Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17
Read the “0513 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“(2) And David said, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father shewed kindness to me. And David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. So the servants of David came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun, to comfort him. (3) But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? are not his servants come unto thee for to search, and to overthrow, and to spy out the land?” (1 Chronicles 19:2-3)
In our passage today, we read about some “fake news” that initiated a war between Israel and the people of Ammon. Nahash, the king of Ammon who was a friend to David, had died. David wanted to send his condolences to Hanun, the deceased king’s son. David sent some ambassadors into the land of Ammon to pay David’s respects to Hanun. Unfortunately, Hanun’s counselors misinterpreted David’s intentions. They thought David sent the men into Ammon to spy out the land for a future conquest. This simply was not true – it was fake news. The Ammonites humiliated the servants of David and sent them back into Israel, naked and with their beards cut off. This “fake news” originating from some wicked men in Ammon ended up causing a war between Israel and Ammon, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of men.
We are living in a day where we are literally bombarded with information, coming at us from every direction and perspective. Unfortunately, much of the news we are receiving is at best slanted, or, at worst, totally false. The catch phrase of the day is “fake news.” The official definition of the term would probably be any news that is not true. In today’s culture, though, “fake news” is probably any information that I don’t agree with or like. We see it on the news channels every day. Social media is also replete with “fake news.” People are duped every day into believing (and reposting) some of the most outrageous claims, without making any attempt to verify whether or not they are true. Some of these lies, or exaggerations, are silly and fairly harmless, but others can be very serious, and cause a great deal of damage.
Thoughts from the Passage
- An Act Motivated by Kindness (vs. 1 – 2)
David’s act was completely out of a pure motive. He was just trying to be kind to Hanun because his dad died. His dad was a friend to David. “A Jewish tradition tells us that Nahash, Hanun’s father, had shown kindness to David by sheltering one of his brothers, when the king of Moab treacherously massacred the rest of the family.”
2. Advice from Misguided Counselors (v. 3)
Hanun listened to bad advice. The Bible says, “in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety” (Proverbs 14:12), but you need to make sure those counselors are godly counselors.
See 1 Kings 12:1 – 17 – Rehoboam listened to the wrong counselors.
Be careful about judging things that you cannot see:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
We cannot see people’s motives, and we cannot see inside of people’s hearts. We can only see their actions. There was nothing wrong with the actions of David and his men, but Hanun’s men misjudged their motivations.
Be careful about “imaginations.”
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Sometimes our minds will tell us things that the facts do not support.
Illustration – I have been blessed by not really listening to all of the voices out there on social media and in the news feeds. I go on Facebook to broadcast our services and prayer meetings, but I haven’t been reading too much of what’s on there. As a result, I am a little less informed as many of you, but I am also a little less stressed out.
3. Action of a Mistaken King (v. 4)
Because of Hanun’s lack of judgment, he now commits a foolish and antagonistic act.
4. An Aggravating of Matters by the Hiring of Confederates (vs. 5 – 6)
Hunan now makes a further miscalculation by hiring an army of other nations to come help him.
5. David’s Answer – a Mighty Conquest (vs. 7 – 19)
Up until now, David has not done anything in retaliation, and probably would not have. But, when Hanun builds this army from other nations, David has to do something.
Hanun listened to some “Fake News” and it resulted in the loss of his kingdom. Be careful that you don’t get caught up in all of the fake news that is going on around you.
Christians, we need to be very careful that we are not “sucked in” to believing all of these unsubstantiated stories that are flying around in the airwaves and on the world-wide web. And, we need to be especially mindful that we do not participate in the furthering of “fake news.” God’s people are supposed to be people of the Truth. If you absolutely feel compelled to share something with others, share the Bible with them. The Word of God is always true.
Be careful who and what you listen to. Be careful what you say. Don’t be a source of fake news.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
 F. B. Meyer, Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1914–1918), 109.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0512 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:” (1 Chronicles 17:4)
The thought for this morning’s devotion was derived from the today’s reading as well as what is discussed in chapter twenty-two. It was David’s desire to build a permanent structure to house the Ark of the Covenant and all of the other items that were previously part of the worship of the Lord in the Tabernacle. David had already moved the ark into Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1), but the rest of the Tabernacle was still at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). God did not permit David to build Him a Temple, however (1 Chronicles 17:4), but that didn’t stop David from doing everything that He could in order to make sure his son Solomon and all of the others in that next generation would have everything that they needed in order for them to build a place to worship the Lord. Even though David would not personally experience and enjoy the final product, he worked tirelessly so that his children would.
