Devotional Thought for Today – 04/29/2021

I woke up this morning and MHM of Prayer below was in my inbox. It led to this devotional, this one verse, in my opinion, is sufficient evidence to refute anyone who says we do not need the Old Testament. Here the Lord Himself says those Scriptures directly point the way to Him, and that is reason enough to study them.

1. The Big Picture - Jesus
https://images.app.goo.gl/ULQQ1hcaboSTUMhx9

JOHN 5

In chapters 1-4 of John’s Gospel Jesus was sort of low key avoiding any public display or controversy. Here however He starts off v.1-17 with a bang (Miracle) by healing an invalid near the Bethesda pool, on the Sabbath.

If that was not enough to upset the apple cart (ruling class Jews), when they challenge Jesus under what authority He has to heal someone on the Sabbath His response is even more controversial. Instead of a simple answer, Jesus says all His authority has been given to Him by God the Father and He is equal with God the Father v.18-24.

Jesus then lays out four (4) reasons why HE has this authority, v.25-32 the coming resurrection, v.33-35, the testimony of John the Baptist, v.36, the testimony of His works, v.37-38, the testimony of the Father, and finally v.39-47, the testimony of Scripture.

Look at v.38, Jesus says to the local religious leaders, you have God’s word in front of you but not in you. He then goes on to our text for today, [h]You search and keep on searching and examining the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about Me; (AMP).

It may sound funny but all I kept thinking or hearing in my head was that old country song Looking for love in all the wrong places. Just like the fool who can’t find his true love because he won’t look in the right place, these religious leaders search scripture looking for a King and Leader but not the Messiah before them.

In Jesus’ day, there was more “proof” of His deity than we have today in the sense that Jesus was physically there performing miracles and still He was denied and crucified. That is the problem, then and today as folks want individual proof, just because 2+2=4 does not mean I have to believe it, you have to prove it to me personally.

NO! God does not have to prove anything. He owes us nothing and we owe him everything. It’s abDevotional Thought for Today – 04/29/2021out Jesus, not us. We need to read the scripture from that point of view, we need to worship in church with that mindset, and not the want can I get out of it. Focus on Christ and the Holy Spirit will handle the rest.


Praying through John 5:39
Heavenly Father, thank You for the inspired scriptures, which point us to Christ. May we read them with understanding and be guided into all truth by Your Holy Spirit. Keep me from seeking to add to Your finished work of Calvary, through my own works of the flesh.. knowing that eternal life is only to be found by faith in Christ alone and that I am only accepted by You because I am ‘in Christ,’ and not because of anything that I could do. Praise His holy name and draw me closer to Jesus day by day – in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/John/5/39


Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer

Thank God for the Scriptures

For the writing of the Scriptures and the preserving of them pure and entire to this day.

We thank you that we have the Scriptures to search, and that in them we have eternal life, for it is they that bear witness about Christ; John 5:39(ESV) and that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16(ESV)

That whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope; Romans 15:4(ESV) and that we have this sure prophetic word, as a lamp shining in a dark place. 2 Peter 1:19(ESV)

That the vision has not become to us like the words of a book that is sealed, Isaiah 29:11(ESV) but that we hear in our own tongue the mighty works of God. Acts 2:11(ESV)

We thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which you have hidden from the wise and understanding and which many prophets and kings desired to see but did not, 1 Peter 1:10(ESV) are revealed to us little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luke 10:21(ESV)

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/08/2021

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1 Peter 5

In this the closing Chapter of Peter’s first Epistle to the churches scattered about Asia minor, he reminds them or maybe better put leaves them with some final instructions as the eldest of “elders.” 

v.1-4 Is an exhortation to the elders to feed the flock and lead as Jesus had taught him (Peter) to Shepherd them.

v.5-9 Are encouragement to the younger men of the church to be submissive to their elders,  sober and vigilant against the temptations of the devil. 

