Category Archives: Discipline / Guidance From God

There Are Consequences When A Nation Turns From YHWH

This is a message our nation and our world need to hear even today, as they continue to distance themselves from God, worship other gods, and live according to their own ways instead of those of YHWH. He gave us the law as instruction for us in how to live and relate to Him. He sent Yeshua to make a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him. However, when we as a nation continue to reject His instruction in how we live we can be sure to expect the same response that YHWH had toward Israel. He will be angry. His blessing will be removed. We will get to live with the results of our own wickedness and He will bring punishment. Let those who have ears to hear, hear and apply our lives today. Let us humble ourselves and repent before Him, praying for our nation and for His grace to deliver our people back to following Him… not according to the teachings of the church, but according to His instruction in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 31:23-30

      23Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

      24It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26“Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? 28“Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29“For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

      30Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:

Deuteronomy 32

The Song of Moses

     1“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

      2“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.

      3“For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

      4“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.

      5“They have acted corruptly toward Him,
They are not His children, because of their defect;
But are a perverse and crooked generation.

      6“Do you thus repay the LORD,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is not He your Father who has bought you?
He has made you and established you.

      7“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father, and he will inform you,
Your elders, and they will tell you.

      8“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.

      9“For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.

      10“He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.

      11“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.

      12“The LORD alone guided him,
And there was no foreign god with him.

      13“He made him ride on the high places of the earth,
And he ate the produce of the field;
And He made him suck honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock,

      14Curds of cows, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs,
And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the finest of the wheat—
And of the blood of grapes you drank wine.

      15“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.

      16“They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.

      17“They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.

      18“You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

      19“The LORD saw this, and spurned them
Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.

      20“Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end shall be;
For they are a perverse generation,
Sons in whom is no faithfulness.

      21‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

      22For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And burns to the lowest part of Sheol,
And consumes the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

      23‘I will heap misfortunes on them;
I will use My arrows on them.

      24They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague
And bitter destruction;
And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them,
With the venom of crawling things of the dust.

      25‘Outside the sword will bereave,
And inside terror—
Both young man and virgin,
The nursling with the man of gray hair.

      26‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces,
I will remove the memory of them from men,”

      27Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy,
That their adversaries would misjudge,
That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant,
And the LORD has not done all this.”’

      28“For they are a nation lacking in counsel,
And there is no understanding in them.

      29“Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would discern their future!

      30“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the LORD had given them up?

      31“Indeed their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves judge this.

      32“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom,
And from the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of poison,
Their clusters, bitter.

      33“Their wine is the venom of serpents,
And the deadly poison of cobras.

      34‘Is it not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up in My treasuries?

      35‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.’

      36“For the LORD will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free.

      37“And He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?

      38‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
And drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you,
Let them be your hiding place!

      39‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

      40‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven,
And say, as I live forever,

      41If I sharpen My flashing sword,
And My hand takes hold on justice,
I will render vengeance on My adversaries,
And I will repay those who hate Me.

      42‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword will devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’

      43“Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.”

      44Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. 45When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. 47“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

      48The LORD spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, 49“Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. 50“Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.52“For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”

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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.

Choose Life

We have the same offer today from YHWH, the same choice. He has set before us each a choice. It is up to us to choose life and blessing over the curse. However this means we must choose Him, we must choose to love Him, walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, His statutes, His judgments… rather than our own or those devised by man. The source of truth is not what is taught in churches. The source of truth is God, Himself and He has provided to us a written record of His instruction in the Bible, which is available to all.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose Life

     15“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

To choose God and the ways of man is not to truly choose God. We can each have only one master. Choose and choose wisely. There are eternal consequences in addition to the trials and / or joy we can experience in this world. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. To do so, we realize that we must be open to change our understanding of His instructions as we study further the Bible and learn more of the ways in which the instruction found in churches today does not line up in many cases with the Bible itself and God’s instruction. Praise the Lord, we find His instructions are not burdensome, but draw us nearer to Him.

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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.

A Blessing or A Curse… Which Will You Decide To Choose?

YHWH repeatedly emphasizes that we have a choice. We can choose blessing by following all of His commands faithfully, or we can choose curse by living our own way or redefining His instructions to our own making… changing some, ignoring some, claiming others are obsolete.

The bad news is that this does not work like a menu where you pick and choose what you will obey. It works like a choose-you-own-adventure book where you choose to submit to Him, seek Him, and obey the fullness of His law / instruction… or you don’t.

