Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Cast not away therefore your confidence; which has great recompense of reward.  For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God – you might receive the promise. – Hebrews 10:35-36

– Patience is tied very closely to faith in our heavenly Father.  When we are unduly impatient – we are suggesting we know what is best – better than God. Or, at least we are asserting our timetable is better than His.  We can grow in faith only if we are willing to wait for God’s purposes and patterns to unfold in our lives – on His timetable. – Neil Maxwell

Abraham and Sarah had need of patience in waiting for God to perform as promised – by giving Abraham an heir (Genesis 15:1-4, Romans 4:21).  However, they did not want to wait faithfully the first time. Abraham was 86 and Sarah was barren.  She was far past child-bearing years.  How long were the two supposed to wait on God – when He didn’t say how long?  It was time to take matters into their hands.

Sarah talked her husband into conceiving a child by their Egyptian handmaid, Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4) – casting away their confidence in God’s promise by doing so.  It all caused loathing between the two women (Genesis 16:4-5).  The son born a little later – Ishmael – was not what He had planned for the couple.  An angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael would be a wild man (Genesis 16:11-12).

The first time God spoke to Abraham about this matter, He didn’t say when the child would be born (Genesis 15:1-4).  Maybe He wanted to see how long the couple would wait before trying to do it according to their clock.  Regardless, God’s timing was to set up the lineage leading to the birth of Jesus.  At precisely the right time He had planned all along for mankind – from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10, Titus 1:2).

After the first attempt to birth his promised heir – it would be 13 more years before Abraham would hear about this subject from God (Genesis 16:16, Genesis 17:1).  This time, He gave the set time when Sarah would conceive (Genesis 17:21, Genesis 21:2).  The couple had learned their lesson.  This time the two waited patiently for the promise.  Isaac was born exactly when God said he would be (Genesis 21:3).

This world today is filled with many wants, wishes, desires – and “must-have now” messages from the marketing arena.  A major corporation now runs commercials where one of the lines within is “Why wait – when you can have it now?”  We have our on-demand access to movies, and automated access to money.  If this is the way we like it as adults, aren’t we passing impatience on to our kids?

Paul Sweeney once wrote, “How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras – teach patience to its young?”  Because of such things and more, patience can be a huge problem for anyone in modern society.  How can we teach it to our children if we have a hard time waiting for stop lights to turn from red to green while driving?

How can we teach tolerance to our kids, if we ourselves can’t stand getting behind a slow-moving car for more than just a few minutes – if that long?   What do the young ones learn when they see us getting antsy for having to wait in a check-out line for more than just a matter of 15-30 seconds?  How are they ever going to learn to wait on God if we can’t – especially if we are Christians?

However, if it’s any comfort – there is never anything new to God under His sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  The human race has always had problems waiting on God since the Garden of Eden.  Eve desired wisdom – and she didn’t want to wait.  When the serpent tempted her into taking a bite of the apple to get it – it was too much to resist (Genesis 3:4-6).  Eve’s lack of patience in waiting was eye-opening  (Genesis 3:7).

A failure of patience can also make us miss out on our Father’s positive promises – if prolonged periods of difficulty dash any hopes we had of ever seeing or receiving them.  We could also begin pointing the wrong fingers.  When a great famine hit Israel’s Samaria region – some resorted to cannibalism for survival.  The king of Israel got tired of waiting on God to end it (2 Kings 6:25-29).

God ended up being blamed.  “This evil is of the Lord; why should I wait for Him any longer!?” – the king cried (2 Kings 6:33).  If he had waited one more day – the famine would end how God had planned all along.  According to His timing and methods.  Who would have considered four hungry lepers, stumbling across an abandoned stash of army provisions as a way to end a famine (2 Kings 7:3-16)?

It didn’t get much better in New Testament days. When Jesus passed through Jericho – being near to Jerusalem – those that heard the Son of man speak thought the kingdom of heaven should immediately appear.  Why wait for Christ to be crucified and then come back for them sometime later?  What would they do while waiting in the meantime?  What if Jesus never returned at all (Luke 19:11-12)?

Do any of us think like this today?  There shall be those walking after their own lusts in the last times, scoffing at this promise of Christ’s return.  Some people will become weary of waiting for it, because everything will be continuing on just like it has since the beginning.  How long will we keep waiting for salvation later when things seem to worsening now – not improving (Matthew 24:12, 2 Peter 3:3-4)?