There are three thoughts that I would like to consider regarding this passage:
- David had a good attitude when God told him “No.”
“(16) And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? (17) And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-17)
In fact, though David could not personally build God the house that he wanted to for the Lord, God tells David that He is going to build David a house. Not a physical place to live, but a lineage of children and grandchildren that were going to sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. The Lord Jesus Himself would physically descend from David through His mother Mary (Luke 3), and legally through His earthly guardian Joseph (Matthew 1).
2. David continued to fight the Lord’s battles so that the next generation would not have to.
Chapter eighteen is all about David conquering the enemy nations that posed a threat to the peace and safety of Israel. And, as David won these victories, he collected the spoils of war: gold, silver, and more, which would be put in the treasury in Jerusalem and then could be used as building materials in the future Temple.
3. David continued to plan and prepare for the Temple.
We are not there yet in the reading, but if you skip ahead to chapter twenty-two, you will see that David got everything ready, including his son Solomon, so that when he passed off the scene, the Temple could be built.
David worked very hard so that the next generation could have what he would never have. I find that type of sacrifice is missing in our culture today. It seems that many today are just interested in taking what they can today, often at the expense of the next generation. Our government is continually multiplying our national debt, which will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. What a shame. We ought to be working to pay off that debt and then build up a surplus as David did so that the next generation could enjoy it and then also build upon it for their children.
How about you? What are you doing today that will make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren? Let’s strive to leave behind something that will help the future generations fulfill God’s will for their lives.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0511 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “God’s Will – God’s Way”
“So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.” – (1 Chronicles 13:13-14)
“And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obededom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.” – (1 Chronicles 15:24)
“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” – (Psalm 84:10)
My thought this morning comes from chapters 13 and 15 from 1 Chronicles. If you have read those chapter you may have noticed the name Obededom, who was a Levite that housed the ark of the Lord for three months. The background to the story is complicated, but basically what had happened was that the ark of God had been taken in previous years by the Philistines in a battle they fought with Israel. The Philistines received the judgment of God because of it, so they returned it to Israel. For years the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim, but when David became king he wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem. His first attempt to bring the ark back resulted in tragedy. David put the ark on a cart, which was not according to the commandment of God, as the ark was to be transported solely by the Levites, and was to be carried with staves (poles) on their shoulders. On this first attempt trip to bring the ark back on the cart, one of the drivers touched the ark in order to steady it, and the man (Uzza) was immediately struck down by God. Nobody was to touch the ark of God. This is where Obededom comes in. Apparently his home was nearby, and since he was a Levite David brought the ark to his house for storage until he could figure out what went wrong. The ark stayed with Obededom for several months, and God blessed the house of Obededom. When the ark was later moved the right way to Jerusalem, Obededom went with it and became a doorkeeper in the house of God.
Odededom was a faithful servant of the Lord who was willing to do whatever was necessary in order to serve his Lord. His job as a doorkeeper was certainly not a high visibility position. He wasn’t asked to speak to large crowds of people, and he was not in the spotlight; yet, he faithfully served his Lord. We need more men like Obededom; more doorkeepers. We need men and women who will be willing to serve the Lord, and be content with not receiving the accolades of men, but knowing also that their labor was not in vain as far as God was concerned. I appreciate the men and women at our church that do the things that people tend not to notice, but are very important and necessary for the cause of Christ to move forward.
Note – for more information on the ark of the covenant see Exodus 25 and Numbers 3. For more information on the taking of the ark by the Philistines see 1 Samuel 4 and 5.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0510 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,” (1 Chronicles 11:17-18)
Today’s passage reveals all of the mighty men that labored and served alongside of David, both before and after he became king. These men were with him as he was on the run and hiding from King Saul, and they continued to serve with him as he was given the kingdom of Judah, and then later when he became king over all of Israel. These men were faithful to David and to the Lord, and because they were in the will of God fighting the Lord’s battles, God blessed them mightily. It is amazing to see what these men were able to do in God’s strength.
Verses fifteen through nineteen tell a strange story regarding when David and his men were fighting against the Philistines. The likely account of this battle is found in 2 Samuel 5:17 – 21 and is the first victory David had after being made king over all of Israel. David was “in the hold,” the cave of Adullam, and he had enemy forces entrenched around him in the Valley of Rephaim. He makes a strange request, probably to no-one particularly; he was likely just thinking out loud. He expressed his wish for some of the water from the well back home in Bethlehem. He wasn’t asking or expecting that somebody would actually do it, he was just longing for some of that good water back home. Maybe there was no fresh or good water where he was, who knows.