Though some of the commandments can not be completed due to the lack of a temple and priesthood, we are to obey to the extent we can the rest of the commandments and instructions.

Deuteronomy 28 is a bit long, but don’t dismiss it as repetitive or redundant without taking time to contemplate and reflect on why YHWH takes to much time to emphasize this point. This is not the first chapter focused on the blessing of obedience or curse of disobedience. He repeats it, and with dramatic emphasis, for the same reason we would do so… to make an important point… so that people would really hear and understand this is important. Treat it as such.

Deuteronomy 28

Blessings at Gerizim

      1“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God:

      3“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

      4“Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

      5“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

      6“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

      7“The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. 8“The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 9“The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10“So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.11“The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12“The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13“The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, 14and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Consequences of Disobedience

15“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

      16“Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.

      17“Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

      18“Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

      19“Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

      20“The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. 21“The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. 22“The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish. 23“The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24“The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

      25“The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26“Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.

      27“The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. 28“The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; 29and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you. 30“You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit. 31“Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you. 32“Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and yearn for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do. 33“A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually. 34“You shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see. 35“The LORD will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36“The LORD will bring you and your king, whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone. 37“You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD drives you.

      38“You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather in little, for the locust will consume it. 39“You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm will devour them. 40“You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives will drop off. 41“You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity. 42“The cricket shall possess all your trees and the produce of your ground. 43“The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower. 44“He shall lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you will be the tail.

      45“So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46“They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever.

      47“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.

      49“The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, 50a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young. 51“Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. 52“It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you. 53“Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you. 54“The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children which he will eat, since he has nothing else left, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in all your towns. 56“The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, 57and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.

      58“If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, 59then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses. 60“He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you. 61“Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the LORD will bring on you until you are destroyed. 62“Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God. 63“It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. 64“Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. 65“Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66“So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67“In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68“The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”

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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.

Delight Yourself In The Lord

It is very easy to focus on how much evil there is in our nation and our world… there are plenty who reject YHWH and His ways. We can get so wrapped up in that sometimes that we can start to miss out on the joy of the Lord. YHWH reminded me recently to delight in Him. I hope Psalm 37 can encourage you as well. We should be living joyful lives in relationship with our Creator and Father. Not only will this make our lives more enjoyable, but it is consistent with scripture and will actually help us be a light to draw others to the truth.

Psalm 37

Security of Those Who Trust in the LORD, and Insecurity of the Wicked. 

A Psalm of David.

     1Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

      2For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.

      3Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

      4Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

      5Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

      6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.

      7Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

      8Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

      9For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

      10Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.

      11But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

      12The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.

      13The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.

      14The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.

      15Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.

      16Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.

      17For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the LORD sustains the righteous.

      18The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.

      19They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.

      20But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the LORD will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

      21The wicked borrows and does not pay back,
But the righteous is gracious and gives.

      22For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off.

      23The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.

      24When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

      25I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.

      26All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.

      27Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever.

      28For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.

      29The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.

      30The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.

      31The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.

      32The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.

      33The LORD will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.

      34Wait for the LORD and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

      35I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.

      36Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.

      37Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright;
For the man of peace will have a posterity.

      38But transgressors will be altogether destroyed;
The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.

      39But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in time of trouble.

      40The LORD helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him.

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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.

When Scripture Is Difficult To Understand, Start By Assuming YHWH Is Right

I certainly have to admit that the laws on domestic relations seem as if from a faraway time and place… because they are. They are not only far away in location but also in time.  The culture was very different. It is easy for us to jump to the conclusion that they are somehow wrong and barbaric. I think that is so easy or simple a view and is not correct. To truly understand we need to study to understand the cultural norms and lifestyle of the time. We must think about it in context. We do well to start with the faith that YHWH is correct and His instruction is righteous and then seek to understand how it applied then and how it may apply still today. In this way we gain wisdom and understanding.

Deuteronomy 21:10-23

Domestic Relations

       10“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13“She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14“It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.

      15“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.

      18“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.

      22“If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

We can certainly have a robust and interesting discussion regarding taking a captive as a wife. I am not sure how to practically apply this to be frank. However, one can easily understand that other cultures of the time would not be so gracious to a captive as to give them time to grieve and treat them well. There is explicit instruction to avoid abusing them. There is protection for those who are vulnerable.

