Category Archives: Promises

Trust In The Promises Of The LORD

Joshua records how the LORD provided and then divided the promised land amongst his people. Joshua 21 records the cities given to the Levites in which to live amongst the rest of God’s people. At the very end is a significant statement which we should not overlook in verses 43-45.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

We can always trust in the promises of the LORD.

Joshua 21

Forty-eight Cities of the Levites

     1Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 2They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” 3So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD. 4Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.

      5The rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

      6The sons of Gershon received thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher and from the tribe of Naphtali and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

      7The sons of Merari according to their families received twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben and from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun.

      8Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

      9They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; 10and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first. 11Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands. 12But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

      13So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands, 14and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, 16and Ain with its pasture lands and Juttah with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes. 17From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. 19All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      20Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, 22and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. 23From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities. 25From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. 26All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

      27To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities. 30From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities. 32From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. 33All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      34To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands. 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities. 36From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. 40All these were the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities.

      41All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. 42These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Dividing Up The Promised Land – Judah

There are passages in scripture where a common first reaction is to wonder what the value could possibly be in reading them and how they could possibly apply today. We should heed Paul’s guidance in 2 Timothy 3:16 and recall that he is specifically calling out the Torah, or Old Testament. The gospels most likely had not been written yet and 2 Timothy in the preceding verses refers to the scriptures that Timothy has known since he was a child.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

With that in mind, we will come to a section of Joshua in which the territory given to each tribe is laid out in detail. Joshua 15 starts with Judah. What can this possibly mean for us today? There are likely several levels, only a few of which I will touch on here. There seem to always be multiple layers or levels to the significance of scripture. The more time you spend studying it, the more treasure and significance you find.

Two things that strike me very powerfully in these following chapters of Joshua are the following:

  • There many are parts of the scriptures that are clearly written in the style of an historical record. This means that they include detailed records of events. This should encourage us that the Bible is true and accurate! Someone making up these stories would not take the time to add such fine detail.
  • Also, we should see that our Father is faithful. He promised the land to the Israelites a long time before and now we should see this as the fulfillment of his promise. This should also encourage us. Though his timing is different than ours, we can always count on our Father being loyal and faithful to his word.
  • Our Father cares about the details in the lives of his people. He was very involved in dividing up the land in very specific way in which he deemed fair and appropriate. He did not simply say … here is the land, go figure out how to divide it yourselves.  So also he cares about our lives today. Once again, this should be encouraging to those who seek to please him and dwell with him.

Joshua 15

Territory of Judah

     1Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached the border of Edom, southward to the wilderness of Zin at the extreme south. 2Their south border was from the lower end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that turns to the south. 3Then it proceeded southward to the ascent of Akrabbim and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh-barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and turned about to Karka. 4It continued to Azmon and proceeded to the brook of Egypt, and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border. 5The east border was the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. 6Then the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and continued on the north of Beth-arabah, and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. 7The border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley; and the border continued to the waters of En-shemesh and it ended at En-rogel. 8Then the border went up the valley of Ben-hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (that is, Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north. 9From the top of the mountain the border curved to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah and proceeded to the cities of Mount Ephron, then the border curved to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim). 10The border turned about from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, and continued to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), and went down to Beth-shemesh and continued through Timnah. 11The border proceeded to the side of Ekron northward. Then the border curved to Shikkeron and continued to Mount Baalah and proceeded to Jabneel, and the border ended at the sea. 12The west border was at the Great Sea, even its coastline. This is the border around the sons of Judah according to their families.

      13Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the LORD to Joshua, namely, Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron). 14Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. 16And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 17Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 18It came about that when she came to him, she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 19Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

      20This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families.

      21Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel and Eder and Jagur, 22and Kinah and Dimonah and Adadah, 23and Kedesh and Hazor and Ithnan, 24Ziph and Telem and Bealoth, 25and Hazor-hadattah and Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26Amam and Shema and Moladah, 27and Hazar-gaddah and Heshmon and Beth-pelet, 28and Hazar-shual and Beersheba and Biziothiah, 29Baalah and Iim and Ezem, 30and Eltolad and Chesil and Hormah, 31and Ziklag and Madmannah and Sansannah, 32and Lebaoth and Shilhim and Ain and Rimmon; in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.

