Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice-part 3

 Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice-part 3

 Greetings in Jesus Name, it is good to be with everyone on this wonderful Friday afternoon, hope you’re having a blessed day today, as I mentioned on Wednesday that we will be picking up our third and last installment of the study on Nathan today at B. “David Sinned Again”, so lets get to the study now.

B. David Sinned Again

Approximately fifteen years after David sinned with Bathsheba, he sinned again and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, which resulted in seventy thousand people being slain by an angel of the Lord. God’s anger was not against David personally as much as it was against Israel as His people. The correlation of the accounts from II Samuel 24 and II Chronicles 21, plus the solution to the sin, gives us probable insight to the real sin of David, which was not the actual numbering of the people. The mere taking of a census was hardly sinful. (See Numbers 1:2–3; 26:2–4.) There was no immediate external threat to prompt a military census. And since the solution to the slayings was in building an altar, it appears that the sin was attached to some spiritual deficit in the nation and possibly in King David himself.  

Since there was no military reason for the census, Joab questioned the purpose of David’s numbering the people, except it be for the king’s delight (II Samuel 24:4). Joab’s question leads us to believe there may have been an element of pride rising within the people to glory in themselves because of their size. Or they could have begun to trust in themselves rather than the Lord for their victories. Perhaps it was both. This would explain why the anger of the Lord was against the people and not David alone.

Joab completed the survey in nine months and twenty days and presented it to David. David’s heart smote him when he realized his “foolishness” and he asked the Lord to take away his iniquity (II Samuel 24:10). That same morning, the Lord sent Gad, David’s seer, to David with a choice of three things as punishment for his actions: seven years of famine, three months before his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land. David preferred to fall into the hands of the Lord, who is merciful, rather than the hands of man (II Samuel 24:14). So the Lord sent pestilence into the land, which caused seventy thousand people to die.

When the angel of death came to Jerusalem, the Lord stopped him at the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite saying, “It is enough: stay now thine hand” (II Samuel 24:16). David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel, and said, “Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house” (II Samuel 24:17). That same day Gad came to David with a solution: Go up and build an altar at the threshing floor where the angel stood. David did so, the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (II Samuel 24:18–25).

Pride is a subtle sin, but it is just as deadly as adultery and murder.

C. David’s Judgment

Righteousness has rewards and sin has consequences. When David did that which was right, God blessed him abundantly. When he did wrong, he was judged with righteous judgment to bring him back into the favor of the Lord. The judgments of God are for restoration, not destruction.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, his judgments were threefold, the same as his sins. He sinned against the Lord, against Uriah, and against Bathsheba. His sin against the Lord was forgiven; he did not die. Forgiveness from the Lord is not a long process. But his sins against Uriah and Bathsheba were lifelong. Uriah died by the sword of David; therefore the sword never left the house of David. Because Bathsheba was another man’s wife, David was to lose wives from his own house. As we sow, we reap; only we reap more than we sow.

4. THE SAVING OF A SOUL

A. An Erring Soul

Sin is no respecter of persons. Whether a king or a beggar, all are subject to failure and sin. In observing David’s life, we realize any of us can err from truth and righteousness. All are subject to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Sin is deceitful, the flesh is weak, and temptations are plentiful. Therefore, we must continually pray for the Lord to deliver us from evil and forgive our trespasses. (See Matthew 6:9–15.) The Lord is able to keep that which is committed into His hands if altars are maintained and His Word is hidden in the heart. The admonition of Hebrews 12 is the key to sustained faith without error.

B. A Friend’s Rebuke

Numerous verses in Proverbs speak of the role of friends, especially in times of adversity. A friendly man will have friends and a man of pure heart and gracious words will have the king as his friend (Proverbs 18:24; 22:11). But a true friend is one who loves us enough to tell us when we are wrong. A wise rebuke is sent of God through a caring friend (Ecclesiastes 7:5). It is not easy to tell a friend he is wrong, but the wounds of a friend are faithful expressions of love (Proverbs 27:6).

David had true friends in both Nathan and Gad. Both were loyal friends of David’s court, but more loyal to God. Nathan especially demonstrated wisdom and courage in approaching David concerning his adultery. His friendship through the years and his loyalty to God gave acceptance to his rebuke. David repented, accepted the consequences of his sin, and retained Nathan as his friend and counselor.

Later, Gad played a similar role in David’s sin of numbering the people. His friendship through the years as David’s seer allowed him to help David recover from his sin. And David kept Gad as his friend and seer until his death. A faithful friend who is near with godly counsel in times of trouble is better than a brother far away (Proverbs 27:10). David was wise in sustaining the friendships of Nathan and Gad throughout his reign for both good and bad times. A godly friend is a wonderful shield in the prevention of sin and error.

C. A Soul Saved

When Adam sinned in the Garden, all humanity became subject to sin’s dominion. Jesus Christ, the expressed love of God, came to save sinners. He gave His life to redeem mankind and offered salvation to all who would believe. The wonder of the gospel is carried by the voices of human beings, be they prophets or preachers, saints or friends, small or great, young or old. The voice of the believer proclaims the message of Christ on earth so the voice of the Lord Jesus can reclaim a soul in Heaven.

Internalizing the Message

Nathan was exemplary of all that prophets are supposed to be and do. He is the prophet’s pattern. What Samuel instituted, Nathan established as a model for all to follow. The prophet’s allegiance was always to God first. His friendships and normal functions of life were always subject to the high calling. The prophet’s voice was equated to that of the Lord.

The seer’s vision was that of divine revelation. He saw what was not available to human intelligence and proclaimed it to the hearers. The desired results were always to bring about change, to correct error and sin, and to establish truth and righteousness. In some cases, it was to pronounce judgment upon those who refused to change or had led others astray.

Nathan was a prophet of righteous justice. His influence reached into the reign of Solomon, who gave the conclusion to the whole matter:

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).

Jesus Christ is the new pattern of righteous justice. To be a Christian is to be like Christ. We hear His voice and keep His commandments. His righteousness becomes our righteousness; His grace, our strength. His justice is administered in mercy; His truth is given with love; His rebukes are expressed in gentleness with the intent to lift and heal.

 So that will conclude our study for this week, when we get together on Monday we will begin our new study  Elijah and Elisha: Two Sides of One Coin, looking forward to being with you then, and have a great weekend.