We can ponder again about the instruction regarding two wives, one loved and one unloved. I do not believe YHWH wants a man to have two wives. He intended one man to one woman as with Adam and Eve. We could have an interesting discussion on why He did not outright ban it. Perhaps like divorce, He allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. Similarly, I don’t believe He intends for any wife to be unloved by her husband. However, we can see that He provides protection for those who may be unloved and may be vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

In the third example, we can see that YHWH expects even perhaps adult children to still respect their parents. How many of us assume the scripture is calling young children gluttons and drunkards? It sounds like older children who are being rebellious. In this case it refers to rebellion to both YHWH and parents. YHWH is not tolerant of evil and rebellion. He instructs that there should be accountability and a stop should be put to the sin before it spreads to others.

The last example probably seems to most of us abhorrent. Why would we hang those who were executed in public. This was likely not a pretty site. Again, though we could have a very interesting discussion on this case, ultimately I think we could agree YHWH wants to discourage sin and rebellion. He wants to discourage  seriously bad behavior from becoming accepted and normalized. We can perhaps prefer not to take this approach, but in reality looking at the sin rampant in our culture today, perhaps we would benefit from a bit more punishment and accountability a few generations ago and we would not have normalized so much sin in our culture which is now praised as acceptable or good.

I would simply encourage you to not disregard any scripture and not assume that YHWH was wrong because we live differently than He instructed His people to live. Pray, study and reflect on what we can learn about Him from His word. Then seek to apply it to your life.

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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.

Give Thanks To The Lord For He Is Good!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 107

BOOK 5

The LORD Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles.

      1Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

      2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

      3And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

      4They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.

      5They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.

      6Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.

      7He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.

      8Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!

      9For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

      10There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in misery and chains,

      11Because they had rebelled against the words of God
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.

      12Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.

      13Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.

      14He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
And broke their bands apart.

      15Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!

      16For He has shattered gates of bronze
And cut bars of iron asunder.

      17Fools, because of their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

      18Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.

      19Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.

      20He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

      21Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!

      22Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.

      23Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;

      24They have seen the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.

      25For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.

      26They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.

      27They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits’ end.

      28Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.

      29He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

      30Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.

      31Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!

      32Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

      33He changes rivers into a wilderness
And springs of water into a thirsty ground;

      34A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

      35He changes a wilderness into a pool of water
And a dry land into springs of water;

      36And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish an inhabited city,

      37And sow fields and plant vineyards,
And gather a fruitful harvest.

      38Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly,
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

      39When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery and sorrow,

      40He pours contempt upon princes
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.

      41But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.

      42The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.

      43Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.

Indeed, reflect on how YHWH has delivered you in your life as well as how He has delivered those recorded in Biblical history. Perhaps, also, you can reflect on times of difficulty that perhaps He brought on you or allowed in response to your rejection of Him and His word. He is loving and kind and gracious to those who seek Him and cry out to Him for deliverance.

Let us give Him thanks and praise!

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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.

Remember God’s Mercy Even In Hard Times And Ask For It

We are all sinful. Sometimes the Lord chooses to rebuke or punish His people for their sin for our benefit and His glory. He is a loving God but also a just God.

Remember God’s mercy even in hard times and ask for it.

Psalm 102

Prayer of an Afflicted Man for Mercy on Himself and on Zion.

A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.

      1Hear my prayer, O LORD!
And let my cry for help come to You.

      2Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day when I call answer me quickly.

      3For my days have been consumed in smoke,
And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.

      4My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away,
Indeed, I forget to eat my bread.

      5Because of the loudness of my groaning
My bones cling to my flesh.

      6I resemble a pelican of the wilderness;
I have become like an owl of the waste places.

      7I lie awake,
I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.

      8My enemies have reproached me all day long;
Those who deride me have used my name as a curse.

      9For I have eaten ashes like bread
And mingled my drink with weeping

      10Because of Your indignation and Your wrath,
For You have lifted me up and cast me away.

      11My days are like a lengthened shadow,
And I wither away like grass.

      12But You, O LORD, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.

      13You will arise and have compassion on Zion;
For it is time to be gracious to her,
For the appointed time has come.

      14Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones
And feel pity for her dust.

      15So the nations will fear the name of the LORD
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.

      16For the LORD has built up Zion;
He has appeared in His glory.

      17He has regarded the prayer of the destitute
And has not despised their prayer.

      18This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.