      33In the lowland: Eshtaol and Zorah and Ashnah, 34and Zanoah and En-gannim, Tappuah and Enam, 35Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah, 36and Shaaraim and Adithaim and Gederah and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages.

      37Zenan and Hadashah and Migdal-gad, 38and Dilean and Mizpeh and Joktheel, 39Lachish and Bozkath and Eglon, 40and Cabbon and Lahmas and Chitlish, 41and Gederoth, Beth-dagon and Naamah and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages.

      42Libnah and Ether and Ashan, 43and Iphtah and Ashnah and Nezib, 44and Keilah and Achzib and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages.

      45Ekron, with its towns and its villages; 46from Ekron even to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages.

      47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; as far as the brook of Egypt and the Great Sea, even its coastline.

      48In the hill country: Shamir and Jattir and Socoh, 49and Dannah and Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), 50and Anab and Eshtemoh and Anim, 51and Goshen and Holon and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages.

      52Arab and Dumah and Eshan, 53and Janum and Beth-tappuah and Aphekah, 54and Humtah and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior; nine cities with their villages.

      55Maon, Carmel and Ziph and Juttah, 56and Jezreel and Jokdeam and Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah and Timnah; ten cities with their villages.

      58Halhul, Beth-zur and Gedor, 59and Maarath and Beth-anoth and Eltekon; six cities with their villages.

      60Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages.

      61In the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin and Secacah, 62and Nibshan and the City of Salt and Engedi; six cities with their villages.

      63Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Genealogies

Genealogies can be very easy to overlook. I admit that I have not truly studied them in as much detail as I have other sections of scripture. However, they are included intentionally and with purpose and value. In some cases the genealogies are actually a place to pull together the tapestry God has made as each thread goes back through generations. We read about Adam and Eve, Abraham, Obed, David, others in the Old Testament and then periodically get an invitation to pause and reflect on the significance of how God used those people across generations in the lineage leading up to other people and events. It is also a chance to confirm prophecy as we review genealogy. Both are true in regards to the lineage of Jesus presented in Luke 3. One can also do a comparison to the lineage provided in Matthew.

Let me respectfully reference / highlight Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary for some of his thoughts regarding this genealogy as a starting point for you. It is available free of charge, with other commentaries on the BibleHub.com website.

“3:23-38 Matthew’s list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent’s head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary. The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them. The list of names ends thus, Who was the son of Adam, the son of God; that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God. All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.”

Luke 3:23-38

Genealogy of Jesus

     23When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, 24the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of MethuSelah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Approaching the Lord With Respect and Humility

David was a man after God’s own heart. God raised him up and sustained him. David also made mistakes at times and created separation between himself and the Lord. Psalm 89 focuses on the Lord’s lovingkindness, faithfulness, eternal nature, righteousness, justice, power, etc. and recognizes Him as the source of salvation. It focuses on uplifting and praising the Lord first. This is a great way to start every prayer and consistent with how Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the “Lord’s Prayer” in which we first start with focus on the Lord… hallowed by Thy name, Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come… before it turns to ask anything. It goes on to call out how blessed are those who serve the Lord.

Then it highlights in verse 30 a pivotal and important topic. If we refuse to obey His law, His statutes, then He will punish us. He will discipline us like a good father disciplines children. However, He will not break His promises or His covenant.

Thus the psalmist continues to transition into a call for help from the Lord to deliver Israel from its afflictions. One would presume from the tone of the psalm, there is a repentant heart on behalf of Israel seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with the Lord and once again renewing submission to Him.

Then it ends with a very positive tone lifting up once again the Lord, “Blessed be the Lord forever!”.

