, and applied himself. He continued to work hard through college; and when he received his first employment opportunity, he applied himself diligently there as well. Nobody handed his wealth to him. He had to work for it. He is envied by many people today who want what he has, but most of those people would not want to pay the price that he paid in time and sweat in order to achieve what he has.

As Christians, we need to get away from this entitlement mentality that everything is owed to us. There are plenty of opportunities out there for us to take advantage of, but few of them will come without a sacrifice on our part. We can see this lazy attitude in the ministry today. Some preachers, right out of Bible college, want a large ministry handed to them. They look for the perfect opportunity. Yet, there are millions of people out there who need a preacher. I remember when I came to Jersey Shore, there was no parsonage and there was no salary. We did have a beautiful little building, and a good group of people gathered together, but there were few perks that would attract many prospective preachers today. I was just thrilled that somebody wanted me to be their pastor. The church has grown some since then. By God’s grace we have been able to add on to our building, purchase more land, and add new ministries. But it took work. We had to cut down the woods, and drive out some of the Canaanites. It wasn’t easy, but God has blessed us all through the process.

Don’t expect all of the good things in life to be handed to you. Our God is a wonderful, gracious, and very giving God; but aside from our salvation, He often doesn’t hand us things on a silver platter. What He does do, however, is offer us opportunities to fight and work for things. Do you want something more in life? Go get it. Work for it.


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I Want That Mountain

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here  to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0316 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” – (Joshua 14:12)

One of my favorite men in the Bible is Caleb. He had an unshakable and an unwavering faith in the Lord. He wholly followed the Lord his God, and there was no obstacle that was too large, and no enemy that was too powerful, to keep Caleb from fulfilling God’s will for his life. You will remember that when the spies were sent in to check out the land of Canaan there were only two of them that came back with a positive report; only two that knew that God was much bigger than and giant Canaanite. One of those two men was Caleb. Ten of those spies came back and said, “It can’t be done; it’s too hard; we’re not ready yet. Not Caleb. He and Joshua were ready for a fight:

“And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:6-9)

In our passage today, it is now forty-five years after the spies came back, and Caleb is an old man; yet, he still has a lot of fight left in him. He is not thinking about retirement. He is still looking to conquer more giants for the Lord. We need more Calebs in the church today! Men and women who trust the Lord wholly to do “greater works than these”. We need people who are willing to fight for what is right; people who still see areas that need to be conquered for the Lord.

What does God want you to conquer for Him? What giant obstacle is in your path that God is waiting for you to trust Him to remove in His power? What neighborhood, or city remains unreached with the gospel? What are you afraid of. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know that there are giants trying to stop you, but your God is greater than any Giant. Trust Him and take the mountain!

 


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Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears

Today’s Passage – Joshua 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 6Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Deuteronomy 32:4

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Day the Sun Stood Still

Read the “0315 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” – (Joshua 11:21-23)

Remember the Anakims?

“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” – (Numbers 13:32-33)

You might want to read Numbers chapter 13 in order to completely understand the point of this devotion. In a nutshell, Numbers 13 deals with Moses sending the 12 men into the land of Israel to spy out the land. They saw that the land surely was a good land, a land that flowed with milk and honey; but they also saw that the people of the land, especially the Anakims, were huge and pretty fierce looking people: they were giants. Instead of the spies returning with a good report of the wonderful opportunities that awaited them in their furture home, they returned with an evil report describing only the obstacles that stood in their way. To the people of Israel, the giants of the land were bigger than the God they served. As a result, God was highly displeased with their lack of faith and sentenced them to wander the wilderness for forty more years, until all of the naysayers had died off.

Here in our text in Joshua, we see the nation of Israel, forty plus years later, conquering those same giants that their fathers were afraid to face. Had that previous generation simply looked past the obstacles, they would have seen that their God was well able to bring them victoriously into that wonderful land of opportunity; but they let their fears control their destiny.

Don’t let your fear rob you of the opportunities that God is placing in front of you. Dr. Paul Fedena once preached a message at our church on the subject of fear. He taught that fear often paralyzes us from moving forward in the will of God. Fear is a natural human emotion, but we must not let it stop us from doing the things that God has called us to do. God will not ask us to do something that He will not enable us to do, in His strength. Too many Christians are wandering still in the wilderness of their fears, missing out on the wonderful blessings that await them in the promised land of a Spirit-filled life. Face your fears, not in your own strength, but in the power and might of the Lord.


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Moldy Bread, Broken Bottles, and Old Shoes

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Today’s Passage – Joshua 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” – (Joshua 9:14)

In Joshua chapter nine, we see the children of Israel after their second successful battle in the land of Canaan. They had just destroyed the cities of Jericho and Ai, and they were on their way to conquer all of the other cities of Canaan that were in their path. The inhabitants of the land realized that this new nation coming in could not be beaten in battle, so they resorted to trickery in order to save themselves. The Gibeonites that inhabited four cities nearby that would have soon been destroyed came to the Joshua and the princes of Israel and pretended to be from a very far country, presumably outside of the land of Canaan. They even brought props with them in order to convince the Israelites that what they were saying was true. They brought with them mouldy bread, old and worn out shoes, and broken wine bottles; all designed to convince the Israelites that had travelled from far away. They were very deceptive, yet very convincing. They desired that Israel would make a covenant of peace with them, and Israel does. Without consulting the Lord, Israel takes the victuals that these people offer them, and promise them that they will not be destroyed.

The part about this story that I have the toughest time with is that even though the people of Israel were deceived, God still expected them to honor their covenant with these Gibeonites. It would seem to me that because the Gibeonites had not been truthful about where they came from, God would not expect His people to live up to their end of the bargain. I have struggled with this passage of Scripture for years, but I think I have it figured out now. You see, the people did not consult with God before they entered into this covenant. Had they talked to God about it, He would have told them not to believe the Gibeonites. As a result, Israel makes a tragic mistake, and God is going to make them live with their choice.