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Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice-part 2

 Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice

Praise the Lord, and greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I must apologize, although it is Wednesday it is late Wednesday evening, and what happened is time has once again gotten away from me, so without further delay let get right to our study, as mentioned we will start part 2 of our study at C. Beloved King.

C. The Beloved King

With the rejection of Saul, Samuel had anointed David to be the second king of Israel (I Samuel 16:6–13). But it was not until years later, after the deaths of Samuel and Saul, that he was crowned king. During those years, David faithfully served Saul as a brave warrior on the battlefield. With the killing of Goliath, he became a military hero. Israel loved him and sang his praises with song and dance: “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (I Samuel 18:7).

Saul envied David and was afraid of him because the Lord was with him (I Samuel 18:12). But David behaved wisely and all the people loved him (I Samuel 18:15–16). Later, Saul sought to kill him, which only endeared David to the people more.

Upon Saul’s death, David fled to Hebron where he became the king of Judah for seven years and six months (II Samuel 2:11). He was thirty years old. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was made king over Israel. The house of Saul was against the house of David during those years, but David’s house grew increasingly stronger. Then came the tribes of Israel to David in Hebron saying, “We are thy bone and thy flesh” (II Samuel 5:1). They asked David to be their king. There the elders of Israel anointed him as king over Israel (II Samuel 5:3).

As king over all Israel, David continued his military conquest with victories over the Philistines to bring the Ark of God back to Israel. He conquered the Jebusites in Jerusalem and made their fortress of Zion his home, calling it the city of David. His victories continued until there was peace with all his enemies (II Samuel 7:1). Then Israel rejoiced with their beloved king with singing, dancing, and feasting (II Samuel 6:19). Because he was a king with a heart for the people, God loved and favored him.

2. THE KING’S SEER

A. Nathan the Prophet

Three prophets (also called seers, “ones who see”) were important to David’s life: Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. Samuel was to David a beloved elder, a trusted friend and counselor, a fatherly figure, a statesman, and most of all, a prophet. Samuel was there for David during his formative years, and his influence remained with David until Samuel’s dying day.

The prophet Gad joined David in the wilderness when he was fleeing from Saul. David valued his advice to leave the stronghold in the wilderness and go to Judea into the forest of Hereth (I Samuel 22:5). Gad reappeared when David numbered the people and faced God’s punishment for his sin (II Samuel 24:11–19). It seems that Gad remained a part of the royal establishment in Jerusalem throughout the reign of David and wrote the history of David in a book at his death (I Chronicles 29:29).

Nathan was a contemporary of Gad. Both remained as part of the royal court with access to David. Both participated in establishing the musical arrangements for the house of the Lord (II Chronicles 29:25), and both wrote of the acts of David at his death (I Chronicles 29:29). But Nathan emerged as the predominant voice of the Lord during the heart of David’s leadership. He was there when David desired to build the house for the Lord and when David sinned with Bathsheba (II Samuel 7:1–3; 11:1–17). When David had his greatest responsibility to the nation, God provided him with two prophets of the court.

God has always provided counsel. From His voice in the Garden of Eden to the Comforter today, He will never leave us or forsake us, even to the end of the world. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20). (See John 14:18; Hebrews 13:5.)

B. Nathan the King’s Friend

Spiritual leadership is often a lonely place where trusted friends become great assets. David had such a friend in Nathan. At what point Nathan became associated with David is not clear, but he was a familiar figure in the court at Jerusalem. He was there during the early good times of growth and prosperity for the kingdom when David wanted to build a temple (II Samuel 7:2–3) and in the mid years when David sinned and needed straight talk to correct his wrongs in order to continue his leadership (II Samuel 12:1–15).

Nathan was the voice of righteous justice who befriended David throughout his reign as king. No greater friendship could exist than one that guides an individual into a true relationship with the Lord, who is a friend that is closer than a brother. (See Proverbs 18:24.) In the closing days, Nathan was there to help guide the selection of Solomon as David’s successor to the throne (I Kings 1:11–30).

C. Nathan the King’s Advisor

An advisor provides information and counsel to assist the advisee in making proper decisions in matters of grave concern. The best advisors are knowledgeable, professional counselors or those who have vested interests and personal knowledge of the advisee. With Gad and Nathan, David had God-qualified advisors as prophets with vested personal interests in him and the kingdom of Israel. It appears that David always followed through with what his seers advised. Gad seemed to function in the role of a lifelong personal friend whose heart was with David. Nathan seemed to function more in the pure prophet’s role as God’s voice to David. Each was there at the right time with the right advice. Nothing is more comforting than a word from the Lord brought by a friend in time of trouble.

3. THE PROPHET’S REBUKE

A. David Sinned

There is never justification for sin. It is always wrong and always has consequences. But there are times in life when it seems people are more prone to do wrong and commit sin. These times include times of stress, midpoints in life and experience, and times when individuals are relaxed from the pressures of obligations and commitments. Neither youthful indiscretions nor age-related tolerances can be ignored. Sin is sin regardless of how and when it happens.

At one point, David chose to tarry in Jerusalem during the time when the kings went to war (II Samuel 11:1). Joab, his servants, and all Israel were in battle, but David stayed home. There was no sin in not going to battle, but there was a vulnerability and weakness in noncommitment.

One evening David rose from his bed and walked upon his roof, where he observed Bathsheba washing herself. He sent for her, lay with her, and sent her home (II Samuel 11:1–4). Later, when she sent word that she was with child, David attempted to cover his sin by calling her husband, Uriah, home from the battlefield to be with Bathsheba. When Uriah refused to go home after David had summoned him from the battle, and instead spent the night with the servants, David devised a plan to have Uriah killed. Joab was to place Uriah in the forefront of the battle and withdraw from him to assure his death. Joab followed David’s orders and sent word back to David (II Samuel 11:16–25). David then took Bathsheba for his wife.

David followed the same pattern of sin experienced in the beginning by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and by Achan in the exodus from Egypt. The pattern is (1) they saw something forbidden and coveted it, (2) they did wrong by taking what they coveted, and (3) they attempted to hide their sins by covering them. In short, the process is look, take, and hide. Little thought was given to the increasing discomfort of guilt and shame. (See Genesis 3:6–8; Joshua 7:20–21.)