Three of his faithful men, however, hear David’s request, and risk their lives to make it happen. David is doubtless shocked that these men would do this for him, but he is also very appreciative of their love for him. He does not accept the gift, but rather “poured it out to the Lord,” as an offering. I often wondered why David would not take the gift, especially after his men risk their lives to give it to him. However, David wasn’t about to enjoy that good water while the rest of his men were thirsty. He recognized his unworthiness for the gift, and he offered it instead to the Lord. This is reminiscent of Uriah the Hittite, who would not go to enjoy the company of his wife while the rest of Israel’s army was out fighting a battle (See 2 Samuel 11:11 – 13).
There are two thoughts from this passage that I would like to share. First, I appreciate these men who took great risks to express their love and devotion to their king. David was their leader, and he was the one whom God had chosen to be the king. And he was a good king. He loved his people, and served right alongside of his men. Our King is the Lord Jesus Christ, and we ought to be willing to do anything to please Him. But, we also ought to get better at expressing our appreciation for the people who are important to us. During this COVID-19 pandemic, many are finding creative ways to express their thanks to all of the necessary workers, especially those health care workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. It is interesting that Jesus actually used the illustration of giving a cup of cold water as being deserving of a reward (See Matthew 10:42).
My second thought concerns David’s reluctance to take the gift. There are many leaders of men who would have selfishly demanded a lot more than just a drink of water. They see themselves as better than other men, deserving of more honor. They expect others to serve them, but are reluctant to be “servant leaders” themselves. David didn’t see himself this way. He considered himself completely unworthy of all that God had done for him. You and I are completely unworthy of all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us as well.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0509 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “Who are the Nethinims?“
“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” – (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)
In 1 Chronicles, chapter 10, God tells us about the death of King Saul and his sons. God also tells us here the reasons that He took His hand of protection and blessing from the life of Saul; and when we compare this passage to some of the other passages in 1 Samuel that reveal the events of Saul’s life and reign as king, the picture gets a little bit clearer. Saul simply became “too big for his britches”. You’ve heard that expression before, haven’t you? My grandmother used to say that about me when I was a young boy. It simply means that your opinion of yourself is greater than the reality.
King Saul started out very well. He was always insecure, but in the early days he was a very humble man. When chosen by God to be the king of Israel, Saul’s life was dramatically changed, and though he was head and shoulders above the rest, he did not see himself as anything special. He was right to think that way because he really wasn’t special, and neither are we. However, in these early years of his reign as king, Saul trusted in God. As time went on, however, Saul became concerned with the opinion polls, and he was especially nervous about a young man in his kingdom by the name of David that was gaining popularity. Saul’s insecurity and pride caused him to make a lot of decisions completely independent of God; and he eventually got to the point where he was doing everything he could just to hold on to his power and throne: everything except humble himself before God.
The story of Saul serves as a good example to all of us who are in God’s service. God chooses us to serve Him, not because of anything we have to offer him. We have no intrinsic value, but God chooses to use us for his glory. The danger comes when we start wanting to steal a little bit of that glory for ourselves. We get too big for our britches just like Saul did. It is really a vicious cycle: we start out humbling depending on God to use us; God begins to use us and bless us in tremendous ways; we then begin to subconsciously think that those blessings were due to our own merit; then we begin to openly display our pride; then God has to pull away those blessings; and finally we fall on our faces back to the place of humility again.
Would to God we could just stay humble, realizing ”it is God which worketh in[us] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – (Philippians 2:13) God is the One who butters our bread, and we had better not forget it. Is God using you? – Praise God! But don’t get cocky, because God can pull away His hand of blessing from your life whenever He chooses.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Read the “0508 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel.” (1Chronicles 8:38)
“And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan: these were the sons of Azel.” (1Chronicles 9:44)
Good morning. I was reading my Bible when I came upon this verse. The verse was 1Chronicles 8:38. It was a verse about a man named Azel who had six sons. I wouldn’t have noticed it, except that it appeared almost word for word as1Chronicles 9:44. When God says something twice in His Word, He is saying that there is something He wants you to know. There was something here that God wanted me to see, but what? It wasn’t until I looked at the meaning of the names of Azels’ six sons did something click. This chapter (8), and chapter 9 are the only two chapters we find Azel, the father of these six sons, located in. All we can glean from these two chapters is that he was in the bloodline of Israel’s first king, Saul, which means Azel was of the tribe of Benjamin. And he had six sons. After looking at the meaning of each of the names of the sons, realized that this was about life. The names of his sons are the stages of life we go through. Azel’s first son was Azrikam. His name means…
1) The Help Of An Enemy
Did you know that God hates sin? Twice, in Ezekiel 18, He says the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born with the will to sin against God. Eve was deceived, but Adam sinned. God was no longer his friend walking with Adam in the garden, but had become his Judge. They believed the serpent, the devil. They trusted him and not God. They wanted what they wanted, and not what God wanted.
