CONTEXT: The book of Joel was the telling of God’s judgment upon His chosen people (Israel), the pagan nations that surrounded them, and the eventual outpouring of the Holy Spirit (restoration of God’s people) Acts 2. Matthew Henry breaks chapter 2 down as follows: God’s judgments. (1-14) Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised. (15-27) A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies. (28-32)
I want to look at just v.1 this morning because I think they are applicable to all of us today.
Blow the trumpet in Zion [warning of impending judgment], Sound an alarm on My holy mountain [Zion]! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble and shudder in fear, For the [judgment] day of the Lord is coming; It is close at hand,(AMP)
Judgment by way of the “Day of the Lord” is the predominant theme of the book of Joel. Israel (1:15; 2:1–2) and all the nations (3:2–3) are subject to this judgment. While most associate the “Day of the Lord” with wrath and judgments it can also be a day of salvation and restoration.
Here in chapter 2 v.1, the context is definitely judgment and wrath that Joel is warning against. Israel had become complacent AGAIN, it had fallen back into the sins of its surrounding neighbors and Joel sires out a warning Blow the trumpet in Zion, (any temple, pulpit, or corner will do) Sound an alarm on My holy mountain, we too must be able, ready and willing at every moment to speak out against the anti-Christ. For the [judgment] day of the Lord is coming, God cannot abide sin, nor sinners. The old saying God Loves the Sinner But Hates the Sin? is far from true and He must and will pass judgment on everyone.
Of course, no one knows when the final judgment “day of the Lord” will come but we must (All True Believers) act like it is today. Spiritual Complacency has plagued the “church” for far too long in America. Oh, we are good at giving, missions, and feeding the poor. We respond well to national disasters and the like but do not ask us to get involved in the BIG PICTURE, the moral issues of today.
It is time we, All True Believers, Shout is from the Blogs, Corners, and Pulpits; that we demand that the core values America was founded upon, the Judeo-Christian principles be returned before the Wrath of God, the final judgment, the “day of the Lord” is poured out upon this nation and people.
Today I thought I would do something a little different. I came across this quote from Puritan Stephen Charnock, and it caused me to pause and think, how true. If God is not eternal, why would we bother shedding our praise, worship, and love upon Him?
So today I am just listing (a Bible drill of sorts), no comments, Bible verses to contemplate, meditate and reflect upon the Eternal God and His worthiness to be Loved.
Genesis 2:17 – But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Psalms 72:17 – His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
Psalms 90:2 – Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Psalms 119:127 – Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
Isaiah 57:15 – For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Jeremiah 10:10 – But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
Jeremiah 32:27 – Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Mark 9:43-48 – And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (Read More…)
John 1:12 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 17:24-26 – Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (Read More…)
1 John 2:4-6 – He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (Read More…)
As hurricane Ida made landfall (and heads towards us in mid Mississippi) I had the thought of how powerful God is. I for one am convinced that God is Sovereign over all things including hurricanes, even if I don’t understand the why.What I do know is we can count on His omnipotent Grace to see us through these events.
Chapter CONTEXT: Matthew Henry says of this Chapter: A salutation, and an account of saving blessings, as prepared in God’s eternal election, as purchased by Christ’s blood. (1-8) And as conveyed in effectual calling: this is applied to the believing Jews, and to the believing Gentiles. (9-14) The apostle thanks God for their faith and love, and prays for the continuance of their knowledge and hope, with respect to the heavenly inheritance, and to God’s powerful working in them. (15-23)
Our text for today is one extolling God’s omnipotence. A google search or that of some Biblical software will lead one to find a list with many variations of verses. The consistent theme however is that God is all-powerful and man is not.
CONTEXT: Most Bibles have a heading that says something like “Song of Moses” at the beginning of this Chapter. That is simple to understand as the first two verses are a direct appeal by Mosses to heaven. Matthew Henry breaks down the Chapter in this way: The song of Moses. (1,2) The character of God, The character of Israel. (3-6) The great things God had done for Israel. (7-14) The wickedness of Israel. (19-25) The judgments which would come upon them for their sins. (15-18) Deserved vengeance withheld. (26-38) God’s deliverance for his people. (39-43) The exhortation with which the song was delivered. (44-47) Moses to go up mount Nebo to die. (48-52)
We recently had another Great Grandchild and as usual, it got me thinking about what kind of nation and world we would be leaving him to grow up in. I was saddened by the thought of how messed up things are in America today compared to when I was a child.