Though David thought he had covered his sins, he could not hide them from God. The Lord was displeased with him (II Samuel 11:27), and David suffered the consequences of his sins.

The expression “two wrongs don’t make a right” is true. Sin is not corrected by additional sin to cover the original sin. Even though David’s sin was not immediately exposed, it was not hidden. David’s heart and mind became troubled. In Psalm 32, David gave a glimpse of what was going on in his soul during the year following his sin. On the surface, David seemed to be doing fine. But consternation and raging guilt were in his heart. It is the amazing mercy of God that speaks to our hearts and gives us space and time to repent. (See Proverbs 28:13.)

After long months of living with guilt, the Lord sent Nathan to David with a parable and a message. The parable was that of a rich man with many sheep and a poor man with only one little ewe lamb. The rich man took the ewe lamb for a meal and offered it to a wayfaring traveler rather than taking a lamb of his own flock. (See II Samuel 12:1–6.) David’s anger was heated and he demanded justice of the rich man. Then his friend, the prophet who loved him, spoke the truth to David in love, the way truth is always supposed to be presented (Ephesians 4:15), and said: “Thou art the man” (II Samuel 12:7).

Before David had time to respond, Nathan continued with the full story and sequence of events. He started with the blessings of the Lord upon David’s life. Then Nathan gave the order of the severity of the sins. First was the sin against the Lord of despising His commandments and doing evil. Next was the sin of murder against Uriah the Hittite. Last was the sin of adultery against Bathsheba, the wife of another man. David knew the Lord had revealed his sins to Nathan, and David believed he would die because of them.

 Nathan pronounced judgment upon David (II Samuel 12:7, 11). The pronouncement of the sword and the destruction of the sacredness of his wives were heavy words upon David’s ears. He did the only right thing he could do and cast himself upon the mercy of the Lord with repentance. He confessed to the prophet, “I have sinned against the Lord (II Samuel 12:13). David realized his sin carried a death sentence both by the law of Moses and by his own pronounced judgment upon the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb in Nathan’s parable.  

Following David’s confession, Nathan told him he would not die. However, because his deed gave the enemies of the Lord great occasion to blaspheme, the child would die. With those words, Nathan left David, and the Lord struck the child with a severe illness (II Samuel 12:15). For seven days David lay before the Lord upon the earth, fasting and praying for the child, hoping God might reconsider.

When the child died, David rose from the earth, washed himself, changed his clothing, and went into the house of the Lord where he worshiped, beginning his healing process. He knew righteous justice had been done. He knew Nathan was a true prophet. He knew he would live. He knew the Lord loved him. He knew he needed to fulfill his responsibilities as the king of Israel.

Sin stops forward progress. It causes one to cover and hide. It prevents the blessing of God. It inhibits the joy factors of strength and victory from flowing naturally within our lives. It destroys our purpose and separates us from our calling. It also causes others to suffer. Joab spent an entire year or more in besiegement of Rabbah, the royal city of Ammon, with no success. However, when David made things right and entered the battle, Rabbah was conquered and David was crowned with the king’s crown of Rabbah. (See II Samuel 11:1; 12:26–31.)

Two important lessons emerge from the closing of the story. First, David forgave himself, a difficult thing to do. Second, he comforted Bathsheba and went in to her, and she conceived another son, Solomon, whom God loved and who was to become David’s successor to the throne. Repentance and forgiveness are wonderful gifts.

 That will conclude our study for tonight, when we get back together on Friday we will pick up our study at B. “David Sinned Again”, until then have a great rest of the week.

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Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice

Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice

 Praise the Lord! On this wonderful Monday afternoon that the Lord has given us today, trusting everyone had a great weekend, and time of Worship to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!. 

  This weeks study will be on Nathan-Prophet of Righteous Justice, as our study was last week of three installments, it will  be the same this week, so here is installment one of our study.

Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice

Focus Verses

James 5:19–20

Jas 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

Jas 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Lesson Text

II Samuel 7:1–5

1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;

2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.

3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.

4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying,

5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?

 

II Samuel 12:7–14

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

Focus thought

Because God loves us, He uses people in our lives to correct us.

Culture Connection

God Save the Queen

Tony Blair was newly elected as prime minister of Great Britain when Princess Diana was killed in an auto accident in Paris. Her death placed a lot of pressure on Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family because of the divorce of Diana and Prince Charles. The Queen thought it best to allow Diana’s family to handle the funeral arrangements as a personal family matter rather than having a royal state funeral. However, because of Diana’s popularity with the English populace and her admirers around the world, an outcry arose toward the queen for the royal family to make Diana’s funeral a royal state funeral rather than a private one. The English press had billed her as the “People’s Princess.” So great was the public outcry that the monarchy itself was being brought into question.

Young Tony Blair was caught between the people who had just elected him in a landslide vote and the resistance of the royal family for a state funeral. It was most difficult for the prime minister to tell the queen what she should do in the situation, even though Mr. Blair though it was right and proper for Princess Diana to have a state funeral. His ability to influence and persuade the Queen toward a state funeral turned out to be the correct decision for the Queen and satisfied the people of England. The willingness of Queen Elizabeth II to listen to counsel may have saved the monarchy and changed the cries of the press and the people from that of criticism to “God save the queen.”

Outline

1. THE PEOPLE’S KING

A. The Anointed King

B. The Gifted King and Prophet

C. The Beloved King

2. THE KING’S SEER

A. Nathan the Prophet

B. Nathan the King’s Friend

C. Nathan the King’s Advisor

3. THE PROPHET’S REBUKE

A. David Sinned

B. David Sinned Again

C. David’s Judgment

4. THE SAVING OF A SOUL

A. An Erring Soul

B. A Friend’s Rebuke

C. A Soul Saved

Contemplating the Topic

For 120 years the united kingdom of Israel was governed by three kings: Saul, David, and Solomon. Samuel served as the initial prophet to the united kingdom and anointed both Saul and David as its kings. The pattern of a king and prophet association was established with King Saul and Samuel. It continued throughout the remaining history of the kings of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament.