By the way, this is the second time that the Joshua Administration had acted without consulting God first. Remember when they went into the city of Ai the first time? They were defeated. Why? Because Achan stole the accursed thing back in the battle of Jericho. Again, it almost looked as if God was punishing the whole nation unfairly for the act of one man, which nobody else in Israel even knew about. But God knew, and God would have told Joshua, too, had Joshua only prayed before going into the battle with Ai. It seems that God’s people have this bad habit of praying after tragedy strikes, rather than doing a little preventive praying. Have you prayed today? Satan might right now be preparing a trap for you. You’d better be careful. What decisions are you about to make without a consultation with God, or perhaps at least a look into God’s principles found in His Word? What actions are you about to take? You had better take them to God first. You just may be on the verge of making a tragic mistake. God knows, and He can help you prevent it, but He wants you to come to Him first.

 


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Sin in the Camp

achan

Today’s Passage – Joshua 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Proverbs 13; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0313 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.” – (Joshua 7:2-5)

In our passage today, we read of the great victory of the Lord’s people in the Battle of Jericho. The large, fortress city of Jericho fell completely without one casualty in the army of Israel. It was perhaps the greatest military victory in history. Unfortunately, soon after the conquest of Jericho, the people of God suffered an horrible, embarrassing defeat against the much smaller city of Ai. Israel fled from the army of Ai, and mourned the loss of thirty-six men. Why would God give Israel such a tremendous victory at Jericho, and then remove his blessing from them so that they would lose so easily against a much smaller foe? I believe there are three reasons: three accursed things found within the camp of Israel that caused God to allow Israel to be punished before their enemy.

1  Disobedience – There was sin in the camp.

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” – (Joshua 7:1)

Achan took a garment from Jericho, which seems like a small thing; yet, God was very upset about it. He had given clear instructions that nothing from Jericho was to be taken, save the silver and gold, which was to be brought into Israel’s treasury. Not only did Achan take the garment, but he also stole some silver and gold for himself. The sin of one man can greatly affect the blessing of God on an entire congregation. You might think that God was unfair to judge the whole nation for the sin of one man, but you may change your mind when you consider the next two reasons.

Overconfidence – The people of Israel underestimated the power of the enemy, and overestimated their own strength. They thought Ai was too small to worry about. They were wrong. Christians often do the same thing today. We underestimated our enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil; and we overestimate our own strength. Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing”. (John 15:5)

3  Independence – When you review the account of the victory of Jericho, you will see that “the Captain of the host of the Lord” had given Joshua complete detailed instructions as to what Israel should do. However, when you look at the battle of Ai, you will see that not once does God speak to Joshua about going into Ai; nor does Joshua pray to God about going in. Now, we know that Ai was one of the many cities that God wanted the children of Israel to conquer, but they should have consulted the Lord first as to when and how they should do it. They didn’t, and as a result, Israel was on their own in this battle, without God. They didn’t think they needed God for this little city. Boy were they mistaken. I’m willing to bet that if Joshua would have just asked God about Ai before going in, God would have told Joshua about Achan’s sin. One little prayer would have prevented the demoralizing defeat as well as the death of thirty-six men. How often have you and I done things without consulting the Lord first?

When we think of Ai, we often think of “the accursed thing”, but as we have learned, there were really three of them. There was more than just one sin in the camp. Along with the sin of taking the garment and the gold there was also the sin of trusting in their own fleshly abilities, and the sin of not praying to God. Let’s not you and I make these same mistakes in our lives.


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What Mean Ye By These Stones?

whatmeansstones2-3

Today’s Passage – Joshua 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0312 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Where are the Strong and Courageous Men?”

“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

God is all about remembering.

The Passover is a Memorial:

“And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Exodus 12:11-14)

The Lord’s Supper is a Memorial:

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” – (1 Corinthians 11:24-26)

All throughout the Bible there are examples of God commanding His people to remember:

“And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” – (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

God doesn’t like it when we forget what He has done for us. That is why He has set up occasions for memorials – reminders.

By the way – God doesn’t forget us either.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

According to Hebrews 6:10 – it is unrighteous – it is sin – to forget what God and others have done for us.

Forgetting begins with a lack of reflection; and results in a lack of appreciation, and ultimately leads to rebellion:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

All of the sins listed in Romans one were preceded by a lack of thanksgiving by a people who “knew God”, but failed to remember Him or give Him the glory that He deserves.

Don’t be guilty of forgetting about God, and all of the wonderful things that He has done for you.


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I Will Be With Thee

IMG_3161

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 29 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philippians 1 – 4; Proverbs 10; Psalms 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0310 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. … And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” – (Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23)

Perhaps no greater source of encouragement can be found for the Christian today than the words contained in these verses. In our passage today we see Moses in his final days upon the earth. He has fulfilled God’s will for his life by leading the people of Israel out of bondage, and has brought them to the border of the Land of Promise. He is passing the baton over to Joshua, who had faithfully served Moses for the forty years of Moses ministry. Joshua has an extremely difficult task in front of him. He is following behind one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind, and he has been places in charge of a people that have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they can be very rebellious. In fact, on the very day that Joshua is appointed his new position God tells him that the people are going to rebel. How would you like to be given the job of leading people who you already know are going to eventually stop following. If I were Joshua I would not only be fearful of the task ahead, but perhaps even a little discouraged. However, twice in this passage Joshua is reminded that it’s going to be OK, because God will be with him.

What a blessing it is to know that as we serve God today in the center of His will, that He promises to go with us as well.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – (Matthew 28:20)

Sometimes it can be very difficult living for the Lord in the world that we live in. It is not easy being a good, godly parent; a witness on the job; a servant in the church; a light to the community: all of which God calls us to be. But God is with us. He goes before us, and then helps us as we strive to be His ambassador in this dark world. Sometimes, we may feel like we are all alone, but we are never alone, because God is always with us.

Did you recognize His presence in your life today? Did you talk to Him yet this morning? He desires to have intimate fellowship with you, and to use you to fulfil His purpose in your world. What a wonderful and awesome priveledge it is to know and serve the King of the Universe! Lift your head up high. You’ve got connections. You know the right Person. You are personally acquainted with God, and you represent Him to those who don’t know Him.


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What Do They See?