It is here we find our text for today v.6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (KJV)  There are three (3)  things here  I want to point out:

      •  We Must – Humble ourselves: this means bowing down before the authority of God, putting Him first always.  It does not mean being weak or having a sense of self-hatred (think the woke movement). Jesus was the epitome of humility and never could be accused of being weak. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
      • God WillExalt You: God glorifies the obedient. There are “mansions” in heaven for all true believers, Christ Jesus has promised so. Yet We also know that each believer will receive different “crowns” based upon your faithfulness to God.  I once explained it this way (sarcastically) to a fellow Christian who although professing believer did nothing for the kingdom. Some will have a mansion on the corner of State and Main others so far our on Rural Route 3 that they will need a set of Binoculars to clearly see the glory of God. 
      • His Time – in due time:  God’s timing is everything.  He alone has sovereign control over all the universe. We can accept this or deny the God of the Bible, His Word really leaves us no other option.  

Today’s Prayer 

From Matthew Henry’s Method of Prayer

Lord, give me the grace to deny myself, to take up my cross daily, and to follow Christ, Matthew 16:24(KJV) to keep under the body and bring it into subjection. 1 Corinthians 9:27(KJV)

For thy dominion is an everlasting dominion, and thy kingdom is from generation to generation: Thou dost according to thy will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay thy hand, or say unto thee, What doest thou? Daniel 4:34-35(KJV) or Why doest thou so?

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 01/29/2021

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

John 4:7-30

This is a pretty familiar passage of scripture. Jesus comes to a well and there is a Samaritan woman there and He asks her to draw water for Him to drink. This sparks a conversation since Jews and Samaritan’s never conversed. 

That alone would be interesting but this woman is special because she is an outcast among her own people, having had many failed relationships.  Jesus confronts her with her sin and the Gospel, (the only way to make converts) and she repents.

Our main verse v.24 today is where Jesus makes it clear that worshiping God is not something to be taken lightly. God is not to be defined in human terms for God is not bound by human physical characteristics.  

“God is a spirit, and not a body, or a corporeal substance: the nature and essence of God is like a spirit, simple and uncompounded, not made up of parts; nor is it divisible; nor does it admit of any change and alteration. God, as a spirit, is immaterial, immortal, invisible, and an intelligent, willing, and active being; but differs from other spirits, in that he is not created, but an immense and infinite spirit, and an eternal one, which has neither beginning nor end: he is therefore a spirit by way of eminency, as well as effectively, he being the author and former of all spirits…” John Gill 

It pleases God when we remember this and Worship in a truly spiritual mannerwhich is suitable to his nature, and agreeably to his will.” – John Gill

God does not want or require some fancy production to worship Him corporately (church) nor high and pious words in our private prayer closet. All we need is given to us in the pages of His Holy Word. Maybe it is about time we used and relied upon God alone, Soli Deo Gloria!

Today’s Prayer; from Matthew Henry’s Method of Prayer:

Lord, grant that I may not be as a child, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the slight of men, but speaking the truth in love, may I grow up into Christ in all things, who is the head. Ephesians 4:14-15(KJV)

Lord, give me so to do thy will, as that I may know of the doctrine whether it be of God; John 7:17(KJV) and so to know the truth, as that the truth may make me free, John 8:32(KJV) may make me free indeed. John 8:36(KJV)

Enable me, I pray thee, to hold fast the form of sound words, which I have heard in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus, 2 Timothy 1:13(KJV) and to continue in the things which I have learned and been assured of. 2 Timothy 3:14(KJV)

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 01/28/2021

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Revelation 3:7-13

I will not attempt to get into a  LONG discussion as to why this is NOT about an escape plan (rapture) Standard for Churchesfor Christians. Suffice it to say most modern renderings and interpretations do not do the original Greek or context justice (See Below).

What is important is the fact that the Lord singles out the Church at Philadelphia for their endurance (KJV= Word of Patience, NASB = Perseverance). There is no negativity imposed upon this church, only praise and the promise of reward(s). 

My question today is simple, would your church meet the standard of the church of Philadelphia? Would you? 