What Samuel was to King Saul, Nathan was to King David. Each served as a voice of spiritual counsel and vision to the civil authority of the kingdom. They were the chosen voices of God to the nation in both physical and spiritual affairs. What Samuel set in motion as the stabilizing prophet to the first king of Israel, Nathan established as a pattern of relationship between the kings and the prophets. Nathan was the prophet of the court to King David, Israel’s greatest king, and also to Solomon, Israel’s wisest king. Nathan was the voice of righteous justice in times of great personal crisis. Had it not been for Nathan, the everlasting kingdom of David may not have been established. Nathan’s voice caused David to repent of his sins, correct the error of his ways, and continue to serve and lead Israel into greater physical and spiritual development.

A strong three-fold leadership cord of king, prophet, and priest emerged with David, Nathan, and Zadok. With David as king, the people of Israel had a compassionate ruler with their interests at heart. With Nathan as their prophet, the clear vision of righteousness was always priority. With Zadok the priest, the blessings of loyalty to leadership and faithfulness to Moses’ law strengthened the kingdom immeasurably.

Searching the Scriptures

1. THE PEOPLE’S KING

A. The Anointed King

Samuel was chosen of God and accepted by the people as a prophet from his youth. His voice of resistance to a king for Israel was evident in his warning to the people (I Samuel 8:7–22). However, with their insistence, God granted their desire. God chose Saul to be the first king, and He directed Samuel to anoint Saul. (See I Samuel 9:15–10:1, 19–26.) Saul was a warrior, head and shoulders above others, but humble when Samuel anointed him as king.

Saul’s human shortcomings became apparent with time. There appear to be no altars in Saul’s life. His inferior spiritual stature did not match his superior physical stature; therefore, his enemies triumphed. Disobeying Samuel’s instructions concerning the Amalekites, he spared King Agag and some of the sheep and cattle (I Samuel 15). When the Philistines captured the Ark of Israel, Saul refused to go into battle with the giant Goliath. God’s rejection of Saul was painful to Samuel, who as a young prophet had anointed and loved Saul as the king. Samuel, now older, had to face the reality of anointing a new king, one chosen of God but unlike Saul.

Anointing David as king must have been a bittersweet moment for Samuel. The bitterness of Saul’s failures and the sweetness of David’s love for the Lord were mixed as Samuel poured the anointing oil upon David’s head (I Samuel 16:13). Years had passed and a new day was ahead for Israel and for Samuel. David was to be the new king, and Nathan was to be the prophet of the king’s court.

B. The Gifted King and Prophet

Unlike Saul, whose virtue seemed to be his height and strength, David was a man of many talents and gifts. His strength was that of inner character and courage rather than physical brawn (I Samuel 16:7). These strengths brought him favor with the people and made him a natural leader. God’s favor significantly enhanced his natural leadership abilities. David placed his trust in the name of the Lord to accomplish great things for Israel, for with God all things are possible.

Ironically, Saul’s servants recited David’s gifts to Saul in I Samuel 16:18.

Cunning in playing.” A musician and songwriter, David’s musical ability comforted him during the many lonely days in the shepherd’s fields and later calmed the troubled spirit of King Saul.

A mighty valiant man.” He did not back away from a fight. His courage and strength were in his commitment to a cause.

A man of war.” David was a man of righteous anger and justice. He drew the sword in defense of righteousness and refrained from using the sword to take Saul’s life in order to be right in the sight of the Lord.

Prudent in matters.” David was an intelligent person, wise in his words and his understanding of people. He understood both sheep and men (Psalm 49:3). He attracted people with his charismatic personality and winning ways. He surrounded himself with strong, faithful men who were loyal to him and to the nation.

A comely person.” He was a handsome man with pleasing looks and personality.

The Lord is with him.” In Acts 13:22 David is characterized as a man after God’s own heart. His heart was for God and right, for Israel and his fellowman, and for the underprivileged and outcasts.

Besides the natural gifts and talents David possessed, he was also a prophet. His messianic prophesies were scattered among the psalms he wrote under divine inspiration. Peter, in his inaugural sermon on the Day of Pentecost, called David a prophet (Acts 2:30).

  so that will conclude the first of our three installments of our study for this week, we will pick up part two of our study on Wednesday at C. “The Beloved King”

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Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom-part 3

 Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom-part 3

  Praise the Lord, and greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is a wonderful day  the Lord has given us today, hope you’ve all had a good week, and although it is a bit different being with you on a Saturday, it is good to be with you today, as mentioned on Thursday we would pick up our 3rd installment of our study on Samuel today, beginning at B. “Preservation is Vital”, so without any delay here is our study.

B. Preservation Is Vital

Many factions would seek to destroy the voice of the Lord in the believer’s life. If the voice of the Lord is removed from the Christian experience, then stability is removed also. Stability is the foundation of all Christian growth, development, and service. It is the confidence factor for both the believer and those seeking Christ through the believer’s testimony. If the voice of the Lord is silenced in our lives, then the believer’s testimony is destroyed.

Evil triumphs when the voice of the Lord is silenced. Influenced by Herodias, Herod had John the Baptist killed. The purpose of this action was to silence John’s voice of condemnation for Herod’s sinful ways (Mark 6:20–28). The apostles were imprisoned in an effort by the Sadducees to silence them (Acts 5:18). Stephen was martyred because his words cut straight to the heart (Acts 7:54). Peter and Paul were both imprisoned but miraculously delivered by the hand of the Lord. Obviously, their voices were still needed (Acts 12:1–19; 16:19–40).

Jesus’ voice was temporarily silenced because men love darkness rather than light, and He was the light of the world. But death is not the only way a voice can be silenced. Gossip can destroy a reputation, and a lie can make void one’s influence. If the voice of the preacher, the testimony of the righteous, or the walk of the faithful be discredited, from where will salvation come? How can one be saved without a preacher? (See Romans 10:14.) Carefulness is prudence.

4. GOD’S VOICE TODAY

After John the Baptist prepared the way, Jesus Christ ushered in the kingdom of God with His preaching. (See Luke 16:16.) The transformation was made from the kings of Israel to a new and different kind of king and kingdom. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Jesus was to be a king of peace, not one of pomp and ceremony.

The coming of Jesus brought great change. No longer was the focus to be exclusively on Israel, or the expression of God through a limited number of voices, but many were to proclaim the message. Whosoever would hear and respond could drink of the waters of life freely. (See Revelation 22:17.) Jesus’ preaching brought into being the principles and power of the kingdom of God, while Peter’s preaching opened the doors to grace and the birth of the New Testament church. A new era was begun with new emphasis, power, and experience.