What Do They See?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 27 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Ephesians 4 – 6Proverbs 9Psalm 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read another post from this passage – “Choose Wisely

Read the “0309 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.” – (Deuteronomy 28:10)

I was captivated by the verse above. Notice that it says that people will see that the Israelites were called by the name of the Lord. It does not say that the people will hear mere words. The people were not to just talk about their relationship with God, they were to live it; and live it so powerfully that the surrounding nations would fear them.

It is rare today that the world looks into the life of a Christian and sees the hand of God working so evidently and powerfully in them that they are actually feared. For the most part Christians today are mocked and made fun of, but not feared. Why are we the laughingstock of the world today? There are many reasons, but I believe the main one is that our lives do not demonstrate the power and abundance of the life of faith. We dabble in God, but we don’t let Him get all of us, and unless He has all of us He cannot demonstrate His power in our lives.

Christians should be walking billboards illustrating the power and blessing of an omnipotent God. People should be able to take one look at us and tell that there is something radically different about us; something almost intimidating. The story is told of the great preacher, Charles Finney, who visited a factory one day in New York, and after merely making eye contact with a woman in the factory, she began to weep uncontrollably. That is pretty powerful. Our lives should declare loudly and boldly that we are the children of an awesome and all powerful God. People may not agree with us, but if our lives are fully surrendered to the Lord, they should respect us. Do the people around you fear you because of the presence of God in your life, or do they mock you? Sobering thought.


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And Such Were Some of You

And Such Were Some Of You

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 23 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 9 – 13; Proverbs 8; Psalms 36 – 40)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0308 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:” – (Deuteronomy 26:5)

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” – (Psalm 40:2)

“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – (Jude 1:23)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” – (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Read again Deuteronomy 26:1 – 11

In this passage the Israelite was commanded to bring an a firstfruit offering to the House of God, and then he was to recite a statement to the priests acknowledging that he remembered where he was when God found him. Actually, he was really speaking on behalf of the nation in that he was recognizing that God took Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and brought him into the Promised Land. He also was acknowledging that all of the blessings that he was enjoying was given to him by God.

There are a lot of ways that we can apply the principle found in this passage. First, I believe that God would want us to keep fresh in our minds what it was like for us when we were not saved. I think as time goes on in our Christian life, we tend to forget about where God delivered us from. We were lost, without direction, without purpose, and without God’s blessings on our lives. God truly did bring us up out of “an horrible pit”, literally plucked from the fire. Don’t let time dim the memory of where you came from.

Secondly, because we remember what it was like before God saved us, we need to express our appreciation to Him for all of the things that He has done for us now that we are His children. Besides just a future home in Heaven, God abundantly provides for our needs here on the earth. He protects us from many of the harmful things that plague those that don’t have a relationship with Christ. He also give us purpose: a reason for living. We have been priveledged with the task of being His ambassadors to this fallen world. All because of salvation. Don’t forget where you came from. Realize that if it wasn’t for the marvelous grace of God, you could still be there.


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Put Your Game Face On!

Put Your Game Face On

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 4 – 6Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0307 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon. 

Read a previous post from this passage – “Feminine and Modest”

“And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.” – (Deuteronomy 20:8)

In Deuteronomy chapter twenty, God gives instructions to the people of Israel regarding going into battle. Before going into the fight, God weeded out anybody whose hearts and minds would not be in the fight(vv 5 – 8). If these soldiers were not not fully committed and focussed on the battle ahead, they may be a danger to the other men. If they were consumed with fear, God knew that their fear may spread to the others and discourage them as well. God wants those who fight for him to be “in the fight”.

These verses bring several thoughts to mind, but the one I will share with you is one that I have given quite a bit of consideration to lately. In Christianity today, there is an awful lot of “half-hearted” effort in the battle to fulfill the Great Commission. So many are distracted, and so many more just do not seem to care at all. We need men and woman who are willing to give their all to and for the Lord. Consider these verses:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” – (Revelation 3:16)

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – (Luke 9:62)

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” – (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

We are in a battle today: against the devil; against the evil of this world. We are fighting for the souls of men, and God needs us to be focussed and determined as we fight. We need to decide whether or not we want to be in the battle or not, because turning back is not an option. We need to get in all the way or get out of the way. By the way, I understand that there will be times when we need to break from the battle temporarily for rest and restoration, but that does not mean we give up altogether. Sometimes we will have to fight on even when we are weary, but we must keep fighting. The time of eternal rest will come soon enough, but right now we have something to fight for. Christian, put your game face on!

I heard Brother Roloff (via a tape) sing this song years ago:

I Came Here To Stay

Well the champion marched, for forty days
said “Gimmie a man to fight!”
The Israelites said “We got a brave heart,
but our feet are sorta full of fright!”
Then a boy with a sling and a pocket full of rocks,
who knew how to trust and pray said:
“If you’re gonna run, may as well start now cuz I came here to stay!” 

Run if you want to run if you will
cuz I came here to stay
If I fall down, gonna get a right up
cuz I didn’t start out to play
Its a battlefield brother, not a recreation room
Its a fight and not a game
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay

The kids wouldn’t bow, the king got mad
said: “Turn that ol’ furnace up high!”
“Tie ‘em up, throw ‘em on in,
those Hebrew boys are gonna fry!”
A little while later, they looked in the furnace,
they heard brother Shadrach say:
“Pull up a chair boys, warm your hands,
we came in here to stay!”

Run if you want to run if you will

 


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Did You “Write” Your Bible Today?

Did You Write Your Bible Today?

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 1 – 3Proverbs 6Psalm 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0306 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” – (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

A few years back, our church began using a one-on-one discipleship program called “Daily in the Word”, which is a tremendous tool for teaching new believers the foundational truths of Christianity. One of the things that I like about this training is that it emphasizes the practice of writing Scripture. I had read the Bible many times and had memorized and studied portions of the Scripture prior to taking this course, but I must confess that I had never made it a practice to write out portions of Scripture; and to be honest, I was skeptical about the benefit that I would receive by it. However, I have been amazed at how writing the Scripture has helped me to see some things that I had never seen before, and has also helped me to retain much more than just reading alone. I have actually filled up whole notebooks with the Books of the Bible that I have now written. Recently, I purchased an expensive leather journal, and I am writing the Book of Psalms in it. I intend to pass this along to one of my children when I am finished.

