Beware the Full Focus

July 9, 2014 at 10:20 am | Posted in The Fives | 1 Comment
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Jerusalem was in a location chosen by God, yet surrounded by nations of people that did not believe what His people believed.

Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.

Ezekiel 5:5

This was a dangerous and precarious position, but it was also a great opportunity.

In a world of merchant trading and traveling, Jerusalem could profit from her role as a major trade route, and could benefit commercially. More importantly, however, Jerusalem could share the truth of the One True God with her visitors and surrounding neighbors.

The danger was also twofold. Being landlocked amidst hostile pagans, Jerusalem would have to remain vigilant on all sides. Again, though, more importantly, rather than influencing her neighbors with the truth, there was always the danger of lapsing into the idolatry and sinful culture that beset her on every front. Sadly, this is precisely what happened – to an even greater degree.

And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

Ezekiel 5:6

Christians today face the same predicament. We are ensconced in a world hostile to our Lord and skeptical of His ways. We are set forth with a mission to evangelize the unbelievers, but we are also a curiosity piece when we consistently practice what we believe. Will we succumb to the influence and wilt under the withering focus of those who think us old-fashioned, foolish, or judgmental? If we do, we are subject to embarrassing rebuke and public humiliation.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.

Ezekiel 5:8

Or will we shine brightly with the light of the Savior even as the darkness encroaches ever more tightly upon us? Will we speak boldly and live with integrity so that we become a refuge for the heathens when they see the futility of fighting against the real God? If so, we will know the blessing of the presence of the Lord in our lives.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus the Great

April 20, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in Biblical Greats, Zechariah | 2 Comments
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Lord, help us to be focused, to keep our mind on You. Help us not to separate what we learn from what we do. Help us to remember Your ways and Your Person. Help us to remember Your people, Your church, and the lost. Help us to remember that our afflictions are light considering our blessings, and definitely light compared to what You suffered for us.

Zechariah 9:1-8 describes the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

Zechariah 9:5

And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

Zechariah 9:8

Alexander the Great paved the way for Greek civilization and the Roman empire, which in turn brought about a united language, the spread of roads and information, and some stability in government. Due in part to the achievements of Alexander the Great, Christ Jesus was not crucified in private.

Zechariah prophesied that Jerusalem would be spared – and it was. The high priest had a dream, and the priests and the people dressed in white, and opened the city gates. Alexander was impressed, and he even offered sacrifices to God in the temple.

Notice these contrasts between Alexander and Christ:

a. Alexander wept because there were no more lands to conquer. (He couldn’t conquer any more people.) Christ wept because the people rejected Him. (He couldn’t set them free.)

b. Alexander rode a mighty steed. Christ rode a donkey.

c. Alexander received great fanfare. Christ’s chief moment of public acclaim involved peasants, children singing, and palm branches.

d. Alexander brought judgment. Christ brought grace and forgiveness.

e. Alexander threatened death if a city wouldn’t surrender. Christ died for the people who wouldn’t surrender.

In Zechariah Chapter 10 we see images of the flock which is victimized by an evil shepherd.

For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Zechariah 10:2-3

When It’s Okay to be Irrational

February 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Haggai | 14 Comments
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The people had made a good start. Bravely, they had gone back to Jerusalem, and had begun rebuilding the temple. Then, for 16 years the work stopped. God sent the prophet Haggai to get the people working again. We can see from the prophet’s words three major sins that were the cause of the delay.

First, the workers were guilty of the sin of rationalization. To rationalize something is to give an excuse for not doing what we really don’t want to be doing anyway.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.

Haggai 1:2

When we say that we intend to do what the Lord has commanded, but that right now is not the right time, we must be careful of the sin of rationalization.

Second, the workers were indulging in the sign of rationalism. Rationalism is man-centered thinking in disregard of the principles and precepts of God’s Word.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Haggai 1:6

Man-centered reasoning says that if there is opposition to God’s work, He must not want us to continue. However, God-centered reasoning says that if God has commanded it, He will make a way to overcome all opposition.

Third, the workers had sinfully re-ordered their priorities. They were working on their own houses while the house of the Lord remained unfinished.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Haggai 1:9

We must put the things of God first on our priority list. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, all our needs will be met by Him (Matthew 6:33).

Christians today should beware of working for themselves instead of working for the Lord. Ask the Holy Ghost to give you a spiritual check-up today, to make sure you are free from the sins of rationalization, rationalism, and re-ordered priorities.

The King Who Will Return

November 6, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in Luke, parables | 9 Comments
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As Jesus and His followers approached Jerusalem at the time of Passover, rumors began to spread of a rebellion against Rome. People were worked up and excited over the idea that Jesus would establish the throne of David, and rule His people. However, instead of inciting violence, Jesus told a parable.

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Luke 19:11

This parable serves as a warning to the people of God even today. It is a warning to stay busy until the Ruler of the Kingdom returns.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:13

What will believers on the Lord Jesus Christ do with the treasure of the Gospel message as we await the return of our King? Will we fail to guard it, and allow it to be taken from us and corrupted? Or will we, in seeking to protect it, hoard it up, and fail to put it to maximum use?

When the ruler in the parable returned to obtain an accounting of the treasure he had given the servants, he found that he could trust and reward those who had worked diligently with what they had been given.

And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:17

Today is the day for believers to get busy, and stay busy, using the great gift of the Gospel message to do the work of our Ruler, anticipating His soon return!

The Strait Gate and the Wall that Will Not Fall

October 27, 2009 at 8:01 am | Posted in Nehemiah | 10 Comments
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In about 443 B.C. Nehemiah led a brave group of Jewish exiles back to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls which had been destroyed by Babylonian invaders. As he systematically assigned different groups of workers to work on different sections of the walls, we can see how these different sections were divided by different “gates.” The Bible outlines these different gates in such a way that we might glean a spiritual lesson.

Among the various gates, there was a fountain gate (Nehemiah 3:15) and a water gate (Nehemiah 3:26). In Scripture water for drinking (a fountain) is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Water for washing is a picture of the Word of God. The names of the workers who repaired the fountain gate are recorded for posterity. The people of God need the power of God (the Holy Spirit) to do the work of God. However, there is no record of repairs on the water gate. This reminds us that the Word of God stands forever, and will not fall. Neither will it ever need to be “repaired” or “improved.”

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89


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