A. Peter’s Reference

The Holy Ghost fell on the Day of Pentecost to the delight of Jesus’ faithful followers and to the bewilderment of the devout Jews gathered in Jerusalem from every nation. The Jews heard the believers speak with tongues, declaring the wonderful works of God, and wondered with amazement and doubt what it meant. (See Acts 2:1–14.) Then Peter stood and preached his first sermon to explain the phenomenon of the outpouring of the Spirit and to proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Amidst mockery, doubt, and confusion, Peter used two Old Testament prophets to authenticate his message. First was Joel, who prophesied of the outpouring of the Spirit in the last days. Joel’s words, as the prophetic voice of God, gave credence to the experience of Pentecost and settled the crowd. Then Peter used David, the beloved king of Israel, to establish Jesus as both their Lord and Christ. The doubt was erased, the mocking ceased, the confusion was satisfied, and conviction came upon the hearers.

Peter’s use of the prophecies of Joel and David authenticated the experience of Pentecost and the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter’s preaching, utilizing David’s prophecy, brought understanding to the personage of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, whom the Jews had been expecting to come for centuries. To know Him is to believe in Him. And to believe is to repent, take on His name in baptism, and be filled with the Spirit. (See Acts 2:37–38.) And thus the church was born.

B. Today’s Preacher

The difference between the Hebrew prophets and today’s preachers is the scope of the gospel. The prophets for the most part were focused on Israel, while the preachers are to carry the whole gospel to the whole world. Building on the prophets’ foundation, preachers today have a great reservoir of history, Scripture, and the manifest presence of God at their disposal. The preachers’ field is larger and more diversified than that of the Hebrew prophets, and the abundance of Scripture and Christian examples, including the life and ministry of Jesus, are more plentiful and accessible.

Before the church today is set an open door no man can shut if the church will only hold to the Word of the Lord. (See Revelation 3:8.) For God’s voice still speaks through His messengers, and it still has the power to convict, to change, to stabilize, and to completely restore those who will hear.

The marks of maturity in achieving this ministry are also three-fold: (1) to come into the unity of the faith, (2) to come into the knowledge of the Son of God, and (3) to measure up to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The stature of the fullness of Christ is characterized in Ephesians 4:13–16 as being (1) knowledgeable in doctrine, (2) disciplined in speaking truth in love, (3) submitted to Christ’s authority as the head, (4) positioned in one’s place in the body of Christ, and (5) involved in edifying the church by working in love and unity.

When converts are capably discipled for ministry, the body of Christ is properly edified. From Peter’s first sermon in Jerusalem, to the thousands of pulpits around the world today, the voice of the preacher remains the principle source for the voice of Lord. Discerning the voice of God today is greatly determined by one’s concept of preaching: Is it of God or of man? Is it foolishness or wisdom?

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21).

C. The Sure Anchor

Samuel was the first of the Hebrew prophets in the kingdom era, but not the first to prophesy. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Balaam, and many others spoke for the Lord before Samuel stepped onto the scene. From the Garden of Eden to the closing chapter of Revelation, the Lord chose how and through whom His voice would be heard. Sometimes, as it was with Adam in the Garden, it was the voice of conversation. At other times it was as the thunder heard at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:19) or the voice of affirmation as it was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:1–8). Whether it is through conversation, proclamation, or judgment, the voice of the Lord will always be heard.

Does God still choose to speak audibly through human voices? Yes. In addition to preaching, the voice of God is heard through the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, which include speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, prophesying, and testifying. But the primary way in which God speaks today is through His Word and the voice of the preacher and teacher.

As Paul traveled through the cities of Asia Minor visiting the young churches, he ministered to them the gospel and shared with them the ordinances from the apostles in Jerusalem. His purpose was to establish them in the faith so they could develop into the stature of Christ and grow in numbers. (See Acts 16:4–5.) The Lord used Paul’s voice to impart the Word to them. The Word has the power to transform and to keep, to stabilize and to strengthen, to inspire and to comfort. As we internalize the Word, we lay hold on the knowledge and strength we need to walk before the Lord acceptably and give Him glory. And as we testify of Jesus, we manifest the spirit of prophecy. (See Revelation 19:10.)

Internalizing the Message

As Paul traveled through the cities of Asia Minor visiting the young churches, he ministered to them the gospel and shared with them the ordinances from the apostles in Jerusalem. His purpose was to establish them in the faith so they could develop into the stature of Christ and grow in numbers. (See Acts 16:4–5.) The Lord used Paul’s voice to impart the Word to them. The Word has the power to transform and to keep, to stabilize and to strengthen, to inspire and to comfort. As we internalize the Word, we lay hold on the knowledge and strength we need to walk before the Lord acceptably and give Him glory. And as we testify of Jesus, we manifest the spirit of prophecy. (See Revelation 19:10.)

In our transition from sinner to saint to servant, we must remain sensitive to the Word and to the Spirit, for “we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). His voice leads us into righteousness, which gives us light for our feet along the path of life and comforts our hearts with assurance and peace by His presence. Our confidence is in the immutability of His counsel and the fact that God cannot lie. (See Hebrews 6:17–18.) Herein is our hope secure and steadfast, for His sheep “know his voice” (John 10:4).

We are building a spiritual house upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. With each phase toward its completion, there is change. Change is inevitable for growth to take place. The winds of adversity will blow and the storms will come, but the breath of the Spirit within us is greater than the winds of adversity against us. We must build on the solid rock of the Word that is forever settled in Heaven and not on the shifting sands of temporal flesh, human philosophy, and human wisdom. His voice is our stabilizer and strength, our hope and anchor. In His Word we put our trust and rest in peace.

  That will conclude our study of Samuel, when we get together on Monday we will begin our new study on “Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice”, hope the rest of your weekend is a great one and look forward to getting together with you on Monday.

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Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom-part 2

Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom-part 2

 Praise the Lord, and a good morning to everyone, it is a beautiful morning that the Lord has given us, we should be glad in it, for the Psalmist said in Psa 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. On Monday’s blog I mentioned that our next post would be on Wednesday, I apologize for that not happening, it seems that time had passed by without me realizing it, so I am posting Wednesday’s blog today. we will pick up our study at A. “A New Nation” as was mentioned on Monday, so without further delay here is our study.