Our passage this morning tells us in Deuteronomy 17:18 – 20 that the kings of Israel were required to write out a copy of the law for themselves, and they were to keep that copy with them so that they would know what to do. I don’t believe that all of the kings actually did this because many of them certainly did not follow the precepts contained in the law, and as a result were not very successful at ruling the people of God. However, some of the kings, like David, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others did know the Word, and followed it closely as they ruled over the people. During their reigns the kingdom had the blessing of God evidenced by His abundant provision as well as His protection from enemies. God’s Word certainly made a big difference in the nation when it was revered and obeyed.

We need to place a high priority on the Scripture today. I believe we ought to set aside a special time when we read, listen to and write the Word of God. I believe the more Scripture we absorb into our hearts and minds, the more our faith will be increased (Romans 10:17), and the better we will be able to fulfil the will of God for our lives; not to mention the fact that we will enjoy more prosperity and less problems in life simply because we will know what we should do.

Have you ever thought about writing the Bible? If the Lord tarries, I would love to eventually write out a complete copy of the Word of God. I know the time and effort that I put into it will reap a far greater return.

Additional Note – Notice vs. 16 – 17 regarding what the king was not supposed to do:

“But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” – (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)

The king was not supposed to multiply horses, wives, or wealth for himself. Boy, Israel sure got away from that, didn’t they? How many wives and concubines did Solomon have? 1000! It must be that the kings of Israel and Judah neglected to “write [them] a copy” of the Word of God, and they certainly must not have been reading it, because if they had, they would not have gotten so far away from where God wanted them. The same is true for you and I today as children of the King. We need to stay close to the Bible; flood our lives with it, so that we will know what we are supposed to do.


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Rejoice Before the Lord

 

Rejoice Before The Lord

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 9 – 13Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0305 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.” (Deuteronomy 12:7)

And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.” (Deuteronomy 12:12)

“But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.” (Deuteronomy 12:18 KJV)

“And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,” (Deuteronomy 14:26)

In each of the verses above the people of God were commanded by the Lord to come to the place that the Lord would choose, and there they were to bring their offerings, whether they be the “firstlings” of their flocks, or the tithe of their crops, or even in some cases they were to bring an equivalent value of their offering in money, with which they could then purchase an appropriate offering. The place of the Lord’s choosing was wherever the Tabernacle of the congregation would be set up. Eventually, the Temple would be built in Jerusalem, which would be the permanent place for the Lord’s people to assemble. Anyway, once at the temple they were to eat “before the Lord” of the sacrifices that they had brought, and rejoice.

Here is how the process worked: God gave the people commandments to live by in their new land. As long as the people obeyed the Lord and kept Him first in their lives, He would bless them with abundant provision and prosperity. Every once in a while, God wanted them to gather together, and sort of have a celebration with Him, rejoicing in all that He had done for them. He wanted them to come to where He decided, and celebrate His abundant provision with Him.

I see a beautiful parallel today to the local church. God has ordained that we gather together often, and we too are to bring with us a portion of what the Lord has blessed us with, and we are also to rejoice before the Lord because of His abundant provision. It’s easy to rejoice when we reflect upon all that we have in Christ. Besides the eternal blessings of salvation, we also enjoy the protection and provision of a wonderful Heavenly Father who takes care of us. God wants us to gather together often and rejoice before Him, praising Him for all that He has done. Let’s not forsake the “assembling of ourselves together”, but let us get together as often as we can, and when we do, let us bring back to Him some of what He has blessed us with, and then let’s be sure to “rejoice before the Lord”.


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The Choice is Yours

Choice-is-yours

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 9 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 5 – 8Proverbs 4Psalm 16 – 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0304 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” – (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

The choice that God “set before” the people of Israel 4000 years ago is the same choice that he places before His people today. If we love Him and live for Him, His hand of blessing will be upon our lives and families, and we will also be fruitful and productive in our ministry for Him. However, if the world, with all of its attractions, lures us out of the will of God and causes us to live for ourselves, then we will lose God’s blessings of provision and protection.

It is very frightening to me the number of casualties that there are among the ranks of Christians. It scares me because I know that it is only by the grace of God that I haven’t fallen myself. But I believe that our chances of surviving this wicked world with our faith intact will greatly increase if we heed the commandment that God gave the people in the verses prior to v. 26:

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” – (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

“For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.” – (Deuteronomy 11:22-25)

The Bible teaches very plainly that our faith in God will grow proportionately to amount of time we spend in the Word of God (“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 ); not merely reading the Word, but also meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it to our lives. If we spend time daily in the Word, our faith in God will increase, and if our faith increases, we will then have a desire in our hearts to obey Him; and if we are obedient to Him, He then can bless our lives.

Are you struggling with your faith? Get back into your Bible, and get back into the church services. Increasing your time in the Word, will increase your faith, which will increase your obedience, which will increase your blessing. The choice is yours.


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Let’s Get Back to the Bible

King James Bible

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 6 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  2 Corinthians 1 – 4; Proverbs 3; Psalms 11 – 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0303 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Remember Who Butters Your Bread

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Just before the children of Israel entered into the Land of Promise, God gave them a few important instructions that, if heeded, would guarantee their success in their new home. He told them that if they loved Him with all of their hearts, and obeyed what He commanded them, they would “increase mightily” in the land. He also warned them to completely drive out all of the inhabitants of the land. They were not to make any covenants with them, but were to completely remove or destroy them. The people of God were also warned not to forget God Who gave them this wonderful and fruitful land, and could easily remove them from it if they forsook Him.

