God Showed No Partiality In Judging The Nation

God Evaluated The Entire Nation- the whole of them.

Often people blame the politicians most, and alot of time there is more pin the tail on someone else game going on but when God judged the nation of Israel, he played no favorites. He impartially called them all out.

“Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. ”

Ezekiel 22:24-31

1.) The Princes

•There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.

These rulers used their power and authority to do violence and abused their power!

2.) The Priests.

•Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean;

•and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things” – What does this mean though? They basically damaged the credibility of the Teaching of God by how they taught. They refused to make a distinction between “Clean and unclean”

Modern times a preacher or Bible teacher has a serious job. To present what the Word of God says and not elevate societal opinion over it. He is supposed to exalt God’s Word above his own opinion or preference as well. There are things that God’s Word says that challenge us all and at times we wont necessarily like it because it is challenging and convicting but we should still present it in it’s fullness so we all can grow by it. There are a lot of supposedly Christian churches today that do God’s Word diservice by neglecting what is taught that indeed is not popularly accepted in our culture. The priests in the time of Ezekial and Jeremiah and other prophets were sternly rebuked for failure to teach God’s law as they should have been. The nation as a whole suffered for it and was judged through being taken captive by Babylon.

3.) The Officials-

•Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.

These leaders took advantage of people and did violence for unjust gain. Here in America or any country, greed can poison the hearts of people called to uphold law and justice. Political leaders and judges can be bribed. Law makers can let self interest and monetary gain affect their law making decisions. This all is corrupt and God indicted Israel for this very thing.

4.) The Prophets-

•Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.

Those who were called by God to turn people from wrong gave themselves over to corruptness also. They “whitewashed” the sin of the people and made it look less serious then it was, and by means of false vision and lying and divination. They presumed to speak on behalf of God when he had not spoken or told them to.

5.) The People/ Citizens

•The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

These people even with little more then just being ordinary citizens also were just as bad. They took advantage of another’s disadvantage, “The poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner” and “Denying them justice.”

Often as wrong as it is, there is a vulnerable people group that others see as easy to exploit, and the Lord took this sin serious throughout the Bible and also these people then were denied justice in courts- possibly because they were poor and from another place.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. ” (Ezekial 23:30-31)

Jesus is the ultimate intercessor before God to atone for sin. Through knowlege of him we have escaped corruption and eternal death. However, on the smaller scale, those who genuinely are followers of Him should be praying for our nation- promoting His message and those who teach the Word should not treat it as trivial. The Word of God is serious on the nature of sin and the sacrifice that it cost Jesus to save us from living for sin and self. Many in this country say they are Christians- maybe half the population or at least a third may say this and go to church even. Yet the call is clear in following Jesus Christ- Jesus wants to be Saviour and Lord of all our lives, not just sections we are ok with him being Lord over. He wants all, or nothing- first place, or not at all. [I am refering to a type of Christianity so watered down and whitewashed by culture- that says “I believe in Jesus” but he has little or no say in their lives.] None of us are sinless but we should be commited and continually be growing!

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The Confusion Between Teaching on Grace and Works

Many get confused with what the Scripture says when Paul writes “By grace you are saved, through faith and this is not by works so that no one may boast” then they read James where he speaks of “Faith without works is dead” and things like “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

James 2:24)

So people get the wrong idea that James is saying we can be saved by doing good things. No, James is saying that a mere belief in Christ that is not followed by obedience and living for him is not faith that saves anyone.

Metaphor/Analogy- I suppose in human terms we can use a few, 1.) A man prays for a job and is sure he can land a job at a certain place- and boasts of how he can get the job and secure it. Yet he sits on his couch and wont go there to fill out and application or give his resume. (Who does that on a very mundane ordinary life scenario)

Or suppose a young man has interest in a young woman and believes she likes him but chickens out and never goes out of his way to talk to her or pursue this interest.

We see how this does not make since in ordinary day to day life so then why do we assume that it works in Biblical terms of faith? Faith has actions that spring out of it. Faith moves to action. True salvation faith produces real change.

Surrender Doubts And Self Effort!