Patience means we wait upon God – even when we may not feel like waiting anymore.  Impatience causes us to rush.  A rushed life is undisciplined.  We can begin trying to speed up the process of receiving God’s promises as Abraham and Sarah did.  We can start succumbing to Satan’s subtle temptations – as Eve did.  We can begin blaming Him for evil things like famines, as Israel’s king did.

Our need of patience is extremely important with God.  Forms of the word (e.g. patience, patient, patiently) appear 52 times in the KJV.  Just because any spiritual seed is planted – does not mean it is going to prosper (Ezekiel 17:10).  Producing the spiritual fruit God requires of us, in keeping with His commandment to repent – can’t be done without patience (Luke 8:15, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).

We are to follow after patience, among several other spiritual disciplines (1 Timothy 6:11).  Sadly, waiting is not a trait normally learned by all the instant fixes the world often offers us for the troubles we face. However, if we should encounter any type of trial from God, we are to glory in it – not grumble.  For enduring such works patience.  Patience leads to experience; followed by hope (Romans 5:3-4).

Hope is the overriding reason for our patience with God – the promise of salvation.  However, hope seen is no longer hope.  We are all waiting patiently here below heaven for a hope and promise nobody has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:8). We are to rest in Him, abiding quietly unto salvation, no matter what others may be doing while they wait (Psalm 37:7, Lamentations 3:26).

Keeping our confidence now – has great recompense of rewards later (lead passage).  The eternal ones promised to us by God, if we remain steadfast in our faith until the end (Hebrews 3:14) – doing His will daily while waiting for Jesus to return (Luke 11:2). When God’s grace, salvation, and kingdom will be brought to those of us who waited with patient faith (1 Peter 1:9, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men. – Job 4:13

Imagine how it must have been back in Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth.  There were no news channels to cover it, or cell phones for everyone to call family and friends – to share their joy.  There were no road maps.  The only way the wise men knew how to find the manger was by following a star – until it stood over the stable where Jesus was (Matthew 2:10).

However, Herod had spoken to these wise men before they left Jerusalem for Bethlehem.  He said he wanted to find out where the Christ child was to worship him also.  What he really desired was to have Jesus killed (Matthew 2:7-8) – but the wise men had no way of knowing this.  How could they know he was lying?  Who was going to warn them not to return to Herod?

Words from our mouths can only do so much – for we never know man’s true intentions, like Herod. Likewise, how did Joseph know how to flee with Mary and Jesus from Bethlehem into Egypt – shortly after the birth?  How was he going to find out for sure while staying there when it would be safe to go back – when Herod was really dead?

Who knew Joseph was truly afraid of returning into Israel after he did hear the news?  Herod’s son Archelaus was now ruling.  How could Joseph be certain Archelaus wasn’t desiring the same thing as his dad – to have Christ killed?  How was anyone going to tell Joseph the truth about where to go – and what he should do next?  The answer?  Four separate dreams.

The wise men were warned in a dream of God not to return to Herod (Matthew 2:12).  An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to arise and flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:13).  When Herod died – another angel appeared – telling Joseph the news in a night dream (Matthew 2:20).  Knowing he was afraid to return – God told him in a dream to head towards Galilee (Matthew 2:22).

The Lord is always at least one step ahead of us. Knowing of evil nearby before we even see it – or even perceiving it is about to happen (Judges 20:34). We may even be taken home if He knows the evil will be too much (Isaiah 57:1).  It’s why we redeem our brief time here (Ephesians 5:16).  Still, how do we truly know how He wants us to spend it – without speculating if it’s His will or ours?

How do we hear His still small voice when this world can seem so noisy at times (1 Kings 19:12)?  How do we perceive it’s God speaking to us once – then twice (Job 33:14)?  How do we truly ever know what He wants us to do for Him – and where He wants us to go to do it – and why?  And, that it’s not just an idea or plan which seems right – but only in our own eyes (1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 21:2).

When is the time most of us are the most quiet and still during any day?  Isn’t it while we are sleeping? Why wouldn’t God – just like He did with the wise men and Joseph – send us directions in our dreams? In visions of the night – when deep sleep falls upon us – when we slumber in our beds.  To open our ears and seal our instructions (Job 33:15-16).

So the Lord can withdraw us from our purposes – and direct us into His.  So He can hide pride from us – before we fall too far (Job 33:17, Proverbs 16:18). So He can keep our souls from the pit – and from perishing by the sword (Job 33:18).  This could have happened to Jesus, had Joseph listened to words from men – and had not hearkened to his visions of the night from heaven.  .