God didn’t just want the people to hear these commandments one time, He wanted them to be constantly reminded of them. In Deuteronomy 6:6 – 9, God tells them that He wanted His Word to be memorized, and it was also to be posted everywhere so the people could always remember what God had done for them, and what God expected of them. His Word was also to be diligently discussed and instructed in the home so the children could learn about and revere God also. Knowing and obeying God’s Word guaranteed the prosperity of God’s people. God reminded Joshua of this very same truth in Joshua 1:8:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

David also understood this principle and wrote extensively about it in his psalms:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1-3)

In fact, the largest psalm (Psalm 119) is dedicated completely to the Word of God:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105)

This principle is still applicable today. God’s people need to immerse themselves in the Scripture through individual daily reading, studying, and memorization. It is also important to gather together with other believers in the church and hear the Word of God preached and taught from the pulpit. People say that too much of anything is not good, but I can’t imagine that too much of the Bible is bad. In fact, I believe the problems in America today are largely due to a neglect of the Bible. 

Let’s get back to the Bible.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)


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Not Another Word!

Not Another Word

Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 3 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 13 – 16; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0302 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” – (Deuteronomy 3:26)

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

When we were kids, we used to drive our parents crazy asking for things. We would keep asking over and over again until they finally acquiesced to our request, or until they got angry and said, “enough is enough – not another word!” In our passage today we have Moses asking the Lord to change His mind about letting him enter into the land. Moses had been leading the nation for over 40 years, delivering them up to the border of the Promised Land. He had put up with all of their problems and complaints. You would think that God would have cut Moses some slack, and let him see what he had been working toward for a good portion of his life. But God had already told Moses “no”. God is not like us, either: when He says “no” He means no. God told Moses, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” He basically told Moses to quit asking. He wanted Moses to be content with God’s will, whether or not it seemed fair.

Paul had a similar situation in the New Testament. He had a thorn in the flesh that He wanted God to take away from him. He asked God three times to remove it. God finally told Paul to stop asking. He wanted Paul to be content with the thorn, which for some reason was the will of God. He told Him that He would give him grace to go with the thorn, and that He should be content with that because it is sufficient.

I think it is just human nature for us to keep asking for things. By the way, there is nothing wrong with asking, and God even wants us to keep asking over and over again for the same thing. But eventually there will come a point when He will answer. He will either grant you the desire, or He will tell you “no”. When He tells you “no”, quit asking; and then be content with His will coupled with His grace. If you really needed what you were asking for, he would have given it to you. Be satisfied with what you do get, and know that God knows what is best. Perhaps someday we will understand a little better why God answered the way He did, but for now, just trust Him.


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Just One Thing

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Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 9 – 12; Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0301 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,” – (Deuteronomy 1:32)

The context of the above verse involves Moses reminiscing with the nation of Israel as they were near the end of their wandering in the Wilderness for 40 years. He reminds them of the reason that they had to delay their entrance into the Promised Land, which was their inability to trust God to deliver the “giant” inhabitants of the land of Canaan into their hand. They were afraid, and their fear caused them to doubt that God was powerful enough to give them victory. This was after they had seen first hand the power of God as He delivered them from the Egyptians; as He parted the Red Sea; and as He miraculously provided for their needs in their journey. Notice what Moses said in verse 31:

“And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.” – (Deuteronomy 1:31)

God had certainly never given them a reason not to trust Him. They had seen Him do the impossible, yet they could not trust Him to give them victory in the battle with the people of Canaan.

My thought this morning is in the phrase, “yet in this thing”. Though the people had seen God do great things in the past, and were trusting Him to do many things in the present, there was one thing that they could not trust Him to do. They were “picking and choosing” the specific areas of trust. Do you find yourself doing that? I guess it is something we are all guilty of, if you think about it. There are some specific areas where we choose not to trust God. So what do we do instead? We do what seems right to us. Let’s consider some verses that should challenge that course of action:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” – (Proverbs 12:15)

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” – (Proverbs 14:12)

We need to trust God completely. We need to surrender to Him completely. Either He is the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God, or He is not. We need to trust in His provision, protection, and His purpose for our lives. We need to take our hands off the wheel, and allow God to steer our course, and control our direction. I know that this is a very difficult thing for us to do, but it is still what God demands. Let Him have His way in your life. You can trust Him in all things, not just most things. God did bring the Israelites into the land, just 38 years later than He could have. As a nation, they did eventually receive all of the blessing that the land had to offer, but many individuals missed out. What blessings and abundance are you missing out on because of your refusal to believe God “in this thing”?

One more thought. We can apply this principle also in the area of our obedience. We often “pick and choose” which commandments and principles of God that we are going to obey. God wants complete submission to His will.


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The City of Refuge

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 34 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 5 – 8; Proverbs 28; Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song  – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0228 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.” – (Numbers 35:11-15)

I was the youngest of four brothers, and because I was the baby, I was favored by my maternal grandmother who lived with us while I was growing up. I would go and pick a fight with one of my older and bigger brothers, and when they came after me, I went and hid behind my grandmother who always protected me. She was my city of refuge. No one could hurt me as long as I was with Grandma.

In our passage this morning in Numbers 35, we read about the Cities of Refuge. These were six cities of the 48 Levitical cities that were strategically placed throughout the land of Israel. I believe there were three on one side of the Jordan River, and three on the other. Anyway, these cities were places that a person could flee to if he were “on the run”. Let’s say that a two men got into a fight, and one of the men unintentionally kills the other man. Even though in this case, this was not considered to be murder, the family of the man killed could legally exact vengeance upon the “slayer”, unless the slayer escaped into one of the six cities of refuge. Inside the city, the man could not be touched.

There is a great example of this in 2 Samuel 3. It is a long story, but in it a man named Joab kills a man named Abner because Abner had previously killed Joab’s brother in a battle between their two armies. But in order to get his revenge, Joab has to lure him out of the city, because Abner was located safely inside the city of Hebron, which was one of the six cities of refuge. It really is a fascinating story and a great example of how this system worked.

We have a city of refuge today in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, we also are all guilty before God and we are all deserving of judgment; and we also have an avenger and an accuser coming after us. The devil is seeking our souls, and he wants to sift our lives like wheat. But Christ offers us refuge. As far as our eternal destiny is concerned, Christ is our city of refuge; and even as far as our earthly lives are concerned, the will of Christ is our place of protection. We are all guilty. We could all be destroyed by the avenger of blood, but praise God, we have a Place to run to: a Person to run to, who not only wants to save us, but also wants to protect and provide for us, and give us a purpose in this life.