Pray with me that God would preserve us till the day he calls us home to Glory or He returns:

Lord, deliver me from every evil work and preserve me to thy heavenly kingdom, 2 Timothy 4:18(KJV) being kept from falling, that I may be presented faultless at the coming of thy glory, with exceeding joy. Jude 1:24(KJV)

Lord, make me to increase and abound in love, towards your people and towards all men, that my heart may be established unblameable in holiness before God, even my Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13(KJV)

If Satan desires to have me that he may sift me as wheat, yet let Christ’s intercession prevail for me, that my faith fail not. Luke 22:31-32(KJV)

Till I am taken out of the world, let me be kept from the evil, John 17:15(KJV) and sanctified through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17(KJV)

Build me up, I pray thee, in my most holy faith, and keep me in the love of God, looking for the mercy of my Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:20-21(KJV)

Grant that I may continue to call upon thee as long as I live, Psalm 116:2(KJV) and till I die may I never remove my integrity from me; and that my righteousness I may hold fast, and never let it go, and my heart may not reproach me so long as I live. Job 27:5-6(KJV)

OTHER RESOURCES:

Does Revelation 3:10 Teach an “Any Moment” Rapture?

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 01/27/2021

I have written about HUMILITY a lot over the years (you can search in the box to the right). I guess I just need a constant reminder.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10

JAMES 4

Chapter 3 saw James reminding his readers that the world was no place to gain wisdom and knowledge.  

Have you ever noticed that whenever you get tangled up in the world you also get a worldly disposition? James points out this has caused fights among the believers and here in Chapter 4, he calls them to repent and humble themselves before the Lord.

No one likes to say we are wrong, even to God it is not easy to admit our sinful ways. Knowing 1 John 1:9, that He is ready to forgive whatever we confess, sure makes things easier. Still having some help doesn’t hurt either. Of course, Christ is our only advocate interceding with the Father on our behalf. But the third person of the Trinity can not be neglected. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for (Romans 8:26; Jude 20). 

Using the guide below ask for some humility in your walk with God today. 

We must beg for the powerful assistance and influence of the blessed Spirit of grace in our prayers.

Lord, we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but let your Spirit help us in our weakness and intercede for us. Romans 8:26(ESV)

O pour upon us a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, Zechariah 12:10(ESV) the Spirit of adoption teaching us to cry, “Abba, Father”; Romans 8:15(ESV) that we may find in our hearts to pray this prayer: Send out your light and your truth; let them lead us, let them bring us to your holy hill and to your dwelling; to God, our exceeding joy. Psalm 43:3-4(ESV)

O Lord, open our lips, and our mouths will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15(ESV)

We must make the glory of God our highest end in all our prayers.

This is what you, O LORD, have said: that you will be sanctified among those who are near you, and before all the people you will be glorified. Leviticus 10:3(ESV) We, therefore, worship before you, O Lord, that we may glorify your name; Psalm 86:9(ESV) and therefore we call upon you, that you may deliver us, and we may glorify you. Psalm 50:15(ESV)

For from you and through you and to you are all things. Romans 11:36(ESV)

Sunday Sermon Series – No Man Care for my Soul

No photo description available.

PSALM 142 


Context/Comment

A Prayer when he was in the cave. He was in one of his many lurking places, either Engedi, Adullam, or some other lone cavern wherein he could conceal himself from Saul and his bloodhounds. Caves make good closets for prayer; their gloom and solitude are helpful to the exercise of devotion. Had David prayed as much in his palace as he did in his cave, he might never have fallen into the act which brought such misery upon his later days. SUBJECT. There can be little doubt that this song dates from the days when Saul was sorely persecuting David, and David himself was in soul trouble, probably produced by that weakness of faith which led him to associate with heathen princes. His fortunes were evidently at their lowest, and, what was worse, his repute had fearfully fallen; yet he displayed a true faith in God, to whom he made known his pressing sorrows. The gloom of the cave is over the psalm, and yet as if standing at the mouth of it the prophet poet sees a bright light a little beyond. – C.H. Spurgeon

Our text above this morning could be summarized by these words,  Only when no escape, no fortress or refuge remains for us, and it is apparent no one (mankind) cares for our souls, only then do we cry to the LORD.

Maybe it is about time we cry unto the Lord daily, on the tops of the mountains as well as those deep valleys and dark caves?