It is quite a good example of how we should approach the Lord. Let us focus on Him and appreciate and praise Him. Let us recognize it is our sin that separates us from Him. Then let us seek reconciliation through submission and obedience, seeking Him once again. Let us recognize that His promises endure through even our disobedience and He will always be willing to receive us back again as the father did in the parable of the prodigal son. However, we also realize that there are consequences to our disobedience and sin.

Read slowly and thoughtfully. Seek for the Spirit to help you apply in your life.

Psalm 89

The LORD’S Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

1I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

      2For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”

      3“I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,

      4I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations.”

Selah.

      5The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

      6For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,

      7A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?

      8O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

      9You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.

      10You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

      11The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.

      12The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.

      13You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.

      14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.

      15How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.

      16In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.

      17For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor our horn is exalted.

      18For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

      19Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones,
And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.

      20“I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,

      21With whom My hand will be established;
My arm also will strengthen him.

      22“The enemy will not deceive him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

      23“But I shall crush his adversaries before him,
And strike those who hate him.

      24“My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him,
And in My name his horn will be exalted.

      25“I shall also set his hand on the sea
And his right hand on the rivers.

      26“He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

      27“I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

      28“My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

      29“So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.

      30“If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,

      31If they violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,

      32Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.

      33“But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.

      34“My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

      35“Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.

      36“His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.

      37“It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.”

Selah.

      38But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.

      39You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown in the dust.

      40You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.

      41All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.

      42You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.

      43You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.

      44You have made his splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.

      45You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame.

Selah.

      46How long, O LORD?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?

      47Remember what my span of life is;
For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!

      48What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?

Selah.

      49Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord,
Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?

      50Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants;
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,

      51With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

      52Blessed be the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Broken Spirit

Sickness and hardship can be endured, but a broken spirit is devastating. It drains away our hope.

Proverbs 18:14

      14The spirit of a man can endure his sickness,
But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?

There are many difficulties which we can confront and endure, but hope and a strong spirit are necessary to thrive or even survive these situations. Put your hope in Christ and His promises. He will never leave us or forsake us once we wholeheartedly submit to Him.

Hebrew 13:5b-6

5b for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

6so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

It sounds cliché, but it is true… there is no hurt too big for God nor any situation which is beyond His ability to handle. Put your faith and trust in Him and ask Him for help.


Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Jehovah Reaffirms Mans Dominion Over the Earth

First with Adam, and again with Noah, Jehovah affirms clearly the dominion of man over the earth where He has placed us. We can appreciate the bountiful gifts which our Creator has provided that allow us not only to live as necessity but to live in comfort. Equally important is the concept that life is meaningful. Even the life of animals has value. We are not to eat them while they yet have blood. This most likely is stated to avoid unnecessary cruelty to animals by ensuring that they are already dead before we process or prepare them to eat. Lest we get too comfortable with shedding the blood of animals, our Father puts here a stark reminder that although man has dominion over animals… people are clearly different. People are made in the image of God. Our lives are not to be taken lightly. We belong to the Father.

Genesis 9:1-7

      1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2“The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3“Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4“Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5“Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

      6“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.

7“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”

There are many interesting further areas one could explore in this scripture, but I believe the main point is quite simply about man’s position of dominance over, not being coequal with, the animals and the earth. Many today have gone astray in pursuit of elevating animals and the earth God has provided to be more important than the people God clearly made in His own image to have dominion over it.

Let us be thankful to our Creator for His bountiful provision and respect the place He has put us in over creation.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Jehovah Does Not Accept You The Way You Are, He Calls You To Change

Sometimes we talk about our covenant with Jehovah without a clear communication and understanding of what a covenant is and what it is not. To put it simply, a covenant is an agreement between two parties, perhaps a bit like a contract. Each is expected to do their part and meet their commitment. There is no expectation that one side can ignore it and the other is still bound by it.

Others confuse scripture and think we have a separate covenant with Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew). Jesus is the way to the Father, He is one with the Father… He does not offer us a separate and different covenant that somehow accepts us just how we are without repentance for wrongdoing.