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” [John 20:27-29 -]

A fascinating passage itself because the disciple who was doubting soon calls Jesus, “My God”

Thomas wanted proof. Yet Jesus had shown many things to His disciples throughout his time with them that should have enabled them to believe. Yet this is so like us if we truly humble ourselves and acknowlege we can be just as much of doubters on somethings pertaining to what we hear from the Lord also. Often what we do not need is more signs or evidence, but to trust what He has already revealed. We can be weak though so often the Lord gives us confirmation and assurance. As Christians we do not really doubt God’s existence but we can often doubt how he sees us, if he loves us as much as the Word says, for the long haul of my Christian walk I doubted terribly if I had truly been saved in moments I had failed to live up to what the Bible called. In hindsight, I see how though God was holding me up and not letting go when I did not realize. And as a Christisn over these past 9 years let me say it has not been one smooth, mess free journey but have had my moments of failure, sin, shortcomings and plenty of moments where I did not play the part as well as I should have. However, over these messy 9 years I have seen God doing the amazing shaping and I am a work in progress but have indeed because of him progressed.

I wanted to share this because many younger Christians do struggle and often have doubts about themselves being God’s saved works of art! Yet as messy as we all can be, God is sculpting us. I’m sure you could ask many people who knew me years ans years if they have seen positive growth- and many might say “Oh if you knew him early on he was kind of a mess” but praise the Lord that He finishes what he begins and nothing about us has the power to excell forward but if we by His Spirit moving in us let Him work his will, then we can go to greater heights then we ever dreamed of! The key is “Yielding” not our personal “Elbow grease” because often our “Trying” stifles God’s working- the key to victory and growth is “Surrender”

Like a man who takes a car to a mechanic, “Hey car man, here let me help you with that” but mechanic says’ “Just give me the keys and stay back while I do the repairs”

Sure we have a part to play and this is “Trust and obey” but we must surrender to His power and presence and let Him do the heavy lifting! Thats the key!

Unforgiveness:The Thirst For Power

Abusing power for violence- Unforgiveness a life behind bars.

Many today may seek positions of power and want to rise to greatness- the problem that can easily come though from the fallen sinful heart is using power for personal revenge or violence. The Bible condemns this behavior. The Pharisees fit this bill quite well, so did the princes of Israel in Ezekial 22:6, as well as Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:10-23

“ ‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. (Ezekiel 22:6)

and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

[Acts 8:10-23 -]

There is a problem with all of us though, we are sinful – and any human being growing in power without yielding to a reverence and respect for God can easily become spoiled by desire to misuse power to his or her own unjust gain or personal revenge. In contrast, we see people who used there place of power for benevolent good such as Joseph in the book of Genesis. He forgave his brothers who had sold him as a slave years before and used his power to save their lives and their nation.

As Christians, whether small or great, well known or inconspicuous, God calls us to not misuse what position we have.

Vital key to Christian living is “Forgiveness”—we are called to

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. [Ephesians 4:30-32]

In order to progress in our walks with the Lord Jesus Christ we have to deal with bitterness and unresolved anger. It does not mean what others have done is right, or excusable, but first: We have been forgiven so much in Christ Jesus. And witholding forgiveness is not seeing how great our own sin cost Jesus who suffered sinlessly for us. Secondly, forgiveness entrusts God as superior judge of these people and puts Him on His rightful throne to deal with them as he sees fit to.

God is serious about sin far more then any human could be. Sin meant Christ suffered unjustly and lost his life because that was the only sacrifice that could make any of us forgiven. Also, we sin ourselves and have created pain and suffering for others in ways we may never realize and also grieve God when we sin, so to think we can be rightful judges of others sets us up to be hypocrites and tells God he is not smart enough to handle others who sin. That is dumb. God knows all, he sees their actions from the day they were born but knows also their motives, life stories, everything about them that may factor in here or there and he knows their struggles too. Not to say any of us are off the hook, but Christ hung so we would not hang.