James 4:4 says…
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
And because of Adam’s sin, today we are all sinners and at enmity with God. If your a friend to this world, you are an enemy of God. But Adam and Eve had the help of an Enemy. God made them coats of skins to cover up their nakedness. Some poor innocent animal had to die, had to have it’s blood shed, because of Adam and Eve’s sin. The innocent had to die for the guilty to be free. God showed Adam and Eve what needed to be done for the atonement for sin. Hebrews 9:22 will tell us that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission. This was the beginning of the blood sacrifice which would picture the Lord Jesus Christ coming and shedding His precious blood on a cross for our sins: for the sins of the world. Azel’s first son, Azrikam, means the Help Of An Enemy. Azel’s second son, Bochera means…
2) First Born.
I’m not going to speculate as to whether this is actually Azel’s first born, but this is what his name means. Normally in the genealogies the actual first born would be the first on the list. But this is the order that the Holy Spirit put them in, so it is correct. First born. Everyone living today has been born once. Jesus explains in John chapter 3…
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John3:1-7)
You were born once, you must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God. How? That brings us to Azel’s third son. Ishmael means…
3) God Will Hear
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
God is waiting; God will hear. God will hear you calling on Him to save you. That’s the only way you can be saved. Going to this church or that church will not get you into heaven. Your good deeds out-weighing your bad deeds will not get you into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9)
You need to to change your mind about how you are getting to heaven if it is not by Christ alone. The only way to heaven is through Christ. Call on His name, God will hear, and He will save you. You will be adopted into His family. He will be your Heavenly Father. You will be a child of God. Let me ask you, what happens to a child when he maybe reaches the teen years, maybe even sooner? They rebel. The same thing happens with the child of God: they backslide. You know what you need to do as a parent, and that brings us to the fourth of Azel’s sons: Sheariah. Sheariah means…
4) JAH (or Jehovah) Has Stormed.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)
“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:6-7)
Our country is being chastened. What do you expect when a nation built on the Word of God turns it’s back on God? We took prayer out of the schools, along with the Bible. Millions of babies were made to pass through the fire to the pagan god Molech via abortions. Sodomites are everywhere, even in the Boy Scouts now. That happened to almost every major empire before it’s demise. The Ten Commandments were taken out of all government offices. People freely take the Lord’s name in vain. Sheariah means Jah has stormed. The scribes used a shortened version of Jehovah because they did not feel worthy to write His full name. Today it’s dragged freely through the muck and the mire: on the street, in schools, in books, in music, in movies, and even on TV where it was not allowed at one time. Pornography abounds. It’s on the Internet, in the movies, on TV. Even magazines and newspapers that you can look at with your kids as you’re waiting to pay for your groceries. How does God want you to treat women?
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1Peter 3:7)
Do you want your prayers answered or not? Even in our Christian schools there is disrespect. Not only towards the teachers, and other authorities, but among their peers too. Look at the next verses…
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1Peter 3:8-12)
Now that the chastening is over (for now), that brings us to Azel’s fifth son: Obadiah. Obadiah means…
5) Serving Jah
We’ve matured somewhat since the chastening. Now that God has us going in the right direction again, we can serve Him. Ephesians 2:10 lets us know where those good works came from. They are not our good works, but were created by God for us to walk in…
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
If we are going to do the works God created for us to walk in, then we need to be walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will keep us doing what God wants, and not what we want. Look at Galatians 5:16…
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-25)
To live in the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit. Can you even imagine what could be done for the cause of Christ? It’s not impossible you understand to do that. God has given us everything we need to serve Him. God even has the Holy Spirit living inside of us. All we have to do is listen to Him. Do you think that would make God happy: His children doing His will? And that brings us to the last son of Azel. The sixth son was named Hanan. And Hanan means…
…he pleased God.
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 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 11:5-6)
Do you want to please God? Do you want His favor? Have faith in Him. Please Him. Obey Him.