A covenant agreement requires commitment on both sides. Typically for Jehovah and His people this comes down to something like the following “If you will be My people and obey my instructions then I will be your God.” If His people break covenant, Jehovah is not pleased and He is not ambivalent or neutral… He is disappointed or even angered.

Leviticus 26

     14‘But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 16I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up.

People often make the mistake of concluding that Jehovah has committed to “be their God” no matter how they behave and no matter where their heart lies and what they worship. Big mistake. Take note again in Exodus 24 as God calls the people to affirm their covenant with Him. The focus is on their obedience… not His acceptance of them the way they are.

Exodus 24

People Affirm Their Covenant with God

      1Then He said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. 2“Moses alone, however, shall come near to the LORD, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”

      3Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” 4Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. 6Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” 8So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

      9Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. 11Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.

      12Now the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.” 13So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14But to the elders he said, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them.” 15Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. 17And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. 18Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Another beautiful theme we see shared in Exodus 24 is that those who submit themselves to Jehovah in obedience will literally be allowed to draw nearer to Him spiritually and relationally. It is a transformational experience to come into the presence of Jehovah! Praise to our Father in heaven. What a glorious and loving Father that provides us guidance on how we are to live and draw near to Him. If we live out our part of the covenant through wholehearted obedience, then we certainly can count on Him to fulfill His promises to be our God!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

If You Truly Obey, I Will Be An Enemy To Your Enemies

Studying and prayerfully reflecting on God’s deliverance of His people out of slavery in Egypt and into the promised land provides great insight for His relationship with His people. We do well to study this example and look to identify and apply key aspects of what God reveals to our lives today. In Exodus 23, our heavenly Father provides important insight to what it means to be His people and what we are to do if we expect to receive His help.

Exodus 23:20-33

Conquest of the Land

      20“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21“Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22“But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23“For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them. 24“You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces. 25“But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. 26“There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27“I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28“I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29“I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30“I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land. 31“I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. 32“You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. 33“They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

Jehovah clearly states that He is sending an angel to protect and lead the people into the promised land. His intent is to clear out the enemies before His people and protect them. However He also provides conditions that the people must follow.

Note the importance of obedience. Obedience is the fruit and evidence of our faith. Those who have faith will obey. Those who do not have faith will make excuses not to obey.

  • Obey the angel and do not be rebellious. The angel is operating on behalf of God at God’s instruction.
  • If you truly obey, then I will be an enemy to your enemies.

God consistently speaks out strongly against false gods. Not only are we not to worship them and not to serve them, but we are not even to do things the way that the pagans do in worship or tradition / practice associated with their false gods. Further, God instructed His people not to tolerate and accept false gods among them but to overthrow them and break their sacred pillars and idols apart. Certainly today we should not be making excuses to tolerate false gods among us. God knows this always leads His people to trouble.

24“You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.

God knows the right timing for us to accept victory at His hand. We always think “give us everything now”, but God knows better. Sometimes His wisdom leads to different timing for us to accomplish our victory. We must be patient and trust His timing and His ways.

29“I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30“I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.

God warns His people to trust in Him to drive people out of the land. Do not make covenants or treaties with them or with their false gods. Do not let them live in your land. They will make you sin against God. We are once again warned against accepting false gods and idols and their worship practices among God’s people. If our all knowing Father identifies this clear hazard, and we have a history of witnessing it leading His people astray, then why are we so quick to dismiss this repeated warning? Are we wiser than God? Do we know something He does not? or have we just been fooled by Satan to defend worship of false gods among us and to teach it in schools and treat it in government as if all faiths are equivalent? They are not. One is right… the rest are paths that lead God’s people away to hell. Many will get angry with a statement like this, but it is not in my authority to change what God has said to make people feel better. I am only able to share the truth that God has already told us.

 32“You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. 33“They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

There is much to learn from how God instructed His people as they were searching for the promised land. We should each prayerfully consider these key points and apply them to our lives. Are we trusting God and God alone? Are we obeying all that He instructs, or just parts of it? Are we rejecting false gods? Are we patient to wait for His timing?