But if a person does not forgive- Christ warns God wont forgive their sins. This does not mean it is not emotionally challenging and does not take time to fully seek God and find freedom from an unforgiving attitude- It infact does often involves pressing toward God in prayer and he changes our hearts as we do. Yet the concept here is just an adiment refusal to forgive. It enslaves here in this life and will condemn the unforgiving in the eternal state. Grudges must be dealt with and some spend a life behind bars being driven by desire of revenge. It is not worth it. People destroy those who may inadvertently hurt them presently because things from early on have been so sore in their hearts that they react in fury toward even people who are not original offenders. We all sin in many ways and step on toes but so often unresolved hurts from even childhood can haunt us in the present unless we allow Christ to set us free!

“Because You Ripped Open Pregnant Women To Extend Your Borders!”

This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not relent. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, (Amos 1:13)

This no doubt is kind of a strange passage but think the text explains enough to conclude that the Ammonites were guilty of expanding at expense of murdering pregnant women and babies they carried.

Though to think how this may apply to our lives as modern readers, let’s search for the timeless truths. First we know that Ammon was guilty of violence toward pregnant women in Gilead to extend his borders. So self interest caused the guilty to become guilty of bloodshed for personal gain.

We live in a society that has been plagued by a faulty notion, “The end justifies the means” and “If it is for the greater good of many then doing wrong toward some is justifiable.” Yet this treats innocent people as numbers and says “If we can help more people by wronging a handful then it is justified.” However, God’s Word begs to differ. At the time of the Holocaust, actually more Germans were in favor of Hitler and he had won the masses with smooth elequant appeal. Many innocent Jews, Christians who tried to help them, infirm, and other groups of people lost their lives in the phony pretense of “Progress” and we see this now as a Historic atrocity but then they said what many say today “We are making progress” and “Moving forward”

There is a mindset in many in our time that see some people as interferences to what they deem to be progress. Some on college campuses as well as the country are of the mindset that the elderly and the people who cannot contribute much to society are hinderences to collective progress. However, I see any such mindset as just as evil as what drove Ammon to kill pregnant women in attempts to expand. We have many who see unborn children as just masses of tissue and if a baby is going to be a nuisance to one’s personal happiness- there are many who say “A woman for any reason should be able to have her unborn aborted”

There are men who play a part in this also, and there are stories where a man wants to have his fun and games and pressures the woman he gets pregnant into aborting the child. Why? Because he does not want to man up and be responsible to help raise that child or have to pay child support. Such men also play a role to “rip open pregnant women” to “extend his borders”

Can we say that American for a large part is not too unlike Ammon or ancient Caanenite cultures who God had Israel wipe out because they were an eye sore to Him? Unfortunately Israel did her own crimes and sins after she settled in the land and was exiled for 70 years as a result.

What can we conclude about us? If God was to call us all before him on trial and lay charges over every hidden work, motive, deed and thought in secret, how would you respond when he says “Give me a reason why I should allow you into my Heaven with me?”

What would you say? Because how we all answer that determines our eternal state.

This is no guilt trip dear friends but it is a sobering wake up call. This is not a political sermon though it deals with societal issues that have become politically bastions. On a personal self inventory we should all search our hearts and ask what motivates what we do, say, believe and all other outworking of our lives. For where the motive lies will give so much insight into why individuals say, do, act or believe things. Motives tell alot about the causes people deem worth pursuing also.

The Bible says that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”- Jesus

This is where actions come from too! So tracing it back to it’s root can identify the quality of the fruit. If we are doing anything from self centeredness, malice, or ill intent then no matter how good one thinks the cause is, [Whether truly good or bad] a good cause can be sullied by a evil motive, a bad cause can become more fowler from an evil motive.

So I have composed this not to be political but rather whoever may personal reaf my writings/ my goal is to provoke personal thought and individual reflection in my readers. We often try to target world problems with political reforms- but if you cannot first reform the heart of a person the best political solution remains only a cast for a broken limb that refused to heal. The cast only restrains further damage. A good law is necessary to restrain but has no power to heal. The Gospel though is God’s solution for what ails every human heart- sin. And you cannot take sin out of the World without removing the sin from the sinner. Yet Christ died on the cross to crush sin in the hearts of those who in faith turn to him and say “Lord I know I am messed up and sinful and cannot change on my own and need your forgiveness and power to live the way I ought!”