We just looked at a person’s life through the names of the six sons of Azel. That person could be you, me, or all of us. You may be in the Bochera phase: First Born. Jesus said you must be born again. Jesus needs to know you. Jesus also said…
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Jesus needs to know you. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. Believe Him. Believe God’s Word. God’s Word says…
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8)
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)
If you ask the Lord to save you then Ishmael – GOD WILL HEAR.
And He will save you.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0507 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot. And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.” – (1 Chronicles 6:54-55)
In 1 Chronicles, chapter six, we have the genealogy, and the land distribution of the families of the Levites. Remember, the Levites were the folks ordained by God to minister for Him in the Tabernacle, and they were not given their own portion of land like the rest of the 11 tribes were. According to this chapter the Levitical families were given cities within the borders of each of the other tribes. This was no small number of cities either: they were given literally dozens of cities to live in. I often wondered why God didn’t just give them a region surrounding the place where the tabernacle (and later the temple) would rest. It would seem that it would be more convenient to live near where they primarily ministered. Perhaps the reason God set it up this way was because that the needs of the Levites were to be met by the other tribes. The other tribes supplied them with their food and other needs, and it was certainly more convenient for them to have some of the Levites nearby. Apparently the families of the Levites did not all have to report to the tabernacle every day, because the distance that some of them would have to travel would render that impossible. They must have taken turns travelling to the tabernacle to serve the Lord. It is also evident that the tabernacle was not in Jerusalem early on. The tabernacle started out in Gilgal, then was moved to Shiloh, and then to Nob. It was finally placed in Jerusalem by David; and then was replaced by Solomon’s Temple.
This portion of Scripture gives us a more accurate picture of what reality was for these servants of God. I always thought that the entire ministry team for the tabernacle was perhaps a few dozen people who all lived right outside the entrance. I never realized that it was a huge number of people (perhaps several hundred thousand). Think of the logistics of organizing this team of workers. Think of the planning required to make sure that all of their physical needs were met.
As our church grows in number, we will also have to expand our ability to administrate all of the people and logistics required to facilitate that growth. God will have to give us wisdom as to how to best accomplish this. However, we must be prepared to change the way we do things. Growth is a natural part of life. We are expected to grow; but along with numerical growth will also have to be an expansion of ability and administration so that the needs of the increasing numbers of people can be met. You can help, by asking God what he would have you do to help in this awesome task. I believe the reason that many churches stop growing is not because they are off in doctrine; not because they don’t love the Lord, or His people; but simply because they never expand their abilities in order to administrate a larger work. They are trying to run a large church in the same way they did when the church was small. Don’t misunderstand, many things should stay exactly the same; but unfortunately many things will by necessity have to change.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19
Read the “0506 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Prayer of Jabez“
“And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.” (1 Chronicles 5:20)
The beginning section of 1 Chronicles is the largest genealogical portion of Scripture in the Bible. As was stated yesterday, these genealogies are very important, albeit at times, they are not the most exciting passages to read. There are many nuggets of truth, however, nestled in the midst of these genealogies. In a previous post, we discussed the prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:9 – 10. This morning I would like to focus on 1 Chronicles 5:18 – 22, which discusses the acquisition of land on the east side of the Jordan River by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
Verse 18 tells us that these 44,000 men were brave and very skillful in their military ability; but apparently their numbers and their expertise were not enough to conquer the enemy. They needed God’s help. Notice in verse 20, the Bible tells that they were helped by God, because they put their trust in Him. We also know that it was God’s will for them to go to war against the Hagarites because “the war was of God” (v. 22).
I believe we can learn some things from this passage as we fight the Lord’s battles today”
First, we must be sure that we are fighting God’s battle (doing His will). If we are just working for ourselves, we cannot expect success.
Secondly, we must trust in the Lord to bring us the victory. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Finally, I believe that we should work at sharpening our skills. These men of Israel were well equipped, and highly trained for the task, and I think that God’s people need to be equipped and trained today in order to serve the Lord effectively. Someone once said that we ought to work like it all depends on us, but we ought also to pray like it all depends on God.
These three tribes were able to drive out the wicked inhabitants of the land, and possess their dwellings all because they trusted in the Lord; and they remained there until the time of the captivity. Why did they eventually lose their land to the Assyrian army? Because they stopped trusting in God. We receive all of the blessings of life because of our dependence upon Him. Let’s not lose them by deciding to live life trusting in the flesh.