      19For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth,

      20To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,

      21That men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion
And His praise in Jerusalem,

      22When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

      23He has weakened my strength in the way;
He has shortened my days.

      24I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days,
Your years are throughout all generations.

      25“Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

      26“Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.

      27“But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.

              28“The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”

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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.

How Will You Treat The Vineyard Owner?

The Israelites at times turned their backs on YHWH. They rejected his prophets and then killed His son, Yeshua. The Jewish people largely rejected Christ. As such, YHWH invited the gentiles to be grafted in to be His people in their place. If YHWH will allow His chosen people, Israel, to be replaced, none of us should be so arrogant as to think we can dictate the terms of our relationship to YHWH. He invites and accepts people on His own terms, which are outlined in the Bible.

YHWH will not force any to remain in relationship with Him. Nor will He hold back judgment for those who reject His offer through Christ of forgiveness by grace

Luke 20:9-18

Parable of the Vine-growers

     9And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10“At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11“And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. 12“And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. 13“The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14“But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15“So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16“He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!”

17But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone’?

18“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Those who reject Christ may feel as though they are having a victory in this world for a time. They may laugh and reassure themselves that they are in control. However, YHWH will hold them accountable for their sin should they continue their rejection of Christ’s offer of forgiveness through grace.

What decision will you make? How will you treat the vineyard owner and His messengers? His son?

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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.

“I Would Never Act That Way”

Hollywood could not dream up a story as wild and exciting, with as many surprise turns, as that of the Lord delivering His people from Egypt to the promised land. A persecuted slave class of people being lifted up out of bondage through plagues and mighty miracles. Through moments of faith and moments where the faith utterly fails and they are disciplined by the Lord. A righteous man, Moses, interceding on their behalf each time they repent. There was no easy road. What irony that they were too afraid to take the promised land but then had to fight many other nations along their now extended journey. Don’t skip the details, read back through… the ground swallowed up some who rebelled, and not snakes through the camp causing mayhem and repentance. A bronze serpent as a symbol to save them… what a wild ride… and it’s all true, historical events.

We get the opportunity  to learn from the Lord through exciting and unexpected plot twists that His people actually experienced first hand.

As we read the historical events of Numbers 21, we once again see a roller coaster ride for the Israelites. They are attacked by Arad and beaten initially. They turn to the Lord and He gives them absolute victory. Then not long after, the people get impatient again and speak against the Lord. What a tiresome bunch for the Lord to tolerate… but let’s take care, as we still often act in much the same way. We forget His last blessing or victory so quickly once the next challenge or wait is in front of us. We are naturally impatient and selfish and often do not long remember the victories He has given us.

With rebellion in speaking out against the Lord, comes punishment… righteous punishment. All of us deserve correction from time to time, and a loving Father disciplines those He loves. Then comes the question of how we receive that rebuke… with humility leading to repentance or with resentment leading to further separation from the Lord. The Israelites at least turn toward the Lord for help again once they punishment of the snakes was upon them. Moses interceded for them with the Lord and the Lord forgave them.

At least for awhile, they remained more patient on their ongoing journey.

Numbers 21:1-20

Arad Conquered

     1When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. 2So Israel made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3The LORD heard the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites; then they utterly destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called Hormah.

      4Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. 5The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”

The Bronze Serpent

     6The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

      10Now the sons of Israel moved out and camped in Oboth. 11They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, to the east. 12From there they set out and camped in Wadi Zered. 13From there they journeyed and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

14Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD,
“Waheb in Suphah,
And the wadis of the Arnon,

      15And the slope of the wadis
That extends to the site of Ar,
And leans to the border of Moab.”

      16From there they continued to Beer, that is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

      17Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well! Sing to it!

      18“The well, which the leaders sank,
Which the nobles of the people dug,
With the scepter and with their staffs.”
And from the wilderness they continued to Mattanah,

19and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland.

Don’t fool yourself that each of us is not able to act in similar fashion as the Israelites did in Numbers 21. It is all too easy to declare, “I would never act that way.” We are still vulnerable toward focusing on our selves rather than God, focusing on our current challenge rather than our past victories with Him, grumbling against Him when things are not going how we want them to go. Pray for the Spirit to help us remain faithful to the Lord through even the tough times, remain thankful for all the victories He has handed to us in the past, and trust in Him that He will be with us through to the end of our current and future challenges. He is a loving Father! Let us rejoice and praise Him and not speak against Him!

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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.