Shadow On The Wall

This is a cool little thing that happened when I was at work but never made mention of it till now. But was rolling back from break near the east wall of the office. To the west is glass windows and to the east is a wall. Yet stragely I was rolling past this wall back to my designated area when I saw what looked like a shadow on the wall that looked like stair steps. And someone had obviously had arranged something upon their desk that made this shadow upon the sun going down near the west window. Then recalled reading this few days earlier as a part of my daily reading plan

—I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’” Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. [2 Kings 20:6-11]

The story hear in 2 Kings was King Hezekiah was sick and suffered the heavy hand of God from pride and not only this the city was under siege by the Assyrian army. So when Hezekiah humbled himself and entreated the Lord his fate was changed.

What happened was God had delivered Hezekiah and the city earlier from Senacharrib king of Assyria but Hezekiah like many of us can let victory tempt pride:

—So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side. Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 32:22-26 –

We see though that Hezekiah even though he messed up turned to the Lord with a right heart by humbling himself. This is how we also must respond too when we goof up or sin. Hezekiah was a good king but was not without his sins, but here we see how his heart responded when he realized his error and he repented.

Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Proverbs 24:15-16 –

Being righteous is not just doing right, but also there is a great deal to be said about how we respond when we blow it and fail. Do we make excuses and rationalize our sins away? Or do we own up and humble ourselves and say “Lord I sinned and was wrong”

Scorpions

Scorpions of the Bible-

And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. (Ezekiel 2:6 -)

He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. [Deuteronomy 8:15-18]

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

(Luke 10:18-19 )

Scorpions throughout Biblical literature were feared and not held in a favorable light. The scorpion has been mentioned in Deuteronomy as an animal that inhabited the desert the Israelites wandered through. It has been symbolic of the wicked and evil doer in the time of Ezekial the prophet to describe the nature of the people the prophet was dealing with and lastly Jesus refers to the spiritual forces of Satan as being like that of a scorpion.

Scientifically they are very fascinating animals. In fact, they will eat eachother provided one has an opportunity to do so. They often will grab prey with claws and then inject venom from a stinger attached to the tail they use as their most formidable weapon. When mating the male is not by any means safe himself since the female scorpion may sting him and devour him in his attempt.

Scorpions like snakes, reptiles of other kinds, arachnids and insects of other varieties are cold blooded. This means their body temperature is dependent on external sources of heat to be maintained for their survival. Thus they fair best in warmer climates that have a steady temperature that does not drop significantly enough.

The following picture is a “Israeli Palestenian Deathstalker scorpion” and may indeed be the species that Jews in the days of Jesus and Biblical times had come across.

In the article by Toni Staff, in the Israeli Times-

“The Israeli yellow scorpion, also commonly known as the deathstalker, is a highly venomous species common in southern Israel’s Negev Desert.While its venom is not lethal for adults, it can be deadly for the young, elderly and infirm.”

[https://www.timesofisrael.com/boy-hospitalized-after-stung-by-deadly-scorpion/]

Though possibly not fatal to be stung by a majority of scorpions, some species are very venomous and can prove fatal.

In the United States there is a species that can kill a human adult and is known as

The Arizona bark scorpion. Arizona has desert so it is one of a scorpions favorite habitats.

When we see all this in Biblical light we must realize Jesus is using the nature of the scorpion as a metaphor. Also so is the book of Ezekial. The rebellious untamed nature of sin makes it’s hosts unpradictable and hostile by nature. And as it says in the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5-

—-You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. [Galatians 5:13-15 -]

The Apostle Paul is warning people in the Galatian church that claim to follow Christ that they must put off the worldly ways they are succumbing to. He then gives us a list to discern whether we are acting in the renewed man or the old nature-

—So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21)

What he then does is show us what we should be living like as people who claim to follow Christ.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26)

We are not to behave out of fleshly ways and “Eat or be eaten” but rather behave as people remade again in God’s image to reflect His likeness and behave like the people of God, not wild animals. Human beings were created for more then survival and preying on eachother yet sin makes us by nature become like the wild beasts yet having no excuses to justify us in doing so! Christ died to redeem us from the ways of the Scorpion.

