Saturday, July 26, 2008

Perspective on the "valley of the shadow of death"

This time, Lets look at David. I wonder what the "valley of the shadow of death" really meant to him? We can recite the verses of Psalm 23 in the calm and security of our living room but chances are the valley he was referring to was his experiences in the Valley of Rephaim. The Philistines (Deuteronomy 3:11 ff talk about a people of giant stature) came to raid the Valley, it was also the place of the Cave of Adullam where David and him men hid from King Saul.

Here are some references to give context::

2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22; 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 14:9

Giants came to kill them in a valley. David must have felt nervous to say the least, he had to keep calm and steady himself in a tight situation like this one. But he did not fear evil, he may have drawn strength on the previous victories in the Valley of Elah where he killed Goliath. Each battle won gives us hope and confidence for the next.

Location! location !location!

Ever think of the valleys mentioned in the bible?
Here is one that makes an interesting study. I came across the Valley of Achor years ago but only recently did I connect it with the sin of Achan where he and his entire clan were stoned to death. Here we see a place where sin was judged becomes a resting place and a door of hope.


References: Achor /Trouble

Joshua 7: 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor [i] ever since

Isaiah 65:9-11

9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live.

10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
for my people who seek me.

Hosea 2:15

15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor [a] a door of hope.

There she will sing [b] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Books of Works and Book of Life

I am reminded of Revelation 20 where at the Great White Throne," the books are brought forward, then the book of life is opened. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books......each person was judged according to what he had done. If anyones name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire".

1 Cor 3 :12- 13 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw,the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work.

Many books of works v's one book of life
Remember is God is watching, taking notes and will present you with all your works at judgment day. You may have plenty of books recording your good works but only those whose names are found in the book of life will not be thrown into the lake of fire.

Wood hay and stubble burn easily, all are dead material.
God tests and tries us as one purifies gold and silver, better to be in hot water now with God than later without Him!
On that note... have a great day

Amos the "burden bearer"

The Oracles Against the Nations:

  • Damascus --- 1:3-5 Threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth
  • Gaza --- 1:6-8 Took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom
  • Tyre --- 1:9-10 Sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood
  • Edom --- 1:11-12 Pursued his brother with a sword stifling all compassion
  • Ammon --- 1:13-15 ripped open pregnant women in order to extend his borders
  • Moab --- 2:1-3 Burned the bones of the King of Edom
  • Judah --- 2:4-5 Rejected the law of the Lord, have not kept his decrees and have been led astray by false gods
  • Israel --- 2:6-16 Sell the righteous and poor people for money and p0sessions, they are oppressive and immoral, and prosper on the misery of others.
Though other surrounding nations are judged first, Amos warms up his audience to hear what God thinks about the people he was sent to warn - Israel.

In Matthew 7:3 we are told that its easier to see the speck in another's eye that it is to see the log in our own. The people of Israel could easily nod with approval at the judgments placed on everyone else and then cried "oops" when the truth came home to roost.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

job or Job (the tried, tested and true guy)

The value of perspective: What is magnified in my life today, right now?
My fears, disappointments, failures, or commandment number 1 " Have no other gods before me" ?
Is God bigger than our personal boggy man? Ask a veggie tale expert, they know the answer, though I suspect we know also!

Its been a rough day on the job front. I need the patience of Job!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gods kindness leads us to repentance

    Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8

    Romans 2: 4
    Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent ([a]to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)?

    What do I cling to?

Jonah - the prodigal prophet!

Jonah grew up near Nazareth at the village of Gath Hepher, and lived about 800 B.C. or a little after during the reign of Jeroboam II, the king of Israel (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah was therefore a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel, whose predecessors were Elijah and Elisha. Hosea and Amos would likely have been Jonah’s contemporaries.

His previous message was one of restoration of boundaries to Israel, now he was called to preach against a city and its wickedness.

Jonah may have been as gentle as a dove, as his name implies and spitting "hell fire and brimstone" was way out of his comfort zone.

Also, He didn't want to preach repentance and for God to offer forgiveness to the undeserving nation of Ninevah.

    But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 4:1-2

    4:4 But the Lord replied, Have you any right to be angry? Jonah doesn't answer but sulks and waits to see what would happen to the city.

    God gives him shade and provides a vine, then he takes it away, Jonah's reaction is one of seething anger - he wants to die. Through this God shows Jonah that He has compassion on the people of Nineveh, people who don't know their right hand from their left.

    Holding onto anger is a stumbling block to offering forgiveness. When I am feeling like Jonah I need to remember what God asked Jonah "What right have I to be angry"

    2 Corinthians 2:7-11 gives us great insight into forgiveness. If you don't forgive, Satan will outwit you and you open the door to his schemes.

    "7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs".

Tarshish is a well known port

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jeremiah 23

I was intrigued by the interactions between Jeremiah and the other prophets from Jerusalem and Samaria. The prophets were prophesying lies and proclaimed to the people what they wanted to be the truth - all in the name of God, of course.God says of the prophets if they had stood in HIS council chambers, He would have told them what He purposed and they didn't need to make up "stuff".

The truth of this invitation verse 22 & 23 radically changed the way I perceive and receive God's His word and advice for real time living.

"But if they had stood in My council, then would they have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, says the Lord and not a God afar off?"

I encourage you the next time you need clarity and understanding, present yourself to God and stand before Him in His council chamber. Standing before God gives you a sense of alacrity, an urgency and readiness to hear His word and apply it to whatever situation you're facing.

How do you listen to God?