SERMON

DAVID’S PRAYER IN THE CAVE

NO. 2282, SCRIPTURE: PS. 142
 BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, MAY 18, 1890


PRAYER

In you, O LORD, do we take refuge; let us never be put to shame; Psalm 31:1(ESV) indeed, let none who wait for you be put to shame. Psalm 25:3(ESV)

For God alone our souls wait in silence; from him comes our salvation: He only is our rock and our salvation! Psalm 62:1-2(ESV) In him is our glory, our might, and our refuge; and our hope is from him. Psalm 62:5-7(ESV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7(ESV) We will trust in your steadfast love, O God, forever and ever, and will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godlyPsalm 52:8-9(ESV)

We have hoped in your word; Psalm 119:81(ESV) O remember your word to your servants, in which you have made us hope. Psalm 119:49(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Ephesians 4:30 Part I

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EPHESIANS 4 

GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT 


CONTEXT 

Most modern bibles have some sort of heading like Unity of the Spirit (AMP, Unity, and Diversity in the Body of Christ (CSB) or Unity in the Body of Christ (ESV) at the beginning of Chapter Four. While these can be helpful, as a general theme they are not theologically complete.  My simple break down of Ephesians 4 looks like this:

      • v.1–6  Paul urges his readers to live according to the calling they have received as believers 
      • v. 4:7–32 Paul shifts focus to the new life believers have in Christ
        • v.7-16 Using spiritual gifts and graces from God
        • v. 17-24 To live pure and holy lives
        • v. 25-32 Always being weary of worldly lies and sins

Our text today is v.30 above and we will look at only the first part of the text since it is packed with so much good theological stuff.


BREAKDOWN

v. 30a (KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, 

Paul says  do not give, the Greek word is lypeite, which means to “cause grief,” or “make sorrowful.”  Why is that so important and what are its biblical and theological implications for Christians? 

First, some more CONTEXT, what is Paul speaking about when he mentions grieving the Holy Spirit. Look at v.29 and v.31, it seems reasonably clear that he is saying our words our actions done in a manner that are not edifying to ourselves and glorifying to God make the Holy Spirit Sorrowful. 

Whenever we digress and sin, whether it be by commission or omission, the Holy Spirit is grieved in accordance with His deity. He is God, the third person of the trinity, but most importantly the indwelling spirit in every true believer. Now consider the God can not dwell with evil, Psalm 5:4 and you can see the conflict and sorrow brought upon the Holy Spirit every time we sin. 

God’s Spirit is especially sensitive to sin because of His close relationship with us, those who have been saved and defined as the Lord’s holy people (1 Peter 1:13–16). The Spirit seals us “for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30; see 1:13–14) — He dwells within us when we trust in Christ Jesus, marking us as the people of God who will be spared divine wrath on judgment day. By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are increasingly conformed to our Savior’s image, and a return to a pattern of life wholly dominated by sin is impossible for all those whom the Spirit has sealed (Rom. 8:29–30). Still, even Christians may fall into significant sin, which grieves the Spirit, introducing a distance between Him and us. – Grieving the Holy Spirit 

The grieving of the Holy Spirit has four main theological ideas for me:

All men even those saved “Christians” are capable of sin – this is clearly being addressed to believers no one can or should question that

It proves God cares about us only a caring and merciful God would grieve when we do wrong

It validates our eternal life Paul never says sin and you are done for, in fact as we will discuss tomorrow the opposite

It motivates us to live a Holy life – Just because we know we are redeemed and have no fear of losing the SpiritRomans 8:37–39, this is not a license to sin, in fact, the opposite is true. ALL TRUE Christians we despise sin and want to, no more than that have a deep-rooted desire to live a Holy life. 


APPLICATION

Modern evangelicals seem to have forgotten that the Holy Spirit’s primary role is to  “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”  John 16:8.  Yes, He is also a helper, comforter, and guide to all believers John 14:16 but the conviction of sin in all mankind is the primary mission. 

We have shown today that all men are capable of sin and that all men grieve the Holy Spirit by that sin.  God expects us and we should if truly saved want to immediately confess our sins. So please join me in prayer:

Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer

The offense which by sin
I have given to the Holy God

I have grieved the Holy Spirit of God, by whom I was sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30(ESV)

By breaking the law I have dishonored God, Romans 2:23(ESV) and given bitter provocation Hosea 12:14(ESV) to the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 1:4(ESV) And many a thing that I have done has displeased the Lord. 2 Samuel 11:27(ESV)

God has been broken over my whoring heart and my eyes that have gone whoring after my idols. Ezekiel 6:9(ESV)

I have put him to the test, and to the proof, and grieved him in the wilderness; Psalm 95:9-10(ESV) have rebelled, and grieved his Holy SpiritIsaiah 63:10(ESV) and pressed him down with my iniquities, as a cart full of sheaves presses down. Amos 2:13(ESV)


OTHER RESOURCES

Alexander Maclaren_ Grieve the Spirit

 

Daily Devitonal – Before the Foundaton

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JOHN 17


CONTEXT 

As many of you know our other ministry Faith Builders deals in foundations work quite a bit. So today’s bible verse was especially of interest to me. 

