The Divine Nature Of Jesus

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 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!” (John 20:26-28)

See what this disciple says. Many today claim that Jesus never actually claimed He was God, but only God’s Son. Yet we can see He was both. 

The Jews in Jesus’s time who well knew that the Old Testament says “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”

Yet what happened in the John 8 was the Jews saw what Jesus was saying about who He was as blasphemy and tried to stone Him

Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:53-59)

Obviously they knew exactly what claims Jesus made of His divinity. There was not doubt in their minds what He was claiming. None whatsoever.

The disciple Thomas whom Jesus appears to, says “My Lord and my God”
Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Matthew 28:9 – 
Notice, “They worshiped Him”

These Jewish men who knew the Law of Moses which said
“You shall have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3 – and this is also repeated in 

Deuteronomy 5:7
So obviously if Jesus was not God, these men were bowing to another god. Yet we who have received Christ know that,
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Colossians 2:9 – 
Sure God still existed in Heaven, yet He walked in human form on earth. The Spirit of God living through the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked among the very people He spoke to in the book Jeremiah saying “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

(Malachi 3:1)
Whom was the messenger sent before the Lord? Who was he?
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” (Matthew 2:1-3)

Malachi written around 400 years earlier predicts the arrival of John the baptist to preach in preparation for The Lord’s arrival.

Yet far back in the time of Moses, Moses prophesied about the days of Christ, saying

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

God’s holiness among the people in Moses’s time was fearful and awestriking. So much so that they were terrified to hear the thunderous voice from the mountain.

God warned Moses not to let the people approach Him just carelessly, or without authorization.

Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”

Exodus 19:12-13 – 
Yet Jesus Christ is God coming to our level to walk among mankind and offer unto God a sacrifice that can enable us to approach God without fear and dread
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken —that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:18-29 – 
To approach God without Christ is to forget how Holy He is, and how dreadful our sin is.

Up until Jesus came into the world, the only thing that could grant some access to God’s presence was a sacrificial system so He could overlook sin through the centuries to follow, so he could preserve a race of people for Himself to whom He would bring the Messiah.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Yet the Jews of old, Israel had to be preserved some way- so God could unfold His redemptive plan that He had in mind before the foundation of time
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

(Titus 1:2-3)
When reading the New Testament book of the letter of Hebrews, we must realize this was a predominantly Jewish audience whom it was written. Jews that had believed in Jesus Christ.
The book of Hebrews is a difficult book to unpack. To read it, it is very helpful to understand the Old Testament. The author of Hebrews borrows much illustration from the Old Testament to explain many things to Jewish coverts to Jesus Christ.
For us who were not Jewish from the start, but what would be referred to as Gentiles, if we lived in these times. A book such as Hebrews may be harder to understand without some knowledge of the Old Testament.
The good news of the Gospel though is Christ Jesus came to save not just His people Israel from sin, but has made salvation possible for the rest of the world (Those who will turn to Him and believe the news He brought.)
God is not choosing favorites but will forgive anyone from any nation or nationality or upbringing that turns to Christ Jesus by faith!


Psalm 34:17-22 Sermon, Taking Refuge In The Lord.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.(Psalm 34:17-22)

See then that the righteous cry out, to whom? They call out to the Lord. Then it says “and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” 
Yet notice, the righteous turn to the Lord in their distress. Yet often the wicked would not!

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! (Job 13:15-16)

The godless heart may neither believe God to exist, and if he or she did, be terrified to even draw close to God. For the sinner lives in fearful gloom at the thought of the Lord God. Their consciences accuses them before their maker on high. Through lack of knowledge or outright hostility toward God, they may shrink away in fear or vaunt their rage toward the heavens when calamity strikes. 

For they know the darkness, they know their sin, they often cling to their pride and refuse to humble themselves before He who sits on the throne. If they did, they would find Him to be beautiful in mercy and great in compassion toward even them! Yet what greater sin is their then pride and idolatry? These keep them bound in the shackles of the dark prince.
Instead, the wicked turn to self, or the arm of the proud. They may devise and scheme to find deliverance from the day of woe. They may seek false predictions to ease their fearful hearts. 