A. A New Nation

Through the twenty-five centuries from Adam to Moses, God’s relationship with humanity progressed from individuals, as in Adam and Noah; to families such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to tribes, as were the sons of Jacob; and ultimately to the nation of Israel. He intended for Israel to become His voice of righteousness to all people. He desired for Israel to become a holy nation that would function as priests to the world (Exodus 19:6).

God’s covenant with Abraham was for both his descendants and for the land of Canaan. The time to become a nation had arrived, and the people of Israel were ready for their king. God had blessed them with favor in a land of milk and honey. It was time for them to become a nation and step into the fullness of God’s plan for Israel.

The people desired a king, God granted their request, and a young nation was born. It was to be a nation of promise, of blessing, and of purpose. Israel was to be in the world but not of the world. It was a new nation strategically placed at the crossroads of the world as a beacon of light for God’s message of love and holiness.

B. Entrenched Enemies

God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham when he left Ur of the Chaldeans. Everywhere his foot stepped was to be his. Hundreds of years later his descendants had possessed the land, but they had failed to drive out some of its inhabitants, who became entrenched enemies of Israel.

The Philistines were particularly troublesome. They had won a battle near Ebenezer killing thirty-four thousand Israelites and capturing the Ark of the Covenant. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed in the battle. When word came to Eli of the death of his sons and the captured Ark, he fell backwards from his seat, broke his neck, and died. That same day his daughter-in-law, wife of Phinehas, died in childbirth. Before her death, she named her son Ichabod, saying, “The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken” (I Samuel 4:22).

When the Ark was returned seven months later, it was not properly respected by the men of Bethshemesh. Consequently, the Lord smote them with a great slaughter, causing deep lamentation among the people (I Samuel 6:19). The Ark was then taken to Kirjathjearim where it remained for twenty years.

Preceding these events, Samuel was a young man in Shiloh ministering in the Lord’s house. Eli was old, his two evil sons were serving as priests, the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no vision. (See I Samuel 3:1.) The Lord revealed to Samuel the judgment He was to bring against Eli’s house, and Samuel told Eli the vision. The word of that vision spread throughout all Israel. As Samuel grew, his word was revered; all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew he was established to be a prophet of the Lord. (See I Samuel 3:11–21.)

The new nation of Israel was destined to be born in the midst of trouble from her enemies without and from the lack of spiritual leadership within. But the Lord was preparing Samuel to become the prophet and judge during the transition. Samuel was destined to be a great leader because the word of the Lord was imparted to him and flowed from him to the people.

C. Israel in Transition

Transition is a continuing process of life. When Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans, he embarked on a course of continual change and transition. “He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). His great grandchildren, the sons of Jacob, became the nucleus of the nation of Israel. Their heritage was that of continual transition.

A thousand years after Abraham, Samuel guided Israel through a difficult transition of becoming a nation. And a thousand years after Samuel, John the Baptist introduced another great change with the coming of the kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. Another transition awaits believers. New Jerusalem is the city of God where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We must continue to look for it until our final change comes.

2. THE NEED FOR GOD’S VOICE

The voice of the Lord as the original expression of God is the source of all life. On the first day of creation, “God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God spoke in like manner for each of the creative days. Adam identified God by His voice as He walked in the Garden (Genesis 3:10).

Obedience to God’s voice brought life, while disobedience brought death. All life naturally and spiritually is sustained by His voice. In the end, it will be the voice of the Lord that says, “Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23). To maintain fellowship with God, we must hear the voice of the Lord whether it is by the Spirit, the printed Word, visions and dreams, or preaching and teaching. (See Revelation 3:20–22.)

A. The Prophet’s Voice

When Samuel was yet a child, his mother presented him to the Lord in an act of worship. (See I Samuel 1:28.) He grew up in the house of the Lord where he ministered to the Lord and to Eli. (See I Samuel 2:11, 18; 3:1.) What he first learned of the Lord’s ways came from his mother, his association with Eli the priest, those who came to worship, and his service to the Lord. How important it is for children to find worship and meaningful association at an early age in the house of the Lord. These things greatly influence a profitable life of service in Christ Jesus.

When the Lord called Samuel for the first time, Samuel thought the voice was Eli’s voice. The Lord favored Samuel but had not yet spoken to him (I Samuel 3:7). The voice of the prophet speaks what the Lord would say unto us. In essence, Samuel’s voice became the voice of the Lord. Therein is the prophet’s authority. It is amazing how the voice of a true prophet rings true in the hearts and minds of people.

B. Ever-Present Enemies

Samuel lived during troublesome times. Corruption was prevalent. The Word of God was precious (rare) and there was no vision. The people had gone after strange gods, including Ashtaroth, the Canaanite goddess of love and fertility. And the Philistines reigned and ruled.

After twenty years, Israel began to lament before the Lord and He heard their cry. Samuel’s voice was heard once again as he called the Israelites to repent and turn back to God, which they did and put away their gods of Baalim and Ashtaroth to serve the Lord only (I Samuel 7:4).

When the Philistines heard that Israel was gathered together and fasting in Mispeh, they came down against them for battle. But the Lord had seen the repentance of Israel, accepted Samuel’s sacrifice, and honored his prayer by sending a great thunder to cause panic among the Philistines. The Philistines were defeated. When we hear the voice of the Lord and turn from our wicked ways, we will experience victory over our enemies. For “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

C. Abiding Peace

Samuel is a symbol of peace in a troubled world. Everything around him seemed to be in turmoil and struggle. Yet he possessed a steady, calm, stabilizing walk with the Lord. From his birth to his death, difficulties were present, but his actions expressed a confidence in God that depicted internal peace. After the “men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them,” Samuel placed a stone between Mizpeh and Shen and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (I Samuel 7:11–12). When we hear the voice of the Lord and obey His commands, He can help us and give us peace even in the midst of turmoil.

3. PRESERVING GOD’S VOICE

It is vital that we diligently seek to preserve the ability to hear the voice of the Lord. For through His voice life first came into the world and is continually sustained. Outside of Christ there is neither abundant life nor life eternal, for He is the only mediator between God and man. His name is the only saving name, and His voice alone calls to salvation. His voice is also the one of final judgment before whom all will stand, both small and great. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). To live acceptably before Christ, we must hear His voice and walk in His ways (Hebrews 12:28). Only then can we expect to hear Him say, “Well done.”