This is the last of Jesus’s prayers before he sets off for Gestenime. It is often addressed as the High Priestly Prayer.  The prayer can be broken down as  follows:

Christ begins by praying for Himself – v.1-6

Jesus prays for His followers –  v.6-19

Jesus expands His prayer to include all who will come to faith in Him – v.20-26

It is the final part v.20-26, which we will look at today, as it is most applicable to us today. 


BREAKDOWN

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  Jesus extends His prayer to not only those who have heard Him directly but those who will hear Him through the teachings of the Apostles and the Preaching of the Word of God. 

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  Christ prays for Unity of Faith,  so that those not yet saved may not be discouraged by disunity.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  Glory here has been misused to be said that Christ gave diety (even a smaller version) but that is falsely interpreting the Greek here.  Christ instead is saying the strength, the honor the ability to relay the Good News Gospel Message,  the Father gave me, I have passed on to them. 

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  Christ and His TRUE followers are one, this gives them the advantage that the world can never have. 

24 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. The doctrine of God’s Eternal Nature is clearly seen here as well as a glimpse of the doctrine of election.  God’s Grace has been extended to us from eternity past. Just when that was, can not be said the bible only refers to it in the manner above. 

25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  Jesus makes it clear those of the “world” know not God, but He does and the Apostles (and by context those that follow) know Him, His only begotten Son.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. Love, John later writes in 1 John 4:8, that God is Love. It is that Agape love, unconditional Love of a Father to Son, that Jesus declares will indwell His followers setting them apart from all mankind. 


APPLICATION

Prayer is always a good thing. Prayer should not always be about asking for something for yourself or others. Sometimes it should just be about acknowledging God’s Greatness:

Acknowledge God’s Eternality 

 

Particularly in my adorations, I must acknowledge:

That he is an eternal God, immutable, without beginning of days or end of life or change of time.

You are the King of ages, immortal, invisible. 1 Timothy 1:17(ESV)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are GodPsalm 90:2(ESV) the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8(ESV)

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27(ESV)

You are God and do not change; therefore I am not consumedMalachi 3:6(ESV)

Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? Habakkuk 1:12(ESV) You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who does not faint or grow weary, whose understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Ezra’s Prayer

5. Confession and Repentance (Ezra 7-10). Rebuild & Renew: The Post-Exilic  Books, by Ralph F. Wilson. JesusWalk Bible Study Series.
Gustav Dore, detail from ‘Ezra in Prayer’ (1866), engraving, from La Grande Bible de Tours.

EZRA 9 


CONTEXT 

There are two books in the Bible dedicated to Israel’s return from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezra is the first with Nehemiah by the decree of Artaxerxes, quickly following. 

Ezra covers a period of approximately 100 years beginning around 538 B.C. The book’s primary purpose is to record the rebuilding of the Temple but it also includes many birth records apparently to establishing the priesthood lineage of Arron.  Ezra can be divided as follows:

Chapters 1-6—Return and Building of the Second Temple.

Chapters 7-10—The Ministry of Ezra. 

Today’s devotional is from Chapter 9 and has this as it’s the theme: 

Believers today can be encouraged to be as zealous for the upbuilding of the church as Ezra and Nehemiah were for the rebuilding of the temple and wall. – KATHLEEN NIELSON

 


DEVOTION

 

READ THE BIBLE From the Gospel Coalition 

It may be difficult for some Christians, immersed in the heritage of individualism and influenced by postmodern relativism, to find much sympathy for Ezra and his prayer (Ezra 9). A hundred or so of the returned Israelites, out of a population that by this time would have been at least fifty or sixty thousand, have married pagan women from the surrounding tribes. Ezra treats this as an unmitigated disaster and weeps before the Lord as if really grievous harm has been done. Has religion descended to the level where it tells its adherents whom they may marry? Moreover, the aftermath of this prayer (on which we shall reflect tomorrow) is pretty heartless, isn’t it?