In our text Mosses is speaking about the nation of Israel and its rebellion against the Laws and precepts upon which it was founded can easily be applied to America today. As I have repeated many times unlike Israel which was a Theocracy, America is NOT a Theocracy or “Christian Nation” but was CLEARLY founded upon Judeo-Christian principles.
So as Moses prayed, pleaded, and WARNED,
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
we too, that is all who identify as Christians in America, need to take up the fight and do the same to reclaim the Judeo-Christian principles that made America great. I am speaking about America’s Core Values; common courtesy, decency, and morals we can all agree are sorely lacking.
I think history shows what the later end for any nation has been that abandons all morality. Ultimate and total destruction, is this to be America’s fate?
CONTEXT: Most folks I know can quote or at least paraphrase v.15 from this Chapter ‘the battle belongs to the Lord.’ While this makes a good theme it is not the central theme of this Chapter, by context Faith is the main theme. The Chapter can be divided as follows: The Enemy advances v.1-4; Jehoshaphat Prayers v.5-13; God answers prayer v.14-19; War and Victory v.20-29; End of Jehoshaphat’s reign v.30-37.
I say Faith is the main theme because of the facts we know from the text. The nation of Judah (Israel) was about to be invaded so what does Jehoshaphat do? Does he run, does he hide, does he wine and whimper, of course not he takes action. What kind of action, PRAYERv.3; And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord,… A wise ruler always seeks wise counsel in times of trouble. Jehoshaphat had 3 Armies coming against him I think this was a good time for seeking HELP!
Note that Jehoshaphat does not go it alone, v.4And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord:… It is always wise to seek the support of like-minded individuals and those who may be experiencing similar issues to pray alongside you. Read v.5-13Jehoshaphat’s Prayer (pleading with God) and you can see the heartfelt sincerety in it. Jehoshaphatconfessed Judah’s (and his) inability to deal with the coming threat. That is the FAITH I was speaking about. Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah called upon the Lord to HELP, fully expecting His assistance.
I suppose I would be remiss if I failed to mention v.15 in context. Does ‘the battle always belong to the Lord’? One of the popular evangelical catchphrases that irks me to no end is “Let Go and let God.” While it may seem harmless it really is not very Biblical. In our text today (and throughout the Bible) God responds to prayer. I call this God’s Providential Grace. Unless God chose someone for a specific task, Jonah, for example, the application of this Grace is applied in every other example as a response to prayer. Yes, ‘the battle belongs to the Lord‘ it always has and always will, but we can not just give up the fight sit back in our lazy-boy recliner and expect God to do the work. We need, as individuals, churches, and a nation to be more like Jehoshaphat prayer warriors willing to fight the good fight.
I am the smartest guy I know! Sounds pretty arrogant right, but that is a typical thought for ex-military, first responders, and the like. We are taught we are the best, type-A personalities, then one day (hopefully) the truth hits you like a ton of bricks, you a dummy compared to the infinite knowledge of God.
CONTEXT: Being a “Wisdom” book Proverbs and this Chapter for certain is all about wisdom. The headings on your version may read something like The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security (AMP) or in my Spanish Bible (NBLA), La sabiduría protege del mal, roughly Wisdom protects us from evil. Matthew Henry breaks down Chapter 2 as follows: Promises to those who seek wisdom. (1-9) The advantages of wisdom. (10-22)
In my opening statement, I noted that whenever someone thinks he/she is the brightest bulb in the chandelier realizes that the source of their brightness far exceeds their own capacity, it can be very hard on them. It can also be enlightening and very comforting.
Comforting in that I no longer have to be that person, the one everyone goes to I have a greater power source, God, whom I can depend upon and refer folks to. Further, He is a God who wants us to ask…
I pray everyone takes advantage of God’s amazing offer of Grace, knowledge, and Wisdom.