A. Samuel Facilitated Peace

After Samuel set up the Ebenezer stone declaring God’s help in the battle of Mizpeh, he continued to judge Israel for the rest of his life (I Samuel 7:12–15). The Philistines were subdued and came no more into the coast of Israel. As long as Samuel lived, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. The peace in Israel and the freedom the people enjoyed from their archenemy was clearly connected to Samuel’s presence. His voice brought repentance to the people, his voice entreated the Lord to help them in battle, and his voice declared peace to Israel with the erection of the Ebenezer stone. When Israel made peace with the Lord, the Lord gave Israel peace from her enemies.

  That will conclude the second installment of the three in this study, we will pick up our third and last installment of the study of “Samuel”  part 3 at B. “Preservation is vital”, I will post that on Saturday, may you have a blessed rest of the week.

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Samuel Stabilizer of the Kingdom

Samuel Stabilizer of the Kingdom

 Praise the Lord, and greetings in Jesus Name, it has been a wonderful day, and it seems time has gotten away from me today so we will get right to our study which is “Samuel-Stabilizer of the Kingdom”, I would also like to point out that our study at least this week will be in three installments.

Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom

Focus Verse

Hebrews 12:28

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Lesson Text

I Samuel 7:3–15

3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.

5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.

6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.

7 And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.

8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.

9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.

10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.

11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car.

12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

14 And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

Focus thought

God has chosen to utilize human voices to stabilize, direct, exhort, and comfort His people.

Culture Connection

Happy Ever After

  All things living, growing, moving, multiplying, or dividing depend upon stabilizers to function properly and survive. Cars have stabilizer bars to keep them from rolling in turns. Electric supply lines have transformers, rockets have gyroscopes, hospitals have emergency rooms, and children have parents, grandparents, and friends. Churches have pastors and teachers. Christians have the Lord Jesus. To enact radical change with no stabilizer is unwise, even an invitation to failure and disaster.

  One of the greatest transitions of life is that of marriage. When two people come together, they often come from different family backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. They may differ in the amount of wealth they have and the level of education attained. Their dreams and desires may be different. The process of marriage from singles to unions, to family, to multifamily is a path with many transitions. Stabilizers are necessary in the union for it to be a happy and successful marriage.

Outline

1. THE NEED FOR STABILITY

A. A New Nation

B. Entrenched Enemies

C. Israel in Transition

2. THE NEED FOR GOD’S VOICE

A. The Prophet’s Voice

B. Ever-Present Enemies

C. Abiding Peace

3. PRESERVING GOD’S VOICE

A. Samuel Facilitated Peace

B. Preservation Is Vital

4. GOD’S VOICE TODAY

A. Peter’s Reference

B. Today’s Preacher

C. The Sure Anchor

Contemplating the Topic

  Five hundred years had passed since the tribes of Israel crossed over Jordan into the Promised Land. After Joshua’s death and the death of the generation of Israelites at that time, the people of Israel fell into a cycle of (1) forsaking God and turning to the gods of the Canaanites, which provoked God to anger; (2) being delivered into the hands of their enemies as God’s punishment; (3) crying out to the Lord for deliverance.

  In response, God would raise up a judge to deliver the people from their oppression. Generally the people served God and enjoyed peace as long as the judge lived; then they began the cycle again by forsaking God and turning to idolatry. Stability was subject to the influence and longevity of the individual judges.

  God had given favor to Israel in fulfilling His promise to Joshua to go before him and drive out the people of the land. But victory had been slow in coming with groups such as the Jebusites still among the people (Judges 1:21). The time had come for the twelve tribes to be solidified into a unified nation. A strong transitional leader was needed, and God chose Samuel as His representative voice during the transition to a nation.

  Samuel was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets for the united kingdom. Samuel’s first prophecy came quite early in life. (See I Samuel 3:10–18.) “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord” (I Samuel 3:19–20).

  Samuel was to be the principle stabilizer for the new nation. When the people of Israel cried for a king to rule over them, Samuel orchestrated the transition and brought the nation into a central civil government under the law of Moses. Samuel set the pace for future Hebrew prophets to prophesy and to establish relationships of influence with Israel’s kings and people.

  The Hebrew prophets continued until John the Baptist, the last of the Hebrew prophets. John also served as a transitional prophet to bring into focus the Kingdom era, the church age.

  Samuel was the greatest of the judges, and Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest of the prophets (Luke 7:28). Both were chosen of God as stabilizers in unusual times of transition. To make possible the greatest of all transitions, that from sinner to saint, God took on the likeness of man and humbled himself unto death to offer hope and life eternal to believers (Philippians 2:6–8). The voice of God, through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, preached the message of salvation to open the doors to the kingdom of God. Jesus was a prophet like no other, who spoke like no other, so all could be saved.

Searching the Scriptures

1. THE NEED FOR STABILITY

  Christians grow in grace and mature spiritually in Christ in three stages: First is conversion, the experience of salvation (repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit). Next is the development of a healthy relationship between the believer and the Lord. This is the stabilizer of the Christian’s faith and the key to growth and maturity. Last is the element of service, the fulfillment of purpose that makes one’s faith meaningful and joyful.

  For balance and spiritual growth to occur, there must be stabilizers, for the winds of adversity will blow. Stabilizing roots in past experiences are essential in order to grow into the next stage of maturity or achievement. The Hebrew prophets were the stabilizers for the emerging nation of Israel and her kings.

  That will conclude our first installment of our study for this week, for our second installment we will start at A. “A New Nation”on Wednesday, until then we pray you have a great week.

 

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“The Kingdom Of Heaven”-part 2

“The Kingdom Of Heaven”-part 2

  Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ everyone on this wonderful Thursday afternoon, and what a beautiful day the Lord has given us. As promised on Monday we are going to start part 2 of our study with “Our Need For Grace”    Websters says grace is    A :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification    B :  a virtue coming from God    C :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance,  Just think on that-how Blessed we are to be given “Divine Assistance” And with that lets begin our study.

2. OUR NEED FOR GRACE

Grace is derived from the Greek word charis. The value of this word may be assessed by the fact that it appears 156 times in the New Testament and was used at least 91 times in Paul’s epistles. In simple terms it means “the unmerited favor of God toward man.”