 


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Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out

Today’s Passage –Numbers 32 – 33 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4; Proverbs 27; Psalms 136 – 140)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song  – Micah 6:8

Read the “0227 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

 “And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war, And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” – (Numbers 32:20-23)

I have used the phrase “be sure your sin will find you out” many times as a parent, as a school teacher, and as a preacher. I usually use it as a warning to people who are in a situation where there are no human eyes on their conduct in order to try to keep them from the temptation of yielding to sin. For example, in our little Christian school, I have often had to walk out of the room when the students were taking a test. I would remind them that cheating is a sin, and that they could be sure that somehow I would find out about it, and even if I never did, God knows what they are up to. I remember telling my children when they became young adults that I could not be everywhere they were, monitoring their every move; but God saw everything that they were doing.

It is interesting, however, that I have never used this phrase exactly in the same way that Moses used it in the context of Numbers 32. In our text this morning, we see the tribes of Reuben and Gad asking permission of Moses to let them possess and develop the land that was on the eastern side of the Jordan River. This particular area was not originally supposed to be inhabited by Israel, at least not yet. Israel was instructed by God to cross the Jordan, and take possession of the land that was on the west side. Moses, at first, objects to their request because he says that the tribes of Reuben and Gad were needed to fight along with the other ten tribes as they took possession of the land on the other side of the river. Moses actually compares the situation to when the 12 men went in to spy out the land; ten of them returning with “an evil report”, which discouraged the people. Moses told Reuben and Gad that their absence from the battles will cause the other tribes to become discouraged as they finished the job of removing the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  An agreement is finally reached when the men of the tribes of Reuben and Gad offer to go with the other tribes across the Jordan, and remain with them until all of the enemies of Israel have been removed from the land, and then when the job was done, they would then cross back over to their families and cattle waiting on the other side. However, Moses warns them that if they don’t follow through on what they promise to do, their sin will find them out.

Perhaps the best way to apply this principle to us today is to use it the way Moses used it. Let me explain. God has given us an assignment today just as he had given the children of Israel. Our job is not, however, to invade the land and remove people. Our job today is to invade the land and save people. Well, we don’t save them, but we can introduce them to the One who can. Then we are to train these people through the teaching and preaching of the Word of God so that they can become less like the Canaanite world around them, and more like the Lord Jesus Christ; and as they become more Christlike, they then begin to influence the people around them. So, how does this relate to what Moses warned the people of Gad and Reuben about? Moses was concerned that the lack of participation on the part of these two tribes would discourage the rest of the congregation from doing what they were called to do. Are you getting it? When we don’t participate in the Great Commission: when we don’t support the services, the studies, the Sunday School, and the soul winning programs of the church with our presence and participation, it discourages others, and may cause them to want to stop coming as well. When we don’t participate in giving our tithes to the local church, and our offerings to special projects like world missions, it can be very discouraging to the others in the congregation. Our support is not only commanded, it is very necessary. When more of God’s people are involved, it encourages, and motivates the rest of the church to get more involved as well. But, if we don’t do our part, we are indeed sinning against the Lord, and that sin will come back to haunt us eventually. Get involved. Find ways to increase your participation in the ministries of the local church. Your involvement will encourage your pastor tremendously, and it will also stir up the people around you to get on board as well.

 


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God Knows Why

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 30 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 13 – 16; Proverbs 26; Psalms 131 – 135)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0226 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” (Numbers 31:15-17)

Numbers 31 is a very somber passage of Scripture. Moses is commanded by the Lord to perform one last task before he dies, which was to “avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites”. 12,000 men from Israel went out and attacked a much greater number of Midianites, and were able to conquer them completely without losing one of their own men. Of course, the Midianites were not so fortunate; they ended up losing everything with all of the adult males being immediately slain. At first, the women and small male children were all spared. However, when the victors returned to camp with the spoils and the captives, Moses commanded that all of the small male children, as well as all of the adult women would also have to be slaughtered. Only the small girls were spared.

I must confess that Bible passages such as this are not the ones I look forward to reading. Later on, in 1 Samuel 15, God would once again order the annihilation of an entire nation of people (the Amalekites), including all of the women, children, and even the livestock. I have often wondered why God would command such a thing. I have examined these Scriptures carefully in the past and have even preached messages from them. I have explained to people some of the reasons why God would need to be so severe, but I was always left with more questions in my own mind. Wasn’t there any other way? Couldn’t God have spared even just the children? How do we reconcile this Old Testament God of vengeance with the New Testament God of love and mercy? My human reasoning cannot fully comprehend the answers to all these questions regarding what God was thinking when He chose such drastic courses of action.

I still don’t have all the individual answers to these and many other questions, but I have come to a place in my faith that has helped me tremendously. I no longer question God. There are a lot of things about God that make absolutely no sense to my finite brain, but I trust that He knows what He is doing, and He does not have to offer me any explanation. Why did God kill all of the Midianites? Why did He destroy the entire world with a flood? Why did He kill the Amalekites? Why did God allow the Towers to come down on 9/11? Why does He permit the pain and suffering of millions of people today? I know why, and yet I don’t know why. I mean, I may understand partially, but I can’t comprehend fully; but I do know God, and I trust Him that He knows why, and that’s good enough for me. I know God loves me, and I know He loves the world and all of the people in it, and I know that God does everything right, even when I can’t see any right in it.


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A Strong Message

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 25 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8; Proverbs 24; Psalms 121 – 125)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0224 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

 “And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.” – (Numbers 25:6-8)

In Numbers 25, we have a very strange story. It seems that as the people of Israel were sojourning in the land of Moab on their way to the Promised Land, some of the men began to get cozy with the women of Moab. God had a big problem with this for several reasons; but the main reason is that these women were not Jews by birth or by conversion. They were an idolatrous people, having entirely different standards of morality as well as an idolatrous system of worship. It wasn’t long before the people of God began to participate in the sacrifices to these false gods. This was a violation of God’s sternest warning to the people when they left Egypt. The Israelites were to be a separated people. God didn’t want them to fellowship with any other people because He knew that they would eventually turn the Jews away from Him.