In reality, Ezra’s prayer discloses a man who has thought long and hard about Israel’s history.

First, he understands what brought about the exile, the formal destruction of the nation, the scattering of the people. It was nothing other than the sins of the people—and terribly often these sins had been fostered by links, not least marital links, between the people of the covenant and the surrounding tribes. “Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today” (Ezra 9:7).

Second, he understands that if this community has been permitted to return to Judah, it is because “for a brief moment, the LORD our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage” (Ezra 9:8).

Third, he understands that in the light of the first two points, and in the light of Scripture’s explicit prohibition against intermarriage, what has taken place is not only singular ingratitude but concrete defiance of the God who has come to Israel’s relief not only in the Exodus but also in the exile.

Fourth, he understands the complex, corrosive, corporate nature of sin. Like Isaiah before him (Isa. 6:5), Ezra aligns himself with the people in their sin (Ezra 9:6). He grasps the stubborn fact that these are not individual failures and nothing more; these are means by which raw paganism, and finally the relativizing of Almighty God, are smuggled into the entire community through the back door. How could such marriages, even among some priests, have been arranged unless many, many others had given their approval, or at least winked at the exercise? Above all, Ezra understands that the sins of the people of God are far worse than the punishment they have received (Ezra 9:13–15).

How should these lines of thought shape our thinking about the sins of the people of God today?


APPLICATION / PRAYER

In reading today’s devotional I realized I have not been an Ezra or Nehemiah (one of my favorite OT characters) as of late when it comes to me and my local church. Oh, I have lots of excuses, illness, and such but really how much weight do those excuses hold. 

Join me today in praying for the local church, that it may be strong, uninfluenced by worldly affairs, and edifying to all the saints it ministers to. 

 

Lord, let your Spirit be poured out upon your churches from on high, and then the wilderness shall become a fruitful field; Isaiah 32:15(ESV) then justice shall return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Psalm 94:15(ESV)

Let what remains be put into order, Titus 1:5(ESV), and let every plant that is not of my heavenly Father’s planting be rooted up. Matthew 15:13(ESV)

Let the Lord whom I seek come to his temple like a refiner’s fire and fullers’ soap, and let him purify the sons of Levi and all the seed of Israel, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may bring offerings of righteousness to the LORD, pleasing offerings to the LORD as in the days of old, as in former years. Malachi 3:2-4(ESV)

Let religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, flourish and prevail everywhere: James 1:27(ESV) that kingdom of God among men, which is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17(ESV) O revive this work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; Habakkuk 3:2(ESV) and let these times be times of reformation. Hebrews 9:10(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Seek Good

14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:14-15

AMOS 5


CONTEXT

Here is a good brief summary of The book of Amos I found: 

Amos can see that beneath Israel’s external prosperity and power, internally the nation is corrupt to the core. The sins for which Amos chastens the people are extensive: neglect of God’s Word, idolatry, pagan worship, greed, corrupted leadership, and oppression of the poor. Amos begins by pronouncing a judgment upon all the surrounding nations, then upon his own nation of Judah, and finally, the harshest judgment is given to Israel. His visions from God reveal the same emphatic message: judgment is near. The book ends with God’s promise to Amos of future restoration of the remnant.Summary of Amos

Amos 5 can be broken down into three main areas:

      1.  v.1-6 Israel called to seek the Lord
      2.  v.7-17 Israel called to repentance
      3. v.18-27 Woes concerning judgments over idols

Today we are concerned with the middle area, mainly one specific phrase from verse 14a Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live.

I know of no one that does not want to live a full and complete life. Yes, there are some who are suffering and get to the point where they feel (wrongly) life is not worth living. Yet most of us want a quality of life that worldly affairs just cannot fulfill. 


BREAKDOWN

The theme of seeking God is repeated twice in the first 6 verses v.4&6. By contrast in the following section Israel (we) are called to Seek Goodness. I think the point is simple, one can search for God all they want but as long as they continue along a path of evil, they search in vain.