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon – concerning the name of the Lord – she came to prove him with hard questions. – 1 Kings 10:1

– There are answers we’re not wise enough to see. – “The Riddle” by Five for Fighting, written by John Ondrasik, copyright 2006

Life is full of hard questions.  Still, the answers we may seek – the truthful responses – may be much harder to accept than the questions themselves.  Where we go in our quest for these answers – says a lot about our level of faith.  Do we turn to fellow believers first (i.e. church pastors, elders, etc.) – perhaps hoping they’ll give us softer answers and advice requiring the least repentance?  Or, do we turn to God first  – for many hard answers we can’t bear while on earth (John 16:12)?

Only God knows our hearts – He fashioned them while making us (Psalm 139:15).  Ministries can get blamed in time (2 Corinthians 6:3) if members attempt delving into heart matters of any other person.  What happens when a troubled person gets different responses from different believers – for the same hard question?  If we’re fools by trusting our hearts (Proverbs 28:26) – what would make any of us think we can answer the hard questions of other’s hearts?  Well, Solomon and Job did.

Solomon exceeded all the kings of earth for riches and wisdom (1 Kings 10:23).  When the queen of Sheba heard about this – she went to find out for herself (lead verse).  Loading up a very great train of gifts, she set out for Jerusalem – some 1,500 miles away.  After arriving, the queen communed with Solomon of all that was in her heart – nothing was hid (1 Kings 10:2-3). When her hard questions had been answered – his wisdom was more than she had believed from afar (1 Kings 10:6-7).

Job got caught up in his counsel to others – he said so himself (Job 29:21).  Men gave ear to his words and kept silent after – waiting to hear from Job again like waiting for rain.  They drank in his further counsel like a very thirsty person might with long-awaited water from the sky (Job 29:22-23).  Job chose out their ways – dwelling as chief among them (Job 29:25).  People followed Job more than God – and Job’s glory was fresh in him because of it (Job 29:20, 1 Corinthians 1:12-13).

Solomon soon developed a wife problem (1 Kings 11:3) – Job already had an “I” problem (Job 29:14-19).  Solomon’s heart was turned away from God – Job’s heart was turned towards himself.  They could answer hard questions from others about God and life – but they had a hard time maintaining a right faith “focus”.  Consequently, both men lost nearly everything they had – as a result of forgetting, not fearing, and not fully following God (1 Kings 11:6-13, Job 1:9:19).

God has hard questions for all of us – about Himself and His nature.  They are all unanswerable.  Our Father presented them to Job out of the whirlwind – and they humbled Job (Job 38:1 – Job 41:11).  He then hated himself for uttering things he did not understand – then repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:2-6).  If we are not humbled by those very same questions – are we not still haughty, high-minded, and prideful in thinking we can answer the hard “heart” questions of others?

Pride goes before destruction – and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).  Nearly everything Job had was destroyed by God – and Solomon fell out of favor with Him – in part for trying to answer hard questions they had no business trying to answer. Job’s fortunes were restored for humbling himself – twice as much as before (Job 42:10).  Solomon did not – and the Lord stirred up adversaries against the king until his death (1 Kings 11:14-25).  Both men had to learn hard lessons.  Will we?

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(KJV Scripture)

– And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. – Luke 16:15

The abominable things we all have the capability and capacity to do and speak are not good in the eyes of God – He hates them (Deuteronomy 12:31, lead verse). They create disgust, loathing, and repugnance in Him – not of us, but of what we do and say. Christians are not immune from doing abominable things – and we should know better now (Acts 17:30). Some of them are: a proud look, lying tongues, hands that shed innocent blood, hearts that devise wicked imaginations, feet that are swift to run to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and those who sow discord among the brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).

In the book of Jeremiah, God had brought evil upon Jerusalem. Because of the city’s wickedness – the Lord had been provoked to anger. They had burned incense and served other gods they did not know. God had sent His prophets to them, rising early and saying to the city, “Oh, do not this abominable thing I hate.” But they did not listen, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness – to stop burning incense to other gods (Jeremiah 44:2-5). We provoke our Father to jealousy when we serve strange gods – because that means our focus and attention is on them – and not Him (Deuteronomy 32:16).

Frowardness is also an abomination to the Lord. In mind or soul, it means perverse, wayward, and difficult to deal with (Proverbs 3:32, Proverbs 11:20). Even though we may join hand-in-hand – being proud in heart is also an abomination – and it will not be left unpunished (Proverbs 16:5). Our prayers can become abominations to God if we keep doing any of these things (Proverbs 28:9). It is far better to turn back to our Father now – and ask for His guidance and wisdom today in correcting any of our abominations. For the abominable are among the many (liars and unbelievers, for example) who shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone – which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).

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