Pray for Grace to Make you Wiser and Better Every Day
Lord, give us to grow with a growth that is from God; Colossians 2:19(ESV) to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; 2 Peter 3:18(ESV) to hold to our way; and, having clean hands, to grow stronger and stronger. Job 17:9(ESV)
Let our path be as the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. Proverbs 4:18(ESV)
We have not yet obtained, nor are we already perfect; Lord, grant that therefore, forgetting what lies behind, we may strain forward to what lies ahead, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14(ESV)
Be like the dew to us, that we may blossom like the lily and take root like the trees of Lebanon; that our shoots may spread out and our beauty may be like the olive. Hosea 14:5-6(ESV) And let the sun of righteousness rise upon us with healing in its wings, that we may go out leaping like calves from the stall. Malachi 4:2(ESV)
CONTEXT: As I noted in last Thursday’s post on v.4, Paul describes how utterly useless even the most gifted “Christian” is without love. Matthew Henry breaks it down as: The necessity and advantage of the grace of love. (1-3) Its excellency represented by its properties and effects; (4-7) and by its abiding, and its superiority. (8-13)
Our text for today follows that theme from Thursday, the true characteristics of Charity or Godly Love include finding no joy in injustice or evil but always rejoicing in the truth (God’s Holy Word).
In many so called “Christian” circles today Doctrine has become nearly a curse word. Doctrine in it’s most basic form means instruction, so these naysayers are in fact saying ‘we don’t want God’s instruction’ pretty dangerous ground if you ask me. Accepting God’s instruction and defining who, what and how we believe is critical to carrying out the Great Commission the duty of all those chosen born again children of God.
Paul has just given us a list of things that love does not do: become jealous, brag, act arrogantly or unbecomingly, seek its own, become provoked, keep track of wrongs suffered, or rejoice in unrighteousness. Now he comes to the first of five things love does: “[Love] rejoices with the truth” (v. 6).
The contrast in verse 6 is between love’s inability to rejoice in unrighteousness and its joy when truth prevails. “Truth” refers to God’s Word, which is the standard of righteousness. Paul could have said, “Love doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with righteousness,” but he went beyond the mere deeds of righteousness and addressed its standard and motive.
Love won’t tolerate false doctrine or sinful behavior, but it rejoices when God’s Word is taught and obeyed. The psalmist said, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have more insight than all my teachers . . . . I understand more than the aged. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. I have not turned aside from Thine ordinances, for Thou Thyself hast taught me. How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:97-104). That’s the testimony of one who rejoices in the truth.
Often Christians are willing to compromise sound doctrine for the sake of loving others. They believe that doctrinal precision is somehow divisive and unloving. But Scripture says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. . . . For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 6-8).
Biblical love always operates within the parameters of God’s Word and spiritual discernment (Phil. 1:9-10). The most loving thing you can do is live according to biblical truth. Doctrinal compromise simply diminishes the quality of love and plays into the hands of the evil one.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God for wisdom and discernment to keep your love within its proper biblical bounds.
CONTEXT: The overall theme of the chapter is the differences between worldly and Godly wisdom. In v.1-10 we find James cautioning the reader against worldly corruptions (sins) and in v.11-17 to never begin life’s work (business) without the consent and guidance of God.
Our text for today calls for all those trying to serve both man and God, (two masters) which is not easy for man’s human nature. We are reluctant to give up self, to surrender all to give up our earthly masters.
One of the Puritan theologians from the 1600’s said it best, it is far easier to commit sin than confess it…
CONTEXT: Often called the sweetest of Psalms C.H. Surgeons Treasury of David describes it as: TITLE AND SUBJECT.To the Chief Musician upon Gittith. A Psalm for the sons of Korah. This Psalm well deserved to be committed to the noblest of the sons of song. No music could be too sweet for its theme, or too exquisite in sound to match the beauty of its language. Sweeter than the joy of the wine press, (for that is said to be the meaning of the word rendered upon Gittith), is the joy of the holy assemblies of the Lord’s house; not even the favoured children of grace, who are like the sons of Korah, can have a richer subject for song than Zion’s sacred festivals.