The end result pointed to in each is the same that ye may live.  Life, that goes beyond just breathing, and material wealth must begin with God.  I offer Dr. John Gills Comments on these verses as a help: 

v.4 seek ye me; seek my fear, as the Targum; fear and reverence, serve and worship, the Lord God; return unto him by repentance; seek to him by prayer and supplication; acknowledge your sins, and humble yourselves before him, and implore his pardoning grace and mercy:

v.4  and ye shall live; in your own land, and not be carried out of it; live comfortably, in great plenty of good things; and live spiritually, enjoying the favour of God, and his presence in his ordinances, and live eternally in the world to come.

v.6 Seek the Lord, and ye shall live,… This is, repeated to stir up unto it, because of their backwardness and slothfulness, and to show the importance and necessity of it. By the “Lord” may be meant the Messiah, Israel’s God that was to come, and they were to prepare to meet, Amos 4:12; and the rather, since life spiritual and eternal is only to be had from him, and he is to be sought unto for it, and all the blessings of it, peace, pardon, righteousness, rest, and salvation as well as temporal deliverance, and all outward mercies:

v.14 Seek good, and not evil,… Seek not unto, or after, evil persons and evil things; not the company and conversation of evil men, which is infectious and dangerous; nor anything that is evil, or has the appearance of it, especially the evil of evils, sin; which is hateful to God, contrary to his nature and will; is evil in its own nature, and bad in its consequences, and therefore not to be sought, but shunned and avoided; but seek that which is good, persons and things: seek the “summum bonnum”, “the chief good”, God, who is essentially, perfectly, immutably, and communicatively good, the fountain of all goodness, and the portion of his people; seek Christ the good Saviour and sacrifice, the good Shepherd, and the good Samaritan, who is good in all his relations, as a father, husband, and friend, and in whom all good things are laid up; seek the good Spirit of God, who works good things in his people, and shows good things to them, and is the Comforter of them; seek to him for assistance in prayer, and to help in the exercise of every grace, and in the discharge of every duty, and as the guide into all truth, and to eternal glory; seek the good ways of God, the way of truth, the path of faith and holiness, and especially the good way to the Father, the way of life and salvation by Christ; seek the good word of God, the Scriptures of truth, the promises contained in them, and the Gospel of them; seek the company of good men, and that good part that shall not be taken away, the true grace of God, the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; seek the glories of another world, the goodness of God laid up, the best things which are reserved to last:

that ye may live; comfortably, spiritually, and eternally, which is the consequence of all this; See Gill on Amos 5:4; See Gill on Amos 5:6

We need to diligently seek God with awe and reverence, we need to repent of our sins as individuals and as a nation in order that we might live a life enjoying the favor of God, and his presence in his ordinances, and live eternally in the world to come.

National sins bring down national judgments; and when God grows angry against the people, he makes the places of their feasting, the vineyards where grow their choicest vines, to become the places of their sorrow, so that wailing and distress are heard on all sides. Oh, that nations knew the day of their visitation, and would do justly! Then would such judgments be averted? – C.H. Spurgeon


APPLICATION

Pray for that we as believers would continually seek Him with. Pray especially that those who do not know God would feel the urging of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts and seek Him today. Pray for our Nation to turn and Repent from its evil ways. 

Address God with Reverence and Awe

Having thus engaged our hearts to approach God. Jeremiah 30:21(ESV)

We must solemnly address ourselves to that infinitely great and glorious Being with whom we have to do, as those who are possessed with a full belief of his presence and a holy awe and reverence of his Majesty, which we may do in such expressions as these:

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! Revelation 4:8(ESV)

O you whose name is the LORD, who alone are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83:18(ESV)

O God, you are our God, earnestly we seek you; Psalm 63:1(ESV) our God, and we will praise you; our fathers’ God, and we will exalt you. Exodus 15:2(ESV)

O you who are the true God, the living God, the one only living and true God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9(ESV) and the everlasting King! Jeremiah 10:10(ESV) The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deuteronomy 6:4(ESV)

And may we thus distinguish ourselves from the worshipers of false gods.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, they are vanity and a lie, the work of human hands; Psalm 115:4(ESV) those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them. Psalm 115:8(ESV) But the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name, Jeremiah 10:16(ESV) God over all, blessed forever. Romans 9:5(ESV)

Their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves, Deuteronomy 32:31(ESV) for he is the Rock of ages; the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock: Isaiah 26:4(ESV) His name endures forever, and his renown throughout all ages, Psalm 135:13(ESV) even when the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.