When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.(Isaiah 8:19-22)

That is, if they find no faith to approach God to humble themselves, and receive His great mercy. Jesus came gently to save sinners. “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

(Luke 5:31-32)
Yet unbelief may trap such a fellow in his or her destructive way, fearing the Lord may brandish against them a club to drive them away! Yet behold, the Psalm says
“The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

So then if a sinner, aware of their desperate plight comes to their senses and flees to the Lord hoping for His mercy and aid,

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

Jesus welcomes all who will run to Him and take refuge in him. In essence, to take refuge in the Lord, from the anger of the Lord, means salvation and mercy for even the most guilty soul. 

Before this we read, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”

Yet the broken hearted sinner who is wicked, yet grieves with heavy heart, will not the Lord graciously also pardon them, if they seek refuge in Him? Certainly this is the Gospel! “No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

Now about the believer, saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Psalm forewarns “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
Yet our precious Savior and Lord also speaks this cheering word,

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The Devil Does Not Part With His Prey To Easily.

Often when one resolves to wholeheartedly follow Christ and the Lord God, it is not some easy passage toward the Heavenly Kingdom. 
Though the good news is, we won’t be left without the aid of Omnipotence! Yet there is a sore battle along the way. When king Hezekiah began to purify the land and seek the Lord whole heartedly, he sometime later was faced with a very formidable foe. Sennacherib, king of Assyria marched out and made his presence known. 

The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have counsel and might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? (Isaiah 36:4-5)

The field commander under Sennacherib then went on to insult God and say it was no use to trust in the Lord God, because no god of any other nation was able to deliver them.
“Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own —a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” (Isaiah 36:16-21)

Sennacherib was only a man made of flesh and blood. He does though depict Satan in a sense, and uses a strategy to first cast doubt and offer a empty promise.

First Sennacherib boasts in insolence against God and rages out the pride of his own heart. Then he uses fear and tempts them to surrender by offering to bring them into a good land. 

“Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own —a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.”

Jesus while he was tempted in the wilderness for forty days by the devil, was offered several tempting alternatives. One was “All this will I give to you, if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus does not reason with the devil any more then Hezekiah tries to reason with Sennacherib. Jesus merely quotes the word of God and defeats the devil, three recorded occasions.

See how Hezekiah also says: “But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” 

We cannot argue with the devil. The Wird of God though can disarm the devil. Also, praying to the Lord of heaven is another way to deal with temptation as well as a crisis.

We see how Hezekiah responds:
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “ Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord , and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. ”

Isaiah 37:14-20 – 
There are some noteworthy elements to Hezekiah’s prayer. We should learn from how he approaches God in prayer.
 • His prayer magnified God’s power and position as the One on the throne of heaven.

 • Hezekiah acknowledges there is a very real threat. He neither shrinks the problem but acknowledges it is serious.
This is important especially when we are struggling with some problem of sin we want to overcome. We should be honest to God that we know it is very serious and not justify it. We must own a struggle that threatens to sink us and seek God’s delivering power! Often we may feel fear that if we are honest and straightforward about a struggle with sin, we may be all the more afraid if we come to grips there is something serious going on! Yet, God is more then able to grant the honest heart who intercedes what is needed to overcome!

 • Hezekiah’s prayer also upheld God’s glory in the petition. His prayer sought God be glorified through the deliverance He would bring!

Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father, who is heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

We see eventually God does respond and Isaiah the prophet comes and says, “Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, (Isaiah 37:21)

I find it fascinating the language God uses, he says “Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.”

God does not say “I heard your prayer about Sennacherib” but seems to suggest a lesson on prayer. The Apostle James says of unanswered prayer: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

(James 4:2-3)
We see though Hezekiah’s prayer benefited both himself and the people greatly, it was not just about himself. God’s glory was in mind and the character of God was on the line. Sennacherib was boasting against God.
God eventually says “this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest heights, the finest of its forests. I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ “Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. “But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came. (Isaiah 37:22-29)

As a result, “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king. (Isaiah 37:36-38)

As we see throughout Scripture in many place, God is very interested in defending His glory and name. God is very keenly interested in His honor and reputation, and rightfully so. He is not selfish in doing so. He knows we need Him far more then we could ever realize. If we fail to esteem Him in His glory, we will suffer more so then He. He needs nothing we can provide Him and is entirely self sustaining, but it is for our good we learn to esteem Him as rightful King.

As Paul preached to a crowd of people on the book of Acts and said:
 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

(Acts 17:24-31)
We need God, he does not need us. He desires us, even before we desired Him. 
The only thing we can give to God is what he desires, but he does not need- he wants our love and loyalty in response to His kindness and goodness. This is the only thing of value he sees we could ever offer. He wants our hearts! 