God was furious with the people, and He wanted Moses to do something in order to purge this idolatry out of the camp of Israel. Eventually, a strange thing happens. A man took a Midianitish woman into his tent in the sight of Moses. I do not think they were going in there to have a Bible study. Anyway, this was also witnessed by one of the priests: a man named Phinehas; and he, in his zeal for the Lord, went into the tent and thrust a spear through both the man and the woman at the same time. At first glance, we might think that God would not support this kind of action, but on the contrary, He is very pleased with it; and He rewards Phinehas and his family for doing it. Why? Because what Phinehas did served two purposes. First, it appeased the wrath of God, and secondly, it sent a strong message to the people of Israel to stay away from the inhabitants of the land. God is a jealous God.

By the way, these people were from the land of Moab. Remember yesterday’s blog about Balaam. Balak, the king of Moab wanted Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Balaam was unable to do this because God would not allow it, but it appears that the people of Moab were able to as much damage to Israel by fellowshipping with them as they could have done by fighting them. We really need to be careful who we fellowship with. My preacher used to say: “we are now, or we soon will be, who we hang around.” I believe that is a true statement more often than not.

I believe that today our churches are being inundated with sin and compromise. Most of God’s people, including many preachers, are looking the other way. We have almost given up the fight against sin. We need a Phinehas today, that will stand up and send a strong, yet loving message against it. We need some bold Christians that will stand against the incoming tide of immorality and cultural idolatry that is flooding the lives of the people of God.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – (Ephesians 5:11)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

 


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Which One Is The Jackass?

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Proverbs 23; Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0223 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)

“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” – (Numbers 22:28)

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” – (2 Peter 2:15 – 16)

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” – (Jude 1:11)

Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers presents a very interesting and familiar story of a mule that was given by God the ability to speak audibly to her owner, Balaam. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to carefully read the passage in order to get the most out of what I am about to say. Besides, what God says in His Word is far more important that what I will say in this blog, so don’t skip the reading.

Anyway, in this passage we have the prophet Balaam, who is living in the land of the Moabites. Why he lived there and not with the people of God is a mystery. The king of the Moabites is watching very closely the nation of Israel as they are sojourning very close to his border. He wants them out, so he goes to the man of God and asks him to place a curse upon Israel. He doesn’t go himself, however, he sends some of his princes to do his bidding. After hearing their request, Balaam inquires of the Lord, and the Lord tells him not to go with these men, and not to speak anything against Israel because they are a nation blessed by God. Balaam the prophet goes to the men and gives them God’s answer. The men return a short while later and press him to reconsider. Now this is where Balaam begins to err. He already asked God, and God had already said no; but the princes promise him if that he would go with him, their king would give him great honor and a lot of money. Now, he should have just repeated what God had already told him; but instead he tells them that he will go back and ask God again. He wanted God to give him what he had already been told that he wasn’t going to get. Balaam’s problem is that he really wants God to curse the Israelites, because it would mean that he would receive great riches from this Moabite king. God is not at all pleased with Balaam, but he allows him to go. He permits him to do what is in his heart. He was not permitted to curse Israel, but he was permitted to cozy up with the enemies of Israel, and receive the rewards that came with it. So, I ask you the question: which one was the real jackass?

This is not the only time in the Bible that God has permitted things that were against His will. He gave Israel a king because they kept asking for one, even though He knew that it wasn’t what was best for them. Notice another example of God granting the continual request of a complaining people when the Israelites complained to God as they wandered in the wilderness:

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13-15)

I know many people today who keep asking God for things that are clearly against His will. Why don’t we just take “no” for an answer. God knows what is best for us. Don’t keep pestering him to give you what He has already closed the door on. Too many Christians are practically breaking doors down that God has chosen to keep closed.


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Look to Jesus

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song –Proverbs 27:15

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” – (Numbers 21:8)

I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!
The message unto you I’ll give,
’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”

Look and live, my brother, live!

Look to Jesus now, and live;

’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!

It is only that you “look and live.”

In today’s passage we read the very wonderful story of the brazen serpent. The people of Israel were tired: tired of travelling, tired of the mannah; and frankly they were tired of Moses. The Bible tells us that they began to speak against Moses, and against God. Bad move. God sent fiery serpents among them, and many were bitten, and some died. The people quickly realized their sin, and they confessed it to God, and asked Moses to pray for God to do something. The last part of verse 7 is one of the sweetest sentences in the Bible. It reads: “And Moses prayed for the people”. How wonderful it is to know that someone is praying for you. Anyway, God tells Moses to make a serpent out of brass and attach it to a pole. Moses was then to lift up the pole and cause the people to look upon it, and whoever looked upon the brasen serpent was healed of the sickness caused by the snake bite.

There is a wonderful parallel to this passage in the New Testament that references this story:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” – (John 3:14-15)

Jesus tells us there that all we have to do in order to be saved is to look to Him. There is nobody else to look to.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – (Acts 4:12 )

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – (John 14:6)

Faith is simply looking away from everything else, and looking toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is simple. You must first recognize your need. You are a hell-deserving sinner, and you are helpless to save yourelf. Then you must turn to the one who was lifted up on the cross of Calvary for your sin. He offers salvation to you as a free gift. Receive Him today. Look and Live!

For more information on salvation, read the “Are You Saved?” page on this website.

And Christians, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord even after we are saved:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – (Hebrews 12:2)

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Standing Between the Living and the Dead

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 22 – 24; Proverbs 21; Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “0221 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” – (Numbers 16:48)

The passages of Scripture that we have been reading the past few days tell the story of the Nation of Israel as they travelled through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. The trip should have taken them only a few weeks, but because of their lack of faith in God they were sentenced to wander for 40 long years until those that doubted the power of God were weeded out. In fact, only two of the original group of adults that left Egypt would actually cross over into the the land Canaan. This travelling group of Israelites was not only fearful and faithless, they were also very “fed up”; and their discontentment caused them to grumble. Now grumbling is a sin which the Lord absolutely hates. In fact, I think if you were to carefully study the Bible, you would discover that God killed more of His people for grumbling and griping than He did for any other reason.