It matters little when this Psalm was written, or by whom; for our part it exhales to us a Davidic perfume, it smells of the mountain heather and the lone places of the wilderness, where King David must have often lodged during his many wars. This sacred ode is one of the choicest of the collection; it has a mild radiance about it, entitling it to be called The Pearl of Psalms. If the twenty-third be the most popular, the one-hundred- and-third the most joyful, the one-hundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experimental, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of peace.
Pilgrimages to the tabernacle were a great feature of Jewish life. In our own country, pilgrimages to the shrine of Thomas of Canterbury, and our Ladye of Walsingham, were so general as to affect the entire population, cause the formation of roads, the erection and maintenance of hostelries, and the creation of a special literature; this may help us to understand the influence of pilgrimage upon the ancient Israelites. Families journeyed together, making bands which grew at each halting place; they camped in sunny glades, sang in unison along the roads, toiled together over the hill and through the slough, and as they went along, stored up happy memories which would never be forgotten. One who was debarred the holy company of the pilgrims, and the devout worship of the congregation, would find in this Psalm fit expression for his mournful spirit.
I only wish to look at one verse today v.2 that describes what should be the desire of all TRUE believers, to be in the House of the Lord with their very soul crying out for the Living God;
My soul (my life, my inner self) longs for and greatly desires the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. (AMP)
Two great Puritan Theologian’s put it this way:
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth,etc. Every amiableness is not so great to make a longing, nor every longing so great to make a fainting; nor every fainting so great to make the soul to faint; Oh, then, consider how great this amiableness is, which makes my soul not only to long, but to faint with longing! And blame me not for fainting, as though it were my own fault for not restraining my longing; for seeing his Tabernacles are of infinite amiableness, they must need work in me an infinite delighting, and that delighting an infinite longing; and what restraint can there be of that which is infinite? No, alas, my fainting is but answerable to my longing, and my longing but answerable to the amiableness. If I had the offer made me, which was made to Christ, to enjoy all the kingdoms of the earth, but with condition to want the Courts of the Lord; this want would bring to my soul a greater grief than that enjoying would give it contentment: for seeing his Tabernacles are so amiable, where He is Lord of Hosts, how amiable must they needs be, where he is Prince of Peace? and Prince of Peace he is in his Courts, though in his camp he be Lord of Hosts.Sir Richard Baker.
The question today is simple where do your desires lie?
CONTEXT: Chapter 12 has tow clear divisions, v.1-7 speak about remembering our youth as we grow older and physical and mental affirmatives come upon us. Then in v.8-14 we are reminded of the wise teacher/preacher and all his instructions. The overarching theme being a repeat ofVanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
Our main text, v.13, for today is the key to life, or as Solomon says, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. NOTHING written before this or after matter more than what Solomon is about to write.
What is that key? Simple; fear God, and keep his commandments, that is what man was put on the earth to do. Fear God here meaning to stand in awe and reverence of Him at all times. To willingly (never grudgingly) keep His commandments. The Puritan Catechism similarly says: Q1: What is the chief end of man? A1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him for ever. ( Psalms 73:25-26)
Why is this [is] the whole [duty] of man? In the Hebrew this could be rendered as This is the whole man, read that way the implication is clear, without fearing God and keeping His commandments man is not whole, not complete as a man.
If that was not enough “incentive” to bring man instep with God, one would think v.14 would certainly do so; For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil. God sees all hears all and will judge all.
Pray for Grace to Assist you that you may be Diligent in your Duty
Lord, quicken us to work the works of him who sent us while it is day, because night is coming, wherein no one can work; John 9:4(ESV) and what good our hands find to do, enable us to do it with all our might, for there is no work or knowledge in Sheol, to which we are going. Ecclesiastes 9:10(ESV)
Lord, grant that we may never be slothful in zeal, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; Romans 12:11(ESV) steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58(ESV)
Lord, enable us to do the work of every day in its day, as each day requires, Ezra 3:4(ESV) making the best use of the time, because the days are evil; Ephesians 5:16(ESV) that when our Master comes, he may find us so doing. Luke 12:43(ESV)