Dry Spells, Hardships, Trials.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1-5 – 

Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Psalm 143:2-7 – 

Even David, a man after God’s own heart had his moments of dryness, discouragement and doubt. He had his moments he felt keenly his own sin, personal failures, and helplessness. 
David often faced human enemies, he also faced internal struggles of fear and his own personal sins.
David though was a man of passion and prayer. He grew restless and dissatisfied with sensing God’s presence withdrawn. He longed for His God and used the situation around him to describe how his soul felt. In the desert of Judah, most likely fleeing from one of his enemies, probably Saul. 
David takes the scene around him and poetically equivocates it to how his soul felt. 
In Psalm 84, he says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

(Psalm 84:10-11)
When we walk by faith too, and wholeheartedly obey God, He will restore our souls continually with Himself and quench our hungers and thirst. God is truly what our hearts crave and so often we are tempted to run to other things to help us handle our desires, fears, or cope with our problems. Yet these external things do not do a thing to truly solve our problems.
Only God can give our hearts peace. Only God can do this: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
This is what Jesus speaks of in John 10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and life abundantly.”
Jesus can give us strength and joy even in our hard times and we can have hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

In order to enter this life of good from God, we first must realize our sins have separated us from God. Jesus came to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and rose again to give us new life. When we surrender our lives to Him by faith, he washes us clean from sin and gives us His Spirit to enable us to live for God!
Yet as Christians who already are saved by Him, we too will encounter challenges and trials. We still have His promise that if we seek His power, He will enable us to overcome whatever we face. 
Dry spells may happen, yet we must wait patiently for refreshing spiritual rain and continue to seek and obey Him!

Impatient Along The Way

Impatient Along The Way
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” 6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Numbers 21:4-7)
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:8-9)
“But the people grew impatient on the way;” the text says, it does specifically attribute their sin as impatience that led to speaking against the Lord and complaining about His provision.
That is often just as much a temptation in waiting as doubt could be. Sometimes the will of God leads us through uncomfortable places to get us to better places. That calls for us to have patience. Faith is often the test of believing God to bring us out of a trial, yet patience is the power to wait well while in a trial.
The people were showing ingratitude toward how God had been at least providing food. Yeah it got old for them after a while, the mana, but it kept them from starving to death. If they had by faith obeyed God when He opened to door to go possess the promise land to begin with, and not shrink back in fear of “Giants”
Then they would have been the generation that had entered the promise land and would not have been sentenced to wander 40 years in the desert.
Yet the desert became their lot because of unbelief and that was why they had so long been eating mana to begin with.
Through unbelief and impatience we too can keep our own selves back from good God would give us if we only faithfully wholeheartedly obey. Unbelief will keep an unbeliever in a desert and they may never see the good God would do in their life because they are grumbling and living in their doubts and sin.
They have not turned to embrace the Savior who was lifted up onto a cross, just as the bronze snake was lifted up to take away the Israelites guilt in Moses’s time. The grumblers here in numbers were bitten by literal snakes, yet the unbeliever is envenomated by the Serpent of Old, their souls suck up deadly poison and lies. They are sick, dying in their ways of sin yet Christ says “Look to me”
Many in Israel died as a result of these snake bites. Perhaps some even after the bronze snake had been made, refused to humble themselves and look on the bronze snake the God had Moses lift up.
There is something so sinister about pride that it will often hold a person back from repentance even as they are dying. Pride might say “God, kill me, you won’t break my stubborn will, I will die before I serve you.” And indeed some will I am afraid, because the proud heart will suffer terrible pain and often still be unyielding and obstinate.
Is this you reader? Are you sorely deceived into rather suffering much for sin just to be in control and feel right? You will forfeit so much, God’s kindness, goodness and mercy. Is the pleasure of having your pride that great that you will suffer loss of much in this life as well as lose your soul in hell? Is it worth it?
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” (Jonah 2:7-9)
Humble yourself, be saved! Receive the love of Christ and forgiveness you can never earn. The choice is your’s but you surely won’t regret the latter, but will be doomed if you hold fast to the former.