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

We Can Trust God To Do What He Says

We can trust God to do what He says He will do. It may not come in the timing we desire or in the way we desire, but He is always true to His word. God told Abraham in Genesis 15 that his descendants would be strangers in a land that is not theirs (Egypt), where they would be enslaved for 400 years (round number), but that they would come out of the land with many possessions.

A lot of time and generations of people came and went in between, but God is true to His word, even when we don’t understand or agree with how He is doing things. Even for the generation that saw the plagues on Egypt and were set free as foretold… few or none would have expected God to harden Pharaoh’s heart to make it seem even harder for the people to be set free. Most would just expect God to change Pharaoh’s mind and let them go or strike Pharaoh down. God instead hardened Pharaoh’s heart to make the opportunity for more signs and wonders.

Genesis 15:12-14

   12Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. 13God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14“But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

Exodus 12:33-41

Exodus of Israel

      33The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead.” 34So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

      35Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; 36and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

      37Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. 38A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. 39They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

      40Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

We do well to seek to understand what God has revealed in His word, the Bible. He will do what He says He will do. How well we understand what He has said and how we react to that in how we live our lives has great implications in this world and for what we will experience either in heaven or hell when we leave this world.  We can trust God to do what He says He will do. He will not change His mind because of the opinions of those who reject or dismiss Him or those who claim to follow Him in name, but rebel against Him in action and thought.

If you want to know more truth about God, do not just listen to what people say about God, not even religious “leaders”. Begin to learn to read and study God’s word for yourself. Test everything you are told or think you understand against God’s unchanging written word in the Bible.  Do not be overwhelmed thinking you must get it all right. Instead, focus on becoming a disciple of Christ as a way to know the Father. A disciple is quite simply “a learner”, not one who has all the answers. To be a disciple is to begin a journey that you will not finish in this life, but it will transform your life to be more like that of Christ along the way.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

The Lord Is Good To Those Who Wait For Him

It is easy to get discouraged at times when we feel as though we are doing what God has commanded, but we do not see the results coming as quickly as we expect. We trust Him, but then we also expect to see results and quickly. We may find encouragement in reminding ourselves to be patient and trust in God while we continue to do what He has commanded. His ways are not our ways… they are better.

Isaiah 55:8-9

      8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

      9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

As we continue to submit to and follow God in our lives, we come to realize that not only does God do things differently than we expect in terms of “how”… but often He does things differently in terms of “when”. We tend to be impatient and look for quick results. It can be discouraging at times, but be encouraged and place your trust in God and in His timing.

Lamentations 3:25-26

25The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

26It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

Isaiah 40:31

31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Even Moses was discouraged  when things did not turn out well at first (Exodus 5)… and God actually told Him ahead of time that Pharaoh would not let the people go until God compelled him to do so (Exodus 3:19-20).

Exodus 3:19-20

19“But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. 20“So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.

Exodus 5

Israel’s Labor Increased

      1And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’” 2But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” 3Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!” 5Again Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!” 6So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, 7“You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8“But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9“Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.”

      10So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I am not going to give you any straw. 11‘You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but none of your labor will be reduced.’” 12So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters pressed them, saying, “Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw.” 14Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?”

      15Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16“There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people.” 17But he said, “You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ 18“So go now and work; for you will be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks.” 19The foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, “You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks.” 20When they left Pharaoh’s presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them. 21They said to them, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

      22Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23“Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”

Often the immediate results we face when we begin a mission for God do not appear to be successful or turn out the way we expect. We do well to remember to be patient and continue to obey God’s instruction, put our faith in Him, and wait upon His timing.

Are there any areas of your life where you are discouraged? Always good to humbly and prayerfully consider if you are obeying what God instructed you to do. If so, continue to come before Him for help and continue to obey His instruction… and wait upon His timing for the results. God is never late… He is never early… He always completes something precisely when He intends to.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.