Power!

Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord , are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

1 Kings 18:37-38 –

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:17-20 –

James indicates that Elijah was just an ordinary man. Yet he did extraordinary things. How? Wasn’t Elijah super special and spiritual though?

Jesus taught in John 15 that the only way for any of us to be fruitful or effective is to “Remain in me”

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

John 15:5-6 –

He concludes by saying:

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

John 15:7-17 –

Elijah was no more spiritual then any of us who know Christ yet he positioned himself to be used by the Lord. This is why we too should regularly develop a close relationship with Jesus Christ also. Pray regularly and feed on His Words, because the power is in Him not ourselves. Apart from Him we cannot obey as we ought, do good like we should or anything eternally significant. Elijah knew that he was just a vessel of God and regularly sought the Lord and had much alone time with God. So too we also are only as effectual as we allow God to pour into us!

Plundering The Enemy Who Plundered.

Now in David’s story, he was dealing with a literal mortal enemy, namely, the Amalekites. Yet as believers, we have been warned to be “Sober and alert” because the great enemy is targeting us:

–Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:6-9 -)

“David strengthened himself in the Lord” it says, and he was “Casting all his cares upon the Lord”

He was in a bad spot, the men’s families were captured by the enemies of God’s people so David and his men were distraught. To make matters worse his own men wanted to kill him in their anger. So David does the only thing he can, the first thing any of us should in a tight place, “Strengthen ourselves in the Lord” and “Cast all your anxieties on him for he cares for you.”

Not only does he find “Strength in the Lord” but also God shows him what to do. He first finds power in the Lord to do what God has called him to do! So he is both strengthened and led to pursue the enemy and retake what was stolen!

So too with us, our strength to overcome temptation and truimph in troubles requires the greatest resource, God!

We must seek him to truimph!

Amazing Transformations

Some of the greatest treasures are formed in the seemingly most unthinkable ways. A pearl is formed from a grain of sand being lodged inside the mouth, if you could call it of a oyster, the mollusk secreets a substance to coat the grain and it results in a pearl, and these can be very valueble. Also, carbon, under ordinary circumstances coal is not much but has some limited use- such as producing electricity or fueling certain locamotives like coal trains. However, under enormous preasure, over a prologed period of time it is pressurized so much it becomes a diamond. Diamonds not only are very costly and valueble, but they are nearly in some sense, indestructible—a diamond cannot be scratched it has been said, except by another diamond, and furthermore, diamonds hold a resiliant resistence to even very strong acids that can disolve glass.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 –

To have character, now that requires heat and melting, furnaces, and fires and pressure while practicing patience, integrity and by God’s enabling Spirit he gives us through the adoption of the cross, that Christ paid for our salvation- by persevering in His power we become proven and tested, valueble and even more useful for his service. Coal has use, yet diamond a far exceeding worth over tons of just average coal. There is an adage that says “Worth their weight in gold” yet in the same manner testing brings the value out of us!

Some suffer much in a life and it makes a cynic, others suffer an equal load of grief, woes, burdens and sorrows yet become more compassionate, inspirers, humble, gentle, meek and tenderhearted. Why? What is it that does this? What a person’s heart is made of is going to determine whether we burn like chaff or glow like gold being refined. However, apart from God’s grace we all would be destroyed in the furnaces of affliction and like a piece of metal that will not conform to becoming useful for anything of value or use. Some metal will only warp with heat and become even less useful yet other metals are refined and made more costly and strong in the process.

The bird in the egg and the catipillar in the caccoon- both must fight to break forth and aiding either one can prove to be its own detriment, underdeveloped wings.

Another example of such lessons come from a type of pine cone that is termed a “Serotinous cone”- which implies that there is a residue that basically acts as an epoxy that holds the outer cone tightly together and traps the seeds inside. The only real natural way to have these seeds released after they have reached right development comes through high thermal temperatures. When a forest fire occurs, this sticky substance is melted away and the cones release their seeds.

And we see here that even the created order of our natural world seems to also help us see what spiritual realities can also be like.