Smoke In His Nostrils

“Keep away, I’m too sacred for you” were what they said to others, as if their sins were not significant or weighty. Yet the nation had already become unholy in her conduct and God said, “Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.”
Many people don’t like the smell of smoke, in fact some hate the smell so much that they don’t want to be around people who smoke at all. Yet our sins are what make us wreak of a stench that God does not want to catch a wiff of.
These people judged the sin of others and said, “Keep away, I’m to sacred for you.” Yet God said in essence to them, “You keep away from me for you have become like smoke in my nostrils.”
God loves people, he hates their sin. Imagine if your loved one, wife, daughter, son or close person to you developed some disease to where they just smelled like rotting flesh. Does your love for them make them in that case easy to be around? What if they smelled so bad, that you felt like gagging or puking every time they came into the room. 
Suppose there was a way to make it so they could be cured. Then you gave it to them and they said, “Sorry, if you love me you ought accept me as I am.” 
Yet then they have made it so even though you love them, they cannot be around you ever again because they smell completely nauseating. In fact, you will suffer health issues if you are close to them.
In OT times a leper had to be excommunicated to a colony made for lepers. Even the closest family could not be around them unless they too had the disease. Leprosy was a disease that would damage tissue and cause oozing sores but also attacks the nervous system. 
Yet spiritually leprous people cannot stand in the presence of the Lord and their sin must be cleansed. Jesus Christ is the Savior that takes our sin away and makes us clean, so we can now be close to God.
When people reject that cure, they choose to cling to leprous ways that keep God saying “Keep away”

No Balm In Her Box, Her Incurable Sore.

No Balm In Her Box, The Sore of Israel.
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:20-22)
But that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty— a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes. The sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates. “Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt. But you try many medicines in vain; there is no healing for you. The nations will hear of your shame; your cries will fill the earth. One warrior will stumble over another; both will fall down together.” (Jeremiah 46:10-12 )
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:13-15 )
What can we understand about the sickness that plagues human kind. The disease of sin, it is more then just skin deep but permeates all facets of the heart. 
Topical remedies won’t work. Good deeds won’t become healing balm for our outrageous guilt. These people tried in vain many religious things to no avail
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” Jeremiah 6:16-20 – 
Oh how he wanted to lead them into peaceful abode, but they said “We will not walk in it.’ And “We will not listen” 
In vain they offered to God empty offerings and He said, “What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”
The sacrifice of God is this, 
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51:16-19)
God does not nearly delight in fasts, religious works or offerings as much as the heart, offered up in humble repentance and contriteness. True love for God is what He desires. Anything given aside from love for Him is like giving a gift to a stranger. Truly, if you gave your loved one a gift, they would treasure it because you gave it from the heart, yet you give a stranger or someone not close a gift, that may indeed be merely a bribe.
To refuse to obey and trust God but give him a gift or offering, that to God is like a bribe that people give thinking they can appease their guilt and sin often.
What does God truly desire? Not your offering or mine but rather to receive Him as our offering to cure our wound and sore called sin
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
In the prophesies, of Egypt, Israel, and Babylon, the metaphor used is that of an incurable sore that there is no balm for. There is no salvation for them, except, 
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13-14 )
There was no fast, bull, offering or lamb that could atone for the incurable wound of these people- except, the blood of the greatest sacrificial Lamb of God
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Finally during the time of Christ, the Messiah had finally arrived as the long awaited prophesies were unfolding. So sad though, because many could not recognize Him
Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus wept over Jerusalem
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)
Yet the hope for those who will believe and receive Him is this: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:11-14)


But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5-6)
As we walk obediently to the Lord Jesus, we give Him greater room and allow Him to bring completion of the good work He began in us. We can stifle our growth through sin, things like anger (James 1:19-20) or sexual immorality (2 Thessalonians 4:3-8) can slow down growth. We are told we should do everything without a complaining rotten attitude, 
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Philippians 2:12-15 – 
God is working in us, yet He wants us to cooperate with the process. We do so by obeying with the strength he gives us through the Holy Spirit. To be without the Spirit, means one is without Christ, to be without Christ is to not be a Christ follower and to be outside of grace, unable to live the Christian life. 
That is why it is not viable for a non believer to reflect Christ’s values, because
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 – 
The ideas of meekness, and repaying good for evil or loving ones enemies for example are foreign and bizarre to non Christians. The thought of Jesus dying on the cross to save us from sin, that seems absurd to the non Christian. Yet we know very well that because Christ loved us while we were estranged, and through His sacrifice in our place, we know this made us acceptable to God and has the power to make us new creations.
Let us follow His ways and let him reshape us daily to reflect His values instead of the World shaping how we think, respond or behave!