 How hard it is for us to fully grasp what Christ has done for us on Calvary! How difficult it is at times to realize the abundance of love Jesus poured out when He died for us on the cross! Though perhaps on this side of eternity we have no more than a glimpse of what God has done to redeem us, just that glimpse can change our entire lives.

Through the ages of eternity no doubt we will be revelling in the wonders of redemptive grace (Ephesians 2:7). The picture will be much clearer to us then. Finally, the mists will have rolled away. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12).

A. Difficulty in Meeting the Law’s Requirements

How hard is it to be vindicated, that is, to be found blameless, before the Lord by keeping the law of Moses? It is impossible. Paul wrote, “No man is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3:11).

The basic problem with the Law was that it demanded perfection Those who claimed to keep the Law were often the greatest violators of it. Thus the Jews, after Jesus had healed a man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day, persecuted and tried to kill Him (contrary to the sixth commandment). These extremists would have tried to restore one of their own cattle on the Sabbath, but they had no compassion for a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. They had made what was intended to be a blessing into a burden.

Even though Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees a brood of vipers, He taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to obey the instructions of Moses (Matthew 5:17–19). Those writings, He was affirming, were inspired by God. They were perfect in what they were designed to do, but they were to be superseded by a higher law. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” Paul would later state, “hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The Holy Ghost sets us free from the dominating control of sin. Try to live an overcoming life without the Spirit if you will, but just before His ascension, Christ told His disciples to “tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). That is, they were to be clothed with—they were to enter into—the kingdom of God. This was not just a set of rules or a series of rituals. This did not include just religious customs or pious ceremonials. This was Christ living within His followers, empowering them to take the gospel into all the world.

B. Increased Difficulty in Meeting the Heightened Standards of the New Covenant

Without question the requirements Jesus gave on the mountainside went beyond those of the old system. Indeed, Christ demanded that His subjects must be totally committed and completely loyal to the cause of the Kingdom—even to the point of death. If His followers lived by His precepts, they would not just be marked as being different; they would become the offscouring of the world. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22). Obviously the Lord expected that many believers would be falsely accused and would face terrible persecution. They could all expect to suffer for His name’s sake. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).

If those who gathered to hear the Master expected an easy life by following Christ’s teachings, that notion was soon swept away. The gate to eternal life was “strait”; the way was narrow. (See Matthew 7:14.) Everything in life was to be committed to the Lord, and He was to be trusted in everything.

From Jesus’ teachings we understand that in every situation, in every case where we are maligned or mistreated, in every trial we can possibly face, our confidence is to be wholly in a loving God. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body” (Matthew 6:25).

On our own initiative, we are unable to meet the standards of the New Covenant. The teachings are too restrictive; the requirements are too lofty.

Everywhere we look, it seems, there are evidences of individuals who have drifted from the Christian values they once esteemed. Some who were brought up in Christian homes have become entangled in the pursuit of wealth or worldly pleasures. Some have dated unsaved persons and then married outside the faith. Still others have simply grown discouraged because of trials and temptations.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:17–18).

C. The Need for Grace Since We Are Insufficient to Meet This Standard

It is all too easy to forget that the God whom we serve inhabits eternity in unparalleled majesty and glory. There is none other like our Lord God. He is the mighty One, and by His breathtaking power He shakes kingdoms (Isaiah 23:11). He rules the raging seas and commands the wildest winds. The vast number of angels who praise Him (Psalm 148:1–2) stand ready to attend to His commands (I Kings 22:19). David proclaimed, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). The throne of this God is in the heavens, and He is sovereign over all (Psalm 103:19). He is a righteous monarch who will not tolerate iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). He is the Almighty of whom the seraphims continually cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3).

How, then, can we who have been sinful enter into the kingdom of this incredible God? By what means can we who have been rebellious become part of His glorious domain? Is it by our own good works? Never! Is it by religious ceremony? Certainly not!

It is by a sovereign work of grace that we are called “out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9). It is in the blackest of nights that God’s love shines the brightest. When we “were without Christ . . . having no hope” (Ephesians 2:12), He called us to Himself. Grace is God doing for us, empowering us to do what we could never do without Him. Paul declared we have nothing of which we can boast; we are saved by God’s grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Who among us does not need an abundance of this grace? We have all sinned and fallen short of the Lord’s requirements—from the little bully who pushes others in the schoolyard to the prostitute who sells her body on the street corner. And, yes, even after we are born again, we may discover we still have a propensity to sin. To have lasting victory we must continually long to be cleansed by the blood of our wonderful Savior and to be filled with “the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29).

Internalizing the Message

How would we have reacted if we had been on the mountainside as Jesus taught His followers the tenets of Christian discipleship? As we listened along with the multitude of Jewish people on that day, would we have believed the promises of a better life as given in the eight beatitudes? Would we have shaken our heads in disbelief at what Christ expected? Would we have trusted that the kingdom of Heaven could actually be ours? Could we have understood what value the Lord places upon each of His people? Would we, like many others, have failed to commit our lives to the Lord, even though we sensed the power of the statements that were being spoken? Or would we have opened our hearts to the Master and unreservedly embraced the message Jesus presented?

What does the kingdom of Heaven mean to us? It was the central theme of Matthew’s Gospel; that writer using the term thirty-three times. Obviously Jesus placed extreme importance upon His listeners’ entering into the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21; 19:23). According to the Lord, we are to “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). Without question He wanted people to know His dominion was not of this world (John 18:36) but that His kingdom was of God. Christ, indeed, is the mighty King; if we submit to His authority, we will enjoy wonderful Kingdom privileges.

When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). The kingdom of Heaven is wherever Jesus lives. Wherever the Lord is invited to stay, there is peace and there is gladness. There is hope and there is healing. In a heartfelt expression of confidence David exclaimed, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Nothing can compare to the presence of Christ’s Spirit within our lives. Nothing can give us such assurance of divine love and mercy. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).

  So I’m thinking what we should be taking away from our study here is that what ever we do, what ever we are going through, that it is God’s Grace that is bringing us through that situation. So we need to be “PRAISING GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND GRACE” 

  That will conclude our study for this week, when we return on Monday we will begin our new study “Samuel: Stabilizer Of The Kingdom”, until then have a great weekend.

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