Not only did they complain because of their discontentment, they also challenged the God-given leadership of Moses and Aaron. They thought Moses “[took] too much upon [him]“, meaning that Moses was making himself a lord over God’s heritage. I dealt with this rebellion of Korah and others in  another post. (Click here to view post)

My thought this morning, however, is found in verse 48 of chapter 16. Notice there that it says that Moses stood between the living and the dead. It seems that no matter how bad the people got in their lack of faith, their fear, and their discontented complaining, Moses never stopped interceding to God on their behalf. There were times that God wanted to wipe them all out and start over again building a new nation from the seed of Moses; but Moses always reminded God of His covenant with Israel, and He always begged God to forgive them. He reminds me of another man, named Jesus, Who years later was rejected, beaten, and hung on a Cross, yet one of the last phrases that came out of His mouth was “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. And then later there was a man, named Stephen, who was preaching Christ to the Israelites who in turn stoned him to death; but here again, this man interceded on their behalf and said, “lay not this sin to their charge”. These men all stood between the living and the dead.

We get a chance to stand between the living and the dead in this generation also. We can intercede to God through prayer on behalf of a people that do not yet know Him. We can also go to them bringing the truth of the Gospel, which if received will restore their broken relationship with God. Oh that we would be more like Moses, Stephen, and especially Jesus, and stand for the Lord in middle of a generation of people who are dead spiritually, interceding for them and proclaiming to them the Truth that will bring them life.


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Obstacles

Today’s Passage – Numbers 14 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Proverbs 20; Psalms 101 – 105)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0220 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:8-9)

What do you see when problems or trials come your way? Do see the trial, or do you see the God Who is much bigger than your trial? How about obstacles? Is your God bigger than your obstacles? In Numbers 13 and 14 we see the twelve spies going into the land of promise to check it out. It is amazing how that all twelve witnesssed the same things, but only two of them saw that God was bigger than the obstacles. Ten of the spies came back with nothing but negativity. It is too difficult; the giants are too big. We can’t do it. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, didn’t pay too much attention to the giants, because their God made the giants look like little children in comparison. They saw nothing but victory, and the goodness of God in the land that they were to receive.

Let me ask you he question again. What do you see. Do you see the Christan life as something too big or too difficult? Do you see God’s will for your life as impossible for God to do through you. Let me share some verses with you:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – (Philippians 4:13)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – (Luke 1:37)

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – (Mark 10:27)

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – (Hebrews 11:6)

God was well pleased with the faith of Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones that got to go into the Promised Land. Will God be well pleased with your faith?


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We Could Use Some More Spirit-filled Preachers

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Proverbs 19; Psalms 96 – 100)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0219 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.” (Numbers 11:26-30) 

Today’s reading contains an interesting story about two men, Eldad and Medad. These men were apparently appointed by Moses to be among the seventy that God had called to help him bear the burden of the people of Israel. These seventy men were gathered together at the Tabernacle where the Lord had caused his spirit to rest upon them. However, Eldad and Medad did not go with the seventy to the Tabernacle, but the Lord caused His Spirit to rest upon them in the camp anyway, and they began to prophesy in the camp. Apparently this break in protocol concerned Joshua so he went to Moses and requested that he make them stop. Moses, however, instead rebuked Joshua, and told him that he wished there more than just these two men that were Spirit-filled and speaking for God in the camp.

There is a similar story in the Lukes gospel:

“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9:49-50)

In this story it is John who is concerned about a man who is casting out devils because he wasn’t one of the twelve disciples. Jesus rebuked John stating that what the man was doing was good, and that because he wasn’t working against the cause of Christ, he was actually advancing it.

Sometimes we become a little envious, and even skeptical of other groups within Christianity who don’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s exactly the way we do. They may not run in the same circles, and they may not belong to the same denomination or fellowship, but they are doing a work for God. They may not do things the same way we do, but if they are doing something for God, we shouldn’t try to hinder them. We ought to applaud anyone who is advancing the cause of Christ. We need more people who are Spirit-filled, and preaching the Word of God.


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The Voice of God

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12; Proverbs 17; Psalms 86 – 90)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0217 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.” – (Numbers 7:89)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” – (John 10:27)

Chapter 7 of Numbers is certainly a long chapter, and not exactly what I would call great devotional reading. However, as with the rest of the Bible, this is a very important passage. Here we see the heads of the tribes of Israel all presenting to the Lord their offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to offer the same thing which includes some gold and silver; incense and flour; and an assortment of animals. We certainly can see from this passage, and from many other recent chapters that the Israelite were certainly dedicated in the area of giving; but they not only gave what was required, they also gave over and above what was asked of them.

The last verse of this long chapter tells us that after the offering was made, Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God, and he heard the voice of God coming out from between the cherubims on top of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear the audible voice of God; to actually hear Him speak personally to my physical ears. I can, however, hear the voice of God today as much as I desire to because He speaks to me through His Word. The Bible is God’s voice. He spoke to me this morning about this dedication offering. He also gave me some wisdom from Proverbs 17. And then he motivated me and stirred me as I read about Peter and and the other apostles and people from Acts.

God speaks to me in other ways also besides the Bible. Sometimes, as I walk and pray in the mornings, God will speak to my heart. Now, we have to be careful about these “still small voices” that we hear in our heads and our hearts. We need to be sure that it is God that is talking to us. Sometimes our flesh and even the devil will put thoughts in our heads that are not of God. One way you can tell if it is actually God talking is if the thing that He tells you is in agreement with the Word of God. He never goes against His Word. It always disturbs me when people tell them that God had told them to do something that was a complete contradiction to His clear revelation from the Bible.

Have you listened for His voice today? Did you open up your Bible this morning, along with your heart and mind, and hear what God has to say to you? Have you waited on Him today in your prayer closet to hear Him speak to you about specific areas of your life? It is not that God is not still speaking today as much as it is that His children are not listening.

 


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