“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)
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0505 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.” (1 Chronicles 2:7 )
I must be completely honest with you and tell you that it was a little bit challenging finding a thought to write about from today’s portion of Scripture. The first few chapters of 1 Chronicles contain some very necessary information regarding the genealogical record of Israel. Though this information is important, it can also be very tedious to wade through; but we must not skip over passages of Scripture such as these. If you are searching for a nugget of truth, God will always get one to you, even in passages like this. So hang in there. By the way, eventually 1 Chronicles will become a very exciting book to read.
My thought this morning comes from chapter 2 and verse 7. In the middle of the genealogical record, there is a comment made about one of the listed men, Achar. He is called here “the troubler of Israel”. The story behind this man can be found in Johsua 7. He is called Achan there; and we find that he is the man that stole some gold and silver and a “goodly Babylonish garment” from the city of Jericho during Israel’s invasion of that city. The problem was that God told the Israelites that they were not supposed to touch anything in that city, but Achan could not resist. As a result, God’s judgment fell upon the whole nation of Israel, and they lost the next military battle with many innocent men being killed in the battle. Later, when Achan’s sin was discovered, he and his family were all put to death. The bottom line to this whole story is that Achan was probably a good man who yielded to a temptation, and the result was death and sorrow for a lot of people, and a reputation that will follow him for all eternity. His name will forever be “Mud”.
I want to challenge all of us to consider for a moment our own reputation, and the affect that our reputation will have on our family members. I understand that none of us is without sin, and I am not trying to rub salt on old wounds; but I am trying to get us to carefully consider the affect that some future sin will have on our reputations. When people here your name in the future what will they say about you? Will they say that you were a moral, honest, hard-working individual; or will there be negative thoughts that surround your reputation? By the way, if your reputation is less than perfect today, you still have time to change it.
Interesting side note on the expression “his name is mud”. It seems to have become popular as a result of a doctor named Samuel Mudd (pictured above) who treated and helped John Wilkes Booth after he broke his leg jumping down from the balcony in the Ford’s Theater, after his assassination of President Lincoln. Mudd was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, though he was later parolled by President Andrew Johnson.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Chronicles by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0504 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.” – (2 Kings 23:29)
In order to make sense of the story referenced in 2 Kings 23:29 (above), the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 35:20 – 25 should be read also. In a nutshell, the two big dogs on the block during the time of Josiah are Egypt and Assyria. The Kingdom of Judah, which includes Jerusalem and its surrounding areas was nestled right in between these two world powers. Assyria had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. Anyway, Egypt was travelling north to fight with Assyria at a place called Carchemesh on the Euphrates River. King Josiah from Judah, for some unknown reason, got in the middle of this battle, choosing to fight for the Assyrians against Egypt. 2 Chronicles tells us that the Pharaoh of Egypt warned Josiah not to interfere. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that God told Josiah to get involved. From all appearances it looks as if Josiah was killed because he involved himself in something that God never told him to be involved in. Josiah was a great king, but he got his priorities messed up here. The end result is that Josiah’s son takes control of Judah, and the Bible tells us that he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
I think that there is a great lesson for us to learn here. Sometimes we get ourselves in trouble when we interfere in things that God never told us to interfere with. We need to learn to do two things. First, we need to choose our battles carefully. Second, we need to learn to mind our own business at times. Now don’t misunderstand, sometimes God wants us to get involved in things that are not directly involving us, but when these times arise we need to make sure that it is truly God’s will for us to involve ourselves. When I look back through the years of my ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church, I can now see in hindsight that there were many times that I got involved in things that God never told me to do. As a result, the church would lose focus, and harm would come. I am trying now to stay within the area that God has called me to. He has called me to pastor the people of Jersey Shore Baptist Church, and He has called me to get the message of the gospel to my community. Besides my responsibilities as a husband and father, those are my main duties. It is a big enough job by itself, so I don’t need to get mixed up in something that distracts me from those purposes. There are a lot of “good” causes out there to get involved in, but even a “good” cause can become sin, if it is not God’s will.
How about you? Do you ever find yourself getting sidetracked into an area that distracts you from what you know God wants you to do? Choose your battles wisely, mind your own business, and stay focused on the will of God for your life.
By the way, I want to also be careful to acknowledge that even though Josiah got mixed up in something he shouldn’t have, he was still a great king, and in my opinion the greatest king Judah ever had. Chapter 23 of our passage records all of the great things Josiah did in Judah and even in the northern kingdom, Israel. He worked tirelessly removing the evil that his predecessors had allowed to enter into the land.
Posted in Thoughts from 2 Kings by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.