Soul Rest

Often we may misconstrue what this means. Does this mean being a Christian is easy? No. Does it mean life will be problem free if you follow Christ? No. 

However, it is different strength we gain when we truly rest in Him by faith. When our strength fails, His shows itself in us to be supernatural to meet whatever challenge we face.
To yoke ourselves under the yoke of Christ means, we submit to Him. When our hearts are submitted to Him, His Spirit takes the steering wheel and we no longer strain like a little train that kept pep talking himself “I think I can, I think I can” but rather His power begins to steer us and enable us to carry life’s difficult loads. To carry heavy bundles, such as guilt, shame, fear, worry, – these are not bundles in Christ’s yoke He wants us to carry. He wants us to realize our sin, repent and then come under His Lordship by faith. Then when a man or woman turns to Christ in faith and seeks His forgiveness for sins, He comes to live inside our hearts, by the Spirit, and He begins to be the power we need!
So Christian, if your yoke seems heavy right now and you are struggling and straining at the oars like the disciples in the storm, perhaps your not letting Jesus be in the boat. Perhaps somehow, you put Him out there, and now are trying to live for Christ in human effort without realizing it.
Ask first, “Is my struggle created by something God truly wants me to carry? Did God have me take this on, or did I just assume he did and now am overwhelmed?”
Second, “If he has called me to do this or that, how much daily time to I give Him in my day to invite His presence into my life?”
Thirdly, “Am I carrying a load in my mind that Scripture teaches I should not assume responsibility for, such as worrying about the future and things beyond my control?
Fourth helpful question, “in light of Scripture, what do my thoughts I think on reflect. Do they reflect what Scripture says is ‘true, lovely, right, pure, admirable, excellent’? (See Philippians 4)
The mind can also if directed negatively, multiply life’s heavy loads. A tired heart and mind is a tired life!

Danger of Comparing

Comparing ourselves to others, or being envious of other people is not good. We see here that Aaron and Miriam, both close relatives of Moses began to speak against Moses because he married a woman of Cush, modern day Ethiopia. 
Yet we see the real resentment was not the woman but rather Moses’s leadership. We can often out of personal jealousy and envy of others find so many stupid reasons to resent them. We see this happen here. First of all, the Lord shows us that He is not nearly as concerned about the color of one’s skin as the colors that come from the heart. Jealousy, pride or envy can make us look so ugly.
We see that God though he judged Miriam for her instigation, he shows he is just as much a merciful God as we see Him described in the New Testament.
God does not kill Miriam or Aaron, Miriam who probably started the bickering among Aaron and herself become leprous for a span of time and is confined outside the camp for seven days. See how the Israelites waited till her punishment was over until they went on. Here I see God’s grace even in His severe dealing with Miriam.
We also see how it is said of Moses, “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.” We see Moses distressed in fact and plead with God to heal his older sister.

Moses was not thinking of himself here or how he had been wronged, but shows distress that the Lord leaves Miriam leprous.
We also see how God spoke face to face with him, not in riddles or dreams like an ordinary prophet, because “He is faithful in all my house.”
Let me guess, it is probable that God used Moses so greatly and spoke so clearly just for the reason he was humble and so faithful. Many people say God does not speak so clearly. God does want to communicate, so it is not God’s fault, but rather as it is written
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.

Psalm 25:14 – 
We see God also have a very special close relationship with another man, Abraham. God actually in Genesis 18 says “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
Then later it is written: ““But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,

Isaiah 41:8 – 
God has friendship and closeness reserved for those who reverence Him and wholeheartedly obey Him. He does not love any of His redeemed children less then others, but he will confide most with those who are faithful with what He has already shown.
Jesus said, “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 15:14-1)
We become God’s friends first by faith in Jesus Christ, before that we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10) 
So God obviously never loved us less or more when we were saved vs after. However, we see God’s love reach into the realm of enemies to win friends.
As we grow in our faith and continue on in his commands, our fellowship with Him can grow, and He will reveal more to us as we mature in the Friendship with the Lord. We will be trusted with more revelation often when we grow in the practice of what we already know! He will reveal more as grow and develop a deeper relationship with the Savior and Lord who loved us at our worst, yet still desired to bring the best out of us!
It’s a privilege and honor to be called friends of God, we should not reverence His Lordship less for this but we